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Portrush RNLI volunteers were tasked by HM Coastguard at 12:50pm on Saturday afternoon (19 August) to respond to a Mayday call made by a pleasure boat with three on board which was taking on water between Portstewart and Barmouth.

Launching at 1.15pm in Force 5 winds and moderate seas, the Portrush all-weather lifeboat made its way to the casualty vessel’s reported location off Northern Ireland’s Causeway Coast.

With reports that the vessel had sunk and three people in the water, the Portrush lifeboat arrived on scene within minutes — joining the Irish Coast Guard’s Sligo-based helicopter Rescue 118 and three other local boats who had also responded to the Mayday call.

One of the other local boats spotted the casualties and her crew brought two back to harbour. The Portrush lifeboat picked up the other casualty and returned to harbour where they were met by the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service and coastguard.

Beni McAllister, lifeboat operations manager at Portrush said: “The three casualties were very lucky in that they had buoyancy aids and also means of communication to call for help. Thank you too to our local boat-owners who responded so quickly to the call.”

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Larne RNLI were requested on Friday (18 August) to launch both of their lifeboats to reports of two people in the water some 200 metres from Portmuck in Islandmagee, on Northern Ireland’s East Antrim coast.

Launching both lifeboats at 3.25pm into rough seas with a stiff breeze as Storm Betty approached, the lifeboats made their way to the casualties’ reported location at Portmuck.

Upon arrival, the all-weather lifeboat Dr John McSparran located the first casualty floating near to the rocks at Portmuck Harbour.

The lifeboat moved alongside and one volunteer crew member entered the water in a dry suit to help the casualty, who was beginning to show the effects of being in the cold water for a prolonged period.

Using the hoist on the lifeboat, the casualty was brought onboard where the volunteer crew immediately started casualty care and administered oxygen.

At the same time, the smaller inshore lifeboat Terry had located the second casualty along with the small punt the casualties had been using. The punt had been taking on water and was mostly submerged.

The volunteer crew threw a rope to the casualty and brought him into the lifeboat. The casualty was then transferred into the large all-weather lifeboat where casualty care was administered.

Both lifeboats made their way to Larne Harbour where the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service was requested to meet the volunteer crew upon their arrival. Paramedics assessed both casualties and they were then transferred into the care of the NIAS.

Allan Dorman, Larne lifeboat operations manager said: “This was a challenging call for all of our volunteer crew members, but it is why we train regularly so that we are as prepared as we can be in scenarios like this.

“When you are planning to go to sea, ensure that you have a means of contacting the shore should you ever get into difficulties. It is vital to make sure that you are well prepared as the conditions can change very quickly and can catch out the most experienced sailors.”

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Sligo Bay RNLI’s volunteer crew were requested to launch by the Irish Coast Guard on Sunday morning (13 August) to reports of a dog who had become stranded on a sandbank at Culleenamore near Strandhill in Ballisodare Bay.

Buddy the border collie had been out walking with his owner at the beach when he decided to go for a swim. Due to the low tide, he swam as far as the sandbank but then was unable to return to his owner on the beach.

Thankfully the owner called 112 and asked for the coastguard rather than attempting a rescue himself.

Getting the call at 11.21am, the volunteer crew aboard the inshore lifeboat Sheila and Dennis Tongue launched 10 minutes later and were on the scene just before noon.

Due to the low tide and narrowing channels, extreme caution had to be taken by the lifeboat crew to negotiate their passage to get close to the dog. The volunteer crew train with the navigation equipment onboard, and they managed to get close enough for one crew member to get onto the sandbank and try to coax the dog onto the lifeboat but to no avail as Buddy was very nervous.

After a couple of hours and with the tide beginning to rise, another solution was necessary to bring the dog to safety. Contact was made with the shore and the owner’s son borrowed a kayak and lifejacket and paddled out to the scene where he was able to coax Buddy into the lifeboat.

The lifeboat crew then returned to the station at 2.25pm with Buddy, his owner’s son and kayak all safely onboard. Buddy was meet with a big bowl of water and he was very happy to be back on dry land again.

Speaking after the rescue, one of the lifeboat crew said: “As a dog owner, my skills were tested to their limits today. Not as straightforward as we all thought it would be, but it was great to eventually reunite Buddy with his owner.”

Sligo Bay RNLI asks pet owners to remember, if your pet goes into the water, please do not enter the water after them — instead call 112 or 999 and ask for help from the coastguard.

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Wexford RNLI’s inshore lifeboat had a busy Sunday afternoon (13 August) with two back-to-back rescue efforts.

Lifeboat helm Damien Foley and volunteer crew Ger Doran and Donal Troddyn were first tasked with assisting two people whose boat suffered engine failure inside Wexford harbour at 1.08pm.

The lifeboat crew arrived on scene at 1.18pm and after assessing the situation, they decided the safest option was to secure a tow to the casualty vessel and bring the people safely ashore.

At 1.53pm, just as the lifeboat was a few hundred metres from shore, the Irish Coast Guard tasked them to reports of two girls in the water off Rosslare Strand.

The lifeboat crew were able to bring the people ashore before turning around en route to Rosslare, within minutes of the tasking.

