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Courtmacsherry RNLI’s volunteers were called out at 11.33am this morning (Monday 5 September) to go to the immediate aid of a surfer in difficulty amid strong winds off Garrylucas Beach.

Under coxswain Mark Gannon and a crew of six, the all-weather lifeboat was quickly under way and proceeded in very rough seas towards the coastline off Garrylucas.

The 999 call had been made by the partner of the person in trouble as she saw that he had lost control in windy conditions and was in immediate danger.

The Old Head/Seven Heads Coast Guard unit was also tasked and maintained cover on the shoreline and the nearby rocks.

Just after 11.55am the lifeboat arrived off Garrylucas and found that the surfer had managed to swim to the safety of rocks between Garrylucas and Garretstown Strand and reach the shore in very poor and gusty conditions.

The casualty was met and assessed on the shoreline by members of the Old Head/Seven Heads Coast Guard team. Once it was confirmed there was nobody else in trouble, the lifeboat was stood down and returned to base.

Conditions at sea today off West Cork were extremely difficult, with a very strong southeast Force 7-8 blowing and a huge sea swell.

Speaking following the callout, Courtmacsherry’s lifeboat press officer Vincent O’Donovan said: “It was great to see 15 crew members assemble quickly on a Monday morning to help others in danger on the sea which was raging today.

“This is our 21st callout in what has been a very busy year so far for our station in Courtmacsherry.”

The crew on board the lifeboat this morning were coxswain Mark Gannon, mechanic Stuart Russell, Dave Philips, Tadgh McCarthy, Enda Boyle, Evin O’Sullivan and Conor Tyndall.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

The Courtmacsherry RNLI Lifeboat Station was alerted this evening, (Sunday, August 7th) at 7.30 pm by the Valentia Coast Guard Marine Rescue Co-Ordination Centre, that a 48-foot yacht had got into difficulties 4.5 miles off the Seven Heads coastline near Clonakilty Bay and required assistance.

Within minutes of the crew bleepers being activated, the Station’s All Weather Trent Class Lifeboat “Frederick Storey Cockburn” under Coxswain Sean O Farrell and a crew of six was launched and headed to the scene of the alert.

Just after 8.15 pm, the Lifeboat located the yacht with two crew on board, and after assessing the situation, a decision was made to secure a tow line to the casualty and tow the yacht, which had encountered mechanical difficulties on its passage from New Ross to Clifden, back to the nearest port of Courtmacsherry.

The lifeboat arrived safely at port just after 10 pm, and the causality was placed at a mooring in the lower harbour as the Courtmacsherry Pontoon is undergoing a major dredging operation that commenced last Friday.

The Courtmacsherry RNLI Lifeboat voluntary Duty Launch Authority Vincent O Donovan said, “It was great to see the quick reaction of our volunteers on this busy summer evening, who dropped whatever they were at and rushed to the station in order to help others in danger. It’s been a long day for most of these volunteers as they also took part earlier in the day in a major multi-agency Search and Rescue exercise off Broadstrand in Courtmacsherry Bay”

The Courtmacsherry Lifeboat crew were Coxswain Sean O Farrell, Mechanic Dave Philips and crew members Ken Cashman, Kieran Boyle, Donal Young, Ciaran Hurley and Denis MurphyThe Courtmacsherry Lifeboat crew were Coxswain Sean O Farrell, Mechanic Dave Philips and crew members Ken Cashman, Kieran Boyle, Donal Young, Ciaran Hurley and Denis Murphy

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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This past week has been a very busy period at Courtmacsherry RNLI in West Cork with three callouts in five days.

The all-weather lifeboat was requested at 10.45pm on Tuesday night (12 July) to launch in search of a person in a kayak that was overdue from Dunworley Bay on the Seven Heads peninsula. The alert was raised by family personnel and an observer from the shore.

Under coxswain Ken Cashman and a crew of six, the lifeboat was under way within minutes, but while en route it emerged that while the kayaker had overturned, he was able to right himself and was able to get ashore by himself.

The lifeboat returned to base after being recalled at 11.15pm.

Crew members on this callout with Cashman were mechanic Dave Philips, Denis Murphy, Paul McCarthy, Donal Young, Dean Hennessy and Enda Boyle.

