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Displaying items by tag: Rescue

This bank holiday weekend, with more people expected to take part in water-based activities, the RNLI is sharing some advice and top tips to help people stay safe on the water, whether travelling to the coast or visiting inland waters.

RNLI Water Safety Lead, Kevin Rahill said: ‘This Bank Holiday weekend, many people are going to be heading to the water to enjoy themselves. We want to see people having fun in or on the water and keeping safe while doing it. By taking a few simple steps, everyone can reduce the risk of an accident.’

‘Even in Summer, water temperatures can be cold, rarely going above 15 degrees. Cold Water Shock can affect everyone. To avoid this, acclimatise to the water slowly to get used to the cold. If you fall in unexpectedly, remember to ‘Float to Live’ – lie on your back and spread your arms and legs, gently moving them to keep afloat. Keep floating until you feel your breath coming back before calling for help or swimming ashore if nearby.’

With swimming becoming increasing popular Kevin Rahill offered the following advice, ‘Always choose to swim in a lifeguarded area and swim between the flags. Stay within your depth and swim parallel to the shore. Watch out for rip currents, if you do get caught in one, try to swim parallel to the shore until you can feel you are out of the current before trying to swim shore. Inflatable toys are not suitable for any open water and should be kept for the pool. They can easily be blown offshore very quickly.’

For other activity such as water boating, sailing, canoeing, paddle boarding, wear an appropriate personal flotation device suitable for the activity, and always carry a means of calling for help.

Water safety Ireland adds:  Nine people have drowned at waterways on the island of Ireland in seven days, six at inland waterways, leading Water Safety Ireland to make a national stay safe appeal to the public throughout the Bank Holiday weekend and the month of August. People are advised to swim only at Lifeguarded waterways or in areas that are traditionally known to be safe and have ringbuoys available for rescues.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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The 1.2 km Ballycastle Beach is a popular tourist destination on the Causeway Coast Route on the Antrim Coast of Northern Ireland. It was the scene shortly before midday yesterday (15th July) of a serious incident, when as reported by the Belfast Telegraph, five people got into difficulty.

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) said three people on water pedal bikes went into the surf zone where they were swamped by a wave before being helped onto a group leader's boat which then capsized. Two people were taken to hospital, and three people were treated at the scene by paramedics. These were two separate incidents that occurred within metres of each other and within minutes of each other. The Irish News reported that by the time emergency crews including an ambulance and the NI Air Ambulance arrived at the scene, the group had made it back to shore.

The coastguard has appealed for people to exercise caution around seaside areas this weekend after this trip to the beach almost ended in tragedy.

A spokesperson for the Coastguard said there has been an increase in such incidents this year as a result of people spending more time locally due to the pandemic. "The weather has been particularly good over the past week or so, and it's looking like that's going to be the case for the next week, so we do expect to be quite busy. Temperatures in the low 20s can be expected until at least the middle of next week. We'd also recommend if you're going to go into the beach and go into the sea, to go to a beach that has lifeguards on it, especially at the weekend".

The Police Service thanked those involved in the incident. "Thank you also to Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS), the Helimed team, Coastguard, RNLI, and all members of the public who helped, provided support to those involved and assisted with the moving of equipment and persons. All persons were transported by road ambulance to hospital as a precautionary measure with no life-threatening injuries".

A spokesperson for the Ambulance Service said four emergency crews, an officer and the charity air ambulance were called to the scene. 

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In the early evening of last Sunday (20th June) Lough Neagh rescue was tasked to a broken down motorboat with two children, three adults and a dog on board. The vessel had been making its way from Battery Harbour on the west shore of the Lough to Gawley's Gate in the southeast corner.

Lough Neagh is the largest freshwater lake by area in the British Isles at 392 square kilometres.

The Lifeboats launched and searched the broken-down boat in rough conditions and large swells. It had drifted quite a few miles off course. Once located, a crew member went aboard to check on the casualties and transferred one adult onto the lifeboat to be brought to shore.

The other lifeboat rigged a tow and brought the vessel to Maghery in the southwest corner as this was the safest option due to the wind direction and large swells. It was handed over to the awaiting Coastguard team.

Lough Neagh Rescue is a voluntary search and rescue organisation based on the shores of Lough Neagh.

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“Aquabikes” caught the attention of former Irish Times journalist Kevin Myers back in 1982.

The Irishman’s Diary writer was seriously concerned about the pressure windsurfers were putting on the RNLI Dun Laoghaire lifeboat at the time.

He had read about these “aquabikes”, made by a Japanese motorbike company, which “skid across the water, steered by handlebars”.

Although there might be “cacophonous” drawbacks, this vehicle might prove useful in rescuing windsurfers, he wrote - if it wasn’t engaged in knocking them down, or worse...

