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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

The Courtmacsherry RNLI All Weather Lifeboat was called out this evening, Sunday, April 10th, at 7.50 pm, by the Valentia Coast Guard Marine Rescue Co-Ordination Centre when persons on the shore noticed that two surfers appeared in difficulties off Dunworley Strand on the Seven Heads coastline in West Cork and that a Life-raft was spotted in the immediate area at the same time. Within minutes of the Crew bleepers being activated, the Lifeboat “Frederick Storey Cockburn” under Coxswain Mark Gannon and a crew of 7 was launched and headed at speed to the scene of the alert arriving there at 8.20 pm.

The conditions at sea tonight were very rough with a very strong south-easterly wind and high swells. Obviously, this could have the potential to be a serious incident, and the Coast Guard Unit from the Seven Heads / Old Head of Kinsale, the Coast Guard Rescue 115 Helicopter from Shannon, along with Gardai and HSE Ambulance Service were also immediately tasked.

The two surfers were able to get themselves ashore after being caught in tough swells and surf off Cow Rock and the concentration from all of the rescue agencies then focused on locating the Life-raft.

Following a detailed shoreline search, the Coast Guard land unit spotted the Life-raft on a rocky cliff-face, while the Helicopter and the Lifeboat searched the Bay with their powerful searchlights and heat-sensing equipment.

While nobody was found in the Liferaft, the search continued until the Rescue Co-Ordination Centre established that the Life-raft was lost from a yacht at sea a few days ago off the Cork coast.

Thankfully all the rescue agencies were then stood down, and the Life-raft was secured and taken from the shoreline tomorrow. The two surfers who got ashore earlier were uninjured and made their way home.

Station Deputy Launch Authority Philip White and crewperson Conor Dullea who were at the shore search area at Dunworley with other Lifeboat Station officersStation Deputy Launch Authority Philip White and crewperson Conor Dullea who were at the shore search area at Dunworley with other Lifeboat Station officers

The Courtmacsherry RNLI voluntary Lifeboat Operations Manager Brian O Dwyer said, “It was great to see the quick reaction of all our volunteers tonight, who dropped whatever they were at and rushed to the station to have the Lifeboat underway in less than 10 minutes, to help others in distress. The persons on the shoreline deserve great praise for alerting the rescue agencies quickly, as two different incidents in the same location were highly unusual.”

The Courtmacsherry Lifeboat Crew at sea and onshore were Coxswain Mark Gannon, Mechanic Dave Philips and crew members Ken Cashman, Peter Noonan, Ciaran Hurley, Dean Hennessy, Evin O Sullivan, Conor Tyndall and Conor Dullea.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Courtmacsherry RNLI was alerted on Sunday afternoon (12 December) that a windsurfer was in difficuly off Harbour View Strand in Courtmacsherry Bay and needed immediate assistance.

Within minutes of the crew pagers being activated, both the all-weather Trent Class lifeboat Frederick Storey Cockburn and the inshore D Class lifeboat were launched and headed to the scene of the alert.

Under Coxswain Mark Gannon, and a total of nine volunteer crew members, both boats sped to the area quickly as there was a strong Force 7/8 wind with high swells at sea.

Thankfully the windsurfer was able to get ashore safely with the help of other surfers and did not require any extra assistance when the lifeboats arrived.

Courtmacsherry RNLI lifeboat operations manager Brian O’Dwyer said: “It was great to see the quick reaction of our volunteers today, who dropped whatever they were at and rushed to the station in order to help other in danger.

“It was good to get that 999 or 112 call for assistance made straight away, as minutes are so important in these incidents at sea”.

This was the 26th callout of 2021 for Courtmacsherry RNLI, which is an all-time high for the West Cork station.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

A pleasure boat with mechanical issues off the Seven Heads in West Cork prompted a launch by Courmacsherry RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat at the weekend.

