As an island nation, one of our most valuable assets is our coastguard, often unsung, whose work would be impossible without the service and skills of its more than 900 unpaid volunteers.
On the first day of this new year, it’s time to applaud the priceless service provided by the coastguard in 2019.
Its boat and helicopter crews and co-ordination centre staff dealt with thousands of incidents and saved the lives of 378 people in peril not only on the sea but also in coastal waters and on our beaches and cliffs.
A less well known aspect of its work is the role it has in protecting the ocean and the coasts against pollution, vital especially for the harbours and towns that could be at risk.
Despite problems with malfunctioning life jackets — which led to the suspension of some operations — the coastguard has carried on courageously each day and night.
We are sure our readers will join us in hoping that its staff and volunteers enjoy a very quiet New Year’s Day.