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Displaying items by tag: Lifeboats

Skerries RNLI carried out their first rescue of the new year in the early hours of yesterday morning (Saturday 16 January), towing a razor fishing boat with two men on board to safety.

Shortly before midnight on Friday, Dublin Coast Guard requested Skerries RNLI to launch their Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat following a distress call from a razor fishing vessel that had suffered mechanical failure off the north Co Dublin coastal town.

The lifeboat was launched and the volunteer crew navigated to the GPS position provided by the vessel. A tow was established and the vessel was towed back to the safety of the harbour in Skerries.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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The RNLI is urging anyone who is able under Irish or UK government guidelines to visit the coast during lockdown to stay safe and not take any unnecessary risks that may put extra pressure on emergency services.

As both the UK and Ireland enter new nationwide lockdowns, RNLI lifeboats will continue to launch.

However, every time a lifeboat crew is called to an incident, it puts additional pressure on RNLI volunteers and other frontline emergency services. In addition to this, it also potentially exposes them to Covid-19.

Gareth Morrison, RNLI head of water safety, said: “During lockdown, RNLI lifeboats and stations remain operational and will launch around the clock where there is risk to life.

“We would encourage everyone to follow the latest government guidelines on what they are able to do and where they are able to go during lockdown.

“But for anyone visiting a coastal area, please understand the risks to be as safe as possible and not put unnecessary strain on frontline services.

“No one ever heads to the coast with the expectation of needing to be rescued, yet rescues are occurring every day.

“In a normal year around 150 people lose their lives at the coast and we know that more than half of those never intended to be in the water.

“So, whether you are walking, running or cycling at the coast, or doing some activity on or in the water, please be extra responsible and avoid taking unnecessary risks.”

The RNLI and HM Coastguard last month launched a winter coastal safety campaign to highlight the dangers of stormy seas, changing tides and cliffs at this time of year.

Morrison added: “Our beaches and coastal areas may see an increase in visitors in the days and weeks to come, so we’re urging everyone to follow our advice and stay safe.

“In particular at this time of year, we ask people to stay well back from stormy, wintery seas and cliff edges, check tide times before you go, take a phone with you, and call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard if you or someone else is in trouble.”

The RNLI’s key water safety advice is:

  • Take care if walking near cliffs – be aware of ice and frost, know your route and keep dogs on a lead.
  • Check tide times daily.
  • Take a full-charged phone.
  • If going afloat, always wear a lifejacket or other personal flotation device and take a means of calling for help.
  • Check your equipment is in good working order.
  • Be aware of the conditions and your capabilities and only enter the water if it is safe to do so.
  • In an emergency call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.
Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Bundoran RNLI’s volunteer lifeboat crew were requested to launch yesterday afternoon (Tuesday 22 December) to reports of a 19ft vessel that had sunk off Killybegs.

Also tasked to the scene were the Sligo-based Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 118 as well as the Killybegs Coast Guard RIB, while help was sought from other vessels in the area.

On arrival, the lifeboat crew found that two people who had been on the sunken vessel had already made their way to safety and were treated by an ambulance at the Killybegs slipway.

The lifeboat then assisted the coastguard RIB in securing the vessel.

Lifeboat helm Rory O’Connor said: “Thanks to quick actions of all involved, this was another successful outcome and the two people will get to spend Christmas with their loved ones.

“It’s another example of inter-agency cooperation and we were glad to be able to assist our Irish Coast Guard colleagues.”

The incident came just two days after another inter-agency operation to rescue a man whose small boat ran aground on rocks in Ballyshannon, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Arklow RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat Ger Tigchlearr taking a stricken fishing vessel under tow | Photo: RNLI/ArklowArklow RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat Ger Tigchlearr taking a stricken fishing vessel under tow (Photo: RNLI/Arklow)

In other lifeboat news, Arklow RNLI launched to the aid of two fishermen on a vessel in distress last Thursday 17 December.

As the volunteer crew of six were en route, further reports came in that the fishing vessel had freed the foul but was adrift and dragging its anchor — and in danger of being driven up onto the rocks at Kilmichael Point.

