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Displaying items by tag: Lifeboats

Sligo Bay RNLI’s volunteer crew were requested to launch their inshore lifeboat to reports of sailing dinghies caught in a squall on Thursday evening (22 June).

Following reports from an onlooker on the beach at Rosses Point that there appeared to be several dinghies capsized in Sligo Bay, the inshore lifeboat Sheila and Denis Tongue launched at 8.10pm to offer assistance to the clubs’ safety boats already on the water.

Arriving on the scene at 8.15pm, the crew assessed the situation and found that most dinghies had righted themselves and were able to sail home unassisted.

However, one dinghy had turned turtle and both sailors had been picked up by the club safety boat. The lifeboat crew managed to right the dinghy and tow it back to the club.

Speaking following the call-out, Aisling Gillen, Sligo Bay RNLI’s volunteer lifeboat press officer said: “A member from the sailing club said conditions changed very quickly and even though they had their safety boats on the water, they were very grateful of the assistance provided by ourselves and that having the RNLI as their neighbours, is always a great comfort to them.

“As we enter the summer season, we would remind anyone planning a trip to sea to always go prepared, check weather and tide times, always wear a lifejacket or suitable flotation device for your activity and always carry a means of communication such as a VHF radio or a mobile phone in a waterproof pouch. Should you get into difficulty, call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

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Achill Island and Ballyglass RNLI in Co Mayo are among six charities that will benefit from the proceeds raised from the hugely popular annual 5k Runway Fun Run, which will take place on the runway at Ireland West Airport this September.

Ireland West Airport made the announcement about this year’s fun run on Thursday (22 June) in partnership with Portwest.

Runners and walkers will take-off down the runway at 7pm on Saturday 9 September and complete a 5km course with a difference.

All are welcome to attend what promises to be a fantastic evening for all the family, raising much needed funds for our charity partners in 2023.

The airport charity partners for 2023 are the RNLI lifeboat stations in Achill Island and Ballyglass, Breakthrough Cancer Research, Diabetes Ireland, Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, Children’s Cancer Fund and Mayo Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Registration is now open but placs are limited. Entry costs €20 per adult and €5 for under-16s. A special family rate of €40 will be available for families of two adults and two kids.

All participants will receive a race T-shirt and complimentary car parking and refreshments at the airport will be provided on the day.

To mark the special event, all participants who register online to take part will be entered into a draw to win two return flights to London Heathrow with Aer Lingus — the airport’s newest daily service launched in March of this year.

A ‘virtual option’ will also be available again this year for those who wish to support the charities but are unable to make it on the day and would like to do a virtual run or walk.

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Sligo Bay RNLI’s volunteer crew were requested to launch their inshore lifeboat to reports of four swimmers in difficulty on Wednesday afternoon (21 June) at Strandhill beach.

On arrival at the scene less than 20 minutes after pagers sounded, the lifeboat crew were advised by the Irish Coast Guard that three swimmers had been rescued by local surfers but that a fourth person was missing.

The volunteers continued search the area until they were stood down by the coastguard when the fourth swimmer was successfully rescued and brought to shore. An ambulance was also on the scene to assess all four swimmers.

Strandhill beach has a very strong undercurrent and swimming is prohibited.

Aisling Gillen, Sligo Bay RNLI’s lifeboat press officer adds: “Thankfully today had a happy ending but it is important to always observe the signage and only swim at a lifeguarded beach.”

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Portrush RNLI was requested to launch by Belfast Coastguard at 7.15pm on Tuesday evening to reports of a person who had fallen onto rocks between Portrush and Portstewart on Northern Ireland’s Causeway Coast.

The all-weather lifeboat was already out on exercise so was diverted to the scene and was able to arrive some 10 minutes after the pagers were activated.

Once on scene, the crew realised that the person was unresponsive, and liaising with the PSNI and coastguard on a plan of action. At this point the inshore lifeboat was requested to launch to assist evacuation of the casualty.

The volunteer crew were then able to assist the casualty into the care of the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service, coastguard and the waiting Air Ambulance at the top of the cliff.

Perry Walton, deputy coxswain at Portrush said: “Because the crew were already out on an exercise, we were able to respond to the page from HMCG very quickly.

“Added to the fact that weather conditions were good, we had good visibility and a fairly calm sea, we could locate the casualty immediately and help with the evacuation of the casualty to the cliff top.

“We would always ask people to be careful when walking along the cliff edges as its very easy to lose footing. If you see someone in difficulty, please ring 999 and ask for the coastguard.”

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Wexford RNLI rescued two people on Tuesday night (20 June) after their boat ran aground on rocks.