Conditions at the time were good, with a south-westerly Force 3 wind and rising tide. Rosslare Harbour RNLI were also tasked to the incident.

While their lifeboat was on the way to Rosslare Point, Wexford RNLI were informed that another paddleboard user had assisted in the rescue and the girls were safely ashore.

Rosslare Harbour’s lifeboat was asked to search and recover the lost paddleboard in case it was spotted later and reported again.

Speaking following the call-out, Wexford RNLI helm Damien Foley said: “Both incidents resulted in good outcomes. If anyone sees a person in difficulty on or near the water, please dial 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

Shore crew for Wexford RNLI on Sunday afternoon was Simon Gulliver and the launch authority was Dave Dempsey.

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Lough Derg RNLI were requested to launch at noon on Thursday 10 August) to assist two people on a 40ft cruiser with engine failure and at anchor by navigation buoy H, close to Terryglass Bay.

The inshore lifeboat Jean Spier launched with helm Steve Smyth and crew and Eleanor Hooker, Chris Parker and Joe O’Donoghue on board. The wind was south-easterly Force 4-5 and visibility was good.

At 12.35pm the lifeboat located the casualty vessel and came alongside to transfer an RNLI volunteer across to assess the situation. Both people on board were safe and unharmed and wearing their lifejackets.

The RNLI crew reported back to the lifeboat that the vessel was dragging its anchor slightly and at risk of being dragged into rocky and shallow water.

It was then decided to take the vessel with its passengers, and with the RNLI crew member remaining on board, to the closest safe harbour.

Within minutes, the lifeboat had the casualty vessel under an astern tow to Terryglass Harbour. On constant lookout, the lifeboat crew kept the helm appraised of the dense traffic on the lake also making way for Terryglass.

In order to navigate the narrow channel into the harbour, the lifeboat helm advised he was going to take the tow head to weather and to prepare for an alongside tow.

As the harbour was full, at 1.16pm the lifeboat safely moored the casualty vessel on the outer wall of the harbour.

Speaking after the call-out, Aoife Kennedy, deputy launching authority at Lough Derg RNLI advises boat users: “If you find yourself in difficulty, dial 112 or 999 and ask for the coastguard.”

This was the second call of the week for Lough Derg RNLI. On Sunday afternoon (6 August) pagers sounded for a request to assist three people on a vessel taking on water and in danger of sinking outside Garrykennedy Harbour. But shortly after launch the lifeboat was stood down as it emerged that another vessel had taken the casualty boat by tow to a safe mooring in the harbour.

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Enniskillen RNLI’s inshore lifeboat John and Jean Lewis was launched at the request of Belfast Coastguard on Wednesday afternoon (9 August) to assess a boat breakdown near Portoa Lock.

The Shetland cruiser with two people onboard had reported encountering mechanical issues, and was found adrift when the lifeboat arrived on scene.

The lifeboat crew assessed those onboard and found them to be safe and well and wearing lifejackets.

After its mechanical issues were remedied, the vessel made its way to the Round ‘O’ jetty followed by the lifeboat crew and it was safely secured at its berth.

Speaking following the call-out, Alan Shaw, volunteer helm at Enniskillen RNLI had advice for all boat users in the summer season.

“Carry out regular maintenance checks on your vessel. Make sure you have the relevant charts required before starting your journey, lifejackets for all on board and a means of calling for assistance if you find yourself in trouble.

“If you see someone in trouble on the water or are in difficulties yourself the number to dial is 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

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Just hours after the conclusion of their station’s open day on Sunday (6 August), Wicklow RNLI’s volunteer crew members responded to the first of two call-outs in 24 hours.

Pagers sounded just after 9.30pm on Sunday night and within 10 minutes the all-weather lifeboat Ruth and David Arthur was making best speed to a position just south of Greystones to attend a six-metre fishing vessel with one person on board which was adrift after suffering engine failure.

Arriving on scene 30 minutes after launch, the lifeboat coxswain assessed the situation and decided that the safest option was to tow the vessel to the nearest port.

The fishing vessel’s lone crew was safely landed ashore at Greystones Marina shortly after 10.35pm.

The second call-out came at 5.40pm on Monday (7 August) when a concerned member of the public reported a small inflatable dinghy with four people on board appeared to be struggling to get back to shore due to the turning tide and westerly offshore wind.

The D-class inshore lifeboat was launched within minutes under helm Paul Sillery and it quickly located the the dinghy and its occupants just as they were making it ashore at Travelahawk beach.

Once it was ascertained that no further assistance was required, the lifeboat was stood down by the Irish Coast Guard.

Speaking later, Sillery emphasised the dangers of using inflatables in the sea: “Inflatables can pose significant risks, as they are susceptible to changing tides, offshore winds and currents.

“We would urge everyone to leave the inflatables at home and not bring them into the sea. If you see someone in trouble in the water, please call 112 or 999 and ask for the coastguard.”

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Skerries RNLI were tasked just before 10pm on Friday night (4 August) following a 999 call to report that two teenagers were stranded on Shenick Island, having been cut off by the incoming tide.

