The RNLI lifeboats are rescuing record numbers of people from the Thames.
The team at Chiswick Pier rescued 19 people from the Thames during the first six months of this year. Statistics show RNLI lifeboats operating on the river have had the busiest first half-year since they began saving lives in the capital six years ago.
Lifeboats from the four RNLI stations positioned along the river launched a total of 317 times over the six months, with Chiswick launching 62 times, showing a 23 per cent increase on the same period last year.
Andrew Ashton, divisional inspector for the RNLI, said: "The figures released today are a reminder of how vital the RNLI is in saving lives of those who get into difficulty in water, be it at sea or in the River Thames in London."
He also pointed out that the experience for RNLI volunteers in London can be very different to those based at coastal stations. He said: "Sadly the major reason for lifeboat rescues on the Thames is to assist people who have deliberately entered the water, which can make the life of a volunteer crew member all the more harrowing."
The charity is keen to use these statistics to highlight the importance of its national fund raising event, SOS day, on January 30, 2009, when people from schools, offices, clubs and pubs around the UK will take part in the Sound or Silence themed event.
Anyone wanting to register for a fund raising pack, or get inspiration on fund raising ideas can log on to www.rnli.org.uk/sos .