Lifeboat crews saved 108 migrants’ lives in 2022 – RNLI

14 June 2023: RNLI: RNLI releases new figures to highlight crews’ lifesaving impact in the Channel

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) has revealed that its lifeboat crews saved the lives* of 108 people crossing the English Channel last year.

It is the first time the charity that saves lives at sea has published figures for the work of its volunteer crews in the Channel.

In total, the RNLI was tasked and launched 290 times during 2022 to incidents involving men, women and children making the perilous journey across one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes in small, overcrowded and unseaworthy boats.

This figure represents 3% of the total number of lifeboat launches for the whole of the RNLI last year.

RNLI Chief Executive, Mark Dowie, said: ‘We are extremely proud of all our volunteer lifeboat crews throughout the UK, Ireland and Channel Islands and that very much includes those working in challenging circumstances in the south-east of England.

‘We have never released these figures before, but they illustrate clearly that our charity’s work in the Channel is genuinely lifesaving.

‘Sadly we know there have been incidents in the Channel which have resulted in deaths, but without the brave actions of our crews, who are ready to answer their pagers day or night, 365 days a year, we can be certain there would have been more.

‘The RNLI is unashamed and makes no apology for staying committed to and focused on the purpose we were created for, nearly 200 years ago – to save lives at sea.’

The RNLI is tasked and coordinated in the UK by HM Coastguard. If someone is in trouble in the sea, and the RNLI is tasked, the charity will launch to help them without judgement, as its crews have been doing since 1824.

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BBC: Lifeboat crews saved 108 migrants’ lives in 2022 – RNLI

Lifeboats were launched to rescue migrants in the English Channel 290 times last year, the RNLI has said.

The charity has published details of its work on migrant crossings for the first time.

The RNLI, which has been criticised as running a “taxi service” for migrants, said it had saved 108 lives in the Channel, between France and the Kent coast.

Its chief executive said he made no apology for saving lives at sea.

Lifeboats, which are staffed by volunteer crews, were launched more than 9,000 times around the coast of the UK and Ireland in 2022.

Babies thrown

Rescues of migrants in the Channel were launched 290 times, meaning small boat crossings now make up 3% of the RNLI’s work.

Crews are facing increasingly traumatic scenes when they are sent to rescue a small boat.

Simon Ling, the RNLI’s head of lifeboats, told the BBC: “We’ve had babies thrown at our lifeboats, women screaming, men screaming.

“It’s a very chaotic situation. Our crews are trained how to manage that and how to quickly get into rescue mode.”

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