Five new members part of RNLI Lough Derg crew for Christmas period

RNLI volunteers Ania Skrzypczynska and Richard Nolan who are on call this Christmas. Photo: RNLI.

Five new crew members will be on call over the Christmas period for the RNLI ready to launch their boats into Lough Derg should a call for help come in.

The charity have just launched their Christmas appeal.

Over the past ten years, RNLI lifeboats have launched 1,200 times over the festive period.

Those callouts wouldn’t be possible without generous donations from the public, which help to fund essential kit, training and equipment needed by the crews all year round.

Richard Nolan is one of those on call this Christmas and he told Tipp FM why he believes this work to be so vital.

“While most people won’t be used to being on call and won’t be on call over the Christmas period, we as a team and the wider RNLI, are always on call 24/7, 365 days a year.

“It does mean that while most would be having some Christmas dinner and spending some time with family, some of my colleagues somewhere will be launching a boat to save lives.

“We, of course hope that we won’t be called upon, for obvious reasons, but having said that, we as a team are delighted to commit to being on call, to save lives over the Christmas period if we’re needed.”

Ania Skrzypczynska, a native of Poland, is preparing to swap traditional festivities for the cold waters of the December lake, should the call for help come in.

She is urging the public to help her crew and the thousands of other volunteer crews on call over the Christmas period, to continue their lifesaving work.

“I joined the RNLI because I wanted to become part of the community after moving to Dromineer.

“After the first few training sessions on the lifeboat, I had got to meet really nice, friendly people and found it to be a great experience.

“Then after passing my first assessment and being allowed to go on the lifeboat, it was like the beginning of an adventure for me.

“Being a mum of a small and very busy boy, I am restricted with the amount of time I have to spare between my full-time job and family life. However, I know that in the future I will be able to get more involved in the life of the station.

“I am looking forward to becoming a fully qualified crew member. I like new challenges and I want to channel it towards learning how to help others. And by living so close to Lough Derg, I want to learn more about the lake, it’s beauty and, its dangers.”

Among the other new crew members at Lough Derg RNLI, are Ciara Lynch, Eimear Kelly and Ciara Moylan.

Each RNLI crew member signs up to save every one from drowning, it has been the charity’s mission since 1824.

This Christmas many will leave their loved ones behind to answer the call, each time hoping to reunite another family, and see those in trouble on the water safely returned.

To make a donation to the RNLI’s Christmas Appeal visit: RNLI.org/Xmas

The Coast Guard and RNLI are appealing to people to be careful in any activity on or near the water.

With the increased levels of open water swimming, both organisations are highlighting the risks of suffering cold water shock, which is a danger for anyone entering water 15°C or below.

Average sea temperature around Ireland at this time of year are just 6-10°C, which can pose a risk of hypothermia, even for the most experienced of open water swimmers.

They have these tips for open water swimming;

– Always check the weather forecast and understand the local effects of wind, tides, and currents (for weather and tides see www.safetyonthewater.gov.ie)
– Never swim alone and if possible, have somebody ashore who is familiar with your plans and can observe your progress
– Only swim in sheltered areas with which you are familiar and swim parallel to the shore
– Stay within your depth, know your limits including how long to stay in the water
– Ensure that you are visible from the shore. Wear a brightly coloured swim cap or use a tow float to increase your visibility in the water
– Wearing a wetsuit is advisable to help stay warm
– Acclimatise to cold water slowly to reduce the risk of cold-water shock
– Get warmed up afterwards. Wrap up well in extra layers of clothing
– Tell someone else where you’re going and when you’ll be back
– If in doubt, don’t go out.