Tramore’s new €62,000 lifeboat pressed into action

D-class ‘Isabella Purchase’ involved in search for swimmer soon after official unveiling

 

Within minutes of its official naming on Saturday afternoon and a ceremonial launch into the waves crashing on to the busy strand, Tramore’s new D-class lifeboat was pressed into action.

The crew of Stephen Harris, David McGrath and Tom Doyle remained on board as reports came in of a missing swimmer towards the west of Tramore Bay but news came back a short time later that the person had returned safely to shore.

It was a perfect illustration, before a crowd of more than 100 who turned up at the National Lifeguard Training Centre, of the round-the-clock nature of the RNLI’s work and the dedication of its volunteer crew members.

The new D-class lifeboat was named Isabella Purchase, after a woman who lived in West Sussex and died in 2012, leaving her estate to the RNLI with the wish that they provide a lifeboat in her name.

Tramore benefitted from Ms Purchase’s generosity and the honour of officially naming the boat, launched four times since its recent arrival in Co Waterford, went to Sally Mongey, wife of the late Finn Mongey who was Lifeboat Operations Manager for Tramore RNLI between 1964 and his retirement in 1984.

“I’m glad today for the sake of the lifeboat and that it’s doing so well and I hope they’ll continue to do so well,” Ms Mongey said after Saturday’s formalities, adding that she and Finn moved from Castlebar to Tramore in 1958.

“We’re blow-ins from the west of Ireland, both myself and my husband, but we loved the place since we arrived and were made to feel welcome.”

The new D-class lifeboat cost €62,000 and, given its inflatable and manoeuvrable nature, is designed to operate close to shore and can be used to search close to cliffs and in rocks and caves.

RNLI Irish Council member Peter Crowley accepted the boat on behalf of the institution on Saturday and formally handed it into the care of Tramore lifeboat station, through operations manager Derek Musgrave.

Growing demand

“As marine leisure activity around our coast increases, the demand for our rescue services grows in tandem with this increased activity,” Mr Crowley said.

“In Tramore the station’s lifeboat crew have rescued a total of 54 people in the last five years. One can only imagine the life-changing impact of these rescues on both the casualties and the volunteer crew members who performed them.”

He said it’s important to provide safe, cutting-edge equipment for lifeboat crews at the RNLI’s stations throughout Ireland and the UK.

“They are volunteers and we can’t ask them to go out in anything but the best equipment . . . The local commitment to the station is huge and it’s part of the community.”

This point was echoed by chairman of the Tramore Lifeboat Group, Leonard Bell, during his speech to the gathering.

“These volunteers make themselves available 24/7, 365 days a year, to answer a call if – as they say – there are some souls to save.”

Frank Nolan, president of the group, remarked on the “wonderful support” received from the people of the area and surrounding communities.

“Your dedication to our cause has always been amplified by extraordinary generosity and support.”