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NFU Mutual agents and staff in East Antrim recently nominated Larne RNLI to receive a donation of more than £3,000 from its national £1.92m Agency Giving Fund.

The leading rural insurer has launched this fund, now in its third year, to help local frontline charities across Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

The Agency Giving Fund forms part of NFU Mutual’s £3.25m funding pledge for both local and national charities in 2022, to help tackle the ongoing effects of the pandemic and assist with recovery.

To ensure these donations reach all corners of the UK and are directed where they’re needed most, NFU Mutual’s agents, with over 295 offices nationwide, have been given the opportunity to nominate local charities to receive a share of the fund

Allan Dorman, Larne RNLI lifeboat operations manager said: “As the charity that saves lives at sea, we are very grateful for this generous donation which will help us continue to power our lifesaving work.

“The average annual training cost for each individual crew member is £1,400. The funds raised will enable us to kit out a volunteer crew member with the essential kit they need when they respond to their pager and prepare to go to someone’s need at sea.

“As a charity we are reliant on voluntary donations such as this to do our work, without which we would not be able to provide our 24/7, 365 days a year on call service.'

Richard Lee of NFU Mutual added: “We chose to nominate Larne RNLI as our chosen charity because here in County Antrim we have so much coastline and the RNLI is keeping our waters safe.

“They, like many others, have been hampered with fundraising activity due to the pandemic so to be able to make this donation was a no-brainer for us.

“To visit the station on their weekly training night and have the opportunity to see how our donation will be used was a great, interesting way to spend an evening!”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

For the second night in a row, Larne RNLI’s volunteers have left their beds to go the aid of a vessel’s crew in need of assistance, this time two people on a yacht that got into difficulty northeast of Larne.

The crew were requested to launch their all-weather lifeboat by Belfast Coastguard at 4.40 am following a report that an 11m yacht with two onboard had fouled its propeller on a rope and was stuck fast and unable to make headway, 10 nautical miles east of Larne. The yacht’s crew were on passage from Oban to Bangor when they encountered problems.

The lifeboat launched under Coxswain Fank Healy with six crew members onboard and made its way to the scene where it arrived 25 minutes later. Weather conditions at the time were good with a calm sea and Force 2-3 winds.

Following an initial visual assessment, it became clear to the lifeboat crew that the yacht was caught on a string of lobster pots. A decision was made to put two crew members onboard who began to work to free the yacht, but this proved a challenging task as some of it was wrapped around the port side propeller.

With one engine still working, a decision was then made for the vessel to make its way into Larne for further inspection under the escort of the all-weather lifeboat with two lifeboat crew remaining onboard.

The passage took an hour and 45 minutes when the vessel was then safely secured and moored up at East Antrim Boat Club.

Speaking following the call out, Larne RNLI Coxswain Frank Healy said: ‘It’s unusual for us to be called out in the early hours of the morning two nights in a row but that is the nature of our role as volunteer crew, and we were happy to help.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Larne RNLI rescued a man who got into difficulty in the early hours of this morning (Wednesday, 12 October) after his 30ft yacht sustained engine failure in the dark of night.

The volunteer crew were requested to launch their all-weather lifeboat at 2.30 am following a VHF Mayday to Belfast Coastguard from a sailor who encountered problems when his yacht broke down, and he was unsure of his location.

The lifeboat immediately launched under Coxswain Frank Healy and with six crew members onboard and made its way to the lat long position the sailor had provided, which was six miles east of Larne.

Weather conditions at the time were rough, with southwesterly winds gusting 20 knots.

The lifeboat arrived on the scene approximately 15-20 minutes later and instantly located the sailor, who was wearing a lifejacket and was safe and well onboard his boat. He had left Loch Ryan in Scotland and was on passage to Bangor when he got into difficulty.

Having assessed the situation, a decision was made to transfer two crew members onboard the yacht to establish a tow and to bring the vessel to the nearest safe port at Larne. Due to the weather conditions, when the lifeboat was approaching Larne, a decision was made to request the assistance of the station’s inshore lifeboat to help with mooring the yacht on arrival. The yacht and sailor were brought to safety at approximately 6 am where the man was then brought to the lifeboat station and made comfortable.

