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Galway RNLI volunteer crew members presented with long service awards


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Galway RNLI volunteer crew members presented with long service awards Galway RNLI volunteer crew members presented with long service awards

Seven members of the Galway RNLI crew were recognised for their dedication and commitment of time, energy and skills, when they were presented with long service awards for achieving between 50 and 200 services.

In total, the volunteers had amassed a total of 900 services, including a record 200 services by long-time volunteer David Oliver.

Other crew members awarded included Lisa McDonagh with 50 services, Shane Folan and Olivia Byrne with 100 services, Declan Killilea, Brian Niland and David Badger with 150 services.

David Oliver, who joined Galway Lifeboat when the station opened in 1995, said that a lot has changed since he first joined the crew.

“Our boat has evolved too from a 7.21m Atlantic 21 to the boat we have now which is an 8.5m Atlantic 85. The work that we do, the tasks we undertake when we go to sea haven’t changed but technology has moved on. Back then it was all paper and charts and now it is radar and plotters.”

Mike Swan, Lifeboat Operations Manager with Galway Lifeboat, praised the volunteers for their continued dedication.

“Our lifeboat volunteers have all kinds of backgrounds and jobs. At a moment’s notice, they readily exchange work, comfort or sleep for cold, wet and fatigue. They spend many hours of their own time training together so they can meet the dangers and challenges they face on search and rescue missions at sea.

“The awards are not just to celebrate the achievements of the crew who are willing to drop everything at the sound of their pager, but also their families and friends who play a key role in supporting our crew to spend time saving lives at sea and being there for them when they get home after what may sometimes be a very challenging day or night on the water,” he added.

The volunteer lifeboat crew is on call 24/7, 365 days a year – and the average time from the call from the Coast Guard requesting the lifeboat and crew to launch, to the boat and crew being on the water is approximately 10 minutes, day or night.

On top of that, the area covered by the Galway RNLI Lifeboat and crew is the section of Galway Bay east of a line between Black Head in County Clare and Spiddal, County Galway and includes Barna, Salthill, Galway City and the mouth of the River Corrib, Oranmore, Kinvara, Newquay and Ballyvaughan.

“Last year our crew and lifeboat launched 33 times and came to the aid of 31 people,” said Mr Swan.

“This is only possible due to the dedication of our crew who go to sea and the wider group of volunteers who provide shore support and fundraising support which in turn relies on the generosity of our community in Galway and further afield,” he added.

For David Oliver, teamwork is still critical to the smooth running of each rescue service.

“Everything about the RNLI is about team effort. After 200 services, I was always part of a team. That’s what being in Galway Lifeboat and the RNLI is about.”

Photo: The Galway RNLI volunteer crew with their long service awards outside the lifeboat station (from left) Seán Óg Leydon, Deputy Launching Authority; Olivia Byrne (100 services); Brian Niland (150 services), Lisa McDonagh (50 services), David Oliver (200 services), Declan Killilea (150 services) and Mike Swan, Lifeboat Operations Manager. Missing from the photo are Dave Badger (150 services) and Shane Folan (100 services).

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