SOUTHEND’S lifeboat station was the busiest coastal centre in the UK last year, new figures show.

The RNLI’s team of volunteers in Southend launched lifeboats 137 times, racking up more than 400 hours at sea.

The station, which is entirely made up of 40 volunteers, saved 132 people last year, more than a quarter of the total helped at all six Essex rescue centres.


When a member of the crew is on duty they are given a pager, and if there is an emergency, they will have to drop whatever they are doing and rush out.

Den Freeman, spokesman from Southend RNLI, said: “Our volunteers have got to have sympathetic employeers and family members, as being part of the RNLI usually means taking away their free time.

“Some of them even have to make up the work after-hours, but they provide such a good service for people in Southend.

“The reason we’re so busy is because we cover from West Canvey to East Beach in Shoebury and although we didn’t have a great summer a lot of our rescues were leisure related, like wind surfers and fisherman.”

This station was thid only to two inland stations on the Thames in central London, Tower and Chiswick for callouts in the UK.

Both of them do not rely entirely on volunteer crew.