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Displaying items by tag: Portrush

The teams at Portrush RNLI were delighted to hear that one of their fundraisers, John Martin, has been chosen as one of the 490 Platinum Champions due to his outstanding commitment to volunteering.

The Platinum Champion Awards were launched by the Royal Voluntary Service, of whom The Duchess of Cornwall is the president, to celebrate extraordinary volunteers Individuals and organisations were asked to nominated people who go the extra mile and deserved to be recognised in Queen Elizabeth II’s Jubilee year.

John was nominated by Nuala Muldoon, RNLI community manager for Northern Ireland.

John had been a frequent visitor to Portrush on the North Coast on holiday for many years, and when he moved to the area 10 years ago, he called into the lifeboat station to see if he could contribute in any way, which is where his fundraising story began.

Since then, John has been an integral part of the Portrush RNLI fundraising team, even going so far to having his head shaved in public to raise funds.

At that stage and during the early days of the pandemic, John was chair of the fundraising team, and in April 2022 he took over as the lifeboat shop manager, bringing energy and innovation to the outlet.

During the first months of COVID-19, the public could not come into the shop so John and his team took the shop outside the lifeboat station with a gazebo — operating in all weathers.

The ‘Pop-Up Shop’ became a fixture in the town as well as a real focal point for people walking to and from the harbour. As well as raising much-needed funds for the station, the gazebo also helped raised awareness of the RNLI.

Beni McAllister, Portrush’s lifeboat operations manager said: “The team at Portrush RNLI are delighted that John has been recognised in this way. He has been a real powerhouse in terms of keeping the shop going during the pandemic and exploring other ways of raising funds for the station during a very difficult time.

“We look forward to presenting him with his badge and certificate at a ceremony at the station.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Portrush RNLI was requested to launch by Belfast Coastguard at 11.10pm last night (Sunday 5 June) to reports of a 31ft yacht without power at the Barmouth near Coleraine.

The all-weather lifeboat under coxswain Des Austin launched at 11.35pm into near perfect conditions, with a clear sky, excellent visibility and a calm sea.

The volunteer lifeboat crew arrived on scene 10 minute later and escorted the yacht with two persons on board back to Portrush Harbour on Northern Ireland’s Causeway Coast and towed her alongside.

Carl Kennedy, deputy launching authority at Portrush said: “Unfortunately, this can happen with a yacht, but the couple on board did the right thing by contacting us.

“If you are taking part in any activities at sea, make sure you have a means of contacting the coastguard in case you do encounter difficulties. It’s better to be safe than sorry.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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A lifeboat mechanic from Portrush RNLI was invited to join His Royal Highness (HRH) The Duke of Kent at St James’s Palace last week (Friday 27 May) to be presented with a Vellum from the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) for his part in a daring rescue that saved the life of a teenage boy off Portstewart Head in September 2020. Portrush RNLI station mechanic Dave Robinson attended the event with his wife Livvy, where he was awarded a Vellum for his actions that day.

The Duke – the RNLI’s President – attended a lunch for the 16 volunteers and employees and their partners, including lifeboat crew from Castletownbere, Rosslare Harbour, Kilmore Quay, Dunmore East, Portrush, Trearddur Bay, Salcombe, and Hayling Island, along with RNLI lifeguards from Mawgan Porth in Cornwall.

A total of 12 RNLI Medals for Gallantry were presented to crew and lifeguards by The Duke and six crew were accorded Thanks of the Institution Inscribed on Vellum.

Portrush RNLI Station Mechanic Dave Robinson was awarded a Vellum for his role in saving the life of a teenage boy in the sea off Portstewart Head in 2020. The lifeboat mechanic attached himself to a heaving line before jumping into the turbulent water and bringing the exhausted young man to safety. More information including video of the rescue here.

Portrush RNLI Station Mechanic Dave RobinsonHRH with Portrush RNLI Station Mechanic Dave Robinson Photo: Beaumont Photography

Lifeboat crew at Portrush RNLI are receiving two awards from the Institution for the rescue. Along with the Vellum for Dave Robinson, the Coxswain Des Austin, will receive a Chairman’s Letter of Thanks for ‘his professionalism, seamanship, and leadership under severe pressure’ during the rescue. He will receive his Letter at a presentation to be held locally later.

