Irish Lifeboats

The definitive guide to the Irish lifeboat service

RNLI Lifeboat Stations

Porthdinllaen Lifeboat Station. Photo: RNLI


The RNLI provide 24-hour search and rescue service operates from 238 lifeboat stations around the UK and Ireland.


These include four along the River Thames: Chiswick, Gravesend, Teddington and Tower.


Five inland lifeboat stations at Carrybridge, Enniskillen, Loch Ness, Lough Derg and Lough Ree.


Every lifeboat station has different needs depending on its location and without the right shore facilities, lifeboat crews cannot operate effectively.


Changes to lifeboat cover, new classes of lifeboats and the needs of the volunteer crews lead to improvements, and even rebuilds, of lifeboat stations. And so the RNLI continually review the supporting infrastructure to keep pace with the coastal ebb and flow.


The RNLI generally have around 125 projects ongoing at any one time dedicated to the upkeep and maintenance of lifeboat stations and other properties to ensure they’re kept fit for use for as long as possible. 


The RNLI complete approximately 25 of them each year and these works account for some 10% of the RNLI's annual running costs. 

RNLI Lifeboat Stations in the Republic of Ireland & Northern Ireland

Aranmore Lifeboat Station. Photo: Barry Moule


The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) currently operate 46 stations around the Irish coastline as well as major inland waterways.


The types of boats provided at each station and the launching methods vary depending on local needs. If more than one boat is provided they are sometimes stationed in separate buildings at different locations in the same town. RNLI boats serving Irish stations currently fall into two groups:

  • All weather lifeboats (ALBs): Mersey, Severn, Shannon, Tamar and Trent. 
  • Inshore lifeboats (ILBs): D Class (IB1), Atlantic 75,  Atlantic 85 and Rescue Water Craft (RWC). 

Recovery of Shannon class lifeboat at Clogherhead. Photo: RNLI/Pat Browne


The principal launching methods are:

  • Carriage – an ALB or ILB is pushed into the water on a carriage by a tractor
  • Davit – an ILB is lowered into the water by a crane
  • Launchway – an ILB is pushed into the water on a carriage by hand
  • Moored afloat – an ALB or ILB is kept in the water alongside the lifeboat station or nearby, in which case a small boarding boat is provided so that the crew can reach it.
  • Slipway – an ALB slides down a slipway straight into the water.

Station
Lifeboat Types
Launch Method
Number & Name
Portrush
Severn Class
D Class (IB1)
Moored Afloat Slipway
17-30 William Gordon Burr 
D-738 David Roulston (Civil Service No. 52)
Red Bay
Trent Class Atlantic 85  
Moored Afloat Carriage
14-32 Corinne Whiteley  
B-843 Geoffrey Charles 
Larne
Trent Class
D Class (IB1)
Moored Afloat
Carriage
14-30 Dr. John McSparran
D-783 Terry
Bangor
Atlantic 85
Carriage
B-805 Jessie Hillyard
Donaghadee
Trent Class
Moored Afloat
14-36 Saxon
Portaferry
Atlantic 85
Atlantic 85
B-833 Blue Peter V
Newcastle
Mersey Class
D Class (IB1)
Carriage
Carriage
12-29 Eleanor and Bryant Girling
D-775 Eliza
Kilkeel
Atlantic 85
Davit
B-812 Frank William Walton 
Clogherhead
Shannon Class
Carriage
13-31 Michael O'Brien
Skerries
Atlantic 85
Carriage
B-866 Louis Simson
Howth
Trent Class
D Class (IB1)
Moored Afloat
Slipway
14-33 Roy Barker III
D-796 Aideen Cresswell
Dun Laoghaire
Trent Class
D Class (IB1)
Moored Afloat
Slipway
14-05 Anna Livia
D-731 Realt na Mara
Lifeboats listed in GREEN are temporarily on station.

Kilkeel Lifeboat Station. Photo: Pat Nolan

Station
Lifeboat Types
Launch Method
Number & Name
Wicklow
Shannon Class 
D Class (IB1)
Moored Afloat
Carriage
13-01 Jock and Annie Slater
D-806 Dennis-Audrey
Arklow
Trent Class
Moored Afloat
14-19 Ger Tigchelaar
Courtown
D Class (IB1)
Slipway
D-846
Wexford
D Class (IB1)
Carriage
D-782 Alfred William Newman
Rosslare Harbour
Severn Class
Moored Afloat  
17-43  Donald and Barbara Broadhead
Kilmore Quay
Tamar Class
Moored Afloat
16-18 Killarney
Fethard
D Class (IB1) 
Carriage
D-819 Naomh Dubhan
Dumore East
Trent Class
Moored Afloat
14-17 Elizabeth and Ronald
Tramore 
D Class (IB1)
Carriage
D-781 Isabella Purchase
Helvick Head
Atlantic 85
Slipway
B-873  Robert Armstrong
Youghal
Atlantic 85
Carriage
B-890  Gordon and Phil
Ballycotton
Trent Class
Moored Afloat
14-25 Austin Lidbury
Lifeboats listed in GREEN are temporarily on station.

