Michael who grew up on Harbour Road in Arklow, first joined the RNLI in 1980 when he was just 16. At the time, the station had a wooden lifeboat. It was his uncle, also Michael, a second mechanic on the crew, who inspired the then young Michael with a love for all things lifeboating.
While not eligible to officially join the crew until he was 17, Michael’s early passion shone through and to his delight, his name was registered a year early when the late Coxswain Michael O’Brien, made a plea on his behalf during a station inspection.
A former electrician, Michael volunteered for 19 years before being appointed Arklow RNLI’s full-time station mechanic, a position he held for the last 21 years.
His role involved a wide range of duties and evolved with time with Michael serving on and maintaining six different classes of lifeboat including the station’s current all-weather Trent class lifeboat, the Ger Tigchelaar, which arrived in 1997. Michael was also a key member of the team when the call for help came and the lifeboat was put to sea.