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Displaying items by tag: Lifeboats

While the community was shining a light in support of frontline workers this past Easter weekend, Arklow RNLI’s volunteer lifeboat crew were making their way to the lifeboat station following reports of a distress flare being sighted off the coast.

Pagers were activated at 10.20pm on Saturday night (11 April) and within a few minutes Arklow RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat Ger Tigchlearr was launched and under way.

Initial reports suggested the sighting was south of Arklow. With a number of fishing vessels working in the area, the lifeboat crew checked with them; none were in distress but they reported a sighting further north.

The Arklow lifeboat proceeded on a track north with full beam searchlights and all hands searching the darkness. With nothing yet located it was decided to deploy two white illumination flares to aid in location of any potential casualty vessel or persons.

Later in the search, the lifeboat crew were joined by Rescue 117, the Irish Coast Guard helicopter from Waterford, who had been on scene at an incident in Wexford Harbour immediately prior, as well as coastguard shore crews from Arklow and Courtown.

Following a lengthy search by all involved and with nothing located, the operation was stood down and all hands returned safely.

Following the search, Mark Corcoran, Arklow RNLI press officer and community safety officer, said: “As always our volunteers responded quickly to the reported flare sighting. I’d like to pay tribute to all who responded and were involved in this search.

“Despite the current restrictions, all of our volunteers are continuing to put themselves on the frontline.

“This sighting may have been a Chinese lantern or indeed someone letting off a flare in good faith and while this would have been done with good intent, we would ask people to refrain from this to avoid further false alarms and the need for our volunteers to be put at risk.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Larne RNLI searched for a dog today (Thursday 9 April) when it was reported missing after falling over a cliff near Muck Island, close to Islandmagee in Co Antrim, Northern Ireland.

The volunteer lifeboat crew were requested to launch by Belfast Coastguard to search the area north of the Gobbins cliffs.

The inshore lifeboat, Terry, under helm Dave Sommerville and two other crew members, launched at 9.39am and made their way to the requested search area.

Weather conditions were favourable with a calm sea and good visibility.

The Portmuck mobile coastguard team were searching from the top of the cliffs but were unable to get a clear view of the rocks nearer the water.

A volunteer crew member was put onto these rocks, where it was safe to do so, in order to conduct a search of the area. In places it was not possible to put a crew member onto the rocks, so a shoreline search was conducted.

After searching roughly one mile north and south of the location, the decision was made to stand down by the coastguard as nothing had been sighted.

Speaking following the callout, Larne deputy launching authority Philip Ford-Hutchinson said: “The concern always for a callout of this nature is that owners will try and rescue their pets themselves and in turn get into difficulty and get hurt.

“With the current Covid-19 pandemic, we would urge people who live near the coast and wish to exercise there to be cautious and watch their footing.

“Our lifeboat remains on call and operational, but our lifeboat crew are not training with the current restrictions and the station remains closed to visitors.

“Therefore, we would advise people to stay away from the water and carry out the Government’s advice.”

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The RNLI’s chief executive, Mark Dowie, said he will take a 50% pay cut to help the storm caused by the coronavirus.

And the charity that saves lives at sea is also planning to put some 30% of staff on furlough over the next few weeks.

In a statement, Dowie said: “The coronavirus outbreak is testing many charities and emergency services across the UK and Ireland, and the RNLI is no different.

“We have some reserves in place to deal with short, sharp shocks to our financial situation. However, we are all facing unprecedented times and we have seen an immediate impact not just on our frontline services, but also on our ability to fundraise which is already having an impact on our finances.

“We don’t know how long the coronavirus situation will affect us and we need to take what action we can – now and in the next weeks and months – to make sure our charity is in the best position possible to weather this storm.

“This is my watch and it’s my responsibility to make sure the RNLI is here to save lives at sea in the future.”

Dowie confirmed that the RNLI has paused its toning replacement of equipment and buildings, such as station rebuilds and building new lifeboats.

“We’re also looking at new ways to fundraise online and on social media. I’ve also made the decision to reduce my salary by 50% from now until this crisis has passed.

‘Even in these most testing of times our dedicated lifeboat crew continue to ensure our vital search and rescue service remains on service across the UK and Ireland’

“Everyone in the RNLI – supporters, volunteers, staff – are all going above and beyond to get us through these challenging times and I want to make my contribution to the charity I love, beyond my day-to-day work leading this amazing lifesaving service.

“We are also planning to put, initially, around 30% of staff on furlough over the next few weeks.

“As a charity, we have to take a pragmatic approach in these difficult times and make sure we’re focusing our supporters’ donations on maintaining our lifesaving service for generations to come.

