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Displaying items by tag: Lifeboats

The search for a fisherman missing after a small fishing vessel with two on board sank off the coast of Co Louth on Tuesday morning (12 December) has been called off for the night.

RTÉ News reports that a second fisherman was rescued after the incident north of Dunany Point in Dundalk Bay, and is being treated at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda.

A multi-agency search and rescue operation was launched following at Mayday call at 8.45am from the fishermen’s vessel, with lifeboat and coastguard teams from Clogherhead and Greenore joining the Dublin-based Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 116 at the scene.

Clogherhead RNLI says the search will resume on Wednesday morning (13 December), adding: “We are thinking of the family of the fisherman at this difficult time.”

Published in Fishing

A long-standing volunteer fundraiser for Achill Island RNLI has been honoured by the charity’s chief executive for her generous support of the Co Mayo lifeboat station and its work in saving lives at sea.

Alexandra Van Tuyll, who has been volunteering for the charity that saves lives at sea since 1999, was presented with a framed Certificate of Thanks by the RNLI’s head of region Anna Classon during a recent visit to the lifeboat station.

The award — which was arranged by the chairperson of the Fundraising Branch, Anthony McNamara — came as a surprise to Alexandra, who was honoured in front of many of her fellow fundraising volunteers and the coxswain and mechanic of the island lifeboat station.

The official citation records that Alexandra Van Tuyll is awarded the RNLI’s Certificate of Thanks in recognition of her generous support of Achill Island Lifeboat Station since 1999.

Alexandra Van Tuyll with RNLI head of region Anna Classon, fundraising volunteers and representatives from station management and operational lifeboat crew | Credit: RNLI/Niamh StephensonAlexandra Van Tuyll with RNLI head of region Anna Classon, fundraising volunteers and representatives from station management and operational lifeboat crew | Credit: RNLI/Niamh Stephenson

Her contributions have included Christmas card sales, art exhibitions and donations. In 2012, she produced a book titled Sea meets Land: Around Ireland In Aid of the RNLI, showcasing her extensive visits to the stations around the coast of Ireland. Her valued contributions help the RNLI to save lives.

Speaking on presenting Alexandra with her award, Anna Classon said: “I feel I have come full circle in presenting this award. I started my career with the RNLI as a fundraising manager on the West Coast of Ireland and Alexandra was someone I came to know early on in that role.

“The lifeboat is a hugely important part of this community and having a fundraising group who will step up and support the lifeboat crew, to ensure that they can save lives at sea, means that this work continues. From the range of fundraising activities that Alexandra has supported and continues to champion, that future is in good hands. This recognition is very much deserved and I am delighted to be here to present it.”

Adding his thanks on behalf of the Achill Island RNLI fundraising branch, Anthony McNamara said: “This is a fitting tribute to the work Alexandra does on behalf of the lifeboat service here in Achill. We have a wonderful team and the community are very generous in their support of our lifeboat crew. We couldn’t do it without volunteers like Alexandra and her endless enthusiasm and dedication for raising vital funds for saving lives at sea. Long may it continue.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

As the RNLI launches its annual Christmas fundraising appeal, with a focus on the generations of families who have volunteered their time and commitment to ensure the charity’s lifesaving service has continued for nearly 200 years, there will be a new coxswain this Christmas on the Aran Islands.

Aonghus Ó hIarnáin started volunteering with the RNLI at 17 and always had a desire to move up in the organisation and become a coxswain.

“When my fiancée Treasa and I had moved home from Australia and then had our daughter, I had to start working away on ferries and research vessels as an engineer again,“ he says. “This wasn’t ideal as I was spending a lot of time away.

“When the coxswain job came, I committed myself to training and preparing for the job. I was fortunate to be offered the job then which I gladly accepted. It suits us as we want to stay on the island to raise the family and stay close to both our parents and this job allows us to do so.”

As coxswain, Aonghus is in charge of the lifeboat and her crew at sea and as such, he is all too aware of the importance of training.

