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#RNLI - Comedian, radio host and TV personality PJ Gallagher is to hold a night of fun and laughter with some of Ireland’s top comedians to raise funds for the RNLI.

The one-off event is being staged at Dun Laoghaire’s Pavilion Theatre on Sunday 4 March, where PJ will be joined by friends Deirdre O’Kane, Eric Lalor, Joanne McNally and more.

Funds raised on the night will go to help the charity with their work in saving lives at sea and prevention.

PJ became aware of the work of the RNLI in Dun Laoghaire when he was passing the station and lifeboat mechanic Kieran ‘Colley’ O’Connell invited him in to look around.

The pair struck up a friendship, and PJ has been a regular visitor at the station since then. When he heard about he work of the RNLI he made up his mind to do an event to raise funds.

Speaking about his decision to hold the comedy night and to ask some of his famous friends to support it, PJ said: “I live near the lifeboat station and was aware of the work of the RNLI but it was only when I met Colley that I really learned what it was all about. These men and women are volunteers and they leave their jobs and lives to come and help those in trouble at sea.

“We have a big beautiful lifeboat on view in Dun Laoghaire Harbour but when it’s gone, sometimes in the middle of the night, that’s when they are doing their amazing work. I asked some friends if they’d help with a fundraiser and they jumped at the chance. In fairness, you never know when this lot might need rescuing.”

Kieran added: “We are really thrilled that PJ and his friends are holding this night for us. We get a lot of visitors into the station and they are always delighted to hear about the work we do and you hope it stays with them but PJ has stayed in contact and become a firm friend of the station.

“I just hope he knows what he is letting himself in for as most of the crew will be attending and if their pagers go off there could be a lot of people running for the doors suddenly. I hope they won’t take it personally.”

The gig is selling fast, with only a small number of tickets remaining. Tickets are priced at €24 and are available from the box office directly at www.paviliontheatre.ie or 01 231 2929.

Night at the Oskars

Elsewhere, members of Clogherhead RNLI have been overwhelmed with the local support for ‘The Night at the Oskars’, a special night being staged to raise funds for the station’s new Shannon class lifeboat due in 2019.

Taking place on Saturday 3 March at the TLT in Drogheda, the evening will see local people star in seven short films recreating some of the most well-known and successful blockbusters over the last few years.

The red-carpet event is formal or black-tie dress and tickets are priced at €30.

Last June Clogherhead RNLI launched a €150,000 fundraising appeal at the Drogheada Maritime Festival towards the cost of the new Shannon Lifeboat, which is expected to total some €2.5 million.

The majority of the funding will be provided through an Irish legacy, and Clogherhead RNLI and affiliated branches in Meath and Monahan are making a commitment to raise €150,000 towards the cost of the project through a community appeal.

Tickets can be obtained at the Clogherhead Lifeboat Station each Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 2pm until 3 March or through phoning Tomas on 086 809 4690.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - Newcastle RNLI rescued six fishermen in a callout that lasted 12 hours on Monday 5 February.

At 3.10pm, Newcastle’s volunteer crew were alerted to Belfast  Coastguard’s request for a lifeboat to assist a fishing vessel breakdown 15 miles southeast of Newcastle Harbour.

The all-weather Mersey class lifeboat Eleanor and Bryant Girling was launched at 3.20pm and reached the casualty vessel an hour later. Weather conditions at the time were calm but cold with excellent visibility.

Communications were made with the skipper and it was agreed that the best option was for the lifeboat to tow the boat back to the port of Kilkeel.

While the tow got underway at a slow speed of four knots and with 15 miles to go, the estimated time of arrival in Kilkeel was approximately 8.30pm.

However, due to size of the vessel and the tide ebbing, the lifeboat crew were not able to enter the harbour until 1am.

At 12.30am it was decided to launch Kilkeel RNLI’s inshore lifeboat to assist with the manoeuvring of the fishing vessel into the tight harbour entrance. Shortly after 1.20am the vessel was alongside the quay and handed over to Kilkeel Coastguard rescue team.

