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The RNLI is launching its Mayday Mile fundraiser today (Tuesday 27 April) as the charity’s rescue figures for 2020 show that over half (53%) of its 945 lifeboat launches took place in the months of June, July and August. Volunteer lifeboat crews are getting ready for what they expect will be a busy summer with people continuing to holiday at home.

Cork man Peter Connon, who last Easter Monday was rescued by the RNLI, along with four young members of his family, when their two sailing craft capsized in a squall off the coast, is urging people to sign up online to do the Mayday Mile which will raise funds for the lifeboat charity.

Last year, with the country dealing with restrictions put in place to fight the pandemic, lifeboat crews were still busy, bringing 1,145 people to safety. Thirteen of those people were classified as lives saved by the RNLI, meaning that without the actions of the lifeboat crew, they would not have survived. Most of those lives saved, 10 in total, happened over the summer period and lifeboat crews are expecting an even busier summer this year with people staying home and holidaying in Ireland. Last summer 747 people were aided by volunteer lifeboat crews during the summer months, an increase of 13% on the previous year’s callouts.

The RNLI’s Mayday campaign begins on Saturday 1 May and runs throughout the month. Lifesavers are calling on supporters to join the Mayday Mile and cover the distance for the charity in any way they chose to raise vital funds to help lifeboat crews continue their work. Sign up at RNLI.org/SupportMayday

The RNLI’s Mayday campaign begins on Saturday 1 May and runs throughout the month

Peter Connon, a keen sailor, was out with four young members of his family when they encountered a squall that resulted in one of their craft capsizing. In trying to aid the group the second craft also capsized and with the weather worsening they were unable to right the vessels. Their mobile phones were rendered useless, but they managed to set off a personal locator beacon and kept calm until help arrived. Members of the group had attended sailing courses in the past and thankfully knew what to do in an emergency. Their equipment and quick thinking kept them safe until the RNLI lifeboat crew were able to rescue them.

Commenting on why he is supporting Mayday and doing his own Mayday Mile walk on the Youghal boardwalk when it opens, Peter spoke about the day he was rescued, ‘That day we took every precaution, but the weather turned, and we quickly found ourselves in serious trouble. We didn’t hesitate to raise the alarm and our equipment and knowledge kept us safe until help arrived. I can’t describe the feeling of joy when you see those big orange lifeboats come into view. I’m a big man but we were scooped into that lifeboat like we weighed nothing. They were so professional and reassured us that we had done everything right. My family are so grateful to Youghal and Ballycotton RNLI and to the paramedics and Coast Guard crews who attended to us that day. What might have happened only hit me much later. I’m doing the Mayday Mile fundraiser to thank the RNLI and hopefully by sharing my story other people will know that anyone can get into difficulty and it’s important to have a means of calling for help.’

Figures released by the RNLI for Ireland last year (which includes all 46 lifeboat stations on the island) show that lifeboats are launching to a range of activities. Twenty-two lifeboat callouts were to swimmers in difficulty, another 22 were to kayakers and canoeists, while 20 launches were for anglers, 15 were to jet-ski related incidents and there were 26 launches to people who were walking or running near the coast.

Owen Medland, RNLI Lifesaving Lead said: ‘As another summer approaches, we know that our lifesavers face challenges in keeping everyone safe, which is why we’re now the ones sending out our own Mayday call and asking for help. Our lifeboat crews have been operational throughout the pandemic and have had to operate in a different way and wearing PPE. Our annual Mayday fundraising campaign, which looks a little different this year, is launching on Saturday 1 May and running for the month. This year, the charity will be calling on supporters to join the Mayday Mile and undertake to cover a distance in any way they like in order to raise vital funds. It can be a mile, a 5km or a few laps of your estate. You can do it in runners or wearing lifeboat wellies. It can be serious or a fun activity for the family.’

To sign up for the Mayday Mile, or to make a donation in support of the RNLI’s lifesavers, visit here

Mayday 2021

Mayday is the RNLI’s national annual fundraising event and gives the RNLI the chance to engage with supporters and give a coordinated period to focus and maximise fundraising efforts.

