Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Tramore lifeboat
RNLI Lifeboat News From Ireland
File image of Enniskillen RNLI’s inshore lifeboat John and Jean Lewis
Enniskillen RNLI in Northern Ireland launched their inshore lifeboat, the John and Jean Lewis, at 10.30am on Saturday morning (13 April) following a request from Belfast Coastguard that a fishing boat was adrift close to the Horse Island near Kesh.…
Achill Island RNLI's all-weather lifeboat 'Sam and Ada Moody'
Two men were rescued off the coast of Achill Island on Sunday, April 14th, when their small open pleasure craft began drifting off Old Head. The Irish Coast Guard requested the assistance of Achill Island RNLI, who quickly launched their…
Robert McKay, Stephen Broaders, Siobhan Broaders, all of Swords Sailing & Boating Club present a cheque to Howth RNLI Ops Manager, Colm Newport 
Swords Sailing & Boating Club Vice Commodore Siobhan Broaders has presented a cheque for €500 to Howth RNLI lifeboat service on board its Trent Class lifeboat in County Dublin. The North Dublin club raised funds through a New Year's Day sail…
Wicklow RNLI Inshore lifeboat crew after returning from the call out. (Left to right) John Stapleton, Robbie Quinn and Helm Alan Goucher
Wicklow RNLI inshore lifeboat was launched on Saturday afternoon ( 13 April) following a crew pager alert. The alarm was raised after a windsurfer contacted the Coast Guard, to say his friend was unable to get into the harbour due to…
Launch of RNLI 200 concert: A Celebration of Volunteers, Their Families and the Community, on Thursday 23 May
The National Opera House in Wexford is set to host a once-in-a-lifetime event, RNLI 200: A Celebration of Volunteers, Their Families and the Community on Thursday 23 May. This special commemorative event marks the 200-year legacy of the RNLI and…
At Cleggan pier the HSE ambulance awaits the arrival of the casualty aboard Clifden RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat on Thursday afternoon (11 April)
Clifden RNLI’s volunteer lifeboat crew in western Co Galway were tasked just before 2pm on Thursday (11 April) following a request from the Irish Coast Guard to provide a medical evacuation for a casualty on Inishbofin. Clifden’s Shannon class all-weather…
Poster for Cookery Demonstration with Glen Wheeler at Enniskillen RNLI
Celebrity chef Glen Wheeler from 28 At The Hollow will cook up a delicious menu at Enniskillen RNLI’s lifeboat station at 7pm on Monday 29 April. The culinary masterclass is in aid of the Enniskillen lifeboat and tickets for the…
The RNLI’s Mayday fundraiser begins on Monday, 1 May, and will run for the whole month across Ireland and the UK
Bangor RNLI, the lifesaving charity on Belfast Lough based in Northern Ireland, has launched a Mayday fundraising campaign to support its vital services. The charity has revealed that it was called into action 36 times in 2023, highlighting the importance…
Dun Laoghaire Harbour RNLI crew manoeuvre their inshore lifeboat alongside a casualty in the water at the back of the town's East Pier. An RNLI crew entered the water to rescue the person and bring them safely to shore in the lifeboat. See vid below
On Saturday night, a young girl was rescued from the sea at Dún Laoghaire Harbour in south County Dublin, thanks to a multi-agency rescue operation involving the Coast Guard, RNLI and gardaí. The incident occurred at around 8.20 pm off…
Arklow RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat tows the 16m yacht into the safety of Arklow Harbour on Tuesday morning 2 April
Arklow RNLI in Co Wicklow were requested to launch early on Tuesday morning (2 April) following reports of a large yacht with four crew onboard in difficulty near the Arklow Bank. Shortly after 6.30am, Arklow volunteers launched the station’s all-weather lifeboat…
March 2024 Sailor of the Month Rose Michael accepting yet another significant cheque on behalf of the lifeboats, this time from Cormac Lowth representing the annual “All In A Row” multi-boat event on Dublin’s River Liffey
In the third weekend of March, two nautical gatherings in the Cork area were painlessly relieved of around €5,000 for Irish lifeboats, with much of the background work to ensure that this went through smoothly being seen to by longtime…
Lough Derg RNLI’s inshore lifeboat Jean Spier en route to the stranded cruiser on Saturday 30 March
Lough Derg RNLI were requested to launch on Saturday (30 March) to assist a lone sailor on a 35ft cruiser with fouled propellers and adrift in Dromineer Bay. Following the request from Valentia Coast Guard, the inshore lifeboat Jean Spier…
The Castletownbere RNLI lifeboat's Y-boat with two crew aboard was launched to cut off the rope from the propellor of the stranded fishing vessel
In an Easter sea rescue operation, the Castletownbere RNLI lifeboat 'Annette Hutton' was launched to assist a local fishing vessel that had lost its ability to manoeuvre on the north side of Sheep's Head. The lifeboat received an alert at…
Galway RNLI lifeboat operations manager Mike Swan
How a wise kayaker rescued by east Cork’s Ballycotton lifeboat signed up as a volunteer and Galway city’s cross-agency rapid rescue system are among topics on RTÉ Radio 1’s special Seascapes series tonight. The final episode of the three-part series…
Guests at Larne RNLI’s gala ball at Magheramorne Estate on Friday 15 March
Larne RNLI in Northern Ireland celebrated the RNLI’s 200th anniversary with a gala ball held at Magheramorne Estate raising £4,657.63 to help the station continue to save lives at sea. The event, organised by the volunteer fundraising crew, was held…
File image of Achill Island RNLI’s Trent class all-weather lifeboat
Achill Island RNLI carried out a medical evacuation off Clare Island on Monday night (25 March). The volunteer crew were requested to launch the station’s all-weather lifeboat just before 9pm following a request from the Irish Coast Guard to medevac…

