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Skerries RNLI volunteers responded to three callouts in less than a week starting last Friday (19 July) when they towed a small fishing boat to safety.

They were called out again on Monday to assist three teenagers on an inflatable dinghy, and on Wednesday to investigate a kite surfer in distress.

Shortly before 2pm last Friday afternoon (19 July), one of the Skerries RNLI volunteer crew spotted a small fishing boat that appeared to be drifting quite close to the shoreline.

The volunteer crew launched their Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat Louis Simson and made their way out to the fishing boat.

There was one man on board and he confirmed that the boat had suffered engine failure. A tow was established and the boat was towed safely into Skerries Harbour.

On Monday evening (22 July), just after 6pm, Skerries RNLI were tasked after Dublin Coast Guard received a call expressing concern for three teenagers in an inflatable dinghy who were drifting off the headland at Red Island.

Just as the crew reached the station, the lifeboat was stood down as the teenagers had managed to make it back to shore.

The pagers sounded once again on Wednesday evening (24 July) at 6.30pm after what appeared to be a kite belonging to a kitesurfer was spotted, semi-submerged, south of Shenick Island off Skerries.

The lifeboat was launched and proceeded directly to the area indicated by the caller. A search of the area was carried out and the object was spotted on the shore of the island.

A crew member entered the water and swam ashore to investigate the object, which turned out to be a discarded tent.

With the crew member safely back on board the lifeboat, the helm updated Dublin Coast Guard and the lifeboat was stood down.

Speaking about the busy week, volunteer lifeboat press officer Gerry Canning said: “With the great weather we’ve been having here has been an increase in callouts all around the coast, particularly involving inflatables.

“We all love to enjoy the water, but we’d advise people to check out the RNLI and Water Safety Ireland websites (RNLI.org and WaterSafety.ie) for tips on how to enjoy yourself while staying safe at the beach.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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With the passing of the Summer Solstice, it was time again to focus one’s gaze from celestial to nautical observations, in particular the E-Boat National Championships of 2019 hosted over the weekend of 6-7 July by Clontarf Yacht & Boat Club, writes Findlay MacDonald.

Ian Sargent was this year’s Principal Race Officer. He made use of the very light conditions, wisely choosing to set two days of sailing within the confines of Dublin Port. Setting courses on the open sea and strong tide would have hampered and delayed racing and would not have allowed a full six races to be run.

Nevertheless, in near perfect ‘lake conditions’, excellent courses were set each day providing lively competition for all — testing both tactics and boat-handling of all competitors.

This year’s Nationals saw a good turnout of six local boats and three very warmly welcomed boats from the Skerries Sailing Club fleet, which sailed down to Howth the evening before and headed straight to the start line on Saturday morning (Eaglet, due to engine trouble, unfortunately missed the first race).

Last year’s champion Pat O’Neil and OctopussE were not present, with him being heavily engaged in campaigning his J80 and preparing for their World Championships in Spain (though missed, we wish him well in his endeavours and await his return to the fleet). With several boats in ascendancy in both fleets, odds were even across four to five boats on who might lift this year’s crown.

Steady light airs (5-7 knots) were generally from the East for the weekend, meaning ‘clean air’ was the most important criteria. Skerries’ Easy Go in Race 1 and 2 (windward returns) sped off the start line in good air avoiding congestion at the committee boat. Enchantress, and Eagle Eye (CY&BC) who showed good form in club racing this season, followed but failed to catch Easy Go who claimed the first 2 races.

The battle for second and third was very open

Race 3 saw a change in course layout from an Offset to an Olympic. Wylie Coyote finished with a commanding lead in a hotly contested race where positions from first to fourth fluctuated on each leg. Eaglet finished second, and Easy Go scored third to finish the day with a clear points lead. The battle for second and third was very open.

On Day 2, the race officer took full advantage of the space within the entire harbour, setting excellent Olympic courses. The second leg, a run down close to Bull Island promenade, made a perfect grandstand for onshore spectators and Sunday strollers.

Again, conditions were light but constant, requiring only slight course alterations between races which were run efficiently and promptly, and started with little bias in the start line.

Race 4 saw Enchantress executing a perfect race, leading with pace from the line to the finish, tactically controlling the race from the front. In Race 5, Enchantress, on port, found themselves rolled at the top mark as they were closed out of the lay-line as the fleet came around closely packed together. Good boat handling saw Enchantress come back to third. The race went to Easy Go who now had a commanding lead in the series. Skerries’ Eaglet again showed strong form and saw off competition to finish second in the race.

