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Northern Ireland Lifeguard Saving Lives in Cameroon

3rd February 2012
Northern Ireland Lifeguard Saving Lives in Cameroon

#LIFEBOATS – While RNLI beach lifeguards take a break from life-saving on the North coast of Northern Ireland, RNLI Lifeguard Supervisor Tim Doran, originally from Armagh and living in Portstewart, along with his colleague Ross Macleod, RNLI Beach Safety Programme Manager, were busy teaching others (pictured above) how to save lives thousands of miles away in Cameroon.

The two lifeguards were part of a joint international project between the RNLI and the Swimming Teachers Association (STA).  Its aim was to reduce the loss of life by drowning in Cameroon.  This is a coastal country where eighty percent of the population cannot swim and drowning at sea and in lakes is a daily occurrence.

Tim Doran and Ross MacLeod, whose father hails from Holywood, County Down, along with Gary Seghers, Qualifications Development Manager at STA held a week long course which trained twenty local people from across Cameroon to become swimming and water safety instructors.  The course took place in the coastal town of Kribi and is the first of its kind ever run in the country.  It is one of the first projects of its kind to be run by RNLI lifeguards and the plan is to roll out more.

As an RNLI lifeguard supervisor in Northern Ireland Tim Doran is used to training recruits in life-saving so the challenge of bringing it to Cameroon was one he couldn't pass up.  "The RNLI is a charity that places a high value on training and safety with both its lifeguards and volunteer lifeboat crews.  It was amazing to be able to go to a country like Cameroon and to put the skills we have been taught into practice.  There is obviously a huge difference between the two countries but the basics of life-saving are the same no matter where you live.  We have taught a small group in Africa to save lives, who will in turn go on to train others how to swim and be safe in the water.  That is an incredible feeling."

As well as delivering the training, the RNLI have also donated some of their old equipment and first aid supplies to the group.  The RNLI and STA will keep in touch with the life-savers to see how they are getting on with their training. Tim and his RNLI lifeguard colleagues will be back on Northern Ireland beaches along the North coast from June.

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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