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#RNLI - Baltimore RNLI’s inshore lifeboat Patricia Jennings was called on Sunday (1 October) to go to the assistance of a 28ft yacht with one person on board.

The yacht had lost power near the West Cork harbour's west pier and was in danger of drifting ashore amid Force 7 westerly winds.

The skipper of the yacht had thrown out his anchor which was holding it in position, but without power was unable to get away from the vicinity of the shore.

The alarm was raised by a another vessel, also with one on board, which was standing by but unable to assist.

Under helm Kieran Collins and crew Jerry Smith and Colin Rochford, the lifeboat immediately launched and was in scene within 15 minutes of alarm being raised.

One crew member was put on board to assist the casualty. A tow was then rigged and the yacht was towed to safety.

Also responding to the callout were Ian Lynch and Youen Jacob. Ronnie Carthy, Kieran Cotter and Colin Whooley acted as shore crew.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - Lifeboats from Baltimore and Castletownbere launched two separate callouts off West Cork since Friday (1 September).

Baltimore RNLI was called out yesterday morning (Saturday 2 September) to a tug with three people on board, which had broken down north of Drowlaun Point off Sherkin Island.

The volunteer crew launched their all-weather lifeboat at 9.45am after they were alerted by the skipper of the 12.5m tug. They arrived on scene seven minutes later and quickly established a tow to Baltimore Harbour within an hour.

Conditions at the time were good, with a southerly Force 4-5 wind and a calm sea ahead of the much poorer weather forecast for later in the day.

Elsewhere, Castletownbere RNLI lifeboat was launched on Friday morning to a 30ft angling boat with mechanical failure three miles south-east of Crow Head on the Beara Peninsula.

The lifeboat, under the command of Coxswain Brian O’Driscoll, was launched on service within minutes and proceeded to the casualty some nine miles southwest of Castletownbere Harbour.

The casualty was located in fine weather conditions at 11.07am. RNLI volunteers passed a towrope to the anglers’ onboard and the lifeboat took the vessel under tow to Castletownbere, where it was berthed alongside the pier 90 minutes later.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - Baltimore RNLI launched in the early hours of yesterday morning (Thursday 17 August) after a boat ran aground in heavy fog near the West Cork village.

The volunteer lifeboat crew were paged at 00.39am to assist the 50ft vessel with three people on board. Sea conditions in the area were calm, but visibility was poor due to fog.

Under the command of coxswain Kieran Cotter and with mechanic Cathal Cottrell and crew members Pat Collins, Kieran Collins, Don O’Donovan, Jerry Smith and Micheal Cottrell, the lifeboat reached the vessel within 15 minutes.

After assessing the grounded boat’s situation and checking the surrounding area for any navigational hazards, a tow was established and the vessel was pulled clear.

There was no apparent damage to the vessel and no injuries to anyone on board, so it was allowed to move under its own power Baltimore Harbour, where it arrived escorted by the lifeboat at 1.20am.

Speaking following the callout, Baltimore RNLI volunteer lifeboat press officer Kate Callanan said: “With bad weather forecast for the next few days we would remind everyone taking to the sea to respect the water.”

Earlier in the week, Baltimore RNLI launched on Tuesday night (15 August) after reports of a flare sighted at Gokane Point, near Toe Head.

However, the lifeboat was stood down en route when the Irish Coast Guard learned that the flare was actually a firework set off from land and not a boat in distress.

Elsewhere, Arklow RNLI’s volunteers launched yesterday afternoon following a pager alert to a call for help from a sailing vessel with engine trouble.

In moderate seas, the lifeboat Ger Tigchlearr proceeded to the reported position of the casualty vessel, some four miles north east of Arklow Harbour and with two people on board.

Once on scene, the vessel and crew of the casualty vessel were found be in good order, and a towline was established it bring the boat back to Arklow.

John Tyrrell, Arklow RNLI’s lifeboat operations manager, commented: “Our crew were able to get the casualty vessel in a timely fashion. We would like to commend the skipper of the boat for calling for help at an early stage.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - Baltimore RNLI assisted two sailors yesterday evening (Monday 14 August) after their yacht lost power off Mizen Head in West Cork.

The alarm was raised earlier in the afternoon following a report from the crew of a 26ft yacht that they had lost all battery power.

At the time, the occupants were comfortable sailing the yacht towards Baltimore, so the lifeboat was put on standby until they were closer.

However, due to a confused sea in a strong tideway, the yacht was making very little progress towards land and required assistance to get to port.

The inshore lifeboat, helmed by Micheal Cottrell and with crew members Ryan O’Mahony and Colin Rochford on board, left station at 7.20pm and met the yacht three miles west of Cape Clear Island just before 8pm.

