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Displaying items by tag: RNLI

Clifden RNLI’s new all-weather Shannon class lifeboat arrived to an emotional welcome from crowds gathered in the Connemara community to see it complete its week-long voyage home from the charity’s All Weather lifeboat centre in Poole.

As Afloat reported earlier, the lifesaving vessel is the first ‘Launch a Memory’ lifeboat to be put on service in Ireland. The St. Christopher carries the names of over 10,000 people on its hull, which were put there by members of the public through a special ‘in memory’ fundraising initiative for the charity.

The lifeboat arrived into the West of Ireland town on Saturday afternoon in a flotilla made up of Achill Island lifeboat, Clifden’s inshore lifeboat and the station’s relief Shannon class lifeboat, along with a group of local vessels. Friends, families and supporters lined the quayside to get a glimpse of the new €2.4 million search and rescue asset which arrived bathed in sunshine.

The main part of the arrival was held today (Sunday 15 May) with the new lifeboat beached at Clifden. The Shannon is the first modern all-weather lifeboat propelled by waterjets which allow it to operate in shallow waters and be intentionally beached. After the tide had receded the 10,000 names on the lifeboat hull were visible and members of the public who had sponsored names were able to view them up close. The names made up the letters RNLI and the number of the new lifeboat, 13-43.

After the tide had receded the 10,000 names on the lifeboat hull were visible and members of the public who had sponsored names were able to view them up close Photo: Andrew DownesAfter the tide had receded the 10,000 names on the lifeboat hull were visible and members of the public who had sponsored names were able to view them up close Photo: Andrew Downes

The lifeboat was funded through a legacy from the south-east of England and will be officially named in a ceremony to be held at a later date. The ten thousand names were provided by people pledging a minimum donation of €30/£30 to have their loved one’s name recorded onboard a working search and rescue lifeboat off the Irish coast. Hundreds of people made the trip to see the lifeboat up close with some travelling over from the UK. It was an emotional trip for many who brought photographs of their loved ones with them.

Clifden volunteer lifeboat crew collected their new lifeboat in Dorset a week ago and sailed it home to Clifden with stops at Plymouth, Penlee, Ballycotton, Kinsale, Valentia and the Aran Islands. While in Penlee the Clifden lifeboat crew paid their respects to the eight crew who were lost from there on 19 December 1981 while attempting to rescue the crew and passengers onboard a stricken coaster.

Commenting on the arrival, Clifden RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager John Brittain said, ‘This weekend was the culmination of a lot of hard work by the volunteers in Clifden. To receive a new lifeboat is an incredibly exciting time for a station but to receive a launch a memory lifeboat, which carries the names of so many loved ones, is a great privilege and an honour for everyone here in Clifden.’

‘We have been so moved by the stories shared with us in the run up to the arrival and we now take each one of these names out to sea with us every time we launch. We are so grateful of the public’s support of the work we do as we continue to save lives at sea.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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On 13 March 2017, the Rescue 116 crew of Capt. Dara Fitzpatrick, Capt. Mark Duffy, Paul Ormsby and Ciarán Smith took off from Dublin airport just after 11 p.m. for a medical evacuation off the west coast of Ireland. The first indication of disaster came when the crew failed to answer a radio call at 12.46 a.m. Shortly after 2 am on 14 March, sister helicopter Rescue 118 spotted a casualty and debris in the water. There would be no survivors from R116, and extensive searches failed to locate the bodies of two of the four crew.

The crash occurred just six months after the loss of experienced Irish Coast Guard volunteer Caitríona Lucas, from Doolin Coast Guard in Co. Clare, and eighteen years after the loss of four Air Corps crew who were returning from a night rescue in thick fog off the south-east coast.

In Search and Rescue, author Lorna Siggins exposes the shocking systemic flaws that led to these tragic deaths, but also looks at successful rescues where, despite all the odds, the courage and dedication of members of the Irish Coast Guard, Air Corps, RNLI, fishing crew and the volunteers who work with them have saved countless lives.

Paperback • €16.95 | £14.99. 336 pages. Preview here. On Sale Now on this link here

Published in Book Review
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On Saturday afternoon, 14 May, while on exercise in Cork Harbour, Crosshaven RNLI volunteers were tasked by the Coast Guard to a 32’ yacht with suspected electrical fire on board and mechanical difficulties.

The lifeboat with David Venner, Clare Morgan, Warren Forbes and Ian Venner on board made best speed to the casualty which had two people on board and was in a position off the Whitegate oil refinery jetty.

