IN Wales RNLI lifeboats launched 1,145 times in 2022, compared with 1,057 launches in 2021. Nationally, RNLI lifeboats launched over 9,300 times in 2022 – an increase of 5% on the previous year*.
The most common cause of a lifeboat launch in Wales in 2022 was to motorboats in trouble, which had risen from 116 incidents in 2021.
People in the water requiring assistance was the second most common reason for a launch rising from 134 launches in 2021 to 140 in 2022.
The charity is now putting out its own Mayday call as it faces yet another busy summer. With high numbers of visitors expected as people continue to choose to holiday closer to home, more funds are needed to ensure the lifesaving service is able to keep everyone safe. A host of events are being organised across Wales to raise funds to enable the crew to continue saving lives.
In 2022, the busiest station in Wales was The Mumbles where lifeboats launched 110 times, up from 95 in 2021. Nearby Sker Point was the location of a maritime tragedy 76 years ago when 47 lives were lost from both the liberty ship SS Samtampa and the RNLI’s Mumbles lifeboat Edward, Prince of Wales.
Remembering the crew who lost their lives and paying tribute to current volunteer crew across Wales, a Mayday run will take place on 14 May 2023. Porthcawl Runners, supported by Porthcawl RNLI are organising a memorial run that will start near Porthcawl harbour and move toward Rest Bay before doubling back on itself and finishing at the lifeboat station.
Barry Dock was the second busiest station in Wales with 91 launches. They were closely followed by Tenby, with 78 launches, Angle launched 72 times and Burry Port station launched 71 times.
In North Wales, Rhyl was the busiest station launching 52 times, closely follow by Moelfre RNLI on Anglesey who launched 48 times.
A host of Mayday events are being planned across Wales, including Rhyl RNLI’s Duck Race which will take place on 1 May in Dyserth. Abersoch are following suit with a Duck Race on 8 May and Holyhead RNLI are organising a car wash on 13 May. Moelfre RNLI are organising a Dog Walk on 29 May commencing at 1pm from the local primary school and finishing at Seawatch where refreshments and cake will be served.
At Flint, there will be a Mayday bike ride on 20 May, and it’ll be eyes down for the Colwyn Bay branch on 26 May when they host a bingo Mayday event.
With demand for its lifesaving services at a high, the charity is also putting out its own ‘Mayday’ call, urging the public to take part in the Mayday Mile – taking on the challenge of covering a mile a day for the month of May. All money raised will help to provide the vital training and equipment that is needed to keep its lifesavers safe, while they risk their own lives to save others.
Faye Maher, RNLI Regional Engagement Lead for Wales said: ‘‘Summer is our busiest time of year, with thousands of people at risk of getting into danger by the water. Ordinary people just enjoying days out with family or friends.
‘Mayday is our own call for help, as we rely on the generosity of the public to take part in events like the Mayday Mile and raise the funds that allow us to be there when we’re needed most. But we need to be ready. Training, kit, stations, fuel … these are just some of the things we need to save lives, and that your fundraising can help provide.’
Whether you choose to walk, jog, hop or skip, the Mayday Mile challenges you to cover one mile in any way you like every day in May, whilst raising vital funds for RNLI lifesavers so that they can continue to keep people safe at sea.
Ms Maher added: ‘It’s clear from these new figures that demand for our services is continuing to rise, with our lifesavers dropping everything to run to the lifeboat station when the call comes. Every penny raised during Mayday will go towards ensuring we are ready to save even more lives this year.’
To sign up for the Mayday Mile, or to make a donation in support of the RNLI’s lifesavers, visit RNLI.org/supportMayday
Pic: Aberystwyth Lifeboat Station – Elkanah Evans