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Displaying items by tag: Sligo Bay

The volunteer crew of Sligo Bay RNLI served up another fish supper last Friday (6 October) to 200 guests at The Strand Bar in Strandhill.

The seafood night raised an amazing €6,587, all of which will go towards training and equipping the lifeboat station’s volunteers to help save lives at sea.

This year, Starcrest Seafoods was the main sponsor for the night with some of their team accompanying the crew on the night.

Sligo Bay is celebrating 25 years of service in Rosses Point this year. Between its founding in 1998 and ythe end of 2022, Sligo Bay’s volunteers launched 420 times on service, with 368 people rescued, 28 of whom were lives saved.

Starcrest Seafoods was the main sponsor for the seafood supper hosted by Sligo Bay RNLI volunteers at The Strand Bar in Strandhill on Friday 6 October | Credit: RNLI/Donal HackettStarcrest Seafoods was the main sponsor for the seafood supper hosted by Sligo Bay RNLI volunteers at The Strand Bar in Strandhill on Friday 6 October | Credit: RNLI/Donal Hackett

Over the years, the lifeboat crew have spent 1,592 hours at sea on call-outs, not counting the twice-weekly training that takes place throughout the year.

But all of this would not be possible without the support and donations for which the team is extremely grateful.

Speaking after the seafood night, organiser Mark Ballantine said: “The support that Sligo Bay RNLI received is just tremendous. I would like to thank Starcrest Seafood for their sponsorship this year and all our other sponsors: The Strand Bar for hosting and cooking for us, those who donated raffle prizes and all who turned out and supported our night. Tickets sold out incredible fast this year. I am looking forward to next year already.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Sligo Bay RNLI’s volunteer crew were requested to launch by Malin Head Coast Guard shortly after 4pm on Sunday (17 September) to assist a lone sailor aboard a 38ft yacht eight miles out at sea.

The inshore lifeboat Sheila and Dennis Tongue at launched at 4.17pm with four crew members onboard and was on scene half an hour later amid good sea conditions.

Following an assessment, the lifeboat crew found the sailor to be fine but the wind had dropped and the yacht had experienced engine failure so was not able to make any headway.

The sailor reacting quickly, had called 999 and requested assistance from the coastguard who in turn paged the lifeboat.

A lifeboat crew member went onboard to assist the sailor with setting up a tow before the yacht was brought to the nearest safe port in Sligo town.

Speaking after the rescue, Sligo Bay RNLI helm Michael Waters said: “We launched to a 38ft steel-hull yacht with one crew onboard that found itself becalmed due to no wind and engine failure eight miles west of the Wheat Rock buoy.

“One of the lifeboat crew was put onboard to help the sailor with the tow back to Sligo. The tow was quickly established, and we proceed to the pontoon in Sligo town arriving at 7.20pm.”

Once the yacht was safely tied up, the lifeboat returned to the station where it was was washed down, refuelled and made ready for service again by the volunteer shore crew.

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Sligo Bay RNLI's volunteer crew were requested to launch at 2.10pm on Sunday afternoon (10 September) to reports of three people in difficulty off Inishmurray Island.

The three were on a boat which had earlier left from Mullaghmore Harbour on a fishing trip. However, during their trip, the boat experienced engine failure.

Answering their pagers, the volunteer crew were at the station, onboard the inshore lifeboat Sheila and Denis Tongue and under way in nine minutes.

Weather conditions at the time were favourable and contact was made with a local angling boat who was close to the scene, and they stood by the casualty vessel until the lifeboat arrived.

On arrival at the scene, some four miles off the coast, an assessment was carried out and it was decided to take all three people aboard the lifeboat and the crew then set up a tow with the casualty vessel and brought them back to Mullaghmore Harbour, where all were put safely ashore at the boat tied up.

Speaking after the call-out, Sligo Bay RNLI lifeboat operations manager Willie Murphy said: “Thankfully the outcome was successful. All three people were wearing lifejackets and had a means of communication.”

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Sligo Bay RNLI’s volunteer crew were requested to launch by the Irish Coast Guard on Sunday morning (13 August) to reports of a dog who had become stranded on a sandbank at Culleenamore near Strandhill in Ballisodare Bay.

