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Displaying items by tag: RNLI

Eleven-year-old Tommy Kehoe was one of around 60 sea swimmers who completed a fundraising challenge on the Little Beach in Kilmore Quay on New Year’s Eve in aid of the Co Wexford village’s RNLI lifeboat.

Organised by local women Melinda Kehoe, Grainne O'Brien and Simmi Duffin, the 20 Dips in December challenge saw local swimmers take part in, not one but 20 sponsored swims in the sea during the month of December.

The weather and sea conditions throughout the month were a key consideration for the swimmers. Even though there were some days where conditions did not allow for a dip, there were enough favourable days to allow for the challenge to be completed safely by the hardy swimmers.

Among them was Melinda’s son Tommy, who even fitted in a dip in the mornings before school. And his efforts have been well rewarded as so far he has raised €1,140 for the local lifeboat. Donations can still be made on the event’s JustGiving page.

Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, fundraising in aid of Kilmore Quay lifeboat has taken place throughout the year as guidelines allowed.

Dedicated supporters of the RNLI in the area have organised walks, swims, cycles, vintage runs, online bingo, and head shaves among other activities, raising vital funds to maintain the charity's lifesaving services.

Speaking following the final swim on Friday, Kilmore Quay RNLI lifeboat operations manager John Grace said: “There is a fantastic community spirit here today. Tommy has raised an incredible sum of money for the RNLI, as have all the participants.

“We cannot thank everyone who took part and all who support Kilmore Quay RNLI throughout the year enough for all their efforts and generosity.”

Those taking part in the 20 Dips in December challenge swim regularly in the sea throughout the year. If you are considering doing so, please check out the safety tips on Swim Ireland’s website regarding winter swimming in Ireland or contact a local open-water swimming group.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

The volunteer lifeboat crew of Howth RNLI had their first launch of 2022 yesterday (Sunday 2 January) to paddleboarders in difficulty off the coast of Portmarnock Beach. Immediately after that, they were tasked to rescue a group of kayakers who could not make it back to Howth Harbour due to the strong off-shore winds.

The inshore lifeboat was launched at 2.05 pm and made way towards Portmarnock Beach. Weather conditions were poor with strong winds and one-metre-high seas. Once on scene at Portmarnock, Howth Lifeboat crew located the paddleboarders who had made their way ashore with their punctured paddleboard. A crew member was sent ashore to assess the paddleboarders before they were handed into the care of a Coast Guard crew on Portmarnock beach.

As the lifeboat crew made their way back to Howth, they were alerted to another situation involving five kayakers who were in difficulty as they made their way back to Howth Harbour, due to the strong off-shore winds. The volunteer lifeboat crew located three of the kayakers who had taken shelter on Ireland’s Eye, an island just North of Howth Harbour. The crew took the kayakers on board the lifeboat and brought them back to Howth. The lifeboat then escorted the remaining two kayakers back to the safety of the harbour.

Speaking following the call-out, Howth RNLI inshore lifeboat helm, Lorcan Dignam said, ‘When going on the water it’s really important that you always check the weather and tides and be mindful that conditions can change quickly. You should always carry a means of calling for help and keep it within reach. Although the weather has been quite mild recently, sea temperatures are very cold at this time of year and people taking to the water should be dressed for the conditions and always wear a lifejacket. Thankfully the outcome today, our first launch of 2022, was a successful one with the paddleboarders and kayakers all returned safely to shore.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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The RNLI has recorded a bumper year in donations driven largely by public support for its humanitarian work in the English Channel, as the Guardian reports.

Online donations to the charity that saves lives at sea have risen by 50% in 2021, it says, putting it on course for its best fundraising year since it was founded in 1824.

In July last year the charity’s chief executive issued a statement in the wake of criticism from right-wing commentators and media for its efforts in rescuing asylum seekers from the English Channel, emphasising that he “could not be prouder” of the work of the RNLI’s volunteers.

