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Displaying items by tag: Portrush

#RNLI - Rather than accept gifts for their 50th wedding anniversary, a Portstweart couple have asked their family and friends to make donations to Portrush RNLI.

As the Coleraine Times reports, Ewart Toms and his wife - who are well known butchers in the area - raised £500 for the RNLI which they were more than happy to hand over to lifeboat station volunteers at Portrush.

They said: “We wanted to mark this special occasion in our lives, by making a donation to a cause close to our hearts, and to the volunteers who risk their lives to save others.”

The Coleraine Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#boatjumble – Portrush Boatowners Association is eagerly looking forward to the annual boat jumble at Portrush Harbour on Saturday 30th March 2013.

The boat jumble which is usually held in October was rescheduled to Easter Saturday, so that visitors to Portrush could enjoy the event, which combines a gathering of the local boatowners raising funds for charity and a bit of banter and craic. The Charities benefitting this year are Chest Heart and Stroke and Portrush Lifeboat Station.

The jumble takes place on the North Pier and consists of stalls and car boots selling all things nautical and maybe not so nautical. It gives boatowners a chance to buy boating paraphanalia as well as maybe the odd boat up for grabs.
The local Coastguard will be on hand to give Sea Safety advice and the Portrush Lifeboat will hopefully be alongside side with her crew, which offers an excellent opportunity to have a tour of the lifeboat and ask the crew questions about how she works.

Also this year the Association have asked local men Andy McClelland and John Lynn to come along with their boats.

John is planning to sail solo from Islay to Portrush in his laser dinghy retracing the steps of his late father Robert who made the same journey on a windsurfer. John will also be raising funds for Portrush Lifeboat Station.

Local Lifeboat crew member and Junior World Kayaking Champion Andy McClelland wil be kayaking 22 miles across the Irish Sea in May in aid of kidney research, Alzheimers Society and the regional respiratory Belfast City Hospital.

There will be an opportunity to talk to both John and Andy about their plans.

Charlie Grossie Chair of the Portrush Boatowners Association commented:-

'"The Association is yet again proud to be able run the Boat Jumble in support of the RNLI and the NI Chest Heart and Stroke charities. We are hoping for good weather and good turn on the day. We look forward to being able to make a healthy donation in support of both charities".

The Boat Jumble starts at 10am to 3pm on 30th March 2013. Stalls/Cars caost £25 and entry fee is £3 for adults, children get in free.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
Tagged under

#SeaKayaking - A Portrush teen is preparing to cross the Irish Sea by kayak for charity this summer.

Top surf kayaker Andy McClelland aims to raise funds for the Alzheimer's Society, Kidney Research and the Regional Respiratory Centre with his One Man One Boat campaign, which will see him kayak 22 miles across the open water from Donaghadee in Co Down to Portpatrick in Scotland.

The current Surf Kayak Junior World Champion will embark on his challenge in a high-performance sea kayak on loan from Rockpool Sea Kayaks and is presently planning his trip with fellow physiotherapy students at Ulster University Jordanstown as well as the Causeway Coast Kayaking Club.

McClelland has yet to set a date for the solo crossing, awaiting word on the best possible weather and sea conditions in May.

The Alzheimer's Society has more on the story HERE.

Published in Kayaking

#RNLI - Portrush RNLI has rescued a kayaker who got into difficulty off the Co Antrim coast.

The volunteer lifeboat crew had an early call out on Sunday morning (17 February) to the kayaker who got into trouble on the water at West Bay.



There were strong southerly winds at time which caused a swell. The kayak capsized and was whipped by the prevailing wind into the harbour area, leaving the kayaker stranded and treading water.



A Portrush lifeboat crew member who witnessed the scene on the West Strand spotted the incident and promptly raised the alarm.



The inshore lifeboat crew - including Mark Mitchell as helm, Andy McClelland and Stevie Ritchie - launched within minutes and had the kayaker back at base within 20 minutes.



Portrush RNLI lifeboat operations manager Robin Cardwell said: "The kayaker was very fortunate as the winds were quite strong in the West Bay. Our volunteer crew launched quickly and was able to bring him back to shore safely."

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#portrush – Tim Nelson's interest in all things connected with the RNLI has paid dividends in relation to the return of a silver gallantry medal presented to a local man for saving the life of a boy in Portrush in 1891.

