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Displaying items by tag: Arranmore

Arranmore RNLI rescued four fishermen this morning after their 70ft boat got into difficulty off the Donegal coast.

The crew of the vessel which was travelling from Greencastle to Killybegs, raised the alarm before 7am after the boat developed steering problems some six nautical miles from Killybegs.

The all-weather lifeboat under Coxswain Jimmy Early launched at 7am and made its way to the scene which was approximately an hour and a half’s journey from Arranmore.

Once on scene, the volunteer lifeboat crew put a rope onboard the boat and worked with the fishermen to set up a tow line. However, due to a swell up to a metre and a half and south to south westerly Force 6-7 winds, the tow rope broke following set up. Once it was re-established, the lifeboat proceeded at slow speed due to the size of the fishing vessel, and made its way to Killybegs where it arrived with the vessel in tow at 11am.

Speaking following the call out, Tony Ward, Arranmore RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager said: ‘The fishermen did the right thing this morning and called for assistance when they started to encounter difficulties. Weather conditions made the tow challenging but using their skills and training, our lifeboat crew were able to get the line re-established and bring the men safely to shore.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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#RNLI - Jimmy Early has taken over as coxswain of the Arranmore RNLI all-weather lifeboat following 41 years of service.

Early, who is just weeks into the job, is currently furthering his training at the RNLI College in Poole, Dorset.

The new coxswain can recall his first call out 41 years to a medical evacuation from the island when, coincidently, the patient was the then coxswain of the lifeboat.

At that time it was mainly fishermen who manned the lifeboats, and the crew responded to the call on seeing flares and rockets going off to alert the crew.

Today, only 10% of RNLI volunteers come from a maritime background.

Potential crew members apply to serve on the lifeboat and have to serve a one-year apprenticeship and undergo rigorous training in all aspects of lifeboat disciplines, from boat handling, communications and radar to first aid and navigation.

“The lifeboats are more efficient now with much more technology in order to provide a faster response to the casualty, so the crew have to be able to manage each call out competently to ensure the best possible outcome,” says Early. “Crews are equipped with the training skills, protective clothing and the best lifeboats to save lives at sea.”

On Arranmore Island off the Donegal mainland, the RNLI has a dedicated crew of 21 volunteers who are equipped with pagers and the necessary skills and training to provide a professional response.

Early remembers the most challenging call out he was involved in back in July 2006.

Sailor Keith White, who had the use of only one arm, was sailing around the British Isles and Ireland when he got into difficulty in a force 10 gale with 10-12 metre swells 50 miles northwest of Arranmore.

It took the lifeboat six hours to reach White and get a tow rope on board in order to bring him to safety.

“At one stage a huge swell washed Keith overboard and we thought he was lost,” says Early. “After several minutes the lifeboat crew was both amazed and delighted to see an arm clutching on to the side of the boat. Keith had managed to haul himself back into his boat to the relief and joy of us all on the lifeboat.”

White’s boat was towed to safety and finally arrived in Burtonport some 22 hours after the lifeboat was first called. The sailor later returned to Arranmore to thank the crew and has since sailed to America.

The latest crew members to join the lifeboat are Martin Proctor and Fr Liam Boyle.

Proctor is following the family tradition of serving the lifeboat, as his father and uncle are both crew members. He is studying marine engineering at Cork and comes home as often as possible in order to continue his crew training with the lifeboat.

Arranmore RNLI is also breaking new ground in recruiting as, following the recruitment of its first female crew member, the station is delighted to now have its first priest join the crew.

Fr Liam Boyle took up the curacy role at Arranmore church in 2015 having served in his first parish in Ardara after ordination for six months.

Fr Liam wanted to integrate into the community and decided the best way he could serve the community outside of his ministerial duties was to join the lifeboat crew.

The priest, who had no previous seafaring experience prior to his RNLI training, said the nearest he ever got to operating a boat was on the pond in Dunlewey in a little tub.

His first callout was to a boat in difficulty at Loughross Point, where nerves and any potential seasickness were soon put to one side as the lifeboat approached the casualty vessel and Fr Liam played his role as a crew member in the rescue.

At present, crew are undergoing first aid training with Nick Darlison, a former paramedic with the NHS and now a first aid tutor from the RNLI.

