IT HAS been an “incredibly busy” year for Hampshire’s lifeboat crews who rescued more than 400 people stranded or injured at sea over the last 12 months.

Latest figures have revealed that ten people are alive today thanks to the dedication and hard work of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight’s RNLI volunteer crews in 2013, who drop everything at a moment’s notice to rescue those in danger.

From helping commercial vessels in trouble, to distressed fishermen, young swimmers and beachgoers, the seven lifeboat stations across the region have launched on 391 rescue missions last year.

These included the rescue of two girls who got into difficulty swimming off Lepe Beach by the Calshot crew, and the launching of Lymington’s RNLI to the aid of two people and their dog who were stranded on their yacht when the engine failed.

In a year of extreme weather, crews from these seven stations rescued a total of 433 people, which included giving first aid treatment to 30 people and saving the lives of ten people – who without the intervention of the RNLI would have most likely died.

Peter Dawes, regional operations manager for the RNLI, 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.”

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.

He added: “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.

“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.”

The busiest lifeboat station in the region was Portsmouth, whose crew launched 99 times and rescued 131 people, making it one of the busiest in the entire RNLI, ranking the seventh busiest lifeboat station out of 236 stations.