'Significant investment' by RNLI at the Irish lifeboat station

Clifden lifeboat station in county Galway is to

receive an all-weather class lifeboat for a trial period of 12 months to operate alongside its inshore lifeboats.

The decision which follows an in-depth review of lifeboat cover in

the area, was made this

week when the Royal National Lifeboat Institution’s (RNLI) trustees accepted the recommendation of its operations committee.

The RNLI carries out a five yearly review of lifeboat

stations, looking at the incidents they launch to and the changing

pattern of marine activities to ensure the existing and future lifeboat

coverage is appropriate.

All-weather lifeboats can be operated

safely in all-weather while inshore lifeboats usually operate closer to

shore, in shallower water, close to cliffs, among rocks or even in


Introduced as the RNLI’s first fast carriage lifeboat, the

Mersey class has a top speed of 17 knots. Designed to operate from a

carriage, slipway or lie afloat, this class of lifeboat is also capable

of being self-righted in challenging conditions.

The Mersey which can

carry a lifeboat crew of six also has an X boat aboard, a small

unpowered and manually launched inflatable daughter boat to allow the

crew to access areas where the lifeboat cannot reach.

Last year,

Clifden RNLI launched eight times bringing seven people to safety. Of

those launches, two services were in the dark. In all, some 82 service

hours were spent at sea.

A lifeboat station was established in Clifden in early 1988 and the station currently operates two inshore lifeboats.

John Brittain, Clifden RNLI lifeboat operations manager said: ‘We are delighted that the trustees have

decided to trial an all-weather lifeboat at Clifden to be co-located

with our existing inshore lifeboat service.

‘The new boat will allow us

to provide lifesaving cover in all weathers up to 100 miles off the

Connemara coast.

‘This is a significant investment by the RNLI and we are

excited to be trialling a Mersey class lifeboat’.

Owen Medland, RNLI divisional operations manager, added: ‘After careful scrutiny, the

RNLI feels that an all-weather lifeboat may be suited to the service

launches that Clifden volunteers get tasked to.

‘The co-location of the

new lifeboat for a trial period of 12 months will allow us to assess the

long-term value for this type of lifeboat while ensuring that any

change at Clifden means the right type, balance and capability of the

lifeboats are operating in this location to respond to emergencies.’


timescale for the arrival of the all-weather lifeboat has yet to be

confirmed but will coincide with the training of the volunteer lifeboat

crew to meet the demands of the new vessel.