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At 5.32 pm on Sunday, 14 January, Carrybridge RNLI’s inshore lifeboat on Upper Lough Erne was launched at the request of Belfast Coastguard to assess a vessel with four people on board, which had broken down 2 miles North of Carrybridge.

Winds were North Westerly, Force 1. Visibility was good.

The volunteer crew onboard the lifeboat located the casualty vessel, which had drifted into the reeds on the shoreline. They then assessed the well-being of casualties and found them to be well.

The crew then assessed the casualty vessel and found that the boat had suffered from a loss of drive. Due to the darkness and the vessel's location, it was deemed that the safest option was to tow the vessel back to its nearby mooring at Bellanaleck. A lifeboat crew member stayed onboard the casualty’s boat during the towing process.

Speaking following the callouts, Stephen Scott, Lifeboat Operations Manager at Carrybridge RNLI advised all boat users: ‘‘At this time of year when there isn’t much boat movement on the water it is especially important before setting out to plan your journey, have the relevant charts required, lifejackets for all on board and a means of calling for assistance if you find yourself in trouble.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Following their fellow Northern Ireland lifeboat volunteers in Larne, as reported last month on Afloat.ie, the crew at Carrybridge RNLI will feature in the latest series of Saving Lives at Sea on BBC Two at 8pm next Thursday 23 November.

Carrybridge RNLI helm Chris Cathcart, who was on both call-outs that will feature in the upcoming episode, said: “Our lifesaving work would not be possible without donations from the public and we are delighted to be able to share a frontline view of the rescues they support with their kind generosity.

“This is the first time Carrybridge RNLI features on the Saving Lives at Sea series and the rescues are a good example of where our volunteers’ training, skills and experience all come to the fore in helping bring casualties — and in the second case, animals — to safety.

“The RNLI can often carry out animal rescues which can be important in ensuring no one else puts themselves in danger in trying to rescue their own pet or animal in the water. The episode also highlights the great teamwork not just among our own volunteers but with our colleagues from the various emergency services.”

Cathcart added: “The first rescue comes late on a summer’s evening when the casualty has an accident with the digger he is working from and sustains a leg injury.

“He makes the correct decision to swiftly call for help and a multi-agency response and coordination from our own volunteers and our colleagues in the Irish Coast Guard’s Rescue 118 helicopter at Sligo swings into action and works exactly as we train for in such situations.

“The second call-out sees us come to the rescue of a distressed cow heavily stuck in mud and with most of its body submerged in water.

“The police, fire service and the farmer who owns the cow all play their part as she becomes tired and weak and shivers in the cold. After several attempts, the cow is eventually brought to safety and able to stand and feed on the grass.

“No one likes to see animals in any kind of danger and again the swift response by multiple agencies and the farmer himself, ensures a successful outcome”.

If you get inspired to volunteer with the RNLI by the TV series, there are a variety of roles from lifeboat crew, to fundraiser, lifeguard to shop volunteer. Fund out more at rnli.org/volunteer.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Waterways Ireland advises masters of vessels on and users of the Erne System in the Enniskillen area that the power bollards at the Round ‘O’ and Carrybridge will be isolated on Wednesday 8 November for the winter period.

Power will be reconnected at the start of the 2024 boating season, the cross-border body for Ireland’s inland waterways adds.

Published in Inland Waterways

In the first of three separate rescues within a 24-hour period this week, Carrybridge RNLI’s inshore relief lifeboat launched on Monday (10 July) to assess a 27ft vessel with two people on board which had mechanical issues around a mile northeast of Knockninny on Upper Lough Erne in Northern Ireland.

The volunteer lifeboat crew launched at the request of Belfast Coastguard at 3.45pm and located the casualty vessel which had broken down and had deployed its anchor to avoid them drifting ashore.

Winds were southwesterly Force 3 with a gentle breeze, and visibility was fair with heavy showers.

The crew assessed the casualties and found them to be safe and well and wearing lifejackets. The lifeboat helm then carried out a risk assessment of the casualty vessel.

Due to the craft having no propulsion, and being anchored in the main navigation channel, it was decided that the safest option would be to set up a stern tow and bring it back to its moorings.

A lifeboat crew member stayed onboard the casualty vessel to assist while it was being towed back and upon arrival it was safety secured its berth.

The following afternoon, the inshore lifeboat launched at 2.11pm following reports of a 30ft vessel with 2 people on board which had got into difficulties in shallow water close to Naan Island.

