THEY'VE helped save over 600 lives including fishermen, millionaire yachtsmen and even a former Taoiseach.
Baltimore RNLI was joined by hundreds of supporters and relatives of those who had been saved to celebrate the naming of their €3m new Tamar class lifeboat with a gala ceremony in the west Cork fishing village.
The boat was funded through the legacy of Dorothy May Massey from England who, before she died at the age of 97, wanted to fund an RNLI boat to be named in honour of her brother, Alan, a former merchant seaman.
Further funding bequests for the lifeboat came from Henry and Joan Jermyn, John Noel Harvey and John Heath.
The new vessel -- which arrived in Baltimore last March -- was formally dedicated by Sue Windsor, a long-time friend of the Massey family.
RNLI operations director, Michael Vlasto, said it was a proud day for the institute.
Baltimore RNLI coxswain Kieran Cotter said the local station was delighted with the new boat -- and deeply grateful to all those who had helped fund it.
Baltimore RNLI volunteers helped save former Taoiseach Charles Haughey when his yacht sank off Mizen Head in 1985; they responded to the Fastnet Race tragedy in 1979; and, last year, helped save US millionaire George David (66) and his crew of 21 after his yacht capsized during the same race.
They also helped gardai and Customs and Excise recover over €440m in cocaine off Dunlough Bay after a drug smuggling operation was foiled in 2007.
The new Tamar class boat replaces the ageing Tyne class lifeboat 'Hilda Jarrett' used by Baltimore for over 30 years.
The 'Alan Massey' is 16.3-metres long -- some two metres bigger than the old vessel -- and has a 25-knot top speed, seven knots faster than the old boat.
The RNLI is a charity dedicated to saving lives at sea and operates over 230 lifeboat stations including 43 in Ireland.