Larne RNLI welcomes teacher as fully qualified coxswain

Barry Kirkpatrick completing coxswain assessments with RNLI trainer assessor Alan Pryce. Photo: RNLI/Larne RNLI
Barry Kirkpatrick completing coxswain assessments with RNLI trainer assessor Alan Pryce. Photo: RNLI/Larne RNLI

A teacher has been welcomed on board by Larne RNLI as a fully qualified coxswain.

Barry Kirkpatrick completed his assessments to qualify as an RNLI all-weather lifeboat coxswain.

Speaking as the charity celebrated Volunteers Week, Barry said: “Being an RNLI volunteer is a big commitment but working alongside like-minded people, to help those in distress at sea, is very rewarding. It’s very much a team approach at Larne RNLI with a fantastic camaraderie within the crew.”

Volunteers come from all walks of life from students to teachers, firefighters to pharmacists. Within the RNLI, only one in 10 lifeboat crew members now have professional maritime experience. That is the reason for the charity’s comprehensive competency-based crew training.

Larne RNLI coxswain Frank Healy said: “Our crews train extensively across a broad spectrum to gain the skills and knowledge necessary to be a member of the lifeboat crew. This means giving time and dedication to meet the requirements.

“This was realised recently when Barry, after long intensive and wide ranging training, was passed out successfully as an all weather lifeboat coxswain. A great achievement for Barry who is a very valuable asset to Larne station.”

In 2019 Larne RNLI is celebrating 25 years of volunteers providing a 24 hour a day, seven days a week rescue service to the area. Over that period, Larne lifeboats have launched 514 times, saving 34 lives and rescuing 454 people. An average of 21 ‘shouts’ per year.

To celebrate the work of volunteers and the support the community has provided, an open day with BBQ, bouncy castles, mascot Stormy Stan and lots more will be held at the lifeboat station on Olderfleet Road, Larne, June 22, 12pm-4pm.