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Displaying items by tag: Lifeboats

Both Dun Laoghaire lifeboats were paged by the Irish Coast Guard after an open-water swimmer was reported missing yesterday (Saturday 16 October).

The swimmer was part of an organised swimming group who quickly realised that one of their number was no longer with them.

Within 23 minutes of the pager alert, the Dublin Bay station’s inshore lifeboat — helmed by Gary Hayes — located the missing swimmer and pulled them aboard the lifeboat. Other than their being very cold, all was well.

The lifeboat unit noted that all the swimmers were well equipped with bright hats and floats which made searching for the missing swimmer far easier.

Ed Totterdell, Dun Laoghaire RNLI’s lifeboat operations manager, said: “It was great to see that the swimming group were wearing hi-viz swimming hats, swim floats and kept a close eye on each other. Being this prepared enabled them to raise the alarm as soon as they realised one of the group was missing.

“Remember, when swimming, make sure someone knows where you are, wear appropriate clothing for the weather, take a means of calling for help in a dry pouch and always swim within your abilities.”

The RNLI has guidance for open-water swimming on its website.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Portrush RNLI has had a busy Sunday launching to separate reports of kayakers and paddle boarders in difficulty yesterday (10 October).

In the first callout, the all-weather lifeboat crew were paged just after 10am to reports of kayakers in difficulty at Portballintrae, on Northern Ireland’s Causeway Coast.

However, the kayakers were able to make their way back to harbour and the lifeboat returned to station.

In the afternoon, the lifeboat was requested to launch at 3.24pm to reports of stand-up paddle boarders in difficulty off Ballintoy. Visibility was good with partial cloud but sea conditions were choppy.

The volunteer crew launched at 3.40pm and arrived on scene at 4.08pm along with both Red Bay RNLI lifeboats. By the time all lifeboats arrived on scene, the paddle boarders had been able to get onto Sheep Island.

Sea and weather conditions prevented the Portrush crew from launching the Y boat to assist the stranded paddle boarders.

By this time an SAR helicopter from HM Coastguard was on the way and both Portrush and Red Bay RNLI were asked to stand by until the casualties were recovered successfully off the island and handed over to coastguard shore crew.

Beni McAllister, Portrush lifeboat operations manager, said: “This was a busy day for our volunteer crew and our flank station Red Bay RNLI, and we commend members of the public who alerted the emergency services very quickly as these two incidences could have had very different outcomes.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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The volunteer crew at Portaferry RNLI launched at the request of a stand-up paddle boarder in difficulty on Guns Island in Co Down yesterday afternoon (Tuesday 5 October).

Launching at 3.14pm in sunny weather with good visibility and a Force 5 northwesterly wind, the inshore lifeboat arrived on scene 10 minutes later and a crew member was placed on the island to assess the casualty.

The paddle boarder was beginning to suffer from mild hypothermia after having been in the water for some time prior to the lifeboat’s arrival. They were placed onboard the lifeboat and taken ashore at Ballyhornan Bay, where they were transferred to the care of Portaferry Coastguard Rescue Team.

Commenting on the callout, Portaferry RNLI helm Fergal Glynn said: ‘“he casualty was wearing appropriate clothing and had made the right decision to make himself safe on the island once they had got into difficulty.

“We would urge anyone planning to spend time on the water to be careful of the conditions and particularly the wind direction, as offshore winds can prove difficult to fight against.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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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.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Athlone open water swimmers Serena Friel and Karen Reynolds have presented Lough Ree RNLI with a cheque for €11,300 following a fundraising swim on the lake last month.

Throughout this year the women, who have been swimming regularly at Coosan Point, admired the progress on the new boathouse for the lifeboat which is under construction on the lake shore.

When they heard of an initiative to raise a local community contribution of €100,000 for the facility, they decided to lend their support.

Under the careful eye of their coach David Warby from Athlone Regional Sports Centre. they set about the task of training to swim the length of Lough Ree — a challenging 32km from Lanesboro Bridge on the Longford/Roscommon border to the Town Bridge in Athlone.

They completed the task last month in a record time of 10 hours 13 minutes.

On Thursday last (16 September) Serena and Karen visited the Lough Ree RNLI facility at Coosan Point and presented treasurer Vincent Rafter with a cheque for €11,300 — more than 10% of the overall target.

Karen Reynolds and Serena Friel with a lake chart of their swim route | Credit: RNLI/Tom McGuireKaren Reynolds and Serena Friel with a lake chart of their swim route | Credit: RNLI/Tom McGuire

At the presentation, Serena thanked everyone who had supported them in the ‘Lough Ree Challenge’, especially Midland Print, Cantwell Corporate Finance, the staff of Athlone Mail Centre and clients of Serena’s Hair Studio.

Karen thanked “everyone who had contributed to the fund and especially logistics coordinator Carmel Hughes and Catriona Cantwell for social media”.

Accepting the generous donation, Vincent Rafter said: “Both women have made an invaluable contribution to the charity and to water safety on the lake and River Shannon.”

So far this year Lough Ree RNLI has responded to 42 callouts to people and vessels in difficulty on the water.

This week Lough Ree RNLI also received a generous contribution to the fund of €1,500 from RBK Chartered Accountants.