Once on scene, the lifeboat crew worked quickly with the casualty vessel’s crew of two to establish a tow line, before the vessel was towed safely back to Arklow.

Following the incident, Arklow RNLI community safety officer Mark Corcoran gave a special shoutout to coxswain Eddie McElheron on his first callout in command of the all-weather lifeboat Ger Tigchlearr.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Volunteers from Bundoran RNLI were part of a multi-agency operation to rescue a man whose small boat ran aground on rocks in Ballyshannon yesterday afternoon (Sunday 20 December).

The man raised the alarm from his boat which had run aground off the island of Inis Saimer just before 1pm, and Malin Head Coast Guard requested the launch of Bundoran’s lifeboat as well as the Sligo-based Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 118.

However, it was determined that sea conditions would render it unsafe for the inshore lifeboat to get across the bar at the end of the Erne Estuary.

Instead, four lifeboat crew travelled by road to Ballyshannon where an Inland Fisheries Ireland patrol boat was already close to the casualty vessel.

Together the fisheries officers and lifeboat volunteers evacuated the man from his boat and brought him safely to shore and the into the care of paramedics.

In the meantime, the Bundoran lifeboat was transported by road under Garda escort to Ballyshannon, where it was launched and towed the casualty boat away from the rocks.

Bundoran lifeboat helm Michael Patton said: “This was another good outcome with the cooperation of our colleagues at Rescue 118, Inland Fisheries [Ireland], the National Ambulance Service and the Garda Siochana.

“We were glad to be able to get the man safely off the boat and return his boat to him.

“He was also wearing a lifejacket, and we would remind anyone taking to the water that this is an essential piece of equipment anytime you set sail.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Dunmore East RNLI volunteer lifeboat crewman Paul Sheehan was recently recognised for a community volunteer award by his employer after being nominated by his co-workers.

Paul is a general operative with Bausch and Lomb in Waterford, which recently held an open competition among employees to highlight some of the volunteer work they regularly conduct outside of work.

The dedicated volunteer crew with Dunmore East RNLI for 14 years was nominated by some of his co-workers — and his employers honoured him with a community volunteer award and a donation of €500 to Dunmore East RNLI.

Margaret Barry, chair of the Dunmore East RNLI fundraising branch, said: “Our volunteer crew are an extremely dedicated bunch and it is lovely to see Paul being deservedly recognised, by his employer, for his many years of lifesaving efforts with Dunmore East RNLI.

“We are very grateful to receive any donations, as this year has been a particularly difficult year for our fundraising efforts. Donations like this will enable our charity’s lifesavers to continue to save lives at sea.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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What started as a small fundraiser for Galway RNLI and Cancer Care West has turned into something spectacular as the players and members of Galway Corinthians RFC have raised over €8,500 for both organisations through two fundraising efforts.

The first featured the senior players in the club with Jack Noone and Kenneth Casburn behind the organisation of ‘Movember’ where players, management and committee members grew facial hair of some kind for the month of November.

The second featured the mercurial talents of club president Kieran Faherty.

Known fondly as ‘Flash’, Kieran is an accomplished artist and he generously provided one of his paintings known as ‘Brewing Up A Storm’, a stunning view of Galway Bay that has proved very popular with prints and cards selling out quickly.

But what inspired the painting? “I am often asked that,” Kieran says. “Pretty much my signature pieces are all about colour, and Connemara is my inspiration for many.

“As a kid I only saw greyness in the Connemara landscape, but age opens your eyes. Now I embrace all the wonderful changing coloured landscape that the mountains, bogs and lakes give up to us.”

He added: “I think my inspiration for this piece is the challenges it offers, as it sits in stormy waters, and I think appropriately it is raising funds for a charity that lives in stormy waters with their incredible brave crew.”

The fundraising has been warmly welcomed by both organisations, with Mike Swan, Galway RNLI lifeboat operations manager, saying: “I wanted to express my personal gratitude for the effort of the members of Corinthians Rugby Club and thank them for their very generous donation, of which will be put to good use saving lives at sea.

