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Displaying items by tag: RNLI

When Helen Feeney took a photo of her daughter, Sara (23), and niece Ellen (17), off Furbo beach on the northern shore of Galway Bay, the pair were happy out on stand-up paddleboards.

It was a bright warm summer’s evening, just a little after 9 pm on Wednesday. The two women were wearing swim gear, but not wetsuits. Fortunately, they had buoyancy aids.

As the Irish Examiner reports, Helen, who had her dog with her on the shore, noticed they seemed have gone a little too far out for comfort. This was to be a “short trip”. Initially, she put her anxiety down to her own cautious nature.

As darkness fell, that anxiety grew. Within the hour, she had phoned her sister Deirdre, Ellen’s mum, and her husband, and the Irish Coast Guard. As she told RTE Radio’s Drivetime yesterday evening, these were “two very smart sensible girls”.

The hours in between were “horrific”, she recalled. A full-scale air-sea search was initiated after 10 pm, co-ordinated by Valentia Marine Rescue Sub-Centre in Co Kerry. The wind was northerly, and picking up, and weather conditions were deteriorating.

By the time, the RNLI’s Aran island and Galway city lifeboats put to sea, visibility was poor and there was heavy rain, thunder, and lightning, according to RNLI Galway operations manager Mike Swan.

The focus initially was on inner Galway Bay, but by daylight, it had extended right across to the Clare coast and Black Head. During the long night, a rotation of Irish Coast Guard helicopters from Shannon, Waterford and Sligo, and the Doolin and Costello Bay Coast Guard units joined the lifeboat crews.

The Civil Defence, local fishermen, anglers, leisure craft and hundreds of shore searchers were out by daylight, as were pilots with Galway Flying Club, Aer Arann, and the Oranmore-Maree coastal search volunteers.

Fisherman Patrick Oliver, one of the Galway Oliver family born with salt in their blood, knew that if the wind had gone north-easterly anything that drifted would be out towards the mouth of the bay and the Aran Islands. Onboard with him was his son Morgan (18) in their seven-metre catamaran potting vessel, Johnny Ó.

The Oliver family are heavily involved in Galway RNLI lifeboat and Galway Sea Scouts, with Patrick’s brothers Ciaran and Dave being coxswains, and Patrick being a member of the shore search team.

Ciaran’s son and Patrick’s nephew, Sean Oliver, was just 14 years old when he and fellow Galway Sea Scouts pulled a man from the river Corrib during the Macnas parade in October 2018.

It was Morgan who spotted the movement two miles south-west of Inis Oírr.

“They were waving their paddles at us,” Patrick said later. The two women were sitting on their paddleboards, holding onto a float attached to lobster pots, and to each other.

They were weak, exhausted, but well able to express their delight at being found. They told the Olivers they had seen the lights of the Aran islands and tried to reach the shore, but couldn’t make it.

They had been over 15 hours at sea, and over 17 nautical miles from their original location, when they were found.

Back on the beach at Furbo, there had been initial word that two bodies had been located. Minutes later, there was a shout as Ellen’s father, Johnny Glynn of Galway United Football Club, threw his arms up in the air.

“They’re alive!” he roared, as he ran over to his wife Deirdre Feeney, and younger daughter Alice (12), dropping to his knees in relief.

"I'm so happy,” he said afterwards. “I had given up. How could they be in the water from 9.30?”

Patrick and Morgan Oliver rooted out jackets, towels, whatever they could find to wrap the two women up on the deck of their catamaran.

The two women were “chatting away on deck”, they told Mike Swan back at the RNLI Galway station as they headed into Inis Oírr.

Both women were fit enough to walk up the pier before an Irish Coast Guard helicopter flew them into University Hospital Galway to check them out for hypothermia.

The buoyancy aids helped, but staying together and staying with their paddleboards had been crucial – along with keeping calm, Patrick Oliver said.

“That’s the danger with them blow-ups [paddleboards],” he said. “when the wind is offshore, the wind can carry them out to sea.”

