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Allianz and Afloat - Supporting Irish Boating

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Displaying items by tag: RNLI

My name is Kevin Scott (58) from Newton Mearns, Glasgow. Married, two children. Lockdown for me provided the ideal opportunity to fulfil one of my earliest retirement goals. And that was to complete my journey around the Scottish mainland, once again, this time documenting and capturing tales and local histories of all of its 340 harbourages.

These were gathered with the omission of all islands and towns and villages sitting upstream from the mouths of the rivers Clyde, Forth, Tay and Dee. Intended as one book to cover all, it has resulted in four (400 page-full colour) books entitled 'Harbouring-My Desire'. Parts 1-4, which covers, anti-clockwise, the journey from Burnmouth, in Scotland's south-east corner on the border, around to the Dumfriesshire town of Annan in the south-west.

This was done, with all monies raised going directly to the RNLI charity who do and have done this year especially, a tremendous role in safeguarding our shores, all on a voluntary basis. 'Staycations' have resulted in many more callouts or 'shouts' than ever previously recorded. Just watch the enthralling BBC series 'Saving Lives at Sea' for just a few examples.

Originally from the Scottish Borders, I inherited my love of both the sea and its vast coastline from my grandfather when, from a young age, I would be regularly found out 'helping' in salmon cobles netting at the mouth of the River Tweed. Add into that the boyhood fascination of watching Eyemouth's thrilling fish-market live auction, and I was, well, hooked, you might say.

The books document tales and local histories of all of Scotland's  340 harbouragesThe books document tales and local histories of Scotland's 340 harbourages

That respect for the sea has only grown over the years and having listened to fishermen, harbourmasters and the like, right around our coastline, this past two years, my admiration for those dependent on making a living from it has only deepened. Whether sea fishing off Tarbert in the West to lobster fishing in the East, I have enjoyed every minute of my travel experiences. Local historians and 'worthies' alike have kindly imparted their local knowledge of their villages and harbours, adding much colour and background to each individual locale. Their passion and pride, I have tried to do justice to, as I reflect on each of their journeys to this point in time.

As we know, Picts, Christians, Romans, Vikings, the English and the 'Clearances' to name but a few have all left some indelible marks on our country, even if it be now only in their placenames. I have added in both the geography and social history, as well anything of historical or architectural significance, but also have various chapters on the evolution of the fishing industry, local seafood recipes, as well as a substantial glossary of every local heritage and tourist, recommended places to visit, for any inquisitive traveller.

These four books are now available on the Lulu Bookstore website, with all proceeds are donated to the RNLI.

My intention is to take these 4 books around the country next year, Covid permitting, in the name of the RNLI to as many local events as possible on our shores, having bought myself a small camper van specifically for this purpose.

Published in Scottish Waters
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A new addition to lifesaving in the South-East of the country, arrived today (Sunday 26 September 2021), when Dunmore East RNLI brought their €2.4 million Shannon class lifeboat to its new home. A six-person lifeboat crew from Dunmore East RNLI travelled to collect the state-of-art lifeboat from the RNLI’s All-Weather Lifeboat Centre in Poole earlier in the week, before making the journey home onboard the new vessel.

A warm welcome awaited the crew as lifeboats from Kilmore Quay and Fethard RNLI formed a guard of honour, alongside the station’s retiring Trent class lifeboat Elizabeth and Ronald, which has been on service since 1996. Irish Coast Guard Helicopter Rescue 117 was also in attendance overhead as was Dunmore East Coast Guard and the local Fire Service.

The new lifeboat is to be named William and Agnes Wray and it’s the first of its class to be based in the south-east. Its arrival was a particularly special day for two of Dunmore East’s lifeboat crew. Coxswain/Mechanic Roy Abrahamsson brought the new Shannon class lifeboat into Dunmore East harbour, just as his late father, Coxswain/Mechanic Walter Abrahamsson, did before him, when he was onboard the Trent class lifeboat which came to Dunmore East in 1996. This is also the third all-weather lifeboat that Brendan Dunne, a volunteer crewmember with the RNLI for 36 years, will have served on. Brendan was lifeboat crew on the Waveney Class St. Patrick and the Trent class Elizabeth and Ronald.

Lifeboats from Kilmore Quay and Fethard RNLI formed a guard of honour for the new arrival into Dunmore EastLifeboats from Kilmore Quay and Fethard RNLI

The arrival of the new lifeboat means a demanding training schedule for the entire station in the weeks ahead. The Trent class lifeboat Elizabeth and Ronald will remain on call until lifeboat crew are familiar with their new lifeboat, and they officially inform the Coast Guard that the William and Agnes Wray is on service, and that Elizabeth and Ronald has been stood down.

