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Displaying items by tag: RNLI

Lough Derg RNLI launched to assist 12 people on a 52ft cruiser aground inside the Goat Road at navigation mark E on the eastern shore of Lough Derg.

At 6.15pm on Tuesday evening (22 June), Valentia Coast Guard called on Lough Derg’s lifeboat volunteers and the inshore lifeboat Jean Spier launched 15 minutes later with helm Keith Brennan, Eleanor Hooker, Dom Sharkey and Owen Cavanagh on board.

As the lifeboat arrived on scene, at a raised shoal for migrating birds, the crew found the cruise hire company were already present and setting up to refloat the cruiser and stood by.

When the tug had the cruiser off the shoal and in safe water where it was able to make way safety, the lifeboat crew informed the coastguard and were stood down.

The callout was just the latest in a number of incidents involving grounded cruisers on Lough Derg within the last seven days.

Christine O’Malley, lifeboat operations manager at Lough Derg RNLI, advises boat users to “plan your passage, study your charts and don’t stray off the charted navigation routes”.

Skerries RNLI searching the shoreline from Loughshinny to Rush | Credit: RNLI/Gerry CanningSkerries RNLI searching the shoreline from Loughshinny to Rush | Credit: RNLI/Gerry Canning

Elsewhere, Skerries RNLI in north Co Dublin launched on Monday evening (21 June) following reported sightings of red distress flares near Loughshinny.

With nothing found in a search of the shoreline from Rush to Loughshinny, the inshore lifeboat was proceeding towards Lambay Island to search further out to sea when they received an update that Skerries Coast Guard were speaking to a person who was flying a drone in the area.

The drone operator confirmed that he was operating in the area where the flares were reported, and the lifeboat was stood down satisfied that the incident was a false alarm with good intent.

Lifeboat press officer Gerry Canning added: “The crew did get to enjoy a magnificent summer solstice sunset on the way home.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Union Hall RNLI’s latest volunteer got more than he expected last night (Tuesday 22 June) after the lifeboat crew were called to assist two people on a yacht with mechanical difficulties off Toe Head in West Cork.

The lifeboat, helmed by Michael Limrick with Liam Limrick and new recruit Craig Jennings onboard, were on a training exercise at the time and launched back out to sea at 9pm.

One at Toe Head the crew observed that the 34ft yacht was making progress but was slow due to mechanical issues. Sea conditions were good at the time with a moderate northerly breeze, so the volunteer crew stayed alongside the yacht and escorted it back to the pier at Union Hall.

Speaking following the callout, Peter Deasy, Union Hall RNLI’s deputy launching authority, said: “Our volunteer crew were just returning from an exercise and a busy day of training so I asked the crew if they would like an alternative crew but they were very willing to interrupt their training and proceed to assist the casualties.

“We congratulate Craig Jennings on what started as a three-hour training exercise for him but turned into nearly five hours at sea and included his first callout with Union Hall RNLI.

“We would remind everyone for the season ahead to always carry a means of communication and wear a lifejacket.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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The RNLI in Northern Ireland has reached 10 years of delivering a world-class lifeguard service to coastal communities and their visitors along the Causeway Coast and in County Down. From this Saturday, 26 June, RNLI lifeguards will provide a full-time daily patrol on 11 beaches in what is anticipated to be one of the charity’s busiest seasons yet.

Since 2011, RNLI lifeguards have saved 48 lives in Northern Ireland. They have aided 3,701 people through water rescue, returning lost children and delivering first aid and casualty care. During that time, lifeguards have responded to 3,290 incidents and carried out over 1M preventative actions.

The RNLI introduced a lifeguard service on seven beaches along the Causeway Coast in 2011 at Downhill, Castlerock, Benone, Whiterocks, Portrush East, Portrush West and Portstewart. The service was extended to three beaches in County Down the following year at Cranfield, Tyrella and Murlough. And in 2017, RNLI lifeguards began a new patrol at Ballycastle.