Speaking following the call out, Phil Ford-Hutchinson, Larne RNLI Deputy Launching Authority, said: ‘The sailor did the right thing this morning in raising the alarm when he knew he was in difficulty. His engine had broken down, he was unsure where he was in the dark and weather conditions were not great. Despite the time, our crew responded in numbers without hesitation and were delighted to help and we wish the man well on his onward journey.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Larne RNLI’s volunteers were requested to launch on Friday evening (2 September) to reports of a kayaker in the water in Brown’s Bay at Islandmagee, on Northern Ireland’s East Antrim coast.

The volunteer crew launched both of their lifeboats into slight seas at 8.53pm at the request of Belfast Coastguard, then made their way to the casualty’s last given location at Brown’s Bay.

Upon reaching the location, both lifeboats conducted a thorough search of the area, using white flares to help illuminate the search area.

Portmuck Coastguard, along with some members of the public, had heard someone shouting for help in the bay and so the smaller inshore lifeboat, Terry, asked to be pointed in the direction of the shouting.

Heading towards the area indicated, the lifeboat found the casualty in the middle of the bay floating on his back. By this stage it was estimated that he had been in the water for up to one hour and was very cold.

The volunteer crew members recovered the casualty into the lifeboat and made their way back to the beach as quickly as possible while beginning first aid to try and warm the casualty back up. They were concerned about signs of hypothermia.

Upon reaching the beach, the lifeboat crew were met by members of the Portmuck and Larne mobile coastguard team who provided blankets and assistance.

Due to the severity of the casualty's condition, the Irish Coast Guard’s Dublin-based helicopter Rescue 116 was requested and arrived on scene to allow a paramedic to evaluate the casualty’s condition while awaiting the arrival of the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service.

The casualty was kept warm and dry until the ambulance arrived and he was taken to hospital.

Larne RNLI’s inshore lifeboat helm Barry Kirkpatrick said: “The casualty’s wife did the right thing by calling 999 and asking for the coastguard when she realised, he was in difficulty in the water.

“The kayaker also did the right thing by floating on his back with his arms stretched out. He was floating to live.

“All of the emergency services worked together so well to achieve a positive outcome. It was great teamwork from everyone involved.”

The RNLI’s advice if you find yourself in trouble in the water is to Float to Live: lean back spreading your arms and legs like a starfish to stay afloat, control your breathing, then call for help or swim to safety. For more visit RNLI.org/FloatUK2022.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Larne RNLI in Northern Ireland launched to the aid of a group of paddle boarders who were caught in an offshore breeze at the weekend.

The volunteer crew were requested to launch their inshore lifeboat by Belfast Coastguard at 2.09pm on Sunday (8 May) following a report that five people on two paddle boards were struggling to get back to shore.

The lifeboat was launched from East Antrim Boat Club into a moderate sea with an offshore breeze and made its way to the last reported location of the group at the entrance of Brown’s Bay off Islandmagee.

Having located the casualties and their paddle boards towards the middle of Brown’s Bay, the lifeboat crew observed that the offshore breeze was blowing both boards out to sea and that the group were having difficulty trying to return to safety.

Two of the group managed to make their own way back to the beach unaided, while the remaining three were transferred into the lifeboat.

Upon returning the casualties and their paddle boards to Brown’s Bay beach, they were handed into the care of Portmuck’s coastguard team.

Speaking following the callout, Larne RNLI helm Scott Leitch said: “We are very grateful to the member of the public who realised that something was wrong and called 999 and asked for the coastguard and we were delighted to help.

“As the weather gets warmer and more people travel to the coast, we would remind everyone planning a trip to sea or an activity on the water, to always carry a means of communication so they have a way of contacting the shore and to always wear a lifejacket or flotation device.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Larne RNLI on Northern Ireland’s East Antrim coast launched to the aid of a man yesterday (Sunday 3 April) after his boat ran aground.

The volunteer crew were requested to launch their inshore lifeboat by Belfast Coastguard following reports that a 5.5m RIB was experiencing engine troubles.

Weather conditions at the time were overcast with a slight breeze.

The crew launched the lifeboat, Terry, at 5.40pm and made their way towards the vessel’s last reported location south of Ballylumford in Larne Lough.

Arriving on scene, the crew observed the RIB had gone aground. At this point, a crew member was tasked to swim out to the boat to ensure that the one person on board was safe and well, which they were.

The decision was then made to establish a tow line to bring the boat back to the nearest safe port, which was its launch site at East Antrim Boat Club. Upon arrival, the Larne Coastguard team helped to recover the boat back onto dry land.

