SEASCAPES – SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2008
I find the world of cities and big towns increasingly artificial. I prefer coastal towns and villages, where the sense of life and what is important is influenced by the sea which laps the shores. Coastal communities, generally, have a deep sense of self-support and dependence on their own resources. So I was impressed by the commitment of the people of Schull in setting-up their own lifeboat service.
Those who use the waters around Schull have the extra protection of an inshore rescue lifeboat for which 300,000 euro was raised in funding by local people. They bought the 21-foot boat and paid for the building of a boathouse and control room on land provided by the Office of Public Works at the rear of the Garda Station. The crew, including fishermen, also paid for their own training to Coast Guard standards. The service is recognised for emergency call-outs as part of the Coast Guard system, an impressive example of community commitment to the marine sphere.
Garda Sergeant Ger Prineville is Chairman of the Lifeboat Committee. He succeeded Tim O’Connor, Principal of Schull Community College, which has its own sailing school, training local pupils in watersports as part of the school curriculum. Tim is also one of the leading organisers of the annual Schull International Schools’ Regatta.
I was on the water with the lifeboat crew on a training exercise. Stephen O’Keeffe of the committee told me that everything in Schull was “of and about the sea”, so the service was a commitment to community welfare.
The boathouse and control room are impressive, a great example of regional, coastal people committed to the sea. The inshore rescue boat will augment the service from Baltimore RNLI Lifeboat Station a few miles away. Well done to the people of Schull.