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End of an Era as Wicklow RNLI Bid Farewell to Tyne Class Lifeboat That Rescued 408 people

23rd April 2019
Wicklow's RNLI lifeboat Annie Blaker Wicklow's RNLI lifeboat Annie Blaker Credit: Afloat.ie

This Sunday (28 April 2019) Wicklow RNLI will bid farewell to their beloved lifeboat Annie Blaker, the last operational Tyne Class lifeboat in the RNLI’s fleet. The historic vessel will launch for the final time at Wicklow lifeboat station on Sunday 28 April at 1:30 pm and will be joined by a flotilla of vessels including lifeboats from the flanking RNLI stations at Dun Laoghaire and Arklow.

The Tyne class lifeboat has been retired by the RNLI as it has been replaced by faster classes of lifeboats capable of up to 25 knots; the Tyne class could reach 18 knots at full speed. The Tyne all-weather lifeboat was the first fast slipway-launched lifeboat in the Institution.

The lifeboat will available to view by the public on the slip at the East Pier from 10 am on Sunday morning. At 12:30 pm the lifeboat will be prepared for launching, which will take place at 1.30pm. The lifeboat will be honoured on its departure with a flotilla made up of local and RNLI boats.

Wicklow's RNLB Annie Blaker Wicklow's RNLB Annie Blaker under Wicklow Head lighthouse Photo: Afloat.ie

The Tyne class lifeboat was officially retired from the RNLI at the Wicklow lifeboat station on Friday 5 April after 30 years of service there. During that period, the lifeboat was launched over 348 times on callouts and rescued 408 people. The Tyne was introduced into the RNLI fleet in 1982 with the final one built in 1990. While the last Tyne is at Wicklow, there have been Tyne class lifeboats on service in Ireland at Arranmore, Lough Swilly, Kilmore Quay and Baltimore.

Speaking ahead of the launch, Wicklow RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager Des Davitt commented: ‘It will be a very emotional time for some of the crew who have served for almost thirty years on this historic lifeboat. She has been as much a part of the crew as any volunteer that passed through our doors and she has earned her retirement.’

‘We would love people to come down to the station to say goodbye to Annie and wish her fair winds on her last passage as a lifeboat.’

The Annie Blaker lifeboat was replaced by the relief Shannon class lifeboat Jock and Annie Slater, which went on station on Friday 5 April.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
Afloat.ie Team

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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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