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RNLI Brings More Than 1,800 To Safety Across Ireland In 2013

27th January 2014
RNLI Brings More Than 1,800 To Safety Across Ireland In 2013

#RNLI - RNLI lifeboats in the Republic of Ireland launched 1,087 times in 2013 bringing 1,278 people to safety.

The figures released by the charity today (Tuesday 28 January) are based on returns of service from all 44 lifeboat stations in Ireland.

And those numbers doesn't count the 245 people brought to safety in 255 launches from Northern Ireland's nine lifeboat stations - plus many more rescued by the North's RNLI lifeguards.

The statistics show that the majority of last year’s call-outs in the Republic were to pleasure craft, which accounted for 583 services, while there were 138 launches to fishing vessels.

Northern Ireland, meanwhile, counted 109 call-outs that took place in the dark, while the North's crews spent 1,459 service hours at sea collectively.

Dun Laoghaire RNLI’s all-weather and inshore lifeboats had the most launches in 2013, with its crew rescuing 67 people during 58 call-outs.

Enniskillen RNLI, which operates from two inland stations in Fermanagh, brought the most people to safety, with 82 individuals rescued from 56 call-outs. More than half of those services were carried out in the dark.

Portrush RNLI in Co Antrim had 47 call-outs, bringing 33 people to safety, while the volunteer crew in Howth launched their two lifeboats 46 times last year rescuing 78 people.

It was also a busy year for Kilmore Quay in Co Wexford, which operates a Tamar class lifeboat – the most technologically advanced in the Irish fleet. The lifeboat crew there rescued 76 people during 43 call-outs.

Further south in Co Cork, inshore lifeboat stations at Crosshaven and Kinsale launched 42 and 41 times respectively, bringing 36 people to safety in Crosshaven and 54 in Kinsale.

The charity’s lifeboat crews also had 142 call outs to people classed as ashore. These services included assisting people who were ill or injured on an island, cliff or the shoreline, where access by lifeboat was the fastest or safest way to reach the casualty.

On 10 occasions, lifeboat crews were also called upon to rescue animals in 2013. These included four dogs, two sheep, a cow, two whales and a dolphin.

In a year when Ireland saw one of its hottest summers, the overall statistics show an increase of 132 lifeboat launches in 2013, up from 955 in 2012 to 1,087. There was also an upsurge in the number of rescues with 221 more people brought to safety over the 12 month period.

In the North there was a busy season for the 10 RNLI lifeguard units, located on beaches in Co Down and along the Causeway Coast.

In all, RNLI lifeguards responded to 302 incidents compared to 159 in 2012 and came to the aid of 330 people who found themselves in difficulty, which is an increase of 153 from the year before.

The Causeway Coast, where there are seven units, was the busiest area, with lifeguards responding to 222 incidents and assisting 247 people. Among these incidents was the dramatic rescue of a family of six in Castlerock after they got caught in a flash rip - a strong current running out to sea.

Throughout the year, there were some dramatic and challenging call outs for the lifeboat crews.

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

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

And in September, Portaferry RNLI rescued a fisherman from Portavogie, who was in the water for 45 minutes after his vessel sank off the coast of Co Down.

Reflecting on the year, RNLI operations manager for Ireland Martyn Smith said: "2013 proved to be another busy year for the RNLI with an increase in both our lifeboat launches and rescues.

"Our lifeboat crews are highly trained and equipped to deal with the challenges they face and we are indebted to their dedication to respond when the need arises.

He added: "Sadly not every call out results in a rescue and 2013 also brought its share of tragedy. A number of our call-outs involved searches for missing people and in some incidents, they involved bringing home loved ones who were lost at sea.

"These call-outs, while challenging for all involved, demonstrate the commitment and seamanship of our crews who devote many hours to a search and recovery effort."

Looking ahead, Smith reminded the public that irrespective of weather conditions, the water always presents a risk.

He recommended that people take care by following some simple safety tips: "We would remind water users to always wear a lifejacket, get the appropriate training, carry a means of calling for help, check engine and fuel, tell others where you are going and check weather and tides."

Smith also took time to thank everyone who contributed to helping the RNLI save lives at sea in 2013.

"I would like to say a huge thank-you to our volunteers and all those who support the RNLI, a charity dependent on the generosity of the public, whether by giving up their time or by making a donation.

"I would also like to acknowledge the efforts of our colleagues in the Irish Coast Guard and emergency services who we worked closely with in 2013."

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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