The Mayday Mile is our main fundraising event this year. It is a simple ask throughout the UK and Ireland for people to get active and cover at least a mile in aid of Mayday. Participants are free to choose how they do their mile, whether it is walking, running or another activity. 

Take on The Mayday Mile

Walk it. Run it. Skate it. Cover a one-mile distance (or multiple miles!) in a way that’s challenging or fun and help raise funds for RNLI lifesavers.

Try it on a treadmill, or pace around the park. Go it alone or join an organised event. Put your best boot forward and do it in wellies. However you do your Mayday Mile, you’ll be joining a vibrant community of fundraisers around the UK and Ireland, all stepping in to help keep summer safe and fun for families, holidaymakers, and the brave volunteers who answer their calls for help.

How?

  • Sign up for The Mayday Mile here
  • Create a team in our virtual event. Simply choose a name for your team, register the first participant and your team will be created as part of the registration process. Share your team name with others and encourage them to sign up.
Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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At 3.45 pm on Sunday 25 April, Carrybridge RNLI’s inshore lifeboat, Douglas Euan & Kay Richards and Rescue Water Craft (RWC) was launched to a vessel with two people on board, which had encountered engine difficulties approx. 2 miles north of Knockninny on Lough Erne.

Winds were North Westerly, Force 1. Visibility was excellent.

The lifeboat and RWC arrived with the casualty vessel which had drifted close to the shoreline. The volunteer crew checked the wellbeing of the people on the casualty boat and found they were safe and well. With the owner’s permission, a tow was established with the casualty vessel and the boat was then towed back to a private marina.

Just as the volunteer crew were returning at 5.00 pm to the lifeboat station at Carrybridge, Belfast Coastguard requested for both the lifeboat and RWC to assist a second vessel with 5 people on board which had run aground approx. 1 mile North East of Naan Island.

A second vessel with five people on board had run aground approx. one mile North East of Naan IslandA second vessel with five people on board had run aground approx. one mile North East of Naan Island

The people onboard the casualty vessel were found to be safe and well, and due to the shallow water conditions, the volunteer crew carefully transferred them all over to the lifeboat. This allowed the grounded vessel to be refloated and towed back to the Carrybridge Public Slipway.

Speaking following the call out, Stephen Scott, Lifeboat Operations Manager at Carrybridge RNLI advised all boat users: ‘‘As the Bank holiday approaches please take time to plan your journey with the relevant charts, lifejackets for all onboard and a means of calling for assistance if you find yourself in trouble. If you see someone in trouble on the water or are in difficulties yourself the number to dial is: 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard.’’

Carrybridge Lifeboat Station was started in 2002 on Upper Lough Erne. It currently operates an Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat and a Rescue Water Craft

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Courtmacsherry RNLI's all-weather Trent class lifeboat Frederick Story Cockburn was called out yesterday afternoon, Sunday 26 April at 3.40pm as people reported a surfer in difficulty off Garrylucas Beach near the Old Head of Kinsale.

The lifeboat under coxswain Ken Cashman and a crew of six was under way within minutes and proceeded at full speed to the area of the casualty, where it carried to a detail search while the Old Head and Seven Heads Coast Guard unit searched from the shoreline.

The area was combed over the next 40 minutes and with nothing found, the search operation was stood down.

This was the third callout over the weekend for the lifeboat crew, beginning on Friday evening (23 April) with reports of a swimmer in difficulty off Broadstrand who was rescued by a kitesurfer, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

This was followed by another callout on Saturday morning (24 April), when the lifeboat crew were on their weekly crew training exercise, to go to the aid of four people in difficulties in the water off Garrettstown Beach. Thankfully these swimmers were rescued by nearby surfers as the lifeboat reached the area.

Philip White, Courtmacsherry RNLI’s deputy launching authority, said: “Great credit is due to all our volunteer crew members who rushed to answer the callout whenever help was required at sea this weekend.”

White also thanked the people on shore who called the rescue services at 112 or 999 as every minute is so important to people in difficulty, no matter what the outcome of a search is.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Skerries RNLI rescued five children and four adults after responding to two separate incidents over the weekend.