For the last race of the day, winds were waning but still a fiercely contested race was had. Local boats Euro and Wylie contested valiantly but were no match for Easy Go and Eaglet. Easy Go looked good for a fourth bullet at the last mark rounding, but Eaglet had the speed on the sprint to the line and claimed a deserved first. Euro, having been in the running for the race, just didn't quite have enough juice in the engine and finished the day only yards behind second.

Wylie Coyote and Eagle Eye in the last 100 yards looked good for claiming fourth but were beaten by the beautiful E-Type who came up the last beat at speed on a fresh breeze after rounding the last mark in seventh.

With many boats sporting fresh crew, it was good to see a mix of results and closeness in the racing

In 15 years of competing in the E Boat Nationals, this year’s deserved National Champion was Paul Hick and his seasoned team on Easy Go. A strong performance and result that was a long time coming, it was great to see them succeed having missed out previously by only a few points. Enchantress (skipper Findlay MacDonald) and Eaglet (skipper Bernie Grogan) were this year’s runners-up.

With many boats sporting fresh crew, it was good to see a mix of results across the championship and closeness in the racing. There is great potential in the fleet and next year’s championship will again be hotly contested as crews refine and boats improve. Thanks goes to the hosts at CY&BC, and all crews for enthusiasm and camaraderie for making e-boats a fun and lively class.

The E-Boat Class comprises classic IOR Mini-Tonner light displacement racing yachts, designed by Julian Everett — designer of many an elegant yacht. They are a competitive one-design, rate well in IRC and have won the ICRA National Championships. Fleets in Skerries and Clontarf remain active and engaged and are always welcoming of new boats and skippers.

Click HERE for the full championship results.

Published in Racing
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Skerries RNLI helped rescue a woman and two children yesterday afternoon (Wednesday 10 July) after they were stranded on Shenick Island having been cut off by the rising tide.

Shortly after 3pm, the Irish Coast Guard tasked the north Co Dublin lifeboat station to investigate reports of a person waving for help on Shenick Island off Skerries.

The volunteer crew launched their Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat Louis Simson and rounded the headland at Red Island before proceeding to Shenick, where they found that lifeguards from the South Beach had reached the island in their dinghy and were checking on the woman and children’s wellbeing.

The three had walked to the island and had been cut off by the rising tide. They mentioned that they were beginning to feel cold so the crew transferred them to the lifeboat and returned to the station to warm up before a volunteer crew member drove them home.

Speaking about the callout, volunteer press officer Gerry Canning said: “It can be tempting to walk out to Shenick Island when the tide is low enough. However, the window for the tide is quite short and the island is bigger than it looks.

“We’d remind anyone walking along the coast to check the tide times and be aware of the risk of getting cut off. Always tell someone where you are going and ensure you have a means of contacting the shore.”

Published in Rescue
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Skerries RNLI towed two adults and two teenagers to safety on Saturday afternoon (25 May) after their motorboat broke down east of Rockabill Lighthouse.

Shortly after 5.30pm, Skerries RNLI were tasked by Dublin Coast Guard to assist a 21ft motorboat that had suffered engine failure off the lighthouse.

Visibility was good and conditions were calm, with a Force 2 north-westerly wind, as the volunteer crew launched their Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat Louis Simson to the location.

A tow was quickly established and the casualty boat was brought safely back to the slipway in Skerries. All on board were wearing lifejackets.

Speaking about the callout, volunteer lifeboat press officer Gerry Canning said: “We’ve had a number of calls recently where engine failure has been the cause. However it’s encouraging to see all on board wearing lifejackets once again.

“Lifejackets save lives and the message seems to be getting across.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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#Lifeboats - Arklow RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat crew left their Sunday lunch on 23 September to attend to a fishing vessel in difficulty east of Cahore Point in Co Wexford.

Once the vessel and its crew of three were located, it was established that while it had power, it could not make any headway due to its propeller being fouled with fishing gear.

The lifeboat volunteers rigged a tow line and set up for a long slow tow home to Arklow. All hands came ashore safely some five hours later.

Mark Corcoran, community safety officer at Arklow RNLI, said: “We would like to remind people to respect the water and always wear a lifejacket and carry a means of calling for help when going out on the water.”

