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Displaying items by tag: Northern Ireland

#RNLI - Newcastle RNLI’s always-on-call lifeboat crew had to abandon their buckets and sponges during a fundraising car wash at the weekend to respond to an emergency at the Co Down town’s harbour.

The RNLI volunteers were busily soaping and rinsing cars for their annual Easter fundraiser on Saturday when they were alerted to a woman in trouble in the freezing water a few yards from one of the piers.

The car wash was immediately abandoned and within minutes the inshore lifeboat Aldergrove II was launched and rushed to the woman’s aid.

At the same time, crew member Shane Rice grabbed a lifebelt from the pier and jumped into the water to assist the woman. He kept her afloat while the Aldergrove II came alongside.

The woman was helped into the rescue inflatable, wrapped in blankets to prevent hypothermia, and taken back to shore where an ambulance was waiting to take her to hospital.

Newcastle RNLI’s deputy launching authority Clifford Moorehead said afterwards: "The lifeboat crew are always ready to respond in an instant to any emergency. It is fortunate that the car wash was in progress at the time and the crew members were on hand to swiftly deal with this case.


"After the rescue the crew members came back to the harbour and resumed their car wash. It’s just all in a day’s work for the RNLI."

It wasn't the only callout of the weekend for the RNLI in Co Down, as Bangor RNLI assisted a lone sailor who got into difficulty on a sailing dinghy Easter Sunday.

At 1.10pm the volunteer lifeboat crew received an urgent request from Belfast Coastguard to launch the lifeboat and rescue one person from a 17ft dinghy. 

The sailing dinghy had reportedly gone aground on ‘Cockle Island’ off Groomsport Harbour on the southern shores of Belfast Lough.  
  


Upon arrival at the scene, the volunteer crew found that the occupant onboard the dinghy had been assisted by another boat owner and the vessel had been safely tied to a mooring buoy.  
 

Meanwhile, last Wednesday evening Portaferry RNLI was launched to reports that red flares has been sighted on Strangford Lough off Kircubbin in Co Down.

They were joined by a coastguard team that searched the shoreline and after some time recovered a spent flare casing. The inshore lifeboat and its volunteer crew were stood down after a number of hours with the callout proving to be a false alarm.

Portaferry RNLI lifeboat operations manager Brian Bailie said: "A member of the public acted in good faith ... alerting the emergency services to what they understood to be a distress flare on the lough."

He reiterated that flares "should only be used in emergency situations".

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#Coastguard - A Limavady councillor says two men rescued yesterday from the snow-covered Benevenagh Mountain should be billed for the cost of their "completely idiotic" escapade.

The Belfast Telegraph reports that the Irish Coast Guard's Sligo-based Rescue 118 helicopter was involved in the major operation to retrieve the two men who became stuck while climbing a snow gully.

It also emerged that a PSNI search and rescue team had to be airlifted to the site by an Army Air Corps helicopter that had been involved in distributing animal food relief to farmers badly affected by the recent poor weather.

Limavady councillor Edwin Stevenson, who is also a farmer, said: "I am at an absolute loss as to why anyone would decide to climb Benevenagh in these conditions and can only describe the actions of these two men as completely idiotic."

He suggested that the NI Executive should consider "billing people who carelessly risk not just their own lives, but also the lives of the emergency services who invariably end up having to dedicate time and energy rescuing them".

The Belfast Telegraph has more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastguard

#WaterSafety - RNLI lifeguards in Northern Ireland are to feature on a new television series on UTV.

The Magazine starts on Sunday 7 April at 7.30pm with host Sarah Travers in her home town of Portstewart to introduce viewers to some of her favourite people, places and topics.
 


As part of the first programme, TV presenter Emma-Rosa Dias will find out what it takes to be a lifeguard with the RNLI when she visits the charity’s area support centre in Ballymoney - before being put through her paces by RNLI lifeguard supervisor Tim Doran to see if she is ready for the challenge.



After a test in the swimming pool, Dias experiences a slice of the real thing when she pays a visit to Portrush East Strand on the Causeway Coast, one of the five beaches in Northern Ireland which begins its Easter season on Good Friday tomorrow 29 March.



As previously reported on Afloat.ie, this lifeguard cover will run throughout Easter week until Sunday 7 April.



Filming took place on Monday afternoon and despite the unseasonal weather, the charity’s highly trained lifeguards took the opportunity to demonstrate that they will be ready to assist the visitors who will brave the elements and take a trip to the seaside over the Easter break. 



Speaking following the afternoon’s shoot, Tim Doran said filming with UTV was a great way to show how highly trained RNLI lifeguards are.

