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Displaying items by tag: Lifeboats

Union Hall RNLI launched this afternoon (Friday 14 May) to assist an angling vessel with seven people on board that was experiencing mechanical difficulty.

The volunteer lifeboat crew were requested to launch their inshore lifeboat Margaret Bench of Solihull at 3.40pm to the chartered angling vessel one mile south of Adam Island, just outside Glandore Harbour in West Cork.

With Tim Forde at the helm accompanied by crew Paddy Moloney and Cathal Deasy, the lifeboat launched at 3.51pm and made its way to the reported location.

Once on scene, a lifeboat crew member established a towline and the lifeboat towed the stricken angling vessel back to the pier at Union Hall.

Speaking following the callout, Union Hall RNLI deputy launching authority Jim Moloney said: “This was the second lifeboat launch request for Union Hall within 24 hours, and with a busy season ahead we would remind everyone going to sea to always carry a means of communication, wear a lifejacket and respect the water.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Castletownbere RNLI was launched last night (Monday 10 May 2021) just after 9:00 pm to go to the assistance of a fishing vessel that experienced mechanical failure close to Mizen Head in West Cork.

Castletownbere lifeboat was tasked by Valentia Coastguard Radio last night to go to the assistance of an 18-metre Castletownbere-based fishing trawler whose propellor had become fouled and therefore was unable to move. The vessel had six crew on board.

The lifeboat was launched within minutes under the command of Coxswain Dean Hegarty with crew Marney O’Donogue, Sean ‘Bawn’ O’Sullivan, Kyle Cronin, Aaron O’Boyle, John William O’Donoghue and Donagh Murphy. At 9:46 pm the lifeboat located the stricken vessel one mile south-west of Mizen Head. Conditions on-scene were described as a 2-3 metre swell and with Force 5 south-westerly winds. Lifeboat crew secured a tow to the fishing vessel and proceeded to tow the vessel towards Castletownbere without incident. The stricken vessel was safely berthed at Castletownbere Pier just before 1:00 am this morning and the lifeboat was refuelled and made ready for service.

Commenting on the callout Castletownbere RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager, Paul Stevens, stated: ‘The fishing vessel made the right call in seeking assistance – given the boat’s proximity to the shore and the prevailing wind conditions, the lifeboat ensured that a potential critical incident was averted. He also complimented the crew on its rapid response, maintaining strict COVID-19 protocols and the successful outcome of the call-out.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Arklow RNLI’s volunteer crew launched their lifeboat within minutes of receiving a report that a sailing vessel was in danger and aground at Clogga Bay last Tuesday afternoon, 20 April.

Upon entering the bay south of Arklow Harbour, the crew on the Trent class lifeboat Ger Tigchlearr quickly identified the casualty vessel — a 24ft sailing yacht with one person aboard — and made best speed to the area.

Coxswain Ned Dillon and crew made their way up as close to the casualty vessel as possible. Given it was aground in shallow waters, the lifeboat’s inflatable XP boat was deployed for the crew to check the casualty vessel and pass on a towline.

The lifeboat then proceeded to slowly pull the sailing vessel to deeper water. Once it was established the boat was dry and not taking on water, it was taken under tow back to Arklow within 40 minutes.

Following the callout, Dillon said: “Thanks to our crew, this was an excellent successful service, where we got to deploy and use very many of the safety critical tools and lifesaving equipment we carry aboard the lifeboat.

“In all my years I’ve never seen all these items being deployed at once and never so successfully. It’s a real testament to our crew and the excellent training we get from RNLI.”

Bringing the casualty vessel ashore in Arklow HarbourBringing the casualty vessel ashore in Arklow Harbour Credit: RNLI/Mark Corcoran

In other recent RNLI news, the Skerries lifeboat was tasked on Monday evening (26 April) after a report of a person stranded on Shenick Island and trying to make their way ashore in the rising tide.

On approach to the island, the lifeboat crew were notified by the coastguard that the individual has made it safety to the beach at Skerries.

But as a number of other people were spotted on the island, the lifeboat put two crew ashore to check on their wellbeing and confirmed they were not planning on returning to shore until the next day.

It followed a busy weekend for Skerries RNLI which saw the North Co Dublin volunteers rescue nine people in two separate incidents.

In the Aran Islands, meanwhile, a late-night medevac for a woman on Inis Mór saw the local lifeboat crew paged in the early hours of yesterday, Tuesday 27 April.

The patient was transferred safely aboard the lifeboat by the volunteer crew, following all strict COVID-19 health and safety guidelines. The lifeboat then headed straight for Rossaveal Harbour and the waiting ambulance.

Speaking after the callout, Aran Islands RNLI coxswain John O’Donnell said: “Time is always of the essence and the volunteer crew are ready to go when called upon. We would like to wish the patient well.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Portrush athlete David McGaffin is taking the RNLI Mayday Mile challenge to a whole new level to raise funds for his local lifeboat station.

The McGaffin family has a long association with Portrush RNLI on Northern Ireland’s North Coast. David’s late father Tom was an integral part of the fabric and was one of the crew on the famous shout in 1989 when the lifeboat was launched to reports of two Spanish trawlers in difficulty.

