News and Events

RNLI give 1,414 reasons to respect the water as charity releases 2014 Irish lifeboat figures

Posted on January 27, 2015 at 7:35 PM

Last year in Ireland the RNLI’s lifeboat crews launched 1,089 times, bringing 1,414 people to safety. The charity is calling for the public to think ahead and never underestimate the strength and power of the sea and inland waters as it today (Wednesday 28 January) releases its 2014 lifeboat launch and rescue statistics, based on detailed returns of service, from each of its 45 lifeboat stations in Ireland. The figures show more people are getting into difficulty on leisure craft and the charity has advised that proper safety advice and maintenance is vital to ensure people stay safe on the water.



The busiest lifeboat station in Ireland last year was Lough Ree RNLI in Athlone. The charity’s lifeboat crew there launched 69 times and brought 142 people to safety. This was followed by Howth RNLI which had 62 launches and brought 107 people to safety, had their busiest year ever. Enniskillen RNLI on Lough Erne, which operates two separate lifeboat stations on the upper and lower lough, also had a busy year with 59 calls for assistance and 57 people brought ashore. Dun Laoghaire RNLI in south Dublin launched 56 times and brought 55 people to safety, while lifeboat crews on the Aran Islands off Galway and Arranmore Island off Donegal launched 78 times, helping 80 people.



While lifeboat launch figures remain largely the same as last year there has been a 10% increase in the amount of people brought to safety by lifeboats. The types of call outs that the RNLI responded to last year included aid to leisure craft users (536), assistance to fishing vessels (140) help to people who got into difficulty along the shoreline (119) and to people in the water (185).



Commenting on the figures RNLI Operations Manager Owen Medland said: ‘These figures are based on every lifeboat station in the RNLI returning a detailed service report and are a valuable insight into what our volunteer lifeboat crews are facing when they launch and what conditions they face. Overall 35% of our lifeboat call outs were carried out in the hours of darkness. Almost half of the call outs last year were to leisure vessels and of these call outs many were to groundings and engine problems. Breaking down at sea or on a lough can be a frightening experience. Weather and darkness can turn a bad situation very serious in a matter of minutes. Nobody who sets out thinks anything bad will happen but calling for help early is always the right choice.



Our volunteer lifeboat and shore crews have shown the commitment and courage we have come to rely on them for, but we must also thank our supporters and fundraisers, who work tirelessly to ensure the charity, which is dependent on donations from the public continues. There are also hundreds of employers around the country who let our lifeboat crews drop what they are doing and respond to a call out. We would not be able to run this service without them and we are extremely grateful to them for that.’



2014 also saw the introduction of the RNLI’s 45th lifeboat station in Ireland, when in November, Union Hall RNLI in south west Cork went on trial for a 24 month period. This year Lough Swilly RNLI in Buncrana, County Donegal will become the first station in Ireland to receive the new Shannon class lifeboat. The €2.4M lifeboat, which is due to arrive later this year, is the first class of lifeboat to be named after an Irish river, recognition by the charity of the role of Irish lifeboat crews and volunteers throughout the history of the RNLI.



Last year the charity marked 190 years of lifesaving and the RNLI is aiming to reduce coastal drowning significantly by 2024. To do this the charity will be expanding its preventative work and will launch Respect the Water, engaging with water users on how to stay safe and maintain their equipment. Water Safety advice is available on

Categories: RNLI News

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