Shortly after 6pm on Saturday evening (24 April), the pagers sounded following multiple 999 calls reporting that three children in the water trying to return from Shenick Island to the south beach after being cut off by the rising tide.

The Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat was launched and made its way around the headland at Red Island before heading for Shenick.

As the lifeboat approached the island, they could see the children making their way along the sand bar back towards the island.

A sea kayaker had seen the situation unfolding and landed on the island to convince the children to come out of the water and back to dry land.

The lifeboat was carefully manoeuvred into the shallow waters before the volunteer crew assisted the children, who were very cold but otherwise unharmed into the lifeboat and safely ashore where they were reunited with their parents.

Skerries RNLI towing the stricken motorboat to safetySkerries RNLI towing the stricken motorboat to safety Credit: RNLI/Gerry Canning

Then on Sunday morning (25 April), shortly before 11.30am, the lifeboat was passing Rush Harbour en route to Malahide Marina to carry out a planned training exercise when the crew received a tasking to a motorboat that had suffered engine failure near the north beach in Skerries.

The lifeboat altered course and quickly navigated back to Skerries where after a short search they located the casualty vessel, a 17ft motorboat with four adults and two children on board, anchored off the north beach.

A tow was established and the vessel was brought safely alongside the harbour in Skerries.

Speaking about the callouts, press officer Gerry Canning said: “It’s been a very busy few weeks for the station, but our volunteers are always ready to respond.

“We’d like to remind everyone out enjoying the coast in the good weather to check the tides, and always carry a means of calling for help. If you see someone in trouble, dial 999 and ask for the coastguard.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Howth RNLI launched both the all-weather lifeboat and the inshore lifeboat to come to the aid of a sailboat with a family of seven people aboard after they ran aground off Ireland's Eye.

The RNLI pagers sounded at 3.10 pm on Sunday 25th April 2021 to reports of a sailing vessel aground off the west side of Ireland's eye. The all-weather lifeboat was launched and located the stricken sailing yacht with seven family crew members onboard. The yacht was hard aground and the inshore lifeboat was launched to navigate the shallow water around the stricken vessel.

The volunteer lifeboat crew took five members of the family aboard, the mother and four of the children and transferred them to the all-weather lifeboat where they were checked out. All were in good spirits and returned to the safety of Howth Marina.

The volunteer lifeboat crew checked for damage to the stricken yacht and suggested that the Father and eldest family member remain aboard until the next high tide which was 11.30 pm later that evening and the yacht would float free with no damage.

The Howth RNLI Lifeboat Coxswain; Fred Connolly remained in phone contact with the skipper of the yacht over the remaining hours awaiting high tide.

The yacht refloated just after 8.00 pm and returned safely under it’s own power.

Speaking following the callout, Fred Connolly, Howth RNLI Lifeboat Coxwain said: ‘Our volunteer lifeboat crew are always ready to respond to a call for help and we train for situations just like this. We were delighted to able to quickly locate the sailing boat, remove some of the family members and keep in contact with the skipper while the high tide returned and the yacht refloated safely”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Lough Swilly RNLI in County Donegal was tasked by the Irish Coast Guard at 2.26 pm Sunday 25th April to reports of a distress signal sighted around the Leenan Head area of the Lough.

After a short search, it was found to be a helium balloon shining in the sun and the crew was stood down. The Ops team would like to thank the members of the public that rang the Coast Guard, this could have easily been something more serious.

At 8.09 pm both boats were tasked to an incident off Leenan Pier. While both boats were en route, the Shannon class all-weather lifeboat was further tasked to reports of a boat aground on Inishtrahull.

A short time later both boats were stood down by the Irish Coast Guard and returned safely to Buncrana to be refuelled and made ready for service.

Remember if you need assistance in or on the water or see someone in trouble, dial 999 or 112 and ask for the Coast Guard.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Ballycotton RNLI all-weather Trent class lifeboat the Austin Lidbury was tasked by Valentia Coast Guard at 11.25 am yesterday to a report of a fishing vessel with engine failure approximately 5 miles off Flat Head, south of Cork Harbour

Conditions were fresh with a strong 5/6 knot easterly wind and clear visibility.

