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RNLI Lifeboat News From Ireland
Skerries RNLI Raft Race Set For September
#RNLI - The annual raft race in aid of Skerries RNLI, which has been growing in popularity since its return two years ago, will take place on Saturday 13 September. The raft race is a great day out for all…
Howth Lifeboats Respond To Five Callouts In Five Days
#RNLI - Sunday's aid of a fishing trawler with a fouled propeller near Lambay Island was just one of five callouts or the volunteers at Howth RNLI within five days, marking one of the busiest seasons for the North Co…
Lough Derg Lifeboat Launches for Boat With Engine Failure
#RNLI – Lough Derg RNLI Lifeboat launched to assist five people on board a 28ft boat with reported engine failure by Ryan's Point on Lough Derg. At 7.25pm on Wednesday evening, August 13, Valentia Coast Guard requested Lough Derg RNLI…
Kinsale Lifeboat Man Gets Leaving Certificate Results Heading Out To Sea
#rnli – Nineteen year old Lorcan Hickey from Kinsale in Cork received his Leaving Certificate results this morning (Wednesday 13 August), while heading out to sea on a lifeboat, from the RNLI College in Poole, Dorset. Lorcan is a volunteer…
Howth Lifeboat Tows Fishing Trawler To Safety
#RNLI - Howth RNLI's all-weather lifeboat launched at 1.20pm yesterday afternoon (10 August) to reports of a fishing trawler with a fouled propeller drifting north-east of Lambay Island. Skerries RNLI's volunteer crew also launched their Atlantic 85 lifeboat Louis Simson,…
Bundoran Lifeboat Rescues Surfer In Difficulty
#RNLI - A surfer got into difficulty on Saturday evening (9 August) at Tullan Strand in Bundoran and was being swept out to sea when a member of the public spotted the situation and called the emergency services. Two other…
Lough Derg RNLI Lifeboat Launched For family of Five Aground at Ryan's Point
#rnli – At 4pm on Friday afternoon, August 8, Valentia Coast Guard requested Lough Derg RNLI Lifeboat to launch to assist a family of five on board a vessel aground inside the Mountaineer Buoy at Ryan's Point on Lough Derg.…
Clifden RNLI Now Trialling All-Weather Lifeboat
#RNLI - Clifden RNLI has put an all-weather lifeboat on service for a trial period, more than a year after the move was confirmed.  The Pride and Spirit has come from the existing RNLI fleet and will be on trial…
Skerries Lifeboat Searches For 'Missing' Fisherman
#RNLI - Volunteers with Skerries RNLI launched their Atlantic 85 lifeboat Louis Simson shortly after 8.30pm on Tuesday evening (5 August) after a member of the public called Dublin Coast Guard regarding a man seen launching a small motor boat…
Bundoran Lifeboat Launched To Family Trapped On Rocks
#RNLI - The volunteer crew of the Bundoran RNLI lifeboat were paged by Malin Head Coastguard yesterday afternoon (Wednesday 6 August) to a family of four who were trapped on rocks near Tullan Strand at the Co Donegal town. A…
Lucky Escape For Three Men In A Boat Thanks To Donaghadee RNLI
#RNLI - Three young men had a lucky escape on Sunday evening (3 August) when their small boat began sinking on a pleasure trip from Ballywalter to Donaghadee. The Irish Coast Guard was alerted to the emergency by one of…
Baltimore Lifeboat Launches To Overturned Jetski
#RNLI - Bundoran RNLI launched to an overturned jetski on Saturday afternoon (2 August). Just after 4pm, the volunteer lifeboat crew was paged by Malin Head Coast Guard to four people in the water off Murvagh Beach following the capsize…
Lough Derg Lifeboat Locates Three Missing On Holy Island Trip
#RNLI - Lough Derg RNLI located three people reported overdue on Friday evening (1 August) after an excursion to Holy Island on Lough Derg. At 7.20pm on Friday, Valentia Coast Guard requested the Lough Derg lifeboat to launch to locate three people…
RTÉ's Nationwide To Feature Ballycotton's Lifeboat 'Mary Stanford'
#RNLI - Ballycotton is in the news again, this time in a feature on RTÉ One's Nationwide next Wednesday 6 August exploring the East Cork town's efforts to bring home their former lifeboat Mary Stanford. As previously reported on,…
Bangor Lifeboat Saves Children From Inflatable Raft
#RNLI - Bangor RNLI launched on Wednesday evening (30 July) to rescue five children who were being swept out to sea on an inflatable raft. Belfast Coastguard requested the Bangor lifeboat to proceed at utmost speed to the shore at…
Ballycotton Lifeboat Rescues Four Teenage Canoeists
#RNLI - Ballycotton RNLI has rescued four teenagers who got into difficulty yesterday evening (Thursday 31 July) when out on a canoeing venture. The volunteer crew was alerted shortly after 8pm and requested to go to the aid of four…

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.


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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