Tuesday 17 September 2019

RNLI duo get training funded

Wicklow RNLI crew members Ian Heffernan and Amy O’Neill. Photo by RNLI/Tommy Dover
Wicklow RNLI crew members Ian Heffernan and Amy O’Neill. Photo by RNLI/Tommy Dover

Two trainee lifeboat volunteer crew members at Wicklow RNLI have had a vital part of their training funded by a charitable organisation.

Thanks to funding provided by the Lloyd's Register Foundation, Amy O'Neill and Ian Heffernan recently travelled to the UK to the RNLI College in Poole to complete the charity's Crew Emergency Procedures course.

This course helps to train volunteer crew in a variety of crucial subjects such as how to deal with fires aboard lifeboats, how to 'abandon ship' in the event of an emergency (with a 4m jump into water), team survival swimming, coping in a life-raft in simulated darkness, how to right a capsized inshore lifeboat, and the importance of lifejackets. It also includes sessions on the correct use of flares, fire extinguishers and throw bags.

Ian was inspired to join up as a volunteer RNLI crew member as his family has a long tradition with the emergency services and his dad Brian, now retired, was a lifeboat volunteer for many years.

Amy has also followed in her father's footsteps and volunteers alongside her dad Joe on the crew.

Both Wicklow volunteers said they thoroughly enjoyed the course. The highlight for Ian was the capsize training while the 'abandon ship' scenario stood out in Amy's mind and she described the four-metre jump into the water as memorable.

The Lloyd's Register Foundation is a charitable group that helps to protect life and property by supporting engineering-related education, public engagement and the application of research. It has committed to funding the RNLI's Crew Emergency Procedures course for a second five-year period until December 2020. This additional funding of €1,208,400 brings their total support for RNLI crew training to just over €2,804,400 since 2008.

James Kilburn, Lifesaving Delivery Training Manager at the RNLI said the charity was very grateful to the foundation for it's support.

'So far, over 3,000 of our crew members have benefitted from Lloyd's Register Foundation funding this part of their training,' said Mr Kilburn. 'As only one in ten of our volunteer crew members comes from a professional maritime background, the Crew Emergency Procedures course is crucial in giving our volunteers the training they need and helping keep them as safe as possible while carrying out rescues.'

Wicklow People