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RNLI takes part in Easter 1916 centenary commemoration

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Published on: March 27, 2016

Charity’s role in maritime life-saving work recognised

 RNLI volunteer lifeboat crew from across Ireland took part in today’s (Sunday 27 March 2016) Easter 1916 centenary commemoration which saw over seven hundred members of the Irish emergency services taking part in the biggest parade in the history of the state. The fifty RNLI volunteers came from twenty-nine lifeboat stations around the Irish coast and inland to parade through Dublin City Centre to mark the centenary of the Easter Rising in 1916.  The RNLI formed part of the emergency services section of the parade which recognised the ‘blue-light’ agencies serving the Irish state since its foundation. 

The RNLI contingent was accompanied by a new Atlantic 85 lifeboat, which following its debut in the parade, will be transported to Youghal in Cork to go on operational service, and two RNLI landrovers used in the launching of inshore lifeboats.  

 The parade was preceded by a short ceremony which included a reading of the 1916 Proclamation and the President of Ireland Michael D Higgins laying a wreath on behalf of the people of Ireland, followed by a minute’s silence observed for all those who died during the Rising. 

The parade involved over 3,000 participants, largely from the Irish Defence Forces with 793 people from the emergency services.  Represented along with the RNLI were An Garda Siochána, Dublin Fire Brigade, the National Ambulance Service, St John Ambulance, Irish Coast Guard and the Civil Defence.

Commenting on the commemoration RNLI Operations Manager Owen Medland said, ‘It is a huge honour for the RNLI to take part in this historic event. It is an acknowledgement of the role our volunteers have played in saving lives at sea and on inland waters in Ireland since the RNLI was established in Ireland in 1826. The lifeboat service has been given without any interruption historically and has always put the needs of those in danger on the water above all.

Our volunteers come from all communities and backgrounds and the RNLI is proud of the role Irish volunteers have played in saving countless lives and continue to play today and into the future.’

Many of the volunteers taking part had relatives who were involved in the events of 1916 and the following years. Clifden RNLI volunteer lifeboat Coxswain Alan Pryce is the grand-nephew of Thomas Whelan of Clifden Co. Galway, one of the ‘Forgotten Ten’, who was executed in Mountjoy Prison during the War of Independence in 1921.

Clogherhead RNLI Volunteer Shore Crew member Carolyn Stanley is the grand-niece of Joe Stanley who was Pádraig Pearse’s press agent and printer.  During the Easter Rising Pádraig Pearse relied on his young press agent, Joe Stanley, to convert his hand written communiques into printed documents for onward circulation throughout the city.  It was Joe Stanley who published the First Documents of the newly proclaimed republic.

Fethard on Sea RNLI volunteer Deputy Launching Authority and former lifeboat helm Hugh Burke is the nephew of John Fenlon. Following the 1916 rising in Enniscorty John was arrested and locked up in Wexford jail from where he escaped and remained on the run for seven years.

Lifeboat stations represented at the Easter 1916 parade were Achill, Wexford, Arklow, Lough Ree, Howth, Baltimore, Donaghadee, Dun Laoghaire, Dun Laoghaire, Kilmore Quay, Wicklow, Ballyglass, Clifden, Courtmacsherry, Clogherhead, Dunmore East, Bundoran, Helvick Head, Kinsale, Crosshaven, Portaferry, Youghal, Lough Swilly, Kilrush, Fethard, Red Bay, Union Hall, Skerries and Sligo.

Young child evacuated from Cape Clear Island

Categories: Shouts, Uncategorized
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Published on: December 9, 2015

Baltimore RNLI received an an alert from Valentia Coastguard at 09:29 this morning when a young boy in urgent need of medical attention required immediate evacuation from Cape Clear Island.


Coxswain Aidan Bushe along with 5 volunteer crewmen were launched within minutes of the alert in the all-weather Tamar class lifeboat Alan Massey. They proceeded in poor weather conditions to the North Harbour of Cape Clear Island against a swell of 3 metres and force 6-7 northwest winds.


When the lifeboat crew arrived at the pier the little boy was unresponsive. He was immediately stretchered aboard the the lifeboat where he was constantly monitored on the journey back to Baltimore. The lifeboat arrived at Baltimore pier at 10:30, from where the boy was transferred to Skibbereen for medical attention.


The evacuation was successfully completed in one  hour, a remarkable achievement given that current weather conditions have meant frequent cancellation of local ferries.


