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Clifden RNLI Now Trialling All-Weather Lifeboat

7th August 2014
Pride and Spirit at Clifden RNLI
Clifden's new all-weather lifeboat Pride and Spirit which is on a 12-month trial at the station RNLI/Nicholas Leach
Clifden RNLI Now Trialling All-Weather Lifeboat

#RNLI - Clifden RNLI has put an all-weather lifeboat on service for a trial period, more than a year after the move was confirmed

The Pride and Spirit has come from the existing RNLI fleet and will be on trial for 12 months operating in conjunction with the existing inshore lifeboat service at the station.

Following the trial, the RNLI will make the call on establishing a permanent all-weather lifeboat service for Connemara's largest town.

A decision was made back in April 2012 by the charity’s trustees, with the recommendation of its operations committee, that the volunteer crew at Clifden would take delivery of a carriage launched Mersey-class lifeboat, following an in-depth review of lifeboat cover in the area.

Since that announcement, there has been an intensive period of preparation for the volunteer lifeboat crew, which has included months of training at Clifden and visits to the RNLI College in Poole.

There are currently four coxswains, four mechanics, four navigators and 16 all-weather lifeboat crew trained and ready to respond to call outs aboard the Pride and Spirit.

Clifden RNLI lifeboat operations manager John Brittain said he is proud of the additional lifeboat service at the West Co Galway station.

"This is a great day for everyone involved with Clifden RNLI. The new lifeboat will allow us to provide lifesaving cover in all weathers up to 100 miles off the Connemara coast.

"We have received great support and encouragement from everyone involved with the RNLI at both Swords and Poole. To see this group of volunteers coming together and training with the all-weather lifeboat and now going on service is a proud day for us all."

RNLI divisional operations manager Owen Medland added: "Since the announcement back in April 2012, the enthusiasm at the station has been wonderful and I am delighted that after months of training, the volunteer crew now has an all-weather lifeboat on service.

"We are continuing to work hard to establish a temporary shore facility which shall allow us to maintain Pride and Spirit ashore."

All-weather lifeboats can be operated safely in all-weather while inshore lifeboats usually operate closer to shore, in shallower water, close to cliffs, among rocks or even in caves.

Introduced as the RNLI’s first fast-carriage lifeboat, the Mersey class has a top speed of 17 knots. Designed to operate from a carriage, slipway or lie afloat, this class of lifeboat is also capable of being self-righted in challenging conditions.

The Mersey, which carries a lifeboat crew of six, has been in service for many years and shall eventually be replaced by the new Shannon-class lifeboat.

Last year, Clifden RNLI launched eight times bringing seven people to safety. Of those launches, two services were in the dark. In all, some 82 service hours were spent at sea.

A lifeboat station was established in Clifden in early 1988, and the station currently operates two inshore lifeboats.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy is a contributor covering all things on the water, from boating and wildlife to science and business

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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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