27 Sept 2022

Tipperary RNLI volunteer Tom is ready to answer the call on Lough Derg

Tipperary RNLI volunteer Tom is ready to answer the call on Lough Derg

Tom Hayes: ready to help save lives on Lough Derg with the local RNLI crew

Lough Derg RNLI station based in Dromineer has welcomed its latest volunteer crew member.

Following his final assessment with Helena Duggan, RNLI assessor / trainer, earlier this month, Tom Hayes has been passed out as a fully qualified lifeboat crew member.

Encouraged by volunteer helm, Dom Sharkey, Tom joined the station first as a deputy launching authority, a responsibility he held for two years. The role is central to operations within all RNLI lifeboat stations, as he/she will make the decision to launch the lifeboat when a request is made by the Coast Guard to do so. Once the decision to launch is made, crew pagers are activated and both lifeboat crew and shore crew immediately travel to the station to attend to the call out.

Watching volunteers train and launch on "shouts", and encouraged by Liam Maloney, former lifeboat operations manager (now deputy launching authority), Tom decided to enroll as a trainee lifeboat crew at the station.

Tom says he had no previous boating experience, but that his training was "comprehensive, and very educational".

He commends the support his received from his fellow volunteers saying they were "exceptionally generous with their time and experience".

Tom says that when his pager goes off it’s a "get your keys and go scenario", adding "of course I wonder what kind of a call out it’s going to be, but I feel good that I’m with a great team and that we’re going to help someone".

From Nenagh originally, Tom and his family live just outside the busy market town.

As a transport driver for Waterways Ireland, Tom’s office is located in Portumna at the northern end of Lough Derg, where, he says, he can see the lake from his desk. He says being a fully qualified crew is a "great achievement for me. I love being able to give something back to the community and that certainly is the case with the RNLI."

If you think you would like to become a volunteer with the RNLI, you can read more here on what it entails at

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