Weather conditions at the time were relatively good, with a Force 3 south-westerly wind and a one-metre sea swell.

One of the lifeboat crew went aboard the yacht to assist with rigging a tow and, once that was established at 8.05pm, a course was set for North Harbour in Cape Clear where the vessel was moored safely at 8.55pm.

Speaking following the callout, Cottrell said: “The sailors did the right thing in initially alerting people ashore to their predicament and then seeking the assistance of the lifeboat before darkness when their situation wasn’t improving.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - Thirteen people were brought safely ashore by Baltimore RNLI after their Fastnet Race yacht got into difficulty in the early hours of yesterday morning (Wednesday 9 August).

The volunteer lifeboat crew were alerted by the Irish Coast Guard at 2.05am that a yacht participating in the famous offshore race had lost its rigging some 26 miles south east of Baltimore in West Cork.

With seven crew on board — coxswain Kieran Cotter, mechanic Pat Collins and crew members Jerry Smith, Brian McSweeney, Don O’Donovan, Sean McCarthy and Eoin Ryan — the lifeboat proceeded to the scene, arriving at 3.31am.

They found that the rod rigging on the 45ft yacht was still standing, however part of the outer rigging had failed and the mast was in danger of coming down. 

The crew of the yacht also informed the lifeboat team that their fuel had been contaminated, and they were running on a small container of spare fuel, which they estimated would only give them an hour’s motoring time.

Conditions at the time were choppy, with a north-westerly Force 4 wind and 1-1.5m swell. The yacht crew agreed that a tow would be best so while the lifeboat stood by, they secured the rig as best they could.

As soon as the lifeboat sent over the tow line, the engine of the yacht cut out. However, the tow was established and the lifeboat started to bring the yacht back to Baltimore.

During the tow, due to the unstable nature of the mast, the lifeboat crew advised everyone to stay below deck in case the mast came down. 

The lifeboat towed the casualty vessel to the fishing pier in Baltimore Harbour, arriving at 10am, where they were assisted by boathouse crew Aidan Bushe, Colin Rochford and Ryan O’Mahony.

Speaking following the callout, Baltimore RNLI volunteer lifeboat coxswain Kieran Cotter said: “Thankfully the rigging held and the experienced crew aboard the yacht managed to do the best that they could do to avoid injury and to secure and preserve the yacht’s rig under difficult circumstances.”

In other news, Courtmacsherry RNLI has more details of its launch to a Fastnet Race yacht with a broken mast some 13 miles off Galley Head, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Ten people were rescued from the 40ft vessel after it was disabled by a broken mast amid Force 3-4 north-westerly breezes.

The racing yacht was participating in the world’s largest offshore race and was one of a whole fleet of yachts that approached the turn at Fastnet Rock during the night.

Hours before, Baltimore’s lifeboat was called to rescue two people from a RIB who had been watching the yachts rounding the rock when their boat lost power.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - Two people watching the Fastnet Race fleet round the famous rock from a RIB yesterday (Tuesday 8 August) were rescued by Baltimore RNLI when their boat lost power. 

The volunteer lifeboat crew, who were already on exercise in the area of Fastnet Rock, were alerted by a call from a nearby vessel at 3.15pm that another boat with two people onboard had lost the use of their engine.

The all-lifeboat was only two miles from the casualty vessel, a 7.5m RIB. Conditions at the time were good with a north-westerly Force 2-3 wind and a one-metre sea swell.

Once on scene, the lifeboat crew established a tow and brought the vessel back to Baltimore Harbour in West Cork, securing her to the pontoon before returning to the lifeboat station at 4.20pm.

Kate Callanan, Baltimore RNLI volunteer lifeboat press officer, commented: “Thankfully the lifeboat crew were on scene very quickly after the call was raised. 

“Baltimore RNLI has a strong connection to the Fastnet Race having been involved in a number of dramatic rescues over the years. The lifeboat crew regularly exercise during the famous race to be nearby in case they receive a call for help.”

Elsewhere, Wicklow’s all-weather lifeboat launched at on Monday night (7 August) to assist two sailors on a yacht in difficulties about two miles north-east of Wicklow Harbour.

The eight-metre yacht was on passage south when it developed engine problems. The skipper contacted the Irish Coast Guard for assistance as they were unable to make any progress due to the lack of wind.

Under the command of second coxswain Ciaran Doyle, the lifeboat was alongside the casualty six minutes after launching. Conditions in the area had a calm sea state with light airs and good visibility.