The volunteer crew were just completing a routine training exercise when they were requested by the Irish Coast Guard at 9.30pm to go to the aid of two people on a motorboat that had grounded on rocks that form part of a tidal defence wall, known as the North Training wall.

Helmed by Lorraine Galvin and with crew members Ger Doran, Dave Murray and Kevin Fitzharris onboard, the inshore lifeboat was quickly on scene at 9.35pm and the crew assessed the situation.

Both onboard the casualty vessel were found to be safe and well.

There was a strong tidal flow which required the lifeboat crew to make careful calculations to pass a tow while avoiding damage to the lifeboat itself by the rocks.

The tow was established at 9.50pm and the vessel was safely removed from the rocks and towed to the nearby boat club.

Weather conditions at the time were good, with a Force 3 southeasterly wind and good visibility.

Speaking following the call-out, Lorraine Galvin, Wexford RNLI lifeboat press officer said: “A strong tide made getting safely near the boat challenging but all the crew did a great job in assessing the options and successfully getting the crew and their vessel to safety.

“If anyone sees anyone in difficulty on or near the water, ring 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

Shore crew on Tuesday night was Dermot Whelan while the deputy Launching authority was Damien Lynch.

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In the early hours of Tuesday morning (20 June), Valentia Coast Guard requested Lough Derg RNLI to launch to search for and assist two people reported to have set out from Portumna for Mountshannon seven hours earlier but who had not arrived at their destination.

At 1.39am, the inshore lifeboat Jean Spier launched with helm Eleanor Hooker and crew Doireann Kennedy, Chris Parker and Ciara Lynch on board.

Winds were southwesterly Force 2 on a moonless, starless night. Volunteers used local knowledge and all their electronic equipment on board to navigate in the dark.

At the lifeboat was launching, Valentia Coast Guard requested the RNLI volunteers begin their search at Mountshannon, at the southwestern end of the lake, and to take a route north towards Portumna.

At 1.48am, at the same time as the RNLI volunteer monitoring radar detected an object in the water, one of the volunteers on watch pointed to a fleeting white outline in the dark.

The crew used their searchlight and determined that it was the casualty vessel. The vessel was adrift in open water near to Garrykennedy.

When the lifeboat came alongside, volunteers found that both casualties were safe and unharmed. They were requested to put on their lifejackets.

The helm decided to take the casualty vessel on an alongside tow to Garrykennedy Harbour, the closest safe harbour. The skipper of the casualty boat was requested to lift their outboard engine to reduce drag.

At 2.25am the vessel was safely tied alongside at Garrykennedy. Lifeboat crew made contact with a friend of the casualties and arranged for them to be collected.

Peter Kennedy, deputy launching authority at Lough Derg RNLI advises boat uses to “ensure you have sufficient fuel for your journey and always carry a means of communication. Plan your route to arrive at your destination before nightfall. Should you need assistance, dial 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

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Youghal RNLI in East Cork launched to the aid of three people on Monday afternoon (19 June) after a 40ft yacht fouled its mooring in Youghal Harbour.

The volunteer crew were requested to launch their inshore lifeboat at 3.45pm following a report from the Irish Coast Guard that the yacht was in difficulty about 200m from the lifeboat station.

Helmed by John Griffin Jr and with crew members Eddie Hennessy, Jack Nolan and Jason Innes onboard, the inshore lifeboat was launched and was quickly on scene.

Weather conditions at the time were good with a southerly Force 3 wind and a smooth sea.

Once on scene, the crew observed the three onboard were not in difficulty but had requested assistance due to the yacht having become tangled in its mooring cable, which the crew were able to set free.

Speaking following the call-out, John Hearne, Youghal RNLI’s deputy launching authority said: “This was a straightforward call-out for our volunteers who were happy to assist those onboard the yacht.

“As we now enter the summer season, we would encourage anyone planning a trip to sea to always go prepared, ensure boats and engines are checked and that you have enough fuel for your trip, always wear a lifejacket or suitable flotation device and always carry a means of communication such as a VHF radio or a mobile phone.

“Should you get into difficulty or see someone else in trouble, call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

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A kayaker is thanking the RNLI for saving his life after the charity’s local volunteer lifeboat crew pulled him from the waves on Father’s Day last year.

Grandad Glenn Bradley was enjoying the good weather and calm conditions in Cloughey Bay at Northern Ireland’s Ards Peninsula with his wife, Jo, on their kayaks when she capsized.

Unable to get back on board, Jo swam to shore while Glenn tried to retrieve her boat, which was being blown out to sea by a rapidly increasing offshore wind.

Glenn said: “I was lashing the kayaks together to tow hers back in when I realised the wind had picked up and I was about 400 metres offshore, and I just could not get back in.

“I waved my paddle left to right in the air to signal to Jo that I was in distress as I was getting blown further and further out.”

