New inland lifeboat station now complete and operational at Enniskillen RNLI on Lower Lough Erne
The RNLI’s new inland lifeboat station on Lower Lough Erne is complete and fully operational. The station team is now looking for new volunteers to join the crew in several roles including lifeboat crew, shore crew, deputy launching authorities and fundraisers.
After been housed in temporary accommodation for 21 years, volunteers at Enniskillen RNLI were handed the keys to their new state of the art building on the Killadeas Road at Gublusk earlier this month.
The modern purpose-built lifeboat station is located close to the lough to allow for an efficient launch of its inshore lifeboat. The station which also houses the associated launching tractor and equipment, full crew changing facilities, a workshop, office, and training room, will be officially opened at a special ceremony next year.
The build which took little over a year to complete was carried out by the Omagh based company, Woodvale Construction, and handed over to the RNLI on Friday 4 November.
A generous contribution towards the cost of the build was made by the daughter of the late Alfred Russell Wallace Weir from Bangor in county Down, in his memory.
The building is designed with a heating system which allows the heat to be drawn from the ground and produced inside keeping the temperature at an ambient 16 degrees Celsius. The excess is used to heat the water for showering, washing up and cleaning the vessels. The building is also fitted with solar panels on the roof to generate electricity.
In 2001, Enniskillen became home to the RNLI’s first inland lifeboat station based on Lower Lough Erne.
Due to the overall size and complexity of the lough and its high leisure usage, the decision was taken by the RNLI in 2002 to base a second lifeboat on the upper lough at Carrybridge that would work in conjunction with the original lifeboat station on the lower lough at Killadeas.
Last year, Enniskillen RNLI launched 33 times bringing 73 people to safety.
Speaking following the handover of the new building to the RNLI, Rogan Wheeldon, RNLI Area Lifesaving Manager said he was delighted that the station was now complete: ‘From the outset, we wanted to build a modern station with full crew facilities with areas for the crew to change and train and space to keep their lifeboat and lifesaving kit safe. We now have those facilities and are very happy to be in a position to take over the new lifeboat station and are delighted with both the design and quality of the building.’
Gary Jones, Enniskillen RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager said the new station was what the crew deserved: ‘The new station is a testament of the RNLI’s commitment and dedication to the community here locally and a credit to the efforts of our crew in continuing to bring people to safety on Lough Erne. Our volunteers had an opportunity to be shown around their new station and they are overwhelmed with the structure and facilities that they now have when they come together for call outs and training. We would like to thank everyone who has helped us to get to this stage.
‘Now that we have our new building, we are keen to have new volunteers join our team. If you are interested in becoming lifeboat crew, shore crew, deputy launching authority or helping in another officer capacity or with fundraising, please contact us to find out more about how you can be involved and help us to continue to save lives on Lough Erne.’
To find out more about how you can volunteer at Enniskillen RNLI, please email Gary_Jones@rnli.org.uk