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#Rescue - Newcastle RNLI was involved in the rescue of three yachts in Strangford Lough during Storm Ali on Wednesday (19 September).

The lifeboat volunteers were first alerted at 11.40am to go the aid of a stricken yacht at Newtownards Sailing Club in Co Down.

As the all-weather lifeboat launched, under coxswain William Chambers, it quickly became apparent the challenging weather conditions the crew would face on their passage to Newtownards.

The main water tight doors were closed and all crew seated as they faced eight-metre waves hitting from the side.

A Force 8 gale was blowing as the crew approached Strangford Lough. It was some 90 minutes later before the seas started to settle as the lifeboat was sheltered by the shore.

On arrival at Newtownards at 2.15pm, the coastguard was concerned that there may be a person onboard the weather-beaten yacht, Newcastle RNLI confirmed that nobody had been on the boat and she was safely on the mooring.

The lifeboat was then requested to go the aid of another yacht drifting across the lough from White Rock and Kircubbin, but unfortunately by the time the volunteers reached the vessel there was nothing they could do as it was on the rocks on an ebbing tide.

On return to station, approaching Portaferry, the crew were alerted to a third yacht in difficulty. The crew established a tow line and managed to free the vessel and towed it to the safety off a mooring in Strangford.

Leaving the sheltered waters of Strangford Lough, the lifeboat and its crew once again faced mountainous seas and the coxswain decided to stop in Ardglass Marina for an hour to let the wind decrease and the wave size drop.

Leaving Ardglass around 6pm, the crew faced large but bearable seas, making it back to Newcastle an hour later.

“This was a challenging day for our volunteers given that we launched into rough seas when Storm Ali was at its worst,” said Chambers of the seven-hour shout.

“It was also uncertain at that point if there was a life at risk onboard the yacht. Thankfully there wasn’t in this case.

“It was a long and challenging day but our volunteers are highly skilled and trained for these situations and were delighted to be able to help.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - Larne’s volunteer RNLI crew are throwing open the doors of the lifeboat station as they host a coffee morning to raise funds for Macmillan, the cancer support charity, from 10.30am to 2pm on Saturday 29 September.

The crew are already planning a ‘bake off’ to entice the public along and to dig deep for Macmillan.

There will also be tours of the station, demonstrations of its vital lifesaving kit and talks to give an insight into lifeboat launches in and around Larne.

Eleganze Hair & Beauty, Marty’s Catering, Curran Court Hotel and Allan Dorman & Son are among the local businesses that have already shown their support with raffle prizes for the day.

“This will be a fundraiser with a difference for us here,” said lifeboat mechanic Derek Rea. “As a charity we are thankful to the people of Larne for supporting the lifeboat but we also want to help others and raise funds for this worthy cause.

“There is hardly a person whose life has not been touched by cancer, either through battling it themselves or seeing someone they care about suffering with it. Support for cancer sufferers and research into treatment is ongoing and the Macmillan coffee morning is a great way to raise awareness and funds for this work.”

The lifeboat station is situated at 11 Olderfleet Road in Larne and people wishing to learn more about the Macmillan coffee morning fundraisers can visit macmillan.org.uk.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - Yesterday evening (Saturday 15 September) at 4.45pm, a volunteer RNLI crew from Portaferry launched to the aid of two men in trouble in the water just off Ballyhenry Island.

The two men had been using a personal watercraft when one of them had fallen from the vessel and was struggling to get back to it.

The second man, realising that the first was in difficulty, started to swim from the shore to try and help at the small island, around 1.5 miles north of Portaferry on the eastern shore of Strangford Lough in Co Down.

At the time, the weather was cloudy with good visibility, a southerly wind and calm seas.

Portaferry RNLI launched at 4.50pm and 10 minutes later were on scene, where the lifeboat crew took both men on board before returning them to Cooke Street Quay in Portaferry and into the care of the Portaferry Coastguard team.

The second launch was this morning (Sunday 16 September) in response to a Mayday call regarding an angler who had fallen from rocks into the sea just off Ardglass Golf Course.

Pagers sounded at 8.36am and the crew were on the water six minutes later, arriving on scene at 9.10am.

Weather conditions at the time were overcast with good visibility, a south-westerly Force 3 wind and moderate seas.

The male casualty had in the meantime been picked up by a local boat and returned to shore at Ardglass Marina. The lifeboat continued to the marina where they administered casualty care before leaving him in the care of the local coastguard team at 9.40am.

Commenting on the weekend’s events, Portaferry RNLI lifeboat operations manager Simon Rogers said: “We can go for weeks without any callouts, but during those quiet periods our volunteer boat and shore crew members train hard every week, preparing for situations such as this.