The Shannon class lifeboat is the first modern all-weather lifeboat to be propelled by waterjets instead of traditional propellers, making it the most agile and manoeuvrable all-weather lifeboat in the RNLI’s fleet. The naming of the Shannon class of lifeboat follows a tradition of naming lifeboats after rivers and it's the first time an Irish river has been chosen. It was chosen by the RNLI to reflect the commitment and dedication of Irish lifeboat crew over generations.

Commenting on the arrival, Dunmore East RNLI Coxswain Roy Abrahamsson said, ‘This is a very proud moment for the lifeboat crew, the station’s fundraisers and the community of Dunmore East. While we have huge affection for our current Trent class lifeboat, which has served us so well and brought many people home, we are thrilled to receive a state-of-the-art Shannon class lifeboat, the first of its type to be based in the South-East. It’s a huge investment by the RNLI in lifesaving for this area and will help us to continue to save lives at sea for generations to come.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Fethard RNLI lifeboat was requested to launch today (Saturday 25 September) by the Irish Coast Guard shortly before 12.30 pm, following a call for help from two stranded fishermen in a small open punt. Their craft had outboard engine difficulties in thick fog off Creadan Head in the Waterford Estuary.

The volunteer crew of Fethard Lifeboat launched at Duncannon Strand and proceeded to the coordinates given by the men on the broken-down vessel. The water was flat calm; there was a light breeze. However, visibility was less than 4 metres in a thick fog. The fishermen were located off Woodstown, where they tied up to a lobster pot marker buoy. There, the lifeboat crew assessed the situation, and it was decided to tow the fishermen back to the safety of Duncannon Harbour.

Commenting about the callout Thomas Stafford, Volunteer Helm, said, "The two lads did everything right. They wore their lifejackets, they tied up to a marker when the engine failed, and they had the means to call for help and give their coordinates when things went wrong. All this led to a positive outcome with the two lads being returned to safety."

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Two men have been towed to safety by Skerries RNLI after their 34ft yacht experienced engine failure.

Shortly after noon yesterday (Friday 24 September), the duo reported the loss of both drive and steering via VHF radio to Dublin Coast Guard — who in turn requested the launch of Skerries’ inshore lifeboat Louis Simson.

The RNLI volunteers headed for the yacht’s reported location some two miles northeast of Lambay Island, narrowed down with the help of GPS coordinates obtained by the coastguard.

Conditions at the time had one-metre swells with a Force 5-6 southerly wind, occasionally gusting to Force 7.

Once on scene, the lifeboat helm carried out a risk assessment and decided the safest course of action would be to tow the vessel to the nearest suitable berth in Malahide Marina.

A towing bridle was rigged on board the yacht before a line was passed from the lifeboat for an astern tow as far as the entrance to Malahide Estuary, which took about an hour.

From there the tow was changed to an alongside tow, giving the lifeboat better control as it manoeuvred up the narrow channel towards the marina, where the yacht was safely tied up at the pontoon.

Speaking later, Skerries RNLI’s Gerry Canning said: “Today’s callout goes to show the importance of carrying a means to contact the shore.

“The sailors today were very experienced and had all the best equipment, but things can still go wrong out on the water. They were able to provide us with their exact location using GPS which is always a great help.

“The crew in the boat then did a great job using all their experience and training to make a difficult tow look easy.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Athlone open water swimmers Serena Friel and Karen Reynolds have presented Lough Ree RNLI with a cheque for €11,300 following a fundraising swim on the lake last month.

Throughout this year the women, who have been swimming regularly at Coosan Point, admired the progress on the new boathouse for the lifeboat which is under construction on the lake shore.

When they heard of an initiative to raise a local community contribution of €100,000 for the facility, they decided to lend their support.

Under the careful eye of their coach David Warby from Athlone Regional Sports Centre. they set about the task of training to swim the length of Lough Ree — a challenging 32km from Lanesboro Bridge on the Longford/Roscommon border to the Town Bridge in Athlone.

They completed the task last month in a record time of 10 hours 13 minutes.

On Thursday last (16 September) Serena and Karen visited the Lough Ree RNLI facility at Coosan Point and presented treasurer Vincent Rafter with a cheque for €11,300 — more than 10% of the overall target.