Since the tragic drawing of 27 people in the Channel in November 2021, just days after an attempted blockade against a lifeboat by fishermen allegedly encouraged by right-wing propaganda, the RNLI says its support from the public has only grown stronger.

The Guardian has more on the story HERE.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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The volunteer crew of the Bundoran RNLI Lifeboat was called out to reports of a surfer in difficulty on New Year’s Day afternoon. The emergency call was placed to Malin Head Coast Guard just after 3 pm on Saturday (1st January 2022) with the volunteer crew launching just five minutes following the alert.

The surfer thought to be in difficulty was surfing on the Peak and the lifeboat was on scene within one minute of launching. After a few minutes in the area and having spoken to a surfer in the water, it was determined that all was okay and that the call was one with good intent. As a precaution, the Sligo based Rescue 118 helicopter had been launched from Strandhill and also did a sweep of the area.

Speaking on their return to the station, helm Richard Gillespie advised people along the coast to be alert ‘today was a call with good intent – we would always urge people who think that they see someone in difficulty on the coast to call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coast Guard. We would always rather launch to check something out than not be called at all.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Baltimore RNLI were called out to provide a medical evacuation yesterday (Thursday 30 December) from Cape Clear Island off the coast of West Cork.

The volunteer lifeboat crew launched their all-weather lifeboat at 9.26 am, following a request to bring a doctor to the island and provide a medical evacuation.

The Baltimore all-weather lifeboat crew arrived at North Harbour in Cape Clear Island at 9.52 am The casualty was transferred by stretcher onboard the lifeboat and they departed the Island at 10.05 am. The lifeboat returned to the station in Baltimore arriving at 10.30 am and the casualty was handed over to the care of HSE Ambulance crew at 10.35 am.

There were five volunteer crew onboard the lifeboat, Coxswain Aidan Bushe, Mechanic Micheal Cottrell and crew members David Ryan, Kieran Collins and Jerry Smith. Our station medical advisor, Dr Don Creagh, accompanied the crew on the call. Conditions at sea during the call out were poor with a south-westerly force 4 wind, a 2m sea swell and fog with visibility of 1 nautical mile.

Speaking following the call out, Kate Callanan, Baltimore RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer said: ‘If you find yourself in a medical emergency whilst on an island don’t hesitate call 999 or 112.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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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.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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The RNLI recently launched its partnership as the official charity partner of The Gemini Boat Race 2022, which is set for Sunday 3 April.

Since 2002, the RNLI’s Chiswick lifeboat station has supported The Boat Race between Oxford and Cambridge with its E-class lifeboat.

The crew are on hand to keep The Boat Race competitors safe, as well as the thousands of spectators who line the banks of the Thames on race day.

In 2016, the RNLI bolstered its lifesaving service with the addition of nine Arancia-class lifeboats crewed by lifeguards. These are strategically positioned along the course to keep the public safe while the tide is incoming.

The partnership first took place in 2019, with the aim of increasing awareness of the RNLI’s flagship ‘float to live’ drowning prevention campaign.

In addition, in 2022 the RNLI’s community safety team will be working with venues and schools along the course to provide lifesaving water safety training and encourage familiarity with throw lines.

The partnership aims to raise funds to support the Thames’ lifesaving service with all proceeds going towards the running costs of the four RNLI stations along the river.

Wayne Bellamy, station manager for RNLI Chiswick, said, “2022 will be the 20th year that my crew and I have supported The Boat Race, and kept competitors and spectators safe. This year also happens to be our station’s 20th birthday.

“In that time, we have launched over 4,000 times and rescued almost 2,000 people, and on behalf of our 100 volunteer crew, fundraisers and water safety team, I would like to thank you for your continued support of the RNLI at Chiswick.”

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, former Chiswick crew member James Kitt has had his first Christmas on call with the RNLI at his new home in Baltimore in West Cork.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Two open water swimmers who got into difficulty during their Christmas Day swim near Bangor in Northern Ireland have been praised for wearing kit that made it easier to find them.

