Lough Derg RNLI volunteer Steve Smyth passes out as helm on inshore lifeboat
A volunteer crew member at Lough Derg RNLI has successfully passed out as a helm on the station’s inshore lifeboat.
Following an assessment in theory on shore and an extensive assessment on the water, Steve Smyth was recently passed out as helm with Lough Derg RNLI by Assessor Mark Mitchell. The achievement follows two years of hard work and dedication by Steve.
Steve became a volunteer with Lough Derg RNLI in 2018. He was inspired to join the crew by his own rescue in 2010 by the RNLI, an event which made him want to give something back to the charity. Having friends who were already volunteers with the RNLI, including his brother-in-law Owen, a senior helm at Lough Derg RNLI, he had good insight into what was required to train as a crew with the lifeboat.
Steve’s helm training programme began in 2020, just as safeguarding restrictions and lockdowns were being imposed as a consequence of the pandemic. Undaunted, Steve persisted with his programme through the online classes provided by the RNLI, and, in the periods out of lockdown, by training on the water with crew and with Helena Duggan, the station’s Assessor Trainer; all a testament to Steve’s commitment and dedication.
An experienced diver, Steve joined the Lough Derg Sub aqua Club as a trainee diver in 2006 and in 2014 became a Diver Instructor. In 2016 he qualified as a Diver Examiner. Steve also had responsibility as the Regional Dive Officer for the southwest region from 2016 to 2018. He dives mostly in the west and south coasts of Ireland but has also dived with teams in Spain, Malta, France, Mauritius and Florida.
When asked about becoming a RNLI lifeboat helm, Steve said: ‘I do believe it’s not just me who has achieved this, but the entire station at Lough Derg RNLI, from the helms, crew, fundraisers, operations team, medical, training, health and safety and mechanic.
It is a team effort. We can’t go afloat without the support, time and effort of each other. We are all one crew. I also want to thank our Assessor Trainer Helena Duggan for all her advice and guidance, Mark Mitchell who carried out the pass out, to Eleanor and Chris, my excellent crew on the day and Cathy, the on-duty Deputy Launching Authority’.
Steve says he will now endeavour to maintain the high standards and professionalism shown by the helms and crew at the station: ‘When the call comes to help, I have faith that my training and experience will enable me to make the correct decisions day or night.
‘As all RNLI volunteers are aware, it is the understanding from our families that enables us to fulfil our roles, and I want to say a huge thanks for the support and encouragement from my wife Clodagh and my two boys Cathal and Darragh.’
Steve has worked hard and consistently to achieve this goal, and all of his fellow volunteers send their heartiest congratulations.
Notes to editors
- Lough Derg RNLI lifeboat station has been operating since 2004. To learn more about the lifeboat station go to: https://rnli.org/find-my-nearest/lifeboat-stations/lough-derg-lifeboat-station
- A photo of Lough Derg RNLI lifeboat can be viewed at: https://www.facebook.com/RNLILoughDerg/
RNLI media contacts
For more information please telephone Eleanor Hooker, Lough Derg RNLI volunteer helm and Lifeboat Press Officer on 0877535207 or [email protected] or Nuala McAloon, Regional Media Officer on 0876483547
[email protected] or Niamh Stephenson, Regional Media Manager on 0871254124 or
For more information on the RNLI please visit rnli.org. News releases and other media
resources, including RSS feeds, downloadable photos and video, are available at the
RNLI News Centre rnli.org/news-and-media.
Key facts about the RNLI
The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around Ireland and the UK. The RNLI operates 46 lifeboat stations in Ireland. The RNLI is independent of government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, the charity has saved over 142,700 lives.
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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