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The Baltimore RNLI lifeboat crew carried out a rescue mission during storm Agnes on September 27th.

The Irish Coast Guard called for assistance to rescue a yacht in trouble in the Ilen River in West Cork. At 3.48 pm, the Baltimore lifeboat crew launched their all-weather lifeboat and reached the yacht at 3.59 pm.

Despite the storm-force winds gusting to force 12 (65 knots), the volunteer lifeboat crew managed to tow the yacht to safety. The yacht with one person on board had gone aground and required a tow to the nearest safe and suitable port in Baltimore Harbour.

Due to the severity of the storm, Coxswain Pat Collins requested the launch of Baltimore's inshore lifeboat to assist the all-weather lifeboat in berthing the casualty vessel to a secure mooring within Baltimore Harbour.

(Above and below) Baltimore RNLI lifeboats assist yacht during Storm Agnes - RNLI/Gerald O'Brien(Above and below) Baltimore RNLI lifeboats assist yacht during Storm Agnes - RNLI/Gerald O'Brien

The inshore lifeboat was launched at 4.23 pm and attached a line to the mooring to expedite the attachment of the yacht. The all-weather lifeboat arrived at the mooring with the casualty vessel in tow, and the volunteer lifeboat crew on the inshore lifeboat passed a line to the two volunteer lifeboat crew on the yacht, who then secured the vessel to the mooring.

(Above and below) Baltimore RNLI lifeboats assist yacht during Storm Agnes - RNLI/Gerald O'Brien

The rescue mission was carried out by seven volunteer crew members on board the all-weather lifeboat, including Coxswain Pat Collins, mechanic Cathal Cottrell, and crew members Jerry Smith, Michael Cottrell, Don O'Donovan, Colin Whooley, and David Ryan. Four volunteer crew members were on board the inshore lifeboat, which included Helm Kieran Collins and crew members Kieran O'Driscoll, Rob O'Leary, and James Kitt.

Baltimore RNLI lifeboat volunteer crew Photo: RNLI/Gerald O'BrienBaltimore RNLI lifeboat volunteer crew Photo: RNLI/Gerald O'Brien

The rescue operation was also assisted by Rianne Smith, Marion MacFeely, Seamus O'Driscoll, Brian McSweeney, and Sean McCarthy.

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A solo sailor who sought assistance off the west coast in Storm Agnes is being towed to safety.

RNLI lifeboats from Achill and Clifden responded to the alert when the yacht, believed to be Norwegian, reported being in difficulty ten miles west of Clare Island, Co Mayo, this morning.

The yacht is now being taken under tow into Cleggan by the Clifden lifeboat.

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In recognition of their dedication and commitment of time, energy and skills, seven members of the Galway RNLI crew were presented with long-service awards for achieving 50, 100, 150 and 200 services.

Each time the crew members respond to their pagers and head out to sea on a rescue counts as a service. The seven crew had amassed a total of 900 services between them, including 200 services by David Oliver — who has been with the Galway RNLI crew since the station opened in 1995.

Mike Swan, lifeboat operations manager with Galway RNLI said: “Every year we recognise the dedication of our volunteer crew by presenting long-service awards. This year we have a number of crew who achieved significant milestones including Lisa McDonagh with 50 services; Shane Folan and Olivia Byrne with 100 services; Declan Killilea, Brian Niland and David Badger with 150 services; [and] David Oliver with a record 200 services.

“Our lifeboat volunteers have all kinds of backgrounds and jobs. At a moment’s notice, they readily exchange work, comfort or sleep for cold, wet and fatigue. They spend many hours of their own time training together so they can meet the dangers and challenges they face on search and rescue missions at sea.

“The awards are not just to celebrate the achievements of the crew who are willing to drop everything at the sound of their pager, but also their families and friends who play a key role in supporting our crew to spend time saving lives at sea and being there for them when they get home after what may sometimes be a very challenging day or night on the water.”

Swan continued: “Our volunteer lifeboat crew is on call 24/7, 365 days a year. The average time from the call from the coastguard requesting the lifeboat and crew to launch, to the boat and crew being on the water is approximately 10 minutes, day or night.

“The area covered by the Galway RNLI Lifeboat and crew is the section of Galway Bay east of a line between Black Head in Co Clare and Spiddal, Co Galway and includes Barna, Salthill, Galway city and the mouth of the River Corrib, Oranmore, Kinvara, Newquay and Ballyvaughan.

“Last year our crew and lifeboat launched 33 times and came to the aid of 31 people. This is only possible due to the dedication of our crew who go to sea and the wider group of volunteers who provide shore support and fundraising support which in turn relies on the generosity of our community in Galway further afield.”

