As the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) releases its summer statistics today, it has emerged that the charity’s second busiest coastal lifeboat station was Ramsgate.

Aside from the ever-busy stations on the River Thames in London at Tower and Chiswick (with 160 and 73 launches respectively), Ramsgate’s 49 launches made it the second busiest lifeboat station in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland, after Southend-on-Sea.

In the period between 1 June and 31 August, Ramsgate crew attended 10 more launches than in 2011, an increase of more than 25 per cent. Interestingly this increase was accounted for entirely by Ramsgate’s inshore Atlantic 75 class lifeboat, Bob Turnbull, whilst callouts for the all-weather Trent class lifeboat, Esme Anderson, remained steady at 19 for both years.

Overall in Kent*, total launch figures were slightly down on last year, a 1.7 per cent fall from 176 to 173 launches. The most noticeable drop of around a quarter was experienced by Whitstable, with callouts down from 41 to 28. These numbers follow the trend for the wider RNLI, where total launches fell two percent compared to the 2011 figures, from 3,633 to 3,575. This is probably due to the rainy weather at the beginning of the summer.

Andrew Ashton, RNLI Divisional Inspector for the East, said: ‘Apart from a noticeable change for Ramsgate and Whitstable, elsewhere in Kent the year-on-year changes were small, meaning it was pretty much business as usual for our volunteers.

‘Inshore lifeboats are able to operate closer to the coast – including in rocky and shallow areas – and are therefore more likely to be called out to summer water users such as swimmers and people on inflatables. This could explain the increased call on the inshore lifeboat this summer at Ramsgate. During the heatwave weekend of 18-19 August, the inshore lifeboat alone launched five times in two days.’

Andrew continued: ‘Summer 2012 was a rather mixed bag. On the one hand we’re told that it was the wettest summer for 100 years in parts of the UK. But then reports also say that June, July and August were, technically at least, warmer than 2011. Perhaps people were forced to assess the weather and take last minute decisions on whether to visit the coast or go afloat. Either way, our crews did the RNLI and the general public proud by being available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.’

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