Arranmore RNLI has busy start to year
The volunteer crew of the Arranmore Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) launched on January 2nd for the first time this year, and a total of four times over the first fortnight of 2011.
Following a busy 2010, the Arranmore crew made its first trip of 2011 on January 2nd, to evacuate a sick patient to Burtonport, where he was then transferred by ambulance to Letterkenny General Hospital. Just two days later the lifeboat launched again, this time to Tory Island for a 5am journey to evacuate another patient who required hospital treatment.
The following day, again at 5am on January 5th, the Arranmore lifeboat brought a patient from Arranmore to Burtonport for transfer to hospital. The crew's next launch came on January 14th, at 6 pm, for another medical evacuation to hospital.
"It looks like another busy year for the crew of the lifeboat," a spokesperson said. The volunteer Arranmore RNLI crew launched 30 times in 2010, rescuing 27 people.
Last year, RNLI lifeboats on both sides of the border launched 1,002 times, rescuing nearly 1,100 people. The RNLI reported on Tuesday that last year's figures represented an 8 percent increase over 2009 and the first time RNLI lifeboat launches topped 1,000.
The busiest RNLI lifeboat station in Ireland was in Enniskillen, the RNLI reported, where crews on Lough Erne rescued 82 people during 64 launches. The next busiest was Crosshaven in Cork, where the volunteer crew launched 54 times and rescued 67 people.
The 24-hour service is reliant on donations, and the RNLI is urging people to support this year's RNLI SOS Day, which takes place tomorrow.
"We are absolutely determined to make the best possible use of the funds that the public entrust to us and we regularly examine everything we do," said Martyn Smith, RNLI divisional inspector for Ireland. He said the additional time RNLI crews spend on training "is a further measure of their dedication and commitment."