Royal National Lifeboat Institute (RNLI) in Ireland Information

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is a charity to save lives at sea in the waters of UK and Ireland. Funded principally by legacies and donations, the RNLI operates a fleet of lifeboats, crewed by volunteers, based at a range of coastal and inland waters stations. Working closely with UK and Ireland Coastguards, RNLI crews are available to launch at short notice to assist people and vessels in difficulties.

RNLI was founded in 1824 and is based in Poole, Dorset. The organisation raised €210m in funds in 2019, spending €200m on lifesaving activities and water safety education. RNLI also provides a beach lifeguard service in the UK and has recently developed an International drowning prevention strategy, partnering with other organisations and governments to make drowning prevention a global priority.

Irish Lifeboat Stations

There are 46 lifeboat stations on the island of Ireland, with an operational base in Swords, Co Dublin. Irish RNLI crews are tasked through a paging system instigated by the Irish Coast Guard which can task a range of rescue resources depending on the nature of the emergency.

Famous Irish Lifeboat Rescues

Irish Lifeboats have participated in many rescues, perhaps the most famous of which was the rescue of the crew of the Daunt Rock lightship off Cork Harbour by the Ballycotton lifeboat in 1936. Spending almost 50 hours at sea, the lifeboat stood by the drifting lightship until the proximity to the Daunt Rock forced the coxswain to get alongside and successfully rescue the lightship's crew.

32 Irish lifeboat crew have been lost in rescue missions, including the 15 crew of the Kingstown (now Dun Laoghaire) lifeboat which capsized while attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme on Christmas Eve 1895.


While the number of callouts to lifeboat stations varies from year to year, Howth Lifeboat station has aggregated more 'shouts' in recent years than other stations, averaging just over 60 a year.

Stations with an offshore lifeboat have a full-time mechanic, while some have a full-time coxswain. However, most lifeboat crews are volunteers.

There are 46 lifeboat stations on the island of Ireland

32 Irish lifeboat crew have been lost in rescue missions, including the 15 crew of the Kingstown (now Dun Laoghaire) lifeboat which capsized while attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme on Christmas Eve 1895

In 2019, 8,941 lifeboat launches saved 342 lives across the RNLI fleet.

The Irish fleet is a mixture of inshore and all-weather (offshore) craft. The offshore lifeboats, which range from 17m to 12m in length are either moored afloat, launched down a slipway or are towed into the sea on a trailer and launched. The inshore boats are either rigid or non-rigid inflatables.

The Irish Coast Guard in the Republic of Ireland or the UK Coastguard in Northern Ireland task lifeboats when an emergency call is received, through any of the recognised systems. These include 999/112 phone calls, Mayday/PanPan calls on VHF, a signal from an emergency position indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) or distress signals.

The Irish Coast Guard is the government agency responsible for the response to, and co-ordination of, maritime accidents which require search and rescue operations. To carry out their task the Coast Guard calls on their own resources – Coast Guard units manned by volunteers and contracted helicopters, as well as "declared resources" - RNLI lifeboats and crews. While lifeboats conduct the operation, the coordination is provided by the Coast Guard.

A lifeboat coxswain (pronounced cox'n) is the skipper or master of the lifeboat.

RNLI Lifeboat crews are required to follow a particular development plan that covers a pre-agreed range of skills necessary to complete particular tasks. These skills and tasks form part of the competence-based training that is delivered both locally and at the RNLI's Lifeboat College in Poole, Dorset


While the RNLI is dependent on donations and legacies for funding, they also need volunteer crew and fund-raisers.

© Afloat 2020