Breda Feeney, an aunt, was in tears of joy, and family members hugged each other as the Sikorsky S-92 helicopter landed at the hospital helipad.

“Knowing the two girls, they are very strong and resilient,” she said.

"We are forever indebted," she said.

Experienced Galway sailor Pierce Purcell paid tribute to the “phenomenal effort”, and said that sailors would “never complain about lobster pots getting in the way again”.

Irish Coast Guard divisional controller John Draper said that sea temperatures were about 15 degrees, but if they had been in the water, and not on their boards, it could have been a “different story”.

More from the Examiner here

Published in Galway Harbour
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At 9.28 pm last night, Thursday, August 13, Valentia Coast Guard requested Lough Derg RNLI to go to the assistance of 8 adults on a 45ft cruiser aground by Ryan’s Point, inside the Mountaineer Bouy at Barrack Bay.

At 9.42 pm the RNLI lifeboat Jean Spier launched with helm Eleanor Hooker, and crew members Owen Cavanagh, Keith Brennan and Doireann Kennedy on board. The wind was northeasterly, Force 2. It was nightfall with poor visibility; the RNLI volunteers used on-board electronic navigation, RADAR, searchlights and local knowledge to steer their course to the casualty. 

Once the lifeboat rounded the Mountaineer Buoy, the crew took soundings of the depths in a cautious approach to the casualty vessel. The lifeboat came alongside at 9.55 pm and found all eight people to be safe and unharmed and wearing their lifejackets.

An RNLI volunteer transferred to the cruiser. Once he was satisfied that the vessel was not holed, he set up for a tow. The lifeboat attempted to take the casualty vessel astern off the rocky shelf. However, it was stuck fast on the rocks.

As the cruiser had been travelling in company, and its companion vessel was moored in Garrykennedy Harbour, the lifeboat informed Valentia Coast Guard of its intention to take all passengers on to the lifeboat and to bring them to Garrykennedy Harbour for the night.

Valentia Coast Guard arranged for the casualty vessel to be attended to first thing the following morning.

At 11.04 pm the lifeboat delivered the eight people into to the care of their friends at Garrykennedy Harbour.

The lifeboat departed the scene and was back at Station at 11.30 pm 

Peter Kennedy, Deputy Launching Authority at Lough Derg RNLI advises boat users to ‘study your charts and plan your passage, paying close attention to the navigation buoys’.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Following a major search and rescue operation on Galway Bay overnight and this morning (13 August 2020), two women have been found safe and well off Inis Oir after spending 15 hours out at sea.

Former Galway RNLI lifeboat crew member and current shore crew member and fisherman Patrick Oliver and his son Morgan joined the search early this morning and discovered the two women on their boards holding on to a lobster pot about two miles south west of Inis Oir.

Despite spending the night out on the water in extreme conditions, the women did not require medical attention. They had drifted almost 20 miles when discovered. They were taken onboard the fishing vessel, the Johnny O, and after disembarking, walked up the pier where they were medically assessed by Coast Guard personnel.

The 23-year-old woman and 17-year-old teenager who are cousins, had gone paddle boarding at about 9 o’clock last night from Furbo Beach when a sudden north wind blew them out to sea. A relative of the women raised the alarm and the Irish Coast Guard immediately launched a major search and rescue operation which continued throughout the night and today.

Galway RNLI launched its inshore lifeboat at 10pm (last night) and stayed out throughout the night changing crew three times. They were joined immediately by the Aran Island RNLI all-weather lifeboat and the Irish Coast Guard Rescue helicopter 115 from Shannon. Two further Coast Guard Rescue helicopters from Sligo and Waterford joined this morning, along with Coast Guard lifeboats from Oranmore/Maree, Cashla Bay and Doolin while the Civil Defence carried out a search along the north shore co-ordinated by the Gardai. Galway Flying Club and Aer Arann also joined the search.

There were scenes of jubilation and joy in both Galway and Aran Island RNLI Lifeboat stations when fisherman Patrick Oliver rang the Galway Lifeboat station with the good news.

