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#Lifeboats - A lifeboat once stationed in Dun Laoghaire almost a century ago has returned to the harbour thanks to the efforts of a local restoration group.

The Dunleary was secured in the Coal Harbour yesterday (Tuesday 15 August) after transport from Amble in Northumberland, where it had been been dry-docked for many years.

Now the Dunleary Lifeboat Project, whose efforts brought the vessel back to Dun Laoghaire, are gearing up to restore the lifeboat to its former glory — and are calling for donations to cover the costs of transport and storage, as well as support the next vital stages of the project.

RNLB Dunleary was stationed in the South Dublin port from 1919 (when it was still known as Kingstown) till 1937, during a tumultuous and historic time for the island of Ireland.

According to the UK’s National Historic Ships register, the Dunleary launched 81 times in its two decades at its titular port, saving 85 lives.

Following its time in Dublin Bay 80 years ago, the Dunleary moved across the Irish Sea to the RNLI station at Lytham St Annes in Lancashire — where it helped save 28 lives during the Second World War.

Some time after that, the boat was decommissioned and converted into a motor sailer, and in 1970 came into the possession of Jack Belfield and Pat Jopling of Amble, whose plans to restore her as a work/pleasure boat were not to be.

After her husband Jack’s death, Pat Jopling kept the Dunleary in the boatyard she owns, though in 2014 its future was rendered uncertain due to a planned redevelopment.

Previous moves to relocate the boat to Lytham fell through, but that allowed Brian Comerford and the Dunleary Lifeboat Project to step in and negotiate her return to the port she served almost 100 years ago.

How that the Dunleary is back in Dun Laoghaire, the most pressing concern is securing with the assistance of the Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company of a suitable premises where the restoration work can begin.

For more see the Dunleary Lifeboat Project website, and check the group’s Facebook page for the latest updates.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - Baltimore RNLI assisted two sailors yesterday evening (Monday 14 August) after their yacht lost power off Mizen Head in West Cork.

The alarm was raised earlier in the afternoon following a report from the crew of a 26ft yacht that they had lost all battery power.

At the time, the occupants were comfortable sailing the yacht towards Baltimore, so the lifeboat was put on standby until they were closer.

However, due to a confused sea in a strong tideway, the yacht was making very little progress towards land and required assistance to get to port.

The inshore lifeboat, helmed by Micheal Cottrell and with crew members Ryan O’Mahony and Colin Rochford on board, left station at 7.20pm and met the yacht three miles west of Cape Clear Island just before 8pm.

Weather conditions at the time were relatively good, with a Force 3 south-westerly wind and a one-metre sea swell.

One of the lifeboat crew went aboard the yacht to assist with rigging a tow and, once that was established at 8.05pm, a course was set for North Harbour in Cape Clear where the vessel was moored safely at 8.55pm.

Speaking following the callout, Cottrell said: “The sailors did the right thing in initially alerting people ashore to their predicament and then seeking the assistance of the lifeboat before darkness when their situation wasn’t improving.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - Valentia RNLI volunteers launched their all-weather lifeboat on Saturday morning (12 August) to assist three people onboard a fishing vessel with mechanical failure.

At 9.23am, Valentia Coast Guard requested the local lifeboat station to assist the vessel one mile south of Lemon Rock, near Skellig Michael.

Weather conditions at the time were described as fresh, with a north-westerly Force 5 wind.

Arriving on scene, the lifeboat crew were informed the fishing vessel was unable to return to harbour due to mechanical failure.

The volunteers checked that the three crew onboard the fishing boat were safe and well before setting up a tow to bring the fishing vessel safely back into Portmagee Harbour.

Speaking following the callout, Valentia RNLI lifeboat crew member Con O’Shea said: “The fishermen did the right thing calling for assistance. We urge anyone taking to the sea to always wear a lifejacket and carry a means of calling for help.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#Rescue - The Arklow lifeboat joined Courtown RNLI and the Irish Coast Guard in a multi-agency rescue on Friday evening (11 August) after a teenage girl fell from an inflatable ‘doughnut’ being towed by a jet ski in Courtown Harbour.

Once on scene, around a mile east of Ardamine Beach south of Courtown, the Arklow lifeboat volunteers assisted their Courtown colleagued who were already in the water dealing with the casualty, a 13-year-old girl with suspected spinal injuries.

Arklow RNLI worked to clear the area of other vessels to allow for a safe airlift by the Waterford-based coastguard helicopter Rescue 117.

In the process, they picked up three other casualties — kayakers who had entered the water to assist in the rescue but found themselves adrift.

