RNLI Station

Courtmacsherry Lifeboat Station History

The first lifeboat was established in Courtmacsherry in 1825 – one of the first to be founded in Ireland. The lifeboat is very central to the life of Courtmacsherry and is very much part of the proud history and tradition of this beautiful seaside village. The station’s current lifeboat is the “Frederick Storey Cockburn” – a “Trent” class lifeboat. This class of lifeboat was designed to lie afloat at a deep water mooring or at a berth. At Courtmacsherry the lifeboat lies approximately 100 yards offshore from the lifeboat station and is accessed by a small boarding boat.

Courtmacsherry lies in beautiful West Cork – only a short drive (and yet a lifetime away) from Cork city. Courtmacsherry lifeboat station and its boats were paid for in the main from voluntary contributions by individuals and groups. Though the crews are fully trained by the RNLI to a very high standard, they are volunteers and do not charge for their time. click here for the station website

To the West, Courtmacsherry is flanked by Baltimore Lifeboat station and its Tamar class All-weather lifeboat. To the East, is Kinsale Lifeboat station and it’s Atlantic-75 class Inshore lifeboat. Courtmacsherry crews regularly exercise with these stations and have acted together on various shouts (or call outs). We also co-operate with the Irish Coastguard. Directly to our East is the Old Head of Kinsale Coastguard station, then Summercove station followed by the Oysterhaven Coastguard station. Our Western flank is served by the coastguard stations of the Seven Heads, Castlefreake and Glandore.

A brief history of the station:

1825 A station was established and manned by Coastguards.

1840 A Silver Medal was awarded to Coastguard Barnabus Quadling for rescuing four crew from the wrecked sloop John and Ellen.

1842 A Gold Medal was awarded to Coastguard Barnabus Quadling for rescuing the 14 crew from the wrecked brigantine Latona.

1867 The RNLI took over the station and a new boathouse was built on the beach headland.

1887 Silver Medals were awarded to Maria and Josephine Horsford and to William Sullivan for rescuing two women and two men from a sailing boat which had capsized in Courtmacsherry Bay.

1901 A new boathouse and slipway were built at Barry’s Point.

1904  On 1 January the lifeboat Kezia Gwilt rescued 11 crew from the barque Faulconnier stranded on the Seven Heads.

1915  On the 7-May the famous liner Lusitania is sunk off the Old Head of Kinsale with the loss of 1,198 souls – torpedoed by German submarine U-20. She sank in just 17 minutes. Courtmacsherry lifeboat Kezia Gwilt was the first rowed boat to the scene.

1928 The station temporarily closed due to crew shortages.

1929 The station opened again and the lifeboat was placed on moorings in the river.

1930 A Centenary Vellum was presented to the station.

1952 Coxswain Denis Driscoll retired after serving nearly 24 years on the lifeboat, during which time he helped save 50 lives.

1968 A Frenchman who was rescued by the lifeboat on 1 January 1904 sent a donation to the branch in appreciation of the kindness shown to his daughter when she visited Courtmacsherry in 1968. She was shown the site of the wreck of the Faulconnier and met the only surviving member of the crew who took part in the service.

1975 An anniversary Vellum was presented to the station to celebrate 150 years as a lifeboat station.

1979 A special framed certificate was awarded to the Coxswain and crew for display at the station for their services to numerous yachts in difficulties during the Fastnet Race on 14 August in Storm Force 11 conditions.

1981 A Framed Letter of Thanks was awarded to Acting Coxswain/Mechanic JB Madden when the lifeboat Helen Wycherley searched for survivors from the capsized fishing boat Blue Whale.

1995 The Waveney class lifeboat was withdrawn and replaced by a new Trent class lifeboat.

1998 A new boathouse, providing improved crew facilities, was completed in August.

1999 A Bronze Medal was awarded to Second Coxswain Dan O’Dwyer and Framed Letters of Thanks were awarded to Crew Members for rescuing three people from the yacht Supertaff in storm force 10 south westerly winds on 24 October 1998.

2003 A Framed Letter of Thanks was awarded to Coxswain Dan O’Dwyer for saving an injured yachtsman from the yacht Bowden in Force 11 winds and severe seas on 1 December 2002.

2013 Courtmacsherry called to the assistance of the “Astrid” a Dutch registered sail training Tall Ship that had run aground just outside Oysterhaven with 30 people on-board. All lives were saved but the ship ran aground and sank.


Lifeboat “Frederick Storey Cockburn”:

The Courtmacsherry lifeboat, (code 14-07) is a Trent class lifeboat. These lifeboats entered service in 1994. They are “condensed” adaptations of the slightly larger Severn class lifeboat and were designed and built by Green Marine in England. These boats are constructed of over 100 mm thick foam-cored, GRP composite topsides, single laminate double hull bottoms, 4 water-tight bulkheads and prepreg epoxy, glass and Kevlar shields.

The Trent lifeboats are the only true all-weather lifeboats of the RNLI fleet, and, as the name implies, are the only classes exclusively designed to operate in Europe’s most hostile waters. Their roles typically see them and their crew leaving port when others are seeking shelter.

One useful design feature of these boats would be the bilge keels which aid in protecting its twin drive props. Its hull sheer line sweeps down into an area known as the welldeck, which dramatically helps with ease of casualty recovery. Another useful feature is the boats maneuverability – which is especially important in confined or treacherous areas, Trent’s also carry an inflatable XP-boat which is powered by a 5 hp outboard engine, and can be deployed in good conditions to gain access to rocks or beaches when an inshore lifeboat is otherwise unavailable.

Electronics aboard include Navtext, VHF/DSC , Laser plotters, AIS information and more. Rescue equipment includes emergency transferable pump, stretchers, medical kits, a hydraulic hoist, fire pump, hoses, and more.


L.O.A. 14.26 m (Hence the 14- prefix on the hull identification.
Beam 4.9m
Draught  1.3m
Displacement 27.5 tonnes
Construction GRP
Engines 2 x MAN D2840LXE diesels. Each produce 800shp @ 2300 rpm
Fuel 4,100 litres, diesel.
Speed 25 kt
Range 250nm
Crew 5 – 7
Carrying Capacity 28 – in self-righting capacity
102 – in non-self-righting capacity