“Given the year that’s in it, the crew are overwhelmed with the support from the people of Galway.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

The families of RNLI lifeboat volunteers have joined an all-Ireland appeal for support after the charity’s usual Christmas fundraisers were cancelled.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the charity that saves lives at sea launched its 2020 Christmas appeal as so many traditional community fundraising events such as raft races, open days and sea swims have had to be called off due to coronavirus restrictions.

In Donegal, Lorraine Cassidy’s husband James and sons Nathan (22) and Oisin (21) are all volunteer crew members on Bundoran RNLI’s inshore lifeboat. They know all too well how important it is for crews to have the right lifesaving kit and PPE.

Nathan adds: “RNLI volunteers have had a challenging year but thankfully, with many additional safety measures and procedures in place to ensure our safety, we have remained on call 24/7 throughout the pandemic.

“We have our standard PPE but now also wear masks and gloves and take extra precautions at sea. We know the extra PPE comes at a financial cost to the charity and during a time when fundraising activity has had to be halted.”

Further south are Robert and Colette Foster, whose daughter Caoimhe (20) is a volunteer crew member on Crosshaven RNLI’s inshore lifeboat.

“We are very proud that Caoimhe has been a volunteer lifeboat crew member in Crosshaven for three years now,” her father Robert says. “Our son Cillian (17) is also joining the crew but due to Covid-19, won’t be starting his training until next year.

“Our youngest Clodagh is 12 and having watched Caoimhe’s involvement in the last few years, she is already aspiring to be part of the future crew.”

In East Cork, Mark Nolan has been a volunteer at Youghal RNLI for 23 years, first as a crew member on the station’s inshore lifeboat where he served for 13 years before moving to shore crew. In 2017 he became a deputy launching authority where, among his tasks, he authorises the launch of the station’s lifeboat when the alarm is raised.

Mark’s son Jack (22) followed in his father’s footsteps five years ago when he, too, joined the lifesaving team in Youghal.

“You worry when the pager beeps and you are responsible for authorising the launch of the lifeboat,” Mark says. “While Jack is my son, I would have similar concerns for all crew members who go out on the lifeboat to save others who are in trouble at sea.”

Jason Chambers and his wife Lauren received a special guard of honour from Portrush RNLI after their wedding last week (Photo: Mairéad McDaid/Remain In Light Photography)Jason Chambers and his wife Lauren received a special guard of honour from Portrush RNLI after their wedding last week | Photo: Mairéad McDaid/Remain In Light Photography

For Portrush RNLI relief mechanic Jason Chambers and his wife Lauren (McGee), who is a professional wedding photographer, 2020 has been a year like no other.

The couple who have two children, Tyler (9) and Isla (5), were originally due to get married on 18 April but when Covid-19 restrictions came in shortly after they returned from their hen and stag parties, they were forced to postpone and rethink their plans.

A stressful few months later and amid restrictions changing regularly, the couple eventually got their big day last week.

And much to Jason’s surprise and delight, four fully kitted-out lifeboat crew members representing the station were waiting outside the Arcadia in Portrush following the ceremony to provide a socially distant guard of honour to wish the couple well.

Lauren is also well used to family events being interrupted by the pager. And this Christmas will be no different for the Chambers.

“From the moment I met Jason, the RNLI pager became a part of my life, too. The lifeboat has always been in Jason’s blood and he comes from a long family line who have been involved in helping to save lives at sea for generations.

“It can be difficult seeing Jason leave when the pager goes, and he heads for the lifeboat. I worry about what he might go through when he is out on a shout. Even at Christmas, we know that he might have to drop everything like the other volunteers in Portrush, Red Bay or Larne and run out the door to go and save someone’s life.”

The same goes for Sue and Peter Irwin, longtime volunteers with Donaghadee RNLI, whose son Jack is a volunteer on Bangor RNLI’s inshore lifeboat.

“However, I also know how important the crew member’s role is and how rewarding it is for Jack to make his contribution just as it was for Peter and is for me as a fundraiser,” Sue says.

“The RNLI depends on the goodwill of others to support the work our volunteer crews do and that is why as a family, we would urge people if they can, to give to the Christmas appeal.”

