Hundreds rescued by busy lifeboat crews as RNLI warns public of dangers of Irish waters
The busiest lifeboat station in Ireland last year was Lough Ree RNLI in Athlone, according to rescue statistics released today.
Launching 69 times in the last twelve months, the charity's lifeboat crew there brought a total of 142 people to safety.
However, the figures countrywide have encouraged the voluntary rescue service to call for people to remain vigilant when heading out on the water
RNLI’s lifeboat crews launched an incredible 1,089 times over the course of 2014, bringing some 1,414 people to safety.
According to the report, almost half of all callouts responded to people in difficulty on leisure boats that have mostly run aground or have had engine problems.
Of the 45 lifeboat stations in Ireland, Howth RNLI (62 callouts) and Enniskillen RNLI (59 callouts) also had a busy year, with 164 people brought to safety in total.
Crews at Dun Laoghaire RNLI in south Dublin, on the Aran Islands off Galway and Arranmore Island off Donegal followed close behind with 134 call outs.
While lifeboat launch figures remain largely the same as last year there has been a 10pc increase in the amount of people brought to safety by lifeboats.
RNLI Operations Manager Owen Medland said that 35pc of all lifeboat call outs "were carried out in the hours of darkness".
"Breaking down at sea or on a lough can be a frightening experience. Weather and darkness can turn a bad situation very serious in a matter of minutes. Nobody who sets out thinks anything bad will happen but calling for help early is always the right choice."
Medland thanked our supporters and fundraisers of the chairty as the RNLI is completely dependent on donations from the public.
"There are also hundreds of employers around the country who let our lifeboat crews drop what they are doing and respond to a call out. We would not be able to run this service without them and we are extremely grateful to them for that," he said
The RNLI are set to launch Respect the Water campaign, engaging with water users on how to stay safe and maintain their equipment. Water Safety advice is available on rnli.org/safety.