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Displaying items by tag: RNLI

Baltimore RNLI were called out to provide assistance to a windsurfer in difficulty in Baltimore harbour, West Cork yesterday evening (Monday, 25 October).

The volunteer lifeboat crew launched their inshore lifeboat at 6.30pm following a request from the Irish Coast Guard who had received a report from members of the public that a windsurfer appeared to be in difficulty in Baltimore harbour.

The Baltimore inshore lifeboat crew arrived at the casualty at 6.32 pm to find him already paddling his own way back to Sherkin Island. The casualty was happy to continue to make his own way back so Baltimore inshore lifeboat escorted him until he had safely reached the pier on Sherkin Island at 6.45 pm. Once the lifeboat crew were satisfied that the casualty required no further attention the lifeboat returned to station, arriving at 6.55 pm.

There were four volunteer crew onboard the lifeboat, Helm Micheal Cottrell and crew members David Ryan, Ian Lynch and James Kitt. Assisting at the boathouse were Jerry and Rianne Smith. Conditions in the harbour during the call were calm with a south-westerly force 2 wind and no sea swell.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Following previous appearances by Dunmore East, Kilmore Quay and Rosslare Harbour RNLI, the volunteer lifeboat crew in Portrush will be taking to the small screen next Tuesday 2 November as they feature in the 10th and final episode of this series of Saving Lives at Sea.

Real-life rescue footage gives a frontline view of how the charity’s lifesavers risk their own lives as they go to the aid of those in danger at sea and strive to save every one. It’s accompanied by emotive interviews from the volunteer lifeboat crews alongside the people they rescue and their families.

Now in its sixth series, the 10-part maritime TV documentary showcases the lifesaving work of the RNLI’s volunteer lifeboat crews from around Ireland and the UK. The series is on BBC Two on Tuesdays at 8pm as well as being available following broadcast on BBC iPlayer (for viewers in the UK).

The final episode of the current series sees Portrush RNLI rescue a teenage boy who gets into difficulty while jumping into the sea off rocks at Portstewart Head.

As the all-weather lifeboat approaches the scene, the crew observe a person in the water waving their arms. A teenage boy who is wearing a wetsuit is struggling against an ebbing tide which is pulling him away from the land and out to sea off the west side of Portstewart Head.

Coxswain Des Austin manoeuvres the lifeboat close to where the casualty is in the surf and breaking waves while the station’s mechanic Dave Robinson dons a drysuit and PPE. A line is attached to the mechanic who jumps into the water and grabs the casualty to safety.

The lifeboat crew administer casualty care to the boy, who is showing signs of hypothermia and exhaustion and is suffering from the effects of shock.

Austin said: “It’s great that we can showcase the lifesaving work of RNLI volunteers in a TV programme like this. Without the generous support and donations from the public, we wouldn’t be able to save lives at sea and it’s great to be able to share what we do with our supporters from the comfort of their own home.”

During 2020, RNLI lifeboats in Northern Ireland launched 234 times with their volunteer crews coming to the aid of 253 people. Eighty-nine of those launches were carried out in the hours of darkness. RNLI lifeguards meanwhile responded to 225 incidents coming to the aid of 285 people, six of whom were lives saved.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Ballycotton RNLI’s all-weather Trent class lifeboat Austin Lidbury was called out by Valentia Coast Guard to a report from a passing yacht of a possible upturned boat south of Nohaval.

Conditions were fresh with Force 6-7 south-westerly winds and clear visibility when the lifeboat launched at 2.20pm yesterday afternoon (Sunday 24 October).

Two miles west of Daunt Rock, the lifeboat crew discovered the remains of an old boat with its hull upturned in the water. It is believed it may have been washed out to sea as a result of recent storms.

Ballycotton RNLI duty coxswain Barry Murphy said: “Thankfully this was a false alarm, and the call was made with good intent. The RNLI would always ask members of the public to call 999/112 if they feel somebody is in possible danger.”

All crew from Ballycotton RNLI returned safely at 5.20pm to refuel and wash down in preparation for the next callout.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Fethard RNLI launched its inshore lifeboat on Friday afternoon last (22 October) to conduct a sea search. A concerned member of the public out kayaking reported seeing a body like object floating in the sea off Baginbun Beach in County Wexford.

The volunteer crew was requested to launch their inshore lifeboat by the Irish Coast Guard just after p.m. The crew proceeded to Fethard Dock, launched the lifeboat, and made their way to an area east of Baginbun beach to carry out a search. Weather conditions at the time were good with a light south-westerly breeze, calm sea conditions and good visibility.

