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Allianz and Afloat - Supporting Irish Boating

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Displaying items by tag: RNLI

Red Bay RNLI launched their B class Atlantic 85 lifeboat at 9.20 am this morning (Saturday 24 April) after reports that a small fishing boat with three crew onboard was grounded on rocks one mile south of Glenarm Marina on the Antrim Coast. Glenarm is about 14 miles south of Red Bay.

Red Bay RNLI operates out of Cushendall at the foot of the table topped Lurigethan Mountain and at the meeting point of three of the Glens of Antrim; Glenaan, Glenballyemon and Glencorp. The Mull of Kintyre in Scotland is only 16 miles away across the North Channel.

In a strong easterly wind and choppy waters, the lifeboat crew were on the scene in twenty minutes and all three men were safely rescued from the craft and brought ashore.

On arrival at the scene the lifeboat crew saw the vessel stuck fast on the rocks and with visible damage to its hull. Deciding it would be too dangerous to move the vessel and with the tide dropping, the decision was taken to evacuate the crew off their vessel. Two lifeboat crew swam ashore and with the assistance of Ballycastle and Larne shore-based Coastguard units, two men were safely taken off the boat. The third man needed the aid of a stretcher and the agencies worked together to safely move him.

Commenting on the callout Red Bay RNLI Helm Connor McLaughlin said, "The fishing vessel was stuck fast on the rocky coastline and the crew were unable to move. With the tide dropping fast and visible damage to the vessel, we needed to bring them to safety as quickly as possible. Working with the local coastguard agencies, two of our crew swam to shore and brought all three of the men to safety, with one needing a stretcher to be evacuated off the small craft. The weather can turn in an instant and it's important to take note of tide times. Thankfully, all of the men were wearing lifejackets and the outcomes was a successful one".

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Fethard RNLI has received a generous €37,000 donation from Integer New Ross this week, after the company’s staff and management chose the lifeboat station as its charity of the year.

Volunteers at Fethard RNLI were delighted to be considered and chosen as Integer’s charity of the year in 2020 and have been overwhelmed by the amount raised.

Receiving the funds raised from Seamus Hamilton of Integer New Ross, Sarah Bates, from Fethard RNLI’s fundraising branch said: ‘We would like to express our sincere gratitude to all the staff at Integer. As a charity, Fethard RNLI totally depends on the goodwill of the public to provide our lifesaving service. This significant donation will continue to help us save lives at sea on the Hook Peninsula and on the River Barrow up to New Ross.

‘These funds will now go towards providing the essential kit our volunteer crew needs to do their lifesaving work and to helping maintain our lifeboat and lifesaving equipment. The funds will also support our crews training. In the last two weeks alone, 12 volunteers undertook training and were awarded with casualty care certificates.’

Walter Foley, Fethard RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager added: ‘Our station has remained operational throughout the pandemic and our volunteers have continued to be on call adhering to additional safety protocols including wearing extra PPE. We are so grateful for this extraordinary donation from all at Integer during a year when our own traditional fundraising activities had to cease due to Covid-19 restrictions. We would like to thank all the staff for their hard work fundraising and their generosity.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Portaferry RNLI lifeboat crew was called out on 22nd April to a yacht with engine failure at the entrance to Strangford Lough.

The entrance at the southern end of the Ards Peninsula leads to the Strangford Narrows through which the tide flows at about 8 knots, and with an uneven bottom, rough seas can result. Portaferry and its Marina lie on the eastern side of the Narrows, and the Strangford ferry runs between here and the village of Strangford on the western side.

The casualty vessel was sailing towards Portaferry but did the right thing and called for help early, knowing that they would need assistance when coming alongside. The lifeboat took the vessel under tow and ensured their safe arrival at the Portaferry marina.

Commenting on the call-out, helmsman Simon said, "While not in any immediate danger, the men certainly took the right course of action today calling for help once they realised that they had an issue. We were delighted to help and would urge anyone considering going to sea to take all necessary precautions and respect the water".

