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Displaying items by tag: Lifeboats

Portaferry RNLI came to the aid of four people on St Patrick’s Day (Sunday 17 March) after their ocean-going rowing boat sustained a broken rudder and developed steering problems.

Belfast Coastguard requested the launch of Portaferry RNLI’s inshore lifeboat at 6.01pm to assist the crew of a rowing boat who had reported steering problems north of the South Rock Buoy off the Co Down coast in Northern Ireland.

The lifeboat, Blue Peter V, helmed by Chris Adair and with volunteer crew members Paul Mageean, Patrick Lowry and Molly Crowe onboard, launched shortly after and immediately made its way to the scene. Weather conditions at the time were overcast and choppy with a west-south-westerly Force 4 breeze.

Once on scene, the volunteer crew observed that all were safe and well before assessing the situation.

Given the fact that the crew were unable to make safe progress without their rudder, a decision was made to establish a tow.

The rowing boat was towed to the nearest safe port at Portavogie Harbour and the lifeboat departed at 7.30pm, returning to the station by 8.15pm.

Speaking following the call-out, Heather Kennedy, Portaferry RNLI lifeboat operations manager said: “We would like to commend the crew of the rowing boat for raising the alarm when they got into difficulty; that is always the right thing to do. We were glad to be of assistance and wish the crew well.

“We would remind boat owners ahead of the Easter period to check their vessel and engine to ensure they are ready for the season ahead. Always check the weather before venturing out. Always wear a lifejacket or suitable personal flotation device for your activity and always carry a means of calling for help.

“Should you get into difficulty or see someone else in trouble, call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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RNLI lifeboats from Ireland and the UK launched to a Mayday distress call from a fishing vessel taking on water on Friday (8 March).

The 24-metre Irish trawler had five crew onboard and was some 21 nautical miles northwest of Strumble Head near Fishguard in south Wales when HM Coastguard tasked the charity's Welsh lifeboats just before midday.

The all-weather lifeboats and volunteer crew from St Davids, Fishguard, Newquay made best speed to the scene.

HM Coastguard’s search and rescue helicopter R936 from Caernarfon also tasked to assist and was first to arrive on scene, lowering a water pump to the vessel.

With no casualties reported, Newquay lifeboat was stood down en route. St Davids’ Tamar class lifeboat Norah Wortley arrived at 1.10pm with sea conditions rough in a Force 5-7 easterly wind. Fishguard RNLI’s Trent class lifeboat Blue Peter VII arrived at 1.35pm.

With no engine damage and the coastguard pump sufficiently reducing the water level, it was decided the fishing vessel would be escorted the 35 nautical miles west to Ireland.

St Davids RNLI escorting the trawler as Kilmore Quay lifeboat arrives | Credit: RNLI/St DavidsSt Davids RNLI escorting the trawler as Kilmore Quay lifeboat arrives | Credit: RNLI/St Davids

Kilmore Quay RNLI’s Tamar class lifeboat Victor Freeman was tasked by the Irish Coast Guard to complete the escort and launched at 2.10pm. At this point, the Fishguard lifeboat was stood down and returned to Wales.

St Davids RNLI escorted the trawler a further 20 nautical miles west-southwest towards Tuskar Rock until the Kilmore Quay lifeboat arrived at 3.20pm and took over the escort, getting the vessel safely into port around 6pm.

Will Chant, RNLI coxswain for St Davids RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat said: “This rescue was a good, fast response from all crews, which with an incident of this nature was exactly what was required.

“Fortunately the salvage pump from the helicopter was all that was required in order to quell the problems on board the trawler, and after that it was a straightforward but long job of escorting the vessel to safety.

“Our crew even received ‘welcome to Ireland’ messages on their mobile phones, such was the distance from home.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Portrush Lifeboat Station has welcomed “aboard” the Causeway Shantymen as the latest RNLI Ambassadors.