The multi-agency response involved Fethard RNLI, Fethard Coast Guard, The National Ambulance Service, An Garda Siochana and Coast Guard Helicopter Rescue 117. An extensive sea search of Baginbun Bay was carried out by Fethard RNLI lifeboat, with Rescue 117 assisting from the air. Fethard Coast Guard ground units carried out a shoreline search.

After two hours, the search was stood down by the Irish Coast Guard, when nothing was found.

Speaking after the call out, Pete Barry, Fethard RNLI Deputy Launch Authority said “Even though the call turned out to be a false alarm, we would like to commend the member of the public who did the right thing by calling 999 to report what they saw. They thought someone had gotten into trouble and had good intent calling the authorities. We would rather launch to investigate what was seen and put everyone’s mind at ease. This call also highlights the importance of always carrying a means of communication when involved in water activities by the sea.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Portrush RNLI’s lifeboat volunteers dashed out of a book launch to a very different kind of launch yesterday afternoon (Saturday 23 October) following reports of two paddle boarders in difficulty some 600 metres off Portstewart Strand on Northern Ireland’s Causeway Coast.

Launching at 2.32pm on request of Belfast Coastguard, the inshore lifeboat arrived on scene 12 minutes later amid choppy seas and squally showers with a southerly wind.

The volunteer crew quickly located the two paddle boarders on one board, and were able to get both safely back to shore, where they were handed into the care of the local coastguard team.

At the time the pagers were activated, the crew had been supporting their lifeboat medical officer Dr Martin O’Kane at the launch of his book Dee the Little Lifeboat.

Alice Rohdich and Martin O’Kane with their book Dee the Little Lifeboat | Credit: RNLI/Judy NelsonAlice Rohdich and Martin O’Kane with their book Dee the Little Lifeboat | Credit: RNLI/Judy Nelson

Dr O’Kane wrote the children’s book as a fundraiser for the station and is illustrated by local artist Alice Rohdich, wife of former lifeboat crew member Damian Rohdich.

The assembled guests including local MLAs, councillors, journalists and friends were treated the sound of several pagers being activated and a scramble of yellow-clad volunteer lifeboat crew running out the door towards the lifeboat house in very dramatic start to a wonderful book launch.

Portrush RNLI press officer Judy Nelson said: “I could not have timed this shout any better if I had tried. This certainly showed people how quickly the crew respond to the pager and to see them all running for the door certainly added to the drama.

“It certainly helped to reinforce how important our fundraising events are — to support our volunteer crew to save all lives at sea.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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As schools in Northern Ireland prepare for the half-term break, the RNLI and the Coastguard are reminding everyone to stay safe if they are heading to the coast or are visiting the local inland waterways as the autumn sets in.

During last year’s half-term holidays, RNLI lifeboats across Ireland and the UK launched 143 times and aided 78 people as its volunteer crews dealt with everything from tidal cut-offs and struggling paddleboarders to slips and trips on coastal paths, as well as vessels in distress.

Lisa Hollingum, RNLI Water Safety Delivery Support said: ‘With the best of the weather behind us for the year, we’re asking those visiting the coast and inland waterways this half-term to consider the dangers.

‘Our lifeboats often rescue those cut off by the tide on coastal walks, so we encourage you to check the tide times and ensure you have planned to get back safely before the water level rises.

‘For those planning a coastal walk, also consider the terrain as what may seem like firm ground can, in fact, be very soft sand or mud meaning that people might get stuck.

‘If you are cruising on the inland waterways, plan your journey, and be aware of the shorter evenings so that you leave enough time to reach your overnight mooring.

‘Over the coming months, sea and lake conditions will become rougher and more unpredictable which brings many additional dangers. Large waves will break on the shoreline which increases the risk of people being swept off their feet, along with coastal erosion causing cliff falls making some areas more dangerous.

‘Around 140 people lose their lives around Irish and UK coasts, including on inland waterways each year, and over half never even planned to enter the water. If you do find yourself in the water unexpectedly, FLOAT to live by fighting your instinct to thrash around, lean back, extend your arms and legs, and float until you gain control of your breathing, before deciding whether to call for help or swim to safety.’

