Displaying items by tag: Bangor
#RNLI - Bangor RNLI’s volunteer lifeboat crew launched at 7pm on Tuesday evening (5 April) to help in the rescue of a yacht whose engine had failed on passage from Stranraer to Bangor on Belfast Lough.
Bangor RNLI’s lifeboat operations manager Kevin Byers was first made aware of the situation by Belfast Coastguard at 5pm when the yacht was 15 miles northeast of Bangor, and knew that it had been taken in tow by the inbound fishing trawler Aurelia.
As the Aurelia was too large to bring the yacht all the way in to Bangor Marina, the Bangor lifeboat was launched just after 7pm to complete the rescue.
The yacht, with two adults and two children on board, was under power as there was little wind and the sea was calm. Unfortunately, the engine stopped and they were being carried by the tide.
Bangor RNLI's volunteer helm Gareth Whan said later: “This was a great example of good teamwork. Luckily, the Aurelia was able to bring the yacht most of the way, and we were able to complete the job, bringing it safely into Bangor Marina.
“Unfortunately, regardless of your preparation, engines can break down, and the lifeboat crew were all delighted to bring this group of people safely ashore."
Although conditions were calm and the crew were in no immediate danger, the westerly wind was extremely cold and blowing the fishing boat offshore.
The call to lifeboat operations manager Kevin Byers came in at 5.06pm yesterday evening (29 March) and the lifeboat launched at 5.15pm.
The lifeboat made its way to the reported position to the south of the Gobbins outside Belfast Lough, only to find the boat wasn’t there, and they were only able to locate it by radioing the boat for a position update.
On arrival, the volunteer lifeboat crew made sure the boat and crew were sound, and towed the boat to Carrickfergus Harbour, where they were thanked by an extremely grateful skipper.
Helming Tabby Cat, the temporary replacement for Bangor's regular lifeboat Jessie Hillyard, Bangor RNLI crewmember Gareth Whan said: “An incident like this emphasises the importance of good engine maintenance, particularly as many boats have been unused over the winter months.
“It also demonstrates the importance of warm clothing, as the crew of the rescued boat were extremely cold by the time we reached them – it is always much cooler on the water than it is on dry land.”
Police, fire and ambulance crews were also involved in the cross-agency response to the British Airways flight from Belfast City Airport to Heathrow, with 108 passengers aboard, which diverted to Belfast International Airport shortly after take-off as the pilot declared an emergency.
Thankfully the services of the volunteer crews were not required and the lifeboats returned to station within the hour.
Alan Whiteside, operations director at Belfast International Airport, said: "Everything went smoothly, our own police and fire service on site here responded, the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service, the PSNI, the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service all attended as a routine.
"But nobody was required to take any other action - the aircraft landed safely, thankfully."
Records held in the archives of Bangor lifeboat station indicate that a lifeboat in Belfast Lough was first established at Groomsport in 1858, following the wrecking of a vessel near Bangor, with the loss of all the crew and in full view of local people standing on the shore.
Groomsport lifeboats launched 55 times and saved 87 lives over a period of 62 years from 1858 to 1920, when the station was closed.
It was reported that the number of lifeboat services were not more numerous due to the great number of fisherman and pilots in the area "of a fine and hardy type, who are not slow to risk their lives in their own boats, in which they have great confidence."
Some 45 years after the closure of Groomsport Lifeboat Station, an ever-increasing demand for lifesaving services along the coast led to considerations of re-establishing a lifeboat service in the Belfast Lough area.
Under the guidance of Ernie Hay, the first honorary secretary and North Down Borough Council officer, the RNLI chose to place a D-Class inflatable lifeboat at Bangor Harbour, opening for business on 15 May 1965.
With the co-operation of North Down Borough Council, the lifeboat was stored in the Tower House yard and was launched on a trolley at the slipway beside the old Harbour Masters Office. The co-operation between North Down Borough Council and the RNLI has continued without a break since those times.
The service of the lifeboat continued under the care of local volunteers and the demands put upon her volunteer crew increased year on year. Successive honorary secretaries managed the operational demands and the branch fundraising committee and ladies’ guild worked hard behind the scenes, raising the funds to cover operational costs. Over 40 local businesses also contributed to the funds by maintaining collecting boxes on their premises.
In 1984, following the construction of the Eisenhower Pier, North Down Borough Council built a new boathouse and slipway, which allowed for the subsequent upgrading of the boat to an Atlantic 21 class lifeboat, the then ‘Rolls Royce’ of fast inshore lifeboats.
