Lifeboat volunteer Steve Smyth, who was inspired to join the RNLI by his own rescue, has taken the helm at Lough Derg after two years of training.
Steve became a volunteer with Lough Derg RNLI in 2018, having been inspired by his own rescue eight years prior, an event which made him want to give something back to the lifesaving charity.
Having friends who were already volunteers with the RNLI, including his brother-in-law Owen, a senior helm at Lough Derg, he had good insight into what was required to train as a crew with the lifeboat.
In 2020, just as lockdown restrictions were being imposed, Steve began his own training to qualify as a helmsman of the inshore lifeboat.
Undaunted by the challenging circumstances, he pushed on with the programme through online classes, training on the water with crew, and with Helena Duggan, the station’s Assessor Trainer.
When asked about becoming a RNLI lifeboat helm, Steve said that it wasn’t just him, but everyone at the station, and all those who support its efforts, who had helped achieve this.
“It is a team effort. We can’t go afloat without the support, time and effort of each other. We are all one crew.
“I also want to thank our Assessor Trainer Helena Duggan for all her advice and guidance, Mark Mitchell who carried out the pass out, to Eleanor and Chris, my excellent crew on the day and Cathy, the on-duty Deputy Launching Authority”.
Steve says he will now endeavour to maintain the high standards and professionalism shown by the helms and crew at the station.
“When the call comes to help, I have faith that my training and experience will enable me to make the correct decisions day or night.”
“As all RNLI volunteers are aware, it is the understanding from our families that enables us to fulfil our roles,” Steve said.
“I want to say a huge thanks for the support and encouragement from my wife Clodagh and my two boys Cathal and Darragh.”