The Causeway Shantymen have become ambassadors for the RNLI during its 200th year. They have drawn great inspiration from a collaboration with Portrush RNLI and hope to play a significant role in promoting water safety and raising funds for the lifeboat station.

The group’s journey in just 12 months is remarkable, and they have quickly become a unique presence in Northern Ireland's music culture.

Their performances, ranging from collaboration with a West End theatre star to participating in maritime festivals and charity fundraisers, have brought joy to audiences. Their infectious passion for sea shanties not only entertains but also serves as a cultural link to the rich maritime heritage of the Causeway Coast.

Causeway Shantymen in action at SOS Day | Credit: RNLI/Causeway ShantymenCauseway Shantymen in action at SOS Day | Credit: RNLI/Causeway Shantymen

Sea shanties, with their tales of sailors' struggles and the harsh realities of life at sea, provide a glimpse into a bygone era.

Judy Nelson, volunteer lifeboat press officer said: “We need help more than ever to deliver our water safety messages. Over half the people that get into trouble in the water didn’t expect to get wet, and having the Causeway Shantymen on board will help us to deliver this message.

“This is such a natural fit for us at the station to team up with the Shantymen, especially when we made a guest appearance singing with them outside the lifeboat station at Christmas.

“The volunteer crew and station fundraising team are looking forward to working with them to help raise awareness of water safety and to raise funds for the station.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Three days after the rescue of three fishermen last Saturday afternoon, Wicklow RNLI launched lunchtime on Tuesday (13 February) to assist three more fishermen after their vessel experienced mechanical problems.

Under the command of coxswain Ciaran Doyle, the all-weather lifeboat Bridie O’Shea slipped its moorings from the south quay shortly before 9am and proceeded north to the casualty vessel’s last reported position.

The 11-metre fishing vessel was located at 9.35am drifting some eight miles off Bray Harbour, with three fishermen onboard were found to be safe and well.

Their fishing boat was found to have suffered engine failure and was unable to return to port under its own power, so the decision was made to tow the vessel to safety.

A towline was quickly established, and the lifeboat began to tow the stricken vessel back to Wicklow harbour, where it was secured alongside the south quay at 12.40pm and the fishermen were landed safely ashore.

Weather conditions at the time were favourable with calm sea and good visibility.

Speaking after the call-out, lifeboat press officer Tommy Dover said: “The fishermen did the right thing this morning by calling the coastguard for assistance. Our volunteer crew were happy to help.”

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Bundoran RNLI came to the aid of two people who got trapped at the bottom of a cliff in county Sligo on Wednesday afternoon (14 February).

The inshore lifeboat was requested to launch at 2.41pm following a report from the Irish Coast Guard that two people were trapped at rocks at Mermaid’s Cove.

The lifeboat helmed by Killian O’Kelly and with crew members Rory O’Connor and Fergal Mullen onboard, launched within seven minutes and made its way to the scene six miles away.

Weather conditions at the time were dull and overcast but visibility was good. The sea was calm with a small swell.

Arriving on scene, the crew observed two people at the bottom of the cliff who were unable to move without assistance. A crew member was put ashore to check one walker who had a suspected wrist injury.

Having assessed the situation and given the location was so close to rocks, it was decided that the safest way to extract the casualty was to request the Sligo-based coastguard helicopter Rescue 118.

The helicopter crew arrived swiftly to winch and airlift the casualty to safety. The second person was able to make it back to the top of the cliff with the assistance of a lifeboat crew member and shore crew waiting at the top.

Speaking following the call-out, Bundoran RNLI helm Killian O’Kelly said: “We would like to wish the casualty a speedy recovery and thank our colleagues in Rescue 118 for their help today.

“We would remind anyone planning a walk at or near the coast to be wary of all edges around the sea and waterside as rocks can often be wet and slippy. Check weather and tides before venturing out and always let someone know where you are going and when you expect to be back.