Barry Heskin, Galway RNLI Deputy Launching Authority said the two women kept their heads and did the right thing: ‘We are absolutely delighted that it has all worked out well.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Clifden RNLI has rescued a sailor who got into difficulty on a 36ft yacht this afternoon. The volunteer lifeboat crew were requested to launch at 3.20 pm by the Irish Coast Guard following a report that a yacht was in difficulty somewhere between Cleggan and Inishbofin Island.

As communication with the casualty was poor initially, a decision was made to launch Clifden RNLI’s inshore lifeboat in addition to the station’s all-weather lifeboat.

Weather conditions at the time were fair with a Force 3 northerly wind and a slight sea.

The inshore lifeboat helmed by Daniel Whelan arrived on scene first, some 10 miles from Clifden. The lifeboat crew assessed the situation and checked that the one man onboard was safe and well. A crew member then transferred onto the yacht to set up a tow.

Clifden RNLIThe yacht under tow by Clifden RNLI

On arrival of the all-weather lifeboat under Coxswain John Mullen, the tow was passed from the inshore lifeboat to the all-weather lifeboat. The all-weather lifeboat then towed the yacht safely back to shore with the Atlantic 85 lifeboat alongside.

Speaking following the call out, Clifden RNLI Coxswain John Mullen said: ‘We would like to commend the sailor for raising the alarm when he got into difficulty, that is always the right thing to do, and we would like to wish him a safe onward journey.

‘As the summer continues and we enjoy some good weather, we would remind everyone regardless of their activity at sea, to always respect the water. Always wear a lifejacket, always have a means for calling and signalling for help and ensure everyone onboard knows how to use it. Always check the weather forecast and tide times before heading out and make sure someone on the shore knows where you are going and when you are due back. Should you get into difficulty or see someone else in trouble, dial 999 or 112 and ask for the Coast Guard.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Baltimore RNLI was called out to provide a medical evacuation this afternoon from Sherkin Island off the coast of Baltimore, West Cork.

The volunteer lifeboat crew, under Coxswain Kieran Cotter, launched their all-weather lifeboat at 3.06 pm, following a request from the Irish Coast Guard to provide medical assistance and evacuation to a woman who had sustained an injury following a fall.

The Baltimore all-weather lifeboat crew arrived at Sherkin Island pier at 3.15 pm and reached the casualty at the same time as a First Responder team who were also in the area. An initial assessment was carried out by one of the First Responders and then the voluntary lifeboat crew, assisted by the First Responder team, transferred the casualty onboard the lifeboat.

The lifeboat then returned to the station in Baltimore and the casualty was handed over to the care of HSE Ambulance crew at 4.30 pm.

Conditions at sea during the call out were calm with a south - south-westerly force 3-4 wind, no sea swell and good visibility.

Speaking following the call out, Kate Callanan, Baltimore RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer said: ‘If you find yourself in a medical emergency whilst on an island call 999 or 112 and explain to the operator what the nature of the call is. The operator will then make sure that the call is directed to both the Coast Guard and the National Ambulance Service. We would like to thank the First Responders for assisting in this call and we wish the casualty a speedy recovery.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Dun Laoghaire RNLI launched both their lifeboat’s this afternoon (Tuesday 11 August) at the request of the Irish Coast Guard assisting two vessels in two separate incidents.

At 12:55 pm today, the all-weather lifeboat was launched under Coxswain Mark McGibney with a crew to reports of a yacht which had suffered steering failure two miles north of Greystones in County Wicklow. A local vessel, ‘Centurion’, sighted and confirmed the casualty vessel’s location. The volunteer crew made their way to the scene arriving at 1:21 pm and on arrival, the lifeboat crew assessed the situation. The person on board was in good health and the stricken yacht was taken in tow to Dun Laoghaire Harbour.