Meanwhile, for one teenager who has helped out where he can at Kilkeel RNLI since he was a child, this year Christmas will be extra special as he will finally be eligible to join the crew on his 17th birthday on Christmas Eve.

Andrew Young’s father Gary has been a RNLI volunteer for the last 32 years. Watching his father work as station mechanic and helm, Andrew was inspired to become a crew member at a young age and is now looking forward to making his own contribution.

“I have been coming to the station with Dad for years and I always loved watching the crew prepare and train between call outs,” Andrew said. “I have helped out where I can but I am really excited now to start my own training to become a crew member and I will look forward to the day that I, too, can help bring someone in difficulty to safety.”

All families share pride in their loved ones’ lifesaving efforts, but they also worry when the pager beeps and they’re called out to save others who are in trouble.

The sense of relief when they help to bring those in difficulty back to safety, but also when they return home safety themselves, is one that they all feel.

And they’re united in declaring that the best Christmas gift they can wish for is any kind of donation, no matter how small, to the RNLI Christmas appeal.

Funds raised will provide the lifesaving kit volunteers so need to continue to help saving lives at sea. For more visit RNLI.org/Xmas

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

A World War II mine found in “remarkable” condition off western Scotland earlier this week contained 350kg of explosives, according to the Royal Navy.

The unexploded ordnance was discovered by a Marine Scotland survey vessel in the Firth of Clyde on Tuesday afternoon (1 December).

Belfast Coastguard tasked Troon RNLI to the scene, north-east the Isle of Arran, to retrieve non-essential personnel from the 68m survey vessel and bring them to safety on the lifeboat.

As BBC News reports, the survey vessel was then sailed to Ettrick Bay on the Isle of Bute, where bomb disposal experts carried out a controlled explosion of the mine.

“From the initial pictures, we were able to easily identify the mine type and importantly determine that the explosive fill was intact and therefore presented a significant hazard,” said Lieutenant Commander Mark Shaw of the Royal Navy.

BBC News has more on the story HERE.

Published in Scottish Waters
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Staff at the Marine Institute are attempting to walk, run, row, cycle and swim the 4,068km distance from their headquarters in Galway to the North Pole in aid of the RNLI.

And they’re inviting everyone to join in and support their virtual festive fundraising challenge, which runs until Friday 18 December.

“Many of our colleagues and those that we work with spend much of their time at sea,” says Marine Institute chief executive Dr Paul Connolly. “Knowing that the emergency services are there should we need them is a huge comfort for all who use the ocean whether for work or for pleasure.

“This year has been difficult for many and especially hard also for charities such as RNLI Lifeboats Ireland. For these reasons, as an organisation the Marine Institute decided that together we could do our bit to support the RNLI and have a bit of festive fun while we are at it.”

It costs the RNLI €1,650 to train a volunteer lifeboat crew member for a year, and €1,764 to kit them out in their lifesaving gear — so every euro raised counts.

“We are asking the public to consider adding their kilometres to our fundraiser and making their steps or swims count. Together we can make this an easy downhill and raise much needed funds for RNLI lifeboats,” Dr Connolly adds.

If you want to take part, commit some kilometres to the 4,000km total or choose to donate. And don’t forget to post your challenge photos on social media, tagging the Marine Institute on Twitter or Facebook and using the hashtag #NorthPoleChallenge

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Skerries RNLI’s volunteer crew were tasked on Saturday afternoon (28 November) after a call to emergency services reported concerns over a group of sea swimmers off Donabate.

The Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat Louis Simson was launched shortly before 3pm to investigate the group’s reported position, drifting north from Donabte Beach.

Also tasked were Skerries Coast Guard and the Irish Coast Guard’s Dublin-based helicopter Rescue 116, whose crew made contact with the swimmers and determined they were not in any difficulty. All rescue crews were then stood down.

Speaking later, Skerries RNLI press officer Gerry Canning said: “There has been a marked increase in the number of people taking up sea swimming this year, and as a result there have been increased demands on all the search and rescue organisations.

“Thankfully in this case it was a false alarm, but it’s a good opportunity to remind people to be aware of the additional challenges that apply to sea swimming at this time of the year.”

Published in Water Safety
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