Skerries RNLI’s volunteers launched their inshore lifeboat on Wednesday evening (21 April) as part of a multi-agency response to reports of a swimmer in difficulty near the Martello tower in Balbriggan.

The Atlantic 85 lifeboat Louis Simson was launched within minutes of the crew being paged just before 7pm and proceeded directly to the area indicated.

On arrival the crew found the Dublin-based Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 116 already on scene and winching a man from the water.

The casualty was the lowered onto the beach and into the care of an ambulance crew and members of Dublin Fire Brigade who administered first aid before he was transferred to hospital.

Meanwhile, further reports came in that other swimmers had entered the water to assist the casualty and a subsequent emergency call raised concerns that there may still be someone in the water.

Rescue 116, Skerries RNLI and the Skerries Coast Guard unit coordinated to carry out a search of the immediate area covering the water and the shoreline.

The lifeboat investigated a number of objects at the request of Rescue 116, including a lifebuoy which they recovered into the lifeboat.

When Dublin Coast Guard was satisfied that the area had been thoroughly searched and there were no further swimmers in danger, the lifeboat was stood down and returned to station.

Speaking about the callout, press officer Gerry Canning said: “When a person is in trouble in the water, every second counts. Rescue 116 were on scene very quickly and it was an excellent response from all of the emergency services who worked brilliantly together.

“Our thoughts are with the friends and family of the man taken from the water and we hope he makes a full recovery.”

Published in Rescue

Three Donaghadee RNLI Lifeboat volunteer crew members in Northern Ireland have had their long term service to the institution recognised by RNLI headquarters in Poole in the form of long service medals.

The three crew members have together accrued over 80 years in service to the RNLI and in turn to the community in Donaghadee and its lifesaving heritage.

Crew member Michael Field has been awarded his 30-year long service medal and has been involved in many call-outs over the years, all whilst working and raising a family with his wife Dawn. Michael commented ‘Even after so many years, I still very much enjoy the training exercises and the continual learning. Of course, the comradeship with the other crew over the years has been a big part of the satisfaction I get from being a volunteer. After a particularly difficult shout, of which I have seen many, we are all there to support each other and get ourselves prepared for whatever the next shout may bring’. 

Mark Nelson has been awarded his 20-year long service medal as a volunteer crew member, Mark has juggled his career as a chef as well as being a busy family man for many of these years. When asked what he has noticed most about the RNLI in his time he said ‘ The abilities of the boat, technological advances and the equipment we work with has been impressive and continues to change and challenge us all to maintain our training and skills. No two training exercises or call outs are the same, always interesting and keeps us on our toes!’.

Mark Nelson, Crew Member, with long service medalMark Nelson, Crew Member, with his long service medal

Crew member John Petrie has also been awarded his 30-year long service medal and has seen many changes in his time also. John joined at the age of 23 and has volunteered on two of the RNLI lifeboats City of Belfast and the current Saxon, he has also volunteered under three coxswains, Graham McConnell, David Martin and current coxswain Philip McNamara. Reflecting on his time with the lifeboat John commented on his most memorable call out ‘ On the 20th of April 1993, we were called out to the fishing boat Berachah, they had a man overboard 20 miles south of Donaghadee. We searched for 5 hours in atrocious conditions, 10 metre swells and sometimes more. Definitely, a shout that stands out for me‘.

John Petrie, Crew Member, with long service medalJohn Petrie, Crew Member, with his long service medal

Philip McNamara who has been coxswain for 22 years, said of his crew members ‘The dedication shown by all the crew members at Donagahdee station is remarkable, but to be able to be a volunteer and turn up time and again for training and exercises over such a long period of time is a true measure of their character. They drop everything and leave their families and jobs to go to sea to help someone. I am delighted that Michael, John and Mark have received their long service medals, they are well deserved. I am very proud of the team we have at our station and honoured to work with them. I am sure we will have many more long-serving volunteers in the future. A big well done and thank you to Michael, John and Mark and of course all the crew members at the station.’

