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A 'Perfect Storm' Hits the RNLI

14th November 2019
Lough Ree's new lifeboat Lough Ree's new lifeboat Photo: Sarah Bradbury

As a new lifeboat arrived in Lough Ree on Tuesday an envelope arrived on my desk from the RNLI, painting a perspective of the lifeboat service from a different viewpoint.

As Afloat reported earlier, the new Atlantic 85 on Athlone’s famous lake, based at Coosan Point, is a positive statement about the future of the service, which is vital because all of us mariners have a safety valve available to be opened by the RNLI on request for assistance, anywhere along the coast and on the inland waters and that is an assurance of help that is always there and a source of ever-present comfort.

The communication inside that RNLI envelope however, contained a message that the RNLI needs a bit of comfort itself – because it is facing into a ‘Perfect Storm’ – reflective to a certain degree of modern life.

Bluntly put – fundraising has dipped and the RNLI needs funds.

It isn’t a terminal crisis, but it is wise to prepare for the future and so the lifeboat service is looking for 12.000 new supporters.

"Bluntly put – fundraising has dipped and the RNLI needs funds"

Niamh Stephenson, Public Affairs Manager for the RNLI in Ireland outlined the situation to me on my radio programme this week – The public continues to be extremely generous but, while the lifesavers are busier than ever, fundraising has dropped and the Perfect Storm is at hand – the biggest appeal ever undertaken by the RNLI, to counter the evolving situation.

Listen to Niamh Stephenson on the Podcast below

The new lifeboat on Lough Ree, named Tara Scougall, has gone into service, with the crew training on her this week. The Eric Rowse which she replaces launched 292 times in five years of service and assisted 716 people.

Tom MacSweeney

About The Author

Tom MacSweeney

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Tom MacSweeney writes a weekly column for He also presents the maritime radio programme This Island Nation on community radio stations around Ireland.

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