Karen Reynolds and Serena Friel with a lake chart of their swim route | Credit: RNLI/Tom McGuireKaren Reynolds and Serena Friel with a lake chart of their swim route | Credit: RNLI/Tom McGuire

At the presentation, Serena thanked everyone who had supported them in the ‘Lough Ree Challenge’, especially Midland Print, Cantwell Corporate Finance, the staff of Athlone Mail Centre and clients of Serena’s Hair Studio.

Karen thanked “everyone who had contributed to the fund and especially logistics coordinator Carmel Hughes and Catriona Cantwell for social media”.

Accepting the generous donation, Vincent Rafter said: “Both women have made an invaluable contribution to the charity and to water safety on the lake and River Shannon.”

So far this year Lough Ree RNLI has responded to 42 callouts to people and vessels in difficulty on the water.

This week Lough Ree RNLI also received a generous contribution to the fund of €1,500 from RBK Chartered Accountants.

The station has a local bank account where all donations, large or small, are welcome. The account name is Loughree RNLI Boathouse Appeal, the BIC is AIBKIE2D and the IBAN is IE80AIBK93226458090098.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Lough Derg RNLI had back-to-back callouts yesterday afternoon (Sunday 19 September) to vessels that had run aground near navigation marks.

At 1.35pm the Lough Derg lifeboat launched to assist seven people on a 45ft cruiser aground at Navigation Mark G.

While en route, Valentia Coast Guard reported a further three people in need of assistance on a 30ft cruiser aground at Navigation Mark E.

At the time the lake had a moderate chop with Force 3-4 variable south-westerly winds and frequent squalls.

At 2.08pm the lifeboat had the first casualty vessel in sight, aground on a shoal near Navigation Mark G on the Tipperary shore.

Marine engineers from the cruise hire company arrived on scene at the same time, and the lifeboat remained on standby until the engineers had the cruiser off the shoal and the scene was safe.

At 2.30pm the lifeboat departed to assist the three people on the second vessel aground, reaching them 15 minutes later.

This 30ft vessel was aground off the Goat Road, a raised shoal for migrating birds. The lifeboat found all three people to be safe and unharmed and wearing their lifejackets.

The lifeboat transferred two RNLI volunteers across to the casualty vessel, which was found to be not holed.

Given the weather conditions, the RNLI helm decided that the safest course of action was to take the cruiser off the rocks and out into safe water.

Once back afloat, the cruiser’s drives and rudder were found to be in good working order and it was able to continue its passage under its own power.

Lifeboat operations manager Christine O’Malley advises water users unfamiliar with Lough Derg to “plan your passage and keep a lookout for the next navigation mark on your route. Plan your course to arrive at safe harbour before nightfall.”

The Lough Derg crew on these callouts was helm Owen Cavanagh, Steve Smyth, Tom Hayes and Michael O’Sullivan.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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A pleasure boat with mechanical issues off the Seven Heads in West Cork prompted a launch by Courmacsherry RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat at the weekend.

The Trent class lifeboat Frederick Storey Cockburn — under coxswain Mark Gannon and a volunteer crew of five — set off on Saturday evening (18 September) to go to the aid of the 38ft pleasure boat with four on board, which was some seven miles offshore.

The lifeboat was on scene within half an hour and quick assessed the situation. A towline was attached to the disabled boat, and the lifeboat proceeded under tow at a safe speed to the nearest port of Courtmacsherry.

Courtmacsherry RNLI lifeboat operations manager Brian O’Dwyer said: “It is always better to act quickly at sea in freshening conditions and it was good that the boat’s skipper sought assistance this evening.

“Once again great credit goes to our crew in responding to our 23rd lifeboat call out so far in 2021.”

The lifeboat crew involved in the call out were coxswain Mark Gannon, mechanic Dave Philips and crew members Mark John Gannon, Donal Young, Peter Noonan and Paul McCarthy.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Youghal RNLI launched to the aid of a man who had fallen overboard from his yacht in the East Cork town’s harbour at the weekend.

The volunteer crew were requested to launch their inshore lifeboat on Saturday afternoon (18 September) following reports of a lone sailor in trouble in Youghal Harbour.

The man had reportedly fallen overboard while trying to free a rope that was caught around the propeller of his 28ft yacht. He managed to get back onboard where he raised the alarm.

The lifeboat arrived on scene to find the crew of two local angling vessels already on scene and providing assistance.

Two lifeboat crew boarded the 28ft yacht and medically assessed the casualty. He was then taken onboard the lifeboat and back to shore to an awaiting family member. No further medical treatment was required.

Meanwhile, the yacht was towed back to its nearby mooring and secured.

Mark Nolan, Youghal RNLI’s deputy launching authority, said after the callout: “Tragedy was avoided today because this gentleman had the good sense to be wearing a lifejacket and to be carrying a form of communication. If he hadn’t, the outcome could have been much more serious.

