Two new volunteer lifeboat crew at Dun Laoghaire RNLI set to take on lifesaver roles as charity seeks support for Christmas appeal
With over 1,500 volunteers around Ireland, each RNLI crew member signs up to save every one from drowning – the charity’s mission since 1824.
This Christmas Dun Laoghaire RNLI has a number of new volunteer lifeboat crew who are currently undergoing training to be able to save those in trouble at sea and who will form part of the team of lifesavers at the south Dublin lifeboat station. Corkman Aidan Sliney and Ballinteer native Ailbhe Smith are no strangers to the sea and are among a host of recent recruits to join lifeboat crews in Ireland during the pandemic. The two new volunteer lifeboat crew are asking the public to support the RNLI this Christmas.
While new to Dun Laoghaire RNLI, Aidan Sliney is no stranger to the world of lifeboating. In Ballycotton the name Sliney is famous in lifeboat circles as his great grandfather and grandfather were involved in one of the most famous rescues in the history of the RNLI, the Daunt Rock rescue in February 1936. Aidan’s father was also on the lifeboat for many years and his brother, well known comic book artist Will Sliney, is on the Ballycotton lifeboat crew today. Work took Aidan abroad to Stockholm and Manhattan for a few years and he recently moved back to Dublin with his wife and their young child. In joining Dun Laoghaire RNLI, Aidan has gone back to basic training to refresh his skills on the lifeboat and is currently training on the station’s D-class lifeboat.
Commenting on his decision to join the lifeboat crew in Dun Laoghaire Aidan said, ‘I’m delighted that I am able to put my lifeboating experience to good use in Dublin and be a volunteer with Dun Laoghaire RNLI. We have the same All-Weather lifeboat in Ballycotton but now I’m getting to grips with the station’s inshore lifeboat, which carries out a lot of the close to shore rescues. This is a busy lifeboat station with an amazing crew and I’m learning new skills and working with a new team but it’s the same wherever you go in the RNLI.
‘Everyone is passionate about what they do and wants to help people in trouble on the water. The training is outstanding and I’m happily starting at the beginning and getting familiar with it again, you can’t take anything for granted. We’ve had a couple of new starters at the station, and we are helping each other through the training. We all have different backgrounds which means we are also learning from each other. The current lifeboat crew have been hugely generous with their time helping us skill up.’
Ailbhe Smith was raised in Ballinteer but moved to Dun Laoghaire during the pandemic. A hugely experienced Mermaid Sailor, Ailbhe competitively raced the traditional wooden ‘Mermaid’ boats for years. Some years ago, when she was in Sligo, she witnessed the local lifeboat crew rescue a diver and once she moved to Dun Laoghaire, Ailbhe messaged the lifeboat station about the possibility of volunteering and was welcomed aboard.
Adding her support to the RNLI Christmas Appeal Ailbhe commented, ‘When I saw the RNLI rescue a diver at Rosses Point in Sligo some years ago, I knew I’d love to do that, and I sort of filed it away for later. You have to live near the lifeboat station to be able to make a ‘shout’ and then a few years later I found myself living in Dun Laoghaire and it seemed like fate. I love the sea and my years sailing have given me a healthy respect for the power of it. It has been a little bit surreal to join up during a time of restrictions but that hasn’t stopped us as there is a lot to learn. We are always looking to get out on the lifeboat and train and with Dun Laoghaire being such a busy lifeboat station, I’m eager to put my training into practice and to help people.’
‘When the pager goes, no lifeboat volunteer hesitates to answer the call, and these rescues would not be possible without the donations from the RNLI's generous supporters, helping to fund the essential kit, training equipment needed by Lifeboat crews all year round. Thank you to everyone who supports the appeal this Christmas.’
To make a donation to the RNLI’s Christmas Appeal visit: RNLI.org/Xmas
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.
Learn more about the RNLI
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