The volunteers in Skerries launched their Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat Louis Simson and proceeded to make their way around the headland at Red Island in Skerries towards Shenick Island.

Arriving on scene, the lifeboat crew quickly spotted the two teenagers on the shoreline on the island. The lifeboat was manoeuvred into shallow water near the bar between the mainland and the island and a crew member made their way ashore.

Having confirmed that no medical assistance was required, the crew member helped the teenagers make their way out the lifeboat and brought to the station where they were given some dry blankets and refreshments to warm themselves while they waited for someone to collect them.

Weather conditions at the time had a Force 2-3 south-easterly wind with a calm sea and good visibility.

This was the second day in a row that the lifeboat was tasked to people stranded on Shenick, having responded to a similar call as they finished training on Thursday evening. In that instance the people made it ashore themselves.

Speaking about the call-out, volunteer lifeboat press officer Gerry Canning said: “When [the teenagers] realised that they had gotten their timing wrong and were not going to get back to shore as the water was getting deeper, they absolutely made the right call in returning to the island and calling for help and we always encourage anyone in difficulty on or near the water to dial 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

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The Cowes RNLI lifeboat was kept busy during Cowes Week racing earlier this week with incidents on Monday and Tuesday.

On Monday morning (31 July) the lifeboat crew were called out to two yachts involved in a violent collision, and then assisted a yachtsman knocked into the water.

In all cases the boats involved were competing in the Daring Class event.

On the first occasion one Daring collided with the hull of another, holing it. The damaged boat was eventually towed to a Cowes boatyard by a harbour launch, escorted by the lifeboat.

Then the lifeboat went back out into the Solent to assist a Daring yachtsman who was knocked into the water near the Bramble Bank, after being struck by a boom when the boat broached.

The casualty was taken by the lifeboat to Trinity Landing where he was received by the coastguard for possible onward medical treatment.

Cowes RNLI on exercise on Wednesday 2 AugustCowes RNLI on exercise on Wednesday 2 August

Cowes RNLI launched again on Tuesday (1 August), helping in two Solent incidents.

The first call-out was just after 1pm in response to a report of a man overboard from a yacht, east of Cowes Harbour’s breakwater.

The lifeboat eventually delivered the man to Trinity Landing, where island coastguards handed him over to an ambulance for onward delivery to St Mary’s Hospital in Newport.

Another emergency call followed, concerning a woman with a suspected broken wrist aboard a day-boat.

The lifeboat took the woman to Trinity Landing where a doctor member of the lifeboat station was waiting to carry out a preliminary assessment before she, too, was taken to hospital.

The lifeboat then began to tow the day-boat, with its two remaining occupants, into the harbour — where a harbour launch then took over to take the craft to a local marina.

The women of Cowes RNLIThe women of Cowes RNLI

On Wednesday (2 August) all Cowes Week racing was abandoned due to high winds for a second time, but the daily lifeboat exercises continued as planned — with one launch staffed entirely by women.

“It was great to have an all-women crew on the lifeboat, all women on shore crew, a woman as our launching authority, a woman as our plant operator and the women from the shop and visits team,” said one crew member.

Mark Southwell, station operations manager added": “As far back as 15 years ago the then-independent Cowes lifeboat already had a mixed crew, which went on transfer to the RNLI service. So, from the start we have been able to demonstrate that the lifeboat it not a men’s club — and it’s not a club at all, but a serious professional service, ready at a moment’s notice.

“Today 30 per cent of the station itself is female. There are no bars or prejudices towards anyone here. Logically that’ll be a 50/50 split one day and rightly so, thus reflecting the population of Cowes. And all lifeboats should fully represent their towns.

“I have to say that I admire anyone, man or woman, who happily tuns up and launches in such foul conditions as we have experienced today, and still has a broad smile!”

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Baltimore RNLI were called out on Monday night (31 July) for the second time in two days to provide a medical evacuation, this time from Cape Clear Island off the coast of West Cork.

The volunteer lifeboat crew launched their all-weather lifeboat at 9.08pm following a request from the Irish Coast Guard to medevac a visitor from the island.

Conditions during the call-out were good, with a north-westerly Force 5 wind, smooth sea and good visibility.

Arriving at North Harbour on Cape Clear Island at 9.33pm, the lifeboat crew performed a care assessment of the casualty before transferring him onboard the lifeboat and taking him to the station in Baltimore, where he was handed over to the care of a waiting HSE ambulance crew shortly after 10.10pm.

Speaking following the call-out, Kate Callanan, Baltimore RNLI’s volunteer lifeboat press officer said: “This is the second medevac carried out from an island within two days. On 30 July a man on Sherkin Island who had suffered an injury required the lifeboat to bring him out to the mainland for treatment.

“Baltimore RNLI provides a vital service to those living, working or holidaying on an island who are in need of medical assistance. If you find yourself in a emergency whilst on an island, call 999 or 112.”

There were seven volunteer crew onboard the lifeboat during Monday night’s call-out: coxswain Aidan Bushe, mechanic Jerry Smith and crew members Kieran Collins, Brian McSweeney, Colin Whooley, Emma Geary and Stuart Musgrave.

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