Almost 40 years later, and jetskis have proved their worth in rescue, with trained riders able to access areas of the coastline that may prove too dangerous for coast and cliff rescue crews, lifeboats or helicopters.

However, jetskis still get bad press among those who don’t understand their benefits – or those who have witnessed untrained and ill-considerate use of them. Now Clare County Council wants to ban their use altogether on a number of beaches.

The Irish Tow Surf Rescue Club has objected to a proposed jetski ban Photo: ITSRC via FacebookThe Irish Tow Surf Rescue Club has objected to a proposed jetski ban Photo: ITSRC via Facebook

Clare fireman, lifeguard and surfer Peter Conroy owes his life to a jetski rescue. He was one of the founders of the Irish Tow Surf Rescue Club which has provided training, and invaluable support to surfers, and to open water sea swimmers.

Organisers of marine events have benefited from their voluntary assistance, and the club has also provided defibrillators at a number of coastal locations.

Conroy spoke to Wavelengths this week about his rescue, and about why his club opposes the proposed ban.

Listen to Wavelengths below

And you can then view a bit more of the work of the Irish Tow Surf Rescue Club here

Published in Wavelength Podcast
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Lough Neagh Rescue was called last Friday evening to a 24ft cruiser that had lost power.

The vessel was located about 1.5 nautical miles to the east of Ballyronan on the west side of Lough Neagh.

Lifeboats were launched and located the vessel with two people on both of whom were safe and well. A towline was secured, and the vessel towed into Ballyronan Marina, where it was safely moored to the jetty.

The lifeboats returned to base, were cleaned, refuelled and are ready for the next tasking.

Lough Neagh Rescue is a Limited Company and a registered Charity. It is made up of 60 highly trained volunteers, four lifeboats, two vans and an off-road jeep, operating on the largest lake by area in the British Isles with a surface area of 151 square miles.

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Rescue agencies are reporting a record year for incidents on the water as thousands of people turned to the coastline, lakes and rivers during Covid-19.

The Irish Coast Guard, RNLI and Water Safety Ireland have all been under pressure to comply with Covid-19 protective measures and to cope with the large number of emergency alerts.

A total of 500 people were rescued by lifeguards this season, compared to 260 last year.

The last time figures were this high was in 2013, when there were 430 rescues.

There were also no confirmed cases of lifeguards testing positive for the Covid-19.

Water Safety Ireland (WSI) has recorded the lowest number of accidental drownings, at 37 to date, compared to 62 accidental drownings in 2019.

The RNLI said its lifeboat crews have been “exceptionally busy”, with 730 call outs to date this year compared to just over 1,000 launches in the Republic last year.

Dun Laoghaire RNLI is busiest

The busiest station has been at Dun Laoghaire Harbour, Co Dublin, with nearly 100 call outs for this year so far, according to RNLI Lifesaving Lead for Ireland Owen Medland.

Both organisations had to put special Covid 19 avoidance measures in place for volunteers and lifeguards employed by local authorities.

Independent TD Catherine Connolly is calling for publication of an Irish Coast Guard analysis of one of the most high profile rescues – that of paddleboarders Sara Feeney (23) and Ellen Glynn (17) in Galway Bay on August 13th last.

Ms Connolly is among those who have paid tribute to Claddagh fisherman Patrick Oliver and his son Morgan for their rescue of Ms Feeney and Ms Glynn after 15 hours at sea. She said, however, that "lessons needed to be learned" about the search pattern in the inner bay, rather than out towards the Aran islands, and co-ordination of volunteers onshore.

In a Dáil reply to a question tabled by Ms Connolly, Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan said the initial search was focused along the northern shore to ascertain if they were attempting to get ashore or had got ashore.

He said the RNLI Galway lifeboat was tasked within three minutes of the initial report at 10.05 pm and the RNLI Aran lifeboat was tasked at 11.19 pm.

He said the Shannon based Coast Guard helicopter was tasked to the scene at 11.02 pm and was recorded as proceeding at 11.25 pm.

Mr Ryan said the search was moving to the south-west of Galway Bay and the Aran Islands, with aerial surface and coastal searches off the islands on the morning of their rescue, and a member of the public alerted Valentia Coast Guard to a possible sighting after 11 am on August 13th, he said.

Visibility had been very poor in the early part of the day with fog at sea till mid-morning.

Published in Rescue
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The Irish Coast Guard has asked the Government to include fixed-wing aircraft and use of drones in the new State contract for search and rescue.

As The Sunday Times reports today, tender offers for the new air/sea service, which will replace the existing €60 million a year contract, may be asked to suggest how a mixture of helicopters, fixed-wing and drones could be used – without necessarily being tied to four helicopter bases.

