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Displaying items by tag: Lifeboats

Portrush RNLI was requested to launch by Belfast Coastguard at 2.30pm yesterday afternoon (Tuesday 23 November) to reports of a fishing vessel in difficulty 800 metres east of the Barmouth.

The 26ft vessel with two males on board was reported to have lost power and was drifting near the entrance to the Bann on Northern Ireland’s Causeway Coast.

The all-weather lifeboat and its volunteer crew launched at 2.42pm on a beautiful afternoon with good weather conditions, a clear sky, good visibility and a southwesterly wind.

Eleven minutes later the lifeboat arrived at the scene and the crew carried out a dynamic risk assessment to decide on the most appropriate course of action for the fishermen and their vessel.

It was agreed that the best plan was to attach a tow line and tow the vessel to safety. This was done and once the fishing vessel was towed to Portrush Harbour, the lifeboat and crew arrived back on station at 4.50pm.

Lifeboat operations manager Beni McAllister said: “Once the crew arrived on scene, as always, an assessment was carried out along with the crew of the stricken vessel to agree the best course of action. This is a procedure that our crew carry out on a regular basis.

“We are just glad we were able to get the vessel and her crew to safety. We would advise anyone going out to sea to make sure that they do the necessary safety checks before leaving port, especially at this time of year.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Portrush RNLI was requested to launch in the early hours of this morning (Saturday 20 November) to reports of a casualty taken ill on 42m research vessel some three nautical miles northwest of the Causeway Coast town.

The all-weather lifeboat launched for the medevac at 1.19am in good conditions with clear skies, although the sea state was slightly choppy.

Six minutes later, the lifeboat arrived on scene and two RNLI volunteers were transferred on board the vessel to assess the condition of the casualty.

The decision was then made to transfer the casualty onto the lifeboat in order to bring him to Portrush Harbour and to a waiting ambulance.

Lifeboat operations manager Beni McAllister said: “This is a scenario that are crew are trained to undertake as a routine exercise but as always, doing it at night is slightly more complicated.

“The two crew members who went aboard the vessel have been trained in casualty care and knew exactly what had to be done. The other crew members then carried out the transfer in order to get the casualty and the crew members onto the [lifeboat] and the casualty handed over to the coastguard and the [Northern Ireland] Ambulance Service waiting back at the harbour.

“We wish the casualty well and hope he makes a full recovery.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

A fundraising volunteer for Lough Derg RNLI has received an award for her services to the Co Tipperary lifeboat station.

Laura Clarke was presented with the Excellence in Volunteering Award by RNLI community manager Jennifer Grey during the annual Christmas card and gift sale at Lough Derg Yacht Club in Dromineer yesterday (Tuesday 9 November).

Laura has been a volunteer on the Lough Derg RNLI Fundraising Committee for 11 years. She says she became a volunteer because the charity “was one my late father loved and always supported, and it was something I wished to continue”.

She recalled that her father Mr Crawford had donated to Portrush lifeboat station in Northern Ireland for the build of their new lifeboat. In 2019, Laura organised a fundraising swim in memory of her father that raised significant funds for the RNLI.

As well as a long family association with the lifeboats, Laura’s husband Caleb is honorary treasurer for both Lough Derg RNLI’s lifeboat station and fundraising committee, while her brother-in-law Peter Clarke was a volunteer helm with the station for 14 years.

In commending Laura for the award, RNLI director of fundraising Jayne George wrote: “Your productive, innovative and reliable attitude has not only optimised our fundraising opportunities at local events but throughout the pandemic has raised more than £2,000 in Christmas card and gift sales alone.”

Of the volunteer’s hard work throughout these difficult past two years, Jayne added that Laura’s enthusiasm and dedication “embodies the RNLI core values of being courageous, trustworthy, selfless and dependable”.

Laura said it is a “great honour to be a part of an organisation that is such a force for good in the world. I’m thrilled to receive this award.”

Niamh McCutcheon, chair of the Lough Derg RNLI fundraising branch and member of the Irish Council of the RNLI. added that she is “delighted to see Laura’s commitment, dedication and significant efforts acknowledged with this award”.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

The team at Skerries RNLI in North Co Dublin is calling for new volunteers to help them to save lives at sea.

In particular, the charity is looking for new volunteers to take up the roles of inshore lifeboat crew, shore crew and tractor driver.

Volunteers in each of these roles play a critical part in ensuring that the inshore Atlantic 85 lifeboat is launched quickly and safely and can continue to save lives at sea in the local community.