“I would also like to extend my thanks to the crew of the two local vessels that were first on scene and came to his assistance today.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Donaghadee RNLI carried out a medevac of a passenger who became ill on a cruise ship that left Belfast Lough on Friday evening (17 September).

The volunteer crew were requested by Belfast Coastguard to launch their all-weather lifeboat Saxon shortly after 6pm and go to the aid of the female casualty.

The lifeboat launched at 6.12pm under coxswain Philip McNamara and seven crew members onboard and was on scene within half an hour. Weather conditions had a north-easterly Force 3 wind with calm seas and slight rain.

he lifeboat crew liaised with the ship and the ship’s doctor on the condition of the casualty before transferring the

After liaising with the ship and the ship’s doctor on the casualty’s condition, the RNLI crew transferred her onto the lifeboat and administer casualty care.

The lifeboat then proceeded to Bangor Marina with the casualty and another passenger, and once returned to shore the patient was transferred into the care of the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service.

Speaking following the callout, McNamara said: “We were glad to be able to help tonight and would like to wish the casualty a speedy recovery.

“I would also like to commend our volunteer crew who turned out so quickly in numbers this evening ensuring we could get our help to the casualty as soon as we could.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Valentia RNLI’s lifeboat volunteers launched to the aid of a fisherman requiring medical assistance this week.

At 3.11pm on Thursday (16 September), Valentia Coast Guard requested Valentia RNLI to launch their all-weather lifeboat for the fisherman requiring medical assistance on the old Kells Pier at Foileye in Co Kerry.

Arriving on scene amid a Force 7 southerly wind with a two-metre sea swell, the lifeboat crew discovered that the fisherman was in a location inaccessible to vehicles.

Taking this into consideration, two crew members made it ashore to assist and carried out first aid.

The Irish Coast Guard’s Shannon-based helicopter Rescue 115 was also tasked to assist with transferring the casualty to the nearest hospital.

One of the two Valentia RNLI crew who went ashore to assist with the casualty | Credit: RNLI/ValentiaOne of the two Valentia RNLI crew who went ashore to assist with the casualty | Credit: RNLI/Valentia

Four lifeboat crew members, along with members of the Iveragh Coast Guard Unit, stretchered the casualty to a safe and accessible location for airlift.

A detailed handover was given to Rescue 115 and the casualty was safely transported to University Hospital Kerry for further medical attention.

Speaking following the callout, Valentia RNLI lifeboat operations manager Colum O’Connell said: “The fisherman made the right decision in calling for help given his current fishing location and we like to wish him well for a speedy recovery.

“We would remind members of the public to always carry a means of communication and to let others know where you are going and when you will be due back. Should you get into difficulty, call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Marine Wildlife Around Ireland One of the greatest memories of any day spent boating around the Irish coast is an encounter with marine wildlife.  It's a thrill for young and old to witness seabirds, seals, dolphins and whales right there in their own habitat. As boaters fortunate enough to have experienced it will testify even spotting a distant dorsal fin can be the highlight of any day afloat.  Was that a porpoise? Was it a whale? No matter how brief the glimpse it's a privilege to share the seas with Irish marine wildlife.

Thanks to the location of our beautiful little island, perched in the North Atlantic Ocean there appears to be no shortage of marine life to observe.

From whales to dolphins, seals, sharks and other ocean animals this page documents the most interesting accounts of marine wildlife around our shores. We're keen to receive your observations, your photos, links and youtube clips.

Boaters have a unique perspective and all those who go afloat, from inshore kayaking to offshore yacht racing that what they encounter can be of real value to specialist organisations such as the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) who compile a list of sightings and strandings. The IWDG knowledge base has increased over the past 21 years thanks in part at least to the observations of sailors, anglers, kayakers and boaters.

Thanks to the IWDG work we now know we share the seas with dozens of species who also call Ireland home. Here's the current list: Atlantic white-sided dolphin, beluga whale, blue whale, bottlenose dolphin, common dolphin, Cuvier's beaked whale, false killer whale, fin whale, Gervais' beaked whale, harbour porpoise, humpback whale, killer whale, minke whale, northern bottlenose whale, northern right whale, pilot whale, pygmy sperm whale, Risso's dolphin, sei whale, Sowerby's beaked whale, sperm whale, striped dolphin, True's beaked whale and white-beaked dolphin.

But as impressive as the species list is the IWDG believe there are still gaps in our knowledge. Next time you are out on the ocean waves keep a sharp look out!

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