The Baltimore Lifeboat station is located at Bull point and is home to Bessie an Atlantic 75 B class inshore lifeboat and a Tamar class all weather lifeboat Alan Massey.
The Lifeboat is part of the RNLI. The Royal National Lifeboat Institute is a charity that saves lives at sea. There are 233 Lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland, 55 of which are based on the island of Ireland.
The RNLI provides a volunteer on call 24 hour lifeboat service to cover search and rescue up to 100 nautical miles off the coast of Ireland. The crews are made up of volunteers from all walks of life that give up their time and comfort to carry out rescues and train for them, in difficult and often dangerous conditions.
The Baltimore Station, provides a service in the waters between Galley Head and Mizen Head, encompassing the Island communities of Cape Clear, Sherkin, Heir and Long Islands and the well known and loved Fastnet Lighthouse.
Search and rescue operations are directed through the Irish Coast Guard service. They are often carried out with the support of the Coast Guard Sikorski helicopters based at Shannon & Waterford, Cliff Rescue based in Toe Head, Glandore and Goleen and adjacent RNLI Lifeboat Stations at Courtmacsherry and Castletownbere.
The station was established by the Institution in 1919. A masonry lifeboat house and slipway was erected at Bull Point at a cost of £2, 765. It was the first reinforced concrete building constructed in in Europe.
In 1917, the Silver Medal was awarded to The Venerable Archdeacon J R H Becher, Honorary Secretary at Baltimore and Lieut. A L Sanderson RNR for a service on 29 December 1916 when the SS Alondra of Liverpool carrying a crew of forty, ran ashore on the Kedge Rocks in dense fog and bad weather. Sixteen men took to a ship’s boat and were drowned and one man died on board. The remaining 23 were rescued by means of lines.
Silver Medals were awarded to John Daly, Tim Daly, Michael Cadogan and Tim Cadogan for putting off in a small boat and rescuing two of the crew of the SS Nestorian, which ran ashore at Cape Clear Island in a dense fog and a very heavy westerly swell on 2 January 1917. The life saving apparatus was carried two miles over a mountain to the wreck.
In 1918. the Silver Medal was awarded to John Hart and the Bronze Medal to Timothy Murphy and Jeremiah McCarthy for their gallant conduct when they saved five people from the fishing boat Thomas Joseph of Dublin, which was wrecked in a strong north west wind, with a very heavy sea, on Sherkin Island on 10 November 1918. The boat was on a trial trip with 11 people on board when she struck some rocks and six were drowned. The rescuers put off in a yawl and rescued, at great personal risk, three men who were clinging to the mast and a man and a girl from the rocks.
In 1979, a special framed certificate was awarded to the coxswain and crew for display at the station in recognition of their services in connection with numerous yachts in difficulties during the Fastnet Race on 13/14 August.
In 1988, adaptation work was carried out in order to accommodate the station’s Tyne class lifeboat.
In 1992, a Bronze Medal awarded to Coxswain Kieran Cotter in recognition of his determination, skill and fine seamanship, and Framed Letters of Appreciation signed by the Chairman of the Institution to Assistant Mechanic Vincent O’Driscoll and crew members Ronald Carthy, Michael O’Regan, Aidan Bushe and Ciaran Sweeney for their support, when the lifeboat The Good Shepherd, on temporary duty at Baltimore, rescued 15 people and saved the Spanish fishing vessel Japonica which had suffered engine failure 20 miles west of the Fastnet Rock in storm force winds on the night of 30/31 October 1991. As the casualty was driven closer to the rock-bound shore, it was decided to attempt a tow. This was finally achieved after 70 minutes, and the vessel towed with some difficulty to the safety of Bantry Bay. On the return passage the lifeboat put into Castletownbere to land an injured crew member and to change a blocked fuel filter. Whilst waiting for a replacement the lifeboat received information that the yacht Atlantis Adventure was in difficulties south of the Fastnet Rock. The lifeboat was at sea for a period of 26 hours. The Maud Smith Award for the bravest act of life saving in 1991 was made to Coxswain Kieran Cotter for this service.
Medal Record: Seven Silver and three Bronze Medals have been awarded. The last being voted in 1992.