On board were ; Coxswain Aidan Bushe, Mechanic Cathal Cottrell, crew Sean McCarthy,  Jerry Smith, Ronnie Carthy and Don O’Donovan


Community News Summer 2015 – Historic Medal comes home to Baltimore

Categories: News, Uncategorized
Published on: June 29, 2015

 A rare opportunity to secure a piece of Baltimore Lifeboat history came to light earlier last month. An extremely scarce and very fine Royal National Lifeboat Institution Silver Gallantry Medal, George V, awarded in 1917 to the Venerable Archdeacon John Richard Hedges Becher, for the gallant rescue of survivors from the SS Alondra came up for sale. The medal was being sold from a private collection and had previously been on public display at the base of Lagan Search & Rescue – the independent lifeboat service for Belfast.  Donations to defray the costs of medal purchase are very welcome as is any additional information concerning the fate of Archdeacon Becher – please contact Tom Bushe.


The exact cause of the wrecking of the Alondra is not entirely clear. What is known is that the ship ran aground on Kedge Rock. After its grounding sixteen of the Alondra’s crew were able to get  aboard one of three ship’s lifeboats, 


but ended up drowning before they could reach safety. Another man died on board. Meanwhile, the Archdeacon John Richard Hedges

Becher, who was serving as the Honorary Secretary of the Baltimore (RNLI), set out to re

scue the stranded crew. He failed to reach the Alondra on the first try, then again on the second. When the sun rose, they set out a third time. In total, 23 men were rescued from the steamboat with the assistance of Royal Navy trawlers. The RNLI awarded Silver Medals for Gallantry to both Archdeacon Becher and to Lieutenant Sanderson for assisting with t

he rescue. In 1913, the RNLI had established a lifeboat base in Baltimore, which could have been of assistance in rescuing the crew of the Alondra. Unfortunately, the outbreak of the Great War delayed the official opening of the base until 1919.

This famous rescue has been the subject of a recent film as part of the RNLI’s commemoration of the Great War. The film was made in Baltimore and features lifeboat crew alongside a cast drawing from talent in Baltimore Amateur Drama.  The film was last screened in May 2015 in the National Library of Ireland.

John Richard Hedges Becher’s death was announced in the Times on the 7th May 1929. The announcement read “Deaths - At Nakuru Hospital Kenya, after surgery, John R H Becher, Archdeacon of Ross, father of Mar

y Littleton, Ballyheary, Ashford, Co Wickford & Norah Trench, Molo, Kenya. The Southern Star, on the 11th May 1929, also reported “….the death this week of the Venerable Archdeacon Becher….He was the son of the Late Michael Becher of Carriganear, Maulbrack, Skibbereen, and subsequently of Ardralla House, Newcourt, Skibbereen and he was nephew of the late Mr John R H Becher of Lough Ine House, and cousin-German of The Rev Henry Becher, ex Dean of Ross. The late Archdeacon ministered in Youghal…to Castletownsend…to Baltimore…to Bantry…he was instrumental in bringing a Life Boat to Baltimore…for his health he went to Kenyan Colony. Everybody liked & most people loved him.”

News Update

On Sunday May 10th at 16:50 Baltimore Lifeboat responded to a distress call from a fishing boat that had broken down approx. 40 nautical miles south of Baltimore. The vessel was Irish registered at Sligo with a displacement of approx. 100 tonnes, Mizen Head Coast Guard reported 5 people on board at the time that the alert was raised. The all-weather lIfeboat Alan Massey was launched at 17:00 under the command of coxswain K. Cotter, with crew, J. Smith, P. Collins , K. Collins, A. Bushe, B. McSweeney and G. Sheehy as crew. The lifeboat proceeded south and directly into the prevailing swell which made progress slow, about 14 to 17 knots. Wind was from the South Force 5-6, visibility moderate, sea state rough to very rough (2.5-4.0m and 4.0-6.0m) the swell being predominately 3 to 4 metres but at times 5 metres. The distressed vessel was sighted at at 19:35. The lifeboat established a tow at 19:55 shortly after arriving on scene. The return journey was a lot smoother than the journey out and averaged about 6.5knots, making the shelter of Baltimore Harbour at at 02:15 on Monday morning. A falling tide delayed berthing, but eventually the fishing vessel was secured at the pier at 03:20. Coxswain Kieran Cotter commented afterwards ‘it was a difficult shout because of the distance from shore and the weather conditions, its great to have such an experienced crew who performed excellently under arduous conditions” 

On 25 May a flare was sighted in Baltimore Harbour at 2:15. The inshore lifeboat was launched immediately under the command of Helm Jerry Smith and proceeded directly towards the the Cove where a 10 metre yacht which had been attempting to reach her own mooring had fouled her propellor. There were three adult males on board at the time. The lifeboat took a rope from the bow of the yacht to the mooring. Once secured the lifeboat returned to station, the whole operation being completed in 45 minutes. On board the Alice and Charles were Helm Jerry Smith with crew Youen Jacob & John Kearney. Slip crew: Tom Kelly, Rianne Smith & Sean McCarthy

On 20 May a joint exercise was held  on 

combining the efforts of RNLI Baltimore, RNLI Union Hall, Toe Head Coastguard. Schull Community Inshore Rescue & Civil Defence. This was a valuable exercise in anticipation of a busy Summer season when so many people take to the water to enjoy the great boating areas of West Cork. We encourage all boaters to take care and stay safe. We’re always here to help but prevention is the best cure! Respect the Water.