CHC Ireland, which operates a fleet of Sikorsky S-92 helicopters from bases at Shannon, Sligo, Dublin and Waterford for the Irish Coast Guard at a cost of €60 million annually, has been given a one-year extension to its ten-year contract to 2023.

A recent industry briefing in advance of the publication of a tender for the new service from 2024 specified that bidders should be able to deploy a helicopter to anywhere in Ireland or within 12 nautical miles of the coast in 45 minutes of being airborne and be capable of search and rescue in the Irish exclusive economic zone.

It also specified providing one Coast Guard search and surveillance aircraft - which could be fixed wing or drones - on 24-hour standby.

This would reduce the flying time and fuel expenditure of search and rescue helicopters

Questions are being asked within military circles about the need – and possible extra expense of – a dedicated fixed-wing aircraft under the control of the Irish Coast Guard, which could push the contract price up considerably.

The Air Corps is due to take delivery of two new Casa maritime patrol aircraft at a cost of €235 million.

Earlier this month, however, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Defence Simon Coveney ruled out a role for the Air Corps in search and rescue.

The Air Corps pioneered helicopter rescue off this coast 40 years ago, with long-range missions undertaken by the British RAF and Royal Navy, but it was withdrawn from search and rescue in 2003 by then defence minister Michael Smith.

The Air Corps currently flies the emergency aeromedical service (EAS), based in Athlone, Co Westmeath, which recently marked a milestone by airlifting its 3000th patient.

The Irish Coast Guard flew 54 medical missions this year, with an additional two paediatric transfers to Britain. It also serves the islands and flew 91 medical evacuations from offshore communities.

Read more in The Sunday Times here

Published in Coastguard
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Last Sunday (4th October) Lough Neagh Rescue Lifeboat was tasked to two people stranded on Coney Island as their vessel had mechanical issues. Coney Island is owned by the National Trust and lies in the south-west corner of Lough Neagh about 1km from Maghery, a village on the Co Armagh shore.

Due to the adverse weather conditions, it was decided to take the persons off the island and bring them to Maghery. With the two people safely ashore and handed into the care of the Lough Neagh Coastguard team it was decided that the vessel could be brought to Maghery also, so the crew went back to the island, rigged a tow and brought the casualty vessel safely to the shore in Maghery.

Lough Neagh Rescue is a charitable 24-hour voluntary search and rescue service operating from three stations on the Lough - one at Ardboe in County Tyrone, one at Antrim in the North and the other from Kinnego Marina in the south near Lurgan, County Armagh.

Lough Neagh is the largest lake in the British Isles being about 32 km long and 14 km wide. It is mostly shallow with an average depth of 9 m. It is very exposed and in windy conditions can become extremely rough very quickly. It is used extensively by a wide variety of recreation and commercial craft with two sailing clubs, one at either end – Antrim Boat Club in the north and Lough Neagh Sailing Club at Kinnego in the south.

Published in Rescue
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The two Galway fishermen who rescued two paddleboarders in August have been honoured at a mayoral reception.

Mayor of Galway Mike Cubbard described Patrick Oliver and his son Morgan as “Claddagh royalty” when he presented them with a framed presentation scroll and a bronze model of a traditional Irish currach.

The presentation at a tightly controlled event in Salthill’s Leisureland was in honour of their achievements in saving the lives of Galway cousins Sara Feeney and Ellen Glynn in August.

Mr Cubbard said that "the rescue highlights the fantastic community spirit which exists in Galway as hundreds of people across the city and county offered their help with the search operation".

The cousins who were also recognised for their bravery survived 15 hours at sea after they were swept some 17 nautical miles across the bay and towards the Atlantic in mid August.

The fishermen have already been awarded the Afloat.ie National Seamanship Trophy for their efforts.

The Olivers recorded another rescue when they pulled a man from the river Corrib last month.

Published in Rescue

Independent.ie reports that a major search and rescue operation was launched last night (Wednesday 26 August) for a sea angler on the Kerry coast.

The man reportedly fell into the water while fishing at Kerry Head.

His angling partner entered the water after him to attempt a rescue, but got into difficulty and was recovered shortly after.

Elsewhere, the body of a fisherman who went missing from his boat of Teelin in Co Donegal just hours before was found late last night.

And a young man has spoken of his role in a ‘terrifying’ rescue of a 10-year-0d boy in difficulty in the water off Com Dhíneol in West Kerry yesterday afternoon.

Twenty-two-year-old Mícheál Keogh sprang into action with another man, Dan Sullivan, to assist the boy’s two uncles in retrieving the youngster amid the strong current.

“It’s a very dangerous place to swim,” Keogh told RTÉ Radio 1’s Morning Ireland. “None of them could swim so it was mad altogether but we were able to get them out.”

TheJournal.ie has more on the story HERE.

Published in Rescue
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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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