The callout occurred on Friday September 25th, 2020, when lifeboat crew responded to reports of a young boy spotted in the water off Portstewart Head. On arrival at the scene, lifeboat crew observed a teenage boy in the surf, waving his arms and flailing, while being pulled out to sea by the tide. In a dramatic rescue, a heaving line was attached to Mechanic Dave Robinson’s lifejacket, and he entered the water to reach the teenager, keeping hold of him in the choppy waters. Coxswain Des Austin manoeuvred the lifeboat in the breaking swell, to keep as close as possible to the casualty, while the mechanic kept hold of the boy until the lifeboat crew were able to hoist both to safety and return to shore.

Mark Dowie, RNLI Chief Executive said: ‘RNLI gallantry awards are given for saving life at sea and celebrate the courage, skill and dedication shown by our charity’s lifesavers.

‘To receive their awards at St James’s Palace from The Duke of Kent is an honour and as the charity’s chief executive, I am humbled and proud of all our volunteers and employees that make up this incredible institution. Every one of them and their families give so much to the charity and our purpose of saving lives at sea.’

Commenting on the honour for the station, Portrush RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager Beni McAllister said, ‘Words can’t describe how proud I am of our incredible lifeboat crew in Portrush. We are all delighted for Dave on his gallantry award and for Des who will also be recognised for his role in the rescue. No crewmember goes out to get recognition or reward. They are selfless people who drop everything to answer a call for help and the people they leave behind at home and in the community take great pride in their actions. We had a full crew onboard the lifeboat that day, each one of them focused on saving that young boy’s life.’

Portrush RNLI mechanic and Vellum recipient Dave Robinson added, ‘Receiving the RNLI Gallantry award from HRH the Duke of Kent was a huge honour and I felt I was receiving it on behalf of all the crew in Portrush RNLI. I remember that day so clearly and I knew that boy had only minutes left before he was in danger of drowning. I entered the water and trusted in my crew and my training and just went for it. That poor boy was exhausted when I reached him and the whole crew were elated that he was saved. I’m grateful for the Vellum and to receive it with my wife, Livvy, by my side.’

Among the awardees where the Coxswains of three Irish lifeboats Eamonn O’Rourke (Rosslare), Eugene Kehoe (Kilmore Quay) and Roy Abrahamsson (Dunmore East) who were all presented with Bronze Medals for Gallantry for their role in a rescue in October 2020 that saved nine lives and prevented a 100-metre cargo vessel, the Lily B, carrying 4,000 tonnes of coal, from hitting rocks at Hook Head. More info here

Coxswain Eamonn O’Rourke was also accorded a vellum for a rescue during Storm Ophelia in 2017 during conditions described by the crew as some of the worst they had ever witnessed. The crew battled 10-metre seas in force 12 conditions to save three lives. More information here

HRH The Duke of Kent has been President of the RNLI since 1969 after succeeding both his parents as President of the charity.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Portrush RNLI in Northern Ireland came to the aid of eight people last night (Tuesday 24 May) after their motorboats got into difficulty off The Skerries.

The inshore lifeboat was requested to launch at 8.15 pm following a report that two 9m motorboats which were on passage from Islay in Scotland were experiencing engine difficulties a mile and a half north east of The Skerries. One engine had cut off completely and was under tow by a larger 13m twin-engine boat which was also on the passage from Scotland.

Weather conditions at the time were partially cloudy but with good visibility, a moderate to choppy sea and a Force 3-4 westerly wind.

Once on scene, the inshore lifeboat helmed by Johnny Weston went to the aid of the second 9m boat which was starting to cut out but the crew observed that it was making some headway and the boat managed to make its own way back to Portrush unaided.

Meanwhile, the 13m vessel began to encounter engine difficulties while undertaking the tow of the other 9m motorboat and the inshore lifeboat was requested to help. The lifeboat subsequently took the tow of the 9m vessel over while Portrush RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat was launched to escort the 13m motorboat from inside The Skerries rocks. The larger boat then managed to make it back to Portrush harbour by itself.

