Larne Lifeboat Station, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2014, has produced a film showing how dedicated local volunteers go about saving lives at sea.
In two decades, the men and women who crew the two RNLI lifeboats based at Olderfleet Road have been launched 400 times in all weathers, rescued 368 people and saved 31 lives.
Visitors at a special anniversary open day recently learned that the RNLI depends on public donations to keep its craft afloat and to ensure that crew members are trained to the highest standards.
It costs £3,000 to bring a raw recruit up to scratch, but that figure is dwarfed by the £40,000 price tag for a D-class rigid inflatable inshore lifeboat, or the £2.1 million purchase price of an all-weather vessel. Larne has one of each - D-class Hannnahbella Ferguson, and the Trent class all-weather The Dr John McSparran.
Given the expense involved, the lifeboat team go to great lengths to ensure that their most vital pieces of kit are kept in good working order for as long as possible. Lifeboat Operations Manager Allan Dorman explained: “The RNLI is an organisation which is very highly respected by the public and if it wasn’t for the public we wouldn’t be here-our organisation doesn’t get any grants or funding.
“How long the boats last depends on how well they are looked after. Here in Larne we look after our boats to a really high standard, so we hope to get another ten years out of the all-weather boat.”
If you would like to fundraise for Larne Lifeboat station, contact Derek Rea on 02828274490.