BY JACKIE KEOGH
AN €8m investment in boats, equipment, training and the re-development of the Baltimore Lifeboat Station has meant that the service is able to respond in super quick time.
‘The investment is very significant,’ Kieran Cotter, the coxswain of Baltimore Lifeboat told The Southern Star. ‘It means we have an extremely fast response time and that our search equipment is excellent.’
‘Resources equals results,’ he added. ‘Unfortunately, on Tuesday night it just didn’t work out.’
Baltimore, like every coastal community, has known its share of tragedies, but for the crew of Baltimore RNLI, who cover from Mizen to Galley Head, the numbers are frightening.
‘If you were to sit down and work it out,’ he said, ‘the figures would be enormous. There have been a lot of tragedies in the fishing community, the sailing community, and people that walk the beach and the strands.
‘Here, in Baltimore, it is the beginning of our tourist season and the word needs to go out that people need to be vigilant. You might go down to the shore and you might think it is calm, but the sea is all powerful.
‘People need to be careful around the sea and wear a buoyancy aid or lifejacket even if they are going down to the shore to fish. People going out on boats need to be wearing lifejackets and they need to inform people of when they are going, and when they are coming back,’ he added.
For more than 40 years, Kieran Cotter has been the ‘go-to guy’ in relation to Baltimore RNLI, but he, too, nearly lost his life at sea when, at the age of 19, the boat in which he was fishing almost sank.
‘I remember the day,’ he said.
‘It was Friday, June 13th 1975. I was 19, going on 20, when myself and two others were fishing in the Fastnet Sound and we took a big sea and quarter-filled the boat, the North Bay. But our luck was in and we were able to bale out the boat.’
Kieran said: ‘We all make mistakes and hopefully by those mistakes we learn lessons and take heed of what is happening. As an RNLI crew member, you are taught that safety is paramount.’