The station has a local bank account where all donations, large or small, are welcome. The account name is Loughree RNLI Boathouse Appeal, the BIC is AIBKIE2D and the IBAN is IE80AIBK93226458090098.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Lough Derg RNLI had back-to-back callouts yesterday afternoon (Sunday 19 September) to vessels that had run aground near navigation marks.

At 1.35pm the Lough Derg lifeboat launched to assist seven people on a 45ft cruiser aground at Navigation Mark G.

While en route, Valentia Coast Guard reported a further three people in need of assistance on a 30ft cruiser aground at Navigation Mark E.

At the time the lake had a moderate chop with Force 3-4 variable south-westerly winds and frequent squalls.

At 2.08pm the lifeboat had the first casualty vessel in sight, aground on a shoal near Navigation Mark G on the Tipperary shore.

Marine engineers from the cruise hire company arrived on scene at the same time, and the lifeboat remained on standby until the engineers had the cruiser off the shoal and the scene was safe.

At 2.30pm the lifeboat departed to assist the three people on the second vessel aground, reaching them 15 minutes later.

This 30ft vessel was aground off the Goat Road, a raised shoal for migrating birds. The lifeboat found all three people to be safe and unharmed and wearing their lifejackets.

The lifeboat transferred two RNLI volunteers across to the casualty vessel, which was found to be not holed.

Given the weather conditions, the RNLI helm decided that the safest course of action was to take the cruiser off the rocks and out into safe water.

Once back afloat, the cruiser’s drives and rudder were found to be in good working order and it was able to continue its passage under its own power.

Lifeboat operations manager Christine O’Malley advises water users unfamiliar with Lough Derg to “plan your passage and keep a lookout for the next navigation mark on your route. Plan your course to arrive at safe harbour before nightfall.”

The Lough Derg crew on these callouts was helm Owen Cavanagh, Steve Smyth, Tom Hayes and Michael O’Sullivan.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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A pleasure boat with mechanical issues off the Seven Heads in West Cork prompted a launch by Courmacsherry RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat at the weekend.

The Trent class lifeboat Frederick Storey Cockburn — under coxswain Mark Gannon and a volunteer crew of five — set off on Saturday evening (18 September) to go to the aid of the 38ft pleasure boat with four on board, which was some seven miles offshore.

The lifeboat was on scene within half an hour and quick assessed the situation. A towline was attached to the disabled boat, and the lifeboat proceeded under tow at a safe speed to the nearest port of Courtmacsherry.

Courtmacsherry RNLI lifeboat operations manager Brian O’Dwyer said: “It is always better to act quickly at sea in freshening conditions and it was good that the boat’s skipper sought assistance this evening.

“Once again great credit goes to our crew in responding to our 23rd lifeboat call out so far in 2021.”

The lifeboat crew involved in the call out were coxswain Mark Gannon, mechanic Dave Philips and crew members Mark John Gannon, Donal Young, Peter Noonan and Paul McCarthy.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Youghal RNLI launched to the aid of a man who had fallen overboard from his yacht in the East Cork town’s harbour at the weekend.

The volunteer crew were requested to launch their inshore lifeboat on Saturday afternoon (18 September) following reports of a lone sailor in trouble in Youghal Harbour.

The man had reportedly fallen overboard while trying to free a rope that was caught around the propeller of his 28ft yacht. He managed to get back onboard where he raised the alarm.

The lifeboat arrived on scene to find the crew of two local angling vessels already on scene and providing assistance.

Two lifeboat crew boarded the 28ft yacht and medically assessed the casualty. He was then taken onboard the lifeboat and back to shore to an awaiting family member. No further medical treatment was required.

Meanwhile, the yacht was towed back to its nearby mooring and secured.

Mark Nolan, Youghal RNLI’s deputy launching authority, said after the callout: “Tragedy was avoided today because this gentleman had the good sense to be wearing a lifejacket and to be carrying a form of communication. If he hadn’t, the outcome could have been much more serious.

“I would also like to extend my thanks to the crew of the two local vessels that were first on scene and came to his assistance today.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Donaghadee RNLI carried out a medevac of a passenger who became ill on a cruise ship that left Belfast Lough on Friday evening (17 September).

The volunteer crew were requested by Belfast Coastguard to launch their all-weather lifeboat Saxon shortly after 6pm and go to the aid of the female casualty.

The lifeboat launched at 6.12pm under coxswain Philip McNamara and seven crew members onboard and was on scene within half an hour. Weather conditions had a north-easterly Force 3 wind with calm seas and slight rain.

he lifeboat crew liaised with the ship and the ship’s doctor on the condition of the casualty before transferring the

After liaising with the ship and the ship’s doctor on the casualty’s condition, the RNLI crew transferred her onto the lifeboat and administer casualty care.

The lifeboat then proceeded to Bangor Marina with the casualty and another passenger, and once returned to shore the patient was transferred into the care of the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service.

Speaking following the callout, McNamara said: “We were glad to be able to help tonight and would like to wish the casualty a speedy recovery.

“I would also like to commend our volunteer crew who turned out so quickly in numbers this evening ensuring we could get our help to the casualty as soon as we could.”

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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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