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The Kilmore Quay lifeboat in heavy swells off the south-east coast Nigel Millard/RNLI
cow-ful now

How Irish lifeboats rescued 10 animals - including a cow - last year

New figures show that 1,278 people (and 10 animals) were rescued by lifeboats in 2013.

AN AVERAGE OF 25 people a week were rescued by RNLI lifeboats around Ireland in the past year – and ten animals too.

New figures released today show that 1,278 people were rescued by lifeboats in 2013, the majority of whom were on pleasure crafts when they got into difficulty.

RNLI lifeboats also rescued ten animals over the course of the year, including four dogs, two sheep, a cow, two whales and a dolphin.

The Dún Laoghaire RNLI lifeboat was the busiest of the 44 lifeboat stations around the country, rescuing 67 people from 58 separate call outs.

More than ten per cent of the people who were rescued by lifeboats were ashore, meaning that they were ill or injured on an island, cliff or the shoreline, and a lifeboat was the fastest or safest way to reach them.

Overall there was a significant increase both in the number of times a lifeboat had to be launched – up from 955 to 1,087 – and also in the number of people rescued (up by 221 on the previous year), which the RNLI said was partly because of the hot summer.

The RNLI said that there had been tragedy in 2013 too. “A number of our call outs involved searches for missing people and in some incidents, they involved bringing home loved ones who were lost at sea,” said operations manager Martyn Smith.

He called on the public to be careful around water, irrespective of weather conditions.

Video: Lifeboat launches search in rough seas – but it was a hoax call >

Read: Coast Guard warns people to get away from the sea as man injured at Howth pier >

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