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RNLI Volunteer John Coyle of Galway Recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours

10th October 2020
John Coyle OBE of Galway John Coyle OBE of Galway

Galway man John Coyle has been recognised by the Queen in the Birthday Honours list for his role in helping the RNLI in its work to save lives at sea. John is to receive an OBE. A former Trustee of the RNLI and Chair of the RNLI’s Council in Ireland, John has been to the forefront of lifesaving on the island of Ireland. 

A graduate in Economics and Business from University College Dublin and The College d’Europe at Bruges, John Coyle is a former President of Galway Chamber of Commerce and Chambers Ireland, also holding the position of Vice Chair of Eurochambres. John has also worked in the agrochemical, Maritime, Tourism and Property sectors.

Throughout his business career and charity work, John has been committed to the strengthening of cross border business links and mutual cooperation.

In 2008 he was nominated by the Government to the Board of the Commissioners for Irish Lights - the entity charged with the maintenance of lighthouses and AIDS to Navigation for the entire Island of Ireland.

His relationship with the RNLI was a result of a lifelong interest in yachting and began through fundraising for the lifeboats on the west coast of Ireland before joining the Irish Council of the RNLI. John was then invited to join the UK Council of The RNLI before becoming a Trustee of the charity. His direct involvement with the RNLI spans some thirty-five years and continues to this day. 

In June 2019, he was appointed a Knight of the Sovereign Order of Malta and now he is to receive on OBE for his work with the charity. 

Speaking on the award, John Coyle said, ‘This is a tremendous honour and one, as a volunteer for the RNLI, I feel very proud to receive. The RNLI in Ireland is an all-island organisation and the spirit of co-operation that exists between Ireland and the UK continues to bring people together in their mission to save lives. A huge debt of thanks is due to all those who so generously continue to fundraise or donate to the RNLI, we could not continue without their support. 

Commenting on the honour, outgoing Chair of the RNLI’s Irish Council David Delamer added, ‘This is a wonderful tribute to John and recognition of many years of dedicated work. John is a man of great integrity and optimism. He has the great ability to be able to bring people with him and listen to what people need. He strives in all things for balance and fairness. John always works tirelessly and diligently, to help causes close to his heart, never seeking recognition but always gaining respect. 

RNLI Chief Executive, Mark Dowie said: ‘It is such a delight to see these RNLI people recognised for their hard work and commitment, particularly as we have had such a challenging year. Those who have been named in this year’s Birthday Honours truly represent the RNLI values. On behalf of everyone at the RNLI, I send my heartfelt congratulations and gratitude to all those who have been recognised.’

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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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