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25 January 2011, 08:42 | Updated: 10 February 2011, 11:45
Poole in Dorset proved to be the busiest coastal lifeboat station last year, with rescue vessels launched 148 times, saving 155 people.
There are over 30 dauntless crew at Poole lifeboat station. These volunteers whom, at the drop of a hat, leave their beds and places of work to ‘answer the call’.
Volunteer coxswain Jonathan Clark, who has been on the Poole crew himself for 28 years said;
"I am not surprised that we are the busiest coastal lifeboat station once again,
"We cover a vast area; Poole harbour, Poole bay and out into the English channel, the waters are exceptionally busy with all sorts of craft, our call outs can be across-the-board we never know what the next ‘shout’ will be. One minute it’s an urgent medical evacuation off a tall ship or a car entering the water from the chain ferry slipway and then we can be tasked to a fire on a loaded passenger boat, or a boat sinking fast, to desperate young children drifting off to sea on a lilo. That is what makes our volunteer job so rewarding, we train hard for every eventuality so that we can be there - to help anyone at anytime, when they really need us."
Jon added: "Lifeboats are there for everyone and we can only be there with the support of the public who donate the pennies, as we are not government funded that is why SOS day is so important to us, our biggest day of fundraising on Friday (Jan 28).. But, I would also like people to remember that we are only able to do what we do, because of the support of our employers and families, that let us go whenever, to help people and save lives at sea."
Volunteers have manned the Poole lifeboat station for over 145 years, taking on a numbe rof different roles:
- There are fundraisers who raise money locally and support the station by: facilitating visits to the station, by going into schools and inspiring children and youth groups, whilst educating them and passing on key safety messages.
- box collectors, who count up all the pennies, in the collection boxes all around the town, alongside another group of people who open up the old lifeboat museum for the public to take a glimpse at the past and hear about the ‘heroic little Dunkirk little ship’ the Thomas Kirk Wright - Poole’s first motorised lifeboat and on display in the museum at the end of the quay, the museum is open again from Easter.
- the sea safety team - who volunteer to give advice, offer a free ‘sea check’ they will come and check over your vessel before you go to sea. There are volunteers who launch the boats and a volunteer press officer who ‘tells the stories’ and volunteer website team who keep you in touch.
You can find out about Poole's lifeboats and crew, recent and past launches, news, events, volunteering, fundraising, sea safety, Poole Old Lifeboat Museum, the history of the station, photographs and much more by visiting:
All in all, lifeboats across the country rescued more than 8,000 people who got into difficulty off the British coast in 2010, figures have revealed.
The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) said a total of 8,313 people were plucked from the sea, with lifeguards additionally helping 18,775 people across the UK's beaches.
RNLI's base on the River Thames saw 491 launches in 2010, with 113 Londoners being rescued in the process.
High profile lifeguard incidents during the year included the rescue of 11 people caught in a rip tide at Woolacombe, Devon, in May.
RNLI operations director Michael Vlasto said: "2010 will be remembered for a series of harrowing disasters overseas but around our coastline our lifeboat volunteers and lifeguards have once again demonstrated their priceless commitment to saving lives at sea.
"But that is only part of the story, every one of the rescues carried out by the RNLI in 2010 was only made possible due to the incredible generosity of the public, even in these difficult times."