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Displaying items by tag: Skerries

Over the course of 2021, volunteers with Skerries RNLI were presented with long-service awards totalling 190 years of volunteering with the charity that saves lives at sea.

Due to restrictions on gatherings, the north Co Dublin lifeboat station was unable to host an event to celebrate the awards.

However, the seven crew recently received their awards individually at the lifeboat station in recognition of their commitment to save lives at sea.

Lifeboat operations manager Niall McGrotty was recognised for 40 years of service to the Skerries lifeboat, while David May, Eoin McCarthy and William Boylan each received awards for 30 years’ service.

Recognised for 20 years of service apiece were David Courtney, Gerry Canning and Ian Guildea, while a certificate of service was also presented to retired shore crew Tommy Grimes in recognition of his 17 years of dedicated volunteering.

Speaking about the awards, McGrotty said: “Volunteers are the lifeblood of the RNLI and without them the lifesaving work we do wouldn’t be possible.

“The variety of roles being awarded this year is a testament to the dedication and commitment of the volunteers in our station.

“It is an honour to congratulate each person who received this award.”

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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.

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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.”

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Skerries RNLI thanked two young fundraisers when they were presented with a cheque for €150 this week.

Abi Ferguson and Niamh O’Reilly presented the volunteers at the north Co Dublin lifeboat station with the generous donation before GAA training on Thursday evening (30 September).

The two girls raised the money by holding a cake sale outside Abi’s house last month. The actual total was even higher as they raised €175.

Both girls love their GAA so to thank them for their support, Abi’s father Philip — who is a long-standing member of the crew in Skerries — organised for Dublin GAA legend and RNLI ambassador Lyndsey Davey to meet the girls and help them present the cheque.

Skerries lifeboat press officer Gerry Canning said: “It’s still a very difficult environment for fundraising at the minute so it’s an incredible achievement by two youngsters. They are two future fundraising superstars.

“We’d also like to say a huge thank you to Lyndsey for giving up her time. She was fantastic with the girls who were a little starstruck at first but were soon bombarding her with questions.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

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.”

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Skerries RNLI rescued a man and a woman who got into difficulty while swimming off the north Co Dublin town this week.

The lifeboat unit was requested to launch shortly before 5pm on Thursday afternoon (16 September) after a 999 call from the public that swimmers were shouting for help off the local swimming spot known as The Captains.

The Skerries volunteers had the Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat Louis Simson on the water within minutes of the pagers being activated, and were on scene just two minutes later.

A member of the public standing on shore at The Captains indicated the direction that the swimmers had been seen and the crew soon spotted them in the water some 300 metres offshore.

The swimmers, a man and a woman, were taken on board the lifeboat where their condition was quickly assessed.

They were experienced swimmers but had been caught by a current and as a result they had been in the water for 40 minutes and were both cold and exhausted.

The lifeboat crew made the swimmers as comfortable as possible while they returned to the station. Once there they were brought into the crew changing rooms where they were helped to dry off and begin to warm up while local doctor and volunteer crew member Jack Keane further assessed their condition.

It was decided, as a precautionary measure, to request an ambulance. Following a thorough check by the paramedics, both swimmers were soon happy enough to be on their way.

Skerries Coast Guard volunteers also responded and were on scene when the lifeboat returned to offer assistance if needed. Conditions at the time were calm, with a Force 2 southerly wind.

Speaking about the callout, press officer Gerry Canning said: “When you hear that there is a swimmer in difficulty you are immediately concerned as they are already in the water, so every second counts.

“The crew assembled very rapidly, and shore crew and tractor driver did a great job launching the boat safely and quickly.

“The member of the public who made the prompt 999 call and directed the lifeboat in the direction of the casualties played a big part too. It’s a great outcome from a serious situation.”

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Skerries RNLI launched to the aid of a man who had fallen from the cliffs in Loughshinny yesterday afternoon (Sunday 5 September).

The lifeboat volunteers were tasked by Dublin Coast Guard after a 999 call was received reporting that a man had fallen from the clifftop and was trapped on the rocks below.

Shortly after 1pm the Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat Louis Simson was launched and arrived on scene within minutes. The crew quickly spotted the man at the base of the cliff face with some people assisting him.

The lifeboat was manoeuvred as close as possible to the shoreline and was greeted by one of the assistants. They were members of a diving club who had been returning from a dive nearby when they heard the man’s cries for help.

Following a quick briefing on the casualty’s condition, two of the crew made their way ashore to further assess him and perform first aid.

The Irish Coast Guard’s Dublin-based helicopter Rescue 116 was also tasked and landed on the beach at Loughshinny, where the casualty was brought by the lifeboat and put on board the aircraft for transfer to Beaumont Hospital.

Less than 24 hours earlier, at 3.30pm on Saturday afternoon (4 September), the volunteer crew launched to a distress call from a small sailing cruiser with two people on board.

The vessel had suffered steering failure between Skerries and Balbriggan and those on board were struggling to make their way to safety.