It was also confirmed by Belfast Coastguard that another vessel, a 27ft boat with two people on board, had also got into difficulties in the same area trying to assist the initial vessel.

Winds on Tuesday afternoon were southwesterly Force 3 with a gentle breeze; visibility was good with partly cloudy skies.

Once on scene, the volunteer crew located two vessels in close proximity, both of which had got into difficulties in shallow water. The first vessel with two people onboard was assessed and it was decided with the owner’s permission to safely refloat and tow it into deeper water. This was carried out successfully.

With the first vessel in safe water and operating under its own power, attention turned to assess and assist the second vessel which was further aground.

The volunteer lifeboat crew had requested for the owner to empty their water tanks to assist with the refloating, and during this process the casualty vessel began to float and drifted out of the shallows and into deeper water.

While safety and operation checks were being carried out with the hep of the lifeboat crew, the owner found that his vessel would no longer start.

The lifeboat helm decided that the safest option was to set up a stern tow, and a lifeboat crew member stayed onboard the casualty vessel while it was towed back to the closest public marina.

Speaking following the call-outs, Chris Cathcart, volunteer helm at Carrybridge RNLI had advice for aal boat users: “Now we are in the summer season, we would urge all boat owners to carry out regular maintenance checks on your vessel, make sure you have the relevant charts required before starting your journey, lifejackets for all on board and a means of calling for assistance if you find yourself in trouble.

“If you see someone in trouble on the water or are in difficulties yourself the number to dial is 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Carrybridge RNLI in Northern Ireland were delighted to receive a generous donation of £1,500 from the Erne Boat Rally committee at the lifeboat station this past Thursday evening (4 May).

The money was raised following the annual boat rally gathering which took place on Lough Erne over the June Bank Holiday weekend in 2022.

Over 50 cruisers attended the Erne Boat Rally weekend, with some 140 people having a very enjoyable cruising experience on both Upper and Lower Lough Erne.

Stephen Scott, lifeboat operations manager at Carrybridge RNLI said: “The funds raised are vital to the continuing work of the Carrybridge RNLI on Lough Erne, and will assist with future lifesaving operations.

“It was very much appreciated that the Erne Boat Rally committee continued with raising vital funds for their local RNLI lifeboat station.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Carrybridge and Enniskillen RNLI were delighted to receive a donation of £1,625 from CrossFit Enniskillen following an eighth anniversary charity workout at their gym.

Over 60 members took part in the event on Saturday 4 February, including one of the Carrybridge crew, Garvan Duffy, in a challenging team workout that took over three hours to complete.

Workouts included completing two marathons on the exercise bikes and one marathon on the rowing machines.

The cheque was presented to Peter Scott from the Lough Erne Fundraising Branch for the Carrybridge and Enniskillen RNLI stations, on Lough Erne in Northern Ireland.

Stephen Scott, lifeboat operations manager at Carrybridge RNLI praised all those who took part in the workouts for all their hard work and dedication raising money for both lifeboat stations on Lough Erne.

“The funds raised are vital to the continuing work of the RNLI on Lough Erne, both at our Carrybridge and Enniskillen stations, and will assist with future lifesaving operations,” he said. “It was great to see the gym packed with people keen to see the work of the lifeboats on Lough Erne go from strength to strength.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

An Omagh man who was rescued by the Irish Coast Guard after he was caught in a rip current off a Donegal beach in July has completed the Dublin Marathon in his bare feet to raise awareness of water safety and to raise funds for the RNLI.

A seasoned open water swimmer, Chris Gallagher was visiting Murder Hole Beach when he got caught in a rip current.

“I am an experienced swimmer, having previously been a lifeguard and a world record swimmer as well as swimming all over the world including in Australia but I have never been caught like this before,” he said of his ordeal.

“I wasn’t even 10 metres out into the water when the ferocious rip caught me and threw me about like what I can only describe as being in an industrial washing machine and a racing car at the same time, it was powerful, and I had absolutely no control.

“I felt calm initially as I know how to work my way out of a rip curl as I was caught in Australian waters 22 years ago but nothing I tried worked.

“By the grace of God, a rock was in my grasp as I was being pulled into the rip roaring waters and I managed to get my body out of the water onto that wee rock but I was fighting the waves to stay on as they threw me on and off like a rag doll. I was clinging to the rock for dear life for two hours.”

Given the conditions, the Sligo-based coastguard helicopter Rescue 118 was tasked to the scene and rescued Gallagher from the water.