Independent.ie and The Irish Times have more on the story.

Published in Rescue

#RNLI - Union Hall RNLI were tasked yesterday evening (Friday 11 August) by Valentia Coast Guard to a 16ft pleasure craft with five teenagers aboard that suffered engine failure in West Cork’s Glandore Harbour.

The lifeboat was launched and underway at 6.05pm to go to the aid of the casualty vessel, whose passengers had been angling at the eastern entrance of the harbour.

In favourable weather conditions, the Union Hall lifeboat was on scene within a few minutes to assist the pleasure craft as its position was a mere 15 feet away from rocks.

Following the incident, the five teenagers and their parents called to the lifeboat station to thank the volunteer crew for coming to their aid.

Martin Limrick, Union Hall RNLI volunteer lifeboat crew member, said: “The teenagers did everything right. They rang for help, deployed their anchor and were all wearing lifejackets.

“We would urge people when heading out on the water to have a means of communication, always wear a lifejacket and to respect the water.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - The volunteer crew with Fethard RNLI were requested to launch their inshore lifeboat shortly before noon yesterday (Thursday 10 August) following a call from a vessel with two on board who had got into difficulty when their engine failed.

The 17ft boat had lost engine power about two miles out from Fethard Quay in Co Wexford. 

Fethard’s lifeboat launched at 12.17pm and was on scene shortly after. Weather conditions at the time were good with a north-westerly Force 2 wind and calm seas.

Having assessed that the two people on board were safe and well and with both wearing lifejackets, the lifeboat crew worked with them to establish a tow line at the front of the boat before it was successfully brought back to harbour and moored at Fethard Quay.

Fethard RNLI deputy launching authority Hugh Burke commented: “We would remind anyone planning a trip at sea to go prepared and respect the water.

“Communication 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 coastguard.”

Burke also warned: “Mobile phones are not a reliable source of communication as signal can be weak at sea.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - Ballycotton RNLI launched their all-weather lifeboat on Wednesday afternoon (9 August) to aid a yacht in difficulty some 84 miles south of the East Cork village.

Vencom, a Ker 39 with 10 people onboard, was returning from the Fastnet Race when it lost its rudder and was unable to steer.

The resulting support by Ballycotton RNLI saw the volunteer lifeboat crew on service for over 10 hours, eventually returning home to Ballycotton shortly after 11.30pm.

St Mary’s lifeboat from the Isles of Scilly was also requested to launch and was first to arrive on scene at 4.15pm, half an hour before the Ballycotton crew.

The St Mary’s volunteers put Vencom under tow and began to take the vessel back ashore to Scilly. 

However, the yacht began manoeuvring violently while under tow and was unable to hold a straight line behind the lifeboat, requiring assistance from the Ballycotton lifeboat.

The Cork crew agreed to pass a casualty drogue to the yacht, which enabled it to remain in a towable position and under control.

Once confirmed that the casualty vessel and St Mary’s lifeboat were safe and in a stable towing position, the Ballycotton lifeboat returned to station.

Commenting on the callout, Ballycotton RNLI coxswain Eolan Walsh said: “This was the furthest offshore rescue that I personally have ever been requested to, and it was a pleasure to be able to assist the crew of the Vencom. 

“We would like to commend both the crew members onboard the yacht who were all wearing suitable lifejackets and also thank the crew on board the St Mary’s lifeboat for their efforts in ensuring a positive outcome for all involved.” 

Walsh added: “I would also like to thank my volunteer crew who, despite a very long and tiring launch, remained focussed on bringing everyone home safely.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - Thirteen people were brought safely ashore by Baltimore RNLI after their Fastnet Race yacht got into difficulty in the early hours of yesterday morning (Wednesday 9 August).

The volunteer lifeboat crew were alerted by the Irish Coast Guard at 2.05am that a yacht participating in the famous offshore race had lost its rigging some 26 miles south east of Baltimore in West Cork.

With seven crew on board — coxswain Kieran Cotter, mechanic Pat Collins and crew members Jerry Smith, Brian McSweeney, Don O’Donovan, Sean McCarthy and Eoin Ryan — the lifeboat proceeded to the scene, arriving at 3.31am.

They found that the rod rigging on the 45ft yacht was still standing, however part of the outer rigging had failed and the mast was in danger of coming down. 

The crew of the yacht also informed the lifeboat team that their fuel had been contaminated, and they were running on a small container of spare fuel, which they estimated would only give them an hour’s motoring time.

Conditions at the time were choppy, with a north-westerly Force 4 wind and 1-1.5m swell. The yacht crew agreed that a tow would be best so while the lifeboat stood by, they secured the rig as best they could.

