Menu
Allianz and Afloat - Supporting Irish Boating

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

RNLI Hands Over the Keys to Dunrovin, Inland Waterways HQ

8th April 2022
IWAI Dunrovin Development Committee L to R Martin Donnelly, Chair (IWAI Carrick-on-Shannon), Jean Kennedy (IWAI Carrick-on-Shannon), Kevin Clabby (IWAI Athlone) Carmel Megan (IWAI Carrick-on-Shannon), Tony Byron (IWAI Carrick-on-Shannon) Missing from the photo: Siobhan Bigley (IWAI Athlone)
IWAI Dunrovin Development Committee L to R Martin Donnelly, Chair (IWAI Carrick-on-Shannon), Jean Kennedy (IWAI Carrick-on-Shannon), Kevin Clabby (IWAI Athlone) Carmel Megan (IWAI Carrick-on-Shannon), Tony Byron (IWAI Carrick-on-Shannon) Missing from the photo: Siobhan Bigley (IWAI Athlone)

An official key-handover ceremony took place this week in Coosan between the RNLI and the Inland Waterways Association of Ireland (IWAI). The RNLI built the new permanent Lough Ree Lifeboat station and the new Dunrovin IWAI HQ on an IWAI site at Coosan. A portion of the site has been leased by the IWAI for the sole purpose of locating the new permanent lifeboat station on the shores of Lough Ree.

Present at the key handover ceremony was the IWAI President Alan Kelly and Vice-President Kay Baxter to accept the keys on behalf of the association and its members. Also present were the members of the IWAI Dunrovin Development Committee who have worked on this project for the past seven years. Representing the RNLI was Chris Scully RNLI Regional Estates Manager and project lead and RNLI Lifesaving Lead Owen Medland

Dunrovin Development Committee Chair Martin Donnelly in his opening remarks at the ceremony said “Any project of this magnitude is a challenging undertaking but delivering a lifeboat station and a clubhouse, for two charities during a pandemic is a testament to the resilience, determination, and commitment the IWAI and RNLI have to waterways users.

RNLI Regional Estates Manager Chris Scully, IWAI President Alan Kelly (IWAI Kildare), IWAI Vice-President Kay Baxter (IWAI Boyle)RNLI Regional Estates Manager Chris Scully, IWAI President Alan Kelly (IWAI Kildare), IWAI Vice-President Kay Baxter (IWAI Boyle)

Mr. Donnelly added “For the past seven years the IWAI Dunrovin Development Committee has worked voluntarily, despite the challenges, to ensure this joint build was delivered. Without the enormous efforts of the committee and our membership support, this project would never have gotten over the line. We have worked hand in hand with the RNLI team initially from RNLI HQ Poole Dorset and more recently from the Swords RNLI HQ. This work ensures this part of the River Shannon and Lough Ree has a permanent lifeboat station fit for purpose, manned by local volunteers and providing essential rescue services.”

Mr. Donnelly went on to highlight the significance of the project for the wider area “What has been delivered here for both organisations is a vote of confidence in our water-based activities and in the future. With the increasing focus on outdoor activity and the growing love of our environment and waterways, there will be a rise in participation in water sports and an increase in visitor numbers looking to participate in water-based activities. With the new lifeboat station at Coosan, they can feel safe knowing the RNLI is at hand should the need arise. The IWAI as a charity has a strong ethos of delivering for the greater good so this key handover ceremony is a significant occasion for the IWAI Dunrovin Development Committee who delivered handsomely the largest project ever undertaken by the IWAI for the benefit of the whole organisation.”

In handing over the key RNLI Regional Estates Manager Chris Scully said “On behalf of the RNLI and everyone connected with the planning and construction of this permanent Lough Ree Lifeboat Station at Dunrovin, I'd like to thank the IWAI for providing the site for our operations and working so closely with us over the past number of years to bring this build to fruition. The last few years have been particularly challenging for us all and the IWAI support to the RNLI has been welcome and warm. We are proud that following 10 years in a temporary facility, we have delivered a permanent Lifeboat station on Lough Ree, which is purpose-built for our volunteer crews. It is a fitting home, with all the necessary facilities to maintain a professional rescue service for the local community and wider waterways users.”