“Always take a means of calling for help and should you get into difficulty or see someone else in trouble, call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

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Rosslare Harbour RNLI’s volunteer crew were requested by the Irish Coast Guard on Sunday evening (11 February) to assist five crew on board a stricken fishing vessel.

The all-weather lifeboat was launched shortly after the shout at 5.26pm and quickly reached the scene two miles north of Rosslare Harbour, in clear weather with slight seas and good visibility.

It emerged that the 15m-long fishing vessel had an entangled propeller.

Having assessed the situation and consulted with the five crew onboard, it was decided to tow the vessel to Rosslare Harbour. A tow line was secured and the vessel was safely towed to the harbour.

Jamie Ryan, Rosslare Harbour RNLI lifeboat operations manager said: “I would like to commend the crew of the fishing vessel for wearing their flotation safety devices and for carrying communication equipment.

“It is essential that sailors and fishers contact the coastguard when in difficulty. To do this, call 999 or 112.”

The lifeboat volunteer crew on this call-out were coxswain Mick Nicholas, mechanic Keith Miller, navigator Andrew Ironside and crew Paul McCormack, Eoghan Quirke, Ronan Hill, Seán Cullen and Stephen Breen.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

As the RNLI prepares to celebrate its 200th anniversary on 4 March, the charity has brought some of its rich history to life with the release of a stunning collection of colourised images.

From community events to candid snapshots, 11 black-and-white images have been painstakingly cleaned and colourised with folds, scratches and dust removed using digital technology to shine new light on 200 years of saving lives at sea.

The striking images from across Ireland and the UK include courageous lifeboat crews, early fundraising street collections and iconic scenes of close-knit communities coming together to launch and recover lifeboats.

Part of the new collection is a photograph taken of Ballycotton coxswain Patrick Sliney, his wife and their son William at an annual meeting in 1936.

Full-length photograph of Ballycotton coxswain Patrick Sliney, Mrs Sliney and son William at an annual meeting in 1936 | Credit: RNLIFull-length photograph of Ballycotton coxswain Patrick Sliney, Mrs Sliney and son William at an annual meeting in 1936 | Credit: RNLI

In that same year, the Daunt Rock Lightship came adrift off Ballycotton in horrendous conditions with 12 people onboard. The lifeboat crew spent 49 hours at sea and eventually rescued all those onboard.

Patrick Sliney was awarded the RNLI Gold Medal for Gallantry and the rest of his crew, including his son William, received Bronze Medals.

Also featured in the collection is the most decorated RNLI lifesaver, Henry Blogg, who was born on 6 February 1876. Blogg served for 53 years on Cromer’s lifeboats in Norfolk, England before retiring in 1947, having saved 873 lives and been awarded many honours including three Gold and four Silver RNLI Medals for Gallantry.

The image of Henry, which first appeared in the Lifeboat Journal in 1916, shows him wearing black oilskins and a sou’wester, which preceded the instantly recognisable yellow waterproofs now associated with the RNLI.

Before and after: A portrait of Henry Blogg, the most decorated RNLI lifesaver, who in his 53 years of service helped save 873 people | Credit: RNLIBefore and after: A portrait of Henry Blogg, the most decorated RNLI lifesaver, who in his 53 years of service helped save 873 people | Credit: RNLI

RNLI heritage and archive research manager Hayley Whiting said: “The carefully coloured images illustrate just a few highlights of the incredible history of lifesaving over the previous two centuries, where over 144,000 lives have been saved to date.

“To see the crew of St Davids lifeboat walking up from the boathouse wearing their traditional red hats, the yellow sou’westers of the children fundraising or the vibrant blue sea off the Isle of Man, the reworked images really do bring a different perspective on some of our archived pictures.

“Each image has been brought to life by our own in-house creative team with hours spent on attention to detail, along with research being undertaken to ensure each one gave a true, lifelike representation.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Tributes have been paid to Red Bay RNLI helm Gary Fyfe after his sudden death on Thursday night (8 February).

