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Dun Laoghaire Harbour RNLI Volunteer Receives Recognition for 20 Years Saving Lives at Sea

14th January 2022
Dun Laoghaire RNLI volunteer crewmember Rory Bolton receives his 20-year service medal. L-R: Dun Laoghaire RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager Edward Totterdell, Dun Laoghaire RNLI volunteer lifeboat crewmember Rory Bolton and RNLI Area Lifesaving Manager Peter Harty with Rory’s children James (3) and Alice (7)
Dun Laoghaire RNLI volunteer crewmember Rory Bolton receives his 20-year service medal. L-R: Dun Laoghaire RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager Edward Totterdell, Dun Laoghaire RNLI volunteer lifeboat crewmember Rory Bolton and RNLI Area Lifesaving Manager Peter Harty with Rory’s children James (3) and Alice (7) Credit: Dun Laoghaire RNLI/Conrad Jones

The RNLI has awarded volunteer lifeboat crewmember Rory Bolton with a medal recognising his twenty years’ service to the charity at Dun Laoghaire Harbour. Over the course of two decades, Rory has been a volunteer crew member on both the inshore and all-weather lifeboats based at Dun Laoghaire lifeboat station and been passed out as a mechanic for both lifeboats.

Rory was presented with his medal recently by Dun Laoghaire RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager Edward Totterdell and RNLI Area Lifesaving Manager Peter Harty. Joining the RNLI back in 2001, Rory came on board after a friend who was already on the lifeboat crew, invited him to come to the station and see if he’d like to join. Already an outboard engine mechanic, Rory had seen the lifeboat in the harbour but didn’t know how to join the lifeboat crew. He was welcomed with opened arms and started his lifeboat journey on the smaller inshore lifeboat before moving onto the All-Weather lifeboat as well. He became a Helm and then the Senior Helm on the inshore lifeboat and has since passed out as a mechanic on both lifeboats and is currently third mechanic on the All-Weather lifeboat. On the personal life front, Rory also met his wife, Dr. Sarah Brookes, through the lifeboat, as she volunteers as the station’s medical advisor.

Commenting on the honour Rory said, ‘Dun Laoghaire RNLI is an amazing team to be a part of and the last twenty years have flown. We all come from different backgrounds but when we are out on a callout, we work as a team and there is nothing like it. Being a volunteer with the RNLI has been a huge part of my life, I met my wife Sarah through it, and we now have two beautiful children, Alice (7) and James (3). Alice already wants to join the lifeboat when she’s old enough. It’s been a wonderful twenty years.’

Reflecting on his most memorable callout Rory remembers a New Year’s Day callout around eight years ago to a kitesurfer who had lost the kite and was left in the water. ‘Conditions on the day were very challenging and right on the edge of what the inshore lifeboat can launch in. We went to Sandymount and there was no way he was able to get in to the shore by himself. With waves breaking over the lifeboat and the casualty struggling in the water, we pulled him to safety in the most difficult conditions. I’ll never forget it.’

Dun Laoghaire RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager Edward Totterdell added his congratulations to Rory, ‘This recognition, by the RNLI, of twenty years of dedicated service and volunteering by Rory, is one he thoroughly deserves. Those two decades have seen countless rescues and launches and he has helped so many people, along with his colleagues on the crew. Our grateful thanks to Rory for all his tireless work and for his continued service to the lifeboat crew and hopefully we will have a few more years yet.’

RNLI Area Lifesaving Manager Peter Harty presented Rory with his medal on behalf of the RNLI. Peter said, ‘It’s an honour to work with a group of incredible men and women who give so much to their community. In being part of a lifeboat crew, they carry a pager day and night, ready to launch at a moment’s notice when people get into trouble on the water. Twenty years’ service is an incredible record. My thanks to Rory and also to his family, who support him and help our lifeboat crews saves lives at sea.’

Afloat.ie Team

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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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