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Fethard RNLI’s Water Safety Officer Begins New Role With Swim Safely Clinic

9th July 2022
The RNLI’s water safety team with swimmers at Baginbun
The RNLI’s water safety team with swimmers at Baginbun for the water safety clinic Credit: Liam Ryan Photography

As the summer season begins, Fethard RNLI’s new volunteer water safety officer Rebecca Doyle commenced her role by organising a swim safely clinic.

Local swim group Hooked on Swimming and the local triathlon club attended the clinic, which was provided by the RNLI water safety team on Baginbun Beach near the Co Wexford village.

Killian O’Kelly, RNLI water safety education manager joined Rebecca and fellow water safety officers Declan Roche and Debbie Newport from Kilmore Quay RNLI to offer valuable advice and discuss water safety tips relating to open water swimming.

Speaking at the event, Killian offered the following main points to the swimmers: “Be prepared. Check the weather and tides, choose your spot, go with a buddy or group and have the right equipment with you.

“Make sure you acclimatise to avoid cold water shock. Be seen by wearing a bright coloured swim hat and take a tow float. Rotate members of the group on shore to act as a shore safety person.”

Killian went on to advise about “the importance always having a means to call 999 or 112 for help, in the form of a dry pouch to hold your mobile phone or a pea-less whistle if you have someone listening out on shore.”

As the event was attended by two local swimming groups, the water safety team also discussed the huge benefits of the clubs having their own incident action plan, in case a member gets into trouble in the water.

The information offered on the evening was well received by all who attended, and they all received RNLI waterproof mobile phone holders.

Speaking after the event, Rebecca said: “It was fantastic to see all the swimmers on Baginbun listening attentively to the Water Safety Team and taking on board our advice.

“We spoke about the benefits of having a whistle tied to your tow float while out swimming and I am delighted to say there were quite a few ordered online in the days following our clinic.”

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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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