Aran Islands RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat | Credit: RNLI/Aran IslandsAran Islands RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat | Credit: RNLI/Aran Islands

“Regular training for everyone on the crew is important,” he says. “Everyone needs to get familiar with the person they are onboard with so that when a call out comes, you know that the person next to you is going to do their part correctly and safely.

“It is rare that the same crew do two call-outs after each other, so knowing that no matter who shows up, they have the same standard of training is important for the search and rescue capability of the station. It allows the coxswain on the day to have full confidence in the crew and allows the crew to have full confidence in whichever coxswain is in command on the day.

“Allowing the crew to get as much time on the lifeboat as possible is important. Practice makes perfect and when you see a trained person in an emergency, its shows by the level of calmness they have at that critical time.”

The role of full-time coxswain can be busy, says Aonghus: “The job is demanding time-wise, and it is difficult for the family more so. There have been several times where we plan on going for dinner, for example, only for the pager to go off and then you are gone for a few hours.

“There is a need to know where somebody is at all times. For example, on a weekend if Treasa goes for a walk or to the shop and I have our baby on my own, if the pager goes off then we need a plan for where Treasa is gone so that I can collect her with our baby and then they come to the station with me and take my car or that I bring the baby to the station and get Treasa’s parents, who are living close the station, to collect her. This is the side that people don’t see when you are full-time on call.

“Credit goes to Treasa for adapting to this and having patience with me as the demands of the job take me at uncertain times day or night. Without her support, it wouldn’t have been possible to take this job and make it work. She understands how vital the RNLI is to the island and the west coast and that we signed up to help keep it going.”

‘For the time you give at the RNLI, you will receive good training, good memories, and a great sense of achievement after every call as you know you are making a difference’

As for what he finds most rewarding, Aonghus says it’s a combination of the people you meet, the training and skills you gain and the opportunity to make a difference.

“You also have the chance to work alongside members of the community ranging in ages and experiences and backgrounds that you would normally never get the chance to work with,” he says. “Along with this, you are keeping a vital lifesaving service going on an island which needs it.

“For the time you give at the RNLI, you will receive good training, good memories, and a great sense of achievement after every call as you know you are making a difference. I started my journey in the RNLI 13 years ago and I have never looked back and it has served me well.”

Whatever weather winter throws at them, RNLI crew members like those on the Aran Islands are ready to battle the elements to save lives at sea. Their rescues are only made possible by the RNLI’s generous supporters, helping to fund the essential kit, training and equipment needed by lifeboat crews.

As he prepares for his first Christmas on call as coxswain, Aonghus says: “There’s no feeling quite like bringing someone home safe to their families — especially at Christmas. But as crew we couldn’t launch our lifeboat without kind donations from the public which fund the kit, training and equipment we need to save others and get home safely to our own families.”

To make a donation to the RNLI’s Christmas Appeal, and enable the charity to continue its lifesaving work, visit RNLI.org/WinterAppeal.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Courtown RNLI volunteers invite everyone in the community to their ‘Jingle Mingle’ event this Saturday 9 December.

The fundraising committee is hosting the Christmas afternoon from 2pm-5pm on the North Pier in Courtown, Co Wexford.

It’s an opportunity to gather and meet neighbours and friends from the community and enjoy some festive cheer.

Christmas carols, homemade mince pies and heart-warming hot chocolate will be on offer, and Santa will be arriving at 4pm to great the children and give them a little gift.

The team will also be hosting the annual ‘Light a Light’ remembrance ceremony. Candles of love, hope and remembrance are currently on sale in the Taravie at €3 each, with all proceeds going towards the Courtown lifeboat. The candles will be lit at 4.45pm, a lovely way of remembering loved ones.

The lifeboat shop will also be open on Saturday from 11am to 5pm with lots of Christmas cards, calendars, diaries and gifts on sale.

