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Achill Island RNLI Pays Tribute to Lifeboat Volunteer & Friend Mattie Stafford

4th March 2019
Mattie Stafford left, pictured with Declan Dixon from the RNLI when he received his 20 years Long Service Medal in recognition of his time spent on the lifeboat crew Mattie Stafford left, pictured with Declan Dixon from the RNLI when he received his 20 years Long Service Medal in recognition of his time spent on the lifeboat crew

In a warm tribute, the Achill Island RNLI lifeboat station’s volunteers said that it was with deepest shock, regret and sympathy to his family and his wide circle of friends that they reported the untimely passing of their esteemed former crew member, emergency Coxswain and current Deputy Launching Authority, Mattie Stafford.

Achill Island RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager Tony McNamara said: ‘Mattie brought his many skills and ability not least in the fields of seamanship and mechanics to the Achill Island lifeboat over many long years.

‘There were few problems on land or on sea that would get the better of Mattie. He will also be greatly missed by the fishing community especially around Purteen Harbour where Mattie was for many years the ‘go to’ man to quickly sort a problem and get you to sea.

‘As a long standing and experienced crewman and Coxswain, he was generous with his time and advice to new crew and his advice was always welcomed and valued on the lifeboat in difficult situations on many occasions.’

Mattie was awarded the RNLI Long Service Medal following 20 years on the lifeboat crew. On his retirement from the crew, he took on the roles of Deputy Launching Authority and on the station operations team.

‘We will miss his advice, experience and camaraderie and the Achill Island lifeboat family will be the poorer for his untimely passing. To his wife Kathleen, his children Jacinta, Matthew, Caitriona and Genevieve and his extended family we offer our support and deepest sympathy. Ar dheis De go raibh a ainm cinealta’.

Mattie’s funeral Mass takes place at 12 noon this afternoon, Monday, in St Patrick’s Church, Pollagh, followed by burial in Slievemore Cemetery.

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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