Last year saw the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) lifeboats launch 980 times to a variety of callouts around Ireland. 905 people were rescued over the course of the year by volunteer lifeboat crews who spent over 9,826 hours on service at sea. The RNLI operates 43 stations in Ireland the nearest one to us hear in Tipperary is at Dromineer on Lough Derg.
The busiest month for rescues last year was July with 155 launches followed by August with 124 calls for assistance. February, May and October 2011 were the busiest months for Irish launches in the RNLI’s history.
Commenting on the 2011 statistics RNLI Deputy Divisional Inspector Gareth Morrison said, “Our lifeboat volunteers continue to show selfless dedication and commitment to saving lives. Some stations are extremely busy while others have less callouts but spend long hours at sea in awful conditions. There were some outstanding rescues last year including that to Rambler 100, in which Baltimore RNLI recovered 17 crew-members off the upturned hull of the racing boat during the Fastnet race. Sadly there were also long searches for missing loved ones.
“The work of the volunteer lifeboat crews could not be made possible without the generosity of the public who in difficult times continue to support Irish lifeboat crews. While these figures give an interesting insight into search and rescue by the RNLI on Irish waters they are by no means the full story. As well as working to save lives at sea the RNLI provides other programmes and services for the public including sea safety advice and clinics and education roadshows,”
The 2011 figures are being released in the wake of the RNLI Lifejackets for Lifesavers campaign which will see every lifeboat station in Ireland take delivery of new specially designed lifejackets in September. The lifejackets have been commissioned by the RNLI for search and rescue work and have been given the seal of approval from lifeboat volunteers. The cost of providing the lifejackets for all 43 lifeboat stations in Ireland is estimated at €160,000.
The RNLI is a charity registered in the Republic of Ireland. It relies on public donations, subscriptions and legacies to fund and maintain its rescue service. Support for the annual church gate collection, which will be held this Saturday and Sunday July 28th and 29th will be greatly appreciated.