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Displaying items by tag: Lifeboats

Enniskillen RNLI volunteers launched their inshore lifeboat at 2pm on Monday (3 July), following a request from Belfast Coastguard to check a 17ft fishing boat reported to have all fishing equipment onboard and drifting close to Hare Island.

Winds were westerly, Force 4 at the time and visibility was clear on Lower Lough Erne in Northern Ireland at time of launching.

Arriving on scene, the crew observed the boat with no one onboard. The lifeboat, helmed by Paul Keown and with three crew onboard, subsequently conducted a search of all the islands in the area including the shoreline.

The owner of the boat was meanwhile contacted and found to be safe and well. It transpired that the boat had broken from its moorings.

Speaking following the call-out, Keown said: “While the boat had broken from its moorings, there was an initial concern that someone may be missing as the equipment was onboard.

“We would like to commend the member of the public who raised the alarm when they were concerned, that is always the right thing to do. We would always much rather launch and find that all is safe and well than not launch at all.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Local school groups, community associations, supporters of the charity and many donors have made the new boathouse at Lough Ree RNLI one of the emerging visitor attractions in the Midlands with last month been one of the busiest periods to date.

More than 200 people visited the station for the Lough Ree RNLI Open Day on Saturday 10 June. It was an event that proved particularly successful with visitors delighted to have the opportunity to walk through the new facility and get a close-up look at the charity’s lifeboat, the Tara Scougall.

Volunteer crew were on hand to give the guided tours with face-painting a great hit for younger visitors and the RNLI Shop a great attraction for adults.

A guest from St Hilda’s Special School in Athlone enjoying a boat trip during Lough Ree RNLI’s joint initiative with Lough Ree Access for All on Friday 16 JuneA guest from St Hilda’s Special School in Athlone enjoying a boat trip during Lough Ree RNLI’s joint initiative with Lough Ree Access for All on Friday 16 June

In a special collaboration with Lough Ree Access for All, volunteers hosted a wonderful group from St Hilda’s Special School in Athlone on Friday 16 June. The day-long event allowed the visitors to experience the Lough Ree RNLI facility followed by a trip on the access boat which had come south from Lanesboro for the occasion.

Paul Kelly, Lough Ree RNLI station visits officer said: “It is always great to welcome the public to the station. They get to see the environment where we train and operate and RNLI volunteers are delighted to have the opportunity to share life saving tips and advice with our guests.”

Organised group visits will begin again in the autumn and interested parties should make contact on the Lough Ree RNLI website or Facebook page.

Already this summer, many day trippers to Coosan Point have had the opportunity to visit when volunteers were at the lifeboat station. Among those were Hugh Hanlon and Kevin Power from Arklow, Co Wicklow — members of the aptly named ‘Iron Butt Association’, a community of long-distance motorcyclists.

Lough Ree RNLI operations manager Kevin GanlyLough Ree RNLI operations manager Kevin Ganly

The association hosts the annual Wolfhound Rally which this year has asks members to photograph themselves and their bikes outside 15 named lifeboat stations between May and September. The lads left Lough Ree heading for Achill Island.

On the water things, remain busy for Lough Ree RNLI with volunteers responding to 22 call-outs in the first half of the year.

Kevin Ganly, Lough Ree RNLI operations manager encourages everyone using the lake and river this summer to ‘“prepare before taking to the water, ensure that everyone has a floatation device and in the event of an emergency call 112 or 999 and ask for the coastguard.”

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While Wicklow RNLI's volunteer crew were undergoing assessments on Wednesday evening (5 July), they were requested by the Irish Coast Guard to go to the assistance of a 40ft yacht with five people onboard which had lost all power on the Codling Bank.

The all-weather lifeboat Ruth and David Arthur had launched on exercise at 7pm under the command of coxswain Alan Goucher with five crew members and an RNLI assessor trainer onboard.

During the assessment, shortly after 8.30pm the lifeboat was diverted to go to the assistance of the yacht which was losing all power and had three crew who were suffering quite badly from sea sickness.

The assessment was quickly and safely brought to a finish and the crew made their best speed to the casualty near the Codling Bank, some 10 miles to the east of Wicklow Harbour. It was established that the casualty vessel had lost all power, had become unable to use its VHF radio and had no lighting.

Given the loss of power, the seasick crew and closing darkness, the coxswain decided to take the vessel under tow and make way for the nearest safe port at Wicklow Harbour.

Conditions on scene were described as blowing a southwesterly Force 4-5 wind with up to a one-metre swell.

The tow took approximately three hours, with the casualty vessel being safely secured alongside shortly after midnight. The crew of the casualty vessel were brought into the lifeboat station to be looked after while transport was arranged to bring them to their destination.

The incomplete parts of the assessment will now be rescheduled for another date.

Speaking after the call-out, Goucher said: “The crew were incredibly professional. The change in mindset from assessment to rescue happened instantly, allowing for a successful rescue. I look forward to the crew completing their assessments at a future date.”

