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Displaying items by tag: Lifeboat

Helvick Head RNLI of County Waterford came to the aid of two fishermen yesterday (Wednesday 12 January) after their 29ft fishing boat broke down at Ballyvoyle.

On what was described as a sunny and calm day on the water, the volunteer crew were requested to launch their inshore lifeboat by the Irish Coast Guard at 12.50 pm following a report that the vessel needed assistance at Ballyvoyle, close to Clonea beach.

Launching at 1.03 pm, the lifeboat helmed by Joe Foley and with crew members Alan Kelly, Shane Walsh and Liam Harty onboard, made its way to the scene arriving at 1.12 pm. 

Helvick Head RNLI with the fishing boat under towHelvick Head RNLI with the fishing boat under tow

The lifeboat crew assessed the situation and found the fishermen to be safe and well. As the boat had sustained engine failure, a decision was made to tow the vessel back to Helvick Head Pier where they arrived at 1.50 pm.

Speaking following the call out, Sean Walsh, Helvick Head RNLI Deputy Launching Authority said: ‘The casualties did the right thing by calling for help when they realised they were in difficulty.

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A Lough Derg “Lap the lake” 130 km cycle is raising funds for RNLI Lough Derg this May 

Starting and finishing at the well-known harbour of Dromineer, parking and showers will be available at nearby Lough Derg Yacht Club. 

Lough Derg is the third-biggest on the island of Ireland. It is a long, narrow lake, with shore roads in counties Clare, Galway, and Tipperary for the cyclists to navigate.

Event tickets are €65 per person and will include a t-shirt and goody bag. We would love participants to raise another €65 or more and donate a total of €130 for 130km. All funds raised go to Lough Derg RNLI. 

Bookings are now open for places here and download the poster below.

Lap the Lake” Cycle Will Raise Funds for RNLI

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A father and daughter who volunteer to save lives at sea with Howth RNLI and who will be on call over Christmas have asked the public to support the charity’s Christmas appeal. Stephen Harris has been a Deputy Launching Authority at the station since 2014 while his daughter Jen joined a month before the first lockdown. The busy lifeboat station has remained on call throughout the pandemic and the lifeboat crew will be ready to launch the lifeboats, as always, if they are needed.

With over 1,500 lifeboat volunteers around Ireland, each RNLI crew member signs up to save everyone from drowning – the charity’s mission since 1824. This Christmas many will leave loved ones behind to answer the call, each time hoping to reunite another family, and see those in trouble at sea safely returned.

Having returned from 6 months studying abroad in New Zealand Jen Harris joined the lifeboat crew in February 2020 only to see her training halted as the country went into lockdown. However, she stayed involved doing what training she could on land while the experienced lifeboat crew continued to respond to emergencies. When training restarted, she continued with her training plan and is now well on the way to being a fully-fledged lifeboat volunteer. No stranger to the water, Jen was a sailing and powerboat instructor when she was younger. On her return home to Ireland, she approached her dad about volunteering with the RNLI and had a chat to the lifeboat crew. She is currently trainee crew on Howth inshore lifeboat and is looking to be lifeboat crew on the All-Weather Lifeboat too. She is proudly following in her father Stephen’s footsteps as he was lifeboat crew in Dun Laoghaire from 1985 to 1987.

An archive photo from Dun Laoghaire RNLI featuring Stephen as volunteer lifeboat crew at the stationAn archive photo from Dun Laoghaire RNLI featuring Stephen as volunteer lifeboat crew at the station

Talking about her reason for volunteering with the RNLI Jen said, ‘I had been thinking about joining the lifeboat crew for a while. I’ve grown up around boats and I know how important the service the RNLI provides is to the community. The training I am undergoing is intense and it should be. It’s a massive commitment and one I’m happy to give and of course dad loves that I’m involved. The kit that we have and the level of training we receive is so impressive and it’s funded by generous donations. People can see where the money they give goes. There is a big orange boat sitting in the harbour and that’s our office. Everything we have is thanks to people supporting the charity.’

Dad Stephen is rightly proud of his daughter but it’s not surprising as they are two of a total of eight family members involved in the RNLI, with cousins at Dunmore East in County Waterford and Kilkeel in County Down. Stephen was lifeboat crew at Dun Laoghaire RNLI for three years before he moved away to Clontarf. Now living in Howth he was approached to join the station by the former Lifeboat Operations Manager Rupert Jeffares and joined as a Deputy Launching Authority.

Commenting on the Christmas appeal Stephen said, ‘The rescues we do would not be possible without donations from the RNLI’s generous supporters, helping to fund the essential kit, training and equipment needed by lifeboat crews all year round. This year my daughter is on the crew and will be out on rescues soon. Since I was a lifeboat volunteer, I’ve seen the RNLI’s equipment and lifeboat technology advance and evolve, keeping the lifesavers safe and helping them reach the casualties quickly. I’m proud to be involved and now a proud father of a lifesaver too.’