Courtown RNLI’s fundraising committee and the volunteer crew look forward to welcoming everyone to their Christmas get-together this Saturday.

Courtown RNLI Jingle Mingle poster

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Dun Laoghaire RNLI crew member Gary Hayes has been named the Christine Buckley Volunteer of the Year for 2023.

Hayes picked up the overall honour at the Volunteer Ireland Awards ceremony in Limerick on Saturday night (2 December) after he was nominated by a fellow crew member for his work with both Dun Laoghaire RNLI and Dalkey First Responders.

The Volunteer Ireland awards are the annual initiative to celebrate volunteers in Ireland. The awards shine a light on the remarkable achievements of volunteers around the country by honouring them at a national level. Every year one truly exceptional volunteer is named Christine Buckley Volunteer of the Year in her memory.

Hayes, who works as operations manager at Dun Laoghaire Marina, has been a volunteer at Dun Laoghaire lifeboat station for 21 years — currently serving as a helm and inshore lifeboat mechanic — while he has been a volunteer with Dalkey First Responders for nine years.

His nomination described the crucial role he played in saving lives at sea: “As a helm, Gary operates the lifeboat during dangerous rescue missions, navigating through challenging conditions to reach those in distress. His skills and experience are essential in ensuring the safe and effective execution of rescues. Gary’s commitment and dedication have undoubtedly resulted in countless lives being saved and families being reunited.

Gary Hayes with his Christine Buckley Volunteer of the Year award trophy | Credit: Alan Hayes/FacebookGary Hayes with his Christine Buckley Volunteer of the Year award trophy | Credit: Alan Hayes/Facebook

“Additionally, Gary's role as a community first responder demonstrates his commitment to the welfare of his local community. Community first responders are trained volunteers who provide immediate care to those suffering from medical emergencies before professional help arrives.

“Gary’s willingness to step up in times of crisis and offer his medical expertise helps to bridge the gap between an incident occurring and the arrival of emergency medical services. By providing prompt medical attention, Gary significantly increases the chances of positive outcomes for those in need.

“Furthermore, Gary’s volunteer work directly contributes to building a safer and more resilient community. His involvement in both the RNLI and as a community first responder helps raise awareness about water safety and emergency preparedness. By sharing his experiences and knowledge with others, Gary inspires individuals to become more vigilant around water and encourages them to consider volunteering themselves. This multiplier effect further strengthens the community’s ability to respond swiftly and effectively to emergencies.”

Speaking on being nominated and shortlisted in the Safety and Emergencies category, and then being named the overall winner on the night, Hayes said: “To be nominated for one was a shock. It was a real privilege to be nominated and shortlisted among everyone else who was there on the night and I was definitely not expecting to be announced as the overall winner — everyone else was more than deserving so it was a big surprise.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

A group of three Irish friends have joined together to write and produce a song honouring lifeboat volunteers throughout the RNLI, which they hope will raise vital funds and awareness of the work carried out by the charity that saves lives at sea.

Eamon O’Brien, Bill Shanley and Ed Jackson, known collectively as The Islands Project, wrote “The Shout” after being inspired seeing the work of lifeboat volunteers at home in Ireland and in the UK.

For Eamon O’Brien, originally from Cork but now living in Dublin, songwriting started as a pandemic project which quickly took hold and became a passion. He started writing lyrics in 2020 and when he met with Ed Jackson, sailing on the Shannon, he already had the idea for a song about the work of the RNLI.

Ed, a part-time musician from Mayo living in Dublin, and Eamon took their idea to well-known guitarist and music producer Bill Shanley of Cauldron Music, whose father was a friend of Eamon’s, and between the three of them, the lifeboat song “The Shout” was born.

Taking its inspiration from the term the lifeboat volunteers use for a search-and-rescue call-out, “The Shout” takes the listener on a journey around Ireland and the UK, name-checking many of the institutions’ lifeboat stations including Dun Laoghaire and Castletownbere in Ireland and Cowes, Cromer, Llandudno and Stornoway across the water.

