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#RNLI - Skerries RNLI officially named its new Atlantic 85 lifeboat Louis Simson at a special ceremony held today (Saturday 7 September), as reported yesterday on Afloat.ie.

David Delamer, a member of the Irish Council of the RNLI, accepted the lifeboat and her launching carriage on behalf of the RNLI before handing her over into the care of Skerries Lifeboat Station.



He paid tribute to the donor, Charlotte Simson, who had generously funded the lifeboat through a gift left in her will. The legacy was 75 years old.



Simson, who hailed from Salem in India, funded the lifeboat which has been on service in Skerries since February, in memory of her husband Louis, from London.



"Mrs Simson made provision in her will for a trust fund that would provide various relatives with a modest income for life," Delamer explained. "She arranged that once the trust fund had come to an end, the remaining money should fund an RNLI lifeboat to be named in memory of her beloved husband. Now three quarters of a century on, Mrs Simson’s wish will be granted."



Leo Cody, a founding member of the Skerries RNLI inshore lifeboat station and a former deputy launching authority, then officially named the lifeboat during the ceremony.  



The new state-of-the-art Atlantic 85 lifeboat was introduced into the RNLI fleet in 2005. The lifeboat is 8.4 metres in length and weighs 1.8 tonnes.  Improvements on its predecessor include a faster top speed of 35 knots, radar, provision for a fourth crew member and more space for survivors. 



Since the new lifeboat went on service in Skerries, there have been 24 call-outs and 49 people have been brought to safety. 



Niall McGrotty, Skerries RNLI lifeboat operations manager, said the naming ceremony and service of dedication was a special occasion in the history of the Skerries lifeboat station, adding that the volunteer crew was grateful to Simson for her generous legacy which had funded the lifeboat. 



He added that the RNLI could not operate its lifeboats without the dedication of volunteer lifeboat crew.

"The crew in Skerries give 100% at all times. Their commitment and ongoing attendance for training both here and at the lifeboat college means that they are highly proficient in the operation of their lifeboat. 

"Further testament of the dedication of the crew is their knowledge that they may risk their own lives in the service of others. There is nothing greater that a person could offer and they deserve nothing less than the best lifeboat, equipment and training that money can buy." 



McGrotty went on to pay tribute to the vital support provided by the volunteers who support the crew.

"The lifeboat crew and I are only one part of this station. I must mention our operation team, supporters and fundraisers who volunteer their time and efforts and do so much for Skerries RNLI. These are people of all ages who give what time and money they can."



A crowd of well-wishers turned up to see the lifeboat officially named, with a bottle of champagne poured over the side of the boat before it launched at the end of the ceremony.



Among the guests were Des Frazer, president of the Skerries RNLI Lifeboat Management Group, who welcomed guests and opened proceedings; Leo Cody, who back in 1967 was appointed the honorary secretary of the Skerries fundraising branch and is a former deputy launching authority; and Brian Carty, a former crew member, deputy launching authority and chairman, who delivered the vote of thanks.



Father Richard Hyland, Reverend Anthony Kelly and Reverend David Nixon lead the Service of Dedication.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
Tagged under

#Jellyfish - In less welcome jellyfish news, the Irish Independent reports that a female diver was airlifted to hospital after being stung in the face by a jellyfish off Skerries at the weekend.

The injured woman had been diving yesterday morning (1 September) in shallow waters off the North Co Dublin town with a party of five, three of whom raised the alarm when they lost sight of the other two.

Skerries RNLI were requested to launch by the Dublin Coast Guard, and after a short time searching they located the missing divers on the shore at a local swimming spot called the Springers.

The lifeboat crew found one of the women was in need of urgent medical assistance, suffering from severe hypothermia and jellyfish stings to the face.

Medical transfer to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda was decided as the best option, and the casualty was soon airlifted from nearby Red Island on board the Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 116.

Speaking after the call-out, Skerries RNLI volunteer lifeboat press officer Gerry Canning said: "This was a perfect example of how well our volunteers and all the other emergency services work together to ensure that casualties get the best possible care and in the quickest possible time."

Published in Marine Wildlife
Tagged under

#RNLI - Skerries RNLI carried out a search of an area north of Balbriggan on Wednesday night (14 August) after a vessel in the area reported sighting a distress flare.

The volunteer crew launched their inshore lifeboat shortly after 9.30pm with Philip Ferguson as helm and crew members Adam Scott, Stephen Crowley and AJ Hughes on board.

Dublin Coast Guard requested the lifeboat to launch to investigate a report of a distress flare north of Balbriggan Harbour in North Co Dublin. 



The lifeboat proceeded directly to the area indicated by the coastguard and conducted an extensive search. Clogherhead RNLI were also tasked and carried out a search further north, while the Skerries Coast Guard unit carried out a search of the coastline in the area.