To donate to the RNLI’s Christmas Appeal, visit: RNLI.org/Xmas

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Dunmore East RNLI’s Shannon Class lifeboat 13-41 ‘William and Agnes Wray’ officially went on service today (Saturday 6 November 2021). The Shannon class lifeboat arrived in Dunmore East Harbour on Sunday 26th September, and since then the volunteer lifeboat crew have trained tirelessly, becoming familiar with the new electronic technology and jet propulsion system of the vessel. The €2.4 million all-weather vessel is the first state of the art Shannon class lifeboat to be based in the south-east.

The Irish Coast Guard was informed by the RNLI that the ‘William and Agnes Wray’ is officially on service from 6 pm Saturday 6, November, replacing the station’s Trent class lifeboat.

"The €2.4m vessel is the first state of the art Shannon class lifeboat to be based in the south-east"

It’s a bittersweet moment for the lifeboat crew and fundraisers at Dunmore East RNLI, as the introduction of the Shannon class lifeboat signals the end of an era for the station’s current Trent class lifeboat, Elizabeth and Ronald, which has now departed Dunmore East harbour for the last time under the watchful eyes of a crowd who came to pay their respects and say goodbye. The lifeboat has been saving lives at sea there since October 1996.

Thankfully, it is not the end for Elizabeth and Ronald, as she will get an electronics upgrade and will go into the Trent class relief fleet for Ireland where she will continue to save lives at sea when and where ever she is needed.

Dunmore East RNLI Coxswain Roy Abrahamsson said ‘This week our crew were put through their paces by RNLI assessors where they demonstrated their ability to operate the new lifeboat effectively and safely. Everyone at the station is now ready and fully trained to operate this new lifeboat.’

‘The Shannon Class lifeboat is the most advanced lifeboat in the RNLI’s fleet, it means we can get to a casualty safer and faster than ever before. I am immensely proud of our volunteer crew who put in a huge effort by giving up their time and being away from their families to complete the training to enable the ‘William and Agnes Wray’ to go on service.’

"The Elizabeth and Ronald has served us well here in Dunmore East and she will be dearly missed"

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 but it's the first time an Irish river has been chosen and was done so to reflect the commitment and dedication of Irish lifeboat crew for generations.

Coxswain Abrahamsson continued ‘The Elizabeth and Ronald has served us well here in Dunmore East and she will be dearly missed, she is a fine lifeboat, and I am glad she will continue to save lives and serve the people of Ireland in the relief fleet’.

End of an era - the Waterford Harbour station’s current Trent class lifeboat, Elizabeth and Ronald has now departed Dunmore East harbour End of an era - the Waterford Harbour station’s current Trent class lifeboat, Elizabeth and Ronald has now departed Dunmore East harbour

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The Courtmacsherry All-Weather Trent Class RNLI Lifeboat was called out on Friday evening at 5.45 pm, to go to the immediate aid of a lone Kayaker that was spotted in trouble off the Old Head of Kinsale in West Cork.

The Courtmacsherry All Weather Lifeboat, Frederick Storey Cockburn under Coxswain Mark John Gannon and a crew of 6 were away quickly from their moorings, when Valentia Marine Rescue Co-Ordination Centre bleeped for immediate action after golfers on the Old Head of Kinsale Golf Links saw a person in trouble near the rocks on the western side of the Lighthouse.

The Kayaker had left The Speckled Door pier earlier in the afternoon and came through the passage at Hole-Open and was attempting to round the Lighthouse when the weather worsened and he was thrown off the Kayak and was unable to remount because of high swells. Thankfully the Golfers immediately called the rescue services and the Courtmacsherry RNLI Lifeboat and its voluntary crew were away within minutes. Reaching the area at 6.14 pm, two members of the crew, Ken Cashman and Donal Young used the Lifeboat’s small inflatable boat to traverse into the rocky inlet under the Lighthouse and pluck the causality from the water and brought him back to the main Lifeboat where he was assessed and warmed up after a very frightening ordeal.

Unfortunately, the Kayak could not be recovered and all his belongings including his mobile phone and keys were left to the mercy of the sea. The conditions at sea yesterday evening were 4 metre swells and a strong westerly wind.

The causality was then brought by the Lifeboat to the safe surrounds of the Courtmacsherry Pontoon and he was mighty glad to be on safe lands again. Crew and Station officers assessed him further at the Station House and provided him with a change of clothes and hot drinks before Station officers were able to take him back to meet his friends who came from North Cork to meet him. Also tasked in today’s Callout was the Coast Guard Rescue 117 Helicopter from Waterford and the Old Head / Seven Heads Coast Guard unit.

