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Displaying items by tag: Larne

With the Easter holidays now begun in Northern Ireland, Larne RNLI is encouraging anyone planning to visit the coast to know the risks to protect themselves and their families and to heed key sea safety advice.

Larne RNLI’s volunteer lifeboat crew have returned to training in the last month with Covid-19 protocols in place and have already seen an increase in the number of people using the coastline for exercise and using beaches and bays for open-water swimming.

The station has remained operational throughout the pandemic and will continue to launch around the clock where there is a risk to life.

Ahead of the Easter break, Allan Dorman, Larne RNLI lifeboat operations manager, reminded people who are planning to be by the sea to always respect the water.

“Coastal areas provide a great opportunity to enjoy fresh air and open space but it is important to remember it can be an unpredictable and dangerous environment, particularly during spring and early summer when air temperatures may be warm but water temperatures remain dangerously cold, increasing the risk of cold water shock,” he said.

“We are reminding anyone planning to enter the water to follow the latest government guidelines on what you are allowed to do and where and to take extra care and avoid unnecessary risks as early season conditions are more challenging.

“Basic precautions can greatly reduce the risk of getting into difficulty whatever your activity and improve your chance of being found quickly should you find yourself in trouble.”

For activities like kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding, the RNLI recommends you carry a means of calling for help, such as a mobile phone in a waterproof pouch, and that you ensure you are wearing the right kit for the water temperature.

“A wetsuit will keep you warm and help you float in an emergency although wearing an appropriate buoyancy aid or lifejacket is still vital,” Dorman said. “For open-water swimmers and dippers, please also remember to acclimatise slowly and be visible with a brightly coloured hat.

“When you are going to visit a beach or are going near the water, we recommend that you go with a friend who can call for help should the need arise. If you plan on going into the water, we advise that you go as a pair with someone on the shore who can act as a spotter to call for assistance if needed.

“Always make sure that you have a means to contact someone on the shore if you are going out on a boat or kayak and ensure that your equipment is fully operational especially if it is the first time for it to be used this year after winter and the lockdown period.

“Should you get into difficulty or see someone in trouble, dial 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

The RNLI’s key safety advice is:

  • Check weather forecasts, tide times and any local hazard signage to understand local risks
  • Take care if walking or running near cliffs — know your route and keep dogs on a lead.
  • Carry a fully charged phone
  • If you get into trouble in the water, float to live: fight your instinct to thrash around, lean back, extend your arms and legs and float.
  • In an emergency, call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard

For further information on how to keep safe by the sea, visit rnli.org/safety

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Larne Harbour on the east coast of Antrim in Northern Ireland is currently the base for the MPI Resolution, the world's first purpose-built vessel for installing offshore wind turbines, foundations, and transition pieces.

The ship is working out of Larne to provide Operations and Maintenance services to the UK west coast wind farms and has been using Larne as the base port for these operations.

The 2003-built vessel is 130 metres in length overall and has a 38-metre beam.

Published in Power From the Sea
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Two adults and a child were rescued this morning (Sunday 9 August) by Larne RNLI after their small RIB broke down near Magheramore in Co Antrim.

The volunteer crew launched the smaller in-shore lifeboat, Terry, at 11.05am and made their way in calm seas towards the scene.

All three on the casualty vessel were found to be safe and well, and a tow was establish to return the RIB to the harbour at Ballylumford.

Inshore lifeboat helm Chris Dorman said: “The casualties did the right thing. They were trying out this piece of equipment and realised that something wasn’t quite right with it, so they contacted the coastguard for assistance.

“Everyone onboard was wearing a lifejacket and they had means to contact the shore in case of emergency.”

He added: “If you see anyone in difficulties at sea, the dial 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

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Larne RNLI rescued a jet skier who had fallen into the water off the Co Antrim coast and couldn’t get back onto his craft.

The volunteer crew launched the in-shore lifeboat Terry just after 8pm on Tuesday evening and reached the casualty just north of Tweeds Port slipway within minutes.

The man, who had been in the water for 30 minutes, was recovered into the lifeboat and checked to make sure he wasn’t suffering from his time in the water.

He was then brought back to shore at Tweeds Port and handed over to the care of the NI Ambulance Service. The lifeboat crew then returned to the water to recover the jet ski.

Philip Ford-Hutchinson, Larne RNLI’s deputy launching authority, said: “The casualty was lucky as cold water shock can set in when you are submerged for any amount of time and in any season. Please, when using the water, respect the water.”

Elsewhere, Skerries RNLI had a busy start to the week as they responded to two separate callouts within two hours.

Skerries RNLI towing a broken-down jet ski ashore (RNLI/Gerry Canning)Skerries RNLI towing a broken-down jet ski ashore | RNLI/Gerry Canning

The lifeboat first launched on Sunday (26 July) shortly after 2pm to return two men on a jet ski safely back to shore after they suffered mechanical difficulties off Colt Island.