Speaking following the callout, Newcastle RNLI volunteer lifeboat press officer Nathan Leneghan said: “This was the first callout of the year for Newcastle RNLI and we were delighted to help bring the fishing crew to safety.

“This was a long and challenging callout due to the tide and size of the boat but we worked with the conditions and with the support of colleagues from Kilkeel RNLI were able to bring the boat to safety.

“We would remind anyone taking to sea to always respect the water. Check weather and tide times before you leave and always let someone ashore know when you are leaving and when you are due back. Always wear a lifejacket and always carry a means of calling or signalling for help should you get into difficulty.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - Clogherhead and Skerries  RNLI  rescued a man whose fishing boat got into difficulty north of Dublin Bay yesterday afternoon (Thursday 1 February).

The volunteer crews were requested to launch the all-weather lifeboat from Clogherhead and the inshore lifeboat from Skerries at around 1pm after a request from the Irish Coast Guard to assist the skipper of a 10m fishing vessel, which had got into difficulty four-and-a-half miles northeast of Skerries.

The vessel had lost engine power while on passage from Kilmore Quay to the Shetland Islands.

Skerries RNLI was first on the scene, and after assessing that no one was in immediate danger, they worked with the skipper to take the fishing boat under tow.

With winds from the northwest gusting up to 30 knots at the time and seas up to three metres high, a decision was made due to the weather conditions to transfer the tow line to the Clogherhead all-weather lifeboat.

The fishing vessel was then successfully towed into Skerries Harbour and tied up at 2pm.

Speaking following the callout, Clogherhead RNLI volunteer lifeboat press officer Gerry Kelly said it was “a fine example of RNLI volunteers from neighbouring stations working well together to help bring someone to safety.

“We would remind anyone going to sea, regardless of their activity, to always respect the water. Always wear a lifejacket and always carry a means of calling for help and keep it within reach.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - Three RNLI lifeboats gathered yesterday (Sunday 28 January) at the site off Northern Ireland where the MV Princess Victoria sank 65 years ago with the loss of 133 souls.

Donaghadee, Larne and Portpatrick RNLI lifeboat crews laid wreaths on behalf of their stations and also on behalf of Newcastle, Bangor and Portaferry RNLI. A wreath was also laid on behalf of Larne Harbour.

The short ceremony at sea was followed by a service at Donaghadee parish church, where over 50 lifeboat volunteers represented the charity along with many people who travelled from across Northern Ireland to mark the anniversary.

Donaghadee lifeboat crew saved 33 of the 44 survivors from the Larne-to-Stranraer ferry that day onboard the lifeboat Sir Samuel Kelly.

Speaking following the ceremony at sea, Donaghadee RNLI coxswain Philip McNamara said: “Today was a very solemn occasion as we remembered all those who were lost, sixty-five years ago this week.

“It was a huge tragedy and affected many families in Northern Ireland and across the water. It’s important to remember the anniversary and to pay our respects.”

McNamara added: “To look out at sea and see three lifeboats from Northern Ireland and Scotland was an incredible sight. After each lifeboat crew dropped their wreaths at the site, a minutes silence was observed to remember those who were lost.

“We in Donaghadee RNLI are very proud of the lifeboat crew who went before us, who arrived on scene that day and rescued 33 survivors in what must have been horrific conditions.”

On 31 January 1953, lifeboats from Donaghadee, Portpatrick and Cloughy were launched and received awards for their bravery.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - Renowned Galway singer Sean Keane is set to make a welcome return to Clifden this February for a special evening of song and entertainment dedicated to the lifesaving work of the RNLI.

In the intimate setting of the Church of Ireland in Clifden at 8pm on Saturday 10 February, Sean and friends will launch a new song ‘Heroes of the Waters’ in tribute to those who volunteer to provide lifeboat services at sea.