Forbes and Morgan boarded the vessel and checked the fire was extinguished, brought the sails under control and set up a tow to the Royal Cork Yacht Club marina at Crosshaven.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Lough Derg RNLI has hailed as a great success its first ‘Lap the Lake’ charity cycle.

The local lifesaving charity’s fundraising branch organised the 130km cycle around Lough Derg for last Saturday 8 May, which saw 250 cyclists take part in its most ambitious event to date.

And the day was blessed by good weather and good cheer as it raised significant funds that are essential for the lifeboat station’s lifesaving activities.

The 130km route around Lough Derg — covering counties Tipperary, Clare and Galway — gave participants the opportunity to delight in the outstanding beauty of the lake and the River Shannon.

Their safety and wellbeing were well catered for with first-aid providers, out-riders, marshals and bike maintenance stops along the route, as well as comfort and refreshments stations.


Niamh McCutcheon, chair of the Lough Derg RNLI Fundraising Committee and the ‘Lap the Lake’ Event Committee, said the inaugural event “was enjoyed by cyclists from all over Ireland. The friendly welcome provided by the marshals, RNLI crew and the enthusiastic and well-organised committee was much appreciated by all.”

McCutcheon thanked Lough Derg Yacht Club and all the sponsors of the event, whose generosity also ensured its success. Meanwhile, the fundraiser remains open for donations via its JustGiving page.


Feedback from participants praised the attention to detail, safety and comfort; a compliment to the organisational skills of Niamh McCutcheon, Pat Kelly, Caleb and Laura Clarke, Tom Sanders, Anne Atkinson, Bob O Brien, John MacMahon, Sarah Langham and Ted Knight on the Lough Derg RNLI Fundraising Committee and Veronica Plunkett, Ena Butler, Hilda Hamilton, Joe Hughes, Johnathan Horgan, Laura Clarke and Niamh McCutcheon on the Lap the Lake Event Committee.

RNLI lifeboat helm Owen Cavanagh and crew members Doireann Kennedy, Joe O'Donoghue, Ciara Moylan, Ania Skrzypczynska and Ciara Lynch, who worked in shifts throughout the day, brought the lifeboat Jean Spier to the public harbour in Dromineer and to other harbours around the lake and were pleased to answer questions about the RNLI, its lifesaving work and the lifeboat itself.

The fundraising committee thanks the many other members of the Lough Derg Lifeboat Station who played major roles in the success of this event. In particular, Aoife Kennedy, lifeboat administration officer and deputy launching authority at Lough Derg RNLI Lifeboat Station, who assisted with the registration of participating cyclists and acted as liaison between the fundraising committee and the lifeboat station throughout the event; Chris Parker (Lough Derg RNLI crew member) who acted as safety officer; Peter Kennedy (DLA and station mechanic) and Caleb Clarke (hon treasurer) who dressed the yacht club in RNLI bunting; Christine O’Malley (lifeboat operations manager), Liam Moloney (DLA) and Peter Kennedy who remained on hand to coordinate the lifeboat;s manoeuvres; and Richard Nolan (Lough Derg RNLI crew member) and Peter Harty (RNLI area lifesaving manager) who both cycled in the event.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

The volunteer crew of the Bundoran RNLI Lifeboat was called into action on Friday afternoon 13th May to assist two male surfers in difficulty at Rossnowlagh Beach in County Donegal.

Just after 3:35 pm a number of 999 emergency calls were made to Malin Head Coast Guard from passers-by on Rossnowlagh Beach who had heard calls for help coming from the water.

The Bundoran RNLI crew, aboard the “William Henry Liddington” inshore lifeboat, launched minutes later and made their way to the scene.

Amid choppy conditions and a force 5 westerly wind, the lifeboat arrived at Rossnowlagh Beach around 4 pm. On arrival, the men had already been lifted from the water by the Sligo based Rescue 118 helicopter which had also been tasked to help. They were brought back to land where they were attended to by members of the National Ambulance Service.

Helm of the Bundoran RNLI Lifeboat Elliot Kearns, speaking on returning to the station, emphasised the importance of being aware of the surf and potential hazards ‘we would like to commend the Rescue 118 crew for their swift action in bringing the two men to safety. We would always advise water users to be aware of the sea conditions, particularly rip currents. If you find yourself caught in a rip, don’t try to swim against it, instead swim to the left or the right to get free of it.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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A newly built all-weather lifeboat with over 10,000 names on its hull which is due to arrive at the RNLI’s Clifden station in Connemara on Saturday has already recorded its first rescue mission.