Almost immediately after launching, the lifeboat made contact with the stricken vessel as they had managed to regain very limited steering and make their way closer to Skerries.

The lifeboat stood by while the vessel approached the harbour and then assisted them in tying up along the pier.

With the help of one of the station volunteers and a local angler, the steering component that had been damaged was successfully repaired and the pair were able to continue on their journey.

Speaking about the callouts, Skerries RNLI press officer Gerry Canning said: “This was another great example of how well all the emergency services work together, with volunteers and professionals working side by side to ensure the best possible outcome.

“We’d also like to say thank you to the gentlemen from Alpha Dive sub aqua club who did a brilliant job in raising the alarm and assisting the casualty until help arrived.”

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RNLI volunteers from Skerries and Howth were tasked to Rush in north Co Dublin on Wednesday afternoon (4 August) following a Pan-Pan VHF call from small fishing boat with two on board that was taking on water near the entrance to Rogerstown Estuary.

With the possibility of persons entering the water, both lifeboats launched shortly after 4.30pm and headed for Rogerstown at the maximum possible safe speed amid moderate conditions, with a Force 4 wind.

As the inshore lifeboat from Skerries arrived on scene, they could see that the casualty vessel had sunk on the bar at the entrance to Rogerstown Estuary.

There were people in the water in the vicinity of the boat where it was grounded, however the water was shallow enough for them to stand.

As lifeboat volunteers assessed the situation, Howth RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat arrived and stood by in case of needed assistance. A ground unit from Skerries Coast Guard was also in attendance.

It was quickly established that the two people from the boat had made it to safety on the beach, but then re-entered the water trying to lay out an anchor to secure the boat.

With the aid of the Skerries RNLI crew, they managed to turn the boat to bring the bow into the waves, which enabled them to bail the boat out and refloat it.

Noting the large number of windsurfers and kitesurfers in the area, Skerries’ helm decided that the boat presented a hazard and could potentially lead to a further callout if left where it was.

The vessel was subsequently taken under tow to the nearest safe harbour at the slipway in Rogerstown. The casualties returned to shore and with the immediate danger passed, Howth RNLI were stood down and returned to station.

Speaking about the callout, Skerries RNLI’s press officer Gerry Canning said: “There is always a great deal of concern when there is the possibility of someone ending up in the water.

“Thankfully on this occasion the boat grounded on a sand bar and they were able to make their way to safety. But it highlights that things can and do go wrong at sea and shows the value of carrying a means to call for help if needed.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Skerries RNLI were tasked by Dublin Coast Guard yesterday afternoon (Wednesday 28 July) following a 999 call from a member of the public reporting paddle boarders in difficulty in Rush Harbour.

Shortly before 3pm, the volunteer crew at Skerries RNLI launched their Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat following the report from a concerned member of the public that two stand-up paddle boarders were unable to return to shore and were in danger of being pushed onto rocks.

The lifeboat rounded the headland at Red Island in Skerries and set a course for Rush. While en route, they first received an update that one paddle boarder had made it ashore but the other had been stranded on rocks near the harbour.

As they passed the entrance to Loughshinny Harbour, they received a further update that the second person had made it safely ashore.

The lifeboat was stood down and returned to the station, where the boat and station were bath sanitised and made ready for the next service.

Conditions at the time were slight with a Force 4 westerly wind.

Speaking about the callout, press officer Gerry Canning said: “We have a lot of people making the most of having the sea on their doorstep at the moment, so it’s vital that people continue to raise the alarm whenever they think someone is danger.

“The caller today was genuinely concerned for the safety of the paddle boarders and did the right thing in dialling 999 and asking for the coastguard.”

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Skerries RNLI rescued two adults and two children on Sunday afternoon (25 July) after their inflatable kayak had been pulled out to sea by strong currents.

Just before 2pm, Dublin Coast Guard requested Skerries RNLI to launch their Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat to respond to a Pan-Pan VHF call.

A group of experienced sea kayakers raised the alarm after they encountered an inflatable kayak with two adults and two children on board struggling to make way against the wind and the tide.

The lifeboat was launched and proceeded immediately to the area where the kayak had been spotted, east of Colt Island in Skerries. The crew soon spotted the inflatable, which had been towed by the other kayakers into the shelter of the island.

All four casualties were taken on board the lifeboat and found to be unharmed. To avoid any hazards to navigation or further callouts, their kayak was also taken on board and the group were returned to the shore at Skerries.

Speaking later, lifeboat press officer Gerry Canning said: “It was encouraging to see all four wearing lifejackets and they had a mobile phone in a waterproof pouch. However, no matter how prepared you are, sometimes you can get caught out.

“We’d like to say a big thank you to the other kayakers who recognised the danger of what was happening, made the call for help, and stayed with the casualty until that help arrived. They played a huge part in ensuring a good outcome.”

Portrush RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat approached the motorboat with steering failure | Credit: RNLI/Daniel ThornePortrush RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat approached the motorboat with steering failure | Credit: RNLI/Daniel Thorne

Elsewhere, Portrush RNLI launched on Saturday afternoon (24th July) to a report of a 34ft motorboat with steering failure just off Portballintrae on Northern Ireland’s Causeway Coast.

