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The New Prince and Princess of Wales Visit Holyhead RNLI in First Visit Since Appointment

28th September 2022
The Prince and Princess of Wales meet crew members at RNLI Holyhead
The Prince and Princess of Wales meet crew members at RNLI Holyhead

Holyhead RNLI volunteers were honoured to welcome Their Royal Highnesses The Prince and Princess of Wales on Tuesday, during a whistle-stop tour that brought them back to the island they once called home.

The Royal couple met lifeboat crew members and shop volunteers in their first visit to Wales since becoming The Prince and Princess of Wales.

Their Royal Highnesses chatted to volunteers, including 21-year-old lifeboat helm Sion Owens, one of the station’s youngest ever helms, and 83-year-old Gill Davies, who has volunteered in the RNLI shop for over 20 years.

Tony Price, Holyhead RNLI Coxswain, said: ‘It was an absolute pleasure to welcome The Prince and Princess of Wales to Holyhead RNLI and a privilege to have met them. They both showed a genuine and passionate interest in the work of the RNLI, from our shop volunteers to the lifeboat crew.

‘They spent a long time chatting to many of us about our individual roles and the part we play in saving lives at sea. They seemed so at ease and asked many interesting questions about the RNLI, showing a particular interest in mental health.’

Their Royal Highnesses The Prince and Princess of Wales meet a youngster at Holyhead RNLITheir Royal Highnesses The Prince and Princess of Wales meet a youngster at Holyhead RNLI

The station has special relevance for The Prince and Princess, as they lived on Anglesey for several years while Prince William was an RAF search and rescue helicopter pilot, stationed at RAF Valley, which included working with the island’s lifeboat crew on rescues during his time in the role.

The Prince and Princess of Wales’ first Royal visit after announcing their engagement was also on the island as they attended a service of dedication for RNLI lifeboat, the Hereford Endeavour, at Trearddur Bay Lifeboat Station in 2013.

The Royal couple had a tour of Holyhead Lifeboat Station, including the ‘local knowledge’ room, put together by the crew for visitors to familiarise themselves with local waters. Their Royal Highnesses were also able to have a close-up view of the station’s D class inshore lifeboat Mary and Archie Hooper.

Holyhead Lifeboat Operations Manager David Owens said: ‘We are extremely honoured that our station was chosen for the couple’s first visit to Wales since becoming The Prince and Princess of Wales.

‘The local people have a genuine fondness for the Royal couple, who were a part of island life while they lived locally. The fact that they have chosen to come to our station indicates how special Anglesey is to them, and how at home they feel here.

‘Our volunteers are very proud of what they do, and meeting The Prince and Princess was a real honour, and something none of them will forget.’

Prince William’s last engagement with the RNLI was at an Emergency Services Day event last year when he met 12-year-old Ravi Saini who made national headlines in 2020 when he used the RNLI’s Float to Live advice after being caught in a rip current while on holiday in Scarborough.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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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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