The RNLI celebrated the acquisition of two new inshore lifeboats from private donation, with naming ceremonies in Cork towns over the weekend.
The ceremonies in Youghal and Crosshaven included a service of dedication for the B Class Atlantic 85 boats, each worth upwards of €200,000.
More than 200 people attended Youghal lifeboat station on Saturday as the new craft was named the ‘Gordon and Phil’.
It was bequeathed by the late Gwenda Bull, 82, of Brighton, who wished to have it named after her parents. Ms Bull left no known relatives and the boat was handed over to RNLI vice-president Peter Crowley by donor representative Catherine Fitzgerald Hourigan. It was then accepted on behalf of the crew by Youghal Lifeboat operations manager Fergus Hopkins.
Local schoolgirl Izzy O’Connell, on a break from brain tumour treatment in London, smiled broadly as she and deputy launching authority Albert Muckley named the vessel amidst a spray of champagne. The Very Reverend David Herlihy PP, Rev Edwin Hunter (Church of Ireland), and Rev Tim Kingston (Methodist) led the service of dedication.
Sunday also drew a large crowd to the Crosshaven station as donor representative, the broadcaster Tom MacSweeney, formally presented the vessel to RNLI vice-president Clayton Love, prior to it being accepted by lifeboat operations manager Patsy Fagan.
The vessel was funded by an anonymous donor on condition it be called the John and Janet. Paddy Crowley, son of the late helmsman Con Crowley, executed that wish. Very Rev Fr Pat Stevenson PP and Rev Isobel Jackson (Church of Ireland) conducted the service of dedication.
The 8.5m-long vessels can accommodate four crew members and, powered by twin 115hp engines, can reach a speed of 35 knots.
Unlike their Atlantic 75 predecessors, they carry full radar, VHF direction finder (immensely advantageous at night and in poor visibility) and greater survivor space.
The boats also carry a full suite of communication aids, searchlights, night vision equipment, and flares.
With an extra-strong hull, the Atlantic 85 is well suited to shallow waters and close-to-shore manoeuvrability.
Inversion-proof engines operate even after capsizing and the boats can be manually self-righted. They can also be beached without damage in an emergency and have external lifelines.
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