The Youth of Ulster, a new boat funded by local donations, was put on station in 1990 and was formally named by HRH Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex in 1991.
In 2002 the RNLI invested £250,000 in building a new boathouse and crew facilities on a site kindly granted by North Down Borough Council. This boathouse was designed to accommodate the latest class of fast response inshore lifeboat.
Bangor RNLI celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2005 and, as a reflection of its fine service record since its foundation, in 2006 Bangor took delivery of the first Atlantic 85 class lifeboat in Ireland, the Jessie Hillyard. The new class of fast response inshore lifeboat costing over £120,000 was made possible through a legacy from Eileen Freeman in memory of her late mother Jessie Hillyard.
That same year, Bangor RNLI was the busiest lifeboat station out of all the 43 stations in Ireland, launching 53 times. From 2007 RNLI Bangor Lifeboat has been the busiest lifeboat out of the eight coastal stations in Northern Ireland.
Since the foundation of the station 50 years ago, over 110 local people have served as crew members. To date, over the years, Bangor lifeboats have launched 1,252 times, rescued over 1,000 people and saved 191 lives.
Everyone connected with Bangor RNLI – the crew, station management, fundraisers and helpers – are all volunteers, giving freely of their time, braving all weathers, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to help save life at sea.
Currently there are 20 crew members, male and female, from all walks of life including, among others, a council officer, a restaurateur, a plumber, a solicitor, a care worker, a satellite television engineer, a lorry driver and an orthopaedic surgeon.
RNLI volunteers continue to support annual seafront events, raise funds for other RNLI lifeboats and local organisations and, for 50 years, have played a vital part in Bangor’s maritime and community affairs.
Within minutes of the rescue pagers being activated, volunteer crew had launched the lifeboat and located the missing boat close to the slipway at Ballyholme Bay.
The vessel had experienced engine failure and had been rowed closer to the shore by the owner.
Calm on-scene sea and weather conditions allowed for a tow line to be quickly rigged and passed to the stricken vessel. The boat was then towed to the safety of Bangor Harbour.
"Engine failure even close to shore could lead to a life threatening situation," said RNLI volunteer helmsman John Bell, who was involved in this rescue.
"We’re glad that the two people on board this boat are now safely ashore."
Bell went on to emphasise the RNLI’s five sea safety tips for anyone going afloat this summer.
"Always wear a lifejacket, secondly check your engine and fuel, thirdly tell others where you are going, fourthly carry some means of calling for help and final always check the weather and tides."
#Following Friday's Afloat.ie story on the scrapping of a Clasic Irish yacht, owner Eanan O'Doherty has received 'lots of emails' about the Bangor S27 Sorona due for breaking up.
Among the offers of assistance are emails from the Secretary of Co Down Heritage committee plus two boat preservation activists in Northern Ireland.
O'Doherty says he is delighted the boat does not need to be scrapped as he feared and instead is now hopeful Sorona will go to a new owner in a matter of weeks.
The 1963–built Sorona is in a yard at Monsterboice near Drogheda and has to be removed.
O'Doherty might even recover some of his losses on her, but at the very least, he says, she will now be saved.
He also says that if any club or group take her he will insist she when restored be used for sail training.
#yachttobescrapped – Round–the–world–yachtsman and Asgard restorer Pat Murphy has alerted classic boat fans to the fate of an Irish built Bangor S class 27' footer set to be scrapped next week. See more photos in the gallery below.
The 1963–built Sorona is in a yard at Monsterboice near Drogheda and has to be removed. According to Murphy and Dundalk classic boat colleague Charlie McCarthy, the owner is 'willing to let her go for the taking'.
The 27-foot S-Class boats are modest classics of their time representing a blend of styles and types. They were designed by Robert Slater in 1945, and all 22 of them were built at his boatyard the Shipyard Company in Bangor, Northern Ireland. (Sorona, the twentieth boat, was actually started by Robert Slater but completed by Bruce Cowley who bought the Shipyard Company from Robert Slater in the early 1960s, Bruce Cowley building the final two boats, Shejenka and Quinsibar, with their raised cabins). They manage to combine a little of the gentleman's yacht, a lot of the everyday cruiser built for an era of austerity, and just a touch of the tough working boat. More on the class history here.
Bought as a restoration project about seven years ago Sorona, the 20th boat of its type to be built, was partly stripped and covered untill last summer. 'It is very sad to see a basically sound boat about to be smashed up' says McCarthy.
