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Bundoran RNLI aided six stand-up paddleboarders who got into difficulty off Rossnowlagh yesterday afternoon (Sunday, 9 July).

Lifeboat crew Rory O’Connor, Shane O’Neill, Finn Mullen and Fergal Muller were carrying out a routine training exercise at approximately 12.30 pm when the Irish Coast Guard requested them to aid six stand-up paddleboarders who were in difficulty. The Irish Coast Guard helicopter, Rescue 118 from Sligo, was also tasked.

Helm Rory O’Connor immediately diverted the lifeboat to the scene where the helicopter crew had located the casualties one nautical mile north-northwest from Carrickfad Rocks.

The crew observed two adults and four children on inflatable paddleboards that had been caught in an easterly offshore wind drifting the group further out to sea. One of the six had managed to raise the alarm using their mobile phone, which they had stored in a waterproof pouch.

"The Irish Coast Guard helicopter, Rescue 118 from Sligo, was also tasked"

The lifeboat crew took all six onboard and brought them to Creevy Pier, where they were checked over as a precautionary measure but found to be safe and well, and no further medical assistance was required.

Speaking following the call out, Bundoran RNLI Helm Rory O’Connor said: ‘This is a great example of where carrying a suitable means of communication for your activity can make a lifesaving difference. One of today’s group had done this by wearing a mobile phone in a waterproof pouch which enabled them to raise the alarm when they knew they were in difficulty.

‘We would encourage anyone planning a trip or activity at sea to always wear a lifejacket or suitable flotation device for their activity. Check the weather conditions before venturing out and carry a means of communication. Should you get into difficulty or see someone else in trouble, call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coast Guard.’

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Enniskillen RNLI volunteers launched their inshore lifeboat at 2pm on Monday (3 July), following a request from Belfast Coastguard to check a 17ft fishing boat reported to have all fishing equipment onboard and drifting close to Hare Island.

Winds were westerly, Force 4 at the time and visibility was clear on Lower Lough Erne in Northern Ireland at time of launching.

Arriving on scene, the crew observed the boat with no one onboard. The lifeboat, helmed by Paul Keown and with three crew onboard, subsequently conducted a search of all the islands in the area including the shoreline.

The owner of the boat was meanwhile contacted and found to be safe and well. It transpired that the boat had broken from its moorings.

Speaking following the call-out, Keown said: “While the boat had broken from its moorings, there was an initial concern that someone may be missing as the equipment was onboard.

“We would like to commend the member of the public who raised the alarm when they were concerned, that is always the right thing to do. We would always much rather launch and find that all is safe and well than not launch at all.”

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Local school groups, community associations, supporters of the charity and many donors have made the new boathouse at Lough Ree RNLI one of the emerging visitor attractions in the Midlands with last month been one of the busiest periods to date.

More than 200 people visited the station for the Lough Ree RNLI Open Day on Saturday 10 June. It was an event that proved particularly successful with visitors delighted to have the opportunity to walk through the new facility and get a close-up look at the charity’s lifeboat, the Tara Scougall.

Volunteer crew were on hand to give the guided tours with face-painting a great hit for younger visitors and the RNLI Shop a great attraction for adults.

A guest from St Hilda’s Special School in Athlone enjoying a boat trip during Lough Ree RNLI’s joint initiative with Lough Ree Access for All on Friday 16 JuneA guest from St Hilda’s Special School in Athlone enjoying a boat trip during Lough Ree RNLI’s joint initiative with Lough Ree Access for All on Friday 16 June

In a special collaboration with Lough Ree Access for All, volunteers hosted a wonderful group from St Hilda’s Special School in Athlone on Friday 16 June. The day-long event allowed the visitors to experience the Lough Ree RNLI facility followed by a trip on the access boat which had come south from Lanesboro for the occasion.

Paul Kelly, Lough Ree RNLI station visits officer said: “It is always great to welcome the public to the station. They get to see the environment where we train and operate and RNLI volunteers are delighted to have the opportunity to share life saving tips and advice with our guests.”

Organised group visits will begin again in the autumn and interested parties should make contact on the Lough Ree RNLI website or Facebook page.

Already this summer, many day trippers to Coosan Point have had the opportunity to visit when volunteers were at the lifeboat station. Among those were Hugh Hanlon and Kevin Power from Arklow, Co Wicklow — members of the aptly named ‘Iron Butt Association’, a community of long-distance motorcyclists.

Lough Ree RNLI operations manager Kevin GanlyLough Ree RNLI operations manager Kevin Ganly

The association hosts the annual Wolfhound Rally which this year has asks members to photograph themselves and their bikes outside 15 named lifeboat stations between May and September. The lads left Lough Ree heading for Achill Island.

On the water things, remain busy for Lough Ree RNLI with volunteers responding to 22 call-outs in the first half of the year.

Kevin Ganly, Lough Ree RNLI operations manager encourages everyone using the lake and river this summer to ‘“prepare before taking to the water, ensure that everyone has a floatation device and in the event of an emergency call 112 or 999 and ask for the coastguard.”