The Shannon-class lifeboat named St Christopher escorted a small fishing vessel into Newlyn in Cornwall earlier this week while on its way from the south English coast to Ireland.

Clifden RNLI operations manager John Brittain said that the lifeboat was en route to Newlyn in Cornwall as one of its stopovers on the way to Clifden when it received the call from Falmouth Coastguard.

It was asked to provide an escort to a small fishing vessel with two people on board.

Speaking to Wavelengths, Mr Brittain described how a very special welcome has been planned for it on Saturday, as it carries the names of over 10,000 people on its hull.

These were nominated by members of the public through a special fundraising initiative, known as “Launch a Memory”, which was run by the search and rescue charity back in 2020.

The RNLI says people will have an opportunity to “get up close” to the lifeboat on Sunday morning at low tide when the vessel crew will be beached at the back of the lifeboat station on Clifden beach from 9.30 am till about 12.30 pm.

“We have been working towards this day for a long time. It is an honour for us to carry these 10,000 names onboard our new lifeboat the St Christopher,” Mr Brittain said.

“ Every time we launch, they will accompany the lifeboat crew on its lifesaving mission,” he said.

“ I know there are many incredibly moving stories behind each name and we hope to do them all proud,” he said.

He advises members of the public to park in Clifden and walk down to the beach or take one of two shuttle buses which will be running from the town centre to the lifeboat station.

Information on the campaign including a search tool to find where a particular name is placed on the lifeboat, is available on the RNLI website here

You can hear John Brittain on Wavelengths below

Published in Wavelength Podcast
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Bangor RNLI’s volunteers came to the rescue of six women on a yacht after its engine failed during a passage to Glenarm in Co Antrim.

The inshore lifeboat Jessie Hillyard was launched on Monday morning (9 May) from Belfast Lough to the yacht’s location just off Donaghadee Sound, in choppy seas and a strong breeze.

One of the women on the yacht reported being seasick but she did not require a medical evacuation.

With the yacht under good control with just a headsail, the lifeboat kept a safe distance until the vessel entered the calmer waters of Ballyholme Bay.

There, volunteer crew member John Bell transferred to the yacht and attached a tow line, staying with the vessel until it was safe in Bangor Marina.

The women later showed their appreciation by presenting the crew with a bag of chocolate cookies, which went down well after the lifeboat had been refuelled, washed down and readied for its next service.

Speaking following the callout, Bangor RNLI helm Jack Irwin said: “On arrival at the scene, we were happy that our assistance was not required immediately, and we shadowed the vessel until we were in calmer waters, where we initiated our tow.

“We were delighted to deliver those onboard to the safety of Bangor Marina, where the staff were waiting to assist with mooring.

“As we head into the summer months, now is a timely time to remind anyone planning a trip to sea to check your vessel's engine and ensure it is well maintained before setting off on a passage.

“Always carry a means of calling for help and let someone on the shore know where you are going and when you are due back.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Larne RNLI in Northern Ireland launched to the aid of a group of paddle boarders who were caught in an offshore breeze at the weekend.

The volunteer crew were requested to launch their inshore lifeboat by Belfast Coastguard at 2.09pm on Sunday (8 May) following a report that five people on two paddle boards were struggling to get back to shore.

The lifeboat was launched from East Antrim Boat Club into a moderate sea with an offshore breeze and made its way to the last reported location of the group at the entrance of Brown’s Bay off Islandmagee.

Having located the casualties and their paddle boards towards the middle of Brown’s Bay, the lifeboat crew observed that the offshore breeze was blowing both boards out to sea and that the group were having difficulty trying to return to safety.

Two of the group managed to make their own way back to the beach unaided, while the remaining three were transferred into the lifeboat.

Upon returning the casualties and their paddle boards to Brown’s Bay beach, they were handed into the care of Portmuck’s coastguard team.

Speaking following the callout, Larne RNLI helm Scott Leitch said: “We are very grateful to the member of the public who realised that something was wrong and called 999 and asked for the coastguard and we were delighted to help.

“As the weather gets warmer and more people travel to the coast, we would remind everyone planning a trip to sea or an activity on the water, to always carry a means of communication so they have a way of contacting the shore and to always wear a lifejacket or flotation device.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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A surfer who got into difficulty at Rossnowlagh Beach yesterday afternoon (Sunday 8 May) was brought to safety by the volunteer crew of Bundoran RNLI.