In keeping with the Arranmore community and family tradition of crewing the lifeboat, many of the crew have relatives serving on the lifeboat. Early’s son Lee is the second coxswain, while mechanic Philip McCauley’s grandfather and uncles were all members of the crew.

Former crew have also returned to the crew years after spending time in England working as Tunnel Tigers.

Crew member John McHugh returned home two years ago and promptly re-joined the lifeboat. After serving his one-year apprenticeship, he is now a fully-fledged lifeboatman.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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#Rescue - A lobster fisherman was rescued after getting tangled in his vessel's ropes when it overturned off the Donegal coast on Saturday evening (9 April).

As reports, the rescue of the solo fisherman proved difficult for local coastguard and lifeboat teams due to the heavy swell at Inishinny, off Arranmore Island.

That's when the Sligo-based Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 118 came in to free the man from his vessel and winch him to safety.

Rescue 118 was later called out to rescue a number of surfers in difficulty of the Leitrim coast, as previously reported on

Published in Coastguard

#RNLI - Wicklow RNLI's all-weather lifeboat launched at 5.31pm yesterday evening (Sunday 22 November) to assist a yacht with two people on board at Wicklow Harbour.

The skipper of the 10-metre yacht contacted the coastguard for assistance after briefly running aground near the Packet pier.

Within minutes the lifeboat and its volunteer crew – coxswain Nick Keogh, mechanic Tommy Murphy, Dave O'Leary, Lisa O'Leary, Connie O'Gara and Joe Hanlon – were alongside the vessel.

Two volunteers went on board the yacht to establish a towline and assist as the lifeboat towed the vessel to the north quay.

Elsewhere at the weekend, Arranmore RNLI in Co Donegal was called to assist a 27-foot fishing boat with two on board just after 5pm on Saturday evening (21 November).

The boat from the fishing village of Burtonport was less than half a mile from the lifeboat station when it got into difficulty with a fouled propeller.

Arranmore RNLI second coxswain Jimmy Early and his volunteer crew secured a tow rope on board the fishing boat and towed it into Burtonport Harbour at 6.15pm.

On returning to the station, Early said the crew was pleased to be of assistance.

"It was very fortunate that the boat was fishing close to the station when it got into difficulty and we were able to establish a tow rope within minutes of launching, it was certainly one of the fastest rescues we had," he said.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - Arranmore RNLI saved two fishermen on Wednesday afternoon (8 April) after their 10m boat capsized off the Donegal coast.

A member of the public who was watching the fishing vessel from the shoreline raised the alarm at 2.50pm after he saw the boat capsize two miles south of Arranmore.

Arranmore RNLI’s boarding boat, which was already at sea with coxswain Anton Kavanagh and mechanic Philip McCauley on board, made its way to the scene.

Weather conditions at the time were described as blowing a gentle Force 2 to 3 wind but there was a heavy ground swell of three to four metres.

During their short passage, the volunteer lifeboat crew spotted and followed a track of fuel, and once on scene observed the wreckage of the stricken vessel. They then observed the two fishermen in the water approximately 300 yards from where the boat had capsized.

Both men were very cold when they were pulled from the sea and brought onboard Arranmore RNLI’s boat.

They were brought to Aphort Harbour, where they were made comfortable before being airlifted by the Irish Coast Guard’s Rescue 118 helicopter from Sligo and transferred to Letterkenny General Hospital.

Speaking following the callout, Anton Kavanagh said: "Both men are very lucky to be alive today and full credit must go to the member of the public who saw the boat capsize and raised the alarm, because the fishermen were not due back to shore for a couple of hours.

"We were delighted to be able to help and are glad that both men are safe and well."

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - Arranmore RNLI lifeboat crew had a long callout in the early hours of this morning to a 30ft yacht in trouble off Gola Island.

The pagers went off just before 2am, when the lifeboat crew – along with their Donegal coastal colleagues from Bunbeg Coast Guard – were called out to assist the yacht, with a father and son on board, that had dragged its anchor and got stuck on rocks at Gola Island.

Once on scene a tow was quickly established between the yacht and the Arranmore all-weather lifeboat. But with the tide out it proved too dangerous to try and move the yacht, and both rescue crews waited on scene with the vessel until the water rose and it was safe to try and move the stricken yacht.