“Volunteering with us gives people the opportunity to make a real difference in their local community, to save lives and become part of the larger RNLI family,” Skerries RNLI lifeboat operations manager Niall McGrotty says.

“We can’t keep people safe without the support of our wonderful volunteers, who truly make a difference every day no matter which role they are fulfilling.

“Becoming a volunteer in one of these roles is a great chance to play a crucial part in helping to save lives. We’re ideally looking for enthusiastic people who live or work within close proximity to the station.”

The RNLI provides first-class training and equipment, guidance and support to all volunteers, from volunteer lifeboat crew to shop volunteers and event marshals.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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The volunteer crew of Bundoran RNLI were called out on Wednesday afternoon (27 October) to reports of a cow in distress in the surf at Tullan Strand in the Donegal town.

A passer-by had spotted the animal in the water and immediately alerted the Irish Coast Guard at Malin Head who in turn paged the lifeboat crew.

The four crew launched the inshore lifeboat just after 4.30pm and made their way in rough seas to Tullan Strand to assess the situation, while a number of other volunteer crew attended via the shore to offer visual backup to the lifeboat crew.

As the swell was between three and four metres, conditions were difficult for the lifeboat to get closer to the shore with visibility of the cow also tricky for the shore crew.

Daisy Mae following her rescue on Wednesday | Credit: Daimon FergusDaisy Mae following her rescue on Wednesday | Credit: Daimon Fergus

The animal was soon spotted, however, by which time the Sligo-based coastguard helicopter Rescue 118 was on scene. Using the noise and downdraft of the helicopter, its crew were able to encourage the cow back to safety on the shore.

Both the lifeboat and helicopter stayed on scene to ensure the safety of the cow which was tended to on shore before both units were stood down.

Speaking on return to the lifeboat station, Bundoran RNLI helm Michael Patton said: “We were delighted to see a successful outcome from today’s callout and would like to thank those who assisted in the rescue of the cow.

“If you are ever worried that your pet or animal is in danger, call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard, rather than putting yourself at risk by going into the water after them.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Carrybridge RNLI’s inshore lifeboat Douglas Euan & Kay Richards was launched on Tuesday afternoon (26 October) to assess a fishing boat with three people on board, which had broken down around a mile northeast of Knockninny on Upper Lough Erne.

Once on scene, the lifeboat located the casualty vessel which had blown onto an exposed shoreline on an island amid Force 4-5 southwesterly gusts.

The volunteer helm and crew assessed the vessel and the wellbeing of the persons on board from a close but safe distance, and found they were all well.

It was established that the casualty vessel had suffered engine failure, and due to the strong winds had been blown onto the shoreline of the island.

After a full review of the situation, and due to the large waves landing on the island shoreline, the helm deemed the safest option was to put two volunteer crew from the lifeboat onto the other side of the island which was sheltered from the waves.

The crew then walked the three persons across the island to this safer location to get onboard the lifeboat. They were brought back to the nearest safe marina which was Knockninny public jetty.

The volunteer crew of the lifeboat then went back and refloated the fishing boat from the shoreline and brought it to the safety of Knockninny.

Speaking following the callout, Carrybridge lifeboat operations manager Stephen Scott had advice for all boat users in Northern Ireland and elsewhere.

“Before setting out on your journey, please check the weather forecast for the day ahead, have a means of calling for assistance if you find yourself in trouble and have lifejackets for all onboard,” he said.

“If you see someone in trouble on the water or are in difficulties yourself the number to dial is 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Lough Derg RNLI were tasked last night (Tuesday 26 October) to assist five people on a 48ft cruiser at anchor near the Benjamin Rocks on the Co Clare shore.

At 11.10pm the inshore lifeboat Jean Spier launched with helm Ger Egan, crew Steve Smyth, Joe O’Donoghue and Doireann Kennedy on board.

Conditions on the lake were very rough with Force 6 southwesterly winds with severe gusts. As it was night, visibility was aided by searchlights, radar and other lifeboat electronic aids.

At 11.24pm the lifeboat had the casualty vessel in sight, it was at anchor just off red marker 1168 which identifies the Benjamin Rocks. The RNLI crew found all five people to be safe and unharmed and wearing their lifejackets.

The skipper explained that the strong winds kept them from making headway, and so at 5.30pm with strengthening winds and failing light, they felt they wouldn’t make harbour and decided to drop anchor and wait out the storm.

However, the cruiser’s location was subjected to the full force of the wind which caused the anchor to drag, taking the vessel close to the rocky shoal.

