The voluntary rescuers of the Royal Dutch Rescue Society (KNRM) took significantly more action in the months of May, June and July of 2020 than in the previous years.
In those three months, the KNRM had to turn out an average of 350 times in recent years, this year it was 455 times. KNRM spokesman Kees Brinkman tells NU.nl that it is a “remarkable increase” and thinks that the pressure on and in the water is because many Dutch people spend the summer in their own country.
The rescuers had to take more action in the event of motor boat malfunctions, which has always been the main cause for a report, says Brinkman. “Then there is old, dirty fuel in the tank and the filters get clogged.”
And people in trouble quickly grab the mobile phone, Brinkman sees. “We notice that it is no longer the fanatical water sports enthusiasts of the past who can solve a problem themselves. It is more and more people who rent or borrow a boat, or who have just taken possession of it. Prepare yourself well for the cruise, maintain your engine and get a clean filter. It’s useful to know how your engine works. “
Seal is sometimes mistaken for a swimmer
Also, there have been more rescues on the beach in the past three months after a drowning man has been spotted. Here again, the low threshold of reporting comes into play. “Sometimes a seal is mistaken for a swimmer,” says Brinkman. “And it is true that more seals are swimming off the coast than before.”
“With every report of a drowning person, the protocols are scaled up to the maximum, with lifeboats, the rescue brigade and helicopters”, says Brinkman. “That’s a lot of effort, but better ten times for nothing than one time too late.”