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Sligo Bay RNLI’s New Inshore Atlantic 85 Lifeboat Named

16th April 2016
Since the new lifeboat went on service on Sligo Bay in November it has launched four times to call outs Since the new lifeboat went on service on Sligo Bay in November it has launched four times to call outs Photo: Donal Hackett

At a special ceremony held today Sligo Bay RNLI officially named its new Atlantic 85 lifeboat, Sheila & Dennis Tongue, at its station in Rosses Point.

Peter Killen, a member of the Irish Council of the RNLI, accepted the lifeboat on behalf of the RNLI before handing her over into the care of Sligo Bay Lifeboat Station.

He paid tribute to the donors Sheila & Dennis Tongue who had 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 couple were represented today by their nephews Raymond and Philip Tongue who travelled to Ireland for the special occasion.

Sligo Bay RNLI Lifeboat

Philip had the honour of officially naming the lifeboat during the ceremony which was also attended by the donor family of Elsinore, Sligo Bay’s former lifeboat which during her 13 years on service launched 189 times and brought 155 people to safety.

The new state of the art Atlantic 85 lifeboat was introduced into the RNLI fleet in 2005. The lifeboat is 8.4 metres in length and weighs 1.8 tonnes. Improvements on its predecessor include a faster top speed of 35 knots, radar, provision for a fourth crew member and more space for survivors.

Since the new lifeboat went on service on Sligo Bay in November it has launched four times to call outs.

During the event, Willie Murphy, Sligo Bay RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager said the naming ceremony and service of dedication was a wonderful occasion in the history of the lifeboat station, and marked the tremendous generosity of Sheila and Dennis Tongue.

‘It is wonderful to have the opportunity to thank the family directly for this amazing generosity. We assure you that you will always have a warm welcome here among us and we genuinely hope you will come and visit. We also commit to you our utmost dedication in ensuring that this wonderful new lifeboat is indeed a lifesaver in Sligo Bay.’

Mr Murphy paid tribute to the volunteers at Sligo Bay RNLI saying it was they who would give the new boat life: ‘It is your commitment and courage that will save lives with her in the future. Being a volunteer, whether on shore or afloat, involves a huge commitment in time and energy and I want to thank you and pay tribute to your dedication. Most importantly I wish all of you who put to sea safe passage aboard the Sheila and Dennis Tongue.’

He thanked the local fundraising branch for their untiring work and praised the generosity of the people of Sligo and further afield for helping to raise funds to enable the station to continue to save lives at sea.

He also thanked the families and friends of the crew, acknowledging that having someone involved in the RNLI was often not easy:
‘Away off for the many training sessions, or when the pagers go off you are being abandoned at the check-out in the supermarket, following down to the station with clothes as they ran off in their pyjamas, or suddenly having to make a whole new set of arrangements for the day. This can be a right pain, It’s not often we get a chance to publicly thank you, but we do today, to each and every one of you for your support.’

A lifeboat station was established at Sligo Bay in 1998. Situated at Rosses Point it is flanked by stations at Ballyglass to the south and Bundoran to the north.

In 1998, a D class lifeboat was sent to the station for evaluation and in 1999 an Atlantic 21 class lifeboat B-525 Spix’s Macaw was placed on temporary station duty on 12 March.

An Atlantic 21 class lifeboat B-512 US Navy League was placed on station on the 26 October.

On the 2 February 2002, B-781 Elsinore, an Atlantic 75 class, was put on service.

The new lifeboat, an Atlantic 85 and the latest version of the B class, was placed on service on the 19 November last year.

A crowd of well-wishers turned up to see the lifeboat officially named today with a bottle of champagne poured over the side of the boat before it launched at the end of the ceremony.

Among the guests officiating at the ceremony were Martin Reilly, Chair of the Lifeboat Management Group who welcomed guests and opened proceedings; Raymond Tongue, nephew and representative of the donor, who handed the lifeboat over to the RNLI, Peter Killen, Member of the RNLI Council for Ireland, who accepted the lifeboat on behalf of the RNLI and handed her into the care of the lifeboat station and Willie Murphy, Sligo Bay RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager, who accepted the lifeboat on behalf of the station.

The Rt Reverend Monsignor Gerard Dolan PP, and the Very Reverend Arfon Williams, led the Service of Dedication

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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