RNLI lifeguards will provide a full-time daily patrol on 11 beaches in what is anticipated to be one of the charity’s busiest seasons yet.RNLI lifeguards will provide a full-time daily patrol on 11 beaches in what is anticipated to be one of the charity’s busiest seasons yet.

As lifeguards complete intense inductions ahead of the eleventh full-time summer season getting underway this weekend, Michael Thompson, RNLI Area Lifesaving Manager who himself is a former lifeguard and supervisor, paid tribute to the team: ‘Thanks to RNLI lifeguards our beaches are safer places, so we can enjoy our time at the coast and return home safely at the end of the day. Around 95% of a lifeguard’s work is in prevention. They keep beachgoers safe by educating them about water safety and spotting the dangers before accidents happen. RNLI lifeguards past and present have kept beach visitors safe over the past 10 years in Northern Ireland and will continue to do so for years to come. If you are planning a visit to the coast this summer, please remember to visit a lifeguarded beach.’

Karl O’Neill is a Lead Lifeguard Supervisor on the Causeway Coast and along with senior lifeguard Bosco McAuley, he was part of the first RNLI lifeguard team to patrol beaches in 2011. Karl is also a volunteer crew member at Portrush RNLI.

Reflecting on a decade of lifeguarding, Karl said: ‘The RNLI already had a strong history of providing a front-line emergency lifesaving service and were able to bring the knowledge and expertise over from the lifeboat service to the lifeguards. The equipment and the training from the RNLI really set the gold standard.

‘The fundamentals remain the same as when I started 10 years ago in that we still need to be highly trained, capable and skilled lifeguards on our beaches. But there has definitely been a shift with how we keep people safe. This has developed alongside the amount of people we now get visiting our beaches and going in the water. This year with Covid-19 restrictions and staycations on the rise, we believe we may already have experienced one of the busiest days in the 10-year history of lifeguarding here. Lifeguarding is such a proactive service now and with a busy summer anticipated, the team will be working hard to ensure visitors to our beaches can enjoy their day safely.’

RNLI lifeguard siblings Owen, Beth and Alex MontgomeryRNLI lifeguard siblings Owen, Beth and Alex Montgomery

For Portballintrae siblings Beth, Alex and Owen Montgomery who grew up beside the sea, lifesaving is in the blood. Beth was the first in the family to become a lifeguard in 2014 and as well as now being a senior lifeguard, she has performed a number of RNLI roles including that of Education Co-ordinator and Lifeguard Operations Assistant. Having inspired her younger sister and brother, Alex and Owen soon followed and are now preparing for their fifth season patrolling beaches between Portrush and Portstewart.

‘We grew up beside the beach and always enjoyed the outdoors,’ Beth explained. ‘We were swimmers from a young age and loved the sea, surfing and other water sports so when I finished school, I decided I wanted to find out more about joining the lifeguard team and Alex and Owen followed shortly after.

‘As RNLI lifeguards, we are all qualified in lifesaving and casualty care, are highly trained, strong and fit – we need to be able to swim 200m in under three and a half minutes and we need to run 200m on sand in under 40 seconds! However, a large part of our work is preventative. We monitor sea conditions and set up the appropriate flags at the start of the day and we watch people and offer safety advice both on the beach and in classrooms through our education programmes. It is a job we all love and we take great satisfaction from knowing we can play our part in helping visitors to our beaches enjoy their day safely.’

The RNLI is urging anyone choosing to visit the coast this summer to make sure they keep themselves and their families safe by following beach safety advice along with the government’s advice on travel and social distancing:

  • Visit a lifeguarded beach and swim between the red and yellow flags -– find your nearest at rnli.org.uk/lifeguardedbeaches
  • Check the weather forecast, tide times and read local hazard signage to understand local risks
  • If you fall into the water unexpectedly, FLOAT TO LIVE. Fight your instinct to thrash around, lean back, extend your arms and legs, and Float.
  • In an emergency dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard.
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Portrush RNLI on Northern Ireland’s Causeway Coast was requested to launch by Belfast Coastguard yesterday morning (Saturday 19 June) at 11.52am to reports of an injured teenager near Ballintoy.

