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Coxswain Kieran Cotter retires after 45 years with Baltimore RNLI

Wednesday 30 December 2020, marked the end of an era for the Baltimore Lifeboat with the retirement of Coxswain Kieran Cotter after 45 years of service.

At age 17, Kieran first became interested in Baltimore Lifeboat and he officially joined the crew on 1st January 1975. In the early years as a crew member Kieran was involved in the dramatic rescue of the 1979 Fastnet Race. Baltimore Lifeboat was the first lifeboat launched and spent the longest time at sea during the tragedy. At the time it was the biggest rescue operation since World War 2. Kieran and his brother Liam were also involved in the rescue of Charles J. Haughey in 1985.


Kieran held the position of second Coxswain for a number of years before becoming Coxswain following the retirement of Christy Collins in 1989. During his 45 years at the station Kieran has received multiple awards for his roles in many rescues. Most notably, in 1991 Kieran was awarded the Bronze Medal for gallantry and the Maud Smith award for the bravest act of life saving that year following the 26-hour rescue of the fishing vessel the Japonica and her 15 crew, who referred to Baltimore lifeboat and her crew as “The Mad Men in the small boat” and the rescue of the yacht Atlantis Adventure and her five crew. Coxswain Cotter and his crew also received recognition from the Swiss Embassy in 2008 for the outstanding bravery and commitment shown during the rescue of Swiss nationals in hazardous conditions and from the United States Congress for the rescue of the crew of Rambler during the 2011 Fastnet Yacht Race.


Kieran has seen many changes during his time at the station including the arrival of four different classes of all-weather lifeboats and the reconstruction of the lifeboat station and pen at Bull Point to accommodate the current Tamar Class all-weather lifeboat the Alan Massey and the Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat the Rita Daphne Smyth. In September 2019 Kieran accepted the 100th Anniversary Vellum on behalf of the crew, management and fundraising team at Baltimore station.


Owen Medland, RNLI’s Lifesaving Lead Ireland, paid testimony to Kieran’s service. “It is true to say that the RNLI is built upon its people and in Kieran the team in Baltimore have had firm foundations. One of the longest serving Coxswains in the country entrusted with the safety of Baltimore’s lifeboats and crews since the late 80’s having joined as crew in 1975 Kieran has a remarkable record of lifesaving service and community commitment. As with every volunteer this service would not have been possible without the support of family and we are equally grateful for this support which has enabled Kieran to serve his community so well. We wish Kieran every health and happiness in his next chapter and he leaves the RNLI in Baltimore in good hands to continue their lifesaving work on the challenging coast of west Cork. Kieran has left a legacy of lives saved from the sea and witnessed the evolution of the RNLI’s service provision in the area over 5 decades for which he should be justifiably proud - thank you Kieran Cotter.”

Declan Tiernan, Chairperson of Baltimore Lifeboat, paid tribute to Kieran saying “Natural leadership is a rare gift which Kieran Cotter has in abundance. It is the ability to instill confidence and trust in the people around you, calmly dealing with new and unforeseen circumstances without raising your voice. The ability to assess a situation, come up with a plan that your crew will execute because they have the utmost confidence in their leader.


“Kieran is also a wonderful communicator; in dangerous situations he can put people at ease, at other times journalists will want to go to Kieran for the most accurate report.


Napoleon Bonaparte famously said that he’d rather have lucky generals than good ones. Well, Kieran Cotter is not only a good leader but also brings luck with him.


“Kieran Cotter gave forty-five years of service to the Baltimore Lifeboat and when you think that in 2019 we celebrated the centenary of the first lifeboat arriving in Baltimore it really puts Kieran’s service into perspective.”


Tom Bushe, Baltimore RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager, added “I first worked with Kieran when I stared as crew in the 1980s. Over the years his dedication and commitment to the Baltimore RNLI has been exceptional and his advice to me in my role has been invaluable. Fortunately, Kieran’s vast array of knowledge and experience will not be lost to Baltimore RNLI as he is going to continue to be involved by becoming a Deputy Launching Authority. I must also mention Ronnie Carthy, another long serving crew member who also retires this week. Ronnie was also an outstanding crewmember of the lifeboat for almost 30 years.”


