LIFEBOAT crews in Mayo saved 24 lives last year.
Achill Island all-weather lifeboat was launched 22 times last year, and rescued some 12 people. The Ballyglass crew launched their all-weather boat 26 times, in addition to 15 launches of their inshore lifeboat, rescuing 12 people also.
The RNLI is urging people to respect the water as Irish lifeboats were launched to 1,098 incidents in 2015, bringing 1,244 people to safety.
At 45 lifeboat stations around the Irish coast and on inland waters, the charity’s volunteer lifeboat crew were on call in all weathers. Of the recorded launches, 416 were carried out in the hours of darkness.
Howth lifeboat station in Dublin was the busiest on the coast with 60 launches and 58 people assisted. The next busiest was Clifden RNLI in Galway, who are currently trialling an all-weather lifeboat to work alongside with their inshore lifeboat. They launched 49 times and brought 20 people to safety.
The majority of callouts for Clifden RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat were to medical emergencies on the neighbouring islands, often assisting the Coast Guard helicopter crew.
The type of incidents the charity’s lifeboat crew responded can range from danger of drowning (66 launches) to searches for missing people (54 launches), grounded or stranded vessels (126 launches) or people thought to be in danger or overdue (118 launches). Machinery failure and fouled propellers (251 launches) were again a common cause for callout.
Said Gareth Morrison, RNLI lifesaving delivery manager: “Last summer the RNLI launched its national drowning prevention campaign, Respect the Water, warning people that the coastlines and waters can be dangerously unpredictable. This year we will continue to build on that and help inform those who enjoy the water and our beautiful coastline to take care and help reduce drowning.”