ANNUAL figures released by the RNLI revealed two lives were saved by the Selsey lifeboat crew last year.
The lifeboat at Selsey launched 33 times and 55 people were rescued in 2013 – but two of those were saved from life-threatening conditions.
In the past year, the Selsey crew were called out to the recovery of a body, a missing swimmer, two vessels with fouled propellers, a man over board from a cruise liner and as safety boats while a unexploded bomb was detonated.
Collectively, from the 17 lifeboat stations along the coast of Sussex and Kent, there were 869 rescue missions last year, and 860 people were rescued.
Peter Dawes, regional operations manager for the RNLI, said: “Whether it is hot and sunny or windy and rainy, the water always presents a number of risks for visitors to the coast.
“We would always recommend that people take care when going to the coast and follow some simple safety tips; always check tide times before taking to the water; avoid areas where you could get swept off your feet in stormy weather, and if you’re visiting the coast, be sure to visit a lifeguarded beach during the summer months.”
Peter also praised the legions of volunteers who give up their own time to go to sea to save the lives of others, and the thousands of members of the public who donate the funds necessary to enable the RNLI charity to continue its work.
“Of course, none of this would be possible without the huge commitment of the volunteers who crew our lifeboats, and of the extended family of supporters who facilitate that,” he said.
“From spouses and children, right through to considerate employers who allow their staff to leave at a moment’s notice to launch lifeboats, they all deserve a huge thank you from the RNLI.”
Reflecting on a busy year, Peter said: “As long as people are in distress, the RNLI will be there to help. We provide a ring of safety from the beach right out to the open seas.
“But the first class training and the equipment needed to do the job cost money, and we are very fortunate to have such a dedicated support network among the general public.
“As a charity, the RNLI simply could not continue helping those in distress and saving lives without that support.”