A limited-edition CD with three tracks will also be on sale on the night for €5 with proceeds going to Clifden RNLI, which saw the naming of its latest lifeboat Celia Mary last October.

Tony Hiney, RNLI community fundraising manager, said: “We are absolutely delighted that a singer of Sean’s stature and popularity has decided to make such a wonderful musical tribute to our lifeboat volunteers.

“We wish to thank him and his team for their support and we look forward to a wonderful evening celebrating our mutual appreciation and support.”

Tickets for Sean Keane’s ‘Heroes of the Waters’ special concert are available from The Station House Hotel and The Celtic Shop, Main St, Clifden.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - Helvick Head RNLI had its first callout for 2018 in the early hours of Saturday morning (20 January) when the crew of a fishing vessel reported engine difficulty.

Pagers sounded at 1.50am and volunteer crew Brian O’Rourke, Joe Foley, Shane Walsh and Cathal Reilly launched the inshore lifeboat Robert Armstrong within minutes.

The lifeboat travelled the eight miles to the vessel and a tow was quickly set up. Sea conditions were described as moderate at the time.

The vessel was then towed back to Helvick Harbour, docking safely at just after 5am.

Commenting on the rescue, Helvick Head RNLI lifeboat operations manager John Condon said: “It was great to see the excellent reaction to the call by all the members of the crew.

“Given the time at which the pagers went off, it was fantastic to see the response by all – not only those who went to sea but also by the others who assisted on the shore.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - In the East Cork lifeboat station’s first callout of 2018, Youghal  RNLI was requested to launch at 1.02pm on Wednesday 10 January to reports of a fishing vessel that was taking on water.

The lifeboat proceeded to the location of the fishing boat, with one onboard, near Whiting Bay. Conditions saw a choppy sea state at the time, with a moderate southeasterly breeze.

Helmed by Erik Brooks and with crew members Liam Keogh, Mick Brooks and Eddie Hennessy onboard, the lifeboat reached the vessel and quickly assessed the situation to find a good deal of water onboard.

Two of the crew boarded the boat with a salvage pump and started to pump the water overboard.

Waterford’s Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 117 arrived on scene to give air assistance and stayed in the area until the vessel was returned safely to Buttimer’s Quay and Youghal Coast Guard.

Speaking following the callout, Youghal RNLI helm Erik Brooks said: “The skipper did the right thing by calling for help quickly today and we were delighted to bring the fisherman and boat to safety.

“We would remind anyone planning a trip to sea to always respect the water. Always carry a means of communication with you when you are on the water and remember to let someone ashore know when you leave and when you are due back.”

In other Irish lifeboat news, Clifden RNLI's all-weather lifeboat Fisherman’s Friend was requested to launch at 8.50am on Tuesday morning (9 January) to investigate reports of a white light west off Eeshal Island in Co Galway.

At 9.10am, the all-weather lifeboat was underway to investigate with six volunteer crew on board and in difficult weather conditions of 3-4 metre seas and a south easterly Force 7-8 wind.

The boat proceeded to Eeshal Island and conducted a thorough search around Omey Island, Aughris Point and Cruagh Island.

When nothing was found after some time, Malin Head Coast Guard was satisfied that the light seen was most likely from a 25m fishing vessel that had passed by the area that morning and did not indicate a vessel in difficulty.

Clifden RNLI coxswain James Mullen said later: “This call was reported with good intent and we would like to thank the member of the public for their vigilance.

“Given the prevailing weather conditions this morning, the all-weather boat was an excellent asset and well done to all the crew for assembling and launching so quickly.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - Dunmore East RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat launched yesterday afternoon (Tuesday January 9) to assist a 23m trawler with four crew on board.

The fishing vessel had suffered engine trouble and was drifting onto rocks one mile northeast of Dunmore East Harbour, close to the shoreline.