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While Wicklow RNLI's volunteer crew were undergoing assessments on Wednesday evening (5 July), they were requested by the Irish Coast Guard to go to the assistance of a 40ft yacht with five people onboard which had lost all power on the Codling Bank.

The all-weather lifeboat Ruth and David Arthur had launched on exercise at 7pm under the command of coxswain Alan Goucher with five crew members and an RNLI assessor trainer onboard.

During the assessment, shortly after 8.30pm the lifeboat was diverted to go to the assistance of the yacht which was losing all power and had three crew who were suffering quite badly from sea sickness.

The assessment was quickly and safely brought to a finish and the crew made their best speed to the casualty near the Codling Bank, some 10 miles to the east of Wicklow Harbour. It was established that the casualty vessel had lost all power, had become unable to use its VHF radio and had no lighting.

Given the loss of power, the seasick crew and closing darkness, the coxswain decided to take the vessel under tow and make way for the nearest safe port at Wicklow Harbour.

Conditions on scene were described as blowing a southwesterly Force 4-5 wind with up to a one-metre swell.

The tow took approximately three hours, with the casualty vessel being safely secured alongside shortly after midnight. The crew of the casualty vessel were brought into the lifeboat station to be looked after while transport was arranged to bring them to their destination.

The incomplete parts of the assessment will now be rescheduled for another date.

Speaking after the call-out, Goucher said: “The crew were incredibly professional. The change in mindset from assessment to rescue happened instantly, allowing for a successful rescue. I look forward to the crew completing their assessments at a future date.”

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The Dunmore East RNLI lifeboat crew responded to a call of a fishing vessel in distress on Wednesday evening (5th July).

Having been notified by the Irish Coast Guard, the emergency pagers went off at 19:07, alerting the crew to a situation 23 nautical miles southwest of Dunmore East. An 11m fishing vessel with three crew had encountered engine troubles, leaving them stranded at sea. The volunteer lifeboat crew immediately mobilised, and the all-weather Shannon class lifeboat, William and Agnes Wray, was quickly dispatched to the troubled vessel.

Conditions were favourable when the lifeboat initially set out from Dunmore East. However, as the evening progressed, the weather turned, with the wind increasing to gale force 6-7, accompanied by a moderate sea swell. Despite the challenging conditions, the RNLI crew pressed on to reach the stranded vessel.

Approximately 1.5 hours after the initial alert, the lifeboat arrived at the fishing vessel. The crew found the fishermen safe but immobilised due to mechanical failure.

Dunmore East RNLI coxswain, Roy Abrahamsson, commented on the situation: "These incidents highlight the unpredictable nature of the sea. Even the most experienced and well-prepared crews can encounter problems. We commend the crew for making the correct decision to call for assistance when their engine failed."

Upon assessment, the decision was made to take the fishing vessel on tow back to the safety of Dunmore East Harbour. Despite the challenging conditions, the homeward journey was carried out without incident, and the fishing vessel was safely moored in Dunmore East Harbour and the lifeboat was ready again for service at approximately 2 am.

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Both Baltimore RNLI lifeboats were called out on Thursday morning (6 July) to assist a sailor whose yacht ran aground on rocks near Sherkin Island within Baltimore Harbour in West Cork.

The volunteer lifeboat crew launched both their all-weather lifeboat and inshore lifeboat shortly after 11.30am, following a request from the Irish Coast Guard to go to the assistance of a yacht which had run aground on Great Globe Rock near Sherkin Island.

Both lifeboat crews arrived at the yacht at 11.35am and after helm Jerry Smith and coxswain Aidan Bushe assessed the situation, it was decided a tow was necessary as the casualty vessel was unable to float free due to the strong southerly wind.

Volunteer inshore crew member Eoin O’Driscoll was put aboard the casualty vessel to assist rigging a tow from the all-weather lifeboat, and the yacht was towed off the rocks at 11.53am.

The all-weather lifeboat continued to tow the casualty vessel to Baltimore, the nearest safe and suitable shelter, arriving at the pier at 12.09pm. The tow was then passed to the inshore lifeboat for berthing, and the casualty vessel was secured alongside the pier in Baltimore Harbour at 12.12pm.

Conditions during the call-out were very fresh with a Force 6 southerly wind, a slight sea swell and poor visibility.

Baltimore RNLI’s volunteer lifeboat press officer Kate Callanan said: “This call-out was a great example of both our lifeboats and volunteer crews working together in difficult weather conditions, and being able to assist this sailor very quickly.

“If you get into difficulty at sea or on the coast, call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

The all-weather lifeboat crew included coxswain Aidan Bushe, mechanic Cathal Cottrell and crew members Sean McCarthy, Pat Collins, Emma Lupton and Brendan Cottrell. On the inshore lifeboat were helm Jerry Smith and crew members Eoin O’Driscoll and John Kearney. Assisting at the lifeboat station were Rianne Smith, Seamus O’Driscoll and Micheal Cottrell.

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Aran Islands RNLI responded to two medical evacuations on Wednesday evening (5 July).

