Lifeboat rescues on the up in Hampshire over the summer

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LIFEBOATS have had one of their busiest summers in years – and the unpredictable weather could be the cause.

Hayling Island RNLI experienced the biggest increase in the number of call-outs with 42 rescues – 12 more than the previous summer.

Collectively, the four lifeboat stations at Hayling Island, Portsmouth, Calshot and Lymington launched a total of 142 times in June, July and August.

This represents an 11 per cent increase on last year.

RNLI officials said the often unseasonal weather could have played a part.

Andrew Ashton, divisional inspector for the RNLI, said: ‘Summer 2012 was a rather mixed bag.

‘On the one hand we’re told that 2012 was the wettest summer for 100 years in parts of the UK.

‘But then reports also say that June, July and August were, technically, warmer than 2011.

‘Perhaps people were forced to assess the weather and take last minute decisions on whether to visit the coast or go afloat – whether or not that means they were less well prepared is impossible to say. The RNLI did what it could to promote safety messages and assist those who did get into trouble.’

But he said the increase was not particularly significant and added it was ‘business as usual’ for the volunteers.