As soon as the lifeboat sent over the tow line, the engine of the yacht cut out. However, the tow was established and the lifeboat started to bring the yacht back to Baltimore.

During the tow, due to the unstable nature of the mast, the lifeboat crew advised everyone to stay below deck in case the mast came down. 

The lifeboat towed the casualty vessel to the fishing pier in Baltimore Harbour, arriving at 10am, where they were assisted by boathouse crew Aidan Bushe, Colin Rochford and Ryan O’Mahony.

Speaking following the callout, Baltimore RNLI volunteer lifeboat coxswain Kieran Cotter said: “Thankfully the rigging held and the experienced crew aboard the yacht managed to do the best that they could do to avoid injury and to secure and preserve the yacht’s rig under difficult circumstances.”

In other news, Courtmacsherry RNLI has more details of its launch to a Fastnet Race yacht with a broken mast some 13 miles off Galley Head, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Ten people were rescued from the 40ft vessel after it was disabled by a broken mast amid Force 3-4 north-westerly breezes.

The racing yacht was participating in the world’s largest offshore race and was one of a whole fleet of yachts that approached the turn at Fastnet Rock during the night.

Hours before, Baltimore’s lifeboat was called to rescue two people from a RIB who had been watching the yachts rounding the rock when their boat lost power.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - Lifeboat crews from Ireland will feature in a new 12-part Last year alone, RNLI lifeboats in Ireland documentary for the BBC.

Saving Lives at Sea, showcasing the lifesaving work of the RNLI, starts next Wednesday 16 August at 8pm on BBC Two.

And the first episode will include the dramatic rescue of three fishermen from a sinking trawler and the rescue of 30 people from the Astrid tall ship in Kinsale.

The 12-part series features real rescues carried out by the charity’s lifeboat crews around Ireland and the UK, and gives a unique insight into the lives of the charity’s volunteer lifeboat crew members, who rescue thousands of people and save hundreds of lives around our coastline every year.

From Ireland, the series will feature lifeboat crews from Castletownbere and Kinsale in Cork, Skerries in Dublin and Bangor on Belfast Lough.

Castletownbere will be in episode three, as the crew rescue a lone sailor in storm conditions and rescue two fishermen from a boat that sinks.

Saving Lives at Sea features real-life rescue footage accompanied by heart-warming and emotive testimonials from the crew and the people they rescue.

The series has been filmed over the past year, with lifeboat crews using RNLI and special cameras and welcoming filmmakers into their day-to-day life. Rescues from the RNLI’s archives are also revisited.

Last year alone, RNLI lifeboats in Ireland launched 1,136 times rescuing 1,649 people.

Saving Lives at Sea will be broadcast weekly from Wednesday 16 August to Wednesday 1 November on BBC Two at 8pm. The series is made for the BBC by Blast! Films.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - Two people watching the Fastnet Race fleet round the famous rock from a RIB yesterday (Tuesday 8 August) were rescued by Baltimore RNLI when their boat lost power. 

The volunteer lifeboat crew, who were already on exercise in the area of Fastnet Rock, were alerted by a call from a nearby vessel at 3.15pm that another boat with two people onboard had lost the use of their engine.

The all-lifeboat was only two miles from the casualty vessel, a 7.5m RIB. Conditions at the time were good with a north-westerly Force 2-3 wind and a one-metre sea swell.

Once on scene, the lifeboat crew established a tow and brought the vessel back to Baltimore Harbour in West Cork, securing her to the pontoon before returning to the lifeboat station at 4.20pm.

Kate Callanan, Baltimore RNLI volunteer lifeboat press officer, commented: “Thankfully the lifeboat crew were on scene very quickly after the call was raised. 

“Baltimore RNLI has a strong connection to the Fastnet Race having been involved in a number of dramatic rescues over the years. The lifeboat crew regularly exercise during the famous race to be nearby in case they receive a call for help.”

Elsewhere, Wicklow’s all-weather lifeboat launched at on Monday night (7 August) to assist two sailors on a yacht in difficulties about two miles north-east of Wicklow Harbour.

The eight-metre yacht was on passage south when it developed engine problems. The skipper contacted the Irish Coast Guard for assistance as they were unable to make any progress due to the lack of wind.

Under the command of second coxswain Ciaran Doyle, the lifeboat was alongside the casualty six minutes after launching. Conditions in the area had a calm sea state with light airs and good visibility.

A towline was quickly established and the yacht was brought back to Wicklow Harbour, where it was safely secured alongside the East Pier before midnight.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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