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Both Baltimore RNLI lifeboats were called out on Thursday morning (6 July) to assist a sailor whose yacht ran aground on rocks near Sherkin Island within Baltimore Harbour in West Cork.

The volunteer lifeboat crew launched both their all-weather lifeboat and inshore lifeboat shortly after 11.30am, following a request from the Irish Coast Guard to go to the assistance of a yacht which had run aground on Great Globe Rock near Sherkin Island.

Both lifeboat crews arrived at the yacht at 11.35am and after helm Jerry Smith and coxswain Aidan Bushe assessed the situation, it was decided a tow was necessary as the casualty vessel was unable to float free due to the strong southerly wind.

Volunteer inshore crew member Eoin O’Driscoll was put aboard the casualty vessel to assist rigging a tow from the all-weather lifeboat, and the yacht was towed off the rocks at 11.53am.

The all-weather lifeboat continued to tow the casualty vessel to Baltimore, the nearest safe and suitable shelter, arriving at the pier at 12.09pm. The tow was then passed to the inshore lifeboat for berthing, and the casualty vessel was secured alongside the pier in Baltimore Harbour at 12.12pm.

Conditions during the call-out were very fresh with a Force 6 southerly wind, a slight sea swell and poor visibility.

Baltimore RNLI’s volunteer lifeboat press officer Kate Callanan said: “This call-out was a great example of both our lifeboats and volunteer crews working together in difficult weather conditions, and being able to assist this sailor very quickly.

“If you get into difficulty at sea or on the coast, call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

The all-weather lifeboat crew included coxswain Aidan Bushe, mechanic Cathal Cottrell and crew members Sean McCarthy, Pat Collins, Emma Lupton and Brendan Cottrell. On the inshore lifeboat were helm Jerry Smith and crew members Eoin O’Driscoll and John Kearney. Assisting at the lifeboat station were Rianne Smith, Seamus O’Driscoll and Micheal Cottrell.

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Aran Islands RNLI responded to two medical evacuations on Wednesday evening (5 July).

The volunteer crew of the all-weather Severn class lifeboat David Kirkaldy under coxswain Aonghus Ó hIarnáin were out training just before 7pm when they were requested to launch to a person on Inis Mór who was in need of medical attention.

After the lifeboat returned to the pontoon, the patient was transferred safely aboard under the supervision of the crew and was swiftly transported to Rossaveal Harbour and the awaiting ambulance.

The second call came at 10.16pm for a person on the neighbouring Island of Inis Oírr in need of medical attention.

The lifeboat launched again under Ó hIarnáin and a full crew and headed straight for Inis Oírr. Once alongside the pier, the patient was transferred safely aboard the lifeboat by the volunteer crew and headed straight for Rossaveal.

Sea conditions for both call-outs were fresh, with a Force 4-5 westerly to southwesterly wind blowing and moderate seas.

Speaking later, Ó hIarnáin said: “There was a great response from the volunteer crew for the back to back call-outs tonight; they are always ready and willing to answer their pagers. We wish both patients a speedy recovery.”

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Bangor RNLI volunteer Kyle Marshall is celebrating 40 years of service with the charity.

Growing up in Bangor and spending his teenage years working around the harbour, Kyle always had a connection with the RNLI and the local volunteers.

On 27 May 1983, Kyle joined the crew of Bangor RNLI and has been serving the community there, on Belfast Lough in Northern Ireland, ever since.

The charity and the resources have changed significantly since Kyle first joined. Bangor RNLI started with a D class lifeboat that was launched by hand on a trolley, progressing on to an Atlantic 75 and more recently the Atlantic 85 class lifeboat Jessie Hillyard.

“Over the years I have seen many changes within the RNLI, most notably how much more effective the investment in training and equipment has become,” Kyle says. “The RNLI crew training is undoubtedly one of the best search and rescue training in the world, which helps all volunteers save lives at sea.”

When asked about his first memorable rescue, Kyle says: “My first call-out was to a capsized boat just off Brompton in Bangor. Three guys in an 18ft skiff had overturned their boat. We were alerted by a member of public who had heard cries for help.

“We launched our D class boat to rescue the crew and casualty boat. It was a very calm still night with a low thick fog when we made our way to the scene. At first we couldn’t see or hear anything but when we cut the engine we could hear calls for help. We followed the calls and were able to locate and recover the three guys from the water.

“I was on the lifeboat with Brian Meharg and Philip Layburn that evening and will never forget it. In fact, I bumped into one of the guys we rescued recently in Bangor and he vividly recalled his rescue.”

Kyle goes on to explain what the lifeboat means to him: “It’s a passion. The RNLI volunteers are like family and I have made and maintained many great friendships over the last 40 years in service. However, I genuinely believe that I personally have got more from the charity than I have given.”

Byron Griffiths, Bangor RNLI lifeboat operations manager said: “Forty years of volunteer service is a fantastic achievement for anyone and we want to thank and congratulate Kyle for his selfless dedication and contribution that has undoubtedly helped to bring many people to safety.”