The volunteer crew of the all-weather Severn class lifeboat David Kirkaldy under coxswain Aonghus Ó hIarnáin were out training just before 7pm when they were requested to launch to a person on Inis Mór who was in need of medical attention.

After the lifeboat returned to the pontoon, the patient was transferred safely aboard under the supervision of the crew and was swiftly transported to Rossaveal Harbour and the awaiting ambulance.

The second call came at 10.16pm for a person on the neighbouring Island of Inis Oírr in need of medical attention.

The lifeboat launched again under Ó hIarnáin and a full crew and headed straight for Inis Oírr. Once alongside the pier, the patient was transferred safely aboard the lifeboat by the volunteer crew and headed straight for Rossaveal.

Sea conditions for both call-outs were fresh, with a Force 4-5 westerly to southwesterly wind blowing and moderate seas.

Speaking later, Ó hIarnáin said: “There was a great response from the volunteer crew for the back to back call-outs tonight; they are always ready and willing to answer their pagers. We wish both patients a speedy recovery.”

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Castletownbere RNLI lifeboat was launched this afternoon (Wednesday, 5 July 2023) to immediately assist two sailors whose yacht got into difficulty off the West Cork Coast.

A UK couple had set out in their 11-metre yacht from Sneem in Co Kerry this morning on route to Bere Island in West Cork. This afternoon they contacted the Irish Coast Guard’s Marine Research Coordination Centre in Valentia, stating the yacht had become snagged in a lobster pot rope and could not manoeuvre, and they requested assistance.

Castletownbere’s RNLI lifeboat, ‘Annette Hutton’, was tasked at 16:23 and launched within minutes under the command of Coxswain Marney O’Donoghue with crew Dave O’Donovan, Seamus Harrington, Kyle Cronin, John William O’Donoghue and Will Power.

The yacht was subsequently located between Crow Head and Blackball Head on the Beara Peninsula at 16:58. Coxswain O’Donoghue described the conditions onscene as ‘good visibility with South-westerly Force 4/5 winds and a 1-2 metre sea swell’. The volunteer crew were able to free the yacht with a grappling hook and take the vessel under tow. The yacht was berthed at Castletownbere Pier at 19:05 where both sailors expressed their thanks to the crew.

Castletownbere RNLI lifeboat crewCastletownbere RNLI lifeboat crew

Brendan O’Neill, Launching Authority at Castletownbere RNLI, stated: ‘The sailors were wise to make an immediate request for help given the worsening weather conditions this evening’.

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Bangor RNLI volunteer Kyle Marshall is celebrating 40 years of service with the charity.

Growing up in Bangor and spending his teenage years working around the harbour, Kyle always had a connection with the RNLI and the local volunteers.

On 27 May 1983, Kyle joined the crew of Bangor RNLI and has been serving the community there, on Belfast Lough in Northern Ireland, ever since.

The charity and the resources have changed significantly since Kyle first joined. Bangor RNLI started with a D class lifeboat that was launched by hand on a trolley, progressing on to an Atlantic 75 and more recently the Atlantic 85 class lifeboat Jessie Hillyard.

“Over the years I have seen many changes within the RNLI, most notably how much more effective the investment in training and equipment has become,” Kyle says. “The RNLI crew training is undoubtedly one of the best search and rescue training in the world, which helps all volunteers save lives at sea.”

When asked about his first memorable rescue, Kyle says: “My first call-out was to a capsized boat just off Brompton in Bangor. Three guys in an 18ft skiff had overturned their boat. We were alerted by a member of public who had heard cries for help.

“We launched our D class boat to rescue the crew and casualty boat. It was a very calm still night with a low thick fog when we made our way to the scene. At first we couldn’t see or hear anything but when we cut the engine we could hear calls for help. We followed the calls and were able to locate and recover the three guys from the water.

“I was on the lifeboat with Brian Meharg and Philip Layburn that evening and will never forget it. In fact, I bumped into one of the guys we rescued recently in Bangor and he vividly recalled his rescue.”

Kyle goes on to explain what the lifeboat means to him: “It’s a passion. The RNLI volunteers are like family and I have made and maintained many great friendships over the last 40 years in service. However, I genuinely believe that I personally have got more from the charity than I have given.”

Byron Griffiths, Bangor RNLI lifeboat operations manager said: “Forty years of volunteer service is a fantastic achievement for anyone and we want to thank and congratulate Kyle for his selfless dedication and contribution that has undoubtedly helped to bring many people to safety.”

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Courtown RNLI’s fundraising committee is hosting a family fun day this Sunday 9 July on the North Pier in Courtown, Co Wexford.

A blessing of the boats and a short ceremony recognising and remembering those who have lost their lives at sea will commence at 2pm.

This will be followed by an afternoon of fun for all the family, with stalls selling plants, books, bottles and cakes, strawberries and cream.

There will be music in front of the boat house and face painting for the children, plus a monster raffle with all proceeds going to the Courtown lifeboat. Tickets will be €5 for three strips and the raffle will take place in the Taravie Hotel at 5pm.

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