"Our lifeguards spot potential dangers before they develop, and are on hand to give appropriate safety advice and respond immediately if anyone gets into difficulty," he said. "Because our lifeguards work closely alongside our volunteer lifeboat crews, it means the RNLI offers beach-goers and water-users a seamless rescue service from beach to open sea."

While Easter is often the time when people are getting back in the water after the winter, and while it’s good to see people enjoying the beaches, the RNLI is encouraging visitors to make sure they have the right kit to keep warm.



"It’s much colder now then it was this time last year," Doran added, "and our lifeguards will be wrapping up and we’d encourage everyone else to do the same. So, if you are heading into the sea, make sure you’re wearing a good wetsuit or drysuit, go with other people and keep an eye on each other.

"Keeping warm in cold weather can take a lot of energy, so fatigue can be an issue, plus watch out for the wind chill factor – even a slight breeze can have a dramatic effect on how cold it feels."



Meanwhile, to find out how Emma-Rosa Dias gets on, tune into UTV at 7.30pm on Sunday 7 April.

Published in Water Safety

#WaterSafety - RNLI lifeguards will provide Easter cover for the first time on three of the most popular family beaches in Northern Ireland.

For the second year running, lifeguards will be patrolling Tyrella Beach in Co Down, and for the third year will be ready to offer safety advice and assistance on Benone Strand on the north coast.



In addition this Easter, lifeguards will also be patrolling Portstewart Strand, Portrush East Strand and Whiterocks beach, all of which are located along the Causeway Coast.



The cover commences on Good Friday 29 March and will run throughout Easter week until Sunday 7 April.



Despite the unseasonal weather, the charity’s highly trained lifeguards will be ready to assist visitors who brave the elements and take a trip to the seaside over the Easter break. 



The lifeguards will operate on Benone, Portstewart, East Strand and Whiterocks from 11am to 7pm, and from 10am to 6pm on Tyrella Beach.



RNLI regional lifeguard manager Mike Grocott said: "Our highly trained lifeguards spot potential dangers before they develop, and are on hand to give appropriate safety advice and respond immediately if anyone gets into difficulty.

"Because our lifeguards work closely alongside our volunteer lifeboat crews, it means the RNLI offers beachgoers and water-users a seamless rescue service from beach to open sea."

The RNLI started providing lifeguard cover on Northern Ireland beaches in 2011, working with Coleraine Borough Council, Limavady Borough Council and the National Trust - and going into its third season now has lifeguards on 10 beaches.



Last year, lifeguards in the areas of Newry and Mourne District Council, Down District Council and the Causeway Coast together responded to 158 incidents and assisted 176 people.



Speaking ahead of the Easter holidays, RNLI lifeguard supervisor Tim Doran encouraged anyone planning a trip to the beach to keep safe.

"Always swim at a lifeguarded beach. Never use inflatables in strong winds or rough seas and check tide times before you go," he said. "If you get into trouble, stick your hand in the air and shout for help and if you see someone else in trouble, tell a lifeguard. If you can’t see a lifeguard, call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard."



The RNLI is also encouraging anyone planning a trip to the seaside this year to download its ‘Beach Finder’ mobile app.

The handy app makes it easy to find the nearest lifeguarded beach, and gives users a wealth of beach safety information at their fingertips.



Real-time weather information and a five-day forecast for each location is also included with the app – ideal for anyone wondering whether they’ll need to pack their suncream or waterproofs!



The app is available to download free of charge on both Android and iOS devices from www.rnli.org/beach.

Published in Water Safety

#SeaKayaking - A Portrush teen is preparing to cross the Irish Sea by kayak for charity this summer.

Top surf kayaker Andy McClelland aims to raise funds for the Alzheimer's Society, Kidney Research and the Regional Respiratory Centre with his One Man One Boat campaign, which will see him kayak 22 miles across the open water from Donaghadee in Co Down to Portpatrick in Scotland.

The current Surf Kayak Junior World Champion will embark on his challenge in a high-performance sea kayak on loan from Rockpool Sea Kayaks and is presently planning his trip with fellow physiotherapy students at Ulster University Jordanstown as well as the Causeway Coast Kayaking Club.

McClelland has yet to set a date for the solo crossing, awaiting word on the best possible weather and sea conditions in May.

The Alzheimer's Society has more on the story HERE.

Published in Kayaking

#Angling - Pike anglers in Fermanagh have taken to social media to campaign against what they call the 'illegal' commercial netting of pike in Lough Erne - but the story isn't all what it seems.

