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Lifeboat Changes At Wicklow RNLI Signal Major Investment In Historic Station

15th February 2019
Wicklow lifeboat crew on the relief Shannon lifeboat Jock and Annie Slater, which arrives on Sunday 24 February Wicklow lifeboat crew on the relief Shannon lifeboat Jock and Annie Slater, which arrives on Sunday 24 February Credit: RNLI/Wicklow

#Lifeboats - As noted by Tom MacSweeney in his latest podcast, Wicklow is the last RNLI station with a Tyne class lifeboat in service.

Before the current Tyne lifeboat Annie Blaker is officially taken off service later this year, it will be replaced by a relief Shannon class lifeboat — the fastest and most technologically advanced class in the fleet.

The Shannon class Jock and Annie Slater is due to arrive in Wicklow on Sunday 24 February at 2:30pm.

Annie Blaker has been the busiest all-weather lifeboat in the history of the station, being involved in over 340 services, rescuing over 400 people.

It will be a bittersweet time for the crew, station management and fundraisers with the arrival of the new lifeboat and the departure of Annie.

The relief lifeboat, which will eventually be replaced by a permanent Shannon for Wicklow in a few years’ time, will have a temporary berth at the South Quay.

Each lifeboat class has a unique slip to launch from and as the Shannon is very different to the Tyne class, this temporary mooring near the station will support it until Wicklow receives its permanent Shannon lifeboat.

Work will need to be undertaken to support the changes at Wicklow and this will be undertaken in full consultation with relevant stakeholders.

Commenting on the changes, Wicklow RNLI lifeboat operations manager Des Davitt said: “The confidence displayed by the RNLI Council and trustees, who have given the go-ahead for this major investment, is a testament to the service of all crew, committees and fundraising teams, past and present.

“History is in the making as the newest, fastest, state-of-the-art lifeboat is about to arrive. Already our coxswains and mechanics have attended training in Poole and a crew from our station has been tasked with bringing the Shannon class lifeboat into Wicklow on Sunday 24 February where the rest of the crew will receive training from the fleet staff coxswains.

“Over the next three years major work will be carried out on the station and slip to accommodate the arrival of our own Shannon in early 2022. None of this would be possible without the magnificent support of the people, businesses and organisations of Wicklow and environs.

“It is an exciting time for all involved and indeed for the people of Wicklow.”

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.

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