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#RNLI - Arranmore RNLI was called to give assistance to a crabbing boat which got into difficulty off Arranmore on Tuesday (19 September).

The all-weather lifeboat was alerted at 4pm when the 60-tonne, 15m vessel with four crew on board suffered engine failure 35 miles northwest of Arranmore off the Donegal coast.

Weather conditions at the time were moderate with south, south east winds, Force 6-7 and a 3-4m swell.

When the lifeboat reached the crabbing boat, the crew secured a tow rope and the fishing vessel was towed to the safety of Burtonport harbour.

Arranmore RNLI coxswain Jimmy Early said: “This was a textbook rescue with favourable weather conditions and experienced fishermen who knew exactly what action to take in an emergency, they did all the right things to effect their rescue.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Two sailors were rescued by the Dun Laoghaire RNLI Inshore lifeboat this morning after their small dinghy capsized on Dublin Bay.

The incident occurred shortly before 9am off the West Pier at Dun Laoghaire when the two person crew capsized in the fresh breeze.

Attempts to right their RS200-type boat were unsuccessful and two walkers on the pier spotted their difficulty and called 999 / 112 to raise the alarm.

The Irish Coast Guard’s MRCC Dublin (Marine Rescue Co-Ordination Centre) requested that RNLI Inshore lifeboat launch immediately to locate and assist the two casualties. The wind and tide conditions were gradually setting the capsized dinghy in the direction of Dublin Port shipping lane.

The ILB crew located the boat shortly after 9.30am. Neither person required medical attention and they were towed back to shore at Dun Laoghaire.

“The RNLI encourages anyone heading to sea to carry some means of signalling for help,” commented Stephen Wynne, Lifeboat Operations Manager at Dun Laoghaire. “Fortunately on this occasion, two pier-walkers spotted the problem and called for help. Otherwise, a 2.5 mile drift northwards and a more serious outcome was likely to have occurred.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - Skerries RNLI launched on Thursday evening (14 September) after the Irish Coast Guard received a number of calls reporting a vessel on fire north of Balbriggan.

The lifeboat was tasked with volunteer Conor Walsh at the helm and crewed by Stephen Crowley, Steven Johnson and JP Tanner.

The fire was visible from the boathouse, and once the volunteers launched their Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat, they navigated directly to the scene.

As they approached the area, it soon became apparent that the fire was actually a large gorse fire on the shoreline, and the emergency services had arrived to deal with it. The lifeboat was stood down and returned to station.

Speaking about the callout, Skerries RNLI lifeboat press officer Gerry Canning said: “It was quite deceptive to look at, and you can understand how it may have looked like it was actually a fire at sea.

“In this case it was a false alarm, but with good intent.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - Two people are recovering after being rescued by Galway RNLI when the tide trapped them on Hare Island, as the Connacht Tribune reports.

The lifeboat launched at 6.41pm yesterday evening (Wednesday 13 September) to reports from passers-by on Renmore beach of people trapped on the tidal island.

With Declan Killilea was at the helm and crewed by Olivia Byrne, Ian Murphy, and John O’Sullivan, the lifeboat was at the scene five minutes later to recover the pair, who were uninjured but shaken by their ordeal.

Both rescued are visitors to the area, prompting Galway RNLI to urge caution to those who may not be familiar with the local tides.

Strandings are not uncommon at Hare Island, with similar incidents in 2010, 2013 and most recently last year.

In other news, Galway RNLI is hosting an open day at its lifeboat station in Galway Docks this Sunday 17 September from 1pm to 4pm. Fire and Rescue Galway, which shares volunteers with the lifeboat service, will also be in attendance.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - Two couples who volunteer with Larne RNLI were chosen to represent the Co Antrim lifeboat station at the recent Hillsborough Garden Party where HRH Prince Harry was special guest.

Lifeboat crew Fiona and Barry Kirkpatrick attended the event at Hillsborough Castle in Co Down with deputy lifeboat launching authority Phil Ford-Hutchinson and his fundraiser wife Alison.

While there, the two couples were presented to Prince Harry by the Deputy Lieutenant of Co Antrim, Col Neil Salisbury OBE, and they chatted for a while about the busy lifeboat station and its work in the community.

