What we do….
Derrynane Inshore Rescue Service is a voluntary group set up to provide an emergency lifeboat service to the Kenmare Bay community. We are a 24 hour station on call from Valentia Coastguard on a beeper system. The area we cover is from Ballinskelligs Bay, up down the Kenmare River, also covering the West Cork side as well as far as Dursey island. On average we have about 11 callouts a year mostly in the summer season, in saying that we have had about 4 or 5 callouts in recent times in the winter months too. We assist with Search and Rescue but unfortunately sometimes it is a recovery and also cover any water based occasions such as Triathlons, Regatta’s and fishing competitions. In 2004 we built our Station House in which the boat is housed and is launched from. Our Call Outs range from boats out of petrol, Flare sightings to missing persons.
No one call out is the same. Our crews work in a high pressure stressful environment. Leaving the comfort of your bed at 1 O Clock in the morning to attend a call 20 nautical miles away is no easy task. Yet they all do it voluntary. The vast majority of the situations we attend are successful and have a happy ending but unfortunately there are some which do not have a happy ending. Over the past 20 years DIR has retrieved several bodies from the Kenmare Bay. This is no easy task for the Voluntary Crew, but this is a part of the Job we train and provide.
The lifeboat, “Aghamore II“, is manned, managed and crewed by local volunteers. Derrynane Inshore Rescue Service is 25 years old. It was founded by Austin (Ossie) Wilson, (who owned the water sports centre) in 1990 after a father and son drowned on Easter Monday – a misty day with strong swells. Inspite of being warned they they set out from Ballinskelligs to Derrynane but never arrived. The wife became worried but hesitated to call out the lifeboat from Valentia. By the time she raised the alarm and they were found they were dead – though not very long.
Finding a body is always a deeply shocking experience – especially when you know it could have been avoided.
So Ossie Wilson and another member of the eventual rescue team – Michael Donnelly – realised that there had to be some local co-ordination in rescue services, where the alarm could be raised and a search and rescue quickly be organised. Even though Derrynane is close to the RNLI station at Valentia the Kenmare River is a huge area and with ever more increasing leisure traffic due to the economic up-swing, it was not enough. A smaller boat (cheaper to run and more maneuverable in coastal waters) was an advantage. Ossie and Michael equipped their cars with VHF radios. They were joined by other dedicated volunteers and they got a smallish boat and attended training courses. They nowadays meet regularly with the Coastguard and IWS (Irish Water Safety) and other rescue station personnel. There are also regular assessments of boat and training fitness of crew and they have become a “Declared Resource” to the Irish Coast Guard…
Along with providing a Rescue Service to the Kenmare Bay Region D.I.R provides rescue cover for Community events such as several triathlons and regattas every year. At the triathlons we co-ordinate all rescue operations, we give a safety talk and supervise all swimmers during the swim. We also set up the swimming course if needs be. We usually support local triathlons and regattas but do travel to provide our services as required. An example of this would be the Farran Wood triathlon in Cork. We receive a very welcome contribution from the organizers. Their contribution for the service we provide is a very important part of our fundraising. These Triathlons and Regattas do require a considerable amount of crew and resources (petrol being the biggest!) and as a result we are limited to the amount we do annually.
Click on the picture below to see a full list of all the equipment we use.
Our crew are trained to the highest possible standard. They are trained in house as well as attending external courses run by the Irish Coast Guard, IWS and ISA. Before a new member is allowed to respond to an emergency call out they must have the following courses completed:
- National Powerboat Certificate (€350)
- Coastal navigation
- Occupational First Aid (€150)
- VHF Radio License (€200)
- STCW-95 Sea Survival Techniques (€300)
- Irish Coast Guard Rib Capsize Course
As crew members progresses they are constantly up-skilling and revalidating their courses. We revalidate our First Aid courses annually along with crash courses in navigation. Our more experienced crew have their advanced powerboat certificate, Passenger Boat license, Yachtmaster Navigation and Rescue Helmsman courses. Two of our crew members are National Powerboat Instructors meaning we can train all new crew in house and as a result reduce costs.
Training for crew members takes place weekly in Winter months and twice a week in Summer months. Training consists of a combination of theory classes held in the boat-house and hands-on practice involving launching the lifeboat and skills training on the water. New members are always welcome.
Each new crew member will be initially trained to level 2 powerboat (coastal). They will then be examined by an external and given their license. This level covers topics such as boat design, maintenance, boating skills, rope work, tides, charts, weather and navigation. They then move through the qualifications to advanced powerboat. Further specific training is included to cover the routines applicable to the particular systems operated by Derrynane Inshore Rescue. These include search and rescue techniques, search planning, pyrotechnics, first aid & CPR, and VHF communication.
We have worked alongside the Irish Coast Guard Rescue Helicopter on serval incidents over the past few years. We have trained with them and have also trained with the Irish Army Air Corps. This training is vital to the success of rescue missions.