Get involved: Send your news, views, pictures and video by texting SUPIC to 80360 or email us.
Sussex lifeboat crews save 13 lives
The county's lifeboat crews saved the lives of 13 seamen and beachgoers in a hectic year.
The RNLI in Sussex rescued 467 people and were called out to 467 incidents in an action-packed 2013.
Newhaven made five lifesaving rescues, the most in the county, while Eastbourne made the most rescues overall at 116 - the second highest number of coastal launches in the country.
There was a 12% increase in the number of people rescued by Sussex lifeboat crews last year.
RNLI Eastbourne spokesman Bob Jeffrey said that the crew launched 43 times at night and in four launches volunteer crews faced force seven gale winds.
He said the number of lives saved might be considered far higher than 13, because the RNLI's strict criteria meant some life-saving operations were not counted as such in official figures.
He said: “In the summer we picked up two lads out swimming beyond the pier and when we got there they were on their last legs and so in reality we saved their lives.”
Crews said the rise in launches could be linked to people's financial difficulties, as boat owners failed to keep up with regular maintenance.
Mr Jeffrey added: “We are a busy marina, we have a lot of people visiting from the continent and we do have a few inexperienced sailors which might be why we are so busy.”
RNLI Newhaven press officer Alan Novis said 2013 had been a difficult year for his crew with the disappearance of Dylan Alkins in October and death of crew member Gavin Butcher in February.
He said the crew had a “real mixture” of call-outs through 2013 including five dogs lost over cliffs, eight body recoveries, 15 breakdown recoveries and walkers cut off by the tide.
Among the lifesaving operations, the crew rescued a paraglider who had fallen into the sea and a kayaker who had fallen overboard into wintry cold waters.
He said: “We always have to remember that the RNLI are volunteer crews who go out for free to save lives at sea.
“There is no greater reward than really making a difference and being a lifesaver.
“A lot of what we do is getting to situations quickly so they don't become life threatening situations.”
To donate to the RNLI visit rnli.org/donateorbecomeamember.
Comments are closed on this article.