On Wednesday evening (13 July) at 5.40pm, the pagers were again activated by the Irish Coast Guard’s Marine Rescue Coordination Centre in Valentia as a pleasure craft had developed mechanical problems two miles off the Old Head of Kinsale.

The lifeboat, under coxswain Mark Gannon and a crew of six, reached the casualty vessel at 6.15pm and following an assessment it was towed back to the nearest port in Courtmacsherry.

Joining Gannon on this callout were mechanic Stuart Russell, Chris Guy, Donal Young, Ken Cashman, Mark John Gannon and Dave Philips.

The third callout was to rescue a person from the rocks off Broadstrand on last Saturday (9 July) in conjunction with the Old Head/Seven Heads Coast Guard unit and the coastguard’s Waterford-based helicopter Rescue 117.

The casualty was brought by the lifeboat back to Courtmacsherry Pier and transferred to a waiting HSE ambulance.

The lifeboat crew on this callout were coxswain Mark John Gannon, mechanic Stuart Russell, Tadgh McCarthy, Denis Murphy, Austin McKenna, Dave Philips, Pat Lawton and Conor Dullea.

As the fine weather continues, and we head into peak holiday season, Courtmacsherry RNLI stresses to all those that are partaking in any water activities, or planning a visit to the coast over the busy summer season, to remember and follow RNLI safety advice below to stay safe at all times:

  • Have a plan — check the weather forecast, tide times and read local hazard signage.
  • Keep a close eye on your family — on the beach, on the shoreline and in the water.
  • Don’t allow your family to swim alone.
  • Don’t use inflatables at all on the sea.
  • Make sure to wear a lifejacket at all times when taking to the sea in a boat.
  • If you fall into the water unexpectedly, Float to Live. Fight your instinct to thrash around, lean back, extend your arms and legs, gently move them around if you need to, and float.
  • In an emergency dial 999 or 112 immediately and ask for the coastguard.
Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Long-awaited dredging in Courtmacsherry Harbour is being deferred. 

As Afloat reported earlier this month, the dredging at the popular West Cork boating harbour had restrictions put in place for visiting boats in June for a planned three to four weeks

The harbour's pontoon was unavailable and the slipway blocked off to allow for the dredging work in the middle of the boating season.

But now Tom Murray, Commodore of Courtmacsherry Harbour Boat Club says the works are deferred to the 8th of August.

"This is good news as all facilities will now be available for the next seven weeks and we look forward to welcoming visiting sailors", Murray told Afloat.

Published in Dredging
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Courtmacsherry RNLI was alerted by Valentia Coast Guard on Wednesday afternoon (22 June) to two people onboard a 42ft yacht with mechanical problems 25 miles off the Old Head of Kinsale in West Cork.

Shortly after 3.30pm the all-weather lifeboat launched under coxswain Mark John Gannon and a crew of five and quickly proceeded to the yacht’s reported location, just south of the Kinsale Head gas field.

The lifeboat located the yacht at 5.30pm and a decision was made to tow and return it to the nearest safe port of Courtmacsherry.

Courtmacsherry RNLI’s crew on this callout | Credit: RNLI/CourtmacsherryCourtmacsherry RNLI’s crew on this callout | Credit: RNLI/Courtmacsherry

It emerged that the two people onboard were on passage from Kinsale to the Scilly Isles when they encountered difficulties.

After four-and-a-half hours, the lifeboat with yacht in tow arrived safely at Courtmacsherry pontoon at 10.15pm.

Philip White, Courtmacsherry RNLI deputy launching authority said: “It has been a very busy six days with four callouts and great credit is due to all the volunteer crew who drop everything when their pagers sound to help others in distress.”

The crew on this rescue were coxswain Mark John Gannon, mechanic Chris Guy and crew members Dara Gannon, Dave Philips and Pat Lawton.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Courtmacsherry RNLI’s volunteers called out early this morning (Saturday 18 June) at 4.35am to go to the aid of a 40ft yacht in difficulties 21 miles south east of the Old Head of Kinsale in West Cork.