Buddy the border collie had been out walking with his owner at the beach when he decided to go for a swim. Due to the low tide, he swam as far as the sandbank but then was unable to return to his owner on the beach.

Thankfully the owner called 112 and asked for the coastguard rather than attempting a rescue himself.

Getting the call at 11.21am, the volunteer crew aboard the inshore lifeboat Sheila and Dennis Tongue launched 10 minutes later and were on the scene just before noon.

Due to the low tide and narrowing channels, extreme caution had to be taken by the lifeboat crew to negotiate their passage to get close to the dog. The volunteer crew train with the navigation equipment onboard, and they managed to get close enough for one crew member to get onto the sandbank and try to coax the dog onto the lifeboat but to no avail as Buddy was very nervous.

After a couple of hours and with the tide beginning to rise, another solution was necessary to bring the dog to safety. Contact was made with the shore and the owner’s son borrowed a kayak and lifejacket and paddled out to the scene where he was able to coax Buddy into the lifeboat.

The lifeboat crew then returned to the station at 2.25pm with Buddy, his owner’s son and kayak all safely onboard. Buddy was meet with a big bowl of water and he was very happy to be back on dry land again.

Speaking after the rescue, one of the lifeboat crew said: “As a dog owner, my skills were tested to their limits today. Not as straightforward as we all thought it would be, but it was great to eventually reunite Buddy with his owner.”

Sligo Bay RNLI asks pet owners to remember, if your pet goes into the water, please do not enter the water after them — instead call 112 or 999 and ask for help from the coastguard.

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Sligo Bay RNLI’s volunteer crew were requested to launch their inshore lifeboat to reports of sailing dinghies caught in a squall on Thursday evening (22 June).

Following reports from an onlooker on the beach at Rosses Point that there appeared to be several dinghies capsized in Sligo Bay, the inshore lifeboat Sheila and Denis Tongue launched at 8.10pm to offer assistance to the clubs’ safety boats already on the water.

Arriving on the scene at 8.15pm, the crew assessed the situation and found that most dinghies had righted themselves and were able to sail home unassisted.

However, one dinghy had turned turtle and both sailors had been picked up by the club safety boat. The lifeboat crew managed to right the dinghy and tow it back to the club.

Speaking following the call-out, Aisling Gillen, Sligo Bay RNLI’s volunteer lifeboat press officer said: “A member from the sailing club said conditions changed very quickly and even though they had their safety boats on the water, they were very grateful of the assistance provided by ourselves and that having the RNLI as their neighbours, is always a great comfort to them.

“As we enter the summer season, we would remind anyone planning a trip to sea to always go prepared, check weather and tide times, always wear a lifejacket or suitable flotation device for your activity and always carry a means of communication such as a VHF radio or a mobile phone in a waterproof pouch. Should you get into difficulty, call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

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Sligo Bay RNLI’s volunteer crew were requested to launch their inshore lifeboat to reports of four swimmers in difficulty on Wednesday afternoon (21 June) at Strandhill beach.

On arrival at the scene less than 20 minutes after pagers sounded, the lifeboat crew were advised by the Irish Coast Guard that three swimmers had been rescued by local surfers but that a fourth person was missing.

The volunteers continued search the area until they were stood down by the coastguard when the fourth swimmer was successfully rescued and brought to shore. An ambulance was also on the scene to assess all four swimmers.

Strandhill beach has a very strong undercurrent and swimming is prohibited.

Aisling Gillen, Sligo Bay RNLI’s lifeboat press officer adds: “Thankfully today had a happy ending but it is important to always observe the signage and only swim at a lifeguarded beach.”

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A Sligo Bay RNLI helm has been celebrated as a finalist for the inaugural Captain Dara Fitzpatrick Award, hosted by the Irish Paramedicine Education and Research Network (IPERN).

Eithne Davis was nominated for the award by her lifeboat station team and, having been selected as a finalist, she attended a special ceremony at the University of Limerick on Wednesday (8 March) to mark International Women’s Day.