“We were honoured to be asked to represent our lifeboat station and we met some incredible people at the event,” said Fiona Kirkpatrick. “We were introduced to HRH Prince Harry and of course took the opportunity to discuss our station and the work of our volunteer lifeboat crew and fundraisers in Larne.

“The prince was interested to know how many volunteers we had at our station and commented on how voluntary groups like the RNLI require a lot of hard work and commitment from a team.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - Union Hall RNLI was requested to launch yesterday afternoon (Sunday 10 September) at 4.21pm by Valentia Coast Guard to reports of a yacht that had broken from its mooring in Glandore Harbour and was heading for rocks.

Weather conditions in West Cork at the time were dry with a westerly Force 7 wind, gusting Force 8, and bumpy seas.

The volunteer lifeboat crew were underway at 4.32pm and headed to the yacht just metres from the rocky shore.

Once on scene, a crew member was put aboard the yacht to attach a tow line, and the vessel was pulled to the safety of Union Hall pier.

Speaking following the callout, Union Hall RNLI lifeboat operations manager John Kelleher said the severe windy conditions are set to remain for most of the coming week.

“If you see someone in trouble, please dial 999/112 and ask for the coastguard, and for your safety stay away from exposed coastal areas.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - Wicklow RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat launched shortly before 6pm on Saturday evening (9 September) to assist a 13m yacht in difficulties off the Wicklow coast.

The yacht was on passage from Wales to Ireland when the forestay snapped on its mast rigging, some 23 miles off Co Wicklow.

Unable to use their sails in case the mast broke, the yacht’s crew were also low on fuel, which would prevent them from reaching Wicklow Harbour under their own power, prompting the skipper to call the Irish Coast Guard by VHF radio for assistance.

The Wicklow lifeboat Annie Blaker, under the command of coxswain Nick Keogh and with six volunteer crew, was alongside the stricken vessel at 7.20pm. Conditions at the scene were described as sea state moderate, wind Force 5, westerly in direction with good visibility.

A towline was quickly rigged to the yacht and the lifeboat crew began a three-hour tow back towards Wicklow Harbour, where the vessel and its five sailors were brought safely alongside the south quay at 10.20pm.

The crew on this callout were coxswain Nick Keogh, mechanic Brendan Copeland, Ciaran Doyle, Lisa O’Leary, Terry Sillery, Paul Sillery and John Stapleton.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - Lough Ree RNLI were called to assist five people aboard a 20ft motor cruiser which had lost power and was drifting towards Nun’s Island yesterday afternoon (Saturday 9 September).

The crew of inshore lifeboat The Eric Rowse were alerted at 1.27pm and were in the water within 10 minutes, quickly making their way to the scene — by which time the vessel had been blown very near the north shore of Nun’s Island and was at imminent risk of serious damage.

Weather conditions at the time were reported as mainly dry, with a fresh Force 5 north-westerly wind and waves over a metre high.

The lifeboat crew went alongside the casualty vessel and found that the occupants were uninjured but distressed, while one person on board was suffering from motion sickness due to the heavy swell.

Lifeboat volunteer Emmet Devereaux remained with the casualty vessel to reassure those on board and to assist with steering, while the others set up a tow line and pulled the cruiser out of immediate danger.

The lifeboat then proceeded to tow the cruiser to safe harbour at Coosan Point. Lifeboat helm Stan Bradbury opted for a relatively fast tow, both to maintain directional control of the towed vessel and to shorten as much as possible the distress of its crew.

Lough Ree lifeboat operations manager Tony McCarth said later: “Lough Ree is 29 km long and 12km wide, so a sizeable swell can develop quickly, especially in a northerly or southerly breeze.

“We recommend that all lake users check the weather forecast, and the wind direction, when planning their journeys – fresh to strong wind conditions are forecast to continue for the next several days.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - More than two years ago, Jack Lowe began an ambitious project to photograph every RNLI station with a Victorian-era camera.

Now, having already photographed 88 of the 238 lifeboat stations in these islands, Jack Lowe has finally arrived in Ireland.