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A team of volunteers from the Wicklow RNLI launched an all-weather lifeboat early on Sunday morning to rescue a sailor who was stranded on a yacht with mechanical and electrical issues.

The yacht, a 36ft sailing vessel, was located approximately half a mile northeast of Wicklow Harbour, and the sailor was in distress. The Coast Guard paged the RNLI crew at 1:48 am, and they immediately sprang into action. At 2:00 am, the RNLB Joanna & Henry Williams set sail in force 6-7 winds blowing from the northwest.

The crew, led by Coxswain Tommy McAuley, quickly assessed the maritime emergency and decided to take the yacht under tow back to the safety of Wicklow Harbour. The yacht was safely secured alongside at approximately 2:45 am, and the RNLI volunteer crew prepared the lifeboat to be of further service.

Coxswain Tommy McAuley expressed his pride in his team after the heroic maritime rescue, stating: “A call out during the hours of darkness always adds an extra challenge, but the crew are very well prepared throughout the year with the training they undertake.”

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Sligo Bay RNLI’s volunteer crew were requested to launch by Malin Head Coast Guard shortly after 4pm on Sunday (17 September) to assist a lone sailor aboard a 38ft yacht eight miles out at sea.

The inshore lifeboat Sheila and Dennis Tongue at launched at 4.17pm with four crew members onboard and was on scene half an hour later amid good sea conditions.

Following an assessment, the lifeboat crew found the sailor to be fine but the wind had dropped and the yacht had experienced engine failure so was not able to make any headway.

The sailor reacting quickly, had called 999 and requested assistance from the coastguard who in turn paged the lifeboat.

A lifeboat crew member went onboard to assist the sailor with setting up a tow before the yacht was brought to the nearest safe port in Sligo town.

Speaking after the rescue, Sligo Bay RNLI helm Michael Waters said: “We launched to a 38ft steel-hull yacht with one crew onboard that found itself becalmed due to no wind and engine failure eight miles west of the Wheat Rock buoy.

“One of the lifeboat crew was put onboard to help the sailor with the tow back to Sligo. The tow was quickly established, and we proceed to the pontoon in Sligo town arriving at 7.20pm.”

Once the yacht was safely tied up, the lifeboat returned to the station where it was was washed down, refuelled and made ready for service again by the volunteer shore crew.

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Lough Ree RNLI volunteer lifeboat crew helped six people on board two cruisers that ran aground on the lake.

On Saturday morning, September 16th, the Lough Ree RNLI crew rescued two people on board a 40ft cruiser that had stranded on rocks near Nun’s Island. The charity’s lifeboat ‘Tara Scougall’ and its volunteer crew responded to a call for assistance just after 9 am under helm Kieran Sloyan. The two people were taken from the stranded boat and transferred to the Lakeside Marina on the Westmeath shore.

The boat had been the focus of a call-out the previous evening when Lough Ree RNLI was tasked by the Irish Coast Guard to go to the aid of the stricken boat with two people on board near Nun’s Island. The Lough Ree RNLI volunteer crew under helm Stuart McMicken reached the scene at 7.40 pm near Marker Three. On inspection, the crew found the 40ft cruiser hard aground on rocks near Nun’s Island. The volunteer crew spent more than 90 minutes in vain trying to remove the craft from where it came to rest. The two people on board, who were healthy and had enough provisions and fully charged communications equipment, decided to remain on board for the night.

With no improvement in the situation overnight, the two people requested Lough Ree RNLI on Saturday morning to be taken off the cruiser. The transfer was successfully completed by 10 am.

Last week, on Thursday, September 14th, Lough Ree RNLI was asked by the Irish Coast Guard to help a cruiser with four people on board that had run aground on the Hexagon Shoal in the south of the lake. Launched under helm Liam Sheringham, the charity’s lifeboat ‘Tara Scougall’ with a volunteer crew reached the stricken boat at 1.40 pm. After an initial inspection, the crew found all four people on board wearing life jackets and uninjured. The boat was towed from the rocks to safe water and continued north under its own power.

Kevin Ganly, volunteer Lifeboat Operations Manager at Lough Ree RNLI, said: "Lake users need to be extra vigilant because of falling water levels on the lake this month. More than 20 of the charity’s volunteers responded to call-outs last week, and I commend them for their commitment and dedication to keeping people safe on the water."

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On Saturday evening, the Arranmore RNLI crew successfully rescued three people and their dog who were stranded on Maghera Beach due to the rising tide. 

