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RNLI Lifeboat News From Ireland
Carrybridge and Enniskillen RNLI receive donation from CrossFit Enniskillen. From left: Stephen Scott, Lifeboat Operations Manager at Carrybridge; Gary Wilson, owner of CrossFit Enniskillen; Peter Scott from the Lough Erne Fundraising Branch; Garvan Duffy, Carrybridge RNLI crew; and Paul Keown, Enniskillen RNLI crew
Carrybridge and Enniskillen RNLI were delighted to receive a donation of £1,625 from CrossFit Enniskillen following an eighth anniversary charity workout at their gym. Over 60 members took part in the event on Saturday 4 February, including one of the…
Caroline Gibson is secretary of the Dun Laoghaire RNLI fundraising branch
Like their counterparts in Northern Ireland, RNLI lifeboat teams across Ireland are looking for new fundraising volunteers to join their lifesaving crews. In Dublin, Caroline Gibson is the secretary of the Dun Laoghaire RNLI fundraising branch, having first got involved…
The Bangor inshore RNLI lifeboat
The RNLI is looking for new volunteers to join its lifesaving crew across Co Down at its branches in Kilkeel, Downpatrick, Newcastle, Portaferry, Donaghadee and Bangor. Just like the charity’s lifeboats, the RNLI’s fundraising team need a dedicated volunteer crew.…
Wicklow RNLI all-weather lifeboat going to assist the fishermen who were located five miles east of Wicklow Head
Three fishermen were brought to safety by Wicklow RNLI on Tuesday evening (21 February) after their vessel developed mechanical problems seven miles south of Wicklow port. The all-weather lifeboat RNLB Joanna and Henry Williams slipped its moorings at 5.20 pm…
Image from Lough Derg RNLI Lap the Lake 2023 poster
Cyclists will once again ‘Lap the Lake’ to raise funds for Lough Derg RNLI on Saturday, 6 May. Following on from last year’s successful event, in the 2023 edition participants can choose between a full 120km circuit of Lough Derg…
Catherine Gleeson, retiring deputy launching authority at Lough Derg RNLI with her parting gift of an oil painting by Tipperary artist Áine Quinlan
Lough Derg RNLI’s volunteers have thanked Catherine Gleeson who is retiring after five years as the station’s deputy launching authority. Following their February monthly meeting recently, volunteers at Lough Derg held a party for Catherine, a lawyer by profession, who…
Ballycotton RNLI relief lifeboat
An 18 metre fishing boat that suffered propeller failure 27 miles south of Ballycotton yesterday (Wednesday, 15 February) was brought to safety by a lifeboat crew from Ballycotton RNLI. Ballycotton RNLI Lifeboat The Douglas Aikman Smith was requested to launch…
Excellence in Volunteering Award Paddy McLaughlin, RNLI Trustee (left) and Stephen Wynne, RNLI volunteer
The Council of The Royal National Lifeboat Institution recorded their sincere thanks to volunteer Stephen Wynne of Dun Laoghaire Harbour RNLI Lifeboat Station in recognition of his dedicated commitment to the RNLI since 1975 at a ceremony held last night…
A file photo of John Sillery launching Annie Blaker for the final time
John Sillery, the long-serving Head Launcher at Wicklow Lifeboat Station, has retired after 34 years of dedicated service to the RNLI. John joined the RNLI on New Year’s Day 1989 as a volunteer winch operator. He was appointed head launcher…
A file photograph of the Dun Laoghaire Harbour RNLI inshore lifeboat ‘Joval
The volunteer inshore lifeboat crew at Dun Laoghaire Harbour RNLI have had a busy weekend with two callouts. The first call came on Saturday (11 February) at 12.30 pm for a man and his dog, who had become cut off…
 The 10m yacht is towed back to Rosslare Harbour Lifeboat Station  - Lifeboats have been stationed at Rosslare Fort and Wexford since the Rosslare Harbour Lifeboat Station was founded in 1838. The crews have received more than 35 awards for valour
On Thursday, February 9, Rosslare Harbour RNLI responded to a call early in the morning and helped two sailors. The Irish Coast Guard called the volunteer crew at 3.20 a.m. to deploy their all-weather lifeboat and rescue two yachtsmen after…
Thanks to the generosity of the 140 guests on the night, and the support of local business and individuals, the Ballycotton RNLI Wild West Fundraiser raised a total of €9,248 through ticket sales, donations and a raffle
If you were in Ballycotton last Friday night you might be forgiven for thinking you had stepped back in time or stepped into the wrong saloon! The Blackbird Bar was transformed into a scene straight out of Tombstone Arizona, complete…
The Arklow RNLI crew awardees recognised for their rescue of the yacht Jest
Seven members of Arklow RNLI have been honoured for their roles in a challenging and exhausting service, almost seven hours in duration, which saw a crew of three people, onboard a nine-metre yacht rescued. For his exceptional display of seamanship…
Maxine Strain and the Swim Smooth Ireland Squad making their donation to Wicklow RNLI on Sunday 29 January
Flying Fifteen sailor John MacAree was part of a major fundraising effort in aid of Wicklow RNLI by the members of Swim Smooth Ireland, who presented a cheque for more than €10,000 at the weekend. The swimming club’s big charity…
Skerries RNLI towing the fishing boat as Howth RNLI stands by on Tuesday afternoon 31 January
Skerries RNLI towed a razor-clam fishing boat with two men on board to safety on Tuesday afternoon (31 January) after they suffered mechanical failure near Rockabill lighthouse. The volunteers in Skerries launched the Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat Louis Simson shortly…
There will be a ‘Wild West’ entertainment-filled evening at the Blackbird, Ballycotton on Friday 3rd February to support the local RNLI station
The Ballycotton RNLI fundraising calendar 2023 kicks off in style with a ‘Wild West’ entertainment-filled evening at the Blackbird, Ballycotton on Friday 3rd February from 7.30 pm until late. Dust off your cowboy hat and pull on your dancing boots…

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