Five finalists were shortlisted by the IPERN Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Special Interest Group to award and recognise an inspirational female colleague working in the Irish pre-hospital community.

Frances Griffin of the National Ambulance Service picked up the award, which pays tribute to Captain Dara Fitzpatrick’s powerful legacy. Eithne was among the five finalists selected for embodying Dara’s values of compassion and kindness, strength and bravery, leadership and teamwork, and professionalism.

In submitting Eithne’s nomination, Sligo Bay RNLI said the station had a proud history of a strong representation of female crew.

“Eithne joined Sligo Bay RNLI at its inception in April 1998 and has been a steadfast member of the team since,” it said. “Her volunteering role with the RNLI spanned her life stages of rearing a young family, through various jobs and roles, to this year completing her doctorate in environmental studies. Over the past 25 years in all circumstances, she has carried her RNLI pager and been on call ready to launch to those in need of help at sea.

“She has been an outstanding member of the crew, was appointed our first female Helm in 1999, is a seagoing casualty carer and most recently was appointed as the station’s first local trainer and assessor. Of significance also is the fact that she was the first ever RNLI-retained inshore lifeboat mechanic in the fleet.

“In her 25 years, she has launched on service 164 times, involving 169 hours at sea, trained at sea for over 396 hours, and has been directly involved in the saving of nine lives, not to mention the other 131 people she has assisted, many requiring casualty care.

“Launching in an open lifeboat always requires bravery, but Eithne would not consider herself as anyone special. In one incident in very rough weather, when responding to a surfer in difficulty, the lifeboat slammed hard off a large wave and Eithne was injured.

“She pressed on with the callout towards the casualty only to stand down on notification that the person had gotten ashore safely. Eithne took a couple of weeks off to recover and then was back on the lifeboat as eager as always. If queried, her self-effacing attitude would likely be, ‘Sure it’s what we do, isn’t it?’”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Volunteers at Sligo Bay RNLI are reminding visitors planning a trip to Coney Island to take advantage of the free Text Coney service to help prevent them getting cut off by the tide.

The RNLI text messaging service was introduced by the charity seven years ago in a direct response to a coastal safety risk identified by the local community in Sligo.

The Coney Island causeway and its flooding tidal waters present a risk to people who are unsure of the tide times and the best times to cross from the mainland.

In the past, Sligo Bay RNLI has responded to numerous call outs around Coney Island that relate to tidal cut off and activities around the sandbanks and tidal channels. The lifeboat crews can be restricted by water depth when attending these incidents especially during the crucial early phase of the flooding tide where people are starting to cut off or are bogged in.

The text messaging system accompanied by signage directs people to the numbers to text, encourages safer crossing and decision making.

Anyone planning to visit the island by car, bike or foot is encouraged to Text the word Coney to 51155 (from Republic of Ireland mobiles) or 81400 (from Northern Ireland/UK mobiles) to find out the safe crossing times for that day.

The RNLI will reply with information on the best times subject to good weather conditions along with key safety messages reminding users to always leave extra time to return safely, to never attempt to cross if the strand is covered with water and in the event of an emergency to dial 999 or 112 and ask for the Coast Guard.

Now, as the summer holidays get underway, Willie Murphy, Sligo Bay RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager is urging people to save the numbers and use them ahead of any planned trip: ‘This is a wonderful free service and I would encourage people to save the numbers 51155 or 81400 to their phones under Text Coney and that way they have the relevant information to hand and know what to do if planning a trip to the island. Simply texting the word Coney means we can help people get the best advice on the day and help them to make safer choices when accessing the coast, reducing their risk of getting into difficulty.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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A busy mother of two young children is among five new volunteers who will be carrying pagers and on call for the first time this Christmas at Sligo Bay RNLI.

As the charity continues its Christmas Appeal, Rachel Wirtz is preparing to swap turkey and pudding and run to the lifeboat station should her pager go off.

She is urging people across Sligo to help her crew, and the thousands of other volunteer crews on call over the Christmas period, to continue their lifesaving work.

Rachel joined the crew over a year ago but due to the pandemic and restrictions, she couldn’t work on completing her assessments face-to-face until this year. While she has been involved in callouts as shore crew, she hasn’t yet made a lifeboat callout to sea.