Tim a keen collector and married to the Station's Press Officer, Judy Nelson was searching the web for images of RNLI issued medals as he had seen an unnamed RNLI bronze medal on eBay and was trying to work out if it was a modern copy or an original. As part of his on-going research Tim discovered a silver medal on the Internet awarded by the RNLI for bravery. As he read the accompanying history and the description of the medal he was surprised to find that the rescue that the medal had been awarded for had occurred in Portrush Harbour in 1891.

Tim said

'Obviously having an interest and connection with the Lifeboat Station in Portrush, I was very excited by the find. I contacted Robin Cardwell Lifeboat Operations manager to tell him and contacted the seller to express interest in the medal.'

Robin was keen to learn more and between himself, Tim, Des Austin, Coxswain, arrangements were made to purchase the medal to return it to its home Station in Portrush.

The medal was awarded by The Royal National Lifeboat Institution to: John Boyd Seaman who was not a crew member but a seaman living in Portrush. The full citation reads:

On 8 May 1891, while going out to his smack (small boat) which was at anchor in Portrush Harbour, a boy was thrown into the sea after his boat ran into another vessel's wake. John Boyd saw this from his position on another boat some 100 yards away. Despite being encumbered with his coat and sea boots, John Boyd jumped into the water and swam to the boy, as did fisherman David Patton, who, though twice as far away on shore, ran to the quay, threw off his coat, jumped in the sea and went to his aid. Boyd and Patton both supported the boy until a boat came from shore to further assist them. The RNLI voted John Boyd and David Patton its silver medal and accompanying vellum testimonial on 14 May 1891 The award was reported in various papers including the Belfast News-Letter, Saturday 16 May 1891).

John Boyd's medal has had quite a journey before returning to the home station. It formed part of the Watters Collection, sold at Glendinnings between 9-12 June 1913; it was subsequently part of the American Numismatic Society collection until 2006 and was sold for the ANS by Morton & Eden Auctioneers, 26 October 2006.

The medal was purchased by a collector Dr Roger Willoughby, who has a keen interest in lifesaving medals and is planning to write a book about Lifesaving Medals issued in Ireland. Dr Willoughby would be delighted to hear from anyone with any information that could assist him with his research. He can be contacted via email at [email protected]

Robin Cardwell Lifeboat Operations Manager commented:-

'We are delighted to have this medal back in Portrush were it first started out. It has had quite a journey around the world and we are so pleased that Tim found it and was able to assist in its return.'

The medal was purchased from crew funds and donations made by Willie Gregg as part of his on-going fundraising initiatives for Portrush Station and Willie's Orphan Fund

The medal will form part of the Stations history exhibition and can be seen on station open days.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
Tagged under

#SURFING - One of Ireland's top surfers claims he has found the world's biggest waves off the coast of Ireland.

As Irish Central reports, Portrush waverider Al Mennie says that he and surfing partner Andrew Cotton have found two waves reaching as much as 120 feet in secret locations off the coasts of Antrim and Donegal.

The duo are currently waiting for the right conditions to surf the biggest swells.

"The good days are few and far between – 90 percent of the swells are unrideable and we'd reckon that only two days each year are rideable," Mennie told the Irish Independent.

Their location is being kept under wraps for now due to safety concerns, as the waves crash down in a hazardous rocky area - making them definitely not suitable for novices.

Irish Central has more on the story HERE.

Published in Surfing

Both Portrush Lifeboats were in action on Saturday afternoon (15th October) to rescue four people in an overturned boat at the Barmouth at Portstewart.

Both boats were launched at 15.50 hours on a wet dark afternoon after reports had been received of an overturned rib. When the Inshore boat arrived on scene there was a heavy 2 metre swell. Three people were on top of the rib and one in the water.

The volunteer ILB crew got the person in the water into the lifeboat by which time the All-weather lifeboat was on scene. All persons were then transferred to the ALB and taken to Portrush.

All were wearing wetsuits and did not require medical attention.

Robin Cardwell LOM stated

'This was a perfect example of  team work between the two crews of the lifeboats from Portrush There was no hesitation in the volunteer crews responding to this shout. Each man knew what he had to do to bring the four people and their rib ashore'.

More from UK coastguard source here:

Six people have been rescued from a capsized dive boat at the entrance to the River Bann this afternoon.

Belfast Coastguard received a '999' call from a member of the public at 3:48 pm informing them that they had witnessed a small boat capsize and there were people in the water.  Coastguard Rescue Officers from Coleraine were sent to the scene. The Portrush inshore and all weather RNLI lifeboats were requested to launch and the Irish Coastguard rescue helicopter from Sligo was scrambled.