Lifeboat on two separate shouts this morning

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Published on: June 18, 2015

The all weather lifeboat was launched this morning 18 June, when reports were received that a yacht had been dismasted 5 nautical miles south of the Fastnet Rock. The hi-tech 21ft racing yacht has been competing in a race from France around the Fastnet and back when the top section [...]

ILB launches to assist propped yacht in Baltimore Harbour

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Published on: May 25, 2015

A flare was sighted in Baltimore Harbour this afternoon 25th May at 2:15. The inshore lifeboat  was launched immediately under the command of Helm Jerry Smith. They proceeded directly towards the the Cove where a 10 metre yacht which had been attempting to reach her own mooring had become became [...]

Community News Easter 2015

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Published on: March 30, 2015

  The past few months have been quiet at the station in terms of shouts, but work continues with training at sea and ashore. We are delighted that our all weather lifeboat Alan Massey is back on station again. She had been sent to the UK for works in December [...]

Community News Update December 2014

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Published on: December 27, 2014

Baltimore lifeboat station has gone through a huge period of growth and development over the past ten years. During that time we have seen an inshore Atlantic 75 lifeboat co-located with a new Tamar class all weather lifeboat. The station house itself has undergone massive change; a new berth and cradle mean that crew can step aboard lifeboats from dry land. The number of volunteers at the station has risen dramatically during this period to. We now have fifty-five volunteers, including lifeboat crew, shore crew and the Sea Safety team, alongside the very important fund-raising and administrative / maintenance functions that are necessary to run a busy station. Most recently two volunteers, Gerald O’Brien and Rianne Smith, have taken on the role of Deputy Launching Authority (DLA) joining Vincent Roantree who was appointed four years ago. Their role is to support the Lifeboat Operations Manager (LOM), Tom Bushe. 

The DLAs play an important role in the chain of command for launching the lifeboats whether it be for a rescue or an exercise. The protocols for responding to an emergency at sea are well defined. A 999 call to emergency services is diverted to the Coast Guard. The Coast Guard have an overview of all available rescue assets in an area, which could be RNLI, Coast Guard Units or Community Rescue Services. They will be aware when for example a Search and Rescue (SAR) resource has been taken off service for essential maintenance or if it is already tasked elsewhere. The Coast Guard can set off ILB and ALB crew pagers remotely. This is when they contact the DLA requesting the launch of RNLI lifeboats. The all weather lifeboat is equipped to go to sea in all weather conditions, while the ILB has a more limited range of conditions in which it is safe to launch. This does not happen very often. The DLA takes the names of all crew who have boarded the lifeboat going on service as a safety measure. When exercises are planned the Helm or Coxswain submit an exercise planning form containing names of crew, the area in which the exercise is taking place, the estimated time of departure and arrival back at the station. When the exercise has been completed the DLA is notified of the safe return of all crew. In this way the DLAs manage the safe operation of lifeboats and crew. There are lessons here for all those involved in managing maritime activities whether they be leisure or otherwise. We ask people to always be safety conscious and as we approach the New Year we urge everyone to let us know when and where fireworks/flares or Chinese lanterns might be lit, as they are frequently the cause of false alarms.


While we have a large complement of volunteers at the station, we are still looking for anyone who might be interested in doing video editing of material recorded on lifeboat cameras. Please contact Tom Bushe in this regard.


On a sad note, this year saw the passing of a long-serving RNLI local branch Treasurer and former DLA, Pat Fehilly. He is a great loss to his wife Maria, family, friends and the wider community and we in Baltimore Lifeboat will remember him fondly. LOM Tom Bushe remarked “since 1999 Pat served as a volunteer at the station in a number of different roles, throughout this time he was a gentlemen in every sense of the word. We extend our sincerest sympathies to his wife Maria and family”.


Inshore Lifeboat assists with Medical Evacuation in Roaring Water Bay

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Published on: December 11, 2014

The inshore lifeboat was called to give assistance when a medical emergency occurred on board a 75ft fishing vessel in Roaring Water Bay. The two crew on board had been pumping the vessel bilges with a petrol pump when one of them became overcome with fumes and collapsed. The boat [...]

ILB launched to reports of windsurfer in difficulty

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Published on: June 13, 2014

The Inshore Lifeboat was launched this afternoon Friday 13th June at 13:20 when reports of a windsurfer in trouble were received. Helm Tadhg Collins with crew Gerald O’Brien and Jerry Smith proceeded to an area one quarter mile west of Sherkin Island. They carried out an on scene search and [...]

Hope in the Great War – Preview of SS Alondra Film

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Published on: January 24, 2014

The exhibition will be launched in Cromer on 1st February.

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