The alarm was raised by a passer-by on the beach shortly after 3 pm. The member of the public who had spotted the surfer in difficulty, alerted the Irish Coast Guard who in turn requested that Bundoran RNLI’s inshore lifeboat be launched. The Irish Coast Guard’s Sligo based Rescue 118 helicopter was also tasked.

The surfer who had entered the water at the Smugglers Creek side of the beach was spotted being blown offshore by a surf instructor who also went to the casualty’s aid.

Weather conditions at the time were described as fair with good visibility.

Arriving on scene at 3.30 pm, the lifeboat with four volunteer crew members onboard, began a search of the area and soon found both the surfer and the surf instructor near Carrickfad rocks, almost 2km from where the surfer had originally entered the water. Both men, who were assessed and found to be safe and well, were brought back to shore by the lifeboat.

Speaking on the lifeboat’s return to the station, Bundoran RNLI Helm Richard Gillespie said: ‘The sea can be very unforgiving and with the wind at a Force 5 at the time, it was fortunate that the surfer was spotted from the shore and that the alarm was raised. We would like to commend the member of the public who did that along with the surf instructor who also went to help.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Courtmacsherry RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat Frederick Storey Cockburn was called out at 10.15pm on Wednesday night (4 May) to join a search off Garrettstown and Garrylucas beaches near the Old Head of Kinsale in West Cork.

Members of the public noticed a person swimming alone offshore, and an item of clothing was located at the beach some time later.

The lifeboat, with a crew of five under coxswain Mark Gannon, was underway within minutes and proceeded in the dark of night to the area of the search.

The lifeboat reached the area within 15 minutes and commenced a detailed search of the waters and coastline alongside the Kinsale RNLI inshore lifeboat and the Old Head/Seven Heads Coast Guard unit. The search was joined later by the Irish Coast Guard’s Waterford-based helicopter Rescue 117.

A thorough search was undertaken using the powerful search lights, night vision and parachute flares from the lifeboat and the heat detection sensors of the helicopter, while the coastguard unit on the water combed the shoreline at Garrettstown and Garrylucas.

At 12.30am, when nothing was located and gardaí had carried out detailed enquiries ashore, the Valentia Coast Guard Marine Co-Ordination Centre called off the search and the lifeboat and the other rescue services returned to their bases.

Brian O’Dwyer, Courtmacsherry RNLI’s lifeboat operations manager said: “It was great to see the fast response of so many of our voluntary crew tonight when their bleepers activated which ensured that we were at the scene very quickly.

“It is so important to call the rescue services at 112 or 999 quickly once any incident like this occurs as the various rescue services are always at the ready 24 hours a day and great credit is due to the concerned people that raised the alarm last night.”

The Courtmacsherry volunteer lifeboat crew involved in this call out were Coxswain Mark Gannon, duty mechanic Dave Philips and crew members Ken Cashman, Peter Nunan, Denis Murphy, Evin O’Sullivan and Dean Hennessey.

Helvick Head RNLI's Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat | Credit: RNLI/Aoife DuffyHelvick Head RNLI's Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat | Credit: RNLI/Aoife Duffy

Elsewhere on the same night, Helvick Head RNLI in neighbouring Co Waterford was requested to launch its inshore lifeboat following a report that a swimmer was in difficulty in Dungarvan Harbour.

With calm waters and little to no wind, the volunteer crew launched following the request by the Irish Coast Guard at 9.02pm. It followed a report that a swimmer was in difficulty between the Lookout in Dungarvan Harbour and Cunnigar Point.

The lifeboat, helmed by Alan Kelly and with crew members Joe Foley, Shane Walsh and Paidi Breathnach onboard, made its way to the scene. However, the lifeboat was shortly stood down as it transpired the swimmer wasn’t in difficulty and had reached the shore successfully.

Speaking later, Helvick Head RNLI deputy launching authority Sean Walsh said: “This callout turned out to be a false alarm with good intent but we would commend the person who raised the alarm as we would always much rather launch and find that all is safe and well, than not launch at all.

“On the first official week of summer, we would like to remind people if they are planning on going in the water that Dungarvan Harbour is renowned for its rip currents and can catch even the most experienced swimmers out. If you’re caught in a rip, stay calm, don’t panic. Don’t swim against it but rather parallel to the shore until free of the rip and then make for shore.

“We would also like to remind visitors and people new to our shores that the RNLI has a range of translated safety messages and advice in many languages which are available to download.

“If you do get into difficulty or see somebody in trouble on the water or along the coast, dial 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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