The value of Dorset's RNLI lifesavers is highlighted in new statistics which show that they came to the rescue of more than 430 people last year.

Rescue figures for 2020 were today released by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.

Around the country, a total of 349 lives were saved by the charity’s lifeboat crews and lifeguards – almost one life saved every single day.

Last summer was a particularly busy one - lifeboat crews in the region had a 'summer like no other' – with a 33 per cent per cent increase in the numbers of rescues compared to the previous year.

After the initial pandemic travel restrictions were eased, tens of thousands of people headed to the coast.

With fine weather and people unable to travel abroad, Dorset beaches – particularly around Lulworth and Bournemouth – were packed out with authorities having to close some areas and turn people away. Major incidents were declared in Dorset as thousands flocked to the coast and there were multiple incidents in a short space of time.

In Dorset, the RNLI has stations in Weymouth, Lyme Regis, Swanage, Poole and Mudeford.

Between them they saved eight lives, launched a total of 391 times and went to the aid of 432 people.

The busiest station was Poole which launched 144 times and rescued 157 people.

Weymouth was second busiest with 83 launches and 108 people rescued.

The charity is now putting out its own Mayday call as it faces yet another busy summer. With high numbers of visitors expected as more people choose to holiday closer to home, more funds are needed to ensure the lifesaving service is able to keep everyone safe.

Launching on Saturday, May 1 and running for the whole of the month, the RNLI’s annual Mayday campaign asks people to sign up to support lifesavers around the UK and Ireland. This year, the charity will be calling on supporters to join the Mayday Mile, and cover at least one mile in any way they like in order to raise vital funds.

RNLI volunteer Paul Glatzel said: ‘We all saw the images of packed beaches around the coast as restrictions lifted last summer, which meant a hugely busy season for us. As another summer approaches, we know that our lifesavers face more huge challenges in keeping everyone safe, which is why we’re now the ones sending out our own Mayday call and asking for help."

Make a donation or sign up for your own Mayday Mile at