At 4:50am a successful attempt was made to move the yacht and the tow to Burtonport commenced. When coming along Owey Sound, however, it was apparent that the rudder on the yacht was broken and great care had to be taken to keep the vessel on course.

Weather conditions were Force 5 to 6 with a north-westerly wind blowing. The shelter of Gola made the tow quite smooth initially, but on leaving the area conditions deteriorated and it was a difficulty passage for the remaining journey.

Commenting on the callout, Arranmore RNLI coxswain Anton Kavanagh said: "Thankfully both father and son [on the yacht] sustained no injuries. Due to the weather conditions the yacht was very lucky to receive only minor damage."

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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#RNLI - Following last week's assisting of nine people in two separate yacht breakdown incidents, Arranmore RNLI were out again yesterday (10 July) to rescue a man and a woman from a 14ft punt off the Donegal coast.

The volunteer crew launched their lifeboat at 4.30pm following a report from Malin Head Coast Guard that the fibreglass punt had suffered a broken outboard engine and broken oar in the Crohy Head area.

The all-weather lifeboat, under coxswain Anton Kavanagh and with six crew on board, made its way to the scene at Trawenagh Bay, six miles out of Arranmore.

Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 118 was also tasked to the scene, and spotted the casualty vessel shortly after 5pm at the mouth of Trawenagh Bay.

Weather conditions at the time were good, with a calm sea and clear visibility.

At the scene the lifeboat crew transferred the punt's two passengers onto the safety of the lifeboat before returning them to shore.

Using the station's Y-class lifeboat, the crew towed the stricken punt to safety at Black Point slipway between Trawenagh and Crohy.

Speaking following the callout, Kavanagh said: "This was a joint operation between ourselves and the coastguard and we were happy to be able to return the two people safe and well back to Black Point slipway this evening."

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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#RNLI - Arranmore RNLI in Donegal has assisted nine people after two yachts got into difficulty within five hours earlier this week.

At 12.30pm on Wednesday 2 July, the volunteer lifeboat crew responded to a call for assistance from a yacht which had got into difficulty west of Bloody Foreland.

The 37ft yacht, with seven crew members on board, was experiencing problems with its engine and sails.

On arrival, the lifeboat crew stood by. but with deteriorating weather conditions and a 3-4 metre swell, coxswain Anton Kavanagh decided to escort the yacht to safety until it was safe to secure a tow rope.

As both the lifeboat and the yacht reached the lee side of Arranmore at Beal a’ Chreesh, the crew managed to secure a tow and brought the vessel into Burtonport, where two of the yacht’s injured crew were then transferred to Letterkenny General Hospital by ambulance.

Meanwhile, at around 2.15pm another 10m yacht with two crew members on board got into difficulty eight miles northwest of Arranmore when the vessel’s boom broke.

With no immediate danger, the skipper of the yacht began to make his way towards Burtonport until the lifeboat could return from its first call and escort them into harbour as a safety precaution in what were rapidly deteriorating weather conditions.

Speaking after both rescues, Arranmore RNLI mechanic Philip McCauley said: "For four to six weeks we were quiet and now have responded to six calls in just under two weeks, but I suppose that’s the nature of the business we are in and the volunteer lifeboat crew will always be ready to go out whenever we get the call.

"We were pleased to assist both casualty vessels and their crews today; it is all part of the service."

The lifeboat station at Arranmore is experiencing one of its busiest summers with calls for assistance to help locate missing swimmers, rescue injured fishermen and carry out medical evacuations.

Elsewhere, the Clogherhead RNLI volunteer lifeboat crew launched yesterday morning (Friday 4 July) to the aid of a fishing vessel with engine failure located 3 miles north-east of Dunany Point in Co Louth.

The all-weather lifeboat was launched and underway by 7.25am. On arrival at the scene, coxswain Tomas Whelahan and his crew assessed the situation, and together with the skipper of the casualty vessel it was decided to tow the disabled vessel to Port Oriel.

There were no injuries and the boat was safely tied up at 10:24am.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - The crew of the Arranmore RNLI lifeboat were called on Wednesday afternoon 25 June to assist a fisherman involved in an accident on board a 12-meter fishing boat some 12 miles northwest of Tory Island.

Malin Head also dispatched the Irish Coast Guard helicopter from Sligo to assist in the evacuation of the injured fisherman in his mid-40s.