“The standard and extent of the training has been excellent, and I am learning terrific new skills,” says the mum-of-three who lives in Rosses Point. “There was a rush of adrenaline and excitement rather than apprehension for my first call out. I am excited about being able to contribute and I feel very lucky to be a part of it.”

Among the other new lifeboat crew members at Sligo Bay RNLI are Reece Meldrum and Aisling Murphy, while Noah Canham and Caroline Collery have joined the shore crew. Yvette Carter, meanwhile, will be spending her first Christmas as a lifeboat helm.

Like Rachel, each RNLI crew member signs up to save every one from drowning — it has been the charity’s mission since 1824.

Rachel adds: “This is my first Christmas on call, and I know even over the festive period, our lifesavers are ready to drop everything at a moment’s notice and rush to the aid of someone in trouble on the water. At this time of year, the weather can be at its worst and lives can be on the line.

“We know that every time our crews go out, they hope for a good outcome, but sadly this sometimes isn’t the case. We hope that this year’s Christmas appeal will show people just how tough it can be, but also that with their help we can get so much closer to our goal of saving every one.”

The four men taking on new roles with Clogherhead RNLI this ChristmasThe four men taking on new roles with Clogherhead RNLI this Christmas

Meanwhile, on the East Coast, Clogherhead RNLI have appointed four people to new lifesaving roles as this Christmas the station stands ready to launch at a moment’s notice to save lives at sea.

Sean Flanagan, a pilot boat coxswain at Dublin Port, and Denis Levins, an officer with P&O Ferries, have been passed out as lifeboat coxswains, while Raymond Butterly has joined the station to become shore crew for launching the station’s impressive Shannon class lifeboat.

Barry Sharkey has also been appointed as the new full-time mechanic for the station, taking over from the retiring Padraig Rath.

The four men helped the charity launch its Christmas appeal at the Co Louth-based lifeboat station and are calling on the public to support the RNLI’s lifesaving work this Christmas, as they remain on call and ready to launch.

“We know that every time our crews go out, they hope for a good outcome, but sadly this sometimes isn’t the case,” says Barry, who comes from a well-known local fishing family. “Through people supporting this year’s Christmas appeal, with their help we can get so much closer to our goal of saving every one.”

To make a donation to the RNLI’s Christmas Appeal, visit RNLI.org/Xmas

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Sligo Bay RNLI reminds sea swimmers of the importance of not struggling against rip currents after two people were rescued from a strong current at the ominously named Deadman’s Point.

The volunteer crew were requested to launch their inshore lifeboat shortly after 5.40pm on Tuesday evening (7 September) following a report that two swimmers had got into difficulty in the waters adjacent to Sligo Yacht Club.

Weather conditions at the time were described as good with light winds, good visibility but with a very strong incoming tide.

The lifeboat launched under helm Daryl Ewing and with David Bradley, Ross Palmer and Owen McLoughlin onboard. On arrival at the scene, the crew observed that both swimmers were wearing tow floats which had helped to keep them afloat until the lifeboat reached them.

The lifeboat crew checked that the swimmers were safe and well before taking them onboard and bringing them back to the lifeboat station where they were made comfortable.

Speaking following the callout, Sligo Bay RNLI helm Daryl Ewing said: “Thankfully both swimmers were safe but they were shocked at how quickly they were taken out by the rip current.

“Rip currents can be difficulty to spot, but are sometimes identified by a channel of churning, choppy water on the sea’s surface. Even the most experienced beachgoers and swimmers can be caught out by rips so never be afraid to ask for advice and read any local signage.

“If you do get caught in a rip, don’t try to swim against it or you will get exhausted. If you can stand, wade and don’t swim. If you can, swim parallel to the shore until free of the rip and then head for shore. Always raise your hand and shout for help.

“If you see someone who you think might be in trouble, don't delay: dial 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

This was the second rescue for the Sligo Bay lifeboat this week, after the volunteer crew launch to the aid of an injured fisherman on a charter vessel on Sunday 5 September, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

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