David, a Springwell Running Club member and long-time supporter of Portrush RNLI, shared his story and why he is setting himself this gruelling challenge.

“The first marathon I took part in was Belfast on 6 May 1985 and was in aid of the RNLI. There was a lot of blistering, some bleeding and an amount of distress so the fact that the race is always held on May Day, which is also an international distress signal, is not lost on me.

”Growing up in Portrush, especially if you fish and mess about in boats, you are very aware of the work that the RNLI does and the amount of money that it takes to keep the service operating.

“My father Tom, who was a RNLI member for many years, initially as a shoreline member, then lifeboat crew and latterly as the deputy launch authority, spent many years fundraising for the RNLI and was one of the founder members of the Portrush Raft Race.

”The RNLI, especially the boat crews, can be a self-deprecating bunch and do not take praise well. To them it’s just a job they do, and once a mission is over, they get ready for the next one.

‘To complete this challenge I will have to run more miles in a month than I have ever done before and week four will be the most miles I will have ever run in a week’

“I have been fortunate to know many crew members, including some who served on the Portrush lifeboat in the 1960s. I have been on boats running for the cover of the harbour in bad weather as the lifeboat launches to someone in distress, and have stood safely on the harbour wall watching the lifeboat head out into the worst weather that the North Atlantic can deliver.

”What I do know about the RNLI is that they are ordinary people doing extraordinary things and deserving of all the medals, commendations and plaudits they receive.“

David added: ”In the absence of the Raft Race I will be taking part in the RNLI May Day Mile challenge, but taking it just a bit further.

“The challenge is simple: set an exercise goal, raise some sponsorship and then complete it. Those of you that know me will know that it’s not going to be that straightforward, there’s no point doing easy if you’re asking for money. I know that you expect some degree of pain, suffering and sacrifice to part you from your hard earned cash, and to that end I will be running the date each day. That’s one mile on the first, two on the second, three on the third and so on.

”To save you from doing the maths the first week is handy enough, week two is alright, it’s tougher going in week three, week four is insane and the last three days just mad. To complete this challenge I will have to run more miles in a month than I have ever done before and week four will be the most miles I will have ever run in a week.“

Portush RNLI press officer Judy Nelson praised David’s dedication to the lifeboat station, especially at a time when the station’s fundraising activities have been severely curtailed by the pandemic while crews have been busier than ever.

”To have someone like David who is not only running to raise funds but also raising awareness of the work our volunteers do is fantastic — we wish him all the best."

If you want to donate to David and the station you can do so via the JustGiving link HERE.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Courtmacsherry RNLI's all-weather Trent class lifeboat Frederick Story Cockburn was called out yesterday afternoon, Sunday 26 April at 3.40pm as people reported a surfer in difficulty off Garrylucas Beach near the Old Head of Kinsale.

The lifeboat under coxswain Ken Cashman and a crew of six was under way within minutes and proceeded at full speed to the area of the casualty, where it carried to a detail search while the Old Head and Seven Heads Coast Guard unit searched from the shoreline.

The area was combed over the next 40 minutes and with nothing found, the search operation was stood down.

This was the third callout over the weekend for the lifeboat crew, beginning on Friday evening (23 April) with reports of a swimmer in difficulty off Broadstrand who was rescued by a kitesurfer, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

This was followed by another callout on Saturday morning (24 April), when the lifeboat crew were on their weekly crew training exercise, to go to the aid of four people in difficulties in the water off Garrettstown Beach. Thankfully these swimmers were rescued by nearby surfers as the lifeboat reached the area.

Philip White, Courtmacsherry RNLI’s deputy launching authority, said: “Great credit is due to all our volunteer crew members who rushed to answer the callout whenever help was required at sea this weekend.”

White also thanked the people on shore who called the rescue services at 112 or 999 as every minute is so important to people in difficulty, no matter what the outcome of a search is.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Skerries RNLI rescued five children and four adults after responding to two separate incidents over the weekend.

Shortly after 6pm on Saturday evening (24 April), the pagers sounded following multiple 999 calls reporting that three children in the water trying to return from Shenick Island to the south beach after being cut off by the rising tide.

The Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat was launched and made its way around the headland at Red Island before heading for Shenick.

As the lifeboat approached the island, they could see the children making their way along the sand bar back towards the island.

A sea kayaker had seen the situation unfolding and landed on the island to convince the children to come out of the water and back to dry land.

The lifeboat was carefully manoeuvred into the shallow waters before the volunteer crew assisted the children, who were very cold but otherwise unharmed into the lifeboat and safely ashore where they were reunited with their parents.

Skerries RNLI towing the stricken motorboat to safetySkerries RNLI towing the stricken motorboat to safety Credit: RNLI/Gerry Canning

Then on Sunday morning (25 April), shortly before 11.30am, the lifeboat was passing Rush Harbour en route to Malahide Marina to carry out a planned training exercise when the crew received a tasking to a motorboat that had suffered engine failure near the north beach in Skerries.

