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President Mary McAleese names the first Tamar class RNLI lifeboat in Ireland at Kilmore Quay

16th June 2011
President Mary McAleese names the first Tamar class RNLI lifeboat in Ireland at Kilmore Quay

The RNLI volunteers with Kilmore Quay lifeboat station are the first to receive the new €3 million lifeboat, which is the most modern and technically advanced lifeboat in the RNLI fleet. The new lifeboat, which is named Killarney (ON 1298) was funded by a legacy from Mrs Mary Weeks of Surrey in England who passed away in 2006.

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Mrs Weeks met her husband while on a cruise off the west coast of Scotland on a boat named Killarney. Mrs Weeks had a strong RNLI connection through her maiden name Distin. She was a relation of the Coxswain of Salcombe lifeboat Samuel Distin and of lifeboat crewmember Albert Distin; both men lost their lives in the Salcombe lifeboat disaster of 1916.

Mrs. Weeks' niece Mrs Betty Hull, her great niece Mrs Anne Piggford and great nephew David Hull were special guests at the ceremony. Speaking during the ceremony the President of Ireland, Mary McAleese addressed the crowds with the lifeboat alongside, " Everything that is good about human nature is gathered on this day. All the good qualities, all the things that people are capable of doing out of goodness, generosity, love, kindness, care concern; all gather around the naming of this boat this day. It comes to us by way of gift, it has been blessed and the gift itself is a blessing.

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A blessing not just to those that take the boat into their ownership this day but to the people someday who will need this blessing and need its gift. For almost two hundred years now the RNLI has stories to tell of saving literally ten of thousands of lives. Tens of thousands of people who could call on the lifeboat, call on the volunteer crews and in particular without knowing it call on the generosity of people who would never get on the boat. Who like Mary Weeks would never see the boat, never live to see it but would give it as an act of generosity to future people, complete strangers who she would never know."

The new Tamar class lifeboat is 16.3 metres in length with a maximum speed of 25 knots compared to the 14.3 metres of the current Tyne class lifeboat stationed at Kilmore Quay, which has a maximum speed of 18 knots. The lifeboat is self-righting and is fitted with an integrated electronics systems and information management system, which allows the lifeboat crew to monitor, operate and control many of the boats systems from shock mitigating seats.

The Tamar also carries a Y boat (an inflatable daughter boat) which is housed under the aft deck and deployed from a hinged door in the transom. The lifeboat has room for 44 survivors.

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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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