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RNLI Rescue Figures Show Massive Increase in Irish Lifeboat Summer Launches

23rd September 2013
RNLI Rescue Figures Show Massive Increase in Irish Lifeboat Summer Launches

#RNLI – RNLI volunteer lifeboat crews in Ireland were kept busy this summer, with the charity's lifeboats launching 571 times during the months of June, July and August. The figure represents an increase of 43 per cent on the previous summer.

While many people were enjoying the prolonged sunshine and the hottest summer for a number of years, Irish RNLI lifeboat crews were out helping those in trouble around the Irish coast and on inland waters at Lough Derg, Lough Ree and Lough Erne.

The busiest lifeboat station in Ireland over the summer period (1 June to 31 August) was Dun Laoghaire which was called out 34 times. This was followed by Portrush in Antrim who launched 26 times and Crosshaven in Cork, whose volunteer crew were out 25 times over the summer.

Some lifeboat stations showed a large increase in their call outs on the same period last year with Skerries, Wicklow, and Fenit lifeboat crews, which launched 17 times each, doubling their launches from last year. Courtown in Wexford went from launching once last summer to 13 times.

Gareth Morrison, RNLI Divisional Operations Manager said: 'With more people travelling to the coast over the summer months RNLI volunteer lifeboat crews were busy keeping people safe. The commitment shown by our lifesavers that launched at all hours of the day and night in various conditions was outstanding.

'Not every lifeboat launch ends in a rescue and sadly some of our dedicated volunteer crews dealt with some difficult and challenging callouts. Their professionalism and determination in bringing loved ones home when they get in trouble on the water is to be commended.'

RNLI volunteer lifeboat crews in Ireland have been involved in a number of dramatic rescues this summer.

In July, 30 people were rescued by Kinsale and Courtmacsherry lifeboat crews when the tall ship Astrid was blown onto rocks and was taking on water off the south coast.

Dun Laoghaire RNLI all-weather lifeboat and Howth RNLI inshore lifeboat rescued six people on Dublin Bay in August after their boat capsized and they were clinging to the upturned hull.

Volunteer lifeboat crew with Tramore RNLI responded when a six metre half decker boat capsized with four men onboard off the Waterford coast. One man managed to swim to shore and the remaining three were recovered by the Tramore RNLI inshore lifeboat crew. One of the three was then airlifted off the lifeboat by the Coast Guard helicopter.

Sadly the summer also saw some tragedies on Irish waters and lifeboat crew at Dunmore East were involved with the Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 117 in bringing home the three brothers who drowned while out were fishing off Dunmore East in June.

Gareth Morrison concluded: 'I would like to thank our supporters and fundraisers. Without their kind generosity and hard work we would not be able to equip and train our lifesavers or help so many people in trouble at sea and on inland waters.'

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
Afloat.ie 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.

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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