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Sligo RNLI Names New Lifeboat After Devoted Couple Who Loved The Coast

8th April 2016
Sligo Bay RNLI's new Atlantic 85 Sheila & Dennis Tongue Sligo Bay RNLI's new Atlantic 85 Sheila & Dennis Tongue Credit: RNLI/Sligo Bay

#RNLI - The new Sligo Bay RNLI Atlantic 85 lifeboat is to be officially named Sheila & Dennis Tongue during a ceremony at the lifeboat station at Rosses Point in Sligo next Saturday 16 April 2016 at 3pm.

The lifeboat will be passed into the care of the RNLI and officially named during a short ceremony and service of dedication by brothers Raymond and Philip Tongue, who are nephews of the couple and will travel to Ireland with their families for the special event.

Mr and Mrs Dennis Tongue left a generous legacy to the RNLI in recognition of the vital life-saving work of the charity and as a thank-you for the happy days they spent living on the coast at Exmouth.

The couple were born in Birmingham in the 1920s and on Dennis’s retirement they moved to Devon where they lived until their eighties, overlooking the coast.

The couple did not have any children and it was during their retirement that they came to know and admire the work of the RNLI and recognise its place in the life of the communities it served.

The new lifeboat that arrived in Sligo last November, as previously reported on Afloat.ie, replaces Elsinore, which during its 13 years on service launched 189 times and rescued 155 people.

Sligo Bay RNLI lifeboat operations manager Willie Murphy, who will be accepting the lifeboat into the care of the station from the Tongue family on behalf of the volunteers, said: "I would like to express our sincere gratitude to the late Mr and Mrs Tongue for their generous and life-saving gift.

"This lifeboat is the vessel that will carry our volunteer lifeboat crew out to sea to save lives and rescue people in difficulty and it will provide our volunteer lifeboat crew the opportunity to train and develop their skills to carry out that work.

"We look forward to welcoming the family of Sheila and Dennis to this beautiful part of the world and we hope this is the beginning of a wonderful friendship with them."

The Atlantic 85 lifeboat was built at a cost of €276,000 and was introduced into the RNLI fleet in 2005. It operates mostly in shallow waters close to the shore or cliffs, among rocks and caves. It is operational in conditions up to a Force 7 and the design accommodates four crew and multiple casualties.

The lifeboat has a top speed of 35 knots and has a manually operated righting mechanism with inversion proofed engines, meaning it can be righted after capsize and kept operational.

The boat is also capable of being beached in an emergency without sustaining damage to the engines. It carries a full suite of communication and electronic navigation aids.

Sligo Bay RNLI crew and management will put their new lifeboat on display to the general public on their station open day on Sunday 19 June.

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.

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