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RNLI Lifeboat crews on the hallowed turf of Croke Park, unfurling huge flags with a message about water safety in front of 67,000 passionate football supporters seems an unlikely activity, but it was achieved just before the teams they were supporting did battle in the All-Ireland semi-final between Mayo and Kerry yesterday.

I am a dedicated supporter of the RNLI and believer in the importance of getting the message of water safety across to the public. Those involved in the marine sphere hear and see the message regularly, but getting it out to the general public is more difficult.

Though indeed, from the number of emergency calls for help necessitating the launching of lifeboats in recent weeks to yachts and other leisure craft, reinforcing that message will be of benefit.

RESPECT THE WATER RNLI AT CROKE PARKThe RNLI 'respect the water' slogan is rolled out at Croke Park

The GAA has been of great assistance to the RNLI in getting the message – Respect the Water - out through its clubs all over the country, in a partnership with the lifeboat service. At the All-Ireland semi-final the opportunity to do so, in front of the huge crowd and big media presence, including television, the GAA provided a marvellous opportunity to convey the message in the widest fashion to the public. I asked Niamh Stephenson, Public Affairs Manager of the RNLI, to describe what happened. Her report will be broadcast this week on my radio programme, THIS ISLAND NATION.

In advance, for Afloat.ie readers, this is how she describes what happened:

Published in Tom MacSweeney

Fethard RNLI rescued two people after their yacht ran aground off the Wexford coast yesterday evening.

The volunteer lifeboat crew was requested to launch their inshore lifeboat shortly after 5pm following a report from the Irish Coast Guard that a vessel with two people onboard had got into difficulty.

The 27ft yacht had run aground on a mudbank in Duncannon Harbour.

The lifeboat launched at 5.27pm and was on scene at 5.30pm. Dunmore East RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat was also launched.

Weather conditions at the time were good with a south west Force 5 wind and moderate seas.

Having assessed that the two people onboard were safe and well, the lifeboat crew proceeded to work with them to establish a tow line at the back of the yacht. However, this set up proved challenging and it was decided to tow the vessel from the front.

The yacht was successfully re-floated by Fethard’s lifeboat while Dunmore East’s all-weather lifeboat stood by in the event more power was required.

The yacht then safely continued on her own to Dunmore East.

Speaking following the call out, Hugh Burke, Fethard RNLI Deputy Launching Authority said: ‘As we continue to enjoy the summer, we would remind anyone planning a trip at sea to go prepared and respect the water. Communications is vital and it is important that you always carry a means of calling or signalling for help should you get into difficulty and need to contact the emergency services. If you do find yourself in trouble or see someone else in difficulty call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coast Guard.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Rosslare Harbour RNLI has responded to two call outs off the Wexford coast today.

The volunteer lifeboat crew was first requested to launch their all-weather lifeboat shortly after 9am this morning following a request from the Irish Coast Guard to go the assistance of a yacht which had sustained engine failure due to fuel problems.

The Swedish yacht with a man and woman onboard had been on passage from Arklow to Kinsale when it got into difficulty off Blackwater Bank.

The lifeboat under Coxswain Eamon O’Rourke and with seven crew members onboard launched at 9.15am and made its way to the scene.

Weather conditions at the time were good with a south westerly Force 4 wind.

The vessel which had a head wind down from Arklow had fuel problems causing the engine to fail. However, the sailors managed to start it again before the lifeboat arrived. To ensure it continued safely on passage, the lifeboat accompanied the sailors for an hour as the vessel made its way to Rosslare Europort.

The lifeboat was requested to launch for a second time today at approximately 3.30pm, this time following a report from the Irish Coast Guard that a small 2.5m rigid inflatable boat, thought to be unmanned was drifting out to sea from Rosslare Strand.

The lifeboat under Coxswain Eamon O’Rourke launched at 3.38pm. Weather conditions were good with sunny skies and a brisk south westerly Force 5-6 wind blowing.

Once on scene, the lifeboat crew set up a tow line and brought the vessel safely back to its moorings.

Speaking following the call out, Jamie Ryan, Rosslare Harbour RNLI Lifeboat Press Officer said: ‘It has been a busy day for the crew but our volunteers are always happy to help. We would remind anyone going to sea to respect the water. Always wear a lifejacket and harness where appropriate. Always have a means for calling and signalling for help and ensure everyone onboard knows how to use it. Always check the weather forecast and tide times. Make sure someone ashore knows where you are going and who to call if you don’t return on time. Learn how to start, run and maintain your engine and always carry tools and spares.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

The Courtmacsherry RNLI Lifeboat was called out at 11.25 am this morning Sunday to go to the immediate aid of a 14–foot Pleasure boat off Harbour View in Courtmacsherry Bay.

The alert was raised from the shore as the boat was seen to have got into difficulties and was being blown by strong winds towards the coast line.

