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Portrush RNLI’s volunteer crew launched yesterday evening (Monday 22 July) to reports of a jetskier in difficulty at Benone Beach around 8.17pm.

The crew, who had just finished an exercise and had been stood down, launched the all-weather lifeboat in record time after the HM Coastguard request.

It was reported that three persons had already entered the water to assist the jetskier but had to return to shore to receive medical attention from the coastguard.

The lifeboat crew reached the jetskier at 8.35pm in smooth seas but with a strong offshore breeze which had hindered the three people attempting to assist.

After the jetski was secured alongside the lifeboat, the crew took the casualty on board, where he assessed and deemed to be medically fit.

It was then decided that the jetskier and his craft should be taken back to the beach, using the all-weather lifeboat’s smaller Y boat, to the waiting coastguard.

Des Austin, coxswain of Portrush RNLI, said after the callout: “The jetskier had no wetsuit on and even in a balmy summer evening the water is still very cold, so it was important that we reached him as soon as we could.

“There was also a strong off shore wind which made it difficult for the other swimmers to assist, so the members of the public did exacty the right thing by calling for help.

“It’s also key for us to make sure that the jetski is recovered also as it could pose a hazard if not taken out of commission.”

“LarneLarne RNLI tows the 37ft yacht back to East Antrim Boat Club | Photo: RNLI/Samantha Agnew

Much earlier in the day, Larne RNLI volunteers’ pagers sounded at 5am after reports that a 37ft yacht had broken its moorings at East Antrim Boat Club and run aground in Larne Lough, causing a potential hazard to the shipping lanes.

Both lifeboats were launched 10 minutes later in moderate seas on an overcast morning, and once on scene it was decided to place a crew member from the inshore lifeboat on the casualty vessel to secure a tow line.

Once brought into deeper water and assessed as being safe and undamaged, the yacht was then towed by the larger all-weather lifeboat to a spare mooring back at East Antrim Boat Club.

“It was an early start for our volunteers this morning and we had a good turnout of crew for the callout.” said Larne’s lifeboat operations manager Allan Dorman.

“This scenario is something that we practice during training and I was glad to see that everyone worked together for a successful outcome.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Portrush RNLI’s volunteer crew were requested to launch at 6.03pm last night (Tuesday 25 June) to reports of two swimmers in difficulty in the vicinity of Dunluce Castle.

Belfast Coastguard’s initial request to launch was based on reports of a man in the water who was unable to get back to shore.

The inshore lifeboat (ILB) crew who were already at the station to undergo assessments launched immediately, and arrived on scene at 6.15pm to discover that there were actually two people in the water.

The second person had entered the water to try to rescue the first swimmer, but was unable to get him back to shore because of the strong tidal stream.

However, the second person was able to keep the first above water until the volunteer crew arrived.

The ILB crew got the two casualties into the lifeboat and transported them back to Portballintrae, where the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service was waiting along with the Air Ambulance NLI. RNLI lifeguards were also in attendance, along with the coastguard.

Keith Gilmore, lifeboat operations manager at Portrush, said: “The swimmer was very lucky that there was someone on scene to assist while the inshore lifeboat launched and arrived on scene.”

He added: “This is the classic scenario that we train for each week, and the crew are very skilled and highly trained for this type of rescue. We would like to wish the two casualties a speedy recovery.”

The condition of the two casualties is unknown at this time.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Portrush RNLI’s volunteer crew were requested to launch at 4.32pm on Father’s Day (Sunday 16 June) to reports of a broken-down RIB with six people on board, some three nautical miles north-east of Inishowen.

The lifeboat crew arrived on scene at 4.55pm and established a tow line to the 10m RIB. The boat was then brought back to Portrush Harbour where the coastguard were also in attendance to assist.

Speaking following the callout, lifeboat operations manager Keith Gilmore said: “This was a classic tow rescue which the crew train for on a regular basis. Conditions were very favourable which made it easier to recover the vessel and establish the tow.

“We also had two of our new crew members on the all-weather lifeboat today so this was a good opportunity for them to put their training into practice under the supervision of our more experienced crew.

“The all-weather lifeboat and the volunteer crew arrived back in Portrush at 6.10pm just in time for Father’s Day evening dinner.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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#RNLI - Portrush RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat was launched last night (Thursday 2 August) to assist with the recovery of a man who had fallen from Elephant Rock into the sea at Ballintoy.

The volunteer crew launched the lifeboat at 6.45pm and arrived on scene at Ballintoy, some 17 miles east of Portrush, accompanied by the Northern Ireland Air Ambulance, NI Ambulance Service and HM Coastguard. The Rescue 199 coastguard helicopter from Prestwick was also tasked.

