RNLI: Flood rescues raise 2012 figures in Wales

RNLI flood rescue team helping people in St Asaph An RNLI flood rescue team helping people in St Asaph during the November floods

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The exceptionally wet weather last year failed to prevent people visiting the Welsh coast and getting into trouble on the sea, new figures show.

The RNLI says lifeboat crews spent 10,999 hours at sea in 2012, rescuing 925 people, a very small fall on 2011.

In 2012, the third wettest year in Wales on record, floods meant a "very busy year" for its flood rescue team.

It responded to serious floods in St Asaph, Denbighshire, in November, and Aberystwyth in June.

Start Quote

The devastating floods in Wales in particular have meant a very busy year for our flood rescue team ”

End Quote Colin Williams RNLI regional operations manager

Colin Williams, RNLI regional operations manager, said it would be easy to assume the wet weather meant a quieter year for the RNLI.

"In fact, nearly half the lifeboat stations in Wales saw an increase in launches, meaning people are still visiting the coast and are venturing into or onto the sea whatever the weather," he said.

"RNLI volunteers on the Welsh coast have proved their commitment to the charity by spending more time honing their skills to deal with the wide range of incidents they face when their pagers sound.

"This year's number of hours spent training is testament to the dedication of the 600 volunteers in Wales, who spent 6,583 hours at sea responding to emergencies and 4,409 hours spent preparing for emergency situations.

A total of 43 people were helped by the RNLI flood rescue team during November's floods in St Asaph.

Team members were deployed to Aberystwyth for rescues in the flooding there in June.

April Jones RNLI teams have been involved in the search for missing April Jones

Mr Williams said the floods meant a "very busy year" for the flood rescue team trained in swift water rescue.

The busiest lifeboat station in Wales was Trearddur Bay on Anglesey with 65 launches, compared to 55 in 2011. Crews there rescued 73 people during the year, a 35% rise on 2011.

However, it was the volunteer crew at Rhyl who rescued the most people in Wales - 80 in all.

The RNLI crew at Borth spent more time at sea than any other station in north Wales, at 765 hours.

The searches for missing five-year-old April Jones from Machynlleth, Powys, contributed to the increase for volunteers' hours both there and at the Aberdovey station.

Wales' third busiest station was Cardigan, where volunteers made 53 launches in 2012 - a 43% rise.

The most common call-out last year was due to incidents on powered pleasure craft, with machinery failure still the most common cause.

However, the RNLI said call-outs to vessels have been gradually decreasing, while those to people are on the up.

Its lifeguards responded to 1,334 incidents and assisted 1, 426 people on 32 of Wales' busiest beaches.

In 2012, it introduced lifeguards to new beaches in the Vale of Glamorgan.

Whitemore Bay was the busiest where guards responded to 234 incidents and assisted 241 people - the majority were searches for missing people or children.

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