Site visit for Lough Ree RNLI crew as €1.2m boathouse nears completion
Lough Ree RNLI volunteers got an opportunity recently to examine progress on the building of its new boathouse at Coosan Point, Athlone, Co. Westmeath
As the charity enters its tenth year of service on Lough Ree the local RNLI volunteer lifeboat crew look forward to the completion of a state of the art boathouse beside its current base at Coosan Point on Lough Ree.
Built on a site donated by the Inland Waterways Association of Ireland, which will have its national headquarters under the same roof, the 280sqm two storey facility will transform the ability of Lough Ree RNLI to offer a vital service to the midlands. At its heart is the boathall which will be home to the Atlantic 85 Inshore lifeboat ‘Tara Scougall’ allowing for quicker access on to the water via a new purpose built slip-way.
Other facilities include a large meeting room to facilitate ongoing training of crews and water safety education for community groups. Alongside is a communications centre, managers office, mechanics workshop and a small shop.
The main contractors, Woodvale Construction from Omagh, Co. Tyrone have been on site since last autumn. Built to the highest specifications and heated geothermally it is expected that the facility will be handed over to the RNLI in September with the local volunteer crew taking possession in October.
Given that this is one of the busiest RNLI stations in Ireland, with almost 400 call outs, 30 already this year, assisting over 300 vessels and coming to the aid of over a thousand people this building is a critical piece of infrastructure for a lakeside community.
Locally, the Lough Ree RNLI fundraising committee started a campaign to raise a community contribution of €100,000. Treasurer Vincent Rafter said that he wanted to ‘thank those who had already donated and organised ‘Go Fund Me’ pages.’ He said that ‘while great progress had been made at a difficult time for all charities it is hoped that one final wave of generosity from local businesses, community organisations, sports clubs and individuals will see the target achieved.’
Key facts about the RNLI
The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.