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RNLI Lifeboat News From Ireland
File image of Wicklow RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat
Three days after the rescue of three fishermen last Saturday afternoon, Wicklow RNLI launched lunchtime on Tuesday (13 February) to assist three more fishermen after their vessel experienced mechanical problems. Under the command of coxswain Ciaran Doyle, the all-weather lifeboat…
RNLI Lifeboats Howth and the Irish Underwater Search and Recovery Unit receiving the fantastic funds raised by the All in a Row Liffey Challenge 2023 at Poolbeg Yacht & Boat Club
Dubliners came together early last December for the All In A Row Liffey Challenge, with the aim of raising funds for RNLI Lifeboats and the Irish Underwater Search & Recovery Unit. The challenge for the rowers and paddlers was to…
Union Hall RNLI lifeboat crew (from left to right) Charlie Deasy, Cathal Deasy and Michael Limrick  (Helm) picture after the rescue of a paddleboarder
On Thursday, the 15th of February, Union Hall RNLI in West Cork responded to a report of a swimmer in trouble at The Warren Beach, Rosscarbery, in West Cork. The call was made to Valentia Coast Guard at 2.44 pm.…
File image of Bundoran RNLI’s inshore lifeboat
Bundoran RNLI came to the aid of two people who got trapped at the bottom of a cliff in county Sligo on Wednesday afternoon (14 February). The inshore lifeboat was requested to launch at 2.41pm following a report from the…
File image of Rosslare Harbour RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat
Rosslare Harbour RNLI’s volunteer crew were requested by the Irish Coast Guard on Sunday evening (11 February) to assist five crew on board a stricken fishing vessel. The all-weather lifeboat was launched shortly after the shout at 5.26pm and quickly…
The RNLI relief fleet all-weather Shannon lifeboat RNLB Bridie O’Shea departs Wicklow Harbour to rescue a fishing vessel with mechanical problems
Three fishermen were rescued by the Wicklow RNLI on Saturday afternoon (10th February) after their 12-metre vessel developed mechanical problems off the Wicklow coast. The Coast Guard requested the RNLI relief fleet all-weather Shannon lifeboat RNLB Bridie O’Shea at 12.50pm,…
Ballycotton coxswain Patrick Sliney, Mrs Sliney and son William at an annual meeting in 1936
As the RNLI prepares to celebrate its 200th anniversary on 4 March, the charity has brought some of its rich history to life with the release of a stunning collection of colourised images. From community events to candid snapshots, 11…
Gary Fyfe
Tributes have been paid to Red Bay RNLI helm Gary Fyfe after his sudden death on Thursday night (8 February). As the Belfast Telegraph reports, the 46-year-old died at the scene of a single-vehicle crash in Cushendall, Co Antrim. His…
File image of Arranmore RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat passing Arranmore Head
Just days after the Arranmore RNLI volunteer crew carried out a marathon rescue of a fishing crew in challenging weather conditions, they were again called out to assist with a medical evacuation from the island at 7pm on Thursday evening…
Arranmore RNLI towed a fishing vessel to safety in harsh weather conditions. The vessel faced swells of up to 5.5 metres and winds of 60kph, making the operation particularly challenging
Lifeboat crew from Arranmore RNLI finally got to their beds at 1.20 am this morning (Tuesday, 6 February) after spending over 26 hours at sea to bring a fishing vessel, with five people onboard, to safety. The Coast Guard requested…
Ballycotton RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat, The Austin Lidbury, tows the 12-metre boat that was disabled 23 miles southeast of Ballycotton lighthouse
Ballycotton RNLI, a team of volunteer lifeboat crew, rescued three fishermen on board a 12-metre boat that was disabled 23 miles southeast of Ballycotton lighthouse on the County Cork coast. The rescue happened during the early hours of Sunday morning.…
A presentation to Roy Abrahamsson from Dunmore East RNLI crew and Irish Coast Guard Helicopter R117
Marking the end of an era, Roy Abrahamsson, Coxswain and Mechanic of Dunmore East RNLI lifeboat station, has embarked on a new venture in Sweden. Roy's distinguished 24-year tenure with the RNLI, 13 of which he served as Coxswain, has…
Pictured at the cheque presentation meeting of Dublin Motorcycle Touring Club members are from left, Jim McGrath, DMTC chairman, John Dunne, DMTC treasurer, Dun Laoghaire RNLI crew member Moselle Hogan and Michael Donohoe, Dun Laoghaire RNLI fundraising branch. Moselle and Michael are also water safety advisors with the station, part of their role being to provide education training around water safety.
Thanks to dedicated fundraising by members of the Dublin Motorcycle Touring Club (DMTC), Dun Laoghaire Harbour RNLI received a generous donation of €6,300 as a result of multiple events undertaken by DMTC members throughout 2023. Founded in 1971, DMTC is…
Arranmore RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat at sea in the background with a pod of dolphins in the foreground
The volunteer crew of Arranmore RNLI responded to a call by Malin Head Coast Guard at 6am on Wednesday morning (31 January) to four fishermen on a boat in difficulty at Inis Meain, off the coast of Bunbeg in Co…
Pwllheli Lifeboat Station and its all-weather lifeboat
Pwllheli RNLI has closed over “ongoing distrust and disharmony” between crew members at the North Wales lifeboat station. According to BBC News, a number of key personnel have also resigned from the station, prompting the RNLI to “reset operations”. “Until…
Aran Islands and Galway RNLI crew, from left: Daniel O'Connell, Brian Niland, Billy Gillan, Declan Killilea, James Corballis, coxswain Aonghus Ó hIarnáin, Frankie Leonard, Paraic Gill, Caelan Cullen Quinn and mechanic Mairtín Eoin Coyne
Crews from the Aran Islands and Galway RNLI stations took part in a joint training exercise on inner Galway Bay this past Saturday (27 January). The training was an opportunity for the crews from the two flanking stations to work…

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