RNLI call-outs: every call attended by Tyne and Wear lifeguards since 2008 mapped as they deal with ‘busiest summer yet’

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From people being swept out to sea on inflatables to mechanical failures on boats, the RNLI responds to thousands of different life-saving scenarios each year. Use our interactive map to see why and where the emergency service has been called out near you.

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) has issued a fresh warning to people across the UK to take care in open water as lifeboat crews continue to deal with one of their busiest summers yet.

Each year the RNLI responds to an average of 8,634 emergency call-outs across the UK, Republic of Ireland and the Channel Islands.

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Our interactive map shows you every single incident the lifeboat crews have responded to in Tyne and Wear and around the UK between 2008 and 2020.

The busiest lifeboat stations in Tyne and Wear

As more of us opt for a staycation this year, beaches and rivers have been be busy with holidaymakers. But the dangers of swimming in open water are clear – and in recent weeks scores of people have died as a result of getting into trouble in open water.

According to the RNLI’s database, the charity responded to more than 112,000 call-outs between 2008 and 2020.

That included almost 8,500 call-outs in 2020, a 14% drop on 2019’s figures, which were just over 9,800.

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In Tyne and Wear, emergency lifeboat crews have responded to 2,394 incidents since 2008. On average the RNLI in Tyne and Wear responds to 184 call-outs each year.

Sunderland lifeboat station is the busiest station in the area with 1,095 call-outs since 2008.


Tower lifeboat station in London is the busiest in the UK and in England with emergency services responding to 402 call-outs in 2020 and more than 6,000 incidents since 2008. This is followed by Chiswick lifeboat station, also in London, which has responded to 2,651 call-outs over the 12 years.

In Scotland, Broughty Ferry lifeboat station in Dundee is the busiest with 1,216 call-outs.

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While in Wales, The Mumbles lifeboat station in Swansea was the busiest with crews responding to a total of 925 emergency calls. In the Republic of Ireland, Dun Laoghaire in Dublin was the busiest station, with 681 call-outs.

Busiest ever summer for lifeguards and lifeboat crews

The RNLI responds to thousands of different call-outs each year and reason for the response ranges dramatically.

Across the UK there have been 81 call-outs responding to unexploded bombs or mines since 2008, at least 8,609 call-outs responding to a person in distress, at least 442 call-outs where an animal has been in trouble, and 82 incidents where someone has been stuck in mud.

The RNLI in Tyne and Wear has responded to more than 2,000 incidents since 2008. (Image: Shutterstock)The RNLI in Tyne and Wear has responded to more than 2,000 incidents since 2008. (Image: Shutterstock)
The RNLI in Tyne and Wear has responded to more than 2,000 incidents since 2008. (Image: Shutterstock) | Shutterstock

Head of water safety at the RNLI, Gareth Morrison, said that this summer may be the charity’s busiest yet.

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“We are expecting the summer of 2021 to be the busiest ever for our lifeguards and volunteer lifeboat crews,” he said.

“We want people to enjoy the coast but urge everyone to respect the water, think about their own safety and know what to do in an emergency.

“Our main advice is to visit a lifeguarded beach and swim between the red and yellow flags. RNLI lifeguards will be patrolling around 245 beaches this summer to offer advice on how to stay safe and they are also there to help anyone who gets into trouble.”

Mr Morrison advised the following to stay safe this summer:

  • Visit a lifeguarded beach & swim between the red and yellow flags
  • If you get into trouble Float to Live – lie on your back and relax, resisting the urge to thrash about
  • Call 999 in an emergency and ask for the Coastguard

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