The Courtmacsherry Lifeboat under Coxswain Ken Cashman and a crew of eight launched both the Trent Class Lifeboat and the Stations Inshore boat and reached the stricken causality within 15 minutes. The pleasure boat, with four persons on board had encountered engine problems and the prevailing winds was putting it in immediate danger.

On scene, the Lifeboat assessed the difficulties with the casualty and secured a tow line to the stricken vessel and then proceeded to tow the boat away from the shoreline and subsequently brought it back to the safe haven of the Courtmacsherry inner harbour.

Conditions at sea today were blustery with Winds in the area blowing force 5/6.

The Crew on board today's callout were Coxswain Ken Cashman with the All Weather Trent Boat crew of Chris Guy, Dara Gannon, Ciaran Hurley, Denis Murphy and Evin O Sullivan. The stations inshore boat was Helmed by Kevin Young and Mark John Gannon.

Courtmacsherry RNLI Lifeboat Station LPO Vincent O Donovan commented, " We are pleased that our Lifeboat was again very fast away today with eight volunteers quickly responding within two minutes and that the rescue was carried out efficiently and very quickly"

He also appealed to all that are using the water over these busy holiday weeks to " take great care of the safety measures associated with your pleasure craft and that Life Jackets are always worn by all persons on board your boat".

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Red Bay RNLI in County Antrim has rescued two men this afternoon (Friday 28 July) after their 10m yacht encountered steering problems off Rathlin Island.

The volunteer crew launched their all-weather lifeboat at 9.50am following a request from Belfast Coastguard that a yacht which had been on passage from Ballycastle to Campbeltown in Scotland at the time, was in difficulty.

The vessel had lost its steering due to a jammed rudder.

The lifeboat under Coxswain Tom McLaughlin and with five crew members onboard, made its way to the scene in what were moderate seas and strong tides. There, the lifeboat crew assessed that the two onboard were safe and well before working with them to establish a towline.

The yacht was then taken under tow and brought safely back to Ballycastle in an operation lasting four hours.

Speaking following the call out, Paddy McLaughlin, Red Bay RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer said: ‘Sailing and motorboating are popular pastimes around the Antrim coast and particularly at this time of year. We would remind anyone who finds themselves in difficulty to raise the alarm and ask for the Coastguard. It is important that anyone going to sea regardless of their activity respects the water. As you plan your trip, always check the weather forecast and tide times and make sure someone ashore knows where you are going and who to call if you don’t return on time. Always wear a lifejacket and always have a means of calling and signalling for help.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Baltimore RNLI was launched this afternoon (Tuesday 25 July) to locate a vessel which had become lost in fog off the coast of West Cork.

The volunteer lifeboat crew launched their all-weather lifeboat following a request from the Irish Coast Guard at 3.32pm after a man aboard a 6.5m RIB (rigid inflatable boat) raised the alarm that he was unsure of his position due to heavy fog.

The vessel with one person on board had left Galley Cove on a day voyage. However heavy fog descended on the coastline and being unsure of his position he contacted the Coast Guard to request assistance. Baltimore lifeboat proceeded to a location directed by Mizen Head Coast Guard and once in the area used direction finding off the casualty’s radio signal to locate the vessel. The vessel was located at 4.20pm. At the time there was poor visibility, less than 100m on occasion, with a calm sea and no wind.

Baltimore lifeboat escorted the vessel back to Galley Cove, arriving at 4.38pm, and then returned to the station in Baltimore at 5.30pm.

The lifeboat had six volunteer crew onboard, Coxswain Aidan Bushe, Mechanic Brian McSweeney and crewmen Sean McCarthy, Pat Collins, Kieran Collins and Jim Griffiths. Kieran Cotter provided shore crew assistance at the lifeboat house.

Speaking following the call out, Aidan Bushe, Baltimore RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Coxswain said: ‘It is important when putting to sea to have an adequate means of communication and navigation on board. If you get into difficulty at sea, call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coast Guard.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Baltimore RNLI carried out a medical evacuation yesterday afternoon (Sunday 23 July) after a man sustained injuries while on a visit to Sherkin Island off the coast of West Cork.

The volunteer lifeboat crew was requested to launch their inshore lifeboat following a request from the Irish Coast Guard at 4.13pm and were on scene in seven minutes. The man had cut his foot on a sharp object while out walking on Bán Strand on Sherkin Island.

Once on scene, two of the volunteer crew went ashore and administered casualty care before transferring the injured man to the inshore lifeboat. He was brought back to Baltimore lifeboat station at and handed over to the care of HSE Ambulance crew who were waiting at the station.

The lifeboat was helmed by Pat O’Driscoll and with crew members Jerry Smith and Colin Rochford and shore crew in attendance were Tom Kelly, Seamus O’Driscoll and Kate Callanan.

