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Couple Name Red Bay RNLI Lifeboat Geoffrey Charles in Memory of Life-Saver Son

29th May 2011
Couple Name Red Bay RNLI Lifeboat Geoffrey Charles in Memory of Life-Saver Son
Red Bay RNLI's new Atlantic 85 lifeboat was officially named the Geoffrey Charles during a moving ceremony at the lifeboat station in Cushendall, county Antrim yesterday, (Saturday 28 May 2011).  The lifeboat was funded by Roger and Judith Colmer in memory of their son Geoffrey. The couple made the trip to Northern Ireland from their home in England with a group of family and friends to name the lifeboat and pay tribute to Geoffrey.

Geoffrey was a scuba diving instructor and working in Thailand when the devastating 2004 tsunami struck the island of PhiPhi. He helped save many lives during that time by recovering people from the water and bringing the injured for urgent medical assistance. He also returned to the area to help bring comfort to many families who had lost loved ones by helping to get official identification for those lost in the tsunami.  Sadly Geoffrey died shortly after this at the age of 32 and his parents wanted to do something to recognise the work he did in saving lives. Along with other projects they have funded this Atlantic 85 lifeboat in Geoffrey's name.

During the ceremony Roger spoke about Geoffrey and the reason they funded a lifeboat in his memory.  "It is very fitting given that Geoffrey saved people from the sea that we are here today to dedicate and hand over this Atlantic 85 to the Red Bay station in Geoffrey's memory.  In the same way that he saved people from the sea we are confident that those trained and skilled with this craft will carry out the same courageous acts and rescue people around these shores.

This project has given us something positive to focus on and we wish to stay in very close contact with the station.  Geoffrey loved the sea and the natural environment and when we first saw this lifeboat we knew it would be like him – big, powerful, a little bit noisy and very confident. From our very first visit to Red Bay we knew that this was the place for the lifeboat to be stationed in his memory."

In another special tribute well known singer Frances Black, whose father was from Rathlin Island spoke of her love for the area and thanked the Colmers for their gift in Geoffrey's memory.  Frances said, "When we were children we used to spend a lot of time up and around this area  travelling back and forth on the seas around Rathlin Island.  When we were young we thought it was really exciting that the waves were the size of houses but as we got older we became very aware that the seas were quite treacherous in this area, beautiful as it is.

The RNLI have saved many lives up and around this area.  To save one life is a miracle but to save the amount of lives they have is fantastic.  The work the volunteers do and the dedication that they have is absolutely phenomenal.  I would like to say a very special thank you to both Judith and Roger.  It is very important we remember the legacy that Geoffrey has left on this wonderful day. He would be so proud of his family and of what they have done today."

Frances then gave a beautiful accapella rendition of the well known song Bright Blue Rose, which she dedicated to Geoffrey.

Red Bay Lifeboat Operations Manager Alan Murphy accepted the lifeboat into the care of the station, "The lifeboat is the main piece of equipment provided by the RNLI and in many cases this is thanks to the generosity of people like Rogerand Judith Colmer, to whom we are extremely grateful.  We at Red Bay are very proud of our new lifeboat and will keep the boat well maintained and always ready to launch when requested."

The lifeboat was named with a bottle of champagne poured over the side of the boat.  The honour was carried out by Judith and Roger's grandson Edward.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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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.

FAQs

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.

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