The previous evening, Skerries RNLI was tasked to another fishing vessel which suffered mechanical failure and lost engine power less than half a mile north of Skerries harbour.

The struggling 22m fishing boat, with a crew of seven on board, was well lit and visible from the shore so the Atlantic 85 lifeboat Louis Simson made its way quickly alongside.

With the fishing vessel drifting dangerously close to the shore, it was decided to establish a tow to bring safely alongside the harbour.

Speaking about the callout, volunteer lifeboat press officer Gerry Canning said: “This was quite a large vessel for us to take under tow, but the conditions were very fair on the night and the Atlantic 85 was very much up to the job.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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#RNLI - While on exercise yesterday afternoon (Sunday 2 September), the volunteer crew Crosshaven RNLI overheard a radio transmission to the coastguard explaining that a 23ft angling boat was aground on Black Rock near Whitegate oil refinery in Cork Harbour.

As it happened, the lifeboat was close by and immediately responded to the angling boat, with two persons on board, which had run hard aground.

Trying to tow the vessel would have caused damage. Instead, the crew were taken off and an anchor set on the casualty boat before it reflected on the next high tide. The anglers were then transferred to Aghada Pier.

The callout came just a day after Crosshaven’s lifeboat volunteers launched on a medevac to a Belfast angler bitten by a blue shark off Roches Point.

Elsewhere, Skerries RNLI rescued a man and two children on Saturday evening (1 September) after their motorboat suffered mechanical failure.

Skerries RNLI were tasked after Dublin Coast Guard received a 999 call from a member of the public that there were an adult and two children in difficulty in a personal watercraft off the south strand in Skerries.

The volunteer crew launched their Atlantic 85 Inshore lifeboat Louis Simson and made their way towards the area indicated by the caller.

Once on scene, the crew began a quick search of the area and quickly ascertained that the vessel in difficulty was in fact a small motorboat rather than a personal watercraft.

The boat had suffered mechanical failure and was unable to make their way ashore. A tow was set up and the boat was brought safely back to the slipway in Skerries. Conditions at the time were fair with a force one to two southerly breeze.

“It was great to see everyone on board the vessel wearing good lifejackets,” said Skerries RNLI press officer Gerry Canning. “Also, the person who called it in wasted no time in dialling 999 and asking for the Coast Guard once they spotted someone in trouble.

“It’s great to see that people are taking the safety messages on board and are all playing their part in helping us save lives at sea.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - Hours after rescuing a family of five from their grounded yacht, Skerries RNLI launched to the aid of a teenager blown out to sea on a stand-up paddle board yesterday evening (Tuesday 14 August).

Skerries RNLI was tasked along with the Dublin-based Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 116 after a 999 call from a member of the public reporting a person in the water off Gormanston beach who appeared unable to get back to shore.

The volunteer crew in Skerries launched their Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat Louis Simson and proceeded directly to the Gormanston area. The rescue helicopter arrived on scene just before the lifeboat and was able to pinpoint the casualty’s location.

There were two people clinging to the paddle board when the lifeboat arrived: a teenage male who was in difficulty, and an experienced sea swimmer who swam out to the teenager in order to assist him and keep him calm.

The crew helped both people on board and then took the paddle board into the lifeboat. The swimmer was insistent that he was okay and asked to be dropped to shore. However, he had been in the water for a considerable amount of time and was very cold.

It was decided that the best course of action would be to bring him back to the lifeboat station, where the lifeboat was greeted by Skerries RNLI honorary medical Officer Dr Seamus Mullholland and an awaiting ambulance, both of whom had been called as a precaution.

The teenager was treated for symptoms of mild hypothermia and monitored closely for a period of time before he was reunited with his mother by the Skerries Coast Guard unit.

Speaking about the callout, Skerries RNLI volunteer lifeboat press officer Gerry Canning said: “The young man in this case was caught out by a sudden change in the conditions. Thankfully he was wearing a lifejacket and someone on shore knew to dial 999 and ask for the coastguard.

“And while we would recommend that you never enter the water to help someone, we would like to thank the swimmer who assisted the boy for keeping him calm and encouraging him to stay with his board until help arrived.”

The incident came hours after the Skerries lifeboat rescued a French family of five from their yacht that ran aground at the town’s harbour, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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#RNLI - A family of five were rescued by Skerries RNLI in the early hours of this morning (Tuesday 14 August) after their yacht ran aground at the North Co Dublin town’s harbour.

