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Wicklow RNLI Lifeboat Tow Motor Cruiser with Three on Board to Safety

23rd January 2022
Wicklow's All-weather lifeboat', part of the Curacha outdoor exhibition
Wicklow's All-weather lifeboat Credit: Wicklow RNLI

Wicklow RNLI all-weather lifeboat Johanna and Henry Williams under the command of Alan Goucher on his first ‘Shout’ as Coxswain, towed an eight-metre motor cruiser with three people on board to safety this afternoon (Sunday, 23 January) after the vessel developed mechanical problems.

The volunteer crew were paged just before 3 pm after the Coast Guard received a call from the owner of the motor cruiser, to say their vessel had suffered mechanical failure and they were drifting north of Brittas Bay.

Wicklow lifeboat slipped its moorings at the South quay shortly after 3 pm and proceeded south to the vessel's last reported position.

The lifeboat was alongside the motor cruiser at 3:30 pm about four miles off Jack’s Hole near Brittas Bay. Conditions on scene were wind south-easterly force three with good visibility. Coxswain Goucher carried out a risk assessment and a towline was quickly established with the motor cruiser.

Coxswain Alan GoucherCoxswain Alan Goucher

Speaking after the callout, Coxswain Goucher said: ‘For the first hour the tow was slow due to the tide and swell, but as we got closer to Wicklow head, conditions improved, and we were able to increase the speed.’

The motor cruiser and its three occupants were landed safely ashore at the East pier as darkness fell shortly before 5:30 pm this evening.

Alan Goucher joined Wicklow RNLI in 2011 and was appointed a Coxswain in April 2021 after completing rigorous training. Today was his first callout as Coxswain on the all-weather lifeboat, we are all very proud of his commitment to saving lives at sea.

The crew on the callout were Coxswain Alan Goucher, Mechanic Brendan Copeland, Lisa O’ Leary, Dean Mulvihill, John Stapleton and Stephen Kenny.

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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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