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Letters Of Commendation For Wicklow Lifeboat Crew In Summer Rescue

5th December 2014
Wicklow RNLI get letters of commendation
Graham Fitzgerald and Alan Goucher with Wicklow RNLI operations manager Des Davitt RNLI/Wicklow
Letters Of Commendation For Wicklow Lifeboat Crew In Summer Rescue

#RNLI - Alan Goucher and Graham Fitzgerald, volunteer crew at Wicklow Lifeboat Station, have received letters of commendation from George Rawlinson, operations director of the RNLI, for their quick actions in a rescue over the summer.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, on 2 July both Wicklow lifeboats were launched at 3.20pm and proceeded south to Silver Strand to a report of a woman in difficultly in the water at the beach, one mile south of Wicklow Head.

The Wicklow inshore lifeboat crew found it difficult to locate the casualty and following a search, with help from a member of the public on the shore, the lifeboat crew found the woman at the rear of a cave close to the beach.

Goucher entered the water and swam into the cave to assist the woman. He placed her in a lifejacket before assisting her from the cave to the waiting inshore lifeboat and the crew started to administer first aid, as she was showing signs of hypothermia.

They then transferred the casualty to the all-weather lifeboat a short distance away, which returned to the shore and was met by an ambulance.



In his letter to Goucher, Rawlinson wrote: "Your willingness to swim into the cave and use of your local knowledge to extricate the casualty safely ensured a good outcome on this rescue. I commend your commitment and professionalism.

"

The inshore lifeboat returned to the area and the volunteer crew was informed that two people who had earlier tried to assist the first casualty had injured themselves on rocks while trying to return to the beach. They also requested the all-weather lifeboat to return to the scene and the lifeboat crew began to administer first aid.

They were joined on scene by the Dublin Coast Guard helicopter, and the two people were winched on-board and taken to hospital.



In his letter to helm Fitzgerald, Rawlinson said: "During the rescue, you demonstrated calm and sound command of the incident, quickly gaining the required information and assessing the risks involved in committing your crew member to enter the water."



While returning to the inshore lifeboat, a crew member was made aware of a further person who needed assistance after they became unwell following their attempt to go to also go to the aid of the first casualty.

Due to the lack of access for an ambulance, the coxswain requested the casualty be transferred by lifeboat and was taken ashore and met by ambulance. 



In the letter of commendation to the station volunteers and crew, Rawlinson concluded: "I would like to thank everyone concerned for their teamwork, high level of competence and adaptability. Their management, assessment and diligence ensured all the casualties were recovered quickly and safely."

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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