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RNLI Lifeboat News From Ireland
Wicklow Lifeboat Brings Yacht To Safety In Early Morning Call
#RNLI - Wicklow RNLI launched in the early hours of yesterday morning (Friday 2 May) to bring a yacht and its crew of three to safety. The volunteer crew launched their all-weather lifeboat at 2.57am in response to a call…
99th Anniversary of Sinking of Lusitania to be Marked by Courtmacsherry RNLI Lifeboat
#lusitania – The Courtmacsherry Lifeboat Lusitania Centenary Committee is appealing to anyone or any organisation that may have Lusitania artefacts, stories and memorabilia or know of any family members of those lost or saved in the tragedy to get in…
Legendary Lifeboat 'Mary Stanford' Returns To Spiritual Home
#Lifeboat - The famous lifeboat Mary Stanford, which was saved from being scuttled earlier this year, has returned to her spiritual home in Ballycotton, as the Irish Examiner reports. Afloat's Jehan Ashmore previously recounted the story of the Barnett-class lifeboat…
Dun Laoghaire Sailing School 'Sail–a–thon' to Raise Funds for RNLI Lifeboats
#rnli – The Irish National Sailing School's (INSS) Sail-a-thon 2014 in aid of the RNLI is taking place this Saturday the 3rd of May. The first question readers of this may have is what is a sail-a-thon? Effectively, it's a…
Rescued Sailors Join Kinsale RNLI Mayday Campaign
#RNLI - Crew members from the training ship Astrid that sank on 24 July 2013 visited Kinsale RNLI lifeboat station to thank volunteer crew and support the RNLI’s Mayday campaign. Some 30 young people were brought to safety by RNLI…
Youghal Lifeboat Radio Doc Traces 175 Years of East Cork Rescues
#rnli – A new radio documentary on CRY104fm entitled "Saving Lives At Sea" airs tomorrow night (Tuesday the 29th of April) at 7pm tracing the history of the Youghal RNLI as it celebrates 175 years in existence. Beginning with one…
Kian Egan Gets His Welly On to Raise Funds for Irish Lifeboats
#kianegan – Voice of Ireland judge and former Westlife member Kian Egan has teamed up with the RNLI's volunteer lifeboat crews to lend his support to their Mayday campaign. From Thursday 1 May until Monday 5 May the charity's volunteers…
Skerries Lifeboat Rescues 3 From Grounded Fishing Vessel
#RNLI - Skerries RNLI rescued three men last night (Thursday 24 April) after their 30-foot fishing vessel ran aground on rocks north of Balbriggan harbour in extremely poor visibility. The volunteer crew launched their inshore lifeboat shortly after 9pm with…
‘Give It Some Welly’ For The RNLI This Mayday
#RNLI - The RNLI is calling on the public to ‘give it some welly’ and support Mayday, the charity’s major fundraising campaign in Dublin. People are being asked to buy and wear a yellow welly pin badge or keyring which…
Donaghadee Lifeboat Rescues Crew On Becalmed Yacht
#RNLI - Donaghadee RNLI rescued a yacht and crew when they became becalmed in the Irish Sea on Good Friday last. The Co Down coastal town's all-weather lifeboat Saxon was at sea within 10 minutes of the request for assistance…
Canoe Found Drifting on Dublin Bay Shore Prompts Emergency Call Out
#dunlaoghairelifeboat – Both RNLI lifeboats at Dun Laoghaire on Dublin Bay were called out yesterday afternoon following a 999 emergency call that a two-person canoe was drifting close to shore off Dalkey. The Irish Coast Rescue 116 helicopter at Dublin…
Family Rescued by RNLI After Cruiser Engine Failure on Lough Derg
#lifeboat – Lough Derg RNLI Lifeboat launched to assist a family of three on board a 36ft cruiser, suffering engine failure. At 7.15pm on Tuesday evening, March 22, Valentia Coast Guard requested Lough Derg RNLI Lifeboat to launch to assist…
Red Bay Lifeboat Rescues Two From Vessel Drifting Off Antrim Coast
#RNLI - Red Bay RNLI's lifeboat launched on service early on Easter Sunday morning to go to the aid of a support boat with two people on board near Glenarm, Co Antrim. The boat had suffered engine failure and was…
Baltimore Lifeboat Rescues Grounded Yacht From West Cork Rocks
#lifeboat – On a sunny Easter Sunday Morning, 20th April 2014, both the all weather lifeboat and inshore lifeboat were called upon to give assistance. A yacht had grounded on rocks at a treacherous stretch between Cunnamore Pier and Heir…
More Honours For Kinsale Lifeboat Crew Over 'Astrid' Rescue
#RNLI - Last Friday (11 April) was a busy night for the volunteer crew of Kinsale RNLI as they collected two West Cork community awards for bringing to safety the 30 crew members of the training ship Astrid that sank…
Donaghadee Lifeboat Rescues PWC Rider From Rocks
#RNLI - The volunteer lifeboat crew from Donaghadee RNLI rescued a personal watercraft (PWC) enthusiast from rocks near Millisle in Co Down on Saturday evening (12 April). A member of the public reported the craft in difficulty south of Millisle…

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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