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Displaying items by tag: RNLI

I've never given much thought to why lifeboats are orange. It just seemed to me to be the right colour to be seen easily at sea.

Now I know that it's also a colour that provides reassurance and relief - so the RNLI has told me.

Their boats weren't always the shade of orange that now designates them.

In the 1800s they were painted ultramarine blue until artists from the UK Royal Academy complained in the 20s that the colour was "too French" and it was changed to a darker royal blue in 1923 - with the oars on the rowing lifeboats of the time painted blue and white – different colours for the different sides of the boats which helped Coxswain's instructions as "pull away blues…or whites" for whichever side he needed power from.

Last year 53 per cent of the 945 calls for help which led to lifeboat launches happened in June, July and AugustLast year 53 per cent of the 945 calls for help which led to lifeboat launches happened in June, July and August

In the 1950s red, white and blue, - a touch of French again – was the colour, and there was a grey on superstructures, which was changed to orange on the advice of best visibility at sea. Boats had a blue hull and a red boot top stripe… and later crew gear became yellow, again, easy to see…

The hulls of the offshore boats are still blue… but the superstructure orange is what grabs attention and the inshore boats are also orange.

What brought my thoughts to this is the increased number of emergency call-outs to the RNLI and where they are coming from - kayakers, swimmers, canoeists, paddleboarders, anglers, jet-skis and walkers near the coast, being cut off by tides, feature regularly.

Last year 53 per cent of the 945 calls for help which led to lifeboat launches happened in June, July and August and, with the 'holiday at home' emphasis this year, it could be a busy Summer for lifeboat stations and crews.

There is an increase of interest in marine leisure – good to see – but safety must be paramount, and in this regard, I got a lot of response to my last Podcast, about the use of flares in emergencies. … Are flares or electronics best for emergencies? That seems an open debate, about which more will be heard, and there does seem increasing dependence on mobile phones – not the best option, but better than nothing.

The sight of an orange lifeboat heading to the rescue will always be a relief. This month is the RNLI's Mayday campaign and, with restrictions limiting public collections, do connect with that orange colour and help ensure that it can be seen, when needed, at sea.

Podcast below

Published in Tom MacSweeney
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The volunteer crew of Youghal RNLI were paged today (Tuesday 4 May) at 4.31 pm to a report of two people in a small boat who had failed to return from a pleasure trip in the Redbarn area of Youghal Bay.

Arriving in the area eight minutes later, the lifeboat crew located the two people in the small, 2.5m boat approximately 1 mile offshore from Redbarn beach. They were struggling to row the vessel against an ebbing tide and a north-westerly force 5/6 offshore wind after the engine had failed.

Both casualties, who were wearing lifejackets, were brought aboard the inshore lifeboat, where it was established all was well with them. The boat was then towed safely back to Redbarn beach. The two people were then handed over into the care of the awaiting Youghal Coast Guard unit. No medical assistance was required.

Speaking after the call out Mark Nolan, Youghal RNLI Deputy Launching Authority said: ‘Today’s rescue highlights the importance of always letting someone know an estimated time of your return. Had friends and family of these people not been expecting them and had not raised the alarm when they didn’t return, the outcome could have been very different. They did the right thing in calling 112/999 and asking for the Coast Guard

He went on to say ‘Today’s shout out was the fourth one in a week, I’d like to thank all our volunteers for responding to their pagers in what has been one of the busiest weeks in our station's history’.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Dun Laoghaire Harbour RNLI rescued a paddleboarder who got into difficulty after he could not get back to shore on Bank Holiday Monday evening.

The lifeboat crew were paged following a report made to the Irish Coast Guard by a member of the public who had sighted the paddleboarder in the water about 150 metres from shore at Blackrock on Dublin Bay.

The inshore lifeboat was launched by the lifeboat crew of three at 6.37 pm just minutes after the crew had been paged.

Weather conditions at the time were quite rough with a squall causing strong offshore wind gusts, along with a changing outward tide and choppy waters. Visibility at the time was okay with the crew being able to locate the casualty quickly with the help of Dun Laoghaire Coastguard Unit from shore.

On arrival at 6.47 pm the lifeboat crew found the casualty exhausted having tried to paddle and swim back to shore. The crew quickly came alongside and brought the person onboard. They then carried out a casualty care assessment and observed that the casualty was showing signs of hyperthermia due to a long period in the cold sea.

