The lifeboat crews at Lerwick and Aith helped towards an overall Scottish rescue figure of more than 900 people during 2010, according to RNLI statistics published today.
Crews at the country’s 45 stations rescued 921 people, including 89 young people, last year. There was an average of nearly three launches every day and crews often had to launch in the dark.
There were 1,012 launches, slightly down on 2009 which was the RNLI’s busiest year in Scotland. The number of people rescued rose from 912 to 921.
The busiest station in Scotland was Queensferry near Edinburgh, with 74 launches, while Broughty Ferry and Kinghorn, also on the east coast, were second busiest with 70 launches apiece.
An RNLI spokesman said the often challenging conditions encountered by crews in the north of Scotland was reflected in the shouts undertaken by the Lerwick crew. They had 22 shouts and clocked up 90 hours at sea; 11 shouts were in darkness and four shouts were in a force seven wind or greater.
In a two-day period in September the Lerwick volunteers spent more than 18 hours at sea, assisting on two separate emergencies, both involving boats with engine room fires. The first shout lasted 10 hours during the day and evening, and the second shout was 8.5 hours during the night.
One of the more unusual shouts was when the crews at Kinghorn and Anstruther were called out to the River Forth in September to rescue 14 people dressed as Vikings onboard a replica Viking longboat.
Scottish divisional inspector Wave Crookes said: “We had a period of extreme wintry weather in Scotland and yet none of our lifeboat stations had a day off service because of the weather. That is thanks to the good will and determination of our crews around the coast who made sure that they and the lifeboats were able to go out whatever the weather.”
The RNLI, a charity independent of government and reliant on donations, is urging people to respond to its own call for help by supporting RNLI SOS Day on Friday. To find out more log on to www.rnli.org.uk/sos or call 0845 121 4999.