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Irish Lifeboats Launched Over 900 Times in 2012

22nd January 2013
Irish Lifeboats Launched Over 900 Times in 2012

#RNLI - Irish lifeboats from the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) launched 939 times in 2012, bringing 1,041 people to safety.

The figures are being released by the charity following returns of service from all 44 lifeboat stations in Ireland. The figures also show that the majority of callouts were to pleasure craft, which accounted for 482 of the callouts, while launches to fishing vessels were 115.

Dun Laoghaire RNLI brought the highest number of people to safety with 76 individuals rescued by their volunteer lifeboat crews during 46 callouts. They were followed by Kilmore Quay RNLI in Co Wexford, who brought 71 people to safety on 29 callouts.

The busiest RNLI lifeboat station in Ireland last year was Bangor in Co Down, which launched 53 times and rescued 53 people. Over half of their callouts were carried out in the hours of darkness.

Other busy stations include Crosshaven RNLI in Cork where lifeboat crews launched their inshore lifeboat 42 times and rescued 31 people. Baltimore RNLI – who, along with Kilmore Quay RNLI, operate Ireland's two Tamar class lifeboats, the most technologically advanced lifeboat in the Irish fleet – launched their two lifeboats 41 times, rescuing 41 people. They also carried out almost three quarters of their callouts in the hours of darkness. The second Dublin all weather lifeboat station, based in Howth, launched 40 times and rescued 48 people.

The RNLI's newest lifeboat station at Coosan Point, Athlone on Lough Ree, which is currently on a one year trial from last June, had a busy first six months launching 14 times and bringing 18 people to safety.

The charity's lifeboat crews also had 122 callouts to people classed as ´ashore`. This figure incorporates launches to people who are ill or injured on an island, cliff or the shoreline, where access by lifeboat is the fastest or safest way to reach the casualty. It also includes medical evacuations from the islands off the coast of Ireland by lifeboat, which is a vital part of the service given by lifeboat stations such as Arranmore Island in Co Donegal and the Aran Islands off Co Galway.

In comparison with the 2011 statistics, 2012 saw a slight drop in lifeboat launches from 983 to 939 but a rise in people rescued from 906 to 1,041, an increase of 135 in the twelve month period.

Martyn Smith, RNLI operations manager for Ireland, says: 'The figures show that our volunteers dedicate a huge amount of their time to saving lives at sea. To know that they are on call every day of the year is reassuring for all of us who venture out to sea and on loughs around Ireland.

'While many callouts can be challenging, our volunteer lifeboat crews take the responsibility of bringing loved ones home very seriously.  As the figures show, last year they were able to do that for 1,041 people. 

"Not every callout is to save a life but the comfort and reassurance our volunteer crews bring to those in trouble is something the RNLI is very proud of and will continue to provide through the generosity of the public. I would like to say a huge "thank you" to all those who support the RNLI, whether by giving up their time or by making a donation.'

Key RNLI figures in 2012:

  • On average 20 people a week were rescued by RNLI lifeboat crew in Ireland
  • Altogether Irish lifeboat crews spent over ten thousand hours at sea on callouts.
  • 51% of lifeboat launches were to power, sail and manual pleasure craft
  • 14% of lifeboat launches were to commercial craft (fishing boats and other commercial vessels)
  • 200 of the lifeboat launches were to boats with mechanical failure
  • 73 callouts were to stranded or grounded vessels
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.

© Afloat 2020

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