Given the worsening conditions, the lifeboat helm put a cree member on board the casualty vessel and instructed them to cut the anchor line. But as the anchor warp was all chain and shackled to the cruiser, this was not possible.

With effort, the volunteer weighed anchor and the lifeboat guided the casualty vessel to the shelter and calm of the public harbour at Dromineer. At 12:54am the cruiser was safely secured alongside at Dromineer Harbour and the lifeboat returned to base shortly after 1am.

Liam Maloney, lifeboat operations manager at Lough Derg RNLI, advises water users unfamiliar with Lough Derg to “check the weather for the lakes and plan your course to arrive at safe harbour before nightfall”.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Skerries RNLI responded to two calls for help, one immediately after the other on Sunday afternoon (24 October) afternoon, responding to three kayakers in difficulty near Portrane and then two sailors in difficulty near Laytown.

Shortly after 2pm, Dublin Coast Guard received a 999 call from the public reporting that there was a number of people in distress on what appeared to be an inflatable off Portrane beach.

Skerries RNLI, the Dublin-based Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 116 and the coastguard boat from Howth were all tasked to respond. The volunteers in Skerries launched their Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat Louis Simson and the crew entered a route for Portrane.

Further information then came through from the casualties to say that they had actually been knocked off their kayaks and had lost a paddle, confirming that there were three people in the water.

Rescue 116 was first on scene, maintaining a visual on the casualties until the coastguard boat and the Skerries lifeboat arrived on scene.

One of the casualties had managed to make their way ashore. The remaining two were taken on board the coastguard boat and brought safely back to the beach.

Just minutes later, Dublin Coast Guard re-tasked Rescue 116 and Skerries RNLI to an incident involving a sailing dinghy near Laytown.

They had received 999 calls reporting that the dinghy had capsized and its sailors were having difficulty in righting it. Clogherhead RNLI were also requested to launch.

Rescue 116 was on scene very quickly and established VHF communications with the casualty vessel. At that time they were still confident of righting the vessel and making their own way ashore.

However, with the weather conditions deteriorating and a small craft warning coming into effect — conditions at the time were choppy with a Force 3-4 southerly wind — Dublin Coast Guard requested the two lifeboats to continue on their course until the casualty was confirmed on shore.

Skerries and Clogherhead lifeboats both arrived on scene minutes later. The two men on the dinghy then realised that they had suffered some structural damage to the rigging of their boat and would be unable to make it ashore unaided. The Skerries lifeboat took them under tow and returned them safely to the slipway at the River Nanny.

Speaking about the callout, Skerries RNLI’s volunteer lifeboat press officer Gerry Canning said: “It was a busy afternoon for our volunteers, but thankfully both incidents had a good outcome.

“It was another great example of how the different agencies and flank stations work together to keep people safe on the water.”

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

Following previous appearances by Dunmore East, Kilmore Quay and Rosslare Harbour RNLI, the volunteer lifeboat crew in Portrush will be taking to the small screen next Tuesday 2 November as they feature in the 10th and final episode of this series of Saving Lives at Sea.

Real-life rescue footage gives a frontline view of how the charity’s lifesavers risk their own lives as they go to the aid of those in danger at sea and strive to save every one. It’s accompanied by emotive interviews from the volunteer lifeboat crews alongside the people they rescue and their families.

Now in its sixth series, the 10-part maritime TV documentary showcases the lifesaving work of the RNLI’s volunteer lifeboat crews from around Ireland and the UK. The series is on BBC Two on Tuesdays at 8pm as well as being available following broadcast on BBC iPlayer (for viewers in the UK).

The final episode of the current series sees Portrush RNLI rescue a teenage boy who gets into difficulty while jumping into the sea off rocks at Portstewart Head.

As the all-weather lifeboat approaches the scene, the crew observe a person in the water waving their arms. A teenage boy who is wearing a wetsuit is struggling against an ebbing tide which is pulling him away from the land and out to sea off the west side of Portstewart Head.

Coxswain Des Austin manoeuvres the lifeboat close to where the casualty is in the surf and breaking waves while the station’s mechanic Dave Robinson dons a drysuit and PPE. A line is attached to the mechanic who jumps into the water and grabs the casualty to safety.

The lifeboat crew administer casualty care to the boy, who is showing signs of hypothermia and exhaustion and is suffering from the effects of shock.