The Trent class lifeboat Frederick Storey Cockburn — under coxswain Mark Gannon and a volunteer crew of five — set off on Saturday evening (18 September) to go to the aid of the 38ft pleasure boat with four on board, which was some seven miles offshore.

The lifeboat was on scene within half an hour and quick assessed the situation. A towline was attached to the disabled boat, and the lifeboat proceeded under tow at a safe speed to the nearest port of Courtmacsherry.

Courtmacsherry RNLI lifeboat operations manager Brian O’Dwyer said: “It is always better to act quickly at sea in freshening conditions and it was good that the boat’s skipper sought assistance this evening.

“Once again great credit goes to our crew in responding to our 23rd lifeboat call out so far in 2021.”

The lifeboat crew involved in the call out were coxswain Mark Gannon, mechanic Dave Philips and crew members Mark John Gannon, Donal Young, Peter Noonan and Paul McCarthy.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Courtmacsherry RNLI launched their all-weather lifeboat yesterday evening (Saturday 11 September) to go to the aid of a 21ft pleasure boat with engine failure off the Barrels Rocks near Garrettstown in West Cork.

Under coxswain Mark John Gannon and a crew of five, the Trent class lifeboat Frederick Storey Cockburn launched around 6pm and was quickly on scene with the casualty vessel, Alanna, which had been on passage from Courtmacsherry to Kinsale with two people and a dog on board.

With a strong southwest wind blowing towards the nearby rocks and shore cliffs, the decision was made to take the pleasure boat under tow to the nearest port of Courtmacsherry.

The casualty vessel was able to use its anchor to keep it away from the nearby breaking Barrel Rocks, and another pleasure boat stood by to provide safety backup until the lifeboat were in position to set up the tow.

Then at a slow and safe speed, the broken-down boat was brought to the safe surrounds of the harbour pontoon at Kinsale by 7.15 pm. The two crew from Alanna expressed their extreme thanks to all involved in he rescue.

Courtmacherry RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat and the pleasure boat with engine failure arrive safely into Courtmacsherry Harbour | Credit: RNLI/CourtmacsherryCourtmacherry RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat and the pleasure boat with engine failure arrive safely into Courtmacsherry Harbour | Credit: RNLI/Courtmacsherry

Courtmacsherry RNLI’s deputy launching authority Philip White said: “With winds blowing strongly towards the dangerous shoreline today, it was great to reach the causality quickly and perform a smooth rescue.

“Again, thanks to all the volunteers today, with some leaving their TV sets midway through the All Ireland football final to help others in trouble at sea.”

Along with coxswain Mark John Gannon, the volunteer crew involved in this callout were mechanic Chris Guy and crew members Donal Young, Dave Philips, Evin O’Sullivan and Jim O’Donnell.

Yesterday was supposed to be a well-earned rest and recovery day for O’Donnell as he had just completed a week-long climb of the Seven Peaks across the UK and Ireland on Friday, in aid of the emergency services including his beloved Courtmacsherry RNLI Lifeboat Station.

But he put the champagne on ice and ran to the station once his bleeper was activated.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

A lone sailor was rescued after his boat suffers engine failure and a sail blow out off the Old Head of Kinsale.

The Courtmacsherry All-Weather Trent Class RNLI Lifeboat was called out this afternoon Tuesday at 2 pm to go to the aid of a 30-foot yacht with a lone sailor on board that got into difficulties two miles south-west of the Old Head of Kinsale in West Cork. The Courtmacsherry All-Weather Lifeboat, Frederick Storey Cockburn under Coxswain Sean O'Farrell and a crew of 5 were away quickly from their moorings, after being alerted by the Coastguard that the yacht had suffered engine failure and a sail blow out on passage from Glandore to Kinsale.