A towline was quickly established and the yacht was brought back to Wicklow Harbour, where it was safely secured alongside the East Pier before midnight.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - In the first of two incidents yesterday morning (Thursday 3 August), Baltimore RNLI launched to reports of a vessel adrift in Crookhaven Harbour.

The vessel, a 4m Boston Whaler powerboat, had broken from its mooring in strong winds and was drifting outside the West Cork harbour. 

There was no one on board the vessel, and weather conditions at the time were poor, with an easterly force 6-7 wind and 4-5m sea swell.

Baltimore's lifeboat arrived on scene at 8.38am, some 51 minutes after launch, and established a tow to bring the vessel back into the harbour, where it was secured to a mooring.

As the lifeboat was departing to return to station at 9.11am, the Irish Coast Guard contacted them to investigate another boat in trouble in the area. 

The second vessel, a 20ft Merry Fisher pleasure boat with no people on board, had gone ashore on rocks in Crookhaven

Due to the position of the vessel on the shoreline, coxswain Aidan Bushe decided to launch the Y-boat from the stern ramp of the lifeboat. 

The Y-boat, with Kieran Collins and David Ryan on board, secured a tow and pulled the casualty vessel clear of the shoreline. The lifeboat then took up the tow and secured the vessel on a mooring.

Speaking following the callout, Baltimore RNLI volunteer lifeboat press officer Kate Callanan said: “It is advisable in such incidents, where boats get into trouble near the shoreline, to call the coastguard for assistance. This reduces the risk of people getting themselves into a dangerous situation. 

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

Bushe, Ryan and Collins were joined on yesterday’s callout by mechanic Sean McCarthy and crew members Jerry Smith and Don O’Donovan. Micheal Cottrell provided shore crew assistance at the lifeboat house.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - Baltimore RNLI completed a busy weekend when the inshore lifeboat was launched on Sunday afternoon (30 July) to a report of an upturned vessel off Heir Island.

The volunteer lifeboat launched at 2.42pm arrived on scene to find a rigged Laser sailing boat, with no occupants, on the shore. 

Baltimore’s RNLI crew conducted a sweep around the location of the vessel as other boats in the area, as well as the Irish Coast Guard helicopter from Waterford, joined in the search.

Conditions at the time were calm, with Force 3 to 4 winds and good visibility.

Within an hour, reports came in to the coastguard that the boat had got caught up on a static mooring while sailing earlier that morning. Unable to free the vessel, the sailor made their own way ashore, leaving the sailing boat fully rigged and stuck on the mooring.

Some time later the boat came off the mooring by itself and came ashore on its side, prompting a member of the public to raise the alarm when they came across it.

“We are delighted that there was a good outcome with this situation,” said Gerald O’Brien, Baltimore RNLI volunteer deputy launching authority.

“Always remember, if you get into difficulty at sea or witness a vessel in trouble from the shoreline, call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

Baltimore RNLI previously launched twice on Friday (28 July) on two separate callouts, involving a Drascombe Lugger in distress and an emergency beacon activated on an offshore yacht, respectively.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - Just hours after launching to an alarm from a yacht’s emergency beacon on Friday morning (28 July), Baltimore RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat was back in action responding to a Mayday from a Drascombe Lugger taking on water in Schull Harbour.

The lifeboat launched at 6.11pm and proceeded to the scene amid calm conditions at sea, with a westerly Force 4 wind and good visibility.

Before they arrived, however, Schull Coast Guard’s inshore rescue boat was first on scene six minutes later and took the sailing boat with two on board under tow back to Schull Harbour.

“The sailors did the right thing this evening and raised the alarm when they found themselves in difficulty,” said Kate Callanan, Baltimore RNLI volunteer lifeboat press officer. 

“We would like to commend our colleagues in the Irish Coast Guard who arrived on scene and brought the vessel to safety.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - Baltimore RNLI launched this morning (Friday 28 July) to locate a vessel sending an alarm from their positioning beacon off the coast of West Cork.

The Irish Coast Guard requested the launch just before 10am after it had picked up an alarm from an EPIRB (electronic position indication radio beacon) on a yacht half a mile south west of Cape Clear Island. 

Coastguard staff at Mizen Head had no success raising the occupants of the yacht on their VHF so the Baltimore all-weather lifeboat was launched to investigate at the last known co-ordinates of the vessel.

Meanwhile, 10.30am the coastguard finally made contact with the yacht’s two occupants on their VHF and established that the EPIRB had been activated by accident.

Speaking after the callout, Baltimore RNLI volunteer lifeboat navigator Micheal Cottrell said: “It is important to ensure the secure fastening of an EPIRB on board a vessel and to regularly check that it is in good working order. Also, whilst out at sea it is important to keep radio watch on Channel 16. 

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

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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