Minutes after launch at 1.58pm, the all-weather Trent Class Dunmore East lifeboat Windsor Runner arrived on scene to find the trawler drifting close to the rocks.

In difficult sea conditions and high winds, the Dunmore East RNLI crew managed to get a line to the stricken vessel and established a tow.

The vessel was then towed to the safety of Dunmore East Harbour at 2.40pm. The Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 117 and Dunmore East Coast Guard were also launched.

Dunmore East RNLI operations manager Ciaran O’Mullain said after the callout: “A quick response from our volunteer crew today ensured we got to the vessel before it drifted onto the rocks.

“Sea conditions made the rescue difficult today but thankfully our highly trained crew were able to bring the trawler and its crew to the safety of Dunmore East Harbour.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - Baltimore RNLI launched yesterday afternoon (Sunday 7 January) to provide a medical evacuation from Sherkin Island.

The volunteer lifeboat crew launched their all-weather lifeboat following a request from the Irish Coast Guard at 3.50pm to provide medical assistance and evacuation for an elderly man on the West Cork island.

Once on scene, the volunteer lifeboat crew administered casualty care before transferring the patient back to the all-weather lifeboat, which returned to Baltimore lifeboat station at 4.20pm to transfer the patient to the care of the waiting HSE ambulance crew.

There was a north-easterly Force 4-5 wind at the time but sea conditions within the harbour were calm.

Speaking following the callout, Baltimore RNLI volunteer lifeboat press officer Kate Callanan said: “The RNLI and other rescue/emergency agencies provide a vital service to those living or staying on islands around the coast of Ireland. If you are in difficulty on or near the coastline call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

There were eight volunteer crew onboard the lifeboat: coxswain Kieran Cotter, mechanic Cathal Cottrell and crew members Brendan Cottrell, Jerry Smith, Don O’Donovan, Kieran Collins, Micheal Cottrell and Eoin Ryan. In attendance at the lifeboat station was Kate Callanan.

Last weekend, Baltimore RNLI launched twice in the same day for a medevac from Heir Island and to assist bodyboarders reported in difficulty at Barleycove, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - Baltimore RNLI launched twice in the space of a few hours yesterday (Friday 29 December) — firstly to provide a medevac from Heir Island, and later to assist bodyboarders in difficulty at Barleycove.

The volunteer crew launched their all-weather lifeboat Alan Massey following a request from the Irish Coast Guard at 11.16am to provide medical assistance and evacuation to a woman who fell on Heir Island off the coast of West Cork.

Once on scene, the crew administered casualty care before transferring the patient to the all-weather lifeboat and returning to Baltimore to meet a waiting HSE ambulance crew.

Conditions at sea during the shout had a north-westerly Force 6-7 wind and a one-metre sea swell, heralding Storm Dylan’s approach this weekend.

The crew launched a second time, at 4.18pm, after a member of the public alerted that three bodyboarders were in difficulty off Barleycove, near Mizen Head in West Cork.

The wind had eased considerably since the first callout, with a south-westerly Force 3-4, but there was a rough sea state with a swell of 3-4m.

At 4.45pm, with the lifeboat four miles west of West Calf Island, the crew were asked to stand down by the Irish Coast Guard after the three bodyboarders had made it safely ashore.

Speaking following the callouts, Baltimore RNLI volunteer lifeboat press officer Kate Callanan said: “With strong winds forecast over the coming days, the Irish Coast Guard strongly advises to exercise caution in coastal areas and reminds people to ‘Stay Back, Stay High and Stay Dry’.

“If you see someone in difficulty in the sea of along the shore call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

The volunteer crew on the first callout were coxswain Kieran Cotter, mechanic Jerry Smith and crew members Aidan Bushe, Don O’Donovan, Simon Duggan and Kieran Collins. Ay the lifeboat station were Kate Callanan and John O’Brien. Crew on the second callout were Cotter, Smith, Bushe, O’Donovan, Eoin Ryan and David Ryan.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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