The casualty was quickly located and the small inflatable Y boat was deployed from the all-weather lifeboat to the outcrop in order to assess his injuries.

The Y boat crew transferred the casualty onto a basket stretcher to prepare for evacuation back to the harbour, where he was transferred to the air ambulance and taken to hospital in Belfast.

Speaking following the callout, Portrush RNLI lifeboat operations manager Keith Gilmore said: “This was a classic operation for our volunteer lifeboat crew and something they train for on a regular basis.

“The crew work closely with the ambulance service, the helicopter pilots and the coastguard regularly to make sure we are ready for this sort of situation. It takes skill and patience to execute this type of manoeuvre but something they do with skill and expertise.

“We would like to wish the casualty a speedy recovery.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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#RNLI - RNLI lifeguards and the inshore lifeboat crew from Portrush RNLI rescued a swimmer who got into difficulty off Portrush East Strand on Wednesday evening (27 June).

The lifeguards who patrol the Causeway Coast beaches daily between 11am and 7pm were finishing up for the day when a member of the public raised the alarm.

The male swimmer had been seen entering the water 300-400m west of the patrol zone, towards Whiterocks, when he got into difficulty and was struggling to stay afloat.

Lifeguards Josh McCaw, Albert Dallas, Marcus McKeag and Nicola McIlroy immediately ran with their boards up the beach in the direction of the casualty.

Portrush RNLI’s inshore lifeboat helmed by Ben Wilson, was on exercise at the time when the crew spotted the lifeguards and immediately made their way to the scene.

The casualty was taken onboard the lifeboat and then transferred into the care of the lifeguards.

RNLI lifeguard supervisor Karl O’Neill said the situation could have been different minutes later. “Firstly, we would like to commend the member of the public who raised the alarm when they spotted someone in difficulty and we would like to wish the swimmer well after his ordeal.

“We want to remind everyone that while our lifeguards are busy patrolling our beaches daily, it is important to remember and adhere to our key safety advice both in and outside the patrol time of 11am-7pm.

“We were fortunate yesterday evening to be still on the beach when this incident happened and thankfully it resulted in a good outcome.

“We want to encourage people that when you plan a trip to the beach to check weather and tide times before you go and if planning to go into the water, to swim at a lifeguarded beach, between the red and yellow flags.

“We want everyone to enjoy this beautiful weather and to come to our beaches but we want everyone to do that with safety in mind knowing to always respect the water and to remain vigilant. If you get into trouble, stick your hand in the air and shout for help and if you see someone else in trouble, tell a lifeguard. If you can’t see a lifeguard, call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

Elsewhere, Valentia RNLI volunteers launched their all-weather lifeboat yesterday afternoon (Thursday 28 June) to assist a 30ft motor cruiser with two people onboard, which had suffered mechanical failure.

At 2.37pm, Valentia Coast Guard requested Valentia RNLI's all-weather lifeboat to launch to the cruiser one mile south of Skellig Rock Little, Co Kerry. Weather conditions at the time were described as good with clear visibility.

Arriving on scene, a volunteer crew member was transferred to the casualty vessel to assist with setting up a tow, and the cruiser was towed safely back into Knightstown Harbour.

Speaking following the callout, Valentia RNLI volunteer lifeboat press officer Michelle Curran said: “With this stunning weather more people are taking to the water, we urge everyone to respect the water, always carry a means for calling for help and ensure all onboard know how to use it.”

Published in Rescue

#RNLI - Carrybridge RNLI’s inshore lifeboat launched yesterday morning (Sunday 6 May) following a request by Belfast Coastguard to assist a 37ft cruiser taking on water on the lough near Belturbet, Co Cavan.

The lifeboat Douglas Euan & Kay Richards, with helm Chris Cathcart, David Reid, Kyle Boyd and Colin Beacom on board, launched at 7.28am from Upper Lough Erne in Co Fermanagh and arrived shortly after in Belturbet.

Winds were southerly, Force 1 and visibility was good with sunny skies.

The lifeboat crew located the casualty vessel moored alongside the public jetty, but still taking on water. Belturbet Fire and Rescue Service were also in attendance. The owner and his dog were unharmed.

The RNLI volunteer crew set up their salvage pump, and started to pump the water out of the casualty vessel. Once the water level started to lower, the access point of the water was located and a temporary seal put in place. 

The casualty vessel was then pumped out dry, and the lifeboat towed it to the public slipway where it was beached to avoid it sinking. The lifeboat departed the scene at 9.40am.