The Courtmacsherry RNLI Lifeboat voluntary Lifeboat Operations Manager Brian O Dwyer said “We are all so relieved that the Kayaker was rescued so quickly in rough seas off the Old Head this evening and praised the Golfers on the Old Head for making that quick 999 call when they realised something was amiss”, he also thanked the voluntary crew at the Lifeboat Station who quickly assembled and with great skill that they regularly train for, prevented a very serious incident at sea.

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Achill Island RNLI was involved in the medical evacuation of a female patient from Clare Island this afternoon (Tuesday, 7 September) following a request from the Irish Coast Guard.

The volunteer crew launched their all-weather lifeboat at 1.15 pm under Coxswain Dave Curtis and with six crew members onboard. It followed a request to assist the Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 118 from Sligo, due to foggy weather conditions on the island at the time.

Weather conditions improved during the call out and the crew were able to secure a zone for the helicopter to successfully land and take the patient onboard the aircraft. The patient was then transferred to Mayo University Hospital and the all-weather lifeboat, The Sam and Ada Moody, and her crew returned to Achill Island at 3pm.

Speaking following the call out, Dave Curtis, Coxswain said: ‘This is another example of good inter-agency teamwork between our colleagues in the Irish Coast Guard and our volunteer crew. We wish the patient well for a speedy recovery.’

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The volunteer crew of Bundoran RNLI lifeboat was requested to assist with a medical evacuation from Tullan Strand, Bundoran this morning (Saturday, 4th September).

Shortly before 1 am a request was received from the National Ambulance Service via Malin Head Coast Guard for assistance from shore crew to extract a casualty who had fallen. While the lifeboat was not launched on this occasion, a number of volunteer crew attended to assist with extraction to the waiting ambulance where the casualty was transferred to Sligo University Hospital. The crew are trained in casualty care with a number of them qualified advanced paramedics.

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Dunmore East RNLI lifeboat launched yesterday (Wednesday, August 4) to a report of a 12-metre fishing vessel with two people on-board, that had broken down 17 miles South West of Dunmore East.

At 5:00 pm the lifeboat launched at the request of the Irish Coast Guard, making best speed, the Trent Class Dunmore East RNLI lifeboat ‘Elizabeth and Ronald’ and her volunteer crew arrived on scene at 6:10 pm, assessed the situation and took the stricken vessel under tow and arrived back to the safety of Dunmore East harbour at 9:30 pm.

Roy Abrahamsson, Dunmore East RNLI Coxswain, said: ‘Weather conditions were good at the time and our volunteer crew train hard for missions like this which made for a very smooth operation. Thankfully all went well and the fishermen are now safely back in port’.

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Wicklow all-weather lifeboat RNLB Joanna and Henry Williams launched shortly after 11 pm tonight (Friday 23 July) following a Coast Guard pager alert, to investigate reports of a yacht in difficulties off the Wicklow Coast.

The Shannon class lifeboat located the yacht twenty-five minutes later, four miles north of Wicklow harbour. Conditions on scene were sea state moderate with wind north-easterly force three.

The yacht with two crew had suffered engine failure while heading north off the coast and was unable to make its way safely into Wicklow harbour. An assessment was carried out and a towline was established with the yacht.

Speaking after the callout, Coxswain Ciaran Doyle said:’ We transferred one of our crew onto the yacht to assist the two sailors during the tow back to Wicklow harbour’.

The yacht was brought alongside the South Quay at Wicklow harbour at 00:30 am on Saturday morning and the two sailors were landed safely ashore.

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As Afloat reported earlier Valentia Coast Guard requested Lough Derg RNLI lifeboat to launch following a Mayday call to assist five people on board a 38ft cruiser on fire, by Castle Harbour, Portumna, at the most northern end of Lough Derg.

When the lifeboat crew assembled at the station, Valentia Coast Guard was informed that three people had been safely evacuated from the vessel.

At 12.16 pm the lifeboat Jean Spier launched with helm Keith Brennan, crew Eleanor Hooker, Joe O’Donoghue and Doireann Kennedy on board. The lake was calm and visibility was excellent.

Aoife Kennedy, Lough Derg RNLI Deputy Launching Authority relayed information from Valentia Coast Guard that the remaining two people had been safely evacuated from the burning vessel. Valentia Coast Guard contacted the lifeboat to request that volunteers check the wellbeing of the casualties.

Rescue 115, the Irish Coast Guard Search and Rescue Helicopter based at Shannon was also in attendance, as was the Killaloe Coast Guard Search and Rescue Boat, based at Killaloe.

The lifeboat arrived on scene at 12.35 pm. The fire on the casualty vessel had taken hold and fire firefighters from Portumna Fire Service were working to extinguish the fire. All four other casualties were safe and unharmed and were being attended to by ambulance crew at Castle Harbour.

