'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.