RNLI lifeboats in Scotland rescued more than 1,000 people and saved 29 lives last year.
Figures released today by the charity reveal that lifeboats launched on emergency missions almost three times a day in 2013 as crews responded to a total of 996 call-outs – the first time since 2008 that they have attended fewer than 1,000 incidents in a year.
The busiest station in Scotland was Broughty Ferry, where the RNLI’s two lifeboats were called out 105 times to rescue 32 people and save five lives. Half the rescues by the Broughty Ferry crews were carried out during the hours of darkness
The second busiest station was Arbroath, with 53 shouts – one more than Oban. Queensferry was the busiest inshore lifeboat station with 49 shouts and the crew rescued 128 people.
During the year a total of 1,007 people were rescued.
Andy Clift, the RNLI’s regional operations manager for Scotland, said: “These figures illustrate the immense commitment exhibited by the RNLI’s volunteers throughout Scotland. Day after day they are available to respond to emergencies along the coastline and out to sea and, night after night, they are also available with a large proportion of shouts taking place in darkness.
“They also spend a considerable amount of time in carrying out exercises and training to ensure their skills are up to date.”
He added: “During stormy weather the RNLI urges the public to avoid areas, whether they be a harbour, pier, promenade or cliff top, where they could get swept off their feet.”
According to the statistics, RNLI volunteers at Tobermory spent 950 hours on shouts, by far the longest time recorded at any of Scotland’s 47 lifeboat stations. One of the incidents took 31 hours to complete on 14 and 15 June when a cargo ship ran aground on the east coast of Mull.
An RNLI spokesman said: “Tobermory station mechanic Jock Anderson was on board throughout the shout and afterwards he was praised by the RNLI’s operations director, George Rawlinson, for ‘his guidance on board the casualty vessel in protecting the crew of both vessels from the dangers of CO2 poisoning’.
“Another notable shout was the assistance given by crews from Aith and Lerwick when a Super Puma helicopter crashed into the North Sea close to Shetland in August.”
The RNLI in Scotland provided lifeguards for the first time during last summer at Coldingham, near Eyemouth, where lifeguards assisted members of the public on 53 occasions.
The charity’s busiest year in Scotland was 2009 with 1,121 launches, and a record number of 1055 people were rescued in 2012.
Last year RNLI crews throughout the UK launched on 8,304 occasions in total and rescued 8,384 people.