The lifeboat altered course and quickly navigated back to Skerries where after a short search they located the casualty vessel, a 17ft motorboat with four adults and two children on board, anchored off the north beach.

A tow was established and the vessel was brought safely alongside the harbour in Skerries.

Speaking about the callouts, press officer Gerry Canning said: “It’s been a very busy few weeks for the station, but our volunteers are always ready to respond.

“We’d like to remind everyone out enjoying the coast in the good weather to check the tides, and always carry a means of calling for help. If you see someone in trouble, dial 999 and ask for the coastguard.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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A kitesurfer who rescued a swimmer off the Seven Heads in Cork on Friday evening (23 April) said he was “just delighted to help”.

As TheJournal.ie reports, Dylan Green was out on his board when he was alerted to a woman struggling in the water near Broadstrand.

While a friend of the casualty hailed emergency services, Green set about searching for the swimmer who he located close to rocks.

When Courtmacsherry RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat arrived on scene minutes later, Green had already brought the casualty to safety and she was assessed on the beach by locals, including medical personnel, until the ambulance arrived.

After further assessment, the woman was deemed fit to return home with her family to recover from her ordeal.

Brian O’Dwyer, Courtmacsherry RNLI’s lifeboat operations manager, said: “It was amazing to witness myself, he great skill of the kitesurfer this evening who prevented a very serious incident from happening.

Published in Rescue

Skerries RNLI’s volunteers launched their inshore lifeboat on Wednesday evening (21 April) as part of a multi-agency response to reports of a swimmer in difficulty near the Martello tower in Balbriggan.

The Atlantic 85 lifeboat Louis Simson was launched within minutes of the crew being paged just before 7pm and proceeded directly to the area indicated.

On arrival the crew found the Dublin-based Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 116 already on scene and winching a man from the water.

The casualty was the lowered onto the beach and into the care of an ambulance crew and members of Dublin Fire Brigade who administered first aid before he was transferred to hospital.

Meanwhile, further reports came in that other swimmers had entered the water to assist the casualty and a subsequent emergency call raised concerns that there may still be someone in the water.

Rescue 116, Skerries RNLI and the Skerries Coast Guard unit coordinated to carry out a search of the immediate area covering the water and the shoreline.

The lifeboat investigated a number of objects at the request of Rescue 116, including a lifebuoy which they recovered into the lifeboat.

When Dublin Coast Guard was satisfied that the area had been thoroughly searched and there were no further swimmers in danger, the lifeboat was stood down and returned to station.

Speaking about the callout, press officer Gerry Canning said: “When a person is in trouble in the water, every second counts. Rescue 116 were on scene very quickly and it was an excellent response from all of the emergency services who worked brilliantly together.

“Our thoughts are with the friends and family of the man taken from the water and we hope he makes a full recovery.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Skerries RNLI launched Saturday evening (17 April) following reports of two windsurfers struggling to return to shore near Gormanstown Beach.

Shortly before 6.30pm, Dublin Coast Guard tasked Skerries RNLI following a call from a concerned member of the public.

They had reported that two windsurfers were around a mile offshore at Gormanstown and were struggling to make their way back to the beach.

The volunteer crew launched the Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat Louis Simson and navigated to the position indicated by the caller.

Arriving on scene, they quickly spotted the windsurfers and approached them to speak to them. The windsurfers confirmed that they were not in any difficulty but were planning on returning to shore anyway.

The lifeboat stood by while they made their way back to the beach safely. Conditions had a Force 1 southerly wind blowing and a smooth sea.

Speaking about the callout, volunteer lifeboat press officer Gerry Canning said: “Thankfully on this occasion there was no assistance required and it was a false alarm with good intent.

“The member of the public was genuinely concerned for their safety and did the right thing in dialling 999 and asking for the coastguard.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Kilkeel RNLI came to the aid of five people on Saturday (17 April) when their 10m yacht became stranded at Narrow Water Castle on the Northern Ireland side of Carlingford Lough.

The volunteer crew launched their inshore lifeboat at 4.05pm on Saturday to assist the yacht which had lost power and was at anchor at high tide.

The five people on board the yacht, all of whom were wearing lifejackets, were in no immediate danger.

On their way to the stricken yacht, with good visibility in a Force 4 south easterly wind, the Kilkeel RNLI crew were asked to attend to a separate report of one person in the water at Ross’s Monument Corner.

The person in the water had become separated from his catamaran board but by the time the lifeboat had reached the scene he had made his way ashore and Kilkeel Coastguard were attending to him.

Having ascertained that all was well, Kilkeel RNLI continued on their way to the yacht.

Arriving on scene, Kilkeel RNLI confirmed that the yacht crew was safe. A tow line was passed and secured to the vessel and on an ebb tide, the lifeboat then proceeded to Carlingford Marina with the vessel under tow.

Speaking afterwards, the skipper of the yacht said: “After a brilliant sail from Carlingford, up past Narrow Water, we had an engine failure at the worst possible moment. On a lee shore, we dropped anchor, but with a falling tide we were getting perilously close to going aground.

“We were very, very glad to see the boys in orange heaving into view.”

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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