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Clifden RNLI Upgrade Inshore Lifeboat to New Atlantic 85

28th June 2013
Clifden RNLI Upgrade Inshore Lifeboat to New Atlantic 85

#rnli – Clifden RNLI have this week taken delivery of a new Atlantic 85 lifeboat at the station. The lifeboat is named Joyce King and will be replacing the Atlantic 75 lifeboat that has been on service in the Galway lifeboat station since 1999. This is not the only new arrival expected at Clifden as the crew also await the delivery of an all-weather lifeboat, which will be trialled there for a year, to work alongside an inshore lifeboat.

The Atlantic 85 lifeboat has some improvements on its predecessor and the lifeboat crew have been spending most of the week familiarising themselves with the new boat. The new lifeboat can operate in conditions up to a force seven and further to the Atlantic 75, allows for a fourth crewmember, more survivors and more kit onboard. The vessel is powered by two 115 horsepower engines, is composed of a strong hull and has a top speed of 35 knots. The added radar allows the crew to operate more effectively in poor visibility and to locate vessels in difficulty faster.

It carries a full suite of communication and electronic navigation aids, including VHF radio, as well as a searchlight, night vision equipment and illumination paraflares for night-time. Four out of ten RNLI callouts occur in the hours of darkness.

In keeping with the RNLI practice of ensuring that lifeboats are kept maintained to the highest standards and are routinely refitted every few years, Clifden RNLI's Atlantic 75 will go on to serve at another lifeboat station in Enniskillen. In the fourteen years the Benjamin Downing Fairbridge Atlantic 75 lifeboat was at Clifden RNLI it launched 115 times and brought 97 people to safety.

The new lifeboat has been made possible by a legacy from Mr John Charles King of Lincolnshire in England. Mr King passed away in 2009 and on his death requested that a lifeboat be named Joyce King in memory of his wife. There are no surviving relatives and very little is known of Mr and Mrs King. Through their generous bequest they have funded the Clifden lifeboat which will be put to use launching off the west coast of Ireland to those in peril on the sea.

Commenting on the arrival of the new Atlantic 85 lifeboat at Clifden, Owen Medland RNLI Divisional Operations Manager said, "We've had a very busy week here with all the RNLI crew and station management. The arrival of a new lifeboat is always an exciting time for any station and it is accompanied by an intensive week of training and familiarisation with the new boat by all concerned. This is a particularly challenging part of the coastline and this new lifeboat will assist the crew in their work saving lives at sea and assisting those in difficulty."

A date for the arrival of the all weather lifeboat to be trialled at Clifden RNLI has yet to be confirmed and will be announced in due course by the charity

Published in RNLI Lifeboats Team

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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.


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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