Claire Hughes, Director of HM Coastguard, said: ‘Autumn is a perfect time to explore the coastal areas and inland waterways around the UK, the summer crowds have gone and the weather is ideal for a walk. However, the sunshine can quickly vanish making the temperature much colder and the lifeguards who were present in peak season are no longer on most beaches. It is vital at this time of year to be prepared before you head to the coast.

‘As always, we are ready to deal with emergency situations but please take note of safety advice and don’t take risks. If you see anybody in trouble, don’t enter the water yourself to try and rescue them, call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.’

The RNLI’s key coastal safety advice is:

  • Have a plan - check the weather forecast, tide times, read local hazard signage and let someone know where you are going and when you intend to be back
  • Keep a close eye on your family and keep dogs on a lead near the edge of cliffs
  • If walking or running be aware that coastal paths, promenades and piers may be slippery or prone to waves breaking over them
  • If you fall into the water unexpectedly, FLOAT to Live. Fight your instinct to thrash around, lean back and relax, extending your arms and legs
  • In an emergency dial 999, and ask for the Coastguard
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A dad’s passion for the old Clifden RNLI lifeboat he served on has passed to the next generation as his son has purchased the first lifeboat his father helmed in 1996.

James Mullen, a coxswain at Clifden RNLI in Co Galway with over 27 years voluntary service saving lives at sea on the West Coast of Ireland, is also a proud dad to four boys who have inherited their father’s remarkable passion for the sea, the RNLI and everything to do with boats.

It’s this passion which inspired James’ 14-year-old son Ronan to track down and buy the C-class 522 inshore lifeboat which was stationed in Clifden between 1989 and 1997.

The boat holds so many memories for James as a teenage RNLI recruit and when his sons would ask him for the history of the station and his favourite lifeboat, the stories he told them always came back to the C-class.

Remembering his early crew years, James said: “I loved the sea, I had lived beside it my whole life and [then] finally, at 17 years old and with my parent’s consent, I was lifeboat crew.

“We had many call outs on the C-class and she was an amazing boat; she was hard on the back but she never failed to bring us home. This craft was the finest money could buy and I was so impressed with her.

“I remember a call one winter’s night in 1995, we were going to rescue a boat that had gotten into difficulty at sea. The weather was terrible with Force 7-8 westerly winds. It was up to us and our trusty C-class inshore lifeboat to get everyone home safe.

“As the seas got rougher, the C-class dug in deeper and when we were all safely back at shore I remember thinking what an incredible boat she was to stand up against those huge waves.”

Clifden lifeboat crew at the old D-class station in 1995, when James was 18 years old | Credit: RNLI/ClifdenClifden lifeboat crew at the old D-class station in 1995, when James was 18 years old | Credit: RNLI/Clifden

James’ beloved C-class was retired from service and left Clifden in 1997 but not much was known about her fate after that. So young Ronan, inspired by his father’s stories, embarked on an internet search to track her down.

Through various searches and online forums, Ronan established that the lifeboat went from Clifden to Ballyglas RNLI in Co Mayo for a short period, from there to the RNLI Museum in Poole and eventually to a private owner in the UK. Ronan located and struck up a friendship with the owner, who happened to be a fellow RNLI crew member based in Weston-Super-Mare.

Eventually, a deal was done, Ronan purchased his father’s favourite old lifeboat and the family brought her back to Clifden to the delight of the whole Mullen clan, Clifden RNLI crew and the many locals who remember her dutiful service.

Ronan describes the moment he found a photo of the lifeboat online: “I was so shocked, I had been looking online for ages and when I finally came across a photo of the C-class I said to Dad, is that her? And he said, it definitely is. After that I knew we had to have that boat. I love the boat, I love being out on the water and the minute I am old enough I will be joining the RNLI.”

James added: “Our station has grown a lot over the years thanks to the dedication of our volunteer crew, we now use an Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat, a Shannon class all-weather lifeboat and are awaiting delivery of a very special boat next spring.

“Our new Shannon class ALB is being built at the moment and when she comes to Clifden she will carry the names of 10,000 loved ones from the launch a memory campaign.

“It’s a wonderful thing to see the next generation of lifeboat enthusiasts coming up, when I look at my four boys now I think, was I like they are now 27 years ago? Their whole life ahead of them and a future filled with love for the sea and the RNLI.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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At their recent ‘Family Day’ on Sunday 3 October, Lough Derg RNLI volunteers took the opportunity to acknowledge the years of dedication of former helm Peter Clarke and lifeboat operations manager Liam Maloney.