‘I am an experienced swimmer…but I have never been caught like this before’

Since he was rescued, Gallagher has signed up to be a water safety volunteer with the RNLI with a particular interest in highlighting the dangers of open water swimming.

He has also taken part in a series of inspiring fundraising events with his most recent venture to not only undertake the Dublin Marathon but to do it in his bare feet, which he completed successfully last Sunday (30 October). He also completed the Kerry Hardman Ironman triathlon on his birthday in August and in September a 5k swim of Glencar Lough in Sligo.

To round off his series of events, he is running an Eighties-themed night this Saturday 5 November in the Village Inn in Killyclogher. Proceeds from all events will go to Bundoran RNLI and Lough Erne’s two RNLI lifeboat stations, at Enniskillen and Carrybridge in Northern Ireland.

Speaking of Gallagher’s efforts to raise both funds and water safety awareness, RNLI community manager Nuala Muldoon said: “Chris really is an inspiration and his own rescue story highlights how even the most experienced water users can still find themselves in difficulty.

“We are delighted that he is now promoting water safety and are in awe at how adventurous he has been in setting himself courageous challenges in his pursuit to raise funds.

“Thanks to Chris, the proceeds raised will now power our lifesaving volunteer crews to continue their good work in saving lives both at sea and on inland waters.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Waterways Ireland advises masters of vessels and waterway users on the Erne System in Northern Ireland that the power bollards at the Round ‘O’ jetty and at Carrybridge will be isolated on Friday 4 November for the winter period.

Power will be reconnected at the start of the 2023 boating season, the cross-border body for Ireland’s inland waterways adds.

Published in Inland Waterways

Carrybridge RNLI helms Chris Cathcart and David Reid have served 20 years rescuing those on trouble on Lough Erne in Northern Ireland.

During a recent visit to the station by the RNLI chief executive Mark Dowie, they were presented with medals to thank them for their volunteering service.

Over the past 20 years since the lifeboat station was formed on Upper Lough Erne, Chris and David have been involved in hundreds of rescues involving a wide variety of callouts.

Between the two volunteers, they have attended all manner of shouts on Lough Erne including to people, boats and also stranded animals in distress.

In addition to the helm role, Chris is the lifeboat training coordinator and press officer while David is the inshore lifeboat/launch and recovery plant mechanic. Both are also casualty carers and shore crew.

At a presentation held at the end of the summer, Lord Erne presented 17 of the Carrybridge volunteers with the late Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Medal. The commemorative medal was created to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and awarded to those crew who had served more than five years with the charity.

Stephen Scott, lifeboat operations manager at Carrybridge RNLI praised Chris and David on their fantastic achievement.

“Chris and David carry a pager at all times and when the alarm goes off whether it be day or night, summer or winter both can be relied upon to respond to go to those in need,” he said. “It was a privilege for the volunteers to also be presented with the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Medal by Lord Erne and his wife.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Carrybridge RNLI’s inshore lifeboat Douglas Euan & Kay Richards was launched on Sunday evening (28 August) at the request of Belfast Coastguard to assess a vessel with two people and a small dog on board, which had run aground on Upper Lough Erne in Northern Ireland.

The volunteer crew launched at 9.40pm headed for the reported location around a mile south of Belle Isle Estate and quickly located the casualty vessel, which had been refloated and taken under tow by a smaller RIB.

As the lifeboat approached both vessels, the tow was stopped to allow the helm and crew to come alongside the casualty vessel. They assessed the situation and the wellbeing of the two people and small dog on board and found they were all OK.

A full check of the casualty vessel was carried out to make sure that there was no water ingress after the earlier grounding, and none was found.

Due to the darkness of the hour, the helm deemed the safest option would be for the lifeboat and its crew to take over the tow, and to bring the vessel back to its private marina some two miles from where it was currently positioned.

The tow was successfully transferred and the lifeboat proceeded in towing the vessel to its private marina. The crew of the RIB were thanked for their assistance and they returned to their own private mooring.

Speaking following the callout, Chris Cathcart, volunteer helm at Carrybridge RNLI advised all boat users: “Before setting out on your journey, please plan your route using the relevant charts and carry out regular checks of your position whilst you proceed.

“Also allow extra time for your journey, due to the evenings getting darker earlier as autumn approaches.

“Have a means of calling for assistance if you find yourself in trouble and have lifejackets for all on board. If you see someone or something in trouble on the water or are in difficulties yourself the number to dial is 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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