Kieran is leaving the Alan Massey and her crew in good hands, with second Coxswain Aidan Bushe now taking over the role as station Coxswain. In these times of social distancing Baltimore Lifeboat Station are sadly unable to give Kieran the send off he deserves, but we look forward to celebrating with him sometime in the future.

RNLI and GAA partnership working to save lives at sea

The two organisations have been working together in communities throughout Ireland to share water safety advice with GAA players and to deliver water safety talks to GAA clubs around the country.


The key water safety messages are:


Protect your family – we must all take great care on the water this summer and look out for our family and our community


Do not use inflatables


In an emergency dial 112 or 999 and ask for Coast Guard


RNLI water safety advice can be found at www.rnli.org/safety 

RNLI Launch a Memory

Would you like to remember someone and see their name on a Shannon lifeboat in Ireland? 

The new all-weather RNLI lifeboat, which will be based at Clifden, will proudly carry the names of up to 10,000 people, placed on it by their loved ones. 

RNLI and Irish Coast Guard issue safety advice for coastal visitors

Given the current COVID-19 outbreak and the importance of social distancing and avoiding non-essential contact with others, coastal areas may be seen as providing an opportunity to enjoy fresh air and exercise while adhering to the government’s guidance. However coastal areas can also present dangers of their own and the two organisations are asking people to ensure they follow essential water safety advice.

Lough Swilly, Portrush and Arranmore RNLI rescue five fishermen in storm

Lough Swilly, Portrush and Arranmore RNLI volunteers spent almost 15 hours at sea in storm force conditions at the weekend to rescue five fishermen who got into difficulty off Fanad Head. The five men who had been fishing for crab got into difficulty 20 miles north of Fanad Head. The boat lost power and encountered steering difficulties while violent waves smashed the wheelhouse windows in.

Kilrush RNLI respond to report of child being swept out to sea

Kilrush RNLI lifeboat launched  to a report that a child was being swept out to sea on an inflatable lilo. The Coastguard Helicopter Rescue 115 were tasked to Beal Strand on the Kerry shore of the Shannon Estuary. The casualty, a young girl, was believed to have been swept out to sea due to strong wind and tides.

Arklow RNLI rescue three persons from sunken canoe

Following an alert by members of the public Arklow Lifeboat was launched to reports of 3 persons in the water and in need of immediate assistance.  Once underway the Coastguard made contact with the Lifeboat and relayed co-ordinates to commence a search for the casualties.

Water Safety

Respect The Water


Respect the Water is the RNLI’s national drowning prevention campaign. 


Around 190 people die each year around the UK and Irish coasts - and the RNLI is working to change this. The RNLI has a goal to halve the number of coastal drownings by 2024 and Respect the Water is playing a key role in this.


Respect The Water & know what to do

www.respectthewater.com

Safety on the Water


Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Hildegarde Naughton TD launched the newly updated Safety on the Water website on Friday, July 31st 2020.


The Safety on the water initiative was set up by the Marine Safety Working Group. The aim of the group is to promote water safety. This is a collaboration between the Coast Guard, RNLI, Water Safety Ireland, Irish Sailing and BIM.


These organisations advise caution to those engaged in recreational activities in or near water. 


For more information visit www.safetyonthewater.ie


Lifeboat Operations

Community Rescue Boats

There are a number of independent lifeboat services located in Ireland. 


These services operate independently from the RNLI. Most operate with support from their local community and the Irish Coast Guard.

RNLI Lifeboat Fleet

The RNLI currently operate from 46 stations in the Republic and Northern Ireland. 


Different classes of lifeboat are needed for various locations. So RNLI lifeboats are divided into two categories: all-weather and inshore.

In an emergency dial 999 or 112 and ask for the Coast Guard