Speaking following the call out, Beni McAllister, Portrush RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager said: ‘We were glad to be of assistance last night to help the crew of the three vessels as they encountered problems. As the summer approaches, we would remind anyone planning a trip to sea to always respect the water. Always carry a means of communication and as soon as you start to encounter difficulties, dial 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Portrush RNLI was requested to launch by Belfast Coastguard shortly after 9am yesterday morning (Sunday 27 March) to assist with the search for a dog that had fallen off cliffs at Port Coon near the Giant’s Causeway.

The owner and the dog were regulars on this walk at the causeway on Northern Ireland’s North Coast and knew the area well.

The inshore lifeboat and volunteer crew launched at 9.12am into perfect sea and weather conditions and arrived very quickly at the designated area.

Helm Johnny Weston, Portrush put the other crew members on the rocks to check for the dog as directed by the owner at the cliff top.

The search then moved further round the cliff, where the dog was found. Sadly it had died at the scene.

The crew carefully retrieved the dog and returned it to its owner waiting at Portballintrae Harbour.

Judy Nelson, Portrush RNLI volunteer lifeboat press Officer said: “This is never going to be an easy callout for our volunteer crew who are all dog lovers, but it was important for them to return the dog to its owner.

“The owner and the dog did this walk on a regular basis and knew the area well. However, we would advise that if your dog does get into difficulty, do not try to go after it yourself. Please dial 999 and ask for the coastguard.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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It was a busy afternoon on International Women’s Day for one of Portrush RNLI’s three women crew volunteers as the lifeboat was launched on Tuesday 8 March to reports of a fishing vessel in difficulty.

The 26ft vessel with two men on board had reported engine problems and was drifting towards land on Northern Ireland’s North Coast.

In response, the all-weather lifeboat launched at 12.46pm. Weather conditions were overcast with a choppy sea and bitterly cold southerly winds with gusts of around 50mph (80kmh).

The lifeboat arrived on scene at 1.34pm and the crew carried out a dynamic risk assessment to decide on the most appropriate course of action for the fishermen and their vessel.

The fishermen had been dragging their anchor but were forced to deploy the extra weight of their trawling gear to anchor the boat until Portrush RNLI arrived on scene.

It was agreed that the best plan was to attach a tow line and tow the vessel to safety and to the nearest harbour which was Greencastle.

The anchor and the trawl gear were left in situ with a floating buoy for recovery later.

Following a successful tow, the volunteer crew — which included Debs Smyth, one of Portrush’s three female crew members — returned to station at 4.49pm.

Beni McAllister Lifeboat Operations Manager said: “Once the crew arrived on scene, as always, an assessment was carried out along with the crew of the stricken vessel to agree the best course of action. This is a procedure that our crew carry out and train for on a regular basis.

“We are glad we were able to get the vessel and her crew to safety.”

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RTÉ News reports that a man in his 30s has died after he was swept out to sea while picking seaweed on the West Clare coast on Sunday (23 January).

The man’s body was recovered in a multi-agency response on Sunday afternoon less than an hour after the alarm was raised.

It’s understood that the man had been picking seaweed on the shore near Farrihy Bay north of Kilkee when he lost his footing and fell into the water.

Elsewhere, a surfing instructor has urged for greater awareness of water safety after his rescue of a father and son who capsized while kayaking in Portrush in Northern Ireland on Sunday.

Dave Hamill told the Belfast Telegraph that the pair were “humbled” after being caught unawares by a rip current, saying that “is not the first time people have gotten into difficulty from lack of water safety awareness”.

He added: “It’s a scary world and it’s the sort of story that needs more attention for sure.”

Published in News Update
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Portrush RNLI was requested to launch by Belfast Coastguard at 2.30pm yesterday afternoon (Tuesday 23 November) to reports of a fishing vessel in difficulty 800 metres east of the Barmouth.

The 26ft vessel with two males on board was reported to have lost power and was drifting near the entrance to the Bann on Northern Ireland’s Causeway Coast.