The all-weather lifeboat Frederick Storey Cockburn, under coxswain Ken Cashman and a crew of six, was quickly away at 4.47am and proceeded quickly to the reported location of the casualty vessel.

The yacht, which was on passage from Spain to Cobh with four people on board, had developed mechanical and other difficulties in northeasterly Force 5 sea conditions and requested assistance.

Once the lifeboat reached the yacht at 5.45am, Cashman and crew assessed the situation and decided to establish a tow at a safe speed in choppy waters to the nearest port of Courtmacsherry, where the yacht was tied safely at the harbour pontoon around 8.30am.

Courtmacsherry RNLI deputy launching authority Vincent O’Donovan said: “It was great to see so many of our volunteers respond so quickly from their beds early this morning to this callout and it was prudent that the yacht made a decision early this morning to seek assistance in some heavy seas as they had battled the elements from 100 miles off shore.”

Joining Cashman on this callout were mechanic Chris Guy and crew members Mark John Gannon, Dara Gannon, Donal Young, Ciaran Hurley and Denis Murphy.

This was the third callout in the last three days for the Courtmacsherry lifeboat station, following a search for a swimmer reported missing off Garrettstown on Thursday who subsequently had got to shore themselves, and the rescue of a 13ft RIB with one person on board on the same day.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Long-awaited dredging at the popular West Cork boating harbour of Courtmacsherry is underway but restrictions are now in place for visiting boats for three to four weeks as the harbour's pontoon is unavailable and the slipway blocked off.

Local fishermen are making every effort to provide moorings and other accommodation for visiting yachts, according to local yachtsman Norman Kean.

The much-needed work has to be done in summer because of the estuary’s bird life.

In an update, Courtmacsherry Harbour Boat Club Commodore Tom Murray told members: 

  • The pontoon will be removed and will be unavailable.
  • The Slipway will effectively be blocked off as it will be central to the work site.
  • The Field will be used for the Contractors equipment and temporary storage of dredged materials awaiting onwards transportation to Portlaoise for safe disposal.
  • There is expected to be 158 truckloads to be transported to Portlaoise.
  • During the works, the majority of the Western side of the Pier area will be blocked off with limited access to the rest of the Pier. No parking will be available on the Pier.
  • Drop-offs and loading to boats should be possible on the pier steps on the eastern side of the pier. Due to the loss of the pontoon, these areas will be busy no doubt with angling and whale watching boat traffic as well as fishermen and other users.
  • Storage of dinghies should be possible on the Pier House side of the Eastern Pier although launching/recovery will be restricted by Tides as that slip dries out. Alternatively, dinghies may be best stored on the Beach down by GEKO.
  • If planning to launch your boat, I recommend that you do so before the 20th. Access to the slipway will only be for emergency situations.
  • It is envisaged that the works will continue during daylight hours only. Weekend work may be engaged depending on timelines.

"It is unfortunate that these works have to take place during the high boating season, but the pontoon area should be a better safer place for all boat users once the works are complete," Murray said.

Published in Dredging
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The Courtmacsherry RNLI All Weather Lifeboat “Frederick Storey Cockburn” was called out this afternoon at 3.15 pm, by the Valentia Coast Guard Marine Rescue Co-Ordination Centre, when a lone kayaker got into difficulties on the western side of the Old Head of Kinsale.

Within minutes of the crew bleepers being activated, the Lifeboat under Coxswain Mark John Gannon and a crew of five was launched and headed at speed to the scene of the alert. The conditions at sea this afternoon were of strong winds creating a strong swell off the coast.

Also tasked were the Coast Guard Rescue 117 Helicopter which was exercising in Cork Harbour, the Kinsale RNLI Lifeboat, the Old Head/Seven Heads Coastguard Unit and Naval Vessels that were on patrol in the near vicinity.

The incident happened beneath the rocky cliff-face near the 16th Hole on the Old Head Golf Course.

As the Lifeboats and the Helicopter arrived on scene within 20 minutes of the callout, the casualty had been blown on to the rocks and thankfully succeeded in climbing up the cliff-face to the 16th Golf green above. The Lifeboats recovered the kayak from the water and the Coast Guard unit assessed the casualty who was very happy to be on the safe surrounds of the Old Head of Kinsale Golf Course.