The stranded walkers, two men, a woman, and their dog, were cut off by the tide on the rocks at Maghera Beach at Loughros Mor Bay when they called for help at 7.15 pm. The Malin Head Coast Guard immediately alerted the all-weather lifeboat crew who were already out on an exercise. The crew promptly diverted to the incident and arrived at the scene shortly after.

Upon assessing the situation, the crew onboard the Severn class lifeboat, Myrtle Maud, launched their smaller daughter inflatable Y-boat to access the water near the rocks or shore. Crew members Mickey McHugh and Kieran O'Donnell located the stranded walkers along the rocky shoreline of Loughros Mór Bay.

At 8.15pm, the crew  removed the stranded walkers from the rocks. The rescue operation was a testament to the crew's training and skill. After the rescue, the casualties received further assessment and care from Killybegs Coast Guard before safely returning to their vehicles in Portnoo.

Coxswain Jimmy Early of Arranmore RNLI praised the professionalism and dedication of his crew throughout the commendable rescue operation. He also commended the stranded walkers for their prompt call to the emergency services.

The Arranmore RNLI crew on this commendable call-out included Coxswain Jimmy Early, mechanic John McHugh, and crew members Micky Dubh McHugh, Kieran O’Donnell, JJ O’Donnell, Seamus Bonner, and Finbar Gallagher.

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Both Wicklow RNLI lifeboats were launched on Thursday, 14 September, in response to an aircraft in difficulty.

The Coast Guard had issued a pager alert to investigate reports of an aircraft struggling off the Wicklow coast.

The initial report suggested that a light aircraft had ditched into the sea near the Six-mile point. However, as the lifeboats approached the search area, more information was relayed to them from the Coast Guard. It turned out that the aircraft was a large, unmanned drone being flown in the area and had crashed into the sea.

Despite favourable weather conditions, with calm seas and good visibility, the situation could have been serious. The inshore lifeboat crew located the significantly damaged drone floating a mile off Newcastle Beach. It was subsequently towed ashore and handed over to its owner.

Tommy Dover, the Lifeboat Press Officer, commended the volunteer crew for their rapid response. He also urged anyone in an emergency situation or who spots someone else in trouble to call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coast Guard.

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The Howth RNLI volunteer lifeboat crew sprang into action on Monday evening, launching both of their lifeboats to assist in a multi-agency incident near the Baily Lighthouse. The Coast Guard had requested the inshore lifeboat to respond to reports of an individual stranded at the base of cliffs close to the lighthouse. The Dublin Fire Brigade and the Howth Coast Guard unit were also involved in the operation.

Upon arrival, the lifeboat crew located a man who had fallen while out walking the previous evening. He could not call for help, and had spent the night and the day stranded on the cliff, very close to the high water point. The man was visibly wet, cold, and unable to move due to injuries, but was conscious and able to communicate with the crew.

The crew assisted an advanced paramedic from Dublin Fire Brigade in assessing the man’s injuries, and decided to take him by sea to an ambulance. As a potential injury was suspected, the Howth all-weather lifeboat was launched for the extraction.

The all-weather lifeboat, with five crew members on board, arrived within minutes. The helm of the inshore lifeboat held the boat steady while the two crew members, assisted by a member of the Coast Guard unit and the advanced paramedic, brought the casualty on board on a stretcher. The inshore lifeboat then made its way to the all-weather lifeboat, and the casualty and the advanced paramedic were transferred across. The all-weather lifeboat proceeded to Howth Lifeboat Station, where the casualty was handed over to the ambulance crew.

Fin Goggin, a Howth RNLI lifeboat crew member, expressed her relief that the incident had a positive outcome. She noted that the man had been exposed to the elements for close to 24 hours, and had he fallen any further, he could have ended up in the water. Goggin added that these types of rescues from rocks and cliffs form a regular part of their training, and urged anyone who sees someone in difficulty on or close to the water to dial 999 or 112 and ask for the Coast Guard.

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Kilmore Quay RNLI volunteers were called out on two separate occasions on Monday, September 11, to assist two yachts in distress.

The first call came in early in the morning when the crew launched to help two people on board a yacht with a fouled prop approximately two miles south of Carnsore Point. The lifeboat arrived on scene at 8:10 am, and after assessing the situation, the crew towed the yacht back to Kilmore Quay. The vessel arrived back at the harbour at 9:30 am.

Later in the day, the crew received another call for assistance. This time, they were asked to help a lone sailor whose yacht had lost all power near the Saltee Islands. The lifeboat was launched at 2:30 pm and arrived on scene ten minutes later. After assessing the situation, the crew transferred an RNLI crew member to the yacht to establish a towline.

The vessel was towed back to Kilmore Quay harbour, arriving at 3:20 pm where they were met by an ambulance as a precaution.

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