Then just two hours later the volunteers were called upon alongside the Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 116 and Skerries coastguard unit to carry out a search for a swimmer in distress in the same area, between Colt Island and St Patrick’s Island.

Following a thorough search, and the crew speaking to numerous kayakers in the area, Dublin Coast Guard was satisfied that it was a false alarm with good intent and the helicopter and lifeboat were stood down.

Speaking later, volunteer lifeboat press officer Gerry Canning said: “It’s days like this that you really see the dedication of our volunteer crews.

“Some of them were still on the harbour following the first call out when their pagers sounded the second time. This meant that we could launch quite quickly to what was potentially a serious incident. Thankfully in both cases it was a good outcome.”

Published in Jetski
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Members of the Larne club will welcome its General Committee’s decision to make the most of the lockdown easing, for hot on the heels of RYA NI advice that Step 2 of the Northern Ireland Executive’s Pathway to Recovery has now been reached, dinghy racing will re-start. Although indoor restrictions remain in place, groups of up to 10 people are now allowed to meet outdoors.

The RYA Volvo champion club was established in 1950 on Larne Lough and has been associated principally with the GP14 class. Among the well-known sailors in that class were Johnny McWilliam, Curly Morris, Paul Rowan, Tom Jobling and the Fekkes brothers. Mirrors and Optimists were popular with the young sailors and now the up and coming helms sail Lasers and Toppers. There is a cruiser-racer fleet as well, moored in the shelter lough just off the club.

The plan is to begin a new series on the first Sunday in July. Today (21st June) and the following Sunday (28th June) will be used as trial races to work through any issues that may arise.

Guidelines will include the size of groups starting at different times, ie juniors and adults, and double and single handers, with each start limited to no more than 10 competitors.

If more than 10 people wish to take part, priority will be given to those who have been involved in the most Sunday races in the last 12 months. Changing rooms will remain closed and competitors will arrive in their sailing gear or get changed in the yard if they are comfortable doing so.

The slipway will be split in two to allow for the use of both the dinghy and keelboat slipways simultaneously and there will be committee boat starts with safety boats manned by members of the same household where possible.

Racing will not take place if the Race Officer deems the conditions to be Inappropriate and competitors are urged to be more thorough in pre-race checks of their equipment to reduce the risk of failure.

The Committee stresses that Covid-19 is still a very real threat and says “We are far from returning to normal. We are fortunate in that dinghy racing is an outdoor activity that is socially distant by nature. We would ask that all members respect the measures in place which will hopefully mean that we can continue with an official series in July. The onus is on each of us as individuals to ensure that this is possible”. The Procedures and Risk Assessment are here

Larne RNLI searched for a dog today (Thursday 9 April) when it was reported missing after falling over a cliff near Muck Island, close to Islandmagee in Co Antrim, Northern Ireland.

The volunteer lifeboat crew were requested to launch by Belfast Coastguard to search the area north of the Gobbins cliffs.

The inshore lifeboat, Terry, under helm Dave Sommerville and two other crew members, launched at 9.39am and made their way to the requested search area.

Weather conditions were favourable with a calm sea and good visibility.

The Portmuck mobile coastguard team were searching from the top of the cliffs but were unable to get a clear view of the rocks nearer the water.

A volunteer crew member was put onto these rocks, where it was safe to do so, in order to conduct a search of the area. In places it was not possible to put a crew member onto the rocks, so a shoreline search was conducted.

After searching roughly one mile north and south of the location, the decision was made to stand down by the coastguard as nothing had been sighted.

Speaking following the callout, Larne deputy launching authority Philip Ford-Hutchinson said: “The concern always for a callout of this nature is that owners will try and rescue their pets themselves and in turn get into difficulty and get hurt.

“With the current Covid-19 pandemic, we would urge people who live near the coast and wish to exercise there to be cautious and watch their footing.

“Our lifeboat remains on call and operational, but our lifeboat crew are not training with the current restrictions and the station remains closed to visitors.

“Therefore, we would advise people to stay away from the water and carry out the Government’s advice.”

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Larne RNLI’s volunteers diverted from their crew assessments on Sunday morning (2 February) to assist a person on a nine-metre motor boat which had broken down near Ballygally in Co Antrim.

Launching at around 10.15am into a calm sea, the all-weather lifeboat Dr John McSparran made its way to the casualty boat where a volunteer crew member was put aboard to assess its pilot, who was safe and well.

A tow line was then established so that the casualty boat could be towed into East Antrim Boat Club to be put onto a mooring.

Larne’s inshore lifeboat Terry met the casualty vessel in Larne Harbour, where the tow line was passed across and an alongside tow was carried out to allow the casualty to tie up on its mooring at the boat club.

Speaking following the callout, Larne RNLI lifeboat operations manager Allen Dorman said: “We had a good turnout from our crew today as we had been planning to do some assessments, but it was great to see how the crew reacted when the call came in.

“Everyone knew what they had to do and acted accordingly and were delighted to help the vessel's owner. I’m also pleased to say that the assessments were carried out after the call out and everyone passed.”

Larne RNLI coxswain Frank Healy added: “I was pleased to see the casualty was wearing appropriate safety equipment when we arrived and would like to remind anyone thinking of going onto the water to check that their boat is fully operational and that they have appropriate safety equipment onboard.

“If you do get into trouble at sea remember to call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

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Larne RNLI launched at 3.50pm on Saturday (18 January) to assist a RIB which had lost engine power half a mile south of Muck Island.

The volunteer crew were requested to launch by Belfast Coastguard to the nine-metre RIB with three people on board which had been losing engine power.

The all-weather lifeboat, Dr John McSparran, launched into a slight swell with light levels decreasing as the night closed in.

The lifeboat reached the anchored casualty boat and a volunteer crew member was put on board to establish a tow rope so that the lifeboat could bring the casualty boat into Carrickfergus Harbour.

One of the casualties from the boat was transferred to the lifeboat for some respite from the cold conditions of the open water.

Upon reaching Carrickfergus, the casualty boat was handed into the care of the Portmuck Coastguard team.

Larne RNLI lifeboat operations manager Allan Dorman said: “The casualty boat did the right thing by dropping their anchor and calling for help at the earliest opportunity.

“Being able to find the boat in daylight made it much easier for our volunteer crew to establish the tow and bring them into the safety of Carrickfergus Harbour.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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#Rowing: Ireland international Monika Dukarska won in the women’s single, double and coxed quadruple for Killorglin at the Irish Offshore Rowing Championships in Ballygally, Larne, on Saturday. Rough weather in the morning forced the organisers to alter the course. The men’s coxed quad was won by a composite crew which featured Niall O’Toole. Patrick Boomer of Loughros Point won the men’s single.

Irish Offshore Championships, Saturday, Ballygally, Larne (Selected Results; winners)

Men

Quadruple, coxed: Wicklow, Killurin, Ring 16 min 54 sec.

Double: UL Tyrian 19:41.

Single: Loughros Point (P Boomer) 20:27.

Women

Quadruple, coxed: Killorglin 19:05.

Double: Killorglin A (M Dukarska, R O’Donoghue) 19:50.

Single: Killorglin (M Dukarska) 20:39.

Mixed

Double: Arklow A 20:17.

Published in Coastal Rowing

Larne RNLI’s volunteer crew were kept busy with two callouts in quick succession on yesterday’s Bank Holiday (Monday 26 August), while the Portaferry lifeboat had an early-hours launch to aid a yacht run around in Strangford Lough.

Larne’s inshore lifeboat Terry launched in calm seas to reports of an inflatable driving out to sea at Ballygally beach, Larne RNLI says.

After a brief search of the area, the inflatable was recovered, deflated and returned to its own owner, who was offered some advice on water safety.

Shortly after, while the crew were recovering the inshore lifeboat at East Antrim Boat Club, reports came through from the Portmuck Coastguard mobile team of a paddle boarder in difficulty just off Muck Island, near Islandmagee.

Relaunching at 3.30pm, the lifeboat approached the island to search for the casualty and were directed to his location by a passing’s jetskier.

When the lifeboat crew reached the boarder, Larne RNLI says they learned that the man had been on the water with his two daughters and hadn’t realised the currents had been taking them further out to sea.

One of the girls made it back to shore, but the father and his other daughter were in difficulty — however, the jetskier realised their predicament and offered to take the other girl back to shore while the father called for help.

By the time the lifeboat reached him he had been fighting the currents for 45 minutes and was tired.

After assessing him for injuries, he and his board were brought into Portmuck at Islandmagee.

Inshore lifeboat helm Pamela Leitch said following the callouts: “Please be aware of the strong currents and crosswinds around our coastline. It doesn’t take much for someone to get into real difficulty when they are blown out to sea.”

Much earlier in the day, Portaferry RNLI’s volunteers were tasked by Belfast Coastguard to assist a yacht with two on board that had run aground on Roe Island in Strangford Lough.

The inshore lifeboat launched under little moonlight at 12.50am and were on scene 28 minutes later, taking the yacht under tow to a safe place to anchor.

Portaferry RNLI press officer Jordan Conway said: “The yacht’s crew made the right decision to call for help as there was a falling tide and the situation could have got a lot worse.

“We would remind everyone planning a trip at sea to always respect the water. Always wear a lifejacket, always carry a means of communication and should you get into difficulty, dial 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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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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