Once on scene, the volunteer crew performed a dynamic risk assessment and decided to tow the boat and its three crew to the nearest safe, suitable port which in this case was Portrush Harbour.

“This is a classic tow manoeuvre which our crew train are trained to do,” said lifeboat operations manager Beni McAllister.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Dublin Bay

Dublin Bay on the east coast of Ireland stretches over seven kilometres, from Howth Head on its northern tip to Dalkey Island in the south. It's a place most Dubliners simply take for granted, and one of the capital's least visited places. But there's more going on out there than you'd imagine.

The biggest boating centre is at Dun Laoghaire Harbour on the Bay's south shore that is home to over 1,500 pleasure craft, four waterfront yacht clubs and Ireland's largest marina.

The bay is rather shallow with many sandbanks and rocky outcrops, and was notorious in the past for shipwrecks, especially when the wind was from the east. Until modern times, many ships and their passengers were lost along the treacherous coastline from Howth to Dun Laoghaire, less than a kilometre from shore.

The Bay is a C-shaped inlet of the Irish Sea and is about 10 kilometres wide along its north-south base, and 7 km in length to its apex at the centre of the city of Dublin; stretching from Howth Head in the north to Dalkey Point in the south. North Bull Island is situated in the northwest part of the bay, where one of two major inshore sandbanks lie, and features a 5 km long sandy beach, Dollymount Strand, fronting an internationally recognised wildfowl reserve. Many of the rivers of Dublin reach the Irish Sea at Dublin Bay: the River Liffey, with the River Dodder flow received less than 1 km inland, River Tolka, and various smaller rivers and streams.

Dublin Bay FAQs

There are approximately ten beaches and bathing spots around Dublin Bay: Dollymount Strand; Forty Foot Bathing Place; Half Moon bathing spot; Merrion Strand; Bull Wall; Sandycove Beach; Sandymount Strand; Seapoint; Shelley Banks; Sutton, Burrow Beach

There are slipways on the north side of Dublin Bay at Clontarf, Sutton and on the southside at Dun Laoghaire Harbour, and in Dalkey at Coliemore and Bulloch Harbours.

Dublin Bay is administered by a number of Government Departments, three local authorities and several statutory agencies. Dublin Port Company is in charge of navigation on the Bay.

Dublin Bay is approximately 70 sq kilometres or 7,000 hectares. The Bay is about 10 kilometres wide along its north-south base, and seven km in length east-west to its peak at the centre of the city of Dublin; stretching from Howth Head in the north to Dalkey Point in the south.

Dun Laoghaire Harbour on the southside of the Bay has an East and West Pier, each one kilometre long; this is one of the largest human-made harbours in the world. There also piers or walls at the entrance to the River Liffey at Dublin city known as the Great North and South Walls. Other harbours on the Bay include Bulloch Harbour and Coliemore Harbours both at Dalkey.

There are two marinas on Dublin Bay. Ireland's largest marina with over 800 berths is on the southern shore at Dun Laoghaire Harbour. The other is at Poolbeg Yacht and Boat Club on the River Liffey close to Dublin City.

Car and passenger Ferries operate from Dublin Port to the UK, Isle of Man and France. A passenger ferry operates from Dun Laoghaire Harbour to Howth as well as providing tourist voyages around the bay.

Dublin Bay has two Islands. Bull Island at Clontarf and Dalkey Island on the southern shore of the Bay.

The River Liffey flows through Dublin city and into the Bay. Its tributaries include the River Dodder, the River Poddle and the River Camac.

Dollymount, Burrow and Seapoint beaches

Approximately 1,500 boats from small dinghies to motorboats to ocean-going yachts. The vast majority, over 1,000, are moored at Dun Laoghaire Harbour which is Ireland's boating capital.

In 1981, UNESCO recognised the importance of Dublin Bay by designating North Bull Island as a Biosphere because of its rare and internationally important habitats and species of wildlife. To support sustainable development, UNESCO’s concept of a Biosphere has evolved to include not just areas of ecological value but also the areas around them and the communities that live and work within these areas. There have since been additional international and national designations, covering much of Dublin Bay, to ensure the protection of its water quality and biodiversity. To fulfil these broader management aims for the ecosystem, the Biosphere was expanded in 2015. The Biosphere now covers Dublin Bay, reflecting its significant environmental, economic, cultural and tourism importance, and extends to over 300km² to include the bay, the shore and nearby residential areas.

On the Southside at Dun Laoghaire, there is the National Yacht Club, Royal St. George Yacht Club, Royal Irish Yacht Club and Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club as well as Dublin Bay Sailing Club. In the city centre, there is Poolbeg Yacht and Boat Club. On the Northside of Dublin, there is Clontarf Yacht and Boat Club and Sutton Dinghy Club. While not on Dublin Bay, Howth Yacht Club is the major north Dublin Sailing centre.

© Afloat 2020

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