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Aran Islands lifeboat volunteers launched their all-weather lifeboat on Saturday afternoon (17 August) to carry out a medical evacuation for an injured tourist.

The female visitor to Inis Mór had sustained a suspected fractured leg while out sightseeing, Aran Islands RNLI said.

The casualty was transferred safely aboard the Severn class lifeboat David Kirkaldy under coxswain Tommy Dirrane and a full crew, and was brought to the waiting ambulance at Rossaveal Harbour.

Dirrane said later: “The volunteer crew members train regularly to maintain their quick response time and that can make all the difference to the casualty you are going to help. We would like to wish the casualty a speedy recovery.”

Elsewhere on Saturday, Rosslare Harbour RNLI volunteers were called to assist a small yacht with two onboard in difficulty off Cahore Point off the North Wexford coast.

Tangled in a lobster pot line and unable to sail in the freshening south westerly wind, the crew called the Irish Coast Guard for assistance, according to the RNLI.

Rosslare Harbour RNLI volunteers launched their all-weather lifeboat and reached the yacht in a short time.

Lifeboat volunteers reached the yacht in short order and set up a tow line to bring it close to Cahore Harbour, where the Cahore inshore rescue boat took over due to the shallow water.

Rosslare Harbour RNLI coxswain Eamonn O’Rourke said: “I would like to commend our volunteer crew who worked hard to attach a tow to the yacht in challenging conditions. We were glad to see the vulnerable yacht and her crew safe.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

A Donegal-based priest who had had to quit his voluntary role as crew member of an RNLI lifeboat has said he will miss the “adrenaline rush” writes Lorna Siggins

Fr Liam Boyle served on the RNLI Arranmore lifeboat in Donegal for the past three years but is now leaving to take up a chaplaincy at Letterkenny’s Institute of Technology.

Fr Boyle’s father had fished, and the priest says this was one of his reasons for signing up after he took a tour of the island’s lifeboat station back in 2016.

“ I remember him telling me about life as a fisherman, the dangers involved and the role the various lifeboats played in rescues,” Fr Boyle says.

“It’s not just the thrill and adrenaline rush of being part of the crew in an emergency call out, it’s the inspiration you get from being part of a crew who are ready to drop everything when the pagers go off,” he says.

“It’s a huge departure from cushioned pulpits to standing on the bow of a lifeboat, travelling at top speed in all kinds of weather to a call for help which could last for hours,” he says.

The RNLI Arranmore station held a barbeque at the weekend (Sun 18) to wish Fr Boyle well in his new posting.

Fr Boyle had to undertake a two-year apprenticeship before becoming a full member of the crew, and says he quickly became aware of “the camaraderie within the RNLI, and how each crew member supported their fellow crew members”.

‘After being ordained, my single most privilege is being involved with Arranmore RNLI and the crew,” he says.

“My motivation for joining this important service was prompted by being involved in all aspects of the community and the essential service provided by the lifeboat - not just to the Arranmore community, but the wider community of all those who use the sea for work and pleasure,” Fr Boyle says.

“‘My reasons for joining the priesthood are constantly changing to adapt to modern needs, and so were my reasons to join the crew of the lifeboat,” he says.

Arranmore RNLI coxswain Jimmy Early says that Fr Boyle integrated well and was a valuable member of the lifeboat team.

Thanking him for his service over the past three years, Mr Early says he will be missed.

“It takes a lot of commitment, time and effort, not only to volunteer and be on call “24/7” but to be available for training and all the other duties involved in the rescue services,” Mr Early says.

The RNLI Arranmore panel in a station dating back to 1883 comprises 22 members, and Mr Early also paid tribute to the “extended lifeboat family” for a vital service” to the coastal community.

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Portaferry’s volunteer lifeboat crew had a busy Saturday (17 August), launching twice before providing rescue cover at a local triathlon event.

The first callout was in the morning to a 21ft yacht with engine failure that was at risk of drifting ashore at Newtownards Sailing Club in Strangford Lough, Portaferry RNLI says.

The lifeboat arrived on scene 25 minutes after launch in rough seas and set about establishing a tow to bring the yacht to the moorings at Newtownards Sailing Club, where the two men on board were met by the Bangor Coastguard rescue team.

“They certainly took the right course of action calling for help once they realised that the engine had failed,” the station’s deputy launching authority said.

“We are all delighted with the outcome and urge anyone considering going on the water to take all necessary precautions.”

In the afternoon, the crew were on standby in the station waiting for the triathlon to commence when they noticed a yacht drifting backwards in the Narrows.

They promptly launched the inshore lifeboat to assist the six-metre yacht to nearly moorings in Castleward Bay.

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Two Clifden RNLI lifeboat crew past and present have been promoted to two new roles in the charity. Rob King, the former full-time mechanic for Clifden lifeboat station has been appointed as the RNLI’s Area Lifesaving Manager for the West of Ireland. His former role at Clifden RNLI has been filled by a volunteer from the crew, Thomas Davis.