Austin said: “It’s great that we can showcase the lifesaving work of RNLI volunteers in a TV programme like this. Without the generous support and donations from the public, we wouldn’t be able to save lives at sea and it’s great to be able to share what we do with our supporters from the comfort of their own home.”

During 2020, RNLI lifeboats in Northern Ireland launched 234 times with their volunteer crews coming to the aid of 253 people. Eighty-nine of those launches were carried out in the hours of darkness. RNLI lifeguards meanwhile responded to 225 incidents coming to the aid of 285 people, six of whom were lives saved.

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Ireland's Offshore Renewable Energy

Because of Ireland's location at the Atlantic edge of the EU, it has more offshore energy potential than most other countries in Europe. The conditions are suitable for the development of the full range of current offshore renewable energy technologies.

Offshore Renewable Energy FAQs

Offshore renewable energy draws on the natural energy provided by wind, wave and tide to convert it into electricity for industry and domestic consumption.

Offshore wind is the most advanced technology, using fixed wind turbines in coastal areas, while floating wind is a developing technology more suited to deeper water. In 2018, offshore wind provided a tiny fraction of global electricity supply, but it is set to expand strongly in the coming decades into a USD 1 trillion business, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). It says that turbines are growing in size and in power capacity, which in turn is "delivering major performance and cost improvements for offshore wind farms".

The global offshore wind market grew nearly 30% per year between 2010 and 2018, according to the IEA, due to rapid technology improvements, It calculated that about 150 new offshore wind projects are in active development around the world. Europe in particular has fostered the technology's development, led by Britain, Germany and Denmark, but China added more capacity than any other country in 2018.

A report for the Irish Wind Energy Assocation (IWEA) by the Carbon Trust – a British government-backed limited company established to accelerate Britain's move to a low carbon economy - says there are currently 14 fixed-bottom wind energy projects, four floating wind projects and one project that has yet to choose a technology at some stage of development in Irish waters. Some of these projects are aiming to build before 2030 to contribute to the 5GW target set by the Irish government, and others are expected to build after 2030. These projects have to secure planning permission, obtain a grid connection and also be successful in a competitive auction in the Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS).

The electricity generated by each turbine is collected by an offshore electricity substation located within the wind farm. Seabed cables connect the offshore substation to an onshore substation on the coast. These cables transport the electricity to land from where it will be used to power homes, farms and businesses around Ireland. The offshore developer works with EirGrid, which operates the national grid, to identify how best to do this and where exactly on the grid the project should connect.

The new Marine Planning and Development Management Bill will create a new streamlined system for planning permission for activity or infrastructure in Irish waters or on the seabed, including offshore wind farms. It is due to be published before the end of 2020 and enacted in 2021.

There are a number of companies aiming to develop offshore wind energy off the Irish coast and some of the larger ones would be ESB, SSE Renewables, Energia, Statkraft and RWE.

There are a number of companies aiming to develop offshore wind energy off the Irish coast and some of the larger ones would be ESB, SSE Renewables, Energia, Statkraft and RWE. Is there scope for community involvement in offshore wind? The IWEA says that from the early stages of a project, the wind farm developer "should be engaging with the local community to inform them about the project, answer their questions and listen to their concerns". It says this provides the community with "the opportunity to work with the developer to help shape the final layout and design of the project". Listening to fishing industry concerns, and how fishermen may be affected by survey works, construction and eventual operation of a project is "of particular concern to developers", the IWEA says. It says there will also be a community benefit fund put in place for each project. It says the final details of this will be addressed in the design of the RESS (see below) for offshore wind but it has the potential to be "tens of millions of euro over the 15 years of the RESS contract". The Government is also considering the possibility that communities will be enabled to invest in offshore wind farms though there is "no clarity yet on how this would work", the IWEA says.

Based on current plans, it would amount to around 12 GW of offshore wind energy. However, the IWEA points out that is unlikely that all of the projects planned will be completed. The industry says there is even more significant potential for floating offshore wind off Ireland's west coast and the Programme for Government contains a commitment to develop a long-term plan for at least 30 GW of floating offshore wind in our deeper waters.

There are many different models of turbines. The larger a turbine, the more efficient it is in producing electricity at a good price. In choosing a turbine model the developer will be conscious of this ,but also has to be aware the impact of the turbine on the environment, marine life, biodiversity and visual impact. As a broad rule an offshore wind turbine will have a tip-height of between 165m and 215m tall. However, turbine technology is evolving at a rapid rate with larger more efficient turbines anticipated on the market in the coming years.

