The Maritime and Coastguard Agency 2001 figures show an increase in search and rescue incidents
The MCA’s 2001 figures for Coastguard operations show an increase in the total number of Search and Rescue incidents co-ordinated by the Coastguard last year. However, there is also an acknowledged increase in the use of the sea for leisure activities. The number of S & R incidents nationally for 2001 was 12,514, up from 12,008 in 2000. 284 lives were lost (234 in 2000) and 4,852 people were rescued (5,217 in 2000). In general fewer people needed rescuing but more were given assistance in some way. This may be a reflection of the success of MCA Education and Safety Initiatives, some of which have been joint projects with the RNLI to improvve safety awareness and reduce the risk of accidents.
Interestingly, the total number of incidents handled by Falmouth Coastguard dropped from 943 for 2000 to 805 in 2001. Falmouth CG District Controller Colin Sturman attributes this drop to fewer GMDSS false alerts, a result of training and qualification, and better designed systems.