The group launched the song at Dun Laoghaire lifeboat station in Dublin, which is not far from where Eamon lives. The lifeboat volunteers were due to go on their weekly training exercise and showed the group around the busy station. The crew were then presented with CD copies of the single before giving their seal of approval to the song.

Commenting on the project and his hopes for it, Eamon O’Brien said: “This has been a real labour of love. We are all involved with the water in some way, either through where we live or taking part in water-based activities. You see lifeboats in the water and you know they are there to go out when others are seeking shelter and returning to shore.

“The work the volunteers do is incredible and it is replicated at over 200 lifeboat stations throughout Ireland and the UK. Each man and woman is trained to the highest standard and is responsible for saving lives in some of the most challenging conditions.

“Conscious of the fact that 2024 is the 200th anniversary of the RNLI lifeboat service, I would love people who listen to this song to think about the incredible service the RNLI provides and consider donating to the charity to support their work.”

Speaking at the launch of the single, Dun Laoghaire RNLI coxswain Mark McGibney added: “We were delighted to welcome the group to our station to mark the release of ‘The Shout’. You can walk into any lifeboat station and the kit and the training is exactly the same. I’m very proud of our crew here, who give up so much of their time and never fail to turn up when the pagers go off. But it wouldn’t be possible without the support we get from the public and from our fundraisers.

“I hope that the song gives people a little bit of an insight into the work we do and that it helps raise some funds for the charity. Thank you so much to Eamon, Bill and Ed for writing this song — we hope everyone enjoys it.”

“The Shout” is available on all major music streaming platforms.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

James Corballis and Aaron O’Reilly, two trainee crew members with Galway RNLI, have completed their training programme and passed their final assessments which means that they can progress to fully fledged crew.

Lifeboat training covers a range of skill sets such as seamanship and boat handling, navigation and search and rescue. Trainee crew must complete 15 training modules and 49 different assessments of activities in the lifeboat station and on the water to ensure that the lifeboat and crew aboard are ready to handle a wide range of situations when saving lives at sea.

James Corballis is originally from Kilkenny and has been living in Galway for the past 15 years. “The RNLI has been a big part of my family growing up and from where I live in Galway I could see the lifeboat launching at all hours day and night. It was something that I always I hoped I would do and in 2020 I was able to join the RNLI,” he said.

“I’m delighted to have now completed my trainee plan, completed and passed the final assessments which means I can now move on to be ‘substantive’ crew and take on more responsibilities when we head out to sea when the pager goes off.“”

Aaron O’Reilly grew up on the water and has always been involved in sailing and powerboating. He said: “I’ve been involved in water-based sports all my life and I know how important it is to have assistance if you need it, if there is an accident or medical emergency out on Galway Bay.

“I joined the RNLI so I could give back to the community and now that I have passed all my assessments, I’ll be able to play a greater part in providing a 24-hour rescue service for the people who need our assistance.”

Frankie Leonard, lifeboat training coordinator with Galway RNLI said: “James and Aaron started volunteering with the RNLI in late 2020 and once they completed their training as shore crew, moved on to the training plan that would enable them to become crew on the lifeboat.

“It is a real credit to both of them that they were able to complete the training modules, put the skills learned into practice on shore and on the boat and prepare for and pass their assessments while also dealing with the challenges we all faced during the pandemic.

“We are delighted to have two crew with their expertise and enthusiasm on board. Crew training is a continuous process and the learning never stops.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Wexford RNLI launched to the aid of a casualty who got cut off by the tide while walking near the Ferrybank area on Sunday evening (26 November).

The casualty alerted his family members of his whereabouts and they contacted the Irish Coast Guard who coordinated the rescue.

Curracloe Coast Guard unit assembled and were on scene at 5pm. Despite the darkness, they were able to locate the man who was in the water and unable to get ashore.