As the all-weather lifeboat was on its way back to Dun Laoghaire Harbour the station’s inshore lifeboat was also requested to launch at 2:06 pm to a separate incident just outside the entrance to Dun Laoghaire Harbour. A report was received from the Irish Coast Guard of five people on a 23ft yacht with engine failure. The inshore lifeboat crew swiftly located the vessel arriving on scene at 2:14 pm, having assessed that all on board were in good health the volunteer crew took the yacht in tow bringing it into Dun Laoghaire Harbour arriving at 2:45 pm. The station’s all-weather lifeboat crew arriving after shortly after, at 3:00 pm.

Weather conditions at the time of both callouts were described as calm with a light wind with restricted visibility due to fog.

Dun Laoghaire Harbour RNLI Coxswain Mark McGibneyDun Laoghaire Harbour RNLI Coxswain Mark McGibney

Speaking following the call out, Mark McGibney, Dun Laoghaire RNLI lifeboat Coxswain said: ‘The people in both incidents made the right decision in calling the Irish Coast Guard for help. Conditions today were calm on scene but visibility was restricted by fog, thank you to the crew of the local vessel, Centurion for sighting and confirming the vessel’s location which allowed us to respond with no delay’.

Also speaking alongside Mark McGibney following the callouts was Gary Hayes, Dun Laoghaire RNLI inshore lifeboat Helm, he said’ The volunteer crew and I are very happy to have returned everyone safely to shore today. I’d like to take this opportunity to ask everybody thinking of going out on the water to please check their vessel and safety equipment in advance’.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

A woman was evacuated for medical attention by Youghal RNLI yesterday evening (Monday 10 August) after she slipped and fell on rocks below the East Cork harbour’s lighthouse.

The volunteer lifeboat launched at 5.07pm in perfect sea conditions and on a falling tide, reaching the casualty in just three minutes.

Two crew members went ashore with a stretcher to assist the fire brigade and Irish Coast Guard crews who were already at the scene.

Following the Government and RNLI guidelines concerning Covid-19, the casualty was placed onto the stretcher and transferred to the lifeboat.

She was then taken to Youghal lifeboat station where an ambulance was waiting to bring her to Cork University Hospital.

Speaking after the callout, Youghal RNLI’s deputy launching authority Mark Nolan said: “We would like to wish today’s casualty a speedy recovery.

“It can be very easy to fall and slip whilst out walking — be wary of all edges around the sea and water, and always take a means of calling for help with you.”

This year follows one of the busiest for Youghal RNLI in its 180-year history, with a record number of callouts. And 2020 has been especially challenging time for everyone thus far.

As a charity that relies 100% on public donations for its funding, the RNLI have definitely felt the effects of fundraising events being cancelled, bucket collections unable to go ahead and RNLI shops being closed.

If you can make a donation to Youghal RNLI or your local lifeboat at this time, it would be greatly appreciated.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Howth RNLI launched both the all-weather lifeboat and the inshore lifeboat in two separate callouts over the weekend to rescue eight people who found themselves in difficulty. One callout saw a teenager’s life saved when the lifeboat crew found him clinging to a buoy in the middle of the estuary.

The RNLI pagers sounded at 1.35 pm on Friday (7 August) after a call was placed to the Coast Guard reporting two people in difficulty swimming at Cush Point in Baldoyle estuary. The inshore lifeboat was launched and located the two people 11 minutes later as they made their way back to shore. Colin Murray from Howth Coast Guard spoke to the two boys and it emerged that there was a third person still missing. The lifeboat crew quickly established a search pattern and located the casualty clinging to a buoy in the middle of the estuary. He had been there for nearly 30 minutes and was exhausted. The casualty was taken aboard the lifeboat, assessed and treated before bringing back to the lifeboat station.

The lifeboat crew were called into action again the following afternoon (Saturday 8 August) at 4.50 pm to reports of a speed boat that had mechanical problems just north of Lambay Island. The all-weather lifeboat was launched and quickly located the boat with four family members onboard. The speedboat was taken in tow by the volunteer crew of the all-weather lifeboat and the family were unharmed by the incident and returned safely to Malahide Marina.