Anton Kavanagh, coxswain of the Arranmore lifeboat, said the transfer of the casualty went smoothly as the weather was good and the lifeboat had no problems manoeuvring alongside the fishing boat.

The casualty was transferred from his boat to the care of the lifeboat crew and taken to Burtonport, where he was transferred to Letterkenny Hospital by ambulance.

This is the fourth time in five days that the Arranmore lifeboat has been called out to render assistance. Two of the calls were medical evacuations from Arranmore who were transferred to Letterkenny Hospital by ambulance.

At the weekend, the lifeboat was called to search for a missing swimmer off Portnoo. Fortunately the swimmer was located by coastguard helicopter and the lifeboat returned to Arranmore.

Elsewhere, Rosslare Harbour's lifeboat and its volunteer crew launched at 7.30pm yesterday evening (26 June) to a reported sighting of two people stranded on a rock surrounded by water.

The alarm was raised by a concerned member of the public. Arriving at the scene within 15 minutes of launch, the lifeboat's daughter craft was deployed and it was soon clear that the two people were fishermen in no immediate danger.

Rosslare Harbour RNLI lifeboat press officer Jamie Ryan said: "The person who raised the alarm did the right thing. It is always better to call out the lifeboat and let them check on a person or situation of concern then to ignore it and risk a serious incident. 

"The lifeboat crew are volunteers and never mind being called out to check on a situation."

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - Life for the RNLI’s volunteer lifeboat crews doesn’t stop when they come ashore from a call-out. Once the lifeboat is safely back at anchor, the crew then attend training which ensures that each crew member can carry on saving lives at sea.

The Arranmore RNLI Lifeboat crew are currently attending a first aid course at their lifeboat station on the west Donegal island. Such competence-based training (or CBT) is an integral part of each crew member’s role in their life aving work on the lifeboats.

Each crew member can avail of training in various disciplines including navigation, boat handling, communications and at present first aid.

According the RNLI, the organisation prides itself on providing the best possible training for each crew member and is continually engaged in research to provide best practice for saving lives at sea.

Casualty care is a crucial link in the search and rescue (SAR) chain that allows lifeboat crews to save lives at sea. Having utilised their previously learned skills to save lives and rescue casualties at sea, continued training assists crew members to provide casualties with the best possible chance of survival, often in a hostile, unforgiving environment and many miles from professional hospital-based care.

Maritime SAR medicine is a specialised field, and the RNLI provides a bespoke course that prepares crew to manage any emergency encountered in the operational field of the RNLI.

The first aid course being provided to RNLI crew members throughout Ireland and the UK at the moment is specifically designed to depart as far as practical from the mainstream occupational first aid courses and focus on providing crew members with the maximum amount of knowledge to deal with emergencies at sea.

The training has a hands-on approach rather than complex theory or diagnosis, and empowers crew members to confidently and competently treat casualties. This approach is reinforced by a unique treatment check card, which takes the guesswork out of treating casualties.

The type of emergencies lifeboat crews deal with are, at a basic level, similar to emergencies one encounters on shore, and can involve loss of limbs, burns, breathing difficulties and heart problems - but are sometimes many miles from a mainland hospital, and only the expertise of the lifeboat crew (without having to rely on memory, because of the card reference system operated by the RNLI) can mean the difference between life and death.

The course is accredited by the RNLI Medical and Survival Committee and the Trauma and Critical Care Group, and is approved by the Royal College of Surgeons and the paramedic department. The system itself is highly regarded by many other emergency services as it is being continually reassessed and upgraded.

The course is delivered at a time and place, usually at the local lifeboat station, that’s convenient to crew members and is the last of this course to be delivered prior to the next upgrade in January 2014. The new changes will include a portable stretcher that can be accommodated in the smaller class inshore lifeboats; the introduction of the use of drugs to alleviate breathing difficulties; the use of more user-friendly check cards; and the reassessment of the treatment of head injuries at sea.

RNLI trainer Trevor Stevens said: “The training which crew members receive is specially designed so that each crew member is guided by the same protocols no matter where, within the spectrum of the RNLI, they operate.

“We are confident that our voluntary crew can competently deal with any emergency, large or small to a high standard and it is the aim of the RNLI to provide the best possible training to our voluntary crew.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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