RNLI assistance up 5 per cent

In 2013 five per cent more yachtsmen called up the lifeboat when their engines broke down than in the previous year.

Of the 1,573 lifeboat launches to sailing boats 350 ,22%, were due to machinery failure, up 5% from 333 in 2012; and 315, 20%, were due to stranding or grounding up 9% from 289 in 2012.

But numbers of yachtsmen in trouble for other reasons had fallen: 161, 10% and down by 34% from 244 in 2012.

Out of a total 8,304 lifeboat launches, 4,160 were to people enjoying a day on the water around the UK and Ireland – up slightly 1.4% from the 4,101 in 2012.Power boats accounted for 1,920 launches up by 7% from 2012.

Overall the number of lifeboat launches in 2013 was similar to 2012, with RNLI lifeboats launching 8,304 times compared to 8,346 times in 2012. The volunteer crews launched 3,069 times into darkness and 124 times into winds above a Force 7. The biggest cause for call out for the RNLI was machinery failure with lifeboats launching 1,596 times to boats with mechanical problems.

The busiest coastal station was Southend-on-Sea, which launched its lifeboats and rescue hovercraft 142 times.

Will Stephens, Coastal Safety Staff Officer for the RNLI said: ‘While the RNLI will help anyone in trouble at sea, we’re asking people to respect the water and take time to be prepared before they go afloat. A few simple things before you set off including checking your engine and fuel, making sure you are carrying spares (and the tools to fit them) and having some way to call for help will be invaluable should you get into difficulty whilst out at sea. Everybody on board should be wearing an appropriate lifejacket.’