The all-weather lifeboat and its volunteer crew launched at 2.42pm on a beautiful afternoon with good weather conditions, a clear sky, good visibility and a southwesterly wind.

Eleven minutes later the lifeboat arrived at the scene and the crew carried out a dynamic risk assessment to decide on the most appropriate course of action for the fishermen and their vessel.

It was agreed that the best plan was to attach a tow line and tow the vessel to safety. This was done and once the fishing vessel was towed to Portrush Harbour, the lifeboat and crew arrived back on station at 4.50pm.

Lifeboat operations manager Beni McAllister said: “Once the crew arrived on scene, as always, an assessment was carried out along with the crew of the stricken vessel to agree the best course of action. This is a procedure that our crew carry out on a regular basis.

“We are just glad we were able to get the vessel and her crew to safety. We would advise anyone going out to sea to make sure that they do the necessary safety checks before leaving port, especially at this time of year.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Portrush RNLI was requested to launch in the early hours of this morning (Saturday 20 November) to reports of a casualty taken ill on 42m research vessel some three nautical miles northwest of the Causeway Coast town.

The all-weather lifeboat launched for the medevac at 1.19am in good conditions with clear skies, although the sea state was slightly choppy.

Six minutes later, the lifeboat arrived on scene and two RNLI volunteers were transferred on board the vessel to assess the condition of the casualty.

The decision was then made to transfer the casualty onto the lifeboat in order to bring him to Portrush Harbour and to a waiting ambulance.

Lifeboat operations manager Beni McAllister said: “This is a scenario that are crew are trained to undertake as a routine exercise but as always, doing it at night is slightly more complicated.

“The two crew members who went aboard the vessel have been trained in casualty care and knew exactly what had to be done. The other crew members then carried out the transfer in order to get the casualty and the crew members onto the [lifeboat] and the casualty handed over to the coastguard and the [Northern Ireland] Ambulance Service waiting back at the harbour.

“We wish the casualty well and hope he makes a full recovery.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Following previous appearances by Dunmore East, Kilmore Quay and Rosslare Harbour RNLI, the volunteer lifeboat crew in Portrush will be taking to the small screen next Tuesday 2 November as they feature in the 10th and final episode of this series of Saving Lives at Sea.

Real-life rescue footage gives a frontline view of how the charity’s lifesavers risk their own lives as they go to the aid of those in danger at sea and strive to save every one. It’s accompanied by emotive interviews from the volunteer lifeboat crews alongside the people they rescue and their families.

Now in its sixth series, the 10-part maritime TV documentary showcases the lifesaving work of the RNLI’s volunteer lifeboat crews from around Ireland and the UK. The series is on BBC Two on Tuesdays at 8pm as well as being available following broadcast on BBC iPlayer (for viewers in the UK).

The final episode of the current series sees Portrush RNLI rescue a teenage boy who gets into difficulty while jumping into the sea off rocks at Portstewart Head.

As the all-weather lifeboat approaches the scene, the crew observe a person in the water waving their arms. A teenage boy who is wearing a wetsuit is struggling against an ebbing tide which is pulling him away from the land and out to sea off the west side of Portstewart Head.

Coxswain Des Austin manoeuvres the lifeboat close to where the casualty is in the surf and breaking waves while the station’s mechanic Dave Robinson dons a drysuit and PPE. A line is attached to the mechanic who jumps into the water and grabs the casualty to safety.

The lifeboat crew administer casualty care to the boy, who is showing signs of hypothermia and exhaustion and is suffering from the effects of shock.

Austin said: “It’s great that we can showcase the lifesaving work of RNLI volunteers in a TV programme like this. Without the generous support and donations from the public, we wouldn’t be able to save lives at sea and it’s great to be able to share what we do with our supporters from the comfort of their own home.”

During 2020, RNLI lifeboats in Northern Ireland launched 234 times with their volunteer crews coming to the aid of 253 people. Eighty-nine of those launches were carried out in the hours of darkness. RNLI lifeguards meanwhile responded to 225 incidents coming to the aid of 285 people, six of whom were lives saved.

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