The volunteer crew of Larne RNLI saved the lives of 13 people after launching 26 times in 2015, newly-released figures have revealed.
Statistics show that, out of the ten Northern Ireland stations, Larne RNLI was the fifth busiest in terms of launches last year.
Larne RNLI’s Lifeboats Operations Manager Allan Dolrman paid tribute to the dedication of the local volunteer crew, who train two nights a week throughout the year in order to prepare for emergencies.
“The crew at Larne RNLI are second to none,” said Allan.
“The boys and girls of the crew are brilliant, they are so dedicated.
“We have the young crew who have trained up from the beginning as well as our older, more experienced hands.
“The crew train every Thursday and Sunday and go to Poole for courses and refreshers.
“They train their hearts out,” he concluded.
Recently, members of Larne RNLI’s First Water Response team were deployed to assist during flooding in Dungiven and in the Belfast area.
In total, the RNLI’s lifeboats in Northern Ireland launched 269 times in 2015, bringing 279 people to safety.
Meanwhile, the charity’s lifeguards responded to 182 incidents and helped 218 people on the Province’s 10 beaches during the season.
Despite a wet summer, 345,027 people visited the 10 beaches last year.
Some 27,043 of those visitors took to the water while 9,975 used surf or other craft.
Volunteer lifeboat crew responded to a range of incidents last year and on many occasions teamed up with their colleagues from flank stations.
One such mission last September saw five RNLI lifeboat stations involved in a massive search and rescue operation from Belfast Lough to Fair Head in County Antrim, in a bid to find missing Carrickfergus kayaker Robert Hanna.
Commenting on the figures, RNLI Lifesaving Delivery Manager Gareth Morrison said: “Our volunteer lifeboat crew and lifeguards have again worked exceptionally hard serving our local communities.
“We continue to urge those working or enjoying our coastline and inland areas to respect the water. We would like to thank all of our volunteers for their tireless hard work and dedication over the last 12 months. Without all of our volunteers, fundraisers and education teams, our lifesaving service would not operate.”
Community Lifesaving and Fundraising Director Leesa Harwood added: ‘It’s humbling to see the lifesaving work of our volunteer crew, lifeguards, flood rescue teams and safety advisers.”