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INSIGHT The RnlI’s Vision is to be recognised as the most effective, innovative and dependable lifeboat and lifeguard service.

Here are just a handful of incidents from around the UK and RoI to give an insight into the thousands of rescues carried out each year in an effort to meet that Vision.

Three particularly note- worthy rescues that have just resulted in awards for those involved are described on pages 16-23 and marked on the map thus:#. See pages 40-42 for 6 months’ launches at a glance. D LifeBoAt CReW sAVes eAsteR BUNNy! Tobermory lifeboat crew had an unusual, yet appropriate, casualty to rescue on Easter Sunday in the form of a pet rabbit. Four adults, two children, a dog and the rabbit were onboard the yacht Blue Note when she started taking on water. Two adults stayed onboard and helped the lifeboat crew pump out the water. The children, the other adults and the pets were transferred to the lifeboat, which towed the yacht back to Tobermory.

Q HANGING ON FOR MARRIED LIFE A couple whose canoe capsized in County Down’s Strangford Lough were rescued by Portaferry lifeboat crew on 16 April 2007.

They had managed to swim to a racing buoy and were clinging on for their lives when a passerby onshore raised the alarm.

Within 20 minutes, they were being helped aboard the lifeboat. After landing at a local yacht club, husband and wife were taken to hospital by ambulance. The man was suffering from hypothermia, but the crew had reached him in time.

D PRECARIOUS ‘LADDER’ Sennen cove’s all-weather lifeboat went to the aid of nine kayakers off Lands End on 27 December 2006. Wind and tide made the area, known locally as The Ladder, more perilous than usual. With waves 3m high and breaking, the kayakers were asked by radio to let off a flare so the lifeboat could find their small craft. Two of the group were in the water, being supported by their colleagues. The kayakers were helped onboard with a scrambling net. One was transferred to hospital by helicopter as it was suspected she was developing hypothermia. The rest of the group was brought to the lifeboat station, less than 90 minutes after the lifeboat’s launch, and offered hot showers and tea before collecting their kayaks, which were recovered by RNLI volunteers from Penlee.

B mAN iN BLACK The lochinver lifeboat crew, with Relief Coxswain Jim Hughan, saved a clam diver from a rock in driving rain, darkness and storm force 10 winds on 13 December 2006. After 2 hours of searching for the missing man, the Coastguard helicopter from Stornoway had to refuel, while the Severn class lifeboat resumed the search.

Luckily for the diver, who was dressed all in black, the crew heard him shouting and picked him up safe and well.

B HYPOTHERMIC AND CONFUSED Both Redcar lifeboats were launched at the end of March to help a man in his 40s who was trapped at the bottom of a 90m cliff by a rising tide. When the crew of the Atlantic 75 Leicester Challenge II found him, he was wet through, hypothermic and very confused. The smaller inshore lifeboat, Peterborough Beer Festival I, was driven over sharp rocks to reach him. He was fitted with a lifejacket and taken onboard, before being transferred to the Atlantic in safer waters. He was treated by the Lifeboat Medical Adviser before being taken home by the Coastguard.

Q A gRoWiNg CRoWd ANd A RisiNg RiVeR In front of a large crowd, chiswick’s lifeboat crew saved a man who fell into the River Thames’ mud from Brentford’s Dock Road on 5 November 2006. The man, who had multiple injuries, was being held up by a friend, while the river rose 3cm every minute.

With great care the man was transferred to the lifeboat, Jean and Kenneth Bellamy, which had to reverse into the shallow, confined area to recover him. On the way to Chiswick lifeboat station, he was given first aid including oxygen and an intravenous drip. He was handed over to the ambulance service on reaching the shore and taken to hospital.

Q LIFEGUARDS RE" RNLI lifeguards returned to action over the Easter weekend. On Perranporth beach in Cornwall they gave lifesaving first aid to a woman with a heart condition who had passed out and stopped breathing. She regained consciousness and was airlifted to hospital. The lifeguards were also called to a woman who suffered spinal injuries after falling from her horse; to help the Coastguard search for a body, and to assist a bodyboarder and a surfer who had drifted out to sea.