The pair were reported to be having problems in Belfast Lough off Grey Point Fort in Helen’s Bay by a passer-by who called 999 and asked for the coastguard.

Bangor and Portaferry Coastguard Rescue Teams and Bangor RNLI’s lifeboat were both sent, along with paramedics, Air Ambulance NI and PSNI.

One of the swimmers made it to shore by themselves and was treated by coastguard personnel, while the other was rescued from the water by Bangor lifeboat. Both were handed into the care of the NI Ambulance Service.

Jude McNeice of HM Coastguard said: “The fact that both swimmers were wearing tow floats made it much easier to locate them.

“Even the most experienced swimmer can be caught out by a change in the conditions and we’d always urge open water swimmers to make sure they have kit like this before taking to the water. It could save your life.”

Commenting on the incident on social media, Bangor RNLI said: “On Facebook there are a number of comments critical of the two swimmers, but Bangor RNLI won’t be joining in.

“We can be pretty sure the casualties did not leave home planning to be reckless and requiring rescue; they just got into difficulty and almost paid the ultimate price. They have our amazing rescue services to thank for still being with us.”

Published in Rescue
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Fethard RNLI joined Kilmore Quay’s coastguard unit in a multi-agency operation to rescue local residents trapped in their homes by heavy flooding on Christmas Day, according to RTÉ News.

It’s reported that a number of people in the village of Bridgetown were safely removed by lifeboat, while motorists who were either cut off by the flooding or trapped in the water were also assisted.

Wexford Civil Defence and Wexford Fire Service also joined in the rescue effort on Saturday 25 December, as Kilmore Quay Coast Guard acknowledged on social media.

Heavy rainfall delayed the arrival of the Waterford-based Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 117 — and was also responsible for the erosion of bridges near Enniscorthy due to the swelling of the River Borough (Boro), a tributary of the River Slaney.

In a statement, Transport Minister Eamon Ryan said his department “will provide full support for Wexford County Council and other councils as they address and repair the damage caused by the flash floods”.

Published in Rescue

The annual Dun Laoghaire RNLI Christmas Eve ceremony was held this afternoon to honour the memory of 15 lifeboat volunteers who died on service 126 years ago. This year’s ceremony also marked the 200th anniversary of the death of four crew members who died on a call-out at Christmas time in 1821.

The short service at the end of the East Pier commemorated all lives lost around our coasts and on inland waters in 2021.

Dun Laoghaire RNLI’s volunteer crew traditionally hold this annual ceremony at the East Pier lighthouse as part of a long-standing local custom to acknowledge the sacrifice of their colleagues in carrying out their duty.

Wreaths were placed by the lifeboat crew at sea off the East Pier in memory of all lives lost at seaWreaths were placed by the lifeboat crew at sea off the East Pier Photo: Conrad Jones

The lifeboat service on Dublin Bay is one of the oldest in the world, dating back to 1803 and a lifeboat was based at nearby Sandycove as one of several local stations.

During a service to the brig Ellen in an easterly gale on 28 December 1821, the lifeboat with 14 crew members onboard, was swamped and the crew were washed out of the lifeboat with four people losing their lives; Hugh Byrne, Thomas Fitzsimons, John Archbold and Thomas Grimes.

On Christmas Eve in 1895, the number two lifeboat was capsized in gale force winds while proceeding to the assistance of the SS Palme of Finland that had run aground off Blackrock. All 15 crew members onboard, drowned.

During today’s ceremony, wreaths were placed by the lifeboat crew at sea off the East Pier in memory of all lives lost at sea.

The Covid-19 compliant ceremony beside the lighthouse, featured musician William Byrne performing The Ballad of the Palme and Sports broadcaster Des Cahill who reading a newspaper account of the disaster, which was published at the time. An ecumenical blessing was given by Reverends Bruce Hayes and Fr. Padraig Gleeson before a lament was played by piper Paul McNally.