“We will be topping up all those on furlough to full pay during April and then in May, to 80% pay if that is above the £2,500 cap set by the [UK] government.”

Dowie added: “I want to pay tribute to all our supporters, volunteers and staff. Even in these most testing of times our dedicated lifeboat crew, along with all those who support them, continue to ensure our vital search and rescue service remains on service across the UK and Ireland, ready to save every one in trouble at sea.

“They need people’s support more than ever in these unprecedented times.”

The RNLI has already paused the roll-out of its seasonal lifeguard service across Great Britain and Northern Ireland in response to the UK government’s instructions for people to stay at home.

RNLI shops and museums have been closed since 23 March and, with local fundraisers unable to hold events or collections, the charity’s annual community-based fundraising campaign, Mayday, has had to be scaled back.

Instead, the charity is looking at ways to replace cancelled events with online fundraising at rnli.org/mayday

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Eight crew were rescued from a cargo ship out of Drogheda that ran aground off the Isle of Skye in Scotland’s Inner Hebrides early yesterday morning (Monday 23 March).

The MV Kaami had left Drogheda Port on the evening of Saturday 21 March and was due to arrive in Slite, Sweden this weekend.

But the 90m cargo vessel ran aground in The Minch at what’s known locally as Eugenie Rock, about six nautical miles north-west of Duntulm on Skye.

Portree RNLI’s lifeboat was launched at 2.24am yesterday morning in response to a MayDay call from the MV Kaami, as did the Emergency Towing Vessel Ievoli Black and the Pharos, a Northern Lighthouse Board buoy-laying vessel.

The duty Stornoway Coastguard rescue helicopter arrived on scene, where weather conditions has a Force 8 southerly wind with a rough sea state, and began to airlift eight of the Russian crew to Stornoway. No injuries were reported.

Published in Scottish Waters

A local Shetland fishing trawler is now safely back in harbour after briefly running aground near Trondra in the early hours of yesterday morning (Saturday 21 March).

The 26m whitefish trawler Sedulous had five crew on board when it went ashore around the north end of the island as it was leaving Scalloway Harbour for fishing grounds to the west of the Scalloway Islands, just after 3.30am.

Seven volunteers from Aith Lifeboat Station responded to the emergency call, and reached the site of the incident before 5.20am onboard the RNLI Charles Lidbury.

Another local trawler, the Radiant Star, was already in the area and had offered its assistance, along with Scalloway Harbour pilot boat Lyrie.

After waiting for the tide to rise, the Radiant Star crew were successful in establishing a tow line with Sedulous, and managed to pull the boat back to deeper water before any serious damage was done.

The Sedulous was then able to return to port in Scalloway under her own steam, escorted by the RNLI Charles Lidbury, and the Aith lifeboat returned to station by 8am.

Aith RNLI lifeboat coxswain John Robertson said: “Life-threatening incidents can happen at sea at any time. So it’s important that you call for help when something goes wrong.

“I’d like to thank the crew of the Radiant Star for their safe and essential assistance this morning. Their quick, competent response was an important part of getting Sedulous and her crew back to safety.

“Local RNLI crews are always ready to respond, and I’m pleased that we once again assembled so many volunteers so quickly.”

John added: “This was our first callout since the recent outbreak of the coronavirus in Shetland, at a time when many folk are self-isolating or social distancing.

“Helping slow the spread of this virus ensures that our volunteers remain healthy, and are able to keep helping save lives at sea.”

Published in Scottish Waters

The RNLI has closed its shops, museums and visitor centres “with immediate effect” in response to the Covid-19 situation — but vital lifeboat services remain uninterrupted.

In a statement, the lifesaving charity said: “The welfare of our volunteers, supporters and staff along with our ability to maintain our world-class lifesaving service is our priority.

“With this in mind, and given the current situation with Covid-19, we have taken the decision to close all RNLI shops, museums and visitor centres with immediate effect.

“Our lifeboat stations remain operational and we will continue to respond to those in need but will not be open to visitors.

“Our lifeboats will continue to launch to those in peril at sea.”

Tobermory RNLI's volunteer crew rushed to the aid of a 23m fish farm support vessel with the misfortune to have an engine fire on the evening of Friday 13 March.

After putting out a ‘Pan Pan’ alert, the crew managed to get the fire under control. But in doing so, they were forced to shut down both engines and were drifting about a mile from the treacherous Ardnamruchan coast in western Scotland without any power.

Tobermory RNLI’s volunteer crew received an immediate launch page at 5.32pm and the lifeboat was underway just 13 minutes later, making best speed to the casualty vessel.

The crew passed a line to the vessel and she was towed towards Tobermory in relatively good conditions.