Volunteer lifeboat crew with Ballycotton RNLI arrived at the scene at approximately 11.50 am where they found the 13-metre catamaran fishing vessel being held in position by another fishing vessel. The crew of Ballycotton RNLI secured the vessel, ensuring the two crew on board the boat were safe and then proceeded to tow the boat into Cork dockyard where it was moored safely. 

Speaking following the callout, Peter O' Shea Ballycotton RNLI Mechanic said “On arrival, the fishing vessel was being held in position by another fishing boat. If they had not be able to secure a line to the boat it would have most likely ended up on the rocks due to the strong easterly winds. By towing the vessel to safety the outcome was positive for all involved”.

Broken down RIB

As the crew of Ballycotton RNLI prepared to return to the station they were alerted by radio to a report of a 6.5-metre semi-rigid pleasure boat with engine trouble anchored in Cobh harbour with two people on board. Ballycotton RNLI secured the boat and towed it into Cobh where it was safely brought alongside the pontoon and secured. The two people on board were both wearing lifejackets and had a radio which they used to call for assistance. 

All crew from Ballycotton RNLI returned safely at 4.00 pm. 

Ballycotton RNLI Crew:

  • Mike Hallihan - Coxswain
  • Peter O’Shea - Mechanic
  • Claire McCarthy
  • Eolan Breathnac
  • Sile Scanlon
  • Mike Kenneally
  • Ciaran Walsh
Published in RNLI Lifeboats

At 11.30 am today, Sunday 25 April, whilst out on exercise, Lough Derg RNLI volunteers in County Tipperary noticed the passengers of a 20ft motorboat waving to them to signal their distress.

The motorboat was south of the Scilly Islands and lying side on to the weather. The wind was easterly, F3, with good visibility.

The lifeboat, with helm Eleanor Hooker, Joe O’Donoghue, Chris Parker and Ania Skrzypczynska on board, immediately made way to the vessel. The two people on board the casualty vessel asked for assistance as their boat had suffered engine failure.

The lifeboat informed the Valentia Coast Guard of the situation. The crew set up an astern tow to take the vessel with her passengers back to Garrykennedy Harbour, the closest available safe harbour, and from where they had started their journey.

At 12.13 pm the casualty vessel was safely tied alongside at Garrykennedy Harbour. At 12.18 pm Lough Derg RNLI lifeboat, Jean Spier, departed the scene to return to station.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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A kitesurfer who rescued a swimmer off the Seven Heads in Cork on Friday evening (23 April) said he was “just delighted to help”.

As TheJournal.ie reports, Dylan Green was out on his board when he was alerted to a woman struggling in the water near Broadstrand.

While a friend of the casualty hailed emergency services, Green set about searching for the swimmer who he located close to rocks.

When Courtmacsherry RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat arrived on scene minutes later, Green had already brought the casualty to safety and she was assessed on the beach by locals, including medical personnel, until the ambulance arrived.

After further assessment, the woman was deemed fit to return home with her family to recover from her ordeal.

Brian O’Dwyer, Courtmacsherry RNLI’s lifeboat operations manager, said: “It was amazing to witness myself, he great skill of the kitesurfer this evening who prevented a very serious incident from happening.

Published in Rescue

Howth RNLI was on exercise this afternoon Saturday 24th April when it received a call to join the Irish Coast Guard Helicopter Rescue 116 who were tasked to locate a kite-surfer who had got into difficulty off Sutton Strand in North Dublin.

The wind had reduced in strength which caused the kite equipment that the kite-surfer was using to collapse into the water and he was unable to launch the kite again and was drifting towards Sutton estuary.

The Coast Guard Helicopter was already on scene and dropped a smoke marker to aid the Howth RNLI Lifeboat locating the casualty.

The kite-surfer was taken aboard the inshore lifeboat and safely returned to shore.

The volunteer lifeboat crew were Ian Martin (Helm), Lorcan Dignam and Ronan Murphy.

Speaking following the callout, Ian Martin, Howth RNLI Inshore Lifeboat Helm said: ‘Our volunteer lifeboat crew are always ready to respond to a call for help and we train for situations just like this. We were delighted to be able to quickly locate the kite-surfer with the assistance of Rescue 116 and bring him back to safety’’.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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