Lifeboat volunteers on stand-by

A LIFESAVING charity has hailed its volunteers for devoting their time over the festive period.

RNLI volunteer lifeboat crews and shore helpers will be ready to leave family festivities this Christmas to launch their lifeboats and rescue anyone in trouble at sea.

Last Christmas and new year, RNLI lifeboats in the north were called out nine times. Although they were not needed in Hartlepool volunteers were still on alert and ready for action.

RNLI operations director Michael Vlasto said: “Christmas is typically a time of fun, rest and relaxation with family and friends, so the fact that our volunteer lifeboat crew members are willing to carry a pager all over the festive season and launch the lifeboats to rescue those in danger at sea – in all conditions and at any time of day or night – is testament to their absolute commitment.

“Of course, it is not just the lifeboat crews we should remember, but also their families and friends, who too are prepared for Christmas to be disturbed by the call of the pager, and our dedicated fundraisers and supporters, whose work is vital in ensuring we, as a charity, have the funds we need to keep saving lives at sea.

“Those planning time at the coast during the Christmas break can help keep themselves safe by taking some basic safety precautions before they go, such as checking the weather and tide times. Anyone finding themselves in difficulty can rely on the RNLI’s volunteers, who will be ready to help whenever they’re needed.”