Just after 10.30pm, the Dublin Coast Guard declared that they were satisfied that a thorough search had been carried out, and with nothing found all units were stood down to return to base.



Speaking after the call-out, Philip Ferguson said: "Conditions were very good on scene and while it was quite a dark night, visibility was reasonably good which helped our search.

"Our volunteer crew are always ready to launch to any sign that somebody is in difficulty at sea and we are happy that on this occasion no lives were in danger."

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#OilSpill - An oil spill at Skerries Harbour in North Co Dublin has prompted the closure of Skerries North Beach as a precaution.

RTÉ News reports that the spill is a minor incident, and that Fingal County Council is monitoring the situation in Skerries and area beaches.

Skerries North Beach, while popular with locals, is not among the designated bathing areas listed by region by Irish Water Safety HERE.

Published in Coastal Notes

#RNLI - Skerries RNLI rescued a group of teenagers who got into difficulty while kayaking on Sunday evening (30 June).

The volunteer crew launched their inshore lifeboat shortly after 6pm to reports of a group of kayakers on Colt Island who were unable to return to shore due to the deteriorating weather conditions.


Skerries RNLI lifeboat operations manager Niall McGrotty paged the crew after receiving information from a retired crew member that there was a group of kayakers stranded on Colt Island.

The lifeboat was helmed by Joe May and had crew members Philip Ferguson, David Knight and Adam Scott on board. Weather conditions at the time were a force five to six northerly wind and choppy seas.

Arriving on scene three minutes after launching, the lifeboat found 11 teenage boys with five kayaks sheltering on Colt Island, as they were unable to return to shore against the increasing wind and waves.



All 11 boys were taken on board the lifeboat and the five kayaks were taken in tow. The lifeboat towed the kayaks back to the slipway at the station where the volunteer shore crew recovered them. The lifeboat then brought the teenagers safely back to the harbour.

Speaking after the call-out, Skerries RNLI helm Joe May said: "The boys did the right thing in staying together, staying on the island and raising the alarm. If they had tried to make it back to shore we could have been dealing with a much more serious situation.

"Our volunteer crew are always ready to respond to any emergency and we were happy to bring everyone safely home."

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - Skerries RNLI launched shortly before 7pm yesterday evening (Thursday 27 June) to assist an 11m yacht with one person on board that had run aground north of Rush Harbour.

The Dublin branch of the Irish Coast Guard requested Skerries RNLI to launch after two members of the public, who had been out kayaking, reported that the yacht was in difficulty.



Weather conditions at the time were a force one to two wind with calm seas.

The lifeboat, helmed by Willie Boylan with crew members Conor Walsh, Karl Duff and Peter Kennedy on board, was on scene in less than 10 minutes. However, by that time the yacht was completely aground above the tide line.



Two volunteer crew members were put ashore to assess the casualty vessel. There was only one person on board and he was not in any immediate danger. There also appeared to be no significant damage to the hull of the boat.

The crew members laid out an anchor from the vessel to ensure that it did not drift onto the nearby rocks when it began to float again. Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 116 was also on scene briefly to ensure that no assistance was required.



With the tide still falling, the decision was taken for the lifeboat to return later after the tide had turned to ensure that the yacht floated safely and to assist in helping it safely back to a harbour.

At 10.20pm the volunteer crew launched the lifeboat again to attend to the yacht, this time with Conor Walsh at the helm and Karl Duff, Eoin Grimes and Emma Wilson as crew, bringing a salvage pump with them.

One of the crew was put ashore to check on the casualty again and to secure a tow line to the boat. As the tide rose, the lifeboat kept the tension on the tow to prevent the yacht being pushed further on to the rocks.

At 11.45pm the yacht was refloated and guided back to Skerries Harbour with the lifeboat leading the way to help navigate around the islands safely in the dark.



Speaking after, Skerries RNLI lifeboat operations manager Niall McGrotty said: "There didn’t appear to be much damage and the conditions were calm. However, it was a large boat with a lot of equipment on board, so there were some concerns around whether it would refloat successfully. Thankfully, it did and everyone made it home safe and sound."

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - Skerries RNLI in North Co Dublin were requested to launch by the Irish Coast Guard on Monday evening (24 June) following a call from a concerned member of the public regarding a group of people walking back to shore from Shenick Island.

The volunteer lifeboat crew launched their inshore lifeboat Louis Simson shortly before 9pm and proceeded directly to scene.

The caller had reported that the group were attempting to walk ashore from the island and were already in water up to their waists. However, shortly after arriving on scene, communication was received from Skerries Coastguard that the people in question had made it safely to shore.



Before returning to base, Skerries also requested the lifeboat to check on another group of people who were on the shoreline of Colt Island. This turned out to be a group of kayakers who were simply having a rest so the lifeboat was stood down and returned to station.