Relief Trent Class Lifeboat 14-32 Corinne Whiteley at Ballycotton Lifeboat Station. Photo: Pat Nolan

Station
Lifeboat Types
Launch Method
Number & Name
Crosshaven 
Atlantic 85
Davit
B-892 John and Janet
Kinsale
Atlantic 85
Moored Afloat
B-909 Miss Sally Anne Baggy II - Never Fear, Baggy's Here
Courtmacsherry Habour
Trent Class 
Moored Afloat
14-07 Frederick Storey Cockburn
Baltimore  
Tamar Class
Atlantic 85
Moored Afloat
Slipway
16-25 Alan Massey
B-910 Rita Daphne Smyth
Castletownbere
Severn Class
Moored Afloat
17-44 Annette Hutton
Union Hall
Atlantic 75
Carraige
B-767 Maritime Nation
Valentia
Severn Class
Moored Afloat
17-07 John and Margaret Doig
Fenit
Trent Class
D Class (IB1)
Moored Afloat
Moored Afloat
14-27 Robert Hywell Jones Williams
D-726 Bradley and Sonia
Kilrush
Atlantic 85
Carriage
B-844 Edith Louise Eastwick
Lough Derg
Atlantic 85
Moored Afloat
B-911 Jane Spier
Lough Ree
Atlantic 75
Carriage
B-920 Tara Scougall
Aran Islands
Severn Class
Moored Afloat
17-06 David Kirkaldy
Galway
Atlantic 85
Davit
B-853 Binny

Lifeboats listed in GREEN are temporarily on station.

Severn Class 17-44  Annette Hutton at Castletownbere Lifeboat Station. Photo: RNLI

Station
Lifeboat Types
Launch Method
Number & Name
Clifden 
Shannon Class
Atlantic 85
D Class (IB1)
Carriage
Carriage
Carriage
13-21 Brianne Aldington
B-869 Joyce King
D-815 Celia Mary
Achill Island
Trent Class
Moored Afloat
14-28 Sam and Ada Moody
Ballyglass
Severn Class
D Class (IB1)
Moored Afloat
Carriage
17-15 Bryan and Gordon
D-823 Celia Mary
Sligo Bay
Atlantic 85
Carriage
D-888 Sheila & Dennis Tongue
Bundoran
Atlantic 85
Carriage
B-834 William Henry Liddington
Enniskillen
Atlantic 85 
Rescue Water Craft (RWC)
Carriage
Carriage
B-912 John and Jean Lewis 
RWC-054 
Carrybridge
Atlantic 85
Rescue Water Craft (RWC)
Carriage
Carriage
B-904 Douglas, Euen and Kay Richards
RWC-052
Arranmore
Severn Class
Moored Afloat
17-22 Myrtle Maud
Lough Swilly
Shannon Class
Atlantic 85
Moored Afloat
Carriage
13-08 Derek Bullivant
B-819 Minnie and Ernest George Barry
Lifeboats listed in GREEN are temporarily on station.

Lough Swilly Lifeboat Station. Photo: Pat Nolan

Lifeboats Under Construction

All-weather Lifeboat Centre in Poole. Photo: Nathan Williams


The following is a list of new lifeboats that are to be assigned to lifeboat stations in the North and South of Ireland by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI).

Named
Number
Class
Station
Due
William and Agnes Wrey
13-41
Shannon Class
Dunmore East
2020
Christine and Raymond Fielding
B-924
Atlantic 85
Union Hall
2020
Lois-Ivan
13-43
Shannon Class
Clifden
2021

Flood Rescue

The RNLI Flood Rescue Team during swift water rescue training. Photo: Robin Goodlad

When there’s a flooding emergency in the UK or Ireland, the Fire and Rescue Service’s Command and Control system coordinates the emergency response, which can include deploying the RNLI Flood Rescue Team. 

Across the RNLI, flood rescue volunteers stand by, ready to assist the Fire and Rescue Service and other emergency services in the search and rescue operation.

Regional flood rescue teams are fully equipped to allow the team to operate self-sufficiently for up to 48 hours.


The flood rescue equipment for each team includes:


  • two adapted inshore lifeboats
  • two vehicles - a rescue van and a Land Rover for off-road driving
  • an operational base gazebo
  • electric generator
  • scene lighting and maintenance equipment
  • personal protection equipment
  • canyon line and technical rope kit
  • wading poles
  • torch
  • food and refreshments.

Swift water rescue training

Flood waters are just as unpredictable as the sea but present a very different set of dangers.

Flood rescue volunteers undergo extensive and regular swift water rescue training to ensure their safety in this unfamiliar, diverse and high-risk environment.


First, it's a pre-requisite that all RNLI Flood Rescue Team members are competent RNLI lifeboat crew or lifeguards.


Through their training they become Flood Water Rescue Technicians and Flood Water Rescue Boat Operators.


The swift water rescue training simulates the conditions they could face in flood waters and rivers and involves:

  • negotiating swift and rising flood water

  • operating a lifeboat in fast-flowing water

  • manoeuvring the lifeboat in narrow spaces similar to the streets of a town

  • dealing with submerged hazards

  • performing rescues from weirs safely, using two boats

  • defensive rescue swimming

  • wading in shallow, moving water

  • throwbag rescues

  • navigation

  • communications

  • technical rope work

  • reconnaissance techniques

  • mapping and survival skills.


Regular training exercises allow the team to practice these specialist skills so that they are always ready for a flooding emergency.

Baltimore RNLI mark centenary of the lifeboat station by naming new Atlantic 85

Baltimore RNLI held a special ceremony on the North Pier on Sunday 8 September 2019, which saw the station receive a Vellum (Inscription of thanks from the Institution) marking one hundred years of saving lives at sea and the naming the new Atlantic 85 lifeboat Rita Daphne Smyth. Read More>>>