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RNLI Lifeboat News From Ireland
Courtmacsherry's new Shannon Class lifeboat,
The arrival of Courtmacsherry's new Shannon Class lifeboat, "Val Adnams," originally due in this Sunday, has been cancelled due to predicted severe weather on the crossing from RNLI Headquarters in Poole to West Cork. The RNLI decision to postpone the…
The new Courtmacsherry RNLI Lifeboat “Val Adnams” is due to arrive in Courtmacsherry, led by a flotilla of local boats on Sunday
The West Cork community of Courtmacsherry are set to welcome the latest RNLI lifeboat to be based in Ireland to their village next Sunday, 15th January. This Shannon class lifeboat is unique in the RNLI's fleet as it has been…
Kinsale RNLI’s inshore lifeboat approaching the sea cliff near Nohoval Cove in West Cork on Monday 2 January
Kinsale RNLI’s volunteer lifeboat crew along with the assistance of four coastguard units rescued two stranded dogs on Bank Holiday Monday (2 January). The dogs had gotten into difficulty at the bottom of a cliff near Nohoval Cove in West…
Dun Laoghaire Harbour RNLI  inshore rushed to Dollymount to rescue the stranded kitesurfer
Dun Laoghaire Harbour RNLI rescued a kite surfer who had drifted offshore and become entangled in the kite's lines. The rescue occurred off Dollymount Strand, one mile northeast of Bull Island, this afternoon (Sunday, 1 January). The Irish Coast Guard…
Dun Laoghaire RNLI and Howth Coast Guard rescuing a kitesurfer blown offshore from Dollymount Strand on Bull Island on New Year’s Day
It was a swift start to the New Year this afternoon (Sunday 1 January) for the team at Howth’s Irish Coast Guard unit as they were tasked to a kitesurfer who was blown offshore after the wind dropped near Dollymount…
equipment and training is a significant annual expense
The year just ended was a significant one for Lough Ree RNLI, both on and off the water. 2022 witnessed the opening of the charity’s ‘state of the art’ lifeboat station while on the water the volunteer crew responded to…
The RNLI's Denis Brophy (second from right) meets Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Robert Runcie
Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) volunteers have been recognised in His Majesty The King’s New Year Honours for their roles in helping the charity save lives at sea. Five RNLI volunteers with nearly 240 years of service between them – including…
Former coxswain Kieran Cotter next to Baltimore RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat Alan Massey
Baltimore RNLI will host a proper send-off for its retired former coxswain Kieran Cotter this Tuesday evening 27 December from 8pm at Jacob’s Bar in the West Cork village. As previously reported on, Cotter retired at the end of…
Dun Laoghaire RNLI crew pass a wreath to be laid at sea during the annual Christmas Eve Lifeboat Tragedy commemoration at the East Pier
Dun Laoghaire Harbour RNLI lifeboat crew gathered today (Christmas Eve) to lay wreaths on Dublin Bay and remember 15 of their lifeboat colleagues who were lost while on service in gale force conditions to the SS Palme that had run…
The Dun Laoghaire RNLI and local Coastguard reunite the labrador dog with her owners at the steps of the new Roger Casement Pier at Dun Laoghaire baths
The Coast Guard requested the Dun Laoghaire Harbour lifeboat crew to assist in the rescue of the Labrador who had slipped into the sea while out on a walk with her owners. The crew were alerted shortly before 9 pm after…
Dun Laoghaire RNLI lifeboat operating off Dalkey Island on Dublin Bay
At noon this Christmas Eve at the end of the East Pier in Dun Laoghaire, Dublin, RNLI volunteer lifeboat crew will gather to lay wreaths at sea and remember 15 of their lifeboat colleagues who were lost while on service…
Arklow RNLI Hurry to the Curry event banner
Following a two-year break, Arklow RNLI’s Hurry to the Curry fundraiser returns on Friday 27 January at the Arklow Bay Hotel from 8pm. Also known as Dan’s Lifeboat Special, the event has gone from strength to strength and continues to…
Helena Duggan with a 3D woodcut of Lough Derg by artist Henri Bocxe
An RNLI assessor trainer who has delivered training and assessments at Lough Derg RNLI for almost 20 years was treated to a surprise leaving party by station volunteers this week. On Wednesday (14 December), Helena Duggan and her fellow assessor…
Howth RNLI Coxswain Fred Connolly
As the RNLI launches its Christmas appeal asking for help to continue its lifesaving work at sea, Howth RNLI Coxswain Fred Connolly has been recalling a Christmas Day call out five years ago. Like hundreds of volunteers around Ireland, Fred…
The current cold snap means added risks to consider when participating in water activities
With the current icy weather warnings in place throughout the country, the Coast Guard, RNLI and Water Safety Ireland have issued a joint water safety appeal urging people to be aware of the added danger at our aquatic environments and…
Crosshaven RNLI’s Holly Fegan with her father James at the Cork Harbour station’s inshore lifeboat
It’s a family affair across RNLI lifeboat crews on call in Cork and Kerry for the Christmas holiday period. In Crosshaven and Ballycotton respectively, a father and daughter and a husband and wife are among the RNLI families in Cork…

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