Larne Lifeboat saved 17 lives in 2014 after volunteers dedicated over 100 on-service hours and over 1,200 training hours to their lifesaving work.
Newly-released figures by the RNLI show that Larne lifeboat launched 17 times in 2014, saving the same number of lives in the process.
The statistics reveal a slight decrease in rescues and launches, compared to 21 launches and 22 lives rescued in 2013.
Nationwide, the RNLI’s lifeboats in Northern Ireland launched 261 times in 2014 bringing 281 people to safety, an increase on the previous year. In addition, the charity’s lifeguards helped 284 people on ten beaches during the season.
In 2014, Larne RNLI celebrated its twentieth anniversary after launching over 400 times since opening in 1994, rescuing 368 people and saving 31 lives.
A Larne RNLI spokesperson told The Times that the number of “shouts” had remained consistent at approximately 20 per year. She continued: “There are a variety of factors which influence the number of shouts and these can vary from year to year.
“The RNLI’s vision is to end preventable loss at sea. Larne station have a dedicated sea safety education team which have worked tirelessly to spread the sea safety message in 2014. In particular the team visited local schools and hosted station visits from local organisations such as Boys and Girls Brigades and Scouts.
The spokesperson emphasized that those on the water around Larne should remain vigilant. She continued: “Although there are no particularly dangerous stretches of water in the Larne area, the very nature of water makes it unpredictable and dangerous if not treated with respect.
“Even the most competent people can be caught out. Larne had several launches to leisure craft in the scenic Portmuck area last year.”
The team’s most recent alert was on December 29, when the all-weather lifeboat was put on immediate readiness by Belfast Coastguard as a flight inbound to Belfast City Airport had declared an emergency. Fortunately, the flight landed safely and the crew were stood down.
Paying tribute to the crew’s dedication, Larne Lifeboat Operations Manager Allan Dorman commented: “Once again Larne have shown great commitment both in responding to shouts and training in all weathers.
“The support of the crew families is very much appreciated by all at the RNLI, as it is this support that ensures our crew are highly trained and are able to respond to emergency requests. In addition I would like to thank local employers that allow our crew to drop everything and leave their work when the pagers go off.”