Steve Carson, Watch Manager, Belfast Coastguard, says:
"The inshore lifeboat was first on scene and discovered one person in the water and a further five people on the upturned hull of a Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat (RHIB). The conditions on scene were challenging with a large sea swell.
All six people have now been transferred to the all weather lifeboat and taken to Portrush Harbour and do not require further medical assistance.
The RHIB is being towed to harbour by the lifeboat.
We would like to remind the public that if they witness an incident along the shoreline or on the coast to ring '999' and ask for the Coastguard. Swift action from the member of the public this afternoon greatly assisted in the rescue of the six people in the water."

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

The RNLI's 30th Portrush Raft Race takes place this weekend promises to deliver the usual fun frolics and madness around the Harbour from 11am on Saturday 28th May right through to Sunday 29th!

The weekend kicks off with the Junior Raft Race at 11am at the harbour, followed by music, street entertainment, The RNLI Roadshow making its first appearance at the Raft Race and a real coup for the committee.
This year for the first time also the RNLI Lifeguard team will be joining the crew for a spectacular safety display at sea, showing how all sections of the RNLI operate together to save lives.

Radio Ulster's Alan Simpson will be the compere for the day bringing his own style of wit and humour and boundless knowledge of local characters, interviewing rafters, crew, committee and sponsors.
To round it all off local band 'Wipe-out' have reformed to bring back a flavour of the Old Raft Race days.....who can forget them playing in blazing sunshine on the balcony of the yacht Club?

On Sunday there will be the Service of Thanksgiving followed by the madness and mayhem that is the Waiters Race....Come down and support your local bar people. This race gets so competitive it's unreal. Who will knock Sharman Crawford from the Ramore Wine Bar off his perch!

The Committee would like to thanks the Causeway SPAR retail group for their support both in time and money, and everyone else who has contributed to this 30th year of rafting!

Further details can be obtained by calling the Raft Race hotline 07969 814605

History - The First Portrush Raft Race

The Portrush Raft Race has its origins in a special relationship that existed between two Johns. One John (Scott) was closely involved in the day-to-day affairs of the Portrush Lifeboat; the other John (McNally) was the co-owner of the Harbour Bar in Portrush.

In summer 1981 John Scott brought into the Harbour Bar a Lifeboat Magazine containing an article about a Raft Race that the Oban Lifeboat Ladies Guild had successfully run as a fund raiser. John Scott showed the article to John McNally and both were in agreement that the West Bay would provide an ideal venue for running a similar fund raising event in Portrush. The matter rested for some months until there was a clearing-out of the bar shelves when the magazine re-appeared.

A letter was sent to the Oban Ladies Guild who were most helpful in providing copies of their rules and entry form along with some very valuable comments on their experience. The way was clear to start and all that was needed was some willing volunteers to help with the organisation. Regulars of the Bar offered their support and so the first Raft Race Committee was formed. Guinness offered to be the main sponsor which significantly helped in bringing the Portrush Raft Race to the public's attention. The spring bank holiday weekend was selected as it tied in with the Coleraine Borough Council's idea of having a Spring Bank Holiday Fair in Portrush.

An idea was hatched to have a Le Mann type start from the West Beach with crews standing at the water's edge and then sprinting up the beach to collect their rafts and head for the sea with the finish line at the Lifeboat in the harbour. It was agreed from the start that the focus would be family entertainment, rather than speed, with special emphasis being placed on raft design and crew costume.

The first race, which was held on Saturday 29th May 1982, attracted 39 entries with a number making a very special effort to design their rafts attractively. The rafts ranged from the most basic design to the resplendent Quinquireme of Nineveh complete with galley slaves, skeleton, albatross and shark. The ladies of the Fantasy Island also attracted considerable interest with their palm tree, grass skirts and badly fitting coconut shells. The sun shone and the wind from the South West was fresh providing a welcome assist for the tired crews.

The first across the line was the aptly named Portrush Flyer (J Porter, C Irwin, W Green, W Gallagher, N Gaile and N Gibson see above) followed by Titanic Raft 1 and Leonora. The first all ladies raft was also Leonora which was crewed by the girls from Dunluce School, Bushmills ( K Hunter, K Diamond, W Torrens, P McConaghy, S Boswell and M Parke). The best designed raft was Quinquireme of Nineveh ( B Magowan, C Woffinoin, D McKeown, A Creelman, N Adams and C Thompson) and the best costumed crew were Fantasy Island (M McFadden, V Haslam, J Sutchliffe, G Douglas, E Thompson and E Sutcliffe). There were other awards eg most humorous Titanic 1, Perseverance Titanic 2 and most important of all most sponsorship which went to the boys of Dunluce School Bushmills whose raft Big Berta raised over £650.