Wexford RNLI then launched their inshore lifeboat to assist at 5.37pm and were on scene 5.55pm. With assistance from the shore-based coastguard unit, the lifeboat crew led by helm Ger Doran quickly located the casualty and took him onboard the lifeboat.

The casualty was swiftly returned to the lifeboat station. He was found to be slightly cold and wet but otherwise in good spirits. After being warmed up in the station, he went home with his family.

Speaking after the rescue, Dave Dempsey, Wexford RNLI’s deputy launching authority said: “It was a good result with great teamwork between ourselves and our colleagues in the coastguard ensuring the casualty was brought back safely to his family.

“The casualty did the right thing in carrying a mobile phone while walking near the shoreline and we would like to commend him for that as it meant he was able to raise the alarm when he knew he was in difficulty.”

Wexford RNLI's volunteer crew on this call-out included helm Ger Doran, John Michael Murphy, Dave Marskell and Andy Ennis.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Volunteers representing Lough Derg RNLI lifeboat station were honoured with a scroll and a cheque for €500 at the annual Nenagh Municipal District Awards on Monday evening (20 November) in recognition of their volunteer work on Lough Derg.

The award, presented by Cllr John ‘Rocky’ McGrath, Cathaoirleach of the Nenagh Municipal District Tipperary Council Council, was in recognition of the volunteers “dedication and commitment to saving lives and their spirit of volunteerism in contributing of their time and efforts to enhance water safety on Lough Derg”.

The Lough Derg volunteers offered their grateful thanks to Rosemary Joyce, district administrator of Nenagh Municipal District and her team for their warm welcome and hospitality at the Civic Offices in Nenagh on Monday evening.

“Our heartiest congratulations too to the local communities, organisations and individuals who also received awards for their volunteer work,” they added,

Eleanor Hooker, helm and lifeboat press officer said it was a “tremendous honour for volunteers at Lough Derg RNLI lifeboat station to receive this award in recognition of the team’s lifesaving work and water safety programmes on Lough Derg”.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Following their fellow Northern Ireland lifeboat volunteers in Larne, as reported last month on Afloat.ie, the crew at Carrybridge RNLI will feature in the latest series of Saving Lives at Sea on BBC Two at 8pm next Thursday 23 November.

Carrybridge RNLI helm Chris Cathcart, who was on both call-outs that will feature in the upcoming episode, said: “Our lifesaving work would not be possible without donations from the public and we are delighted to be able to share a frontline view of the rescues they support with their kind generosity.

“This is the first time Carrybridge RNLI features on the Saving Lives at Sea series and the rescues are a good example of where our volunteers’ training, skills and experience all come to the fore in helping bring casualties — and in the second case, animals — to safety.

“The RNLI can often carry out animal rescues which can be important in ensuring no one else puts themselves in danger in trying to rescue their own pet or animal in the water. The episode also highlights the great teamwork not just among our own volunteers but with our colleagues from the various emergency services.”

Cathcart added: “The first rescue comes late on a summer’s evening when the casualty has an accident with the digger he is working from and sustains a leg injury.

“He makes the correct decision to swiftly call for help and a multi-agency response and coordination from our own volunteers and our colleagues in the Irish Coast Guard’s Rescue 118 helicopter at Sligo swings into action and works exactly as we train for in such situations.

“The second call-out sees us come to the rescue of a distressed cow heavily stuck in mud and with most of its body submerged in water.

“The police, fire service and the farmer who owns the cow all play their part as she becomes tired and weak and shivers in the cold. After several attempts, the cow is eventually brought to safety and able to stand and feed on the grass.

“No one likes to see animals in any kind of danger and again the swift response by multiple agencies and the farmer himself, ensures a successful outcome”.

If you get inspired to volunteer with the RNLI by the TV series, there are a variety of roles from lifeboat crew, to fundraiser, lifeguard to shop volunteer. Fund out more at rnli.org/volunteer.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
Page 6 of 160

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