THIS weekend will see York Rescue Boat's volunteers out on patrol for 14 hours as pubs and clubs start opening again.

They say the 177.5 volunteering hours logged in one day will be their longest scheduled shift since becoming operational in May 2015 and bring the weekly total up to 271.5 hours - which will go up if there are more call-outs before midnight on Sunday.

York Operations Manager, Rachel Lacy, said: “Our team are happy to be back out on patrol again, and so we can understand how other people want to be back out enjoying themselves, but please, be aware of your own and others’ safety.

"No matter what the air temperature is, the river is still cold, and nationally, 75 per cent of people who end up in water did not intend to do so and slipped, tripped or fell in. It’s easier to do than many people realise. We want to see people out enjoying themselves, and local businesses thriving, but we also want to see them going home safe and dry at the end of the day."

Running two back to back shifts on Saturday, the charity will be sending out foot and boat patrols from their base on Queen's Staith, extending routes to cover a greater distance than usual because of the increased use of the riverside for socialising. For the first time this year, both Jorvik Guardian, the RIB usually seen on the river Ouse, and Jorvik Protector, their specialist flood Connector boat, will be on the river Ouse, to give increased cover from Clifton Ings to Millennium Bridge.

Rachel said: "At minimum wage, that would cost £2,367.48 in wages, plus around £30 boat fuel costs. The volunteers pay their own costs to get to and from shifts and call-outs, with some members coming from as far away as Scarborough and Castleford multiple times this week. Since Monday, there have been call-outs to kayakers, canoes, and York Rescue Boat has been part of the on-going search for Nick Gunnell."

York Rescue Boat are expecting to see a rise not just in people in the city centre, but also an increase is private craft on the river, and at the same time CityCruises are resuming trips and Red Boat hire.

One of the activities that has been been difficult during lockdown is fund-raising, as many events and fairs they would normally have intended have had to be cancelled.

There are still people generously thinking of the charity at this time and making donations, and fundraising for The Sunshine Campaign has continued. However, with running costs of around £25,000 each year, and a number of large pieces of equipment in need of replacement, York Rescue Boat are looking for corporate sponsors alongside donations. Any companies interested in sponsorship can email Donations can be made through the website