Once the Lifeboat reached the causality at 2.26 pm, Lifeboat Coxswain O'Farrell assessed the situation. As the casualty was completely disabled and conditions at sea were worsening, a decision was taken to put the Lifeboat towline on board the yacht and proceed under tow to the nearest port of Kinsale. Conditions at sea today were fresh and blustery Force 5 winds with strong 3 metre swells off the Old Head. The Lifeboat proceeded to tow the causality back to Kinsale at a slow, safe speed and arrived at the safe surrounds of the Harbour Marina at 4.30 pm. The sailor was mighty pleased to see the Lifeboat today and expressed his extreme thanks to all involved in today’s rescue.

The RNLI Lifeboat crewmembers under Coxswain Sean O'Farrell after they arrived back to base in CourtmacsherryThe RNLI Lifeboat crewmembers under Coxswain Sean O'Farrell after they arrived back to base in Courtmacsherry

The Courtmacsherry RNLI Lifeboat voluntary Deputy Launching Authority Vincent O'Donovan said, “With the freshening winds today, it was great to reach the causality so quickly and give the Lone sailor the comfort that he required. Great praise is due again for the fast response of all the crew and officers who left their workplaces and rushed to the station to help a fellow seaman in distress at sea this afternoon”.

The Courtmacsherry RNLI Lifeboat Crew involved in this afternoon’s callout were Coxswain Sean O Farrell, Mechanic Stuart Russell and crewmembers Mark John Gannon, Dara Gannon, Dave Philips and Dean Hennessy.

This was the 21st callout of 2021 for the All-Weather Lifeboat Station in Courtmacsherry.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Courtmacsherry RNLI’s all-weather Trent class lifeboat Frederick Storey Cockburn was called out yesterday morning (Monday 9 August) to go to the aid of a 40ft pleasure boat that sought assistance three miles off the Seven Heads in West Cork.

The lifeboat, under coxswain Mark Gannon and a crew of six launched at at 11.40am and reached the casualty vessel 35 minutes later.

Once on scene, the coxswain assessed the situation. As the casualty vessel — with 12 people on board — was completely disabled, it was decided to establish a tow and bring the vessel to the nearest port of Courtmacsherry.

Weather conditions at sea were reasonable and the lifeboat proceeded at a safe towing speed back to safe surrounds of the Courtmacsherry pontoon, arriving there at 1.30pm.

Lifeboat operations manager Brian O’Dwyer said: “It was very prudent to be alerted so quickly of the difficulties onboard the pleasure boat this morning and great that the lifeboat was able to bring the casualty back smoothly to Courtmacsherry Harbour on this, our 19th call out of 2021.”

The Courtmacsherry RNLI lifeboat crew involved in this callout were coxswain Mark Gannon, mechanic Stuart Russell and crew members Mark John Gannon, Ciaran Hurley, Jim O’Donnell, Dave Philips and Conor Tyndall.

Published in West Cork

The Courtmacsherry All-Weather Trent Class RNLI Lifeboat was called out this morning Tuesday at 9.10 am, to go to the aid of a 32-foot yacht with a lone sailor on board that got into difficulties 15 miles south-west of Courtmacsherry Bay in West Cork. The Courtmacsherry All Weather Lifeboat, Frederick Storey Cockburn under volunteer Coxswain Kevin Young and a crew of four were away quickly from their moorings, as a pan pan alert was issued by the Coastguard, that the yacht had suffered a broken mast, disabled steering plus engine failure and required immediate assistance. The yacht was at sea for the past 14 days while on passage from the Azores to Ireland when the incidents occurred in poor conditions over the past few days.

Once the Lifeboat reached the causality at 10.10 am, Lifeboat Coxswain Kevin Young assessed the situation and as the causality was completely disabled, a decision was taken to put the Lifeboat towline on board the yacht and proceed under tow to the nearest port of Courtmacsherry. The weather at sea had improved overnight and the Lifeboat proceeded at a safe towing speed back to safe surrounds of the Courtmacsherry pontoon, while also putting one crewperson on board the yacht to help a very tired skipper as they took the yacht alongside while traversing the Harbour Channel and final arrival to the Village Pontoon at 1.15 pm. The skipper of the yacht suffered the mast break four days ago and without any sleep since in gusting weather, was mighty glad to be on safe grounds of Courtmacsherry after being completely disabled at sea earlier this morning. 