Speaking following the call out, Kate Callanan, Baltimore RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer said: ‘In this incident with the considerable distance between the beach and the ferry pier and the nature of the man’s injuries, a medical evacuation by lifeboat was the best course of action. The man did the right thing in requesting assistance from the Coast Guard. Remember, if you get into difficulty anywhere along the coastline, call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coast Guard. We wish him a speedy recovery.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

On Saturday July 22, Valentia Coast Guard requested Lough Derg RNL to assist two people and their dog after their 38ft cruiser ran aground at Ryan’s Point, on the eastern shore of Lough Derg.
At 2.35pm the lifeboat was launched with helm Eleanor Hooker, Keith Brennan and Darragh Quinn on board. Winds were northeasterly, Force 2. Visibility was good.
Both passengers and their dog were found to be safe and unharmed and wearing their lifejackets. The RNLI made numerous attempts to take the cruiser off the rocks, but it was stuck fast. The RNLI volunteer crew decided to take both people and their dog to Dromineer and to arrange for the cruiser to be lifted off the rocks by a specialist crew from the local marina. They informed Valentia Coast Guard of their decision.
The lifeboat returned to station and was ready for service again at 4.32pm.
At 7.22pm, the lifeboat launched following a request from Valentia Coast Guard to assist four people in a 40ft cruiser with engine failure by the Goat Road, at the northern end of Lough Derg. At 7.40pm the lifeboat, with helm Eleanor Hooker, Owen Cavanagh and Kevin Dooley on board, located the cruiser adrift on the navigation route. The wind was northerly, F2/3.
The lifeboat took the vessel on an astern tow to Dromineer Bay, where the lifeboat volunteers changed the tow to an alongside tow before bringing the boat into Dromineer Harbour.
Once the cruiser was safely tied up alongside at Dromineer, the lifeboat returned to Station and was read for service again at 9.07pm
Brendan O’Brien, Deputy Launching Authority at Lough Derg RNLI Lifeboat Station, advises all boat users on the lake, to ‘bring charts of the lake in addition to electronic systems of navigation, and plan a safe passage before leaving harbour’.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Fethard RNLI launched its inshore lifeboat yesterday evening (Thursday 6 July) to conduct a search after a member of the public reported seeing a kayak floating in the sea off Duncannon Beach in County Wexford.

The volunteer crew was requested to launch their inshore lifeboat at 7.50pm. They quickly assembled at the station and the lifeboat immediately proceeded to an area north of Broom Hill to carry out a search.

Weather conditions at the time were good with a light northerly Force 3 wind and a slight to moderate sea.

The crew located the kayak with no one onboard before continuing a search from Broomhill north to Duncannon, west to Woodstown, and back south to Creaden Head and east to Templetown. This was followed by a search from Templetown to Dollar Bay.

Meanwhile, the Fethard Coast Guard unit carried out a search of the shore while the Irish Coast Guard helicopter, Rescue 117 from Waterford conducted a search from the air.

The search was stood down after it was confirmed that the owner of the kayak had been safely located after swimming back to shore.

Speaking following the call out, Hugh Burke, Fethard RNLI Deputy Launching Authority said: ‘While the call out turned out to be a false alarm with good intent, we would like to commend the member of the public who raised the alarm when they saw the kayak. They thought someone was in difficulty and that was absolutely the right thing to do.
‘The search proved to be a great example of interagency work between ourselves and our colleagues in the Irish Coast Guard.
‘We would remind anyone planning a trip to sea this summer to always respect the water. Always wear a lifejacket and carry a means of communication. Should you get into difficulty call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coast Guard. If you lose a kayak or a board, please report it to the Coast Guard or the Gardaí.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Rosslare Harbour RNLI has rescued three men this afternoon after their motorboat encountered mechanical problems and broke down off the Wexford coast.

The volunteer crew was requested to launch their all-weather lifeboat at 3pm following a report from the Irish Coast Guard that the vessel was in difficulty eight miles north east of Rosslare Harbour.

The lifeboat under Coxswain Eamon O’Rourke and with six crew members onboard launched immediately and made its way to the scene. The sailors had been on passage from Dun Laoghaire to Kilmore Quay when they began to encounter problems.

Weather conditions were good at the time with a slight westerly wind.

Once on scene at 3.30pm, the lifeboat crew stood by as the sailors got their vessel started again. The lifeboat then escorted the motorboat safely back to Rosslare Harbour.

Speaking following the call out, David Maloney, Rosslare Harbour RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager said: ‘Sailing and motorboating are popular pastimes and particularly so at this time of year. We would remind sailors and anyone taking to sea to always wear a lifejacket. Always have a means for calling or signalling for help and ensure everyone onboard knows how to use it. Always check the weather forecast and tide times and make sure someone ashore knows where you are going and who to call if you don’t return on time. And should you get into trouble, dial 999 or 112 and ask for the Coast Guard. The RNLI provides a 24 hour search and rescue service and our volunteers at Rosslare Harbour are always ready and willing to help.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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