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Skerries RNLI launched Saturday evening (17 April) following reports of two windsurfers struggling to return to shore near Gormanstown Beach.

Shortly before 6.30pm, Dublin Coast Guard tasked Skerries RNLI following a call from a concerned member of the public.

They had reported that two windsurfers were around a mile offshore at Gormanstown and were struggling to make their way back to the beach.

The volunteer crew launched the Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat Louis Simson and navigated to the position indicated by the caller.

Arriving on scene, they quickly spotted the windsurfers and approached them to speak to them. The windsurfers confirmed that they were not in any difficulty but were planning on returning to shore anyway.

The lifeboat stood by while they made their way back to the beach safely. Conditions had a Force 1 southerly wind blowing and a smooth sea.

Speaking about the callout, volunteer lifeboat press officer Gerry Canning said: “Thankfully on this occasion there was no assistance required and it was a false alarm with good intent.

“The member of the public was genuinely concerned for their safety and did the right thing in dialling 999 and asking for the coastguard.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Kilkeel RNLI came to the aid of five people on Saturday (17 April) when their 10m yacht became stranded at Narrow Water Castle on the Northern Ireland side of Carlingford Lough.

The volunteer crew launched their inshore lifeboat at 4.05pm on Saturday to assist the yacht which had lost power and was at anchor at high tide.

The five people on board the yacht, all of whom were wearing lifejackets, were in no immediate danger.

On their way to the stricken yacht, with good visibility in a Force 4 south easterly wind, the Kilkeel RNLI crew were asked to attend to a separate report of one person in the water at Ross’s Monument Corner.

The person in the water had become separated from his catamaran board but by the time the lifeboat had reached the scene he had made his way ashore and Kilkeel Coastguard were attending to him.

Having ascertained that all was well, Kilkeel RNLI continued on their way to the yacht.

Arriving on scene, Kilkeel RNLI confirmed that the yacht crew was safe. A tow line was passed and secured to the vessel and on an ebb tide, the lifeboat then proceeded to Carlingford Marina with the vessel under tow.

Speaking afterwards, the skipper of the yacht said: “After a brilliant sail from Carlingford, up past Narrow Water, we had an engine failure at the worst possible moment. On a lee shore, we dropped anchor, but with a falling tide we were getting perilously close to going aground.

“We were very, very glad to see the boys in orange heaving into view.”

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Yesterday's strong southerly wind resulted in a spate of paddleboarding incidents involving lifeboat call outs at Larne and Bangor.

Larne RNLI launched both of their lifeboats today to reports of a paddleboarder in difficulty at Ballygally, a village and holiday resort on the Antrim coast, about 3 miles north of the ferry port of Larne.

Launching at the request of Belfast Coastguard, both boats were underway when the paddleboarder was reported safe back on the shore. As the boats returned to the station, Belfast Coastguard alerted them to another boarder in difficulty in Brown's Bay, a small sandy bay on the northern tip of the Islandmagee peninsula at Larne.

Whilst making their way towards the area, reports came through that the boarder had managed to make their way ashore.

Brown's Bay, a small sandy bay on the northern tip of the Islandmagee peninsulaBrown's Bay, a small sandy bay on the northern tip of the Islandmagee peninsula

Larne lifeboat operations manager, Allan Dorman, said: 'We would like to remind people of the dangers of offshore winds and crosswinds, which can very quickly pull someone further out to sea".

The weather yesterday prompted Iain McCarthy from Suphubni who runs paddleboarding lessons in Bangor Harbour, to post a Facebook warning of the dangers of offshore winds. Yesterday he saw Bangor RNLI called out twice in the space of an hour to boarders in difficulty. He says, "Just because it looks good, doesn't mean it is good. On our stretch of water between Belfast and round the coast to Millisle and beyond, today should have been an easy day to 1. get up early before the wind picked up, 2. Choose a different location to paddle or 3 Go for a walk".