The COVID guidelines-compliant luncheon at Larkins Restaurant in Garrykennedy was hosted to thank the lifeboat crew’s families for their unflagging support and understanding of the demands involved in being a lifeboat volunteer.

The team invited former helm Peter Clarke and his family to join the party. After the lunch, and on behalf of all the volunteers, helms Owen Cavanagh and Eleanor Hooker presented Peter with an Kimmeridge RNLI Special Edition watch, in appreciation of his 14 years’ service as helm.

Crew member Chris Parker also presented Peter with a framed Certificate of Service on behalf of the RNLI.

Peter is a busy dairy farmer with a young family. Eleanor spoke of Peter’s dedication, good humour and positive attitude especially on some of the most challenging shouts on Lough Derg. She said the station would love to see him return to the crew when he has more time.

Owen and Eleanor also presented Liam Maloney with a Kimmeridge RNLI Special Edition watch and a Lough Derg RNLI Helly Hansen jacket as a thank-you for the six years he served as the station’s lifeboat operations manager and 19 years volunteering for the RNLI.

A former headmaster at Carrig Primary School, Liam is also a skilled boat builder and one of the most formidable competitive dinghy sailors at Lough Derg Yacht Club.

Liam has been a volunteer with Lough Derg RNLI since preparations for the station began in 2002-03, when he made the assembly hall at his school available for meetings and classroom training for crew.

He says that as he was outside the age to volunteer as crew, he became a deputy launching authority when the station went live for service in 2004.

Christine O’Malley, who took over as lifeboat operations manager on 8 January this year, praised Liam for his hard work in maintaining a high standard of operations at the station, and for his success in involving the local community in the crew and operations team. Liam remains with the station as a deputy launching authority.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Athlone resident Denis Bergin embarks on what is more than two marathons this weekend with a 90km run around Lough Ree to raise funds for the RNLI boathouse which is nearing completion at Coosan Point, Athlone, Co. Westmeath.

The Tullamore native, an avid water enthusiast and long time supporter of the charity said: “I was hoping to run in the Dublin City Marathon to support the new lifeboat station but when that got cancelled I had to think of a different challenge for the same weekend. As the lifeboat covers every corner of the lake, running around it seemed a good alternative.”

Denis intends to complete the two marathon distances this holiday weekend. He starts from the Lough Ree RNLI boathouse at Coosan Point on Saturday morning (24 October) at 9 am. His route will take him through Ballykeeran, Glasson and onwards through the parishes of Tang, Ballymahon, Kenagh and Newtowncashel as he hugs the lakeshore on his way to the bridge at Lanesboro, Co. Longford. On the return marathon he will run down the west side of Lough Ree from Ballyleague towards Roscommon town and then swings south through Kilteevan, Knockcroghery, Lecarrow, Ballybay and Hodson Bay back to finish in Coosan on Sunday afternoon.

With three marathons under his belt the Ericsson employee has been a familiar figure on his various training routes which have centred on the Old Rail Trail greenway.

Lough Ree RNLI Treasurer Vincent Rafter welcomed the initiative and said: “great progress has been made on raising the €100,000 community contribution for the €1.2m boathouse and the generosity and endurance of people like Denis are an inspiration to all those who support and rely on the charity.”

This year Lough Ree RNLI volunteer crew has assisted more than 150 people in 42 call-outs on the lake.

The new boathouse will provide an important and necessary base for the charity.

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Both Dun Laoghaire lifeboats were paged by the Irish Coast Guard after an open-water swimmer was reported missing yesterday (Saturday 16 October).

The swimmer was part of an organised swimming group who quickly realised that one of their number was no longer with them.

Within 23 minutes of the pager alert, the Dublin Bay station’s inshore lifeboat — helmed by Gary Hayes — located the missing swimmer and pulled them aboard the lifeboat. Other than their being very cold, all was well.

The lifeboat unit noted that all the swimmers were well equipped with bright hats and floats which made searching for the missing swimmer far easier.

Ed Totterdell, Dun Laoghaire RNLI’s lifeboat operations manager, said: “It was great to see that the swimming group were wearing hi-viz swimming hats, swim floats and kept a close eye on each other. Being this prepared enabled them to raise the alarm as soon as they realised one of the group was missing.

“Remember, when swimming, make sure someone knows where you are, wear appropriate clothing for the weather, take a means of calling for help in a dry pouch and always swim within your abilities.”

The RNLI has guidance for open-water swimming on its website.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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