The Courtmacsherry RNLI Lifeboat crewmembers under Coxswain Kevin Young after they arrived back to base Courtmacsherry RNLI Lifeboat crewmembers under Coxswain Kevin Young after they arrived back to base

The Courtmacsherry RNLI Lifeboat voluntary Lifeboat Operations Manager Brian O Dwyer said “We are all so relieved that the crewmen was rescued so quickly this morning and praised the great response of all the crew and officers who left their workplaces and rushed to the station, in order to help a fellow seaman in distress at sea this morning”.

The Courtmacsherry RNLI Lifeboat Crew involved in this morning’s callout were Coxswain Kevin Young, Mechanic Pat Lawton and crewmembers Tadgh McCarthy, Evin O Sullivan and Conor Tyndall.

This was the 17th callout of 2021 for the All Weather Lifeboat Station in Courtmacsherry.

Of note today is that the crew and officers that responded to the callout included Station officer Martin McCarthy who recently received a Silver Medal from the RNLI for over 50 years of service at the station and current Crewman Conor Dullea who recently received his 30 year long service award as a crewperson at the station.

Members of the Courtmacsherry maritime community are assisting the sailor. Irish Cruising Club member and local Norman Kean adds: 

The yacht involved, Marie, is a Contessa 32. On passage from Terceira in the Azores to Dingle, a cap shroud chainplate failed in fairly brisk weather and the mast folded up at the spreaders. The sailor then motored for a number of days, with the wreckage of the rig still standing, and both main and jib unusable but apparently undamaged (and of course irretrievable). His main VHF aerial was of course disabled and his backup handhelds had short range. He had plenty of diesel. About 15 miles south of the Seven Heads this morning, having run the tank dry, put a can of diesel in it and bled the engine, he was unable to restart it and contacted the Coast Guard. Courtmacsherry lifeboat towed him in and we are giving him every possible assistance here. I think he has exhibited exemplary self-reliance and seamanship in difficult conditions and made the call when he had no other option.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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The Courtmacsherry All-Weather Trent Class RNLI Lifeboat was called out this morning Friday at 1.45 am, to go to the immediate aid of a 60-foot fishing vessel that went on fire while fishing 20 miles south-east the Old Head of Kinsale in West Cork.

The Courtmacsherry All-Weather Lifeboat, Frederick Storey Cockburn under Coxswain Sean O Farrell and a crew of 6 were away quickly from their moorings, as a mayday alert was issued by the causality, that their boat had caught fire and they required immediate help. Once the mayday distress was relayed by the Marine Rescue Co-Ordination Centre in Valentia, all available boats that were in the area at the time, raced to assist in the rescue.

Also tasked was the Coast Guard Rescue 117 Helicopter from Waterford.

Within minutes of the mayday alert being issued, the crew of four on the fishing vessel had to abandon to their liferaft as the fire had engulfed their boat. Just after 2.20 am, the Offshore Supply boat “Pathfinder” operating at the Kinsale Gas Field located the bright orange liferaft, after it deployed its own fast rescue boat to the scene. It immediately took all four crew from the liferaft onboard safely and while well shocked, they were all uninjured.

When the Courtmacsherry Lifeboat and the Coastguard Rescue 117 Helicopter arrived on scene, all four casualties were then transferred to the safe surround of the Courtmacsherry Lifeboat. Another Offshore Supply boat operating at the Gas field, used its powerful pumps to get the fire under control while the Courtmacsherry Lifeboat brought the four fishermen back to safe terrain in Courtmacsherry arriving shortly after 5 am.

Also arriving on scene was the Navy Vessel “George Bernard Shaw” who continued to monitor the fire-damaged boat as it sank.

Those rescued were well relieved to be on land again and thanked the many boats and rescue services involved in this morning’s dramatic rescue.

