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Couple Say 'I Do' After Meeting, Saving Lives At Sea With Clifden Lifeboat

21st March 2015
New bride Sinéad O'Sullivan with her fellow Clifden lifeboat crew
New bride Sinéad O'Sullivan with her fellow Clifden lifeboat crew RNLI/Clifden
Couple Say 'I Do' After Meeting, Saving Lives At Sea With Clifden Lifeboat

#RNLI - The Clifden RNLI volunteer lifeboat crew scrambled into their kit for a special callout recently when they provided a guard of honour for their two fellow lifeboat crew Alan Pryce and Sinéad O’Sullivan, who tied the knot in St Joseph’s Church recently.

The couple met through their life saving work volunteering as crew with Clifden RNLI. 

And lifeboats played a big part in their day, from the RNLI guard of honour, to the special stop at the station for a photograph with their beloved lifeboat, to a wedding cake which featured the couple dressed in their full RNLI kit.

O’Sullivan joined Clifden RNLI eight years ago and is the station’s only female crewmember. A trained lifeguard, she is currently training to be a helm on the station’s D-class inshore lifeboat and a navigator on the all weather lifeboat.

For her day job, O’Sullivan is an estate agent and auctioneer and is well known all over Connemara for her enthusiasm and energy and getting involved in many good causes.

Her groom is a fellow Clifden native who signed up as volunteer RNLI lifeboat crew at just 17 years of age, through his interest in fishing and sailing.

Since then Pryce has become helm on the D-class and Atlantic-class inshore lifeboats and is one of the station’s four coxswains on the all-weather lifeboat, which is currently on a two-year trial at the station.

"Being in the RNLI is a huge part of both of our lives so we were really delighted that we were able to incorporate it into our wedding celebrations," said Pryce.

"We both love the sea and share a passion for all water based activities, so it was definitely one of our shared interests that resulted in us getting together."

O’Sullivan added: "We were really thrilled that we could share our wedding with two of our favourite things - the Clifden lifeboat and our beloved dog Pippa."

After the wedding, the couple enjoyed a quick mini-moon to Wicklow where they even stopped in briefly to Arklow RNLI to admire their Trent all-weather lifeboat.

And now that the dust has settled and all the party clothes are put away, the newlyweds are back on service and ready to answer the call of the RNLI pagers.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
MacDara Conroy

About The Author

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.

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