The lifeboat transferred the person to land as quickly as possible at the Martello tower in Blackrock with help from the Dun Laoghaire Irish Coast Guard Unit. The casualty was then handed over to a waiting National Ambulance service crew for further medical care.

Speaking following the call-out, Alan Keville, Dun Laoghaire RNLI's inshore lifeboat Helm at the time said: ‘ The crew and I are very happy with the outcome of this evening’s callout having safely returned the casualty to shore and into the care of the National Ambulance service’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Baltimore RNLI was called out to provide a medical evacuation in the early hours of this morning (Monday 3 May) from Sherkin Island off the coast of Baltimore, West Cork.

The volunteer lifeboat crew launched their all-weather lifeboat at 00.28 am, following a request from the Irish Coast Guard to provide medical assistance and evacuation to a man living on the island.

The Baltimore all-weather lifeboat crew arrived at Sherkin Island pier at 00.39 am. Three voluntary lifeboat crew members proceeded to the casualty’s location where they administered casualty care and then transferred him by stretcher back to the lifeboat. The lifeboat departed Sherkin at 01.19 am and handed the casualty over to the HSE paramedics who were waiting at Baltimore lifeboat station.

There were seven volunteer crew onboard the lifeboat, Coxswain Aidan Bushe, Mechanic Cathal Cottrell and crew members Micheal Cottrell, Colin Whooley, Brian McSweeney, Jerry Smith and Don O’Donovan. Conditions in the harbour during the call out were calm with a south-westerly force 2-3 wind and no sea swell.

Speaking following the call out, Kate Callanan, Baltimore RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer said: ‘Baltimore RNLI often provide medical evacuations to residents of islands off the coast of West Cork.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Baltimore RNLI was called out to provide assistance to a yacht in difficulty in Baltimore harbour, West Cork this afternoon (Monday 3 May) in a second callout of the day.

The volunteer lifeboat crew launched their inshore lifeboat at 12.05 pm, following a request from the Irish Coast Guard to provide assistance to a yacht with two people on board that was in difficulty in strong wind and rough seas in Baltimore harbour.

The Baltimore inshore lifeboat crew arrived at the casualty vessel at 12.09 pm and discovered it had broken free from a mooring and was caught by its rudder on a line in the harbour. Voluntary lifeboat crew member David Ryan went aboard the casualty vessel to establish a tow. The Baltimore inshore lifeboat towed the vessel through rough conditions in the harbour and put the boat on a mooring in the shelter of Sherkin Island. An anchor was also dropped from the yacht for added security. The occupants of the yacht were then brought back to Baltimore, and the lifeboat returned to station, arriving at 12.43 pm.

There were four volunteer crew onboard the lifeboat, Helm Micheal Cottrell and crew members Pat O’Driscoll, David Ryan and Ian Lynch. Also assisting at the boathouse were Jerry and Rianne Smith. Conditions in the harbour during the call were very windy with a south-westerly force 7-8 wind and 1.5m sea swell.

Speaking following the call out, Kate Callanan, Baltimore RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer said: ‘The crew of the yacht did the right thing in alerting the Irish Coast Guard as soon as they knew they were in trouble as it could have escalated very quickly in the poor weather conditions in the harbour at the time.

This is the second call of the day for Baltimore RNLI who were called out to a Medevac on Sherkin Island in the early hours of this morning. 

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Irish water safety organisations have welcomed the first-ever UN Resolution on Global Drowning Prevention which was adopted by the UN General Assembly last week.

The UN adopted a historic Resolution on drowning prevention, acknowledging the issue for the first time in its 75-year history. Drowning cost the world over 2.5 million lives in the last decade. The vast majority of these deaths could and should have been prevented.

The Resolution, which was passed by the General Assembly, establishes drowning as an important international issue, recognised by all 193 Member States of the UN, sets out the actions that every country should take to prevent drowning and calls for a coordinated UN approach to drowning prevention. It also establishes an annual ‘World Drowning Prevention Day,’ which will be marked for the first time on July 25, 2021.

The Resolution (A/75/L.76) provides a framework for an effective response to the unacceptable toll of drowning deaths worldwide.