The Courtmacsherry RNLI Duty Launch Authority Philip White said “It was great to see the quick reaction of all our volunteers this afternoon who dropped whatever they were at and rushed to the station in order to have the Lifeboat underway in minutes, to help someone in distress. The persons on the golf course deserve great praise for alerting the rescue agencies quickly by ringing 999 or 112, as a fast response to an incident like this was so important, if the person was not physically able to climb the rock-face”

The Courtmacsherry Lifeboat Crew this afternoon were Coxswain Mark John Gannon, Duty Mechanic Dave Philips and crew members Ken Cashman, Kevin Young, Conor Dullea and Paul McCarthy. It has been a busy week for the Lifeboat Station in Courtmacsherry with three callouts in the past seven days.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Courtmacsherry RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat Frederick Storey Cockburn was called out at 10.15pm on Wednesday night (4 May) to join a search off Garrettstown and Garrylucas beaches near the Old Head of Kinsale in West Cork.

Members of the public noticed a person swimming alone offshore, and an item of clothing was located at the beach some time later.

The lifeboat, with a crew of five under coxswain Mark Gannon, was underway within minutes and proceeded in the dark of night to the area of the search.

The lifeboat reached the area within 15 minutes and commenced a detailed search of the waters and coastline alongside the Kinsale RNLI inshore lifeboat and the Old Head/Seven Heads Coast Guard unit. The search was joined later by the Irish Coast Guard’s Waterford-based helicopter Rescue 117.

A thorough search was undertaken using the powerful search lights, night vision and parachute flares from the lifeboat and the heat detection sensors of the helicopter, while the coastguard unit on the water combed the shoreline at Garrettstown and Garrylucas.

At 12.30am, when nothing was located and gardaí had carried out detailed enquiries ashore, the Valentia Coast Guard Marine Co-Ordination Centre called off the search and the lifeboat and the other rescue services returned to their bases.

Brian O’Dwyer, Courtmacsherry RNLI’s lifeboat operations manager said: “It was great to see the fast response of so many of our voluntary crew tonight when their bleepers activated which ensured that we were at the scene very quickly.

“It is so important to call the rescue services at 112 or 999 quickly once any incident like this occurs as the various rescue services are always at the ready 24 hours a day and great credit is due to the concerned people that raised the alarm last night.”

The Courtmacsherry volunteer lifeboat crew involved in this call out were Coxswain Mark Gannon, duty mechanic Dave Philips and crew members Ken Cashman, Peter Nunan, Denis Murphy, Evin O’Sullivan and Dean Hennessey.

Helvick Head RNLI's Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat | Credit: RNLI/Aoife DuffyHelvick Head RNLI's Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat | Credit: RNLI/Aoife Duffy

Elsewhere on the same night, Helvick Head RNLI in neighbouring Co Waterford was requested to launch its inshore lifeboat following a report that a swimmer was in difficulty in Dungarvan Harbour.

With calm waters and little to no wind, the volunteer crew launched following the request by the Irish Coast Guard at 9.02pm. It followed a report that a swimmer was in difficulty between the Lookout in Dungarvan Harbour and Cunnigar Point.

The lifeboat, helmed by Alan Kelly and with crew members Joe Foley, Shane Walsh and Paidi Breathnach onboard, made its way to the scene. However, the lifeboat was shortly stood down as it transpired the swimmer wasn’t in difficulty and had reached the shore successfully.

Speaking later, Helvick Head RNLI deputy launching authority Sean Walsh said: “This callout turned out to be a false alarm with good intent but we would commend the person who raised the alarm as we would always much rather launch and find that all is safe and well, than not launch at all.

“On the first official week of summer, we would like to remind people if they are planning on going in the water that Dungarvan Harbour is renowned for its rip currents and can catch even the most experienced swimmers out. If you’re caught in a rip, stay calm, don’t panic. Don’t swim against it but rather parallel to the shore until free of the rip and then make for shore.

“We would also like to remind visitors and people new to our shores that the RNLI has a range of translated safety messages and advice in many languages which are available to download.