As the Belfast Telegraph reports, the 46-year-old died at the scene of a single-vehicle crash in Cushendall, Co Antrim.

His funeral will take place on Sunday (11 February) with Requiem Mass in St Patrick’s and St Brigid’s Church, Glenariffe at 10am.

Red Bay RNLI said Fyfe was “a giant in our lifeboat station, a natural leader who everyone turned to for advice and guidance”.

It added that this year would have seen Fyfe receive his 30-year service medal, having signed up for the RNLI as a lifeboat volunteer at the age of 17.

Gary Fyfe, as the Operations Manager of Red Bay Boats Ltd, one of the leading boat builders in Northern Ireland, had a keen interest in marine affairs across Ireland. This included Afloat.ie. He is pictured standing on the bow area of the magazine's Red Bay 7.4m cabin RIB during a recent Afloat trip on a fine day to his beloved Cushendall Harbour Photo: AfloatGary Fyfe, as the Operations Manager of Red Bay Boats Ltd, a leading boat builder in Northern Ireland, had a keen interest in marine affairs across Ireland. This included Afloat.ie. He is pictured standing in the bow area of the magazine's Red Bay 7.4m cabin RIB during a recent Afloat trip on a fine day to his beloved Cushendall Harbour Photo: Afloat

His lifeboat colleagues added: “Gary was responsible for saving many lives during his years on the Red Bay lifeboat. He never sought recognition or praise for his rescues but rather carried his achievements lightly and thought only of others.

“In our small but close community in Cushendall, Gary was an anchor for us all and his loss will be felt far and wide. His life and the selfless way he lived it, touched so many people.”

Gary Fyfe is survived by his wife Clare and children Eleanor and Alexander.

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Just days after the Arranmore RNLI volunteer crew carried out a marathon rescue of a fishing crew in challenging weather conditions, they were again called out to assist with a medical evacuation from the island at 7pm on Thursday evening (8 February).

Following the third call-out for the crew in as many days, lifeboat coxswain Seán O'Donnell said: “This was a quick call which we were pleased to respond to following our long service on Sunday. We are always ready to answer the call no matter what it is.”

The crew on board on Thursday alongside O’Donnell were mechanic Philip McCauley, Brian Proctor, Seamus Bonner, Sharon O’Donnell, Mickey Dubh McHugh and Seán Sammy Gallagher.

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The volunteer crew of Arranmore RNLI responded to a call by Malin Head Coast Guard at 6am on Wednesday morning (31 January) to four fishermen on a boat in difficulty at Inis Meain, off the coast of Bunbeg in Co Donegal.

The lifeboat arrived on scene just before 7am and the crew ascertained that the casualty boat, a 12-metre crabber with four crew onboard, had got into difficulty as it was sheltering from the south-westerly winds and went aground on the island.

With winds and gusts of 50-60 miles per hour blowing on shore and swells of four to five metres, the lifeboat coxswain Seán O’Donnell assessed the scene in conjunction with the Irish Coast Guard’s Rescue 118 helicopter crew from Sligo, who were also tasked.

Following the assessment, Rescue 118 airlifted the four crew members and proceeded to Carrickfinn airport where they were landed safely. The lifeboat returned to anchor after refuelling in Burtonport at 9.30am.

Speaking following the call-out, O’Donnell said: “I’m really pleased that all the crew were brought to safety and would like to commend the helicopter crew for their professionalism in the execution of the rescue of the four crew members. It is a privilege to work alongside the coastguard crews from Bunbeg, Malin Head and of course Rescue 118.

“I would also like to thank our own crew onboard the lifeboat for their dedication in answering the call so early on a windy morning.”

The lifeboat crew on this call-out alongside O’Donnell were mechanic Philip McCauley, Reamon O’Donnell, Sharon O’Donnell, Brian Proctor, Finbar Gallagher, Jamie Neeson and Aisling Cox.

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