Baltimore Community News Autumn 2008

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Published on: November 9, 2008

On October 29th Baltimore’s Atlantic 75 Inshore Lifeboat, Bessie was rolled out from her base at the pier and presented to the public in front of the Sailing Club in a ceremony to mark the successful establishment of the new lifeboat. There was a tremendous showing of support from crewmembers old and new who proudly lined up beside the Lifeboat.

Father Kevin O Regan and Reverend Bruce Hayes performed the blessing of the boat and crew with Declan Tiernan, the newly appointed Chairman of Baltimore Lifeboat hosting the event.  Mrs Naomi Hoare, wife of the late Rear Admiral Desmond J Hoare was an honoured guest at the ceremony. Admiral Hoare, originally from Cobh was involved in the early design and development of the rigid inflatable craft at Atlantic College in Wales. Later they both played a prominent role in Baltimore Sailing Club donating a prototype RIB to the club. Mrs Hoare was presented with a bouquet of flowers by Alice Bushe, daughter of Lifeboat Operations Manager, Tom in recognition of her late husbands invaluable contribution to the Lifeboat service.

Bessie was made available as a resource to the Irish Coast Guard in June and since then she has exceeded all expectations in providing a rapid response to incidents on the Islands and in the waters adjacent to Baltimore. In her first few months she has provided a rapid response to serious incidents that required urgent medical attention, in one case a woman had broken her leg while at sea and in another a man had two fingers severed. Bessie and her crew were notable for their rapid and professional response to these challenging shouts.

Work to maintain both lifeboats and their crews at a state of readiness continues over the winter. We have regular training exercises and visits from our Trainer/Assessor Martin Agnew. Two RNLI Mobile Training Units are expected early in the New Year offering the crews courses in first aid and in the use of radar and electronic navigation equipment.

Baltimore’s Lifeboat Sea Safety Officer, Michael Walsh has been busy also. Michael attended the 40th Southampton Boat Show in September on behalf of the RNLI, where he and fellow volunteers from Ireland manned a sea safety stand to provide advice to the public. Their objective is to prevent incidents at sea with the motto “See us now…..rather than at sea”.

While the inshore lifeboat has been the focus of attention this year all that is set to change. Officials from the RNLI have confirmed the plan to station a new Tamar Class all-weather lifeboat in Baltimore in late 2010.  The new larger boat will lie afloat at a berth adjacent to the existing boathouse. The priority for onshore works will be to get this berth built in time for the boats arrival. We will also embark on an extensive training and familiarization programme for all the officers and crew. Ultimately the plan will be to develop the boathouse to take an Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat and upgrade facilities there for both crews. Kieran Cotter, Coxswain spoke of the planned developments at the recent blessing ceremony: ‘The next four years will see changes which will conspire to make Baltimore one of the best equipped lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland, or indeed perhaps in the world.’

This is no exaggeration. Our critical strategic location on the South West corner of Ireland demands the best of resources. We have the crew, we have the support and we have the tradition to be the best.

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