Clogherhead RNLI celebrates lifesaving role of women volunteers
For generations, women have saved lives, launched lifeboats, and raised millions for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI). At Clogherhead RNLI, women are continuing this lifesaving legacy.
In Clogherhead, as far back as March 1904, because of circumstances at the time, it is reported that local women launched the lifeboat. The usual land crew were not available because of an incident at sea involving local fishermen who would usually have carried out the launch.
54 years since the first woman qualified as an RNLI crew member, women make up around 12.3% of the RNLI’s volunteer lifeboat crew, a figure which is steadily growing.
Clogherhead RNLI volunteer Lisa Levins said: ‘International Women's Day is all about girl power, but we are one crew and everyone is equal regardless of what role they do for the wider Clogherhead RNLI team – it doesn’t matter if you are female or male, we are all working together to save lives and keep people safe.’
Volunteer Barbara Kirk said: ‘If we can inspire other women and girls to think that this is something they can do too, then that is a bonus.’
‘To anyone thinking about joining the RNLI, just give it a go. Even if you haven’t got any background on the water or don’t know your way around a boat, there are roles for everyone and the training and support is comprehensive.’
Sue Kingswood, RNLI Inclusion and Diversity Manager said: ‘Creating an inclusive culture which supports diversity is key to our long-term sustainability. So, we’re working hard to make sure that a wide range of people see the RNLI as a charity where they’re welcome as volunteers, supporters or staff.
‘As we approach our 200th anniversary, women are now more evident in operational search and rescue (SAR ) roles throughout the RNLI than they have ever been before. They are also better represented across operational management and in SAR training roles, which is great to see.
‘However, we still have a long way to go to achieve the representation we would like, not only where women are concerned, but across a much broader spectrum of diversity too.’
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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