For more informaton on Sorona contact [email protected]
The multihull vessel, consisting of a main hull and two out-rigging hulls, had experienced engine failure two nautical miles north of Black Head on northern shores of Belfast Lough.
Within minutes of the rescue pagers being activated, the volunteer crew had launched the lifeboat, which proceeded at full speed towards the stricken vessel.
Upon arrival, the crew found that the two people on board the yacht were experienced yachtsmen. They had followed procedure and made the correct decision to call for assistance at the first sign of trouble.
With weather conditions on scene deteriorating, and a moderate to rough sea state, one of the lifeboat crew was transferred to the yacht to assist in rigging a tow line.
The vessel was then taken under tow and after two-and-a-half hours arrived safely at Bangor Marina.
RNLI volunteer helmsman Connor Lawson used this rescue to highlight a RNLI safety message when he said: "We always urge everyone going afloat to make sure their engine and fuel systems and are well maintained and in good working order.
"Engine failure close to shore and commercial shipping routes could lead to a life threatening situation."
He added: "We're happy that everyone is now safely ashore."
Initial reports indicate that five children were aboard an inflatable raft and were being swept out to sea by the offshore winds.
At 7pm, within minutes of receiving the rescue alert, the volunteer crew had launched the lifeboat and were proceeding at full speed towards Whiteabbey.
The raft was quickly found with three children on board. Two others were found clinging to windsurfing boards alongside.
All five cold and exhausted children were rescued by the crew of RNLI Bangor lifeboat and were brought ashore at Carrickfergus Harbour into the safe care of waiting coastguards.
John Bell, volunteer RNLI helmsman who was involved in this rescue, said: "Inflatable boats and toys are great fun in the swimming pool but we do not recommend that people use them at the seaside because, as we've seen today, they can easily be blown out to sea.
"If you do find yourself in the situation where you or your child is being swept out to sea, stay in the boat shout for help and wave your arms. Do not attempt to swim for shore and if you're on the shore don't try and rescue them yourself – call 999 and ask for the coastguard."
#RNLI - Portaferry RNLI launched its inshore lifeboat yesterday afternoon (14 July) to the aid of a man who had suffered a head injury in one of the races during Portaferry Sailing Club’s annual regatta.
The lifeboat launched at 2.36pm and met up with the injured man a few minutes later on board his 12m yacht just off Marfield Bay in Strangford Lough, Co Down.
Weather conditions at the time were cloudy with good visibility, with a Force 2 to 3 southerly wind and calm seas.
After assessing the injured man’s condition, the volunteer crew transferred him into the lifeboat before taking him to Strangford Harbour, where he was then passed into the care of the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service.
Around the same time, RNLI Bangor was launching to investigate reports that children could have been on board an abandoned homemade raft spotted adrift off Ballymacormick Point on the edge of Belfast Lough.
Calm seas and fine weather allowed the lifeboat to proceed at full speed to the search area between Ballymacormick Point and Orlock Point.
The search was later terminated when enquiries found that there was a high probability that the raft had drifted from shore during high water.
Michael McKenna, volunteer RNLI helmsman who was involved in the search, took the opportunity to remind all children playing along the coast of the SAFE code: S for spot the dangers, A for always go with a friend, F for find and follow the safety signs and flags and E for Emergency - put up your hand and shout or ring 999/112 and ask for the coastguard.
It was the third callout for Bangor RNLI in three days, after a busy Saturday 12 July that began with a morning request from Belfast Coastguard to assist in the search for an inflatable dinghy.
The dinghy had been spotted by a concerned member of the public at the mouth of Larne Lough. The Bangor volunteer crew joined the Larne RNLI lifeboat in the search for the dinghy and its occupants. The former were quickly on scene and found the dinghy deserted with its engine down and a rope around the propeller.
The name painted on the dinghy hull was passed to Belfast Coastguard who were able to contact the owners. Thankfully, the owners reported that the dinghy had broken free from their vessel and that no one was on board.
The second call of the day came at 11:55am when the Bangor lifeboat launched to rescue four people from a motor boat that had broken down off the oil jetty at Cloghan Point, on the northern shores of Belfast Lough.
On scene, the RNLI crew quickly evaluated the situation and manoeuvred the lifeboat close to the broken-down vessel.
"Engine failure close to shore could lead to a life-threatening situation," said Bangor RNLI volunteer helmsman Iain Dobie.
"We always urge everyone going to sea to make sure their electrical systems and engine are well maintained and in good working order. A good anchor and chain should always be carried as part of essential safety equipment.
"We are glad the family on board this vessel are now safely ashore," he added.