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Young Charity Swimmer Tops €1K in Aid of Kilmore Quay Lifeboat

4th January 2022
Tommy Kehoe (11) with fellow charity swimmers and some of the volunteer crew of Kilmore Quay RNLI
Tommy Kehoe (11) with fellow charity swimmers and some of the volunteer crew of Kilmore Quay RNLI Credit: RNLI/Elaine Walsh

Eleven-year-old Tommy Kehoe was one of around 60 sea swimmers who completed a fundraising challenge on the Little Beach in Kilmore Quay on New Year’s Eve in aid of the Co Wexford village’s RNLI lifeboat.

Organised by local women Melinda Kehoe, Grainne O'Brien and Simmi Duffin, the 20 Dips in December challenge saw local swimmers take part in, not one but 20 sponsored swims in the sea during the month of December.

The weather and sea conditions throughout the month were a key consideration for the swimmers. Even though there were some days where conditions did not allow for a dip, there were enough favourable days to allow for the challenge to be completed safely by the hardy swimmers.

Among them was Melinda’s son Tommy, who even fitted in a dip in the mornings before school. And his efforts have been well rewarded as so far he has raised €1,140 for the local lifeboat. Donations can still be made on the event’s JustGiving page.

Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, fundraising in aid of Kilmore Quay lifeboat has taken place throughout the year as guidelines allowed.

Dedicated supporters of the RNLI in the area have organised walks, swims, cycles, vintage runs, online bingo, and head shaves among other activities, raising vital funds to maintain the charity's lifesaving services.

Speaking following the final swim on Friday, Kilmore Quay RNLI lifeboat operations manager John Grace said: “There is a fantastic community spirit here today. Tommy has raised an incredible sum of money for the RNLI, as have all the participants.

“We cannot thank everyone who took part and all who support Kilmore Quay RNLI throughout the year enough for all their efforts and generosity.”

Those taking part in the 20 Dips in December challenge swim regularly in the sea throughout the year. If you are considering doing so, please check out the safety tips on Swim Ireland’s website regarding winter swimming in Ireland or contact a local open-water swimming group.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Royal National Lifeboat Institute (RNLI) in Ireland Information

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is a charity to save lives at sea in the waters of UK and Ireland. Funded principally by legacies and donations, the RNLI operates a fleet of lifeboats, crewed by volunteers, based at a range of coastal and inland waters stations. Working closely with UK and Ireland Coastguards, RNLI crews are available to launch at short notice to assist people and vessels in difficulties.

RNLI was founded in 1824 and is based in Poole, Dorset. The organisation raised €210m in funds in 2019, spending €200m on lifesaving activities and water safety education. RNLI also provides a beach lifeguard service in the UK and has recently developed an International drowning prevention strategy, partnering with other organisations and governments to make drowning prevention a global priority.

Irish Lifeboat Stations

There are 46 lifeboat stations on the island of Ireland, with an operational base in Swords, Co Dublin. Irish RNLI crews are tasked through a paging system instigated by the Irish Coast Guard which can task a range of rescue resources depending on the nature of the emergency.

Famous Irish Lifeboat Rescues

Irish Lifeboats have participated in many rescues, perhaps the most famous of which was the rescue of the crew of the Daunt Rock lightship off Cork Harbour by the Ballycotton lifeboat in 1936. Spending almost 50 hours at sea, the lifeboat stood by the drifting lightship until the proximity to the Daunt Rock forced the coxswain to get alongside and successfully rescue the lightship's crew.

32 Irish lifeboat crew have been lost in rescue missions, including the 15 crew of the Kingstown (now Dun Laoghaire) lifeboat which capsized while attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme on Christmas Eve 1895.

FAQs

While the number of callouts to lifeboat stations varies from year to year, Howth Lifeboat station has aggregated more 'shouts' in recent years than other stations, averaging just over 60 a year.

Stations with an offshore lifeboat have a full-time mechanic, while some have a full-time coxswain. However, most lifeboat crews are volunteers.

There are 46 lifeboat stations on the island of Ireland

32 Irish lifeboat crew have been lost in rescue missions, including the 15 crew of the Kingstown (now Dun Laoghaire) lifeboat which capsized while attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme on Christmas Eve 1895

In 2019, 8,941 lifeboat launches saved 342 lives across the RNLI fleet.

The Irish fleet is a mixture of inshore and all-weather (offshore) craft. The offshore lifeboats, which range from 17m to 12m in length are either moored afloat, launched down a slipway or are towed into the sea on a trailer and launched. The inshore boats are either rigid or non-rigid inflatables.

The Irish Coast Guard in the Republic of Ireland or the UK Coastguard in Northern Ireland task lifeboats when an emergency call is received, through any of the recognised systems. These include 999/112 phone calls, Mayday/PanPan calls on VHF, a signal from an emergency position indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) or distress signals.

The Irish Coast Guard is the government agency responsible for the response to, and co-ordination of, maritime accidents which require search and rescue operations. To carry out their task the Coast Guard calls on their own resources – Coast Guard units manned by volunteers and contracted helicopters, as well as "declared resources" - RNLI lifeboats and crews. While lifeboats conduct the operation, the coordination is provided by the Coast Guard.

A lifeboat coxswain (pronounced cox'n) is the skipper or master of the lifeboat.

RNLI Lifeboat crews are required to follow a particular development plan that covers a pre-agreed range of skills necessary to complete particular tasks. These skills and tasks form part of the competence-based training that is delivered both locally and at the RNLI's Lifeboat College in Poole, Dorset

 

While the RNLI is dependent on donations and legacies for funding, they also need volunteer crew and fund-raisers.

© Afloat 2020

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