140,000 lives saved at sea — and counting

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This Royal National Lifeboat Institution, Great Britain’s mostly volunteer lifeboat rescue organization, passed a remarkable milestone in 2012.

The June 30 rescue of a kite surfer by the Fraserburgh crew in Scotland marked the 140,000th life saved by the charity since its founding in 1824.

After the lifeboat was safely back in the station, the lifeboat coxswain filled out a form using an RNLI computer system, recording details of the incident and whether any lives were saved – a procedure that happens after every launch of every boat at every one of the charity’s 236 stations around the coasts of the U.K. and the Republic of Ireland.

It was this database that revealed the rescue of the kitesurfer was the charity’s 140,000th life saved. That’s the equivalent of the entire population of the Isle of Wight. It also works out as 745 people saved for every year the charity has been in operation, or just over two people saved every single day since the RNLI began.

“Every single one of those 140,000 lives was somebody’s son or daughter, somebody’s wife or mother or father or friend. It’s almost impossible to imagine how many families have been affected by the actions of our brave lifeboat crews and lifeguards,” CEO Paul Bossier said. “I am also extremely proud that, since its founding, the RNLI has always been a charity, supported by an army of tireless fundraisers and the enormous generosity of the public. It is also a great source of pride that the vast majority of lifeboat crewmembers are volunteers – ordinary people who do extraordinary things.”

Click here for the full report on this marine rescue service unlike anything in the United States.