Both the inshore and all-weather lifeboats were requested to launch as the initial report stated that the 19-year-old woman had dislocated her shoulder while out with a coasteering group and needed assistance to get out of the water.

Visibility was good, with a light breeze so both boats made good time and were on scene at 12.25pm

When the volunteer RNLI crew arrived on scene, the casualty had been recovered onto the rocks and was being assisted by the coastguard.

The crew delivered nitrous oxide to the casualty for pain management, after which she was carefully transferred onto the inshore lifeboat and taken to Portballintrae Harbour where she was handed over to the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service.

Beni McAllister, lifeboat operations manager at Portrush Lifeboat Station, said: “Our volunteer lifeboat crew are trained in casualty care and have been able to maintain this training during lockdown as it is a key part of our operation.

“This was a classic transfer for our ILB crew from rocks to the lifeboat, working closely with our coastguard colleagues.

“This was also Ben Durrant’s first shout after being successfully passed out as ILB helm recently, so well done to him and the other crew members.

“We would also recommend as in this instance that people who are planning to go coasteering that they do so with an official group, as they know how to manage incidents such as this and will call us immediately if required.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Shortly after 11 pm this Saturday evening, Wicklow RNLI volunteers were assembling at the lifeboat Station following a Coast Guard pager alert.

Ten minutes later at 11:13 pm Wicklow RNLI all-weather lifeboat slipped its moorings at the south quay and proceeded north to investigate reports of a yacht experiencing difficulties south of Greystones.

The yacht with three people on board was located four miles south of Greystones at 11:45 pm. Weather conditions at the scene were good with calm sea and light airs.

An assessment was carried out and the yacht was found to have a rope fouled in the propeller, efforts were made by the lifeboat crew to free the obstruction, but some rope remained tangled in the propeller shaft. This prevented the engine from being started and the yacht from making its own way to port. 

Coxswain Keogh made the decision that undertaking a tow to Greystones harbour was necessary and the safest way to assist the sailors. The yacht was brought alongside Greystones Marina at 00:45 am on Sunday morning and the three sailors landed safely ashore.

The Lifeboat crew then proceeded back to Wicklow harbour arriving back on station at 1:30 am

Speaking after the callout, Wicklow RNLI Press officer, Tommy Dover said: ‘This was the first callout by the all-weather lifeboat crew using the new towing equipment.’

The crew on the callout were Coxswain Nick Keogh, Mechanic Tommy Murphy, Graham Fitzgerald, Paul Sillery, John Stapleton and Ian Thompson.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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As the summer months approach, Bundoran RNLI is calling on everyone looking forward to a boat trip at sea to plan ahead so they can enjoy their day safely.

The plea comes after a group of people whose boat had been tied up but damaged overnight by southerly winds and tidal conditions, became stranded and were brought ashore by the volunteer lifeboat crew.

Killian O’Kelly, volunteer helm at Bundoran RNLI, said: “It is great to see more people out on the water and enjoying themselves.

“As the summer approaches we want to remind people ahead of their trip to sea to plan ahead with safety in mind. Making simple safety measures means people can make the most of their activities with peace of mind.

“We would encourage people to get the right training for their craft. It is important to know how to handle your boat and its capabilities. Ensure your boat is prepared for the season and that your engine is well maintained. Always carry adequate tools and spares to fix any problems you may encounter and ensure you have enough fuel for your journey.

“Always check the weather and tide times. If you’re in an area that you are unfamiliar with, seek local advice on tides, conditions and potential obstacles or challenges.

“Always carry a means of calling or signalling for help — a mobile phone or a VHF radio tuned to Channel 16 to talk to the coastguard. Let them, and someone else on the shore know where you’re going and who to call if you don’t return on time, and always wear a lifejacket.”

More safety advice for boating and other activities is available at rnli.org/safety

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Ballyglass RNLI and Belmullet Tidal Pool Swimmers in north-west Co Mayo have won a Golden Welly for their recent fundraising efforts for the charity that saves lives at sea.