Speaking following the callout which saw the teenager rescued, Fin Goggin, Howth RNLI Helm said: ‘What we thought was a callout to two swimmers who had made their way back to shore quickly turned into a search for a missing teenager. When we found him a short time later clinging to the buoy, very tired but alive, we realised it could have had a very tragic outcome.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Wicklow lifeboat volunteers responded to four incidents during a 24-hour period as the Station resumed crew training over the weekend.

The first callout on Saturday afternoon (August 8) and involved both the Inshore and all-weather lifeboat, they diverted from a crew exercise after being tasked to Brittas Bay by the Coast Guard at 4:15 pm to reports of a jet ski in difficulty off the popular beach. On arrival at the scene the Inshore lifeboat located two men on a drifting jet ski with engine failure one mile off Brittas Bay beach, they were transferred onto the all-weather lifeboat and landed safely at Potter’s Point, while the inshore lifeboat towed the jet ski ashore.

The second callout came on Sunday morning as the all-weather lifeboat launched at 03:25 am to join Arklow lifeboat in a combined operation, to assist a solo sailor on a yacht with a rope fouled prop. Initial reports indicated the yacht's position was a few miles north of Arklow port, but it was located by Arklow lifeboat about two miles south of the Horseshoe Buoy near Wicklow head. The eight-metre yacht was fouled in ropes and unable to make any headway. Conditions on scene were sea state slight with wind north-west force three. Arklow lifeboat transferred a crew member onto the yacht to assist the sailor and free the obstruction from the prop. A towline was established with Wicklow Lifeboat before 4 am and the stricken yacht was towed back towards Wicklow harbour. The vessel alongside the South Quay shortly before 6 am and landed the solo sailor safely ashore.

Video still of a yacht with the solo sailor being towed into Wicklow Photo: RNLIVideo still of a yacht with the solo sailor being towed into Wicklow Photo: RNLI

The third callout came two and a half hours later on Sunday morning when the all-weather lifeboat was launched at 08:39 am to reports of an 11metre fishing vessel in difficulties near the Six Mile Point. The lifeboat was alongside the fishing vessel 20 minutes after launching seven miles north of Wicklow harbour. The vessel with three fishermen had developed mechanical problems and was unable to return to the harbour under power. Conditions in the area were visibility fair with a moderate sea and wind northeast force three. The trawler was taken in tow back to Wicklow harbour and the lifeboat crew brought it alongside the South Quay just after 10 am.

The fourth call came after 2 pm on Sunday afternoon as the all-weather lifeboat diverted from a crew exercise to assist a yacht in difficulties four miles off the harbour. The yacht was brought safely alongside the East pier a short time later.

Speaking about the call outs, Lifeboat Press Officer for Wicklow RNLI, Tommy Dover said: ‘This was an extremely busy weekend for Wicklow RNLI as we also resumed crew training this weekend since the Covid-19 restrictions curtailed all training earlier this year. Between the crew exercises and callouts, nearly all of our volunteers were involved over the weekend and it was a milestone for trainee Ger Kennedy, who completed his first ‘Shout’ on the all-weather lifeboat.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Coastguard units from Coleraine and Ballycastle were tasked to rescue a man in his 70s who had fallen in a cave close to the Giant’s Causeway on Friday (7 August).

The casualty had sustained a knee injury and was being treated at the scene in Smuggler’s Cove on Northern Ireland’s North Coast by NIAS paramedics.

Due to the remote location, the decision was made to evacuate the injured man by RNLI lifeboats from Portrush.

The challenging terrain made extraction difficult and complex.

First the man was moved by rope rescue stretcher over very uneven and slippery boulders to the water’s edge, then transferred into coastguard water rescue stretcher, then onto the inshore lifeboat.

From there to the all-weather lifeboat for transfer to a waiting ambulance at Portrush Harbour.

Coleraine Coastguard said: “This was a highly challenging rescue due to the location, but another great example of inter-agency teamwork brought it to a successful ending.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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