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Survivor Backs RNLI Christmas Appeal After Charity Sees Traditional Fundraisers Cancelled

7th December 2020
Michael Power and Crew (L-R Michael Power, Tramore RNLI Helm David McGrath, Tramore RNLI Crew Alec Fitzmaurice and Tramore RNLI Helm Fergal McGrath) Michael Power and Crew (L-R Michael Power, Tramore RNLI Helm David McGrath, Tramore RNLI Crew Alec Fitzmaurice and Tramore RNLI Helm Fergal McGrath)

A man whose life was saved by the RNLI off the Waterford coast earlier this year, has urged people to support the RNLI’s Christmas appeal. Michael Power from Tramore had been sea swimming when he got into serious difficulty. Pulled unconscious from the water by Tramore RNLI, the lifeboat crew never gave up on him and despite his family being called to his bedside to say goodbye, Michael went on to make a full recovery. Now in thanks to the volunteer lifeboat crew that saved his life, Michael is calling on people to support his lifesavers after the RNLI have seen a drop in income as traditional fundraising activities had to be cancelled due to the pandemic.

In January this year, Michael Power set off for a swim along the Guillamene cove in Tramore, County Waterford. A regular swimmer Michael kept his head down and was aware of other swimmers in the vicinity. Not keeping an eye as he usually did on the coastline, he eventually became aware that he was not moving even after increasing his strokes. He had become caught in a rip current and could not get out of it. He tried to get to safety, but he was rapidly losing energy and began to panic. Michael subsequently learned that he had developed Hypothermia before slipping into a coma. He has no memory of the man who raised the alarm from the shore or the RNLI lifeboat crew who were on scene minutes later to find him face down in the water and unresponsive. Onlookers from the cliff watched in shock as the volunteer crew pulled him lifeless from the water and commenced CPR. His next memory is waking up in hospital with his family having been called in to say goodbye.

Now Michael wants to thank his rescuers by calling on people to support the RNLI’s Christmas appeal and donate to the charity that saves lives at sea and on inland waters. Michael has also been down to the lifeboat station to thank his rescuers in person, along with his grateful family.

Commenting on his near-drowning Michael said, ‘I am known as the miracle man around here now. I am so grateful to my rescuers and that I am here to be able to tell my story. I know the lifeboat crew who rescued me personally, as I live locally and swim in the sea regularly, so I can only imagine how difficult it was for them to pull me out of the sea in that condition. The doctors told me that I should not have survived, and that the lifeboat crew undoubtedly saved my life. So, this is my way of saying thank you.’

‘When I visited the lifeboat station, they presented me with my swimming cap and googles that they had kept safe, unsure if I would survive but unwilling to dispose of them. It was an extremely emotional moment and I have plans to frame them as a reminder of that day that I can’t even remember. I know there are so many families out there who have reason to be grateful to the RNLI and mine certainly have, they are tremendous people.’

The RNLI have launched their Christmas appeal this year as so many traditional community fundraising events such as raft races, open days and sea swims have had to be cancelled due to the coronavirus restrictions. This year the charity has spent funds on PPE, including face masks, gloves and thousands of litres of hand sanitiser. This is money the charity hadn’t budgeted for but needed to be spent to keep its lifesavers and the public protected during the coronavirus crisis.

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.

© Afloat 2020

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