The call-outs often dealt with motor troubles and stricken kayakers
Translated by Thomas Ansell
As reported in the Leeuwarder Courant, the Koninklijke Nederlandse Redding Maatschappij (KNRM); the Dutch lifeboat service, was called out 446 times in 2019. In 2018 the figure was lower, with 429 rescues.
The station at Hindeloopen, which is responsible for a triangle of water between Stavoren, the Afsluitdijk, and Makkum, was called into action 108 times, making it one of the busiest in the entire country. Harlingen’s lifeboat station was called into service 56 times in 2019.
“Last year we saw lots of yachts with engine issues”, says Skipper Henk-Jan Kuin from the lifeboat station at Hindeloopen. “We also saw lots of kitesurfers with problems, and significant numbers of stuck rental boats.”
The most unfortunate incident involved a 43-year old Swedish woman that drowned in Makkum at the end of July. She was taking a day-trip to the beach, and her inflatable swan was carried away from the coast. “Last year we also saw a kayaker that was trying to reach Den Oever from Makkum, during force-5 gales. He fell into the sea and became too cold to continue. He could still telephone us, and was brought to hospital by helicopter.”
The end of July was the busiest period for life guards in general. The Reddingsbrigade (life guard service) has said that the warm weather led to a record number of 1,200 swimmers that came into trouble in rivers, lakes, and the sea.”