 

The Renewable Electricity Support Scheme is designed to support the development of renewable energy projects in Ireland. Under the scheme wind farms and solar farms compete against each other in an auction with the projects which offer power at the lowest price awarded contracts. These contracts provide them with a guaranteed price for their power for 15 years. If they obtain a better price for their electricity on the wholesale market they must return the difference to the consumer.

Yes. The first auction for offshore renewable energy projects is expected to take place in late 2021.

Cost is one difference, and technology is another. Floating wind farm technology is relatively new, but allows use of deeper water. Ireland's 50-metre contour line is the limit for traditional bottom-fixed wind farms, and it is also very close to population centres, which makes visibility of large turbines an issue - hence the attraction of floating structures Do offshore wind farms pose a navigational hazard to shipping? Inshore fishermen do have valid concerns. One of the first steps in identifying a site as a potential location for an offshore wind farm is to identify and assess the level of existing marine activity in the area and this particularly includes shipping. The National Marine Planning Framework aims to create, for the first time, a plan to balance the various kinds of offshore activity with the protection of the Irish marine environment. This is expected to be published before the end of 2020, and will set out clearly where is suitable for offshore renewable energy development and where it is not - due, for example, to shipping movements and safe navigation.

YEnvironmental organisations are concerned about the impact of turbines on bird populations, particularly migrating birds. A Danish scientific study published in 2019 found evidence that larger birds were tending to avoid turbine blades, but said it didn't have sufficient evidence for smaller birds – and cautioned that the cumulative effect of farms could still have an impact on bird movements. A full environmental impact assessment has to be carried out before a developer can apply for planning permission to develop an offshore wind farm. This would include desk-based studies as well as extensive surveys of the population and movements of birds and marine mammals, as well as fish and seabed habitats. If a potential environmental impact is identified the developer must, as part of the planning application, show how the project will be designed in such a way as to avoid the impact or to mitigate against it.

A typical 500 MW offshore wind farm would require an operations and maintenance base which would be on the nearby coast. Such a project would generally create between 80-100 fulltime jobs, according to the IWEA. There would also be a substantial increase to in-direct employment and associated socio-economic benefit to the surrounding area where the operation and maintenance hub is located.

The recent Carbon Trust report for the IWEA, entitled Harnessing our potential, identified significant skills shortages for offshore wind in Ireland across the areas of engineering financial services and logistics. The IWEA says that as Ireland is a relatively new entrant to the offshore wind market, there are "opportunities to develop and implement strategies to address the skills shortages for delivering offshore wind and for Ireland to be a net exporter of human capital and skills to the highly competitive global offshore wind supply chain". Offshore wind requires a diverse workforce with jobs in both transferable (for example from the oil and gas sector) and specialist disciplines across apprenticeships and higher education. IWEA have a training network called the Green Tech Skillnet that facilitates training and networking opportunities in the renewable energy sector.

It is expected that developing the 3.5 GW of offshore wind energy identified in the Government's Climate Action Plan would create around 2,500 jobs in construction and development and around 700 permanent operations and maintenance jobs. The Programme for Government published in 2020 has an enhanced target of 5 GW of offshore wind which would create even more employment. The industry says that in the initial stages, the development of offshore wind energy would create employment in conducting environmental surveys, community engagement and development applications for planning. As a site moves to construction, people with backgrounds in various types of engineering, marine construction and marine transport would be recruited. Once the site is up and running , a project requires a team of turbine technicians, engineers and administrators to ensure the wind farm is fully and properly maintained, as well as crew for the crew transfer vessels transporting workers from shore to the turbines.

The IEA says that today's offshore wind market "doesn't even come close to tapping the full potential – with high-quality resources available in most major markets". It estimates that offshore wind has the potential to generate more than 420 000 Terawatt hours per year (TWh/yr) worldwide – as in more than 18 times the current global electricity demand. One Terawatt is 114 megawatts, and to put it in context, Scotland it has a population a little over 5 million and requires 25 TWh/yr of electrical energy.

Not as advanced as wind, with anchoring a big challenge – given that the most effective wave energy has to be in the most energetic locations, such as the Irish west coast. Britain, Ireland and Portugal are regarded as most advanced in developing wave energy technology. The prize is significant, the industry says, as there are forecasts that varying between 4000TWh/yr to 29500TWh/yr. Europe consumes around 3000TWh/year.

The industry has two main umbrella organisations – the Irish Wind Energy Association, which represents both onshore and offshore wind, and the Marine Renewables Industry Association, which focuses on all types of renewable in the marine environment.

©Afloat 2020

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