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Courtown RNLI’s fundraising committee is hosting a family fun day this Sunday 9 July on the North Pier in Courtown, Co Wexford.

A blessing of the boats and a short ceremony recognising and remembering those who have lost their lives at sea will commence at 2pm.

This will be followed by an afternoon of fun for all the family, with stalls selling plants, books, bottles and cakes, strawberries and cream.

There will be music in front of the boat house and face painting for the children, plus a monster raffle with all proceeds going to the Courtown lifeboat. Tickets will be €5 for three strips and the raffle will take place in the Taravie Hotel at 5pm.

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On Saturday afternoon (1 July) Lough Derg RNLI was requested to launch by Valentia Coast Guard following a report from a member of the public of a vessel aground close to Terryglass at the northern end of Lough Derg.

The inshore lifeboat Jean Spier launched at 4.58pm with helm Steve Smyth, Eleanor Hooker, Joe O’Donoghue and Oisín Higgins on board. Winds were northwesterly Force 4-5 with good visibility.

At 5.22pm the RNLI lifeboat crew could see the casualty vessel, a leased cruiser, at the reported location close to Slevoir Bay near Terryglass Harbour.

It emerged that the cruiser company had a vessel on the water and had taken both passengers to safety in Terryglass. They told the lifeboat volunteers that they were going to take the vessel off the rocky shoal and the lifeboat waited on standby to ensure the crew on the salvage vessel were safe.

By 5.33pm both vessels were back in safe water and the lifeboat was stood down.

Christine O’Malley, lifeboat operations manager at Lough Derg RNLI advises boat users to “check the weather and stay within the navigational channel. If in difficulty dial 999 or 112 and ask for marine rescue.”

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Three fishermen were brought to safety by Valentia RNLI on Thursday afternoon (29 June) after their nets were caught in the propeller of their 14m fishing boat.

At 3.17pm, Valentia Coast Guard requested Valentia RNLI’s volunteer crew to launch their all-weather lifeboat and to go to the aid of the three fishermen two miles west of Inishvickillane in the Blasket Islands.

Weather conditions at the time we described as moderate with a 3-4m sea swell and a Force 5-6 westerly wind.

Arriving on scene, the coxswain carried out an assessment of the vessel and it was decided the best course of action was to tow the vessel to the nearest safe port at Portmagee harbour.

The call-out was the third in a week for the Valentia lifeboat crew, following two the previous weekend.

Last Saturday (24 June) the volunteer crew launched the lifeboat at 11.35pm to assist a sole sailor in difficulty on a 37ft yacht two miles north west of Kells Bay.

The sailor was assessed by the crew at the scene and found to be suffering from exhaustion. A decision was made to tow the casualty to the safety of Valentia Harbour.

On Sunday (25 June) Valentia RNLI launched to reports of a swimmer in difficulty at Coumeenoole Beach, Slea Head. The volunteers were stood down two minutes after launch as the casualty was picked up by a nearby boat.

Speaking following the call-outs, Valentia RNLI lifeboat press officer Michelle O’Shea said: “Our recent call-outs all had positive outcomes. As summer is well under way, we would like to remind all users of the sea to be as prepared before going to sea.

“We would encourage all should you get into trouble or see someone else in difficulty, to dial 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

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Four members of Ireland’s Row Hard or Go Home team visited Howth RNLI recently to present a cheque for €35,096 to the lifeboat crew.

The funds were raised through the teams taking part in the World’s Toughest Row (formerly the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge), a 4,800km race across the Atlantic Ocean from the Canary Islands to Antigua earlier this year.

One of the two teams set a new record for the fastest Atlantic crossing, as previously reported on

Both teams chose the RNLI and Laura Lynn to benefit from their fundraising efforts. The funds raised for the RNLI will be spent in Ireland and will go towards the search and rescue charity’s work of saving lives at sea.

The ocean rowers were shown around the north Co Dublin lifeboat station by some of the crew. The RNLI operates two lifeboats at Howth, an all-weather vessel and a smaller D-class craft which are on call 24/7.

The Row Hard or Go Home teams spent over a month at sea in some incredibly challenging conditions, away from their family and dry land. They took turns to sleep and eat and carried out repairs on the small boats, miles out to sea.

Commenting on their generous donation, RNLI community manager Pauline McGann said: “We are so delighted… Their race across the ocean, which was followed online by so many people, showed what an incredible journey and feat of endurance they undertook.

“As the RNLI is a charity that saves lives on the water, we know the challenges that being out at sea for so long can raise. They were so strong and so committed to their goal and they raised much needed funds for our lifesaving work in Ireland. We are so grateful they choose the RNLI as one of their charities.”

Derek McMullen, a member of the record-setting crew added: “It can not be understated how important and how invaluable the RNLI are. The dedication and commitment of the volunteers have saved countless lives down through the years and indeed have been there to support us through our own sea going adventures.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
Page 14 of 161

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