Speaking following the callout, Larne RNLI helm Barry Kirkpatrick said: “As we approach the Easter season, we would remind everyone that it is important when planning a trip to sea to ensure you have a means of communication should you need help including a VHF handheld radio and a phone.

“Also ensure that your equipment is checked over and in good working condition and always wear a lifejacket when taking to the water. Should you get into difficulty, dial 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Three members of Larne RNLI’s fundraising committee, who between them have volunteered for a combined 70 years, have been awarded with long-service medals recognising their contribution to saving lives at sea in Northern Ireland.

Pamela McAuley, Esther Dorman and Stephen Craig were presented with their medals ahead of the reopening of the lifeboat Christmas shop in the Murrayfield arcade in Larne, Co Antrim.

Recalling why she got involved with the charity, Pamela McAuley — who is the chair of Larne RNLI’s fundraising committee — said: “My family have always been keen sailors, being involved with a local sailing club.

“I thought it seemed a good way to give something back to a charity that is always ready and willing to answer every call for help at sea.”

Stephen Craig said: “I got asked to help out with a fashion show that the fundraisers put on in the autumn of 1998 and enjoyed helping out. It wasn’t until 1999 that I officially joined as a volunteer.

“I have been a lifelong sailor with a particular interest in sea safety and with prior work commitments I would have found it difficult to commit as a crew member. However, volunteering with the fundraisers was a suitable alternative.”

Esther Dorman, who is the secretary of the fundraising committee and has been volunteering for the RNLI for 30 years, added: “Like Stephen and Pam, my family has been involved with Larne RNLI now for many years, with my brother, nephew and niece all being volunteers.

“I’m happy to be involved with fundraising as I feel I’m supporting a worthwhile cause.”

Larne RNLI’s pop-up Christmas shop is back this year in the Murrayfield arcade in Larne. The shop is open every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 10am to 4pm.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

The only similarity between the Viking ships that raided Larne Lough in the ninth century and the boats used by the Olderfleet Rowing Club is that they are slender. The name 'Olderfleet' is thought to be a corruption of Ulfrecksfiord (or Ulfried's Fjord), the Viking name for Larne Lough, which lies on the east coast of County Antrim. It is a busy ferry port connecting with Cairnryan in Scotland.

The Club, which offers social and competitive coastal rowing along the Antrim coast, was founded early last year by Barbara Johnston, and with the help of the local business community, the club is going from strength to strength with 97 members and plans for continued growth. Not only that, but Olderfleet Rowing Club is proudly supporting Friends of the Cancer Centre and as well as raising money and awareness of the charity, the club will be giving teenagers and young adults with cancer the opportunity to get out on the water and try rowing for themselves.

Olderfleet Rowing Club, which has members of all ages, trains Mondays, Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays on Larne Lough and the open seaOlderfleet Rowing Club, which has members of all ages, trains Mondays, Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays on Larne Lough and the open sea

The club's base is beside the East Antrim Boat Club slip, giving access to the sheltered lough and the Co Antrim coast. The boats, two quads and two doubles, are kept in containers, and the club recently received a grant for a portacabin beside EABC.

Commenting on what inspired her to start her own rowing club, Barbara said: "I come from a rowing family, and I have been rowing myself for eight years. It is an incredible sport that I have fallen in love with, and I decided to establish my own club earlier this year. Olderfleet Rowing Club opened in February, and with the help and support of James Boomer and Norman Black, we are building a really great community".

Norman Black is one of the club's founders and a constant driving force. He coxes and coaches and is a long time Antrim Coast rower. The club is fortunate to have as Club coach James Boomer, who coached at two commonwealth regattas, Canada and Scotland. He was Head Coach for the Scottish regatta when Northern Ireland won its first-ever Gold. He has also coached Irish Junior level rowers at Home Internationals. He explains his outlook; "Coaching ranges from absolute beginners to seasoned racers, with a focus on personal, technical and crew development. Everyone is given the same opportunities to let them develop their rowing ability. Rowing is a truly wonderful sport, and I am only too glad to help people achieve their goals".

The club, which has members of all ages, trains Mondays, Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays on Larne Lough and the open sea.

