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Displaying items by tag: Lifeboats

The RNLI has closed its shops, museums and visitor centres “with immediate effect” in response to the Covid-19 situation — but vital lifeboat services remain uninterrupted.

In a statement, the lifesaving charity said: “The welfare of our volunteers, supporters and staff along with our ability to maintain our world-class lifesaving service is our priority.

“With this in mind, and given the current situation with Covid-19, we have taken the decision to close all RNLI shops, museums and visitor centres with immediate effect.

“Our lifeboat stations remain operational and we will continue to respond to those in need but will not be open to visitors.

“Our lifeboats will continue to launch to those in peril at sea.”

Tobermory RNLI's volunteer crew rushed to the aid of a 23m fish farm support vessