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Three fishermen were rescued by the Wicklow RNLI on Thursday afternoon, February 22. The fishermen were brought to safety after their vessel developed mechanical problems three miles southeast of Wicklow Head. 

The lifeboat, RNLB Bridie O’Shea, was dispatched from the South Quay at 2:50 pm under the command of Coxswain Nick Keogh. The crew was alongside the casualty vessel within ten minutes. The fishermen had deployed their anchor after losing propulsion while fishing for whelk and contacted the Coast Guard for assistance.

The rescue operation took place in moderate sea conditions, with good visibility and a south-easterly wind force four. 

Coxswain Nick Keogh stated, ‘We carried out an assessment on the 12-metre fishing vessel and found that a rope was fouled in one of the propellers, so we established a tow and brought it back to Wicklow port.’

The fishing vessel arrived at the South Quay just before 4:20 pm, where the three crew members were safely landed ashore.

The RNLI reminds everyone to always check their engine and fuel, wear a lifejacket or buoyancy aid, and carry a means of calling for help when going afloat. If you see someone in difficulty on or near the water, dial 999 and ask for the Coast Guard.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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A woman living on Cape Clear Island off the coast of West Cork was evacuated by the Baltimore RNLI on Wednesday night. The Irish Coast Guard had requested the medical evacuation, and the volunteer lifeboat crew launched their all-weather lifeboat at 11:07 PM. The Baltimore all-weather lifeboat crew arrived at North Harbour on Cape Clear Island at 11:33 PM, where the casualty was assessed by some of the Casualty Care lifeboat crew members. After the assessment, she was transferred via stretcher onboard the lifeboat and taken back to Baltimore station, where she was handed over to the HSE Ambulance crew. 

The call out was made under fresh conditions with a southwesterly force 5-6 wind and a choppy sea, but the seven-strong volunteer crew onboard the lifeboat, including Coxswain Aidan Bushe, Mechanic Cathal Cottrell, and crew members Micheal Cottrell, Colin Whooley, Stuart Musgrave, David Ryan, and Don O’Donovan, managed to complete the mission safely. 

Kate Callanan, Baltimore RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer, said, “Baltimore RNLI often provides medical evacuations to residents and visitors to the islands off the coast of West Cork, including Cape Clear, Sherkin, and Heir. If you find yourself in a medical emergency while on an island, call 999 or 112.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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The RNLI is on the lookout for budding lifeguards to launch their lifesaving careers on some of the most popular beaches in Scotland, Northern Ireland and elsewhere in the UK.

Recruitment for this season’s lifeguard team has started nationally in preparation for providing local authorities and landowners with the service they request to keep the nation’s beachgoers safe this summer.

The charity’s lifeguards not only rescue those in difficulty in the water, they also provide vital beach first-aid and safety advice to ensure visitors can return home safely.

In 2022, RNLI lifeguards provided patrols and responded to more than 18,000 incidents, helping more than 24,000 people in need and saving 117 lives.

Last summer, lifeguards plucked stricken swimmers from powerful rip currents, saved children being blown offshore in inflatables, came to the aid of paddle-boarders and gave lifesaving CPR on beaches among the thousands of incidents they attended.

Successful applicants will receive world-class lifesaving training, enjoy good rates of pay, the possibility of flexible working patterns and develop valuable skills for a future career.

Lachlan Edwards, lead lifeguard supervisor for Scotland said: “To anyone thinking of becoming a lifeguard, just do it. It’s the best job, it’s so rewarding, and it keeps getting better – there’s so much opportunity for growth in the role.

“I love being outside on the beach all summer and sharing my knowledge with people. It often doesn’t feel like a job because I enjoy it so much, which is something a lot of lifeguards say.”

Lee Fisher, lifeguard experience manager said: “Beach lifeguarding is a great opportunity and a very rewarding role that changes lives — including your own — all whilst enjoying the beach as your office.

“Our lifeguards range from teenagers all the way up to lifesavers in their 70s, as long as you meet the fitness requirements and you are over 16 years old, there could be a role for you.

“The job also has great paths for progression — we have lifeguards who have been working for the RNLI for years, both on the beach and as part of our support teams, and the skills you gain can make an ideal first step towards many careers. It’s a great opportunity whether you want a rewarding summer job or to pursue a career in lifesaving.”

Find out more about becoming a lifeguard at rnli.org/BeALifeguard.

Published in Water Safety

Three days after the rescue of three fishermen last Saturday afternoon, Wicklow RNLI launched lunchtime on Tuesday (13 February) to assist three more fishermen after their vessel experienced mechanical problems.

Under the command of coxswain Ciaran Doyle, the all-weather lifeboat Bridie O’Shea slipped its moorings from the south quay shortly before 9am and proceeded north to the casualty vessel’s last reported position.

The 11-metre fishing vessel was located at 9.35am drifting some eight miles off Bray Harbour, with three fishermen onboard were found to be safe and well.

Their fishing boat was found to have suffered engine failure and was unable to return to port under its own power, so the decision was made to tow the vessel to safety.

A towline was quickly established, and the lifeboat began to tow the stricken vessel back to Wicklow harbour, where it was secured alongside the south quay at 12.40pm and the fishermen were landed safely ashore.

Weather conditions at the time were favourable with calm sea and good visibility.

Speaking after the call-out, lifeboat press officer Tommy Dover said: “The fishermen did the right thing this morning by calling the coastguard for assistance. Our volunteer crew were happy to help.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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On Thursday, the 15th of February, Union Hall RNLI in West Cork responded to a report of a swimmer in trouble at The Warren Beach, Rosscarbery, in West Cork. The call was made to Valentia Coast Guard at 2.44 pm.

The lifeboat, Christine and Raymond Fielding, helmed by Michael Limrick and manned by Charlie Deasy and Cathal Deasy, left the station at 2.53 pm and headed for the Warren strand. They were assisted ashore by Peter Deasy, Niamh Collins, and Anthony Walsh.

Conditions at sea were favourable, with moderate swell and wind in a southwesterly direction. On arriving on the scene, Valentia Coast Guard informed the volunteer lifeboat crew that the search was for a paddle boarder.

The Irish Coast Guard helicopter crew from Rescue 115 at Shannon, Castlefreke Coast Guard ground unit, and the crew of a fishing trawler that was also on the scene were already carrying out a search pattern.

The crew of Rescue 115 located the casualty and notified the lifeboat crew, who picked up the paddle boarder and headed to the Warren strand. An HSE ambulance was waiting there with a family member to take care of the casualty.

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Bundoran RNLI came to the aid of two people who got trapped at the bottom of a cliff in county Sligo on Wednesday afternoon (14 February).

The inshore lifeboat was requested to launch at 2.41pm following a report from the Irish Coast Guard that two people were trapped at rocks at Mermaid’s Cove.

The lifeboat helmed by Killian O’Kelly and with crew members Rory O’Connor and Fergal Mullen onboard, launched within seven minutes and made its way to the scene six miles away.

Weather conditions at the time were dull and overcast but visibility was good. The sea was calm with a small swell.

Arriving on scene, the crew observed two people at the bottom of the cliff who were unable to move without assistance. A crew member was put ashore to check one walker who had a suspected wrist injury.

Having assessed the situation and given the location was so close to rocks, it was decided that the safest way to extract the casualty was to request the Sligo-based coastguard helicopter Rescue 118.

The helicopter crew arrived swiftly to winch and airlift the casualty to safety. The second person was able to make it back to the top of the cliff with the assistance of a lifeboat crew member and shore crew waiting at the top.

Speaking following the call-out, Bundoran RNLI helm Killian O’Kelly said: “We would like to wish the casualty a speedy recovery and thank our colleagues in Rescue 118 for their help today.

“We would remind anyone planning a walk at or near the coast to be wary of all edges around the sea and waterside as rocks can often be wet and slippy. Check weather and tides before venturing out and always let someone know where you are going and when you expect to be back.

“Always take a means of calling for help and should you get into difficulty or see someone else in trouble, call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Rosslare Harbour RNLI’s volunteer crew were requested by the Irish Coast Guard on Sunday evening (11 February) to assist five crew on board a stricken fishing vessel.

The all-weather lifeboat was launched shortly after the shout at 5.26pm and quickly reached the scene two miles north of Rosslare Harbour, in clear weather with slight seas and good visibility.

It emerged that the 15m-long fishing vessel had an entangled propeller.

Having assessed the situation and consulted with the five crew onboard, it was decided to tow the vessel to Rosslare Harbour. A tow line was secured and the vessel was safely towed to the harbour.

Jamie Ryan, Rosslare Harbour RNLI lifeboat operations manager said: “I would like to commend the crew of the fishing vessel for wearing their flotation safety devices and for carrying communication equipment.

“It is essential that sailors and fishers contact the coastguard when in difficulty. To do this, call 999 or 112.”

The lifeboat volunteer crew on this call-out were coxswain Mick Nicholas, mechanic Keith Miller, navigator Andrew Ironside and crew Paul McCormack, Eoghan Quirke, Ronan Hill, Seán Cullen and Stephen Breen.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Three fishermen were rescued by the Wicklow RNLI on Saturday afternoon (10th February) after their 12-metre vessel developed mechanical problems off the Wicklow coast.

The Coast Guard requested the RNLI relief fleet all-weather Shannon lifeboat RNLB Bridie O’Shea at 12.50pm, and a volunteer crew led by Coxswain Tommy McAulay responded immediately. The skipper of the fishing vessel had reported that it was fouled in ropes and drifting south, prompting the rescue mission.

The Wicklow lifeboat reached the fishing vessel just ten minutes after launching. An assessment was carried out, and as the vessel had no propulsion due to the fouled propeller, the only option was to tow it back to Wicklow port.

The Wicklow RNLI crew after returning to port after the incident Photo: Tommy DoverThe Wicklow RNLI crew after returning to port after the incident Photo: Tommy Dover

Coxswain Tommy McAulay said, “We located the vessel about a half mile south of Wicklow Head, conditions in the area were lumpy, with a three-metre swell at times. The tow was slow at first due to the strong tidal flow at Wicklow Head, but we adjusted the course to take the boat further offshore where the tide was not as strong.”

The fishing vessel was secured alongside the South quay at 2.40pm, and the three fishermen were landed safely ashore. This was the first callout of 2024 for the Wicklow lifeboat volunteers, and it comes in the run-up to the RNLI’s 200th birthday on 4 March 2024.

The RNLI reminds everyone to check their engine and fuel before going afloat, 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 Coast Guard

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As the RNLI prepares to celebrate its 200th anniversary on 4 March, the charity has brought some of its rich history to life with the release of a stunning collection of colourised images.

From community events to candid snapshots, 11 black-and-white images have been painstakingly cleaned and colourised with folds, scratches and dust removed using digital technology to shine new light on 200 years of saving lives at sea.

The striking images from across Ireland and the UK include courageous lifeboat crews, early fundraising street collections and iconic scenes of close-knit communities coming together to launch and recover lifeboats.

Part of the new collection is a photograph taken of Ballycotton coxswain Patrick Sliney, his wife and their son William at an annual meeting in 1936.

Full-length photograph of Ballycotton coxswain Patrick Sliney, Mrs Sliney and son William at an annual meeting in 1936 | Credit: RNLIFull-length photograph of Ballycotton coxswain Patrick Sliney, Mrs Sliney and son William at an annual meeting in 1936 | Credit: RNLI

In that same year, the Daunt Rock Lightship came adrift off Ballycotton in horrendous conditions with 12 people onboard. The lifeboat crew spent 49 hours at sea and eventually rescued all those onboard.

Patrick Sliney was awarded the RNLI Gold Medal for Gallantry and the rest of his crew, including his son William, received Bronze Medals.

Also featured in the collection is the most decorated RNLI lifesaver, Henry Blogg, who was born on 6 February 1876. Blogg served for 53 years on Cromer’s lifeboats in Norfolk, England before retiring in 1947, having saved 873 lives and been awarded many honours including three Gold and four Silver RNLI Medals for Gallantry.

The image of Henry, which first appeared in the Lifeboat Journal in 1916, shows him wearing black oilskins and a sou’wester, which preceded the instantly recognisable yellow waterproofs now associated with the RNLI.

Before and after: A portrait of Henry Blogg, the most decorated RNLI lifesaver, who in his 53 years of service helped save 873 people | Credit: RNLIBefore and after: A portrait of Henry Blogg, the most decorated RNLI lifesaver, who in his 53 years of service helped save 873 people | Credit: RNLI

RNLI heritage and archive research manager Hayley Whiting said: “The carefully coloured images illustrate just a few highlights of the incredible history of lifesaving over the previous two centuries, where over 144,000 lives have been saved to date.

“To see the crew of St Davids lifeboat walking up from the boathouse wearing their traditional red hats, the yellow sou’westers of the children fundraising or the vibrant blue sea off the Isle of Man, the reworked images really do bring a different perspective on some of our archived pictures.

“Each image has been brought to life by our own in-house creative team with hours spent on attention to detail, along with research being undertaken to ensure each one gave a true, lifelike representation.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Tributes have been paid to Red Bay RNLI helm Gary Fyfe after his sudden death on Thursday night (8 February).

As the Belfast Telegraph reports, the 46-year-old died at the scene of a single-vehicle crash in Cushendall, Co Antrim.

His funeral will take place on Sunday (11 February) with Requiem Mass in St Patrick’s and St Brigid’s Church, Glenariffe at 10am.

Red Bay RNLI said Fyfe was “a giant in our lifeboat station, a natural leader who everyone turned to for advice and guidance”.

It added that this year would have seen Fyfe receive his 30-year service medal, having signed up for the RNLI as a lifeboat volunteer at the age of 17.

Gary Fyfe, as the Operations Manager of Red Bay Boats Ltd, one of the leading boat builders in Northern Ireland, had a keen interest in marine affairs across Ireland. This included Afloat.ie. He is pictured standing on the bow area of the magazine's Red Bay 7.4m cabin RIB during a recent Afloat trip on a fine day to his beloved Cushendall Harbour Photo: AfloatGary Fyfe, as the Operations Manager of Red Bay Boats Ltd, a leading boat builder in Northern Ireland, had a keen interest in marine affairs across Ireland. This included Afloat.ie. He is pictured standing in the bow area of the magazine's Red Bay 7.4m cabin RIB during a recent Afloat trip on a fine day to his beloved Cushendall Harbour Photo: Afloat

His lifeboat colleagues added: “Gary was responsible for saving many lives during his years on the Red Bay lifeboat. He never sought recognition or praise for his rescues but rather carried his achievements lightly and thought only of others.

“In our small but close community in Cushendall, Gary was an anchor for us all and his loss will be felt far and wide. His life and the selfless way he lived it, touched so many people.”

Gary Fyfe is survived by his wife Clare and children Eleanor and Alexander.

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