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Larne RNLI Launches New Lifeboat

20th September 2015
larne_lifeboat_rnli larne_rnli.
Lifeboat crew with Larne RNLI launch their new D-class lifeboat Terry following a special ceremony of naming and dedication on Saturday and Volunteer lifeboat crew with Larne RNLI with Neil and Viveca Pistol with their sons Josh and Ben Colin Watson

Volunteers, supporters and friends of Larne RNLI gathered this weekend at the East Antrim Boat Club to attend the official Naming Ceremony and Service of Dedication for the lifeboat station’s new D-class lifeboat Terry. The new inshore lifeboat was provided through the Pistol Benefit Fund, which was set up in memory of Frederick (Fred) and Theresa (Terry) Pistol and named Terry in memory of Fred’s beloved wife Theresa.

The Pistol Benefit Fund has its origins in Frederick Pistol’s incredible life. Fred came to the UK from Austria, as a 19-year old refugee fleeing the Holocaust. He arrived with nothing more than the clothes on his back and worked as a fitter until the Second World War started. He joined the army, eventually becoming a Major and returned to England in 1946 after serving abroad. He married Theresa (Terry) a concert pianist born in Westcliff-on-Sea and discovered a passion for sailing, one that has been passed down through the family. Every boat Fred bought was named Terry after his wife and Larne RNLI’s new D-class lifeboat now proudly bears the name.

Attending the ceremony were members of the Pistol family, who have supported the work of the RNLI for many years. Fred and Theresa’s son Neil and his wife Viveca were special guests along with their two sons, Ben and Josh and their friend Simon Perlmutter. Their daughter Gabriella was unable to attend as she is currently travelling but she was being kept up to date with the proceedings by her brothers. Close friends of the couple, Alan and Shirley Shalet, also made the journey on what would have been Fred’s birthday.

Allan Dorman, Larne RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager, who accepted the lifeboat into the care of the station said; ‘Every naming ceremony for a new lifeboat is a special occasion and this is no exception, as we honour the Pistol family and their generous life-saving gift to the Institution and the people of Larne. We will remember Frederick and Theresa through the work of this lifeboat and the volunteer crew and we will be the proud custodians of it for many years to come.’

Speaking during the ceremony Neil Pistol said, ‘Thank you for honouring my family and allowing me this privilege. Thank you to the RNLI for being there. Thank you for going out into conditions when others are safe in harbour. Thank you for risking your lives to save others. You, all the members of the RNLI, make a difference. You do not discriminate; you solely take action to save others.

Neil also expressed his pleasure on learning, during an earlier tour of the lifeboat station, that the name of the RNLI rescue mannequin, lifeboat crew use during training, is named Fred. He concluded his speech by acknowledging this, to the delight of the crowd;

‘It will bring us all great pleasure to know that in real life as in previous real-life, Terry will continue to rescue Fred, during the station’s regular training sessions. In the end we make our own destiny. Good luck and Godspeed to all the Larne crew. It gives me great pleasure to hand this lifeboat into the care of the RNLI.’

The D-class lifeboat remains the workhorse of the RNLI as it has for nearly 50 years. Built at a cost of £48,000, the inflatable craft is highly manoeuvrable and specifically suited to surf, shallow water and confined locations – often working close to cliffs, among rocks or even in caves. Importantly it can also be righted manually by the crew in the event of capsize.

It is the smallest class in the RNLI lifeboat fleet but its impact on search and rescue has been huge. The D class carries out some of the most difficult and dangerous rescues lifeboat crews have faced.

The platform party at the service were Mr. Tommy Hutcheson, retired Deputy Launching Authority for Larne RNLI who welcomed guests and opened proceedings; Mr Neil Pistol, who presented the RNLI with the new lifeboat, Christopher Brooke, RNLI Irish Council member who accepted the lifeboat on behalf of the RNLI and handed her into the care of the station; Mr. Allan Dorman, Larne RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager, who accepted the lifeboat on behalf of the station; Darren Byers RNLI Divisional Operations Manager for Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man who spoke on the capabilities of the new lifeboat and Ms Karen Black, one of the founding crew members of Larne RNLI who recently retired and who officially named the lifeboat.

The Very Reverend Aidan Kerr, the Venerable Stephen Forde, Reverend Tommy Stevenson and Reverend Doctor Colin McClure lead the Service of Dedication with specially chosen hymns and readings. Music was provided by
Magheramourne Silver Band.

Last year Larne RNLI celebrated 20 years of lifesaving during which time the volunteer lifeboat crew launched 411 times, saving 31 lives and rescuing 326 people. Larne RNLI operates both a D-class inshore lifeboat and a Trent class all-weather lifeboat.

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.

© Afloat 2020

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