Baltimore Community News Spring 2010

Categories: News
Published on: April 1, 2010

Lifeboat news and update

Reporting on the efforts of the volunteer crews and shore team normally involves stories of saving lives at sea, but this Spring has been particularly harsh with two fatalities in as many months. On March 21st a young Scottish student on a visit to Baltimore was swept out to sea in the area beneath Spain village. At the time of writing, despite a mammoth search, the heartbreaking outcome has been only to find some personal items belonging to the young man. This followed a tragic incident on February 13th when a Union Hall based fishing boat lost a crewman overboard. Despite a search coordinated by the Navy, sadly no trace of the missing fisherman was found. The inshore lifeboat and all-weather lifeboat crews and shore teams made very effort in both cases, logging long hours at sea with different crews. Our sincere sympathies go out to the families involved.

There was a more fortunate outcome to an incident on January 5th, when a rapid intervention by the ILB Bessie surely averted tragedy when two men were in serious jeopardy of loss of life through hypothermia or drowning. The two men had been fishing in a 7ft rubber dinghy powered by a 4 hp petrol engine in Baltimore harbour. They had neither life jackets nor suitable clothing for the prevailing icy weather conditions. When their engine broke down, they were quickly swept out to sea and were only able to alert the emergency services by calling 999 from a mobile phone. They were fortunate that the lifeboat was on call to respond to their situation.

Contact was established recently with the present owners of the former Baltimore Lifeboat the Sarah Tilson. Phillip Weeks is involved in a project to restore the Sarah and writes as follows:

‘Five years ago, the Sarah was bought by Dr John Pimm of Rochester in Kent. Following a long spell of inactivity on moorings on the nearby River Medway, I have been helping him and his sons with repairs at a boatyard. Work is progressing well. John immediately proved himself a good owner by renewing long lengths of rotten covering board, the complete deck, and the kick boards. To date, the hull has been cleaned, repainted and varnished throughout. The original Ferry engines have been serviced and run. We have extensive work to undertake in the yard’s dry-dock this year, before starting to replace all of the restored parts from our sheds and garages.

The boat is notable for the superb condition of it’s double diagonal mahogany upperworks which the previous owners, Colin and Annie Jenner did well to preserve since it was retired from RNLI service. Coincidentally, a few miles upstream from us at Maidstone is The Robert, which replaced the Sarah at Baltimore’

The photographs show the Sarah Tilson’s present condition. It was hoped that she might be brought to Baltimore for a visit but we understand it will be some time before she is seaworthy again.


Meanwhile the anticipated arrival of Baltimore’s new Tamar class ALB is delayed by the lack of progress with shore works. The boat will not be allocated until the development of the Boathouse and berth is completed. Sadly this means that Baltimore is unlikely to have the first Tamar in Ireland, Kilmore Quay’s boat will probably be allocated ahead of Baltimore. On the positive side however it demonstrates the Institution’s commitment to doing the job right and ultimately we will see developments at Baltimore Lifeboat Station which will have a lasting impact for many years to come.

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