“It is thanks to their dedication and hard work that we are able to respond so quickly an as often as required to help those in trouble at sea.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

The Courtmacsherry All Weather RNLI Lifeboat was called out at 2pm yesterday to go to the aid of an 18–foot pleasure boat with two anglers on board who got lost and sought assistance two miles south of the Old Head of Kinsale in West Cork.

Under Coxswain Sean O Farrell and a crew of five, the Lifeboat was underway within minutes. The distress alarm was raised by the two Belgian Anglers who were fishing off the coast at the Old Head of Kinsale and got lost as they headed out to sea.

"the only bearing that they could give was that they could see a Lighthouse in the distance"

As the seas were rough and wind picking up, the only bearing that they could give when seeking assistance was that they could see a Lighthouse in the distance.

The Lifeboat found the anglers at 2.30 pm and duly escorted the fishing craft back to the village of Courtmacsherry, arriving at 4.10 pm. 

Both anglers were relieved to be back on shore and they praised the fast response and skills of the Lifeboat Crew in locating them.

The crew on today's callout were Coxswain Sean O Farrell, Mechanic Stuart Russell and crew Ken Cashman, Austin McKenna and Conor Dullea.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - Baltimore RNLI launched yesterday morning (Tuesday 11 September) to a swimmer reported missing on a swim from Skibbereen to Baltimore in West Cork.

The inshore lifeboat was called to search the Ilen River for the swimmer after a safety boat lost visual contact with him during a squall north of Inishbeg.

Within an hour they were joined by the all-weather lifeboat to search the narrower channels of the river. Toe Head Coast Guard and the Shannon-based Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 115 also assisted.

Some 40 minutes later, at 11.10am, Mizen Head Coast Guard informed all rescue agencies that the swimmer had made his way safely to shore, and all were to stand down.

“This was a great example of multiple rescue agencies working together and thankfully ended with a good outcome,” said Baltimore RNLI press officer Kate Callanan.

Elsewhere in Cork, Ballycotton RNLI launched both their all-weather and inshore lifeboats on Friday afternoon (7 September) to a capsized small sailing dinghy off Ballynamona beach.

A concerned member of the public had witnessed the casualty having difficulty righting the capsized dinghy, which was some 400 metres from the beach.

The crew on board the inshore lifeboat located the casualty in the water approximately 80m from the scene attempting to swim ashore.

The male casualty, believed to have been in the water for nearly 30 minutes, was brought onboard the inshore lifeboat and transferred to the larger all-weather vessel where he was administered first aid, then brought ashore where a local doctor and ambulance crew were waiting to assist.

“Thanks to the vigilance and very quick thinking of the local members of the public, they contributed to a speedy recovery with a positive outcome for all involved,” said Ballycotton RNLI coxswain Eolan Walsh.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - Lough Derg RNLI assisted four people after their boat ran aground when they took a wrong turn above Victoria Lock on the River Shannon yesterday (Sunday 9 September)

Water levels at the casualty vessel’s location were very low when the lifeboat arrived at 2.11pm, a little over an hour after launch.

All four on board the casualty boat were safe and unharmed. The skipper had dropped anchor as there was a strong flow, combined with wind, at the location.

While the vessel had sustained damage to its propellers and drive, its hull was not holed.

The lifeboat took the casualty vessel under tow back to the main navigation channel and onwards to Shamrock Marina at Banagher, the closest safe harbour and where the vessel had a mooring at which it was safely tied alongside at 4pm.

Peter Kennedy, deputy launching authority at Lough Derg Lifeboat Station, advises boat owners to carry up-to-date charts and to familiarise themselves with the buoyage on the Shannon.

Meanwhile, Baltimore RNLI launched their inshore lifeboat around 2.50pm to a sailing sloop that had filled with water near the West Cork harbour.

Within three minutes the inshore lifeboat reached the casualty boat, a 6m sailing vessel with two on board which had been caught up on pot buoys and knocked over by a strong gust.

Another RIB with a Baltimore lifeboat crew member was an ready on standby as the sailors bailed out their vessel, and after helping to speed up the process, they soon had the boat clear of water and ready to sail back to Baltimore Harbour unassisted.

Much earlier on Sunday, Portaferry RNLI were part of the multi-agency response to a Mayday call from a lone sailor on a 20m act grounded at Phennick Point near Ardglass in Co Down.

Due to the vessel’s position on dangerous rocks and with fishing gear in the area, only Portaferry’s inshore lifeboat was small enough to manoeuvre through the rocks and rough seas to retrieve the sailor and transfer him safety to Ardglass Marina.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - Shorter evenings mean having a method of calling for help on the water is more important than ever.

The message from the RNLI came after the Dun Laoghaire lifeboat launched on Tuesday evening (4 September) to a powerboat with three on board that had broken down in Killiney Bay.

The volunteer lifeboat crew was requested to launch their all-weather lifeboat at 7.50pm following a report from the Irish Coast Guard.