According to The Impartial Reporter, the pike nets men are licensed by Northern Ireland's Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure (DCAL) to catch pike during the open season from 1 December to 28 February annually.

A DCAL spokesperson said the commercial fishery is in place "to manage pike stocks and reduce their impact on trout stocks", a practice that is "in keeping with management practices elsewhere, including in high value large trout lakes in the West of Ireland".

It's reported that only five of seven licensed pike nets men took out the necessary permits to net pike on the Erne system in the most recent season.

But this hasn't stopped some anglers from threatening to break the law and tamper with pike nets in what appears to be misguided anger fuelled by online allegations.

The Impartial Reporter has more on the story HERE.

Published in Angling

#InlandWaterways - Plans for one of Northern Ireland's biggest road schemes are in jeopardy after it emerged that construction could interfere with important salmon rivers.

As the Belfast Telegraph reports, High Court Justice Stephens said he was "minded" to put a stop to the A5 road project between Derry and South Tyrone as he found there had been a failure to carry out an impact assessment on the Special Areas of Conservation designated on the Rivers Foyle and Finn.

Both rivers are important for migrating salmon whose numbers are dwindling in Northern Ireland's waterways, despite reports of isolated surplus counts in areas like Lough Melvin.

The Department for Regional Development now has till next Friday to argue that the omission in their preparations should not prompt the quashing of plans for the new cross-border route.

The Belfast Telegraph has more on the story HERE.

Published in Inland Waterways

#RNLI - Donaghadee lifeboat station was delighted yesterday (7 March) to welcome RNLI chief executive Paul Boissier, who was on a two-day visit to the Northern Ireland division.

Operational and fund raising volunteers crowded into the station to meet Boissier, who thanked them for coming out so early on a cold and wet morning. 



While sitting enjoying the hospitality of the station, Boissier listened to the views of both crew and fundraisers on a wide range of topics. He said he was delighted to be in such a beautiful part of Northern Ireland and could not help but be impressed with the enthusiasm of all the volunteers.



He praised and thanked them for their commitment to the RNLI while remembering the support from the local community, and went on to say that the commitment of the operational volunteers supported by all at the station made the sea around the local coastline that much safer for everyone.

Meanwhile, Arklow RNLI was delighted to welcome the charity's newest lifeboat Kiwi and her volunteer crew to Arklow Harbour on Monday evening.

Prior to arriving in Arklow, the Tamar class lifeboat – which features the latest in search and rescue technology – had visited Torbay, St Mary’s on the Scilly Isles, Falmouth and Rosslare on her passage home to Wales. The weary crew arrived in Arklow after more than eight hours at sea.

The new vessel is a replacement station boat for Moelfre and replaces a Tyne class lifeboat similar to the one stationed at Arklow's flank RNLI station in Wicklow.

Kiwi was funded from a bequest by Reginald James Clark, a New Zealander who had been rescued by an RNLI lifeboat during World War II.

The crew from Moelfre was welcomed by Arklow RNLI's crew, fundraisers and station management along with members of the public.

Following her overnight stay in Arklow, she departed at 8.30am on Tuesday morning for her new home at Moelfre.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#Coastguard - The chief executive of the UK's Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) was in Northern Ireland yesterday (4 March) to discuss future collaboration with the Royal National Mission to Deep Sea Fishermen.

As Fishupdate.com reports, the charity - also known as the Fishermen's Mission - provides emergency support to fishermen and their families in times of need.

Sir Alan Massey of the MCA was in Kilkeel, Co Down to meet with the charity's CEO David Dickens to find out how best to work together on their common ground of safety at sea.

"We want to encourage a culture where it becomes normal practice for all fishermen to wear a lifejacket or personal flotation device (PFD) when out at sea," said Massey.

Dickens added that the Fishermen's Mission is "keen to engage with all agencies and organisations that seek to reduce the number and severity of incidents in fishing".

Published in Coastguard

#Canoeing - Larne women will be paddling the Bann this April all in the aid of a very good cause.

The 24-strong group from local fitness club BeFit, going by the title of the BeFit Challengers, will take to the water on 20 April for the start of a two-day canoeing expedition, along the River Bann and out to the Atlantic.

As the Larne Times reports, these ladies hope the challenge - and an epic mountain cycling event later in the year - will raise funds for Cancer Focus Northern Ireland.

BeFit owner Andrea Kernohan said: “I like to set the BeFit girls a challenge every so often, so that they have a fitness gold to work towards. I thought these Cancer Focus challenge events were perfect.

"Sadly this cause is close to mine and the girls’ hearts as so many people have been affected by cancer in one way or another.”

The Larne Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Canoeing
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