Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

Over 1,000 people rescued by RNLI lifeboats last year

The busiest lifeboat station in Ireland last year was in Bangor, Co Down – which carried out half of its callouts during the hours of darkness.

OVER 1,000 PEOPLE were brought to safety by Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) lifeboats in 2012 – an average of 20 people a week.

Irish lifeboat crews spent over ten thousand hours at sea on callouts, and more than half (51 per cent) of lifeboat launches were to power, sail and manual pleasure craft, while 14 per cent were to commercial craft (fishing boats and other commercial vessels).

A total of 200 of the lifeboat launches were to boats with mechanical failure, while 73 callouts were to stranded or grounded vessels.


RNLI Operations Manager for Ireland, Martyn Smith, said that the figures show that RNLI volunteers dedicate a huge amount of their time to saving lives at sea.

To know that they are on call every day of the year is reassuring for all of us who venture out to sea and on loughs around Ireland.

She added that while many callouts can be challenging, the volunteer lifeboat crews take the responsibility of bringing loved ones home very seriously.

As the figures show, last year they were able to do that for 1,041 people.  Not every callout is to save a life but the comfort and reassurance our volunteer crews bring to those in trouble is something the RNLI is very proud of and will continue to provide through the generosity of the public. I would like to say a huge “thank you” to all those who support the RNLI, whether by giving up their time or by making a donation.

There was a small drop in the amount of Irish lifeboats from the RNLI launched last year (983 to 939) , but the number of people brought to safety rose from 906 to 1,041.

Busiest lifeboats

The figures take in all 44 lifeboat stations in Ireland, and show that Dun Laoghaire RNLI brought the highest number of people to safety, with 76 individuals rescued by them during 46 callouts. They were followed by Kilmore Quay RNLI in county Wexford, who brought 71 people to safety on 29 callouts.

The busiest RNLI lifeboat station in Ireland last year was Bangor, Co Down, which launched 53 times, rescuing 53 people.  Over half of their callouts were carried out in the hours of darkness.

Other busy stations include Crosshaven RNLI in Cork, where lifeboat crews launched their inshore lifeboat 42 times and rescued 31 people.  Baltimore RNLI – who, along with Kilmore Quay RNLI, operate Ireland’s two Tamar class lifeboats, the most technologically advanced lifeboat in the Irish fleet – launched their two lifeboats 41 times, rescuing 41 people.

The second Dublin all weather lifeboat station in Howth launched 40 times and rescued 48 people, while the RNLI’s newest lifeboat station at Coosan Point, Athlone on Lough Ree, which is currently on a one year trial from last June, launched 14 times, bringing 18 people to safety.


It wasn’t just people out on sea who were brought to safety – lifeboat crews also had 122 callouts to people classed as ‘ashore’, meaning people who are ill or injured on an island, cliff or the shoreline, where access by lifeboat is the fastest or safest way to reach them.

It also includes medical evacuations from the islands off the coast of Ireland by lifeboat. This is a vital part of the service by lifeboat stations such as Arranmore Island in county Donegal and the Aran Islands off county Galway.

Read: Two fishermen rescued after vessel ran aground off Dunmore East>

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