Chairman of Water Safety Ireland, Martin O’SullivanChairman of Water Safety Ireland, Martin O’Sullivan - UN Resolution is an historic step for Global Drowning Prevention

In welcoming the Resolution, the Chairman of Water Safety Ireland, Martin O’Sullivan reflected on the drowning burden worldwide and in Ireland: “In the last decade, drowning was responsible for over 2.5 million* preventable deaths worldwide and for 1,200** deaths in Ireland. It is a significant, preventable public health issue. This first-ever UN resolution on global drowning prevention provides a framework for an effective response to this unacceptable toll of drowning deaths.”

The new Resolution, an initiative by Bangladesh and Ireland which was co-sponsored by 79 countries, recognises that drowning affects every nation of the world – through its impact is disproportionate. 90 per cent of drowning deaths occur in low-and middle-income countries, with Asia carrying the highest burden.

Mark Dowie, Chief Executive of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) - Resolution highlights  the immediate need for strategic and significant international action to save lives   Mark Dowie, Chief Executive of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) -the UN Resolution highlights the immediate need for strategic and significant international action to save lives  

Mark Dowie, Chief Executive of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), said: “As an organisation dedicated to saving lives on and around the water, we are thrilled to have supported Member States in efforts to secure a UN Global Drowning Prevention Resolution.In addition, the Resolution proclaims the 25th of July each year as ‘World Drowning Prevention Day’ to raise awareness of the importance of drowning prevention and the need for urgent coordinated multisectoral action to improve water safety, with the aim of reducing preventable deaths.

Published in Water Safety
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For the third time this week, Youghal RNLI responded to their pagers on Saturday, May 1 at 3.08 pm to a report of a 17ft angling boat with engine trouble, half a mile south of the Eastern Cardinal in Youghal Bay.

The lifeboat crew under the Helm of Liam Keogh launched the Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat in calm, sunny conditions and arrived on scene in less than 10 minutes.

They established a stern tow with the casualty vessel and towed it safely to the pontoon in Youghal quay.

The lifeboat returned to the boathouse where with the help of the shore crew, the lifeboat was washed down and refuelled.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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The RNLI and the Irish Coast Guard are expecting a busy May Bank Holiday weekend on the coasts and inland waters, with more people enjoying the warmer weather and the brighter evenings. The two organisations are asking people to plan ahead for any water based or coastal activities by taking some simple steps. The call comes following an increase in the number and a broadening in the type of incidents requiring RNLI and Coast Guard intervention.

Key water safety tips to remember when beside or on the water are: 

  • Check the weather and tide and familiarise yourself with local currents before you participate in any open water or coastal activity.
  • Always carry a reliable means of raising the alarm with you.
  • Tell someone where you are going and when you will be back.
  • Wear a lifejacket or buoyancy aid on or near the water.
  • Never ever swim alone and always ensure that somebody ashore is monitoring your progress.

RNLI Lifesaving Manager Sean Dillion said, ‘Our volunteer lifeboat crews around the coast and on our inland waters are expecting a busy season as more people are out enjoying the water. Many of the callouts we deal with could have been avoided with some simple preparation and planning. We want people to be safe on the water and enjoy themselves. Whatever activity you are planning please take a few minutes to check the relevant safety advice and always dial 999 or 112 and ask for the Coast Guard if you see someone in trouble on the water.’

Coast Guard, Head of Operations Gerard O’Flynn added: “Don’t assume that just because we have clear skies and warmer temperatures it is safe to engage in all coastal activities. Please familiarise yourself with weather and tidal information and take the time to observe prevailing conditions before you commence”.

He added that the Coast Guard has noted (on year to date basis), a very significant increase in the number of incidents being coordinated, in comparison with previous years. Activity levels have not only exceeded 2020 but are also at a five-year high.

For anyone intending to take a walk along the coast, it is important to check the times of high tide to avoid being stranded on a cove or sandbank that becomes cut off by the rising tide.

Open water swimming has become increasingly popular and there has been a notable increase in the number of people taking part, whether with a short dip or going for longer swims. Wear a brightly coloured swim cap to be visible and consider using a tow float. Never swim alone and always ensure that your activity is monitored by a colleague ashore. Water temperatures are still relatively cold at around 10 degrees making Cold Water Shock a danger. It is also important to acclimatise when entering the water.

If going on the water make sure the craft and equipment are in good condition, especially if this is the first time back on the water. Always wear a Lifejacket or PFD (Personal Floatation Device) and carry a reliable means of calling for help should the need arise. Check the weather and tides or currents before setting off.

Published in Coastguard
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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
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