Rob King was full-time station mechanic in Clifden RNLI for five years. In his role of Area Lifesaving Manager, Rob will be leading a team of staff and volunteers while managing the safe, efficient and effective delivery of the RNLI’s lifesaving services on the West coast of Ireland.

Speaking about his new role as RNLI Area Lifesaving Manager Rob said: ‘I’m delighted to be appointed as Area Lifesaving Manager for the West of Ireland and look forward to working alongside our crews, volunteers and staff to achieve the RNLI’s aim to save lives at sea. I started out in Clifden as a volunteer in 2007. I then became the station mechanic with the arrival of the all-weather Mersey Class Lifeboat in 2014. I’m very proud of Clifden Lifeboat Station and enjoyed the years I spent there and I’m pleased to be handing over the reins to crew member, Thomas as station mechanic. As Area Lifesaving Manager I hope to be of assistance to him and the crew, especially with the arrival of the Shannon class lifeboat to Clifden.’

Before becoming full-time station mechanic Thomas Davis was a volunteer lifeboat crew member for Clifden RNLI. As station mechanic, it will be Thomas’ responsibility to ensure that the station’s lifeboat and her life-saving equipment are kept in top condition and are ready to answer the next emergency call.

Thomas said: ‘I’m delighted to be taking over from Rob as station mechanic for Clifden. It’s an exciting time as we have recently become the first station on the West coast to receive a new Shannon-class lifeboat. We will miss Rob and wish him the best of luck in his appointment.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Don’t believe everything you read, the RNLI advises, after the lifesaving charity was forced to debunk claims it was recently billed for an inflatable toy lost during the rescue of a child.

According to The Independent, there appear to have been some crossed wires after an RNLI event in Britain’s south west at the weekend at which an anecdote from the 1980s was recounted.

The alleged story of how the family of a girl rescued from the water off Porthleven in Cornwall sent an invoice for £7 for the girl’s missing lilo was reported as a recent incident by a number of news outlets.

The story came with a sting in the tale for the family in question, with the alleged response from the lifesavers being the suggestion of a bill of their own for the £7,000 cost of the rescue.

But the RNLI has since been moved to clarify that the incident took place more than three decades ago, if it ever took place at all.

The Independent has more on the story HERE.

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Lough Ree RNLI came to the aid of a woman who became unwell on a boat on the lake on Tuesday evening and required a medical evacuation.

The volunteer crew were requested to launch their inshore lifeboat at 9.15pm by the Irish Coast Guard following a report that the sick woman whose boat was in the vicinity of Lecarrow needed medical attention.

The lifeboat immediately launched with Helm Stan Bradbury and crew members Stewart McMickan and Denis Begley onboard.

Weather conditions were good with a calm lake and a slight wind as the evening turned to dusk and the lifeboat made the 15-minute passage to Lecarrow.

Once on scene, the crew observed that the boat with a family of four onboard - two adults and two children - was alongside at Safe Harbour, having broken down after sustaining engine difficulties.

The lifeboat crew assessed the woman and administered casualty care before transferring her onto the lifeboat. An ambulance had already been tasked to Hodson Bay in Athlone to meet the lifeboat at the shore. As the boat was broken down, the lifeboat crew proceeded to transfer the rest of the family onto the lifeboat before securing the boat and leaving the scene.

The woman was subsequently transferred into the care of the ambulance crew at Hodson Bay and transferred to hospital for further treatment.

Speaking after the call out, Lough Ree RNLI Helm Stan Bradbury said: ‘The family who were in Ireland on holidays did the right thing last night, calling for help when they knew the lady was unwell and they were in difficulty. We would like to wish her a speedy recovery.

‘As the summer continues, we want all users of the lake to enjoy themselves and would remind everyone to respect the water as they do so. Always wear a lifejacket, always let someone on the shore know where you are going and when you are due back. Always carry a means of communication and should you get into difficulty call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coast Guard.’

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A cow named Ghost was saved from Kinsale Harbour at the weekend after slipping down a cliff from the field above — in what also marked a second animal rescue this year for Kinsale RNLI.

Kinsale’s lifeboat volunteers launched on Saturday afternoon in Force 7 winds and choppy seas to the scene, where the year-old Holstein Friesian cow had dropped some distance and was in an agitated state, Kinsale RNLI says.

Attempts to lasso the cow from the inshore lifeboat failed as the animal panicked and resisted the lifeboat crew’s efforts.

But after bringing out the cow’s owner — local farmer Brian Hayes — to assist, they were able to fit a halter and tow Ghost back to shore.

“She’s always been hyper since she was a calf,” Hayes said back on the farm. “She’s out in the shed now drinking and eating normally, thankfully. The lads were great and I really am fierce grateful to the RNLI.”

