Blessing Bessie

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Published on: October 8, 2008

Next Sunday 26th October will be a proud day for the volunteer crews and fundraisers at Baltimore Lifeboat Station. The new RNLI inshore lifeboat Bessie will be officially welcomed to Baltimore in a blessing of the boats ceremony scheduled to take place at 3pm on Sunday at Baltimore Pier.

Guest of Honour, Mrs Naomi Hoare, widow of the late Admiral Hoare is especially welcome given the long association between the Hoare family of Atlantic College, Wales and Baltimore Sailing Club. The Atlantic (B class) lifeboats are Rigid Inflatable Boats (RIBs) with twin outboard motors and can operate in conditions up to near gale Force 7. They were first developed at Atlantic College in Wales and then by the RNLI. They provide a rapid response to inshore emergencies. If the boat capsizes a crewmember can activate a gas bottle to inflate a righting bag and the boat turns upright in a few seconds.

Bessie, first arrived in Baltimore last April. She is being temporarily located in a purpose built compound at Baltimore Pier.  She measures 7.3 metres in length, has a top speed of 32 knots and an endurance of 3 hours.  She is launched from the slip by a tractor and trailer and is operated by a helm and two crew. Ultimately she will be slip launched from the lifeboat station at Bull Point

In a small community it is quite astounding to see the level of commitment to supporting the RNLI. Twenty-five individuals were trained in variety of roles to ensure the safe operation of the RIB both onshore and offshore. For some this involved attending the RNLI Lifeboat Training College in Poole, followed by intensive local training supported by the RNLI Training Division, Ireland.

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 Harbour. Bessie and her crew provided an invaluable service just recently when the crew attended a yachtsman who had had his fingers severed in a yachting accident on Cape Clear Island. Bessie was able to make the journey to Cape Clear in just 15 minutes, a journey that would normally take at least 40 minutes by ferry.

Baltimore is fortunate to have two lifeboats co-located within the village, the all-weather lifeboat Hilda Jarrett and the inshore lifeboat, Bessie. They provide a complementary service ensuring that all incidents can be responded to in the most effective manner.

We are grateful to all

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