Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Displaying items by tag: Lifeboats

In their second callout of the May Bank Holiday weekend, Lough Derg RNLI launched on Sunday evening (30 April) to a cruiser aground on the Galway shore of the lough.

The request from Valentia Coast Guard followed a report from a member of the public that a 40ft cruiser was aground inside Rabbit Island and the Split Rock navigation mark near Rossmore Quay.

At 6.13pm the inshore lifeboat Jean Spier launched with helm Owen Cavanagh, Eleanor Hooker and Joe O’Donoghue on board. Winds were westerly, Force 3/4 and visibility was good.

Twelve minutes later the RNLI lifeboat volunteers could see the casualty vessel inside Rabbit Island close to Rossmore Quay.

The lifeboat crew navigated through safe water to the casualty vessel and was alongside at 6.35pm.

There were six people on board, all safe and unharmed. They were requested to put on their lifejackets. A RNLI lifeboat crew member transferred across to the casualty vessel and checked under the floorboards to confirm that the vessel was not holed.

Given the location and the weather, the helm made the decision to take the vessel off the shoal and asked crew to set up for a tow. The skipper of the casualty vessel was requested to empty its water tanks to lighten the boat.

Having established that it was not possible to take the vessel off the shoal from the bow of the casualty vessel, it was decided that four of the passengers would use their tender to take them to Rossmore Quay, their intended destination, close by. A passing fishing vessel took the remaining two passengers.

Two experienced mariners offered support in their RIB and were asked to accompany the fishing vessel and the tender to shore.

With an RNLI volunteer remaining on the casualty vessel, the lifeboat took back in all lines and established the bridle and tow on the stern of the cruiser which was then freed from the shoal and towed out in to safe water.

All drives, forward and astern, and the rudder were found to be in good working order. A second RNLI volunteer boarded the casualty vessel to prepare mooring lines while it made way under its own power to Rossmore Quay. By 7.42pm the cruiser was safely tied alongside at Rossmore Quay and the lifeboat departed the scene.

Christine O’Malley, lifeboat operations manager at Lough Derg RNLI advises boat owners to “plot your course and remain within the navigation channel. Always carry a means of communication so that if you find yourself in difficulty you can call 112 or 999 and ask for marine rescue.”

On Friday afternoon the inshore lifeboat at Lough Derg was called to assist a fishing vessel with two on board that ran aground at Castlelough, as previously reported on

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
Tagged under

On Friday afternoon (28 April), Valentia Coast Guard requested Lough Derg RNLI to launch following a report from a member of the public that a vessel was aground at Castlelough below Parker’s Point.

The inshore lifeboat Jean Spier launched at 1.55pm with helm Eleanor Hooker, Steve Smyth, Chris Parker and Richard Nolan on board. Winds were southwestery Force 2 and visibility was good.

At 2.09pm the RNLI volunteers could see the casualty vessel at a location close to a woodland shore south of Castlelough. They navigated the lifeboat through safe water close to the casualty vessel.

Using local knowledge and onboard navigation tools, the crew identified the edge of the rocky shoal on which the lakeboat was grounded. Observing the casualty vessel, it was evident it was pivoting on a rock mid-keel.

Carrying a handheld VHF radio and a general purpose line, an RNLI volunteer waded in to the casualty vessel and quickly established that the two people on board were safe and unharmed and their boat was not holed.

The RNLI crew requested the skipper to lift their outboard engine to reduce drag whilst he eased the boat off the rock. The engine’s propellors were not damaged after the casualty vessel grounded.

The lifeboat volunteer climbed aboard the casualty vessel which then made way back out to safe water and alongside the lifeboat, which guided it to safe harbour.

Christine O’Malley, lifeboat operations manager at Lough Derg RNLI urges boat users to “wear your lifejacket and carry a means of communication”.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
Tagged under

Donaghadee RNLI’s lifeboat volunteers were paged on Monday (24 April) to assist a 10-metre yacht with three crew members onboard that was in difficulty off the Co Down coast in Northern Ireland.

Around 8.10pm on Monday evening, the crew were asked to launch the RNLI Trent class relief lifeboat Macquarie to go to the assistance of the yacht which had experienced engine failure just off Burr Point near Ballyhalbert.

In a northwesterly wind with good visibility — albeit fading light — and a calm sea state, the crew were able to make full speed to the last reported location of the yacht and reached the scene at 8.45pm.

During passage, volunteer crew member David Cull was able to liaise by VHF with the skipper of the yacht to reassure him of their pending arrival and give advice on how to make the yacht ready to receive a towline.

Once on scene and in now faded light, the lifeboat volunteers were able to quickly establish the towline with yacht’s crew and begin the tow back to Bangor Harbour, where they arrived roughly two-and-a-half hours later and where the yacht’s crew were passed into the care of the local coastguard rescue team.

Speaking following the callout, Donaghadee RNLI coxswain Philip McNamara said: “The skipper of this yacht did absolutely the correct thing in asking for assistance as soon as he knew he had an issue, and had everything ready to make it easy for us to quickly establish the tow once alongside.

“The importance of having a means of communication, and on this occasion a VHF, cannot be underestimated.

“This was a classic example of how well this works when things go unexpectedly wrong. As always, my thanks to the volunteers who dropped everything to attend the callout — a great crew to work with.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
Tagged under

Dunmore East RNLI successfully assisted a lone sailor after they got into difficulty on their 30ft yacht outside the Co Waterford town’s harbour last Thursday (20 April).

The lifeboat crew was called into action just after 8pm on Thursday night by the Irish Coast Guard after they were alerted that a lone sailor aboard a 30ft yacht was in difficulty after the vessel lost power approximately one mile south east of the harbour.

Led by coxswain Roy Abrahamsson, the volunteer crew promptly launched in the Shannon Class all-weather lifeboat William & Agnes Wray and reached the stranded yacht swiftly in calm conditions.

In the meantime, the crew from the Port of Waterford pilot boat were on scene first as they were in the area at the time, checked in with the sailor and stood by in a support capacity ensuring the sailor’s safety until the lifeboat arrived.

The vessel had been on the final stages of a long passage from the UK and encountered difficulties on the last leg. To ensure the safety of the sailor, the lifeboat crew established a tow line to bring the yacht back to Dunmore East.

Thanks to the combined efforts of the lifeboat crew, pilot boat and the sailor, the yacht was successfully towed to the harbour by 9pm.

Reflecting on the incident, Dunmore East RNLI lifeboat press officer Peter Grogan said: “The sailor did the right thing calling for assistance and we were happy to help.

“When going afloat we would remind everyone to check their engine and fuel, always wear a lifejacket or buoyancy aid, and carry a means of calling for help. If you see someone in difficulty on or near the water, dial 999/112 or use marine VHF Channel 16 and ask for the coastguard.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
Tagged under

Galway RNLI’s volunteer lifeboat crew welcomed Prof Dara Byrne, Philip Parakal Augusthinose and Mike Smith to the station last Thursday (13 April) to see first-hand how the RNLI station operates and how clinical simulation can enhance casualty care and first aid training.

The visit was part of ongoing engagement between the University of Galway’s College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences and the RNLI crew.

Earlier this year volunteer crew member Olivia Byrne, who is also a nurse and helps deliver some of the first-aid training to her fellow crew members, spent a half day in the university’s Clinical Simulation and Interprofessional Education Facility putting skills learned into practice.

“The technology in use at the university for learning is incredible,” Olivia said. “I was able to practise resuscitation techniques on full-body manikins which were programmed to simulate the very specific conditions that casualties that we rescue are exposed to such as water and cold. The manikin reacted to treatment as close to a real-life patient experience as is possible.

“I was delighted to be able to show Prof Byrne and colleagues around our station and give them an insight into the work we do and how our training is used in practice.

“During their visit they met with the crew and were even able to see how we prepare for and launch our inshore lifeboat which was out on the water as part of our continual training and crew assessment.

“I look forward to further collaboration with the university and am very grateful for the expertise they shared, the time that they dedicated to our RNLI crew and for a very generous donation of medical supplies. There are only three simulation centres of this type in Ireland with the newest and most advanced here in Galway. We are very fortunate to be based so close to this incredible facility.”

Galway RNLI volunteer Olivia Byrne accepts a donation of medical supplies from Mike Smith, Philip Parakal Augusthinose and Prof Dara Byrne from the University of Galway Clinical Simulation and Interprofessional Education Facility during a recent visit to the Galway Lifeboat Station | Credit: University of Galway/Martina ReganGalway RNLI volunteer Olivia Byrne accepts a donation of medical supplies from Mike Smith, Philip Parakal Augusthinose and Prof Dara Byrne from the University of Galway Clinical Simulation and Interprofessional Education Facility during a recent visit to the Galway Lifeboat Station | Credit: University of Galway/Martina Regan

Prof Dara Byrne, Professor of Simulation in the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences said: “We are delighted to support our friends and colleagues in the RNLI with simulation equipment and education. They are a dedicated and crucial part of the healthcare family providing essential emergency service and care.

“They work as a team and interface with other emergency services so simulation can support their technical and non-technical skill requirements as part of their training programme. We are excited to begin a series of trauma talks and other activities with them and will be seeing them in the interprofessional simulation facility soon. A very exciting collaboration for us all and one that recognises the value and importance of the RNLI team and the support that they provide for our community.”

Mike Swan, Galway RNLI lifeboat operations manager added: “Lifeboat volunteers need and deserve the very best training and equipment to keep them safe when they launch to a rescue. Crews don’t just learn boat-handling skills — they learn everything from navigation and engine repair to first aid and sea survival. We provide them with comprehensive training and recognised qualifications.

“Our mission is to save lives at sea and we can only do that with the support of our community here in Galway. The University of Galway is an important part of our community and we appreciate the valuable support of the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
Tagged under

Volunteers from the three Donegal-based RNLI lifeboat stations at Bundoran, Lough Swilly and Arranmore will climb the highest mountain in the county, Errigal, as part of the charity’s Mayday fundraising campaign.

Six crew — two from each station — will ascend the 751 metres of the Donegal mountain in full lifeboat gear on Saturday 13 May in a combined fundraising effort for the three stations.

The idea for the challenge came about after three members of the Bundoran crew walked the Bundoran 10-mile event last year in their full kit, raising over €6,000 for the charity.

This year they wanted to do something different, while involving their fellow lifeboat crew mates from Lough Swilly and Arranmore.

Barry Nixon and Stephen Quigley of Lough Swilly RNLI | Credit: RNLI/Lough SwillyBarry Nixon and Stephen Quigley of Lough Swilly RNLI | Credit: RNLI/Lough Swilly

Aisling Cox and Brian Proctor from Arranmore RNLI, Chris Fox and Brian Fowley from Bundoran RNLI and Stephen Quigley and Barry Nixon from Lough Swilly RNLI have all volunteered to complete the climb on 13 May.

Chris Fox was one of those who took part in last year’s Bundoran 10-mile event. He said: “While the blisters didn’t settle for a few days, it was still a great experience and a really great fundraising event for Bundoran lifeboat station.

“We wanted to change it up this year and put the challenge out to our two other stations in Donegal to see if they would help us complete the Mayday Mile on Errigal.”

Stephen Quigley added: “We jumped at the chance for this challenge with our fellow crew members from around the county. There is nowhere more iconic in Donegal than Errigal; walking up it in full kit will be quite the challenge. But it will be a great to come together as one crew with this fundraiser for the three stations here in Donegal: Bundoran, Lough Swilly and Arranmore.”

Brian Proctor and Aisling Cox of Arranmore RNLI | Credit: RNLI/John McCaffertyBrian Proctor and Aisling Cox of Arranmore RNLI | Credit: RNLI/John McCafferty

Aisling Cox is hopeful that the climb will help to raise the funds needed to keep all three stations running. “Mayday is our own call for help, as we rely on the generosity of the public to take part in events like the Mayday Mile and raise the funds that allow us to be there when we’re needed most,” she said.

“But we need to be ready. Training, kit, stations and fuel — these are just some of the things we need to save lives and that people fundraising can help provide.”

With the three stations in Co Donegal expected to be busy this summer, the RNLI is asking people to support the Mayday Mile throughout the month of May by covering the distance in any way they choose and raising vital funds to keep people safe.

Donations to the Errigal challenge can be made via the JustGiving page and the final sum will be divided equally between the three Donegal stations.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Portrush RNLI hosted a special ceremony on Saturday (15 April) at the harbour when their new D class lifeboat was officially named The Ken Blair by Sylvia Blair.

The lifeboat, funded by Sylvia in memory of her late husband, arrived at the Northern Ireland lifeboat station in November 2022 and has already been on service.

Ken spent his school holidays on the Copeland Islands off the coast at Donaghadee and his grandfather was friendly with the local lifeboat crew. It was this which initially fuelled Ken’s interest in the RNLI and the couple were Shoreline members of the charity for many years. Ken had told Sylvia it would be lovely to have a lifeboat named in memory of a person.

Sylvia said: “He was such a wonderful, caring, dearly loved husband, whose sole aim in life was to help others. He was so contented and happy with his lot, I felt it a fitting tribute, following his death in July 2020 to fund The Ken Blair in his memory. It will provide a very valuable rescue service on the North Antrim Coast, a place that he loved dearly.”

Deputy launching authority and former volunteer lifeboat crew member Charles Grossie was master of ceremonies at the naming event. Attendees included family and close friends of Ken and Sylvia, former crew and their families, fundraising volunteers,and raft race teams as well as representatives from RNLI stations at Lough Swilly, Red Bay, Larne and Donaghadee.

Other guests included the Northern Ireland Fire Service, HM Coastguard and the Mayor of Causeway Coast & Glens Borough Council.

RNLI head of region Anna Classon accepted the lifeboat from Sylvia Blair on behalf of the institution before passing it into the care of Beni McAllister, lifeboat operations manager for Portrush RNLI, who represented the station.

Ballywillan Band, who are closely associated with the station, provided a wonderful ensemble of music and the local Sea Cadets assisted with seating the guests and handing out programmes.

Local clergy conducted the service of dedication before Sylvia officially named The Ken Blair with a bottle of Bushmills Whiskey. For the occasion, the lifeboat displayed maritime flags which spelled out the letter ‘K’ and ‘B’ in honour of Ken Blair.

McAllister added: “The naming ceremony was a very proud day for everyone associated with Portrush RNLI Lifeboat Station. We are incredibly fortunate that, thanks to the generosity of Sylvia Blair and the relationship they have with the RNLI, we have this wonderful lifeboat to bring our volunteer crew members, and the casualties that need them, home safely, time and time again.

“The naming ceremony to mark our new inshore lifeboat marks new chapter in saving lives at sea on the North Coast. We will keep Ken and Sylvia Blair in our thoughts. Such generosity and support is the lifeblood of our charity and ensures that we’re able to continue our vital role of saving lives at sea, today and for future generations.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
Tagged under

In two back-to-back callouts on Easter Bank Holiday Monday (10 April), Lough Derg RNLI launched to search for a possible missing person and to assist a kayaker in difficulty in the water.

At 10.28am, Valentia Coast Guard requested Lough Derg RNLI to launch following a report from a resident on Illaunmore that a speedboat was at an unsafe location north of the island and appeared not to have anyone on board.

Lough Derg RNLI’s inshore lifeboat Jean Spier was launched 11 minutes later with helm Eleanor Hooker, Doireann Kennedy, Chris Parker and Richard Nolan on board. Winds were west-southwest Force 3, gusting Force 6 with frequent heavy rain showers, but good visibility.

At 10.55am the RNLI lifeboat crew could see the casualty vessel at the location reported north of Illaunmore. They navigated the lifeboat through safe water to the casualty vessel, which was close to shore.

A lifeboat crew member waded in to the vessel and found it to be at anchor astern, with a line from its bow to a tree on the shore. As the vessel had been made secure, the RNLI volunteer checked through the cabin windows and was satisfied there was no one on board.

The lifeboat crew reported their findings to Valentia Coast Guard, who then stood them down.

Less than an hour later, they were called again — this time to assist a kayaker reported to be in difficulty in the water in Dromineer Bay, close to St David’s.

At 11.54am, Jean Spier launched with helm Eleanor Hooker, Doireann Kennedy and Chris Parker on board. Conditions were similar to those of earlier in the morning, with strong westerly winds and frequent squalls.

En route, two kayakers informed the RNLI crew that they were a party of four and that their companion was in the water to the right of St David’s. A third kayaker paddling to safety pointed towards the location of the kayaker in the water. The RNLI volunteers quickly located this individual, whose profile was low in the water.

Moments later the lifeboat was alongside the casualty, who had managed to get up on and lie lengthways on their upturned kayak. The casualty was taken onto the lifeboat along with the kayak and paddle. The kayaker was feeling cold but was not exhibiting signs of hypothermia.

While taking the casualty to safety, the lifeboat met the other three kayakers rowing a sheltered route in the lee of Goose Island. The lifeboat remained with them until they reached safe harbour.

Once delivered safely back on land, the RNLI volunteers advised all four kayakers to change immediately into dry clothing and to have a warm drink.

Aoife Kennedy, deputy launching authority at Lough Derg RNLI said the earlier callout was a “false alarm but with good intent”. She thanked the public for their vigilance, and advises all lake users to “check the weather before going afloat and to remember that the water is still cold at this time of year so do dress appropriately for your activity”.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
Tagged under

Skerries RNLI responded on Sunday evening (26 March) to reports that there was possibly a person in distress in the water off the south strand in Skerries.

Dublin Coast Guard tasked the lifeboat volunteers in Skerries shortly before 8pm after a member of the public had dialled 999 to report clothing on the beach in Skerries and a dog running around the beach distressed.

Skerries Coast Guard unit responded to the incident and shortly after arriving on scene spotted an object floating in the water between the beach and Colt Island. With the concern that there may be a person in distress in the water, the lifeboat was requested to investigate the object and carry out a search of the area.

The inshore lifeboat was promptly launched and after navigating around the headland at Red Island was on scene in a matter of minutes.

Liaising with the Skerries Coast Guard unit, the lifeboat began to search the approximate area that the object had been spotted. The volunteer crew soon spotted several semi-submerged lobster pots in the area and reported this back to Skerries Coast Guard unit on the shoreline before continuing the search.

With the area thoroughly searched and no further indications that a person had entered the water, the lifeboat was stood down and returned to station where it was refuelled, washed down and made ready for the next callout.

Conditions at the time had Force 3-4 southerly winds with slight swell.

This was the third callout for Skerries RNLI in a number of days. On Thursday evening (23 March) hey assisted in a multi-agency rescue alongside Dublin Fire Brigade, An Garda Siochana and the Irish Coast Guard’s Dublin-based helicopter Rescue 116 after a car entered the water from the slipway in Skerries.

Then on Saturday (25 March) the volunteers were paged following reports of a swimmer in difficulty near the popular Skerries swimming spot known as the Springers. However, it was confirmed visually by lifeboat operations manager Niall McGrotty that the man did not need assistance and had made his way ashore.

Speaking about the callouts, Skerries RNLI volunteer lifeboat press officer Gerry Canning said: “It’s been a busy few days for our volunteers but they are ready to respond to any call for help, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

“Thankfully in this instance it was a false alarm with good intent and we always encourage anyone who thinks someone may be in trouble on or near the water to dial 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
Tagged under

The volunteer crew at Clifden RNLI were called out on Sunday 19 March to assist a vessel suffering mechanical failure near the island of Inishturk in Co Galway.

At noon the Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat launched under the command of helm James Mullen with Joe Acton and Kenny Flaherty as crew and Shane Conneely as tractor driver.

A call had come in from a local fisherman John O’Toole about a small boat with three passengers which had lost power near Inishturk, south of Omey Island.

Conditions at sea were poor with limited visibility and heavy rain, and the casualty vessel was reportedly drifting towards rocks.

The volunteer crew made their way to the location in less than five minutes, by this time O’Toole had begun to tow the stricken vessel away from the rocks. The lifeboat crew proceeded to escort both boats to safety.

Speaking about the callout, Mullen said: “I would like to commend John O’Toole for his fast actions yesterday. This could have been a very serious outcome for the three passengers involved but John called for assistance firstly, located the boat and was in a position to safely assist them.”

The lifeboat helm also has the following advice for anyone going afloat: “When going to sea we would remind everyone to check their engine and fuel, always wear a lifejacket or buoyancy aid and carry a means of calling for help. If you see someone in difficulty on or near the water, dial 999 and ask for the coastguard.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
Tagged under
Page 10 of 154