“If you do get into difficulty or see somebody in trouble on the water or along the coast, dial 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

The Courtmacsherry RNLI All Weather Lifeboat was called out this evening, Sunday, April 10th, at 7.50 pm, by the Valentia Coast Guard Marine Rescue Co-Ordination Centre when persons on the shore noticed that two surfers appeared in difficulties off Dunworley Strand on the Seven Heads coastline in West Cork and that a Life-raft was spotted in the immediate area at the same time. Within minutes of the Crew bleepers being activated, the Lifeboat “Frederick Storey Cockburn” under Coxswain Mark Gannon and a crew of 7 was launched and headed at speed to the scene of the alert arriving there at 8.20 pm.

The conditions at sea tonight were very rough with a very strong south-easterly wind and high swells. Obviously, this could have the potential to be a serious incident, and the Coast Guard Unit from the Seven Heads / Old Head of Kinsale, the Coast Guard Rescue 115 Helicopter from Shannon, along with Gardai and HSE Ambulance Service were also immediately tasked.

The two surfers were able to get themselves ashore after being caught in tough swells and surf off Cow Rock and the concentration from all of the rescue agencies then focused on locating the Life-raft.

Following a detailed shoreline search, the Coast Guard land unit spotted the Life-raft on a rocky cliff-face, while the Helicopter and the Lifeboat searched the Bay with their powerful searchlights and heat-sensing equipment.

While nobody was found in the Liferaft, the search continued until the Rescue Co-Ordination Centre established that the Life-raft was lost from a yacht at sea a few days ago off the Cork coast.

Thankfully all the rescue agencies were then stood down, and the Life-raft was secured and taken from the shoreline tomorrow. The two surfers who got ashore earlier were uninjured and made their way home.

Station Deputy Launch Authority Philip White and crewperson Conor Dullea who were at the shore search area at Dunworley with other Lifeboat Station officersStation Deputy Launch Authority Philip White and crewperson Conor Dullea who were at the shore search area at Dunworley with other Lifeboat Station officers

The Courtmacsherry RNLI voluntary Lifeboat Operations Manager Brian O Dwyer said, “It was great to see the quick reaction of all our volunteers tonight, who dropped whatever they were at and rushed to the station to have the Lifeboat underway in less than 10 minutes, to help others in distress. The persons on the shoreline deserve great praise for alerting the rescue agencies quickly, as two different incidents in the same location were highly unusual.”

The Courtmacsherry Lifeboat Crew at sea and onshore were Coxswain Mark Gannon, Mechanic Dave Philips and crew members Ken Cashman, Peter Noonan, Ciaran Hurley, Dean Hennessy, Evin O Sullivan, Conor Tyndall and Conor Dullea.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Page 1 of 7

Coastal Notes Coastal Notes covers a broad spectrum of stories, events and developments in which some can be quirky and local in nature, while other stories are of national importance and are on-going, but whatever they are about, they need to be told.

Stories can be diverse and they can be influential, albeit some are more subtle than others in nature, while other events can be immediately felt. No more so felt, is firstly to those living along the coastal rim and rural isolated communities. Here the impact poses is increased to those directly linked with the sea, where daily lives are made from earning an income ashore and within coastal waters.

The topics in Coastal Notes can also be about the rare finding of sea-life creatures, a historic shipwreck lost to the passage of time and which has yet many a secret to tell. A trawler's net caught hauling more than fish but cannon balls dating to the Napoleonic era.

Also focusing the attention of Coastal Notes, are the maritime museums which are of national importance to maintaining access and knowledge of historical exhibits for future generations.

Equally to keep an eye on the present day, with activities of existing and planned projects in the pipeline from the wind and wave renewables sector and those of the energy exploration industry.

In addition Coastal Notes has many more angles to cover, be it the weekend boat leisure user taking a sedate cruise off a long straight beach on the coast beach and making a friend with a feathered companion along the way.

In complete contrast is to those who harvest the sea, using small boats based in harbours where infrastructure and safety poses an issue, before they set off to ply their trade at the foot of our highest sea cliffs along the rugged wild western seaboard.

It's all there, as Coastal Notes tells the stories that are arguably as varied to the environment from which they came from and indeed which shape people's interaction with the surrounding environment that is the natural world and our relationship with the sea.

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