This summer the two RNLI lifeboat stations in Mayo launched their lifeboats seven times. Achill Island lifeboat crew launched their all weather lifeboat four times, while Ballyglass RNLI were called out three times.
Overall in Ireland RNLI lifeboats launched 377 times, a slight drop on last year’s total of 389. The charity’s volunteer crew members were involved in many different types of callouts to a range of casualties.
Many of the launches were due to people getting caught out by the tide, problems with their vessel’s engine or machinery, and an increasing range of leisure marine activities. However there were also a number of tragedies and many of the RNLI’s lifeboat crews were involved in searching for missing loved ones or in bringing them home.
The figures, which cover the period June 1 to August 31 2012 and include all the charity’s lifeboats across Ireland, are down three per cent compared to the 2011 figures, which may be due to the unpredictable weather over the summer months.
Alongside the rescues and calls for assistance there were also a number of tragedies this summer. During one week in August five lives were lost in four separate tragedies in Cork, Mayo, and Clare. Lifeboat crews searched alongside colleagues in the Irish Coast Guard, Garda, and Navy divers with clubs, local boats, and volunteers to find the missing people.
Owen Medland, RNLI training divisional inspector, said: “This has been another busy summer for the RNLI despite the unpredictable weather. There have been some stories of incredible bravery and also some stories of devastating loss. In all cases our lifeboat volunteers have shown extreme professionalism and commitment. Each and every callout is different and conditions, location, duration, and activity can all vary. In many cases our volunteers are involved in callouts that go on for a number of hours throughout the night and their employers support them in their volunteering.”