Speaking afterwards, Skerries RNLI volunteer lifeboat press officer Gerry Canning said: "It’s not unusual for people to get caught out by the quickly rising tide. We would encourage people to check the tide tables and always allow plenty of time to get to where you are going safely."

In related news, an updated and interactive edition of the RNLI’s safety handbook Sea Safety: The Complete Guide is now available free online.

The Complete Guide is the RNLI’s handbook of essential information for all those who go to sea. Its new interactive format – including videos, quizzes and challenges - means that sea safety is available on mobiles, tablets and laptops and at the tip of boaters’ fingertips.



RNLI coastal safety manager Tony Wafer said: "The Complete Guide gives more in-depth advice on how to follow these principles and stay safe on the water. It’ll cover everything from how to plan your time on the water, what safety equipment to take and how to use it, and what to do in an emergency."

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#gp14 – Strong winds and rough seas led to the cancellation of the second day's racing of this weekend's GP 14 Leinster Championship at Skerries Sailing Club writes Gerry Byrne. But a win and two seconds in Saturday's three races were sufficient to yield Gold to John McGuinness and his brother Donal from Moville Boat Club, Donegal sailing in a fleet of 21.

Conditions ranged from Force 3 gusting to Force 7 making for big shifts, tricky conditions and many capsizes including that of local combination Stan Shepherd and Andrew Sexton who were leading the fleet in Race 1 when they got ducked. Spinnaker work was sporadic with many boats selecting white sails only in some of the windier legs. Hugh and Dan Gill (Sutton, third overall) were not alone in sometimes electing for chicken gybes.

Apart from the overall champions, race winners were Swords couple Dan and Mairin O'Connell (second overall) and, from the Royal St George Yacht Club, Graham Elmes and Gina O'Reilly (15th overall). Silver fleet winners (4th overall) were Simon Cully and Libby Tierney from Blessington. Second silver went to Shepherd and Sexton (10th overall) and third to Ray and Brian Morrison from Lough Erne YC. Colman Grimes and Ian Fitzpatrick (Skerries SC, 13th overall) won the Bronze.

Published in GP14
Tagged under

#RNLI - A fishing vessel with a fouled propeller was towed to safety by Wicklow RNLI this morning (21 June).

The volunteer crew launched their all-weather lifeboat at 10am following a report that a fishing vessel was in difficulty after a rope got fouled in its propeller.

The incident had echoes of Wednesday's rescue of a couple from their similarly fouled yacht off Arklow, as reported on Afloat.ie.

Wicklow RNLI's lifeboat crew located the drifting vessel was located by the lifeboat crew some six miles off Wicklow Head shortly after 10.30am. 

A towline was quickly established and the boat was towed back to Wicklow harbour where it was safely secured alongside the south quay at midday.

Another fouling incident occurred further up the coast yesterday evening, as Skerries RNLI yesterday brought two people to safety after their motorboat got into difficulty.

The volunteer crew launched their inshore lifeboat on what was their second call out of the day shortly after 7pm following a report that a 29ft motorboat was in difficulty between Rogerstown Estuary and Lambay Island.

Weather conditions at the time were calm with a force one to two wind. Arriving on scene, the lifeboat – helmed by Willie Boylan – quickly located the motorboat which had lowered its anchor to wait for help to arrive.



Once it was established that the motorboat had fouled its propeller, a crew member was put on board the boat and a towline was established. The vessel was then brought safely back to Malahide Marina.



Speaking after the call-out, Skerries RNLI crew member Conor Walsh said: "Thankfully the crew had a VHF radio on board and were able to call for help. We were happy to assist and to be able to bring them and their boat safely to shore."

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#MarineWildlife - Skerries RNLI joined a number of groups in assisting a beached whale back out to sea at Gormanston in Co Meath earlier today (Thursday 20 June).

The volunteer lifeboat crew launched their inshore lifeboat shortly after 10am following reports from the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) that a 25ft pilot whale had beached in the area.

The lifeboat helmed by Joe May, and with crew members Emma Wilson, AJ Hughes and Laura Boylan onboard, made its way to the scene where May got into the sea and helped manoeuvre the whale back into deeper water.



Skerries RNLI then shadowed the whale guiding it out to sea, preventing it from turning back to shore by positioning the boat in its way. The lifeboat did this for about 25 minutes until the mammal was well clear of the shore.

Other agencies on scene included Skerries coastguard, the Defence Forces based at Gormanston, the IWDG, Boyne Fishermen’s Rescue and Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 116.

Meanwhile, RTÉ News reports that a second whale was found dead on the beach near Mornington, north of Bettystown.

Despite initial fears that the whale was the same one rescued in the morning, it was later determined to be a different creature.

Published in Marine Wildlife
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