As RTÉ News reports, the family, who are understood to be French nationals, sent a Mayday after their vessel broke its moorings.

The Skerries lifeboat crew were quickly on scene and retrieved the family — two adults and three children aged 12 to 16 — in a dinghy.

RTÉ News has more on the story HERE.

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#RNLI - Clifden RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat was launched on Tuesday evening (17 July) for the medevac of a young woman who sustained a serious head injury in a cycling accident on Inishbofin.

Arriving at the island’s harbour at 8.53pm, lifeboat crew members Joe Acton and Daniel Whelan met the island nurse, carried out an assessment and then transferred the casualty, a visitor to the island, on board.

The lifeboat proceeded to Cleggan where an ambulance was waiting to transfer the casualty to University College Hospital Galway. The crew continued to monitor her condition throughout the crossing.

“The casualty in this case was certainly in need of urgent medical treatment and we were glad to have been able to help to transfer her quickly to the mainland,” said Clifden RNLI coxswain James Mullen.

“The summer population of Inishbofin increases massively due to tourism and as a result these sorts of situations while rare can arise. The presence of the RNLI all-weather boat in the area has certainly helped for these kinds of incidents.”

Earlier in the week, the Clifden all weather boat had been launched to another medical emergency in the island but stood down after the coastguard helicopter reached the scene first.

Elsewhere on Tuesday evening, Skerries RNLI were tasked to a motorised RIB that had suffered electrical failure north of Lambay Island.

Shortly after 9pm the Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat launched with Joe May at the helm and crewed by Sheila May, AJ Hughes and Jack Keane.

As the lifeboat neared the island, the casualty vessel fired a white parachute flare to alert of their whereabouts in fading light.

The vessel, with four men and one woman on board, was taken under tow by the lifeboat and returned to the safety of Rush Harbour.

“Thankfully we were able to locate the casualty quickly and all on board were well and in good spirits,” said Skerries RNLI volunteer lifeboat press officer Gerry Canning.

“Our volunteers are always ready to respond and we would always advise anyone going to sea to carry more than one means of contacting the shore, and, if needed, to make the call for help early.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - Skerries RNLI launched yesterday afternoon (Tuesday 3 July) shortly after 1.30pm after a motorboat with two on board called the coastguard via VHF radio to report they were taking on water near Rockabill Lighthouse.

The lifeboat was launched with volunteer Philip Ferguson at the helm and Emma Wilson and Joe May as crew, ensuring that they had loaded the salvage pump aboard.

They proceeded in the direction of Rockabill and quickly had the stricken boat in sight. Once on scene, they transferred the salvage pump and began pumping water from the boat as they continued to head towards Skerries Harbour.

Dublin’s Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 116 had also been tasked and was soon on scene and standing by.

There was a concern that the salvage pump being used may run out of fuel before the casualty reached Skerries. After communications with the helicopter, it was decided to transfer an additional pump.

The safest method of doing this in the prevailing conditions was to transfer the pump, along with a winchman, to Colt Island, where the lifeboat then picked it up and brought it to the casualty.

Once both pumps were operational, the lifeboat and helicopter escorted the vessel to the safety of Skerries Harbour. Skerries Coast Guard then secured the Red Island landing site for Rescue 116 to touch down and recover their winchman.

The incident came less than 24 hours after the Skerries lifeboat was tasked to a kayaker struggling to get back on board his craft.

Lifeguards on the South Beach in Rush alerted the coastguard on Monday afternoon (2 July) that a kayaker had entered the water and appeared to be having difficulty getting back on board. Skerries RNLI were tasked and the volunteers launched their Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat, with Joe May at the helm and crew Eoin Grimes and Sheila May.

As the lifeboat approached Rush beach, they liaised directly with lifeguards who were able to guide them directly to the casualty.

Just before the lifeboat arrived, the man had managed to get back on his kayak and had begun to make his way ashore. The lifeboat crew spoke to the man and he assured them that despite being tired, he was happy to make his own way ashore. He was met at the shoreline by the lifeguards who offered him assistance.

Speaking after both callouts, Skerries RNLI volunteer lifeboat press officer Gerry Canning said they were “a great example of how well the different organisations work together. It’s also showed the difference it can make having the right equipment, and making the call for help as early as possible.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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