Weather conditions were fair with a northern breeze and visibility was good as the all-weather lifeboat located and successfully towed the vessel back towards Dun Laoghaire Marina. All three onboard were uninjured.

Commenting after the callout, Dun Laoghaire RNLI coxswain Mark McGibney said: “The long evenings are starting to get shorter, so it is vital to have a means of calling for help in case you do end up in trouble.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - Baltimore RNLI was called out last night (Tuesday 4 September) to a speedboat with engine trouble near Bird Island in West Cork.

The volunteer lifeboat crew were on exercise in their inshore lifeboat when the request came in from the Irish Coast Guard at 7.55pm to assist the 17ft speedboat, with four people onboard and reporting to have engine trouble north of the island near Cape Clear.

The lifeboat, with three volunteer crew onboard — helm John Kearney, John McDonough and Colin Rochford — was already in the vicinity of Cape Clear when the call came in and reached the casualty vessel at 7.57pm.

Conditions at the time were calm with a northerly Force 2-3 wind and slight sea swell.

When the lifeboat crew arrived on scene, the speedboat was only 100m north of Bird Island and was drifting towards the shore in calm seas, but in an area known for its strong tides.

The lifeboat immediately secured a tow line to the bow of the speedboat and, after confirming all onboard were okay, they towed the vessel to Baltimore harbour.

In other news, Baltimore RNLI’s annual barbecue will be hosted by Derry and Sally Anne Clarke at Sherkin House on Sherkin Island from 1pm this Saturday 8 September. All are welcome and no booking is required.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

The volunteer lifeboat crew of Howth RNLI will be on TV screens Tuesday 4th September as they feature in episode 4 of Series 3 of the BBC TV series Saving Lives at Sea, which showcases the lifesaving work of the RNLI. 

The 10-part documentary series is being shown on BBC Two on Tuesdays at 8pm, and features real rescues carried out by the charity’s lifeboat crews and lifeguards around Ireland and the UK, including Howth RNLI.

The series gives a unique insight into the lives and work of the charity’s volunteer lifeboat crew members and lifeguards, who rescue thousands of people and save hundreds of lives around our coastline and on the River Thames every year.

This forthcoming episode, on 4th September, sees Howth RNLI come to the assistance of 2 dinghy sailors, alongside rescue stories from their colleagues at other stations and beaches around our coasts.

Following the huge success of the two previous series, the most recent of which was broadcast last year, this series features more real-life rescue footage, accompanied by heart-warming and emotive testimonials from the volunteer crews, lifeguards and the people they rescue and their families.

Filming took place over the past year, with lifeboat crews and lifeguards carrying special cameras and welcoming film-makers into their day-to-day life. Rescues from the RNLI’s archives are also revisited, and we get a glimpse into the everyday lives of the thousands of men and women who give up their time to save lives.

Last year alone, RNLI lifeboat crews around the UK and Ireland launched over 8,400 times, assisting over 8,000 people, while the charity’s lifeguards responded to 17,414 incidents and saved the lives of 127 people on some of the UK’s busiest beaches.

Saving Lives at Sea will be broadcast on BBC Two and will continue throughout September and October.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - While on exercise yesterday afternoon (Sunday 2 September), the volunteer crew Crosshaven RNLI overheard a radio transmission to the coastguard explaining that a 23ft angling boat was aground on Black Rock near Whitegate oil refinery in Cork Harbour.

As it happened, the lifeboat was close by and immediately responded to the angling boat, with two persons on board, which had run hard aground.

Trying to tow the vessel would have caused damage. Instead, the crew were taken off and an anchor set on the casualty boat before it reflected on the next high tide. The anglers were then transferred to Aghada Pier.

The callout came just a day after Crosshaven’s lifeboat volunteers launched on a medevac to a Belfast angler bitten by a blue shark off Roches Point.

Elsewhere, Skerries RNLI rescued a man and two children on Saturday evening (1 September) after their motorboat suffered mechanical failure.

Skerries RNLI were tasked after Dublin Coast Guard received a 999 call from a member of the public that there were an adult and two children in difficulty in a personal watercraft off the south strand in Skerries.

The volunteer crew launched their Atlantic 85 Inshore lifeboat Louis Simson and made their way towards the area indicated by the caller.

Once on scene, the crew began a quick search of the area and quickly ascertained that the vessel in difficulty was in fact a small motorboat rather than a personal watercraft.

The boat had suffered mechanical failure and was unable to make their way ashore. A tow was set up and the boat was brought safely back to the slipway in Skerries. Conditions at the time were fair with a force one to two southerly breeze.

“It was great to see everyone on board the vessel wearing good lifejackets,” said Skerries RNLI press officer Gerry Canning. “Also, the person who called it in wasted no time in dialling 999 and asking for the Coast Guard once they spotted someone in trouble.

“It’s great to see that people are taking the safety messages on board and are all playing their part in helping us save lives at sea.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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