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Displaying items by tag: Ballygally

A group of open water swimmers who were rescued after getting caught in a rip current have raised over £1,000 for Larne RNLI.

The swimmers were safely recovered to the shore before action was required by the station’s lifeboats in the incident in late March at Ballygally Beach, on the East Antrim coast in Northern Ireland.

But following the incident, the swimmers at Ballygally Chilli Dippers Open Water Swimming Group felt they would like to do their bit to help the charity.

On Sunday last (23 May), some of Larne RNLI’s volunteer crew along with lifeboat operations manager Allan Dorman and members of the fundraising team, went to Ballygally Beach where a cheque for £1,016 was presented by the Chilli Dippers.

Recalling the events from March, Sharon Hamilton of the swimming group said: “The sea conditions changed very quickly that evening and within seconds of going in, a few of us were taken out to sea and out of our depth by a rip current.

“We all had our floats and to begin with we were within our depths. Our intention that evening was to have a quick swim, however once we were caught in the current the fight was too much for us to get back to shore. Luckily help came just in time.”

Speaking about the increase in open water swimming, Sharon said: “The pandemic and lockdown has sent lots of us running to the sea for therapy and exercise, but safety needs to be at the forefront of everyone’s mind.

“Never swim alone, use a float, carry a whistle and check tide times and learn how to spot a rip current. Thankfully the fast-acting members of the Chilli Dippers, pulled together and got everyone safely back to the shore just as the RNLI were launching.

“The response I got from my Facebook post highlighting the need for sea safety was overwhelming, so I decided to turn it around and ask for a small donation from anyone who had liked or shared the post. The response was amazing and a grand total of £1,016 was raised within a week.”

The fundraising efforts of the Chilli Dippers come at a time when the RNLI is asking for donations as part of its annual Mayday fundraising campaign.

Larne RNLI’s Dorman said: “We are so grateful to Sharon and all the Chilli Dippers for thinking of us, raising much needed funds to help us to continue to save lives at sea, all while spreading the importance of water safety as well.”

There is still time to take part in with the Mayday Mile. Walk, run, cycle, or cover one mile however you would like and then donate online to the RNLI at RNLI.org/supportMayday

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Yesterday's strong southerly wind resulted in a spate of paddleboarding incidents involving lifeboat call outs at Larne and Bangor.

Larne RNLI launched both of their lifeboats today to reports of a paddleboarder in difficulty at Ballygally, a village and holiday resort on the Antrim coast, about 3 miles north of the ferry port of Larne.

Launching at the request of Belfast Coastguard, both boats were underway when the paddleboarder was reported safe back on the shore. As the boats returned to the station, Belfast Coastguard alerted them to another boarder in difficulty in Brown's Bay, a small sandy bay on the northern tip of the Islandmagee peninsula at Larne.

Whilst making their way towards the area, reports came through that the boarder had managed to make their way ashore.

Brown's Bay, a small sandy bay on the northern tip of the Islandmagee peninsulaBrown's Bay, a small sandy bay on the northern tip of the Islandmagee peninsula

Larne lifeboat operations manager, Allan Dorman, said: 'We would like to remind people of the dangers of offshore winds and crosswinds, which can very quickly pull someone further out to sea".

The weather yesterday prompted Iain McCarthy from Suphubni who runs paddleboarding lessons in Bangor Harbour, to post a Facebook warning of the dangers of offshore winds. Yesterday he saw Bangor RNLI called out twice in the space of an hour to boarders in difficulty. He says, "Just because it looks good, doesn't mean it is good. On our stretch of water between Belfast and round the coast to Millisle and beyond, today should have been an easy day to 1. get up early before the wind picked up, 2. Choose a different location to paddle or 3 Go for a walk".

He continued " Every weather app would have told you that there were strong offshore breezes forecast this afternoon".

RNLI Bangor commented, "Wise words from our friends in Suphubni".

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

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