There was a joint guard of honour provided by representatives from the Dun Laoghaire Coast Guard Unit and Civil Defence.

As the ceremony came to a close, Dun Laoghaire RNLI’s inshore lifeboat was called out to rescue a dog that had fallen from the West Pier at Coal Harbour. They immediately raced to the scene, retrieving the dog from the water and reuniting it with the owner, before returning back to station and standing down.

The names of the 15 volunteer crew members who died in 1895 were John Baker, John Bartley, Edward Crowe, Thomas Dunphy, William Dunphy, Francis McDonald, Edward Murphy, Patrick Power, James Ryan, Francis Saunders, George Saunders, Edward Shannon, Henry Underhill, Alexander Williams and Henry Williams.

The lifeboat capsized when about 600 yards from the distressed vessel and, although every effort was made to render help to the lifeboat and to the SS Palme, nothing could be done.

The number one lifeboat also put out with only a crew of nine and obtained six further volunteers from HMS Melampus. She also capsized under sail but fortunately, all regained the lifeboat.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Ferry & Car Ferry News The ferry industry on the Irish Sea, is just like any other sector of the shipping industry, in that it is made up of a myriad of ship operators, owners, managers, charterers all contributing to providing a network of routes carried out by a variety of ships designed for different albeit similar purposes.

All this ferry activity involves conventional ferry tonnage, 'ro-pax', where the vessel's primary design is to carry more freight capacity rather than passengers. This is in some cases though, is in complete variance to the fast ferry craft where they carry many more passengers and charging a premium.

In reporting the ferry scene, we examine the constantly changing trends of this sector, as rival ferry operators are competing in an intensive environment, battling out for market share following the fallout of the economic crisis. All this has consequences some immediately felt, while at times, the effects can be drawn out over time, leading to the expense of others, through reduced competition or takeover or even face complete removal from the marketplace, as witnessed in recent years.

Arising from these challenging times, there are of course winners and losers, as exemplified in the trend to run high-speed ferry craft only during the peak-season summer months and on shorter distance routes. In addition, where fastcraft had once dominated the ferry scene, during the heady days from the mid-90's onwards, they have been replaced by recent newcomers in the form of the 'fast ferry' and with increased levels of luxury, yet seeming to form as a cost-effective alternative.

Irish Sea Ferry Routes

Irrespective of the type of vessel deployed on Irish Sea routes (between 2-9 hours), it is the ferry companies that keep the wheels of industry moving as freight vehicles literally (roll-on and roll-off) ships coupled with motoring tourists and the humble 'foot' passenger transported 363 days a year.

As such the exclusive freight-only operators provide important trading routes between Ireland and the UK, where the freight haulage customer is 'king' to generating year-round revenue to the ferry operator. However, custom built tonnage entering service in recent years has exceeded the level of capacity of the Irish Sea in certain quarters of the freight market.

A prime example of the necessity for trade in which we consumers often expect daily, though arguably question how it reached our shores, is the delivery of just in time perishable products to fill our supermarket shelves.

A visual manifestation of this is the arrival every morning and evening into our main ports, where a combination of ferries, ro-pax vessels and fast-craft all descend at the same time. In essence this a marine version to our road-based rush hour traffic going in and out along the commuter belts.

Across the Celtic Sea, the ferry scene coverage is also about those overnight direct ferry routes from Ireland connecting the north-western French ports in Brittany and Normandy.

Due to the seasonality of these routes to Europe, the ferry scene may be in the majority running between February to November, however by no means does this lessen operator competition.

Noting there have been plans over the years to run a direct Irish –Iberian ferry service, which would open up existing and develop new freight markets. Should a direct service open, it would bring new opportunities also for holidaymakers, where Spain is the most visited country in the EU visited by Irish holidaymakers ... heading for the sun!

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