The Courtmacsherry RNLI Lifeboat voluntary Lifeboat Operations Manager Brian O Dwyer said “We are all so relieved that all four crewmen were rescued so quickly in darkness this morning and praised the fast response of the Kinsale Gas Field Supply Boats who were quickly on scene”, he also thanked the 13 crew at the Lifeboat Station who rose from their beds early this morning and rushed to the station, in order to help others in distress at sea.

RNLI Lifeboat crewmembers under Coxswain Sean O Farrell after they arrived back, with the orange liferaft in the backgroundRNLI Lifeboat crewmembers under Coxswain Sean O Farrell after they arrived back, with the orange liferaft in the background

The Courtmacsherry RNLI Lifeboat Crew involved in this morning’s callout were Coxswain Sean O'Farrell, Mechanic Tadgh McCarthy and crewmembers Dara Gannon, Denis Murphy, Evin O Sullivan, Jim O Donnell and Dean Hennessy.

This was the second callout in a week to Fishing vessels off the Courtmacsherry coast as Afloat reported here.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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The Courtmacsherry All Weather Trent Class RNLI Lifeboat was called out this morning Sunday at 11 am, to go to the aid of a 75-foot fishing vessel that had got into difficulties 27 miles off the Old Head of Kinsale in West Cork.

The lifeboat under Coxswain Mark Gannon and a crew of 6 were underway from their moorings in the harbour within minutes of being alerted by the Marine Rescue Co-Ordination Centre in Valentia and proceeded at full speed to the area of the causality.

Conditions at sea today were very difficult with Force 7/8 winds and high sea swells. The fishing vessel with five crewmembers on board had put out a distress signal when its hull was breached in difficult sea conditions and was taking in water.

Also launched was the Coast Guard Rescue 117 Helicopter from Waterford. Just after 12 noon, the Coast Guard Helicopter dropped an emergency salvage pump and winchman on to the fishing vessel deck and the Courtmacsherry Lifeboat readied their emergency salvage pump, and plans were finalised to pump the water from the stricken vessel in order for it to continue being operational.

The seven Courtmacsherry RNLI Lifeboat crew members under Coxswain Mark Gannon after they arrived into Kinsale Harbour with the fishing vesselThe seven Courtmacsherry RNLI Lifeboat crew members under Coxswain Mark Gannon after they arrived into Kinsale Harbour with the fishing vessel

As the water was pumped from the casualty, the Lifeboat stood by alongside in readiness for evacuation of the crew or any other assistance if required. With the pumping of the water being successful, and the seas very difficult, the Lifeboat escorted the causality at a safe speed back into the safe surrounds of Kinsale Harbour, arriving just after 4 pm.

A relieved fishing vessel Skipper thanked all the rescue services for their help in today’s rescue.

The Courtmacsherry RNLI Lifeboat Deputy Launch Authority and LPO Vincent O Donovan said “Great credit is due to all our volunteer crew members who rushed to answer the callout this morning and headed into very rough seas to help others in distress. Vincent praised both the Coastguard Rescue 117 helicopter crew and the crew of the Lifeboat in carrying out a very professional rescue involving salvage pumps in rough seas and strong winds.

The Courtmacsherry RNLI Lifeboat volunteer Crew involved in today’s callout were Coxswain Mark Gannon, Mechanic Chris Guy and crewmembers Mark John Gannon, Dara Gannon, Denis Murphy, Ciaran Hurley and Evin O Sullivan.

The Lifeboat returned to its base in Courtmacsherry just after 5 pm and has refuelled and restocked, in readiness of whenever the next call to action may occur. This is the 13th callout of 2021 for the Courtmacsherry RNLI Lifeboat station.

The Gannon family, Coxswain Mark, his son Mark John and brother Dara, all part of the Lifeboat crew today.The Gannon family, Coxswain Mark, his son Mark John and brother Dara, all part of the Lifeboat crew today.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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