However, just after dropping the tow rope and securing the fish farm vessel for an alongside tow, the wind picked up significantly which made manoeuvring the much larger vessel a challenge for the lifeboat and her crew.

Nevertheless, the vessel was successfully put alongside the aquaculture pontoon in Tobermory where local coastguard rescue teams and staff from the Tobermory Harbour Authority were able to help secure her.

This was the first ‘shout’ for deputy coxswain Dave Underwood who only qualified as a coxswain in late January, and this was only his second weekend on call.

Lifeboat operations manager Dr Sam Jones said: “We’re extremely pleased that the crew of the fish farm vessel managed to get the fire under control so quickly and that no one was hurt.

“Given the nature of the emergency and the size of the vessel, this would be an extremely challenging shout for any coxswain, let alone a relatively new one. Dave certainly had a baptism of fire in more ways than one on Friday the 13th.”

Published in Scottish Waters
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The RNLI is offering a paid summer media engagement placement based at Swords in North Dublin.

This full-time temporary role (for between three and six months) interviews on the week of Monday 13 April and would be best suited to someone ether studying or recently graduated from a degree in PR, communications or media.

The successful candidate would be required to:

  • Plan, prepare and issue multimedia news releases, using text, photos and videos, and conventional and social media channels;
  • Respond to media enquiries to enhance and protect the reputation of the RNLI;
  • Establish and maintain good media relations;
  • Prioritise and select newsworthy incidents to publicise;
  • Support and brief RNLI staff and volunteers in media activity;
  • Edit and upload content to the RNLI News Centre;
  • Build professional working relationships with a variety of RNLI people;
  • Maintain an awareness of the current news agenda and monitor coverage of the RNLI in the south west;
  • Assist the Regional or National Press Office with handling major incidents and issues; and
  • Support the media activity of media engagement team members and operations personnel remotely or, if required, on location.

Some travel may be required and you may be required to work out of normal office hours on occasion.

The role is for someone who would would enjoy working in a busy communications team with a varied workload, who is self-motivated, enjoys working with people, has excellent spoken and written communication skills, is a good all-round communicator, and who has a high level of computer proficiency and is able to remain calm under pressure.

If you have a passion for PR and working with incredible lifeboat volunteers, the RNLI would love to hear from you.

The closing date or applications is Wednesday 25 March. Full details of the position, including employee benefits and how to apply, can be found on the RNLI website HERE.

Published in Jobs
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Skerries RNLI launched yesterday afternoon (Wednesday 4 March) after Dublin Coast Guard made them aware of a swimmer in difficulty at Red Island headland in Skerries.

The volunteer crew launched the Atlantic 85 lifeboat shortly after 12pm and proceeded to the area that the swimmer was reported to be in (see video HERE).

Arriving on scene, the lifeboat discovered that swimmer had made their way ashore on the rock and the winchman/paramedic from the Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 116 had already reached them.

Two volunteer crew were put ashore to see if they could offer any assistance to the coastguard. The swimmer was uninjured, however the low tide at the time meant that walking across the sharp rocks was not possible in bare foot.

The decision was taken to winch them aboard the helicopter before landing on Red Island where local coastguard volunteers had set up and secured a landing area. The casualty was then transferred to an ambulance to be assessed.

The crew returned to the lifeboat and they stood by while the winch operation was carried out before standing down and returning to the station.

Speaking about the callout, volunteer lifeboat press officer Gerry Canning said: “The swimmer made the right call to head for shore and look for assistance as soon as possible. This was a good outcome today and it’s always great to see how well the different rescue services work together.”

The incident came nine days after Skerries RNLI’s first callout of the year, responding to the activation of an emergency beacon at sea.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Howth RNLI launched their Inshore lifeboat yesterday (Tuesday 3 March) to rescue two people stranded on rocks in Balscadden Bay.

Pagers sounded at 1.58pm after a call was placed to the coastguard reporting two people stranded at the base of the cliffs just east of Howth’s East Pier.

Volunteer crew members launched the inshore lifeboat within 12 minutes of getting the call and proceeded to the area, where they quickly located the casualties.

Both were taken aboard the lifeboat and checked over and were found to be unharmed and in good spirits as they were returned safely to shore.

They confirmed that they were tourists visiting the area and got caught out by the incoming tide while walking at the base of the cliffs.

Speaking following the callout, lifeboat helm Killian O’Reilly said: “We were delighted to assist the tourists after they found themselves in difficulty.

“They did the right thing and called for assistance and remained calm. As visitors to the area they were unfamiliar with the tides and location.

“We were pleased to drop them back ashore safe and sound and hope they enjoy the remainder of their visit to Ireland.”

Published in Rescue
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