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Larne RNLI was requested to launch by Belfast Coastguard on Saturday (12 June) to reports of a kayaker in the water north-east of Skernaghan Point, close to Portmuck in Islandmagee on Northern Ireland’s East Antrim coast.

Launching the inshore lifeboat Terry at 3.26pm, the volunteer crew made their way towards the location of the casualty.

As they were approaching the area, it was reported that the casualty had been recovered from the water by a local fishing boat.

Upon reaching the fishing boat, the volunteer crew recovered the casualty from the boat into the lifeboat and began to administer first aid. They also recovered the kayak to be towed into the safety of Portmuck Harbour.

Upon reaching the harbour, the casualty was handed over to the care of Portmuck Coastguard team and the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service.

Larne RNLI helm Barry Kirkpatrick said following the callout: “We would like to wish the casualty a speedy recovery and commend the crew of the fishing vessel who were on scene first.

“The casualty was wearing a lifejacket and all of his equipment was in good working order order. Sometimes even with the correct preparation, the sea can still be very unpredictable. We would recommend anyone going to sea always carries a means of calling for help should they get into any trouble.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Larne RNLI’s inshore lifeboat Terry was launched yesterday (Monday 7 June) at the request of Belfast Coastguard to assist two people in a 17ft fishing boat with suspected engine issues.

Launching the lifeboat into a strong sea breeze, the volunteer crew made their way towards the casualty vessel which had dropped their anchor at Browns Bay, near Islandmagee on Northern Ireland’s East Antrim coast, as the people onboard were concerned that they could drift into a shipping channel.

Upon reaching the casualty vessel, a volunteer crew member was put on board to ensure that the two people were safe and well and a tow was set up to bring the boat into the shelter of Ballylumford Harbour.

Once their vessel was secured, the casualties were handed over to the care of the Portmuck Coastguard team.

Philip Ford-Hutchinson, Larne RNLI deputy launching authority, said: “The sea conditions today were very deceptive. It was a lovely sunny day, but the wind had really picked up.

“Thankfully the casualties were well prepared and able to put down an anchor in time to stop them from being at the mercy of the wind and tide. Both of the people onboard were wearing lifejackets and knew to call the coastguard on 999 (or 112) when they were in trouble.”

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Marine Science Perhaps it is the work of the Irish research vessel RV Celtic Explorer out in the Atlantic Ocean that best highlights the essential nature of marine research, development and sustainable management, through which Ireland is developing a strong and well-deserved reputation as an emerging centre of excellence. From Wavebob Ocean energy technology to aquaculture to weather buoys and oil exploration these pages document the work of Irish marine science and how Irish scientists have secured prominent roles in many European and international marine science bodies.

 

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At A Glance – Ocean Facts

  • 71% of the earth’s surface is covered by the ocean
  • The ocean is responsible for the water cycle, which affects our weather
  • The ocean absorbs 30% of the carbon dioxide added to the atmosphere by human activity
  • The real map of Ireland has a seabed territory ten times the size of its land area
  • The ocean is the support system of our planet.
  • Over half of the oxygen we breathe was produced in the ocean
  • The global market for seaweed is valued at approximately €5.4 billion
  • · Coral reefs are among the oldest ecosystems in the world — at 230 million years
  • 1.9 million people live within 5km of the coast in Ireland
  • Ocean waters hold nearly 20 million tons of gold. If we could mine all of the gold from the ocean, we would have enough to give every person on earth 9lbs of the precious metal!
  • Aquaculture is the fastest growing food sector in the world – Ireland is ranked 7th largest aquaculture producer in the EU
  • The Atlantic Ocean is the second largest ocean in the world, covering 20% of the earth’s surface. Out of all the oceans, the Atlantic Ocean is the saltiest
  • The Pacific Ocean is the largest ocean in the world. It’s bigger than all the continents put together
  • Ireland is surrounded by some of the most productive fishing grounds in Europe, with Irish commercial fish landings worth around €200 million annually
  • 97% of the earth’s water is in the ocean
  • The ocean provides the greatest amount of the world’s protein consumed by humans
  • Plastic affects 700 species in the oceans from plankton to whales.
  • Only 10% of the oceans have been explored.
  • 8 million tonnes of plastic enter the ocean each year, equal to dumping a garbage truck of plastic into the ocean every minute.
  • 12 humans have walked on the moon but only 3 humans have been to the deepest part of the ocean.

(Ref: Marine Institute)

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