Lowe, a photographer from Newcastle upon Tyne, is travelling around the UK and Ireland in a converted ambulance photographing RNLI lifeboat volunteers through a Victorian process that captures the stunning images on glass in whats one of the largest project’s of its kind ever undertaken.

Taking the Lifeboat Station Project to Ireland, the first RNLI volunteer crews he will visit include Dunmore East, Tramore and Helvick Head in Co Waterford; and Youghal, Ballycotton, Crosshaven, Kinsale, Courtmacsherry, Baltimore and Castletownbere in Co Cork; finishing up at Valentia in Co Kerry to mark his 99th lifeboat station.

“Believe it or not, this is the first time I’ve ever visited Ireland,” said Lowe. “I can’t wait to see the stunning coastline and meet the Irish lifeboat crews I’ve heard so much about.

“I am excited to see the results of this mission sitting alongside the glass plates I’ve been making in the UK. I’d been told there's a welcome like no other from the Irish and I’m already experiencing it after just two days.”

Completing the entire project is likely to take five years in total, and is set to be the first complete photographic record of every single lifeboat station on the RNLI network. Lowe expects reach the half-way point in 2018.

The photographer, grandson of Dad’s Army actor Arthur Lowe, is also an avid RNLI supporter. “My early childhood was spent on a Victorian schooner in Ramsgate harbour and on the Thames,” he recalls. “My dad is an experienced seafarer and introduced me to the wonders of lifeboats — these incredible, powerful pieces of kit designed for heroic, lifesaving missions on stormy seas.

“From an early age, I loved photography and lifeboats. Now I’m following my heart and uniting the two passions. I’m using a photographic technique developed in the 1850s, around the time that the RNLI was incorporated under Royal Charter. The photographs are made directly onto glass plates known as ‘ambrotypes’.”

When Lowe visits a lifeboat station, he makes the portraits using a camera made in 1905, and then develops the images in the mobile darkroom within his decommissioned NHS, named ‘Neena’, which he purchased on eBay.

The volunteer lifeboat crew members are able to step into the ambulance and watch as their portraits appear on the glass plates — an experience Lowe says they find fascinating, and sometimes very moving.

Lowe began drawing up plans for the project over two years before it began. He says he has always had an interest in the history of photography.

“The word photography means drawing with light and that is how I think about it still. I adore photography in this very raw, basic form — light falling on chemicals. It really is magical – the final image is always a surprise, even to me.”

He adds: “There’s a small global community of people interested in using these old techniques. Everyone works in their own way – and you’re always learning as you go along. The chemicals are the original formulae from the 1800s.

“It took me a long time to figure out the logistics of transporting and storing glass plates. I have a box made for each station that holds ten sheets of 12x10 inch glass. Then when I get them back to Newcastle I scan them, varnish them and then place them into storage.”

Follow Jack Lowe’s RNLI photographic mission on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or on the Lifeboat Station Project’s dedicated site.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - Skerries RNLI launched on Saturday morning (2 September) to a report of a fisherman stranded on rocks near Balbriggan.

Shortly after 11am, Dublin Coast Guard received a call from a member of the Garda that a sea angler had been cut off by the rising tide and was stranded on rocks at the shoreline near Ardgillan Park, just south of Balbriggan.

Skerries RNLI were tasked and the lifeboat was launched with volunteer Robert Morgan at the helm and crewed by David Knight, Gerry Canning and Jack Keane.

The lifeboat proceeded directly to the area indicated by the caller, heading initially towards a well-known outcrop of rocks that extends out a distance into the sea.

Once on scene, the crew began an initial search of the area. They then noticed a garda on the shore waving to attract their attention.

The lifeboat was manoeuvred in very shallow waters against a strong breeze to be close enough to shore for a member of the crew to go ashore and speak to them. It transpired that the fisherman, once alerted to his predicament by the Garda had waded ashore and was no longer in danger.

The lifeboat was stood down and returned to station.

Speaking about the callout, Skerries RNLI lifeboat press officer Gerry Canning said: “In this case, the man hadn’t even realised that he had been cut off by the rising tide and was in a dangerous situation. Thankfully the Garda were able to alert him and he managed to wade ashore.

“If you see anyone in danger in or near the water, dial 999 and ask for the coastguard.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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