The RNLI award for Best Community Partnership Fundraiser, which is one of only six awards in all of Ireland and the UK, was announced last week at the RNLI’s virtual Mayday awards ceremony.

The volunteer lifeboat crew and the Belmullet swimmers were overjoyed to hear their deep-end dipping and donating earned them the prestigious Golden Welly.

The Golden Welly awards recognise and celebrate the fantastic work and contributions made to the RNLI’s annual Mayday fundraising campaign.

This year for the Mayday Mile, Michelle Healy and her mother Liz Healy, both on the committee of Belmullet Swim Club, came up with the idea of swimming a mile for the RNLI.

“There’s a great bunch of daily swimmers here in Belmullet, and they jumped at the chance to swim a mile to support the local lifeboat,” Michelle said. “We’re a coastal community and it's important we all pull together and support each other.”

Volunteer members of the Ballyglass RNLI crew joined in and swam in their full kit. Over five days during May, a total of 59 swimmers swam a collective distance of 74.11 miles in their Atlantic Ocean tidal pool, raising €2,016.

Pádraic Sheeran, Ballyglass RNLI’s lifeboat operations manager, said there has always been a great relationship between Ballyglass RNLI and Belmullet Swim Club with mutual respect and support at its core.

“Promoting water safety and saving lives at sea are common goals of the RNLI and the swim group and we’ve always worked well together.

“We are very thankful to Liz, Michelle and the group of swimmers and the great work they do and we’re delighted to accept an award that acknowledges and celebrates that effort. The funds raised will now help our volunteers as they continue to save lives at sea.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Lough Derg RNLI launched on Thursday afternoon (17 June) to assist two people on a 28ft cruiser aground inside the G navigation mark, north of Drominagh Point on Lough Derg.

The inshore lifeboat Jean Spicer arrived on scene at 12.50pm, 15 minutes after launch, and waited on standby as the cruise hire company were also on scene and attempting to refloat the cruiser.

When it was evident the cruiser was fast on rocks, and the cruise hire company had arranged for a more powerful tow vessel to assist, the RNLI volunteers — helm Eleanor Hooker, Ger Egan, Steve Smyth and Chris Parker — requested to take the two casualties off the stricken vessel to Terryglass Harbour, where their boat would be taken once it was reflected.

The callout came less than 24 hours after Lough Derg’s lifeboat volunteers attended a 32ft cruiser that ran aground by the entrance to Terryglass Harbour, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Brendan O’Brien, deputy launching authority at Lough Derg RNLI, advises boat users to “plan your passage, study your charts and don’t stray off the charted navigation routes”.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Lough Derg RNLI launched on Wednesday evening (16 June) to assist two people on a 32ft cruiser aground by the entrance to Terryglass Harbour, at the northern end of Lough Derg.

At 6.48pm the inshore lifeboat Jean Spier set off with helm Eleanor Hooker and crew Steve Smyth, Joe O’Donoghue and Tom Hayes on board. Weather conditions had a westerly Force 3/4 wind with good visibility.

The lifeboat arrived on scene 20 minutes later and could see the cruiser aground inside the navigation marker by Terryglass Harbour.

After assessing the location and depths, the lifeboat made a careful approach to the casualty vessel, all the time taking soundings of the depths. Once alongside, the RNLI volunteers found both passengers on board to safe and unharmed and wearing their lifejackets.

A lifeboat crew member transferred across to the cruiser and, after making a thorough check of the boat to ensure it was not holed, set up for a tow.

The lifeboat found the casualty vessel to be stuck fast on the rocky shelf. Two marine engineers from the cruise hire company arrived on scene with a tow vessel but were also unable to get the vessel off the rocks.

The lifeboat took both passengers and their RNLI crew member onto the lifeboat and into Terryglass Harbour, where arrangements were made for both casualties to stay on shore overnight and their boat to be refloated this morning.

Brendan O’Brien, deputy launching authority at Lough Derg RNLI ,advises boat users to “plan your passage, study your charts and identify the navigation marks for the harbour to which you are travelling”.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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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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