He continued 'We have a long and proud history of working with the inland waterways and for many years they have generously contributed annually to our fundraising efforts which we hope will continue into the future. The RNLI is independent and depends on voluntary fundraising and donations to maintain its rescue service. This is a special partnership that will continue into the future. In handing over the key, he concluded “Congratulations, it’s time to collect the keys”

In accepting the keys to Dunrovin Alan Kelly IWAI President said “This is a momentous occasion for the IWAI. Dunrovin as a site has been in our ownership for many years. The site was generously bequeathed by Harry and Cynthis Rice whose love of the waterways and place in history as founding members of this organisation is legendary.

The IWAI President continued “While I may have marked the sod-turning virtually, I am honoured to be here physically on the site of our new IWAI HQ for this key handing over ceremony. This is a historical occasion us as we have finally fulfilled our ambition to have a home for the IWAI on the site where the all-Ireland organisation was first conceived. Dunrovin is our spiritual home, and it is fitting that we share this site with the RNLI.”

In referring to the RNLI Mr. Kelly said “Our relationship with the RNLI is a long and close one and I know all water lovers all over Ireland owe a debt of gratitude to them. This strategic partnership has been ably steered by Martin Donnelly and the IWAI Dunrovin Development Committee and I look forward to a long and happy future working together as neighbours as we use this facility for all our activities.

On funding for the build, Mr Kelly acknowledged “Dunrovin would not have been delivered without the unstinting support and financial donations from our IWAI members and branches. We are an all-Ireland organisation and people up and down the country put their hands in their pockets and generously contributed to the build. None of us were in a position to run fundraising events over the past two years and had to rely on our own people to support the project. The appeal was responded to individually and collectively with overwhelming generosity, a testament to the character and strength of this great all Ireland organisation.

We also give thanks to our corporate sponsors who during challenging times supported us and we will certainly acknowledge this support. I can guarantee our members will practically support the sponsorship by doing business with those sponsors. I also acknowledge the generous support of the general public, Westmeath Local Community Development, and Waterways Ireland.”

IWAI Vice President, Kay Baxter said “I know from talking to people there is a real appetite among the members and branches to get out on the water and run events and activities at our new Dunrovin IWAI HQ and I am proud to say that in 2022, after many years they will finally be able to do so. Prior to the strategic partnership with RNLI and the joint development, the site in Coosan was ably looked after by the Dunrovin trustees Michal Martin, Damien Delany, and the IWAI Athlone branch. We owe a debt of gratitude to both for their tireless work over many years, in the background”

Ms. Baxter finished by saying “I can promise you that we will plan a launch event for Dunrovin where we will celebrate the opening of the facility and cut the ribbon and personally thank all those who have supported this project along its journey.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
Afloat.ie Team

About The Author

Afloat.ie Team

Email The Author

Afloat.ie is Ireland's dedicated marine journalism team.

Have you got a story for our reporters? Email us here.

We've got a favour to ask

More people are reading Afloat.ie than ever thanks to the power of the internet but we're in stormy seas because advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. Unlike many news sites, we haven’t put up a paywall because we want to keep our marine journalism open.

Afloat.ie is Ireland's only full–time marine journalism team and it takes time, money and hard work to produce our content.

So you can see why we need to ask for your help.

If everyone chipped in, we can enhance our coverage and our future would be more secure. You can help us through a small donation. Thank you.

Direct Donation to Afloat button

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

Featured Sailing School

INSS sidebutton

Featured Clubs

dbsc mainbutton
Howth Yacht Club
Kinsale Yacht Club
National Yacht Club
Royal Cork Yacht Club
Royal Irish Yacht club
Royal Saint George Yacht Club

Featured Brokers

leinster sidebutton

Featured Associations

ICRA
isora sidebutton

Featured Webcams

Featured Events 2022

Featured Marinas

dlmarina sidebutton

Featured Chandleries

CHMarine Afloat logo
osm sidebutton
https://afloat.ie/resources/marine-industry-news/viking-marine

Featured Sailmakers

northsails sidebutton
uksails sidebutton
quantum sidebutton
watson sidebutton

Featured Blogs

W M Nixon - Sailing on Saturday
podcast sidebutton
mansfield sidebutton
BSB sidebutton
wavelengths sidebutton
 

Please show your support for Afloat by donating