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RNLI Lifeboat News From Ireland
Surfers Train as Lifeguards in Jersey
#RNLI - In what seems like a perfect match of skills, BBC News reports on a group of five surfers from Jersey who are being trained as lifeguards by the RNLI. The surfers have graduated from voluntary beach patrols to…
Boys Rescued From Rocks Off North NI Coast
#LIFEBOATS - Two teens were rescued from rocks off north Co Derry on Wednesday afternoon, the Belfast Telegraph reports. The 13-year-old boys were stranded by the incoming tide in the East Promenade area of Portstewart. PSNI officers called to the…
Castletownbere Lifeboat Assists Grounded Spanish Trawler
#rnli – Castletownbere lifeboat crew responded to an early morning callout on Saturday when they launched at 5am to reports that a Spanish fishing trawler had grounded at Ard na Kinna on the western point of Bere Island in Cork. …
Late Night Mayday Response for Holyhead RNLI
#LIFEBOATS - Holyhead RNLI's all-weather lifeboat was dispatched late on Wednesday night (24 October) in response to a distress call from a yacht in the Irish Sea. The volunteer crew received the request from Holyhead Coastguard after a mayday call…
Cork Lifeboat Rescues Sailor from Capsized Sailing Dinghy
#lifeboat – A pan pan message was sent out and the Ballycotton lifeboat crew pagers were activated this afternoon for a capsized sailing dinghy. The alert was for a capsized sailing dinghy one mile north east of Ballycotton lighthouse with…
Courtmacsherry Lifeboat Rescues Two from 40-foot Yacht
#rnli – Courtmacsherry RNLI in West Cork has rescued two people from a stricken yacht which had been at sea for 14 days. Volunteer lifeboat crew was requested to launch their all-weather lifeboat at 4.40pm yesterday evening (Tuesday, 9 October) to…
Dublin Bay Lifeboat Walk & Cycle in aid of the RNLI
#lifeboat – Dun Laoghire RNLI and Howth RNLI are organising a walk and cycle around Dublin Bay on Sunday 21 October. Participants will set off from Dun Laoghire Lifeboat Station on the south of Dublin Bay and from Howth Lifeboat…
Distillery Raises Over £17,000 for Portrush Lifeboat
#rnli – Diageo Northern Ireland announced that it raised a total of £17,390 for its charity partner, the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI). The staff at Bushmills Distillery participated in a number of fundraising events, ranging from the company's annual…
Galway Lifeboat Named 'Binny' in Memory of a Loving Husband
#rnli –  At a special ceremony held  in Galway on Saturday the RNLI officially named its new Atlantic 85 lifeboat, Binny, at its station on the city's harbour.  Pat Lavelle, Chair of the Lifeboat Management Group, handed over the lifeboat…
Crosshaven Lifeboat Aids Yachtsman with Chest Pains
#rnli – A 'Pan Pan' radio call to Valentia Coast Guard resulted in the Crosshaven Lifeboat being tasked to a medical emergency on board a Yacht off Cork Harbour today. At 1.30pm, the Crosshaven RNLI crew were informed that an…
Irish Naval Architect Pioneers New Lifeboat 50% Faster than the Rest
#rnli – A young Irishman has played a significant role in developing the RNLI's most advanced class of lifeboat - the Shannon class.  Named after the River Shannon and almost 50% faster than the lifeboats it will replace - the…
New Tamar Lifeboat Named in Baltimore
#rnli – Baltimore RNLI have officially named the new €3m Tamar class lifeboat Alan Massey at a harbour ceremony yesterday. The lifeboat was substantially funded by a legacy from Ms Dorothy May Massey in honour of her late brother Alan. …
Belfast Lough Hosts Major Maritime Exercise This Weekend
#LIFEBOATS - The Larne Times reports that Larne RNLI will be involved in a major maritime exercise in Belfast Lough this Sunday 23 September. As many as 365 people will take part in 'Exercise Diamond', which involves vessels from the…
Baltimore Lifeboat to be Named in West Cork Ceremony
#rnli – A sister's legacy in memory of her beloved brother will be honoured tomorrow (Saturday 22 September 2012) in West Cork when Baltimore RNLI hold the official naming ceremony and service of dedication for their new Tamar class lifeboat…
Enniskillen is Busiest Irish Lifeboat Station
#rnli – This summer, RNLI lifeboats in Ireland launched 377 times, a slight drop on last year's total of 389. The charity's volunteer crewmembers were involved in many different types of callouts to a range of casualties. Many of the…
Rescue Crews in Familiarisation Exercise with New Sikorsky S-92
#sikorsky – Crew from Lough Derg RNLI Lifeboat Station were one of the rescue services invited on a familiarisation exercise of the new Sikorsky S-92, with four crew from the Irish Coast Guard Search & Rescue Helicopter team, based at…

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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