As there was a significant risk to the many boat users close by with fuel onboard the vessel, Valentia Coast Guard requested Lough Derg RNLI lifeboat and the Killaloe Coast Guard boat to monitor the scene and request that all vessels maintain a safe distance.

At 1.30 pm, firefighters had managed to put out the main fire, however, the vessel was still smouldering and billowing smoke. The anchor line had burned and the vessel was now drifting into the main navigation channel.

At 2.14 pm, the casualty vessel was relocated to Carrigahorig Bay, where firefighters continued to pump water and foam to ensure the fire was fully out.

Aoife Kennedy, Deputy Launching Authority at Lough Derg RNLI, advises water users to ‘always be alert to the dangers of fire on a boat and always carry a means of communication so that you can call the emergency services for help’.

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Sharks in Irish waters

Irish waters are home to 71 species of shark, skates and rays, 58 of which have been studied in detail and listed on the Ireland Red List of Cartilaginous fish. Irish sharks range from small Sleeper sharks, Dogfish and Catsharks, to larger species like Frilled, Mackerel and Cow sharks, all the way to the second largest shark in the world, the Basking shark. 

Irish waters provide a refuge for an array of shark species. Tralee Bay, Co. Kerry provides a habitat for several rare and endangered sharks and their relatives, including the migratory tope shark, angel shark and undulate ray. This area is also the last European refuge for the extremely rare white skate. Through a European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) project, Marine Institute scientists have been working with fishermen to assess the distribution, diversity, and monthly relative abundance of skates and rays in Tralee, Brandon and Dingle Bays.

“These areas off the southwest coast of Ireland are important internationally as they hold some of the last remaining refuges for angel shark and white skate,” said Dr Maurice Clarke of the Marine Institute. “This EMFF project has provided data confirming the critically endangered status of some species and provides up-to-date information for the development of fishery measures to eliminate by-catch.” 

Irish waters are also home to the Black Mouthed Catshark, Galeus melastomus, one of Ireland’s smallest shark species which can be found in the deep sea along the continental shelf. In 2018, Irish scientists discovered a very rare shark-nursery 200 nautical miles off the west coast by the Marine Institute’s ROV Holland 1 on a shelf sloping to 750 metres deep. 

There are two ways that sharks are born, either as live young or from egg casings. In the ‘case’ of Black Mouthed Catsharks, the nursery discovered in 2018, was notable by the abundance of egg casings or ‘mermaid’s purses’. Many sharks, rays and skate lay eggs, the cases of which often wash ashore. If you find an egg casing along the seashore, take a photo for Purse Search Ireland, a citizen science project focusing on monitoring the shark, ray and skate species around Ireland.

Another species also found by Irish scientists using the ROV Holland 1 in 2018 was a very rare type of dogfish, the Sail Fin Rough Shark, Oxynotus paradoxus. These sharks are named after their long fins which resemble the trailing sails of a boat, and live in the deep sea in waters up to 750m deep. Like all sharks, skates and rays, they have no bones. Their skeleton is composed of cartilage, much like what our noses and ears are made from! This material is much more flexible and lighter than bone which is perfect for these animals living without the weight of gravity.

Throughout history sharks have been portrayed as the monsters of the sea, a concept that science is continuously debunking. Basking sharks were named in 1765 as Cetorhinus maximus, roughly translated to the ‘big-nosed sea monster’. Basking sharks are filter feeders, often swimming with their mouths agape, they filter plankton from the water.

They are very slow moving and like to bask in the sun in shallow water and are often seen in Irish waters around Spring and early Summer. To help understand the migration of these animals to be better able to understand and conserve these species, the Irish Basking Shark Group have tagged and mapped their travels.

Remarkably, many sharks like the Angel Shark, Squatina squatina have the ability to sense electricity. They do this via small pores in their skin called the ‘Ampullae of Lorenzini’ which are able to detect the tiny electrical impulses of a fish breathing, moving or even its heartbeat from distances of over a kilometre! Angel sharks, often referred to as Monkfish have a distinctively angelic shape, with flattened, large fins appearing like the wings of an angel. They live on the seafloor in the coastal waters of Ireland and much like a cat are nocturnal, primarily active at night.

The intricate complexity of shark adaptations is particularly noticeable in the texture of their skin. Composed of miniscule, perfectly shaped overlapping scales, the skin of shark provides them with protection. Often shark scales have been compared to teeth due to their hard enamel structure. They are strong, but also due to their intricate shape, these scales reduce drag and allow water to glide past them so that the shark can swim more effortlessly and silently. This natural flawless design has been used as inspiration for new neoprene fabric designs to help swimmers glide through the water. Although all sharks have this feature, the Leafscale Gulper Shark, Centrophorus squamosus, found in Ireland are specifically named due to the ornate leaf-shape of their scales.

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