He continued " Every weather app would have told you that there were strong offshore breezes forecast this afternoon".

RNLI Bangor commented, "Wise words from our friends in Suphubni".

Published in Coastguard

Craig Boucher of Hybrid Health and Performance in Kilkeel recently completed a 4x4x48 challenge to raise funds for his local RNLI lifeboat station in the Co Down town.

Craig ran four miles every four hours for 48 hours and was generously supported by friends who donated a total of £800.

Speaking after his effort, Craig said that he had to walk the last eight miles because his knees were in “complete agony’” with every step and he didn’t want to force an injury.

John Fisher, lifeboat operations manager with Kilkeel RNLI, was delighted to receive the cheque and said: “It was a fantastic effort by Craig. That was almost two marathons in 48 hours, an unbelievable achievement from only three weeks of training.

“The donation is very welcome and the £800 will be put to good use in saving lives at sea.”

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Wicklow RNLI volunteers Graham Fitzgerald and Alan Goucher have been passed out as deputy coxswains by an RNLI Trainer Assessor, after undertaking months of training and completing a rigorous exercise on the all-weather lifeboat in Wicklow bay.

Graham Fitzgerald who has been a volunteer crew member for the past eleven years, and Alan Goucher who joined Wicklow RNLI in 2011, launched on an operational exercise with an RNLI Assessor during the week. The exercise involved boat handling tests and various emergency situations to test their skills. Both volunteers successfully carried out the tasks and were passed out as deputy coxswains by RNLI Trainer Assessor Alan Pryce after completing the exercise.

Over the last decade, Alan Goucher and Graham Fitzgerald have been involved in many rescues and in July 2014 they were praised for their bravery when they pulled a woman from the water and saved her life at the Silver Strand Beach. Graham and Alan received letters of commendation from the Operations Director of the RNLI George Rawlinson, for their actions during the rescue in 2014.

In the letter to Alan, Mr Rawlinson wrote: 'Your willingness to swim into the cave and use of your local knowledge to extricate the casualty safely ensured a good outcome on this rescue. I commend your commitment and professionalism.'Mr Rawlinson commended Graham Fitzgerald on his quick decision making, saying: 'During the rescue, you demonstrated calm and sound command of the incident, quickly gaining the required information and assessing the risks involved in committing your crew to enter the water.'

Wicklow RNLI Operations Manager, Mary Aldridge said: ‘Alan and Graham have over 22 years’ service between them as volunteers at RNLI Wicklow, and we are delighted with their achievement this week. Both have grained a lot of experience and have been involved in numerous rescues resulting in the saving of many lives. They have both worked extremely hard during the assessment to become deputy coxswains. This was made more difficult in recent times with Covid-19 and the suspension of training for a time. Great credit for Alan and Graham’s achievement is also due to the support from their families, trainers, assessors, and the crew who generously shared their knowledge and experience to prepare Alan and Graham as deputy coxswains.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Page 3 of 226

William M Nixon has been writing about sailing in Ireland and internationally for many years, with his work appearing in leading sailing publications on both sides of the Atlantic. He has been a regular sailing columnist for four decades with national newspapers in Dublin, and has had several sailing books published in Ireland, the UK, and the US. An active sailor, he has owned a number of boats ranging from a Mirror dinghy to a Contessa 35 cruiser-racer, and has been directly involved in building and campaigning two offshore racers. His cruising experience ranges from Iceland to Spain as well as the Caribbean and the Mediterranean, and he has raced three times in both the Fastnet and Round Ireland Races, in addition to sailing on two round Ireland records. A member for ten years of the Council of the Irish Yachting Association (now the Irish Sailing Association), he has been writing for, and at times editing, Ireland's national sailing magazine since its earliest version more than forty years ago

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