Realising he was fighting a losing battle, Glenn turned out to sea, spotted a rocky outcrop and made a desperate bid to paddle to it.

He said: “I just thought, ‘I’ve got to stay in this boat as long as possible and hope to get rescued,’ and I was just stabbing at the water trying to stay afloat when I saw North Rock, put my head down and went for it.”

After capsizing in the huge swells 50 metres short of the tiny island, he made it to the shore dragging his kayak behind him and collapsing, exhausted.

Glenn Bradley says: “I’m only here to celebrate Father’s Day this year thanks to the RNLI. They saved my life” | Credit: Glenn BradleyGlenn Bradley says: “I’m only here to celebrate Father’s Day this year thanks to the RNLI. They saved my life” | Credit: Glenn Bradley

A volunteer crew from Donaghadee RNLI lifeboat had launched after Jo’s 999 call, and they arrived shortly after Glenn made it to North Rock.

Glenn was picked up from the waves and returned to shore where his family was waiting — even making it back in time for their Father’s Day meal.

Glenn said: “When I saw those unsung heroes of the RNLI appear on the horizon, I just felt relief.

“I made it to the restaurant that night, and I’m only here to celebrate Father’s Day this year thanks to the RNLI. They saved my life.”

An experienced kayaker, Glenn ordinarily would not take to the waves without a lifejacket and a means of calling for help. But thinking he would be in and out quickly, he had been caught out by the quick change in conditions.

Sam Hughes from the RNLI Water Safety Team said: “Luckily, due to his experience on a kayak and his wife’s quick thinking in calling 999 and asking for the coastguard, the outcome was a happy one for Glenn and his family on Father’s Day.

‘“Even experienced kayakers get caught out, so we recommend anyone heading out on a kayak always checks the tide times and weather forecast, wears a buoyancy aid and takes a means of calling for help in a waterproof pouch.”

In 2022, RNLI lifesavers — lifeguards and lifeboat crew — came to the aid of 535 kayakers and canoeists, saving 24 lives.

The RNLI’s key safety advice for anyone kayaking or canoeing is:

  • Take a means of calling for help as part of your kit and keep it on you, within reach, at all times.
  • Wear a suitable lifejacket or buoyancy aid.
  • Always check the weather forecast and sea conditions before you set off.
  • Make sure you have the right skills by taking a training session — British Canoeing or Canoeing Ireland run a range of courses.
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Courtown RNLI in Co Wexford rescued three people on Sunday afternoon (11 June) after their speedboat started taking on water off Courtown Beach.

The volunteer crew were requested to launch their inshore lifeboat at around 3.40pm and it was launched shortly after at 3.50pm with helm Peter Browne and crew members Rob Ireton and Cathal Kinsella onboard.

They arrived on scene at 3.55pm and observed that the speedboat had made its way onto the beach.

Conditions were favourable at the time with partial cloud and a southeasterly wind.

Having assessed the situation, it was decided that crew member Cathal Kinsella to swim ashore with a tow rope. He assisted the speedboat crew to secure the tow line and he then stayed onboard the speedboat as it was towed into the harbour by the lifeboat.

Great care and skill were required towing the boat into the harbour as it was a busy day in Courtown, with small craft and jet skis using the harbour.

Speaking following the callout, Billy Byrne, Courtown RNLI deputy launching authority said: “We were delighted to help and wish the three onboard the speedboat well. We would commend them for all wearing the appropriate lifejackets, that is always the right thing to do.

“We would encourage all boat owners to maintain their craft and always have a means of calling for help. Should you get into difficulty or see someone else in trouble, call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

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Portrush RNLI was requested to launch its all-weather lifeboat by Belfast Coastguard at 1.26am on Sunday morning (11 June) following reports of a small motor cruiser with three people onboard that had broken down around a mile off Ballycastle.

The lifeboat launched at 1.46am and arrived on scene at 3am. By the time the lifeboat and the volunteer crew had located the small boat, the tide had pulled it east in line between Rue Point on Rathlin Island and Torr Head.

Conditions were near perfect, with some partial cloud with a smooth sea and a light southeasterly breeze.

Once on scene, the lifeboat crew risk-assessed the situation and a decision was made to attach a towline to the boat and the crew started a slow tow to Ballycastle Harbour on Northern Ireland’s North Antrim coast.

Speaking following the callout, Johnny Weston, deputy coxswain at Portrush RNLI said: “Because of the size of the motor cruiser, we had to make sure it was a sure steady tow back to Ballycastle Harbour, but it was a beautiful morning and sea conditions were good.

“The crew of the small boat did the right thing in alerting the coastguard especially as the tide had started to pull them eastwards. This was the third launch for our all-weather within a 24-hour period.”

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