This is the second animal rescue for the Kinsale crew in 2019. In February, they assisted a horse that had become trapped in local oyster trestles.

“While we are delighted to save animals, our primary concern is always for human life,” lifeboat helm Jonathan Connor says.

“We were eager to prevent the farmer, who was a non-swimmer, and other bystanders from entering the water and attempting the rescue themselves, and were also conscious of a number of people on the nearby beach who could have been put in danger.”

If you see anyone in danger on or near the water, dial 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.

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Bundoran RNLI Lifeboat was requested to launch to reports of a vessel that had washed up on rocks off Mullaghmore Head on Monday afternoon (August 12th 2019).

The pagers were activated by Malin Head Coast Guard at 4:16 pm. They had received a call from a member of the public who had been told of the boat in trouble by a number of passers-by in the Mullaghmore area. 

The Bundoran based RNLI lifeboat “William Henry Liddington” launched within 6 minutes and made its way to Mullaghmore with 4 volunteer crew on board. Sea swell was 1.5 metres with a force five westerly wind blowing. Shore crew were also deployed to assist at the scene. 

On reaching the scene at Mullaghmore Head, the crew spotted the 3-metre vessel, which had suffered engine failure, on the shoreline with two crewmembers standing alongside. Sligo based Irish Coast Guard Rescue helicopter 118 had also been tasked and had arrived. As the area was inaccessible by land, the decision was taken to get the two crew off by towing their boat to safety. An RNLI crew member was put ashore to assist the helicopter winchman with the casualties. A line was subsequently passed and the boat and the crew of the boat were towed to safety off the rocks. 

The two men and their boat were brought to Mullaghmore.

Speaking following the callout, helm Brian Gillespie said ‘we would like to thank the member of the public who made the initial 999 call. We would always advise anyone who thinks that they see somebody in trouble on the coast to ring 999 or 112 and ask for the Coast Guard. We would remind sea users of the importance of bringing a means of calling for help should the need arise – a mobile phone but ideally a VHF radio.’

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Courtmacsherry RNLI was among the search and rescue agencies who responded yesterday morning (Thursday 8 August) to reports that a man had taken ill during a diving expedition to the wreck of the Lusitania.

As reported by The Irish Times, it is suspected that the diver, one of a group of eight, developed the bends as he returned to the surface from the wreck site some 18km off the Old Head of Kinsale.

The Naval Service vessel LÉ George Bernard Shaw diverted from patrol in the area and sent a team to bring the casualty on board, from where he was airlifted to hospital.

Later the casualty was transferred from Cork University Hospital to University Hospital Galway, which has a decompression unit.

As the emergency operation wound down, Courtmacsherry RNLI’s all-weather Trent class lifeboat Frederick Stormy Cockburn received another Mayday call, to a 30ft yacht in difficulty off the Seven Heads coast.

The lifeboat was at the scene within 20 minutes and proceeded to tow the stricken vessel back to the safe surrounds of Courtmacsherry Pier.

Commenting on the morning’s callouts, Courtmacsherry lifeboat operations manager Brian O'Dwyer praised all the crew for their professionalism and fast response.

Elsewhere, shortly after 1pm, Crosshaven lifeboat volunteers were called to a medical evaluation from Spike Island in Cork Harbour.

According to Crosshaven RNLI, crew member Aoife Dinan performed casualty care until paramedics arrived, having been brought to the Island by the Port of Cork RIB.

The Irish Community Air Ambulance also landed on the island along with Crosshaven Coast Guard.

“Very sadly, the male casualty, who was a foreign visitor, was declared deceased,” said press officer Jon Mathers. “Our sympathies are with the family of the deceased man; may he rest in peace.”

Published in Cork Harbour

It was a busy August Bank Holiday weekend on the Wexford coast with three callouts for Rosslare Harbour’s lifeboat volunteers.

The first came on Saturday evening (3 August) at 6pm, when the lifeboat readied for launch to a report of a 10m yacht entangled in fishing gear some three miles from the harbour.

The stricken yacht, with four people on board, was quickly reached by the lifeboat as the seas were calm and a fine evening, according to Rosslare Harbour RNLI.

The all-weather lifeboat’s secondary craft was launched with two volunteers, who manoeuvred into position and managed to cut the yacht free, allowing its journey to continue.

The second callout was in the early hours of Sunday morning (4 August), following a 3am Mayday sent by a 17m schooner that was taking on water.

The tall ship and its complement of 10, including a number of children, were escorted safely back to the harbour by the lifeboat.

The third request for help came later on Sunday, when a small 4m boat with a lone injured person on board was found drifting by a passing freighter around 12 miles east of Tuskar Rock Lighthouse.

The casualty was airlifted to Waterford Hospital by the Irish Coast Guard’s Waterford-based helicopter Rescue 117.

Rosslare Harbour RNLI made an attempt to tow the small boat back to port, but the casualty vessel sank shortly after beginning the tow.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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