The first Raft Race rose over £3000 which was way beyond the committee's expectation and guaranteed the continuation of the event. In the 22 years that the two John's were involved the race grew from a Saturday afternoon event to an action packed Raft Race Weekend. Their involvement ceased after the death of John Scott in 2004. It is wrong to single out individuals but particular mention must be made of John and Fay Scott who gave the event the life that made it so enjoyable for all involved in the organisation. Margaret and Alan McFadden who also showed everyone how to enter the spirit of the event and have great fun. Finally mention must be made of Rosie Kirker Millar who sadly recently passed away. Rosie epitomised a can-do spirit and gave so much energy to the committee.

J McNally
May 2011

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
Tagged under
Belfast Coastguard received multiple 999 calls reporting a group of kayakers in difficulty at lunch time yesterday.

The callers stated that they could see a group of twelve kayakers in difficulty off Portballintrae, Causeway Coast, Northern Ireland.

Belfast Coastguard called out the Coleraine Coastguard Rescue Team and requested the launch of the Portrush RNLI lifeboats.

On arrival the Coleraine Coastguard Rescue team kept the kayakers under observation and directed the Portrush RNLI inshore lifeboat to the Kayakers. It was quickly established some of the group had become exhausted and suffering from sea sickness. Eleven of the group where transferred onto the large all weather Portrush Lifeboat whilst the Inshore Lifeboat escorted the one remaining kayaker back to Portballintrae Harbour.

The Portrush Lifeboat then transferred the eleven rescued kayakers who were mainly teenagers to the safety of Portrush Harbour.

Luckily none of the group required any medical attention.

Portrush lifeboat station adds:

Weather conditions were blustery and there was quite a swell off the coast. There was a North West wind coupled with a strong ebb tide. The tide was flowing against the wind, making conditions for the kayakers extremely difficult to return to shore. The Inshore Lifeboat (ILB) was launched first but it became clear the All-weather Lifeboat (ALB) was going to be needed to assist with the recovery of the party.

The ILB recovered 3 kayakers and returned them to Portballintrae. The ALB recovered the rest of the party and took them to Portrush Harbour.

The kayakers are safe and well, apart from suffering chronic sea sickness

Robin Cardwell Lifeboat Operations Manager said

'The fast response of the volunteer RNLI Lifeboat Crews from Portrush Station undoubtedly saved the lives of these kayakers. The sea and wind conditions made it virtually impossible for them to return to shore. Without the fast response of the crews at Portrush, this would have had a very different outcome'

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Portrush RNLI Lifeboat 'David Roultson' will be named next Saturday, April 16th. The D class lifeboat will be named at a ceremony at Portrush Lifeboat Station at 2pm.

The lifeboat has been funded through a generous contribution from the Civil Service Lifeboat Fund and will be officially named by Sir Peter Housden KCB, Chairman of the Lifeboat Fund and Permanent Secretary of the Scottish Government. 

Also on Saturday a special plaque will be unveiled at the station by Mr Alan Clarke, Chief Executive of the Northern Ireland Tourist Board in memory of David Roulston.  Over £25,000 was raised by the Northern Ireland Tourist Board staff and their families and friends for the upkeep and maintenance of the new inshore Portrush RNLI Lifeboat.

Robin Cardwell, Portrush Lifeboat Operations Manager who will be accepting the lifeboat on behalf of Portrush RNLI lifeboat station says; “It is fitting that we honour both these contributions in the name of our new lifeboat.  This lifeboat is the vessel that will carry our volunteer lifeboat crew out to sea to save lives and on it our lifeboat crew will learn and develop their skills through extensive training.” 

The D class lifeboat is built at a cost of £31,000.  It measures five metres in length and can carry three crewmembers onboard.  It is a fast, light weight inflatable that is small and highly manoeuvrable, making it ideal for rescue close to shore in fair to moderate conditions.  It can also be righted manually by the lifeboat crew in the event of a capsize.

All are welcome to attend the naming ceremony which will be held outside the lifeboat station in Portrush. There will be a special service of dedication and blessing and the lifeboat will put to sea after the ceremony.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
Page 6 of 7

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