Following the callout, Cathcart said: “The crew were glad to be able to assist the owner this morning with his vessel, and hope he continues to have an enjoyable holiday.”

Much earlier on Sunday, the Portrush all-weather lifeboat crew in Co Antrim happened upon a casualty on land after a callout was stood down.

Three volunteer crew — Karl O’Neill, Jason Chambers and Ben Durrant — were returning home after the 1.40am call when they discovered a man who had fallen and had suffered significant injures to the face. 

The crew dialled 999 to request assistance. O’Neill, who is also an RNLI lifeguard supervisor, had his responder bag to hand and was able to administer first aid to stop the bleeding from the casualty’s face. Durrant then took the casualty to the local emergency department for further treatment.

Keith Gilmore Portrush RNLI lifeboat operations manager, commented: “Once again our volunteer crew have shown that the skills and training they have received as lifeboat crew members can be applied to assist in any situation. 

“I am very proud that the men on their way home at 2am stopped to help a member of the public who was obviously injured and in distress. We wish him a full recovery.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#OceanRowing: Damian Browne has just set off to row the Atlantic. The former professional rugby player, in his boat Darien, left today from La Gomera in the Canary Islands to embark on the Atlantic Challenge race to Antigua. The fours, Relentless, from Cork and Dublin, and Home to Portrush, went off before solo oarsman Browne, who was the last of the 25 boats to leave today.

 The start of the race had been delayed for two days because of high winds.

Published in Rowing

#SurfKayaking - Ireland’s Jamie O’Brien placed first in the Junior IC class at the World Surf Kayaking Championships this past week on the Causeway Coast.

O’Brien also scored with a third in the Junior HP final ahead of fourth-placed Meabh Lynch, who represented Ulster at the contest held on Portrush’s East Strand from 20-28 October.

Brigitte Egan and Aisling Griffin were among the best of the Irish competing in the team finals, with Mike Barry, Matthew Lamont, Nathan Laplaud, James O’Donnell and Jamie Gamble also faring well in their team heats.

The Belfast Telegraph has video of some of the action from Portrush, while further results can be found at the official event website HERE.

Published in Kayaking
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Portrush RNLI has rescued six fishermen during what was a 15 hour call out for the volunteers in rough weather conditions after the fishing boat sustained engine failure off the Donegal coast.

The lifeboat crew was requested by Belfast Coastguard to launch their all-weather lifeboat at 10.37pm last night (Sunday 1 October) and go to the assistance of a 15m fishing vessel which had suffered engine failure approximately 10 miles north of Malin Head.

The all-weather lifeboat under Coxswain Mark Mitchell and with six crew members onboard, launched and made its way to the scene in stormy conditions. The weather was overcast with showers and moderate seas as the boat launched but conditions progressed to a force 8 south westerly gale as the lifeboat approached Malin Head.

The lifeboat arrived on scene at 0.45am and the crew assessed that the six fishermen were safe and well before working with them to establish a towline.

With a tow set up, the lifeboat proceeded to take the fishing vessel into Lough Swilly. However, with deteriorating weather conditions and with both the tide and wind against them, a decision was made to tow the boat into Greencastle.

During what was a slow tow, the lifeboat was assisted by Lough Swilly RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat which launched at 8am and assisted in bringing the fishing boat into Greencastle and putting the boat on its moorings.

The Portrush lifeboat crew arrived back at their station at approximately 1.15pm today.

Speaking following the call out, Keith Gilmore, Portrush RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager said: ‘This has been a long and challenging call out for our volunteers in what were rough weather conditions but they were delighted to have been of assistance to the six fishermen who we would like to commend for doing the right thing and raising the alarm when their boat sustained engine failure. This call out is a fine example of volunteers showing their willingness to forgo a night’s sleep and the comfort of a warm bed and some food and using their skill and experience to face challenging weather conditions to help bring others to safety.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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#SurfKayaking - Glenties man Kieran McDyre won’t have too far to travel for the World Surf Kayaking Championships taking place in Portrush later this month.

This will be Dyre’s second time competing for Ireland at the event, according to the Donegal Democrat, and he’s already had opportunity to get the lay of the land — or the waves, as it were — on the Causeway Coast this weekend at surf kayaking’s NI Open.

More practice is on the horizon next Saturday (7 October) at the Irish Open in Sligo, where Dyre will compete against his teammates from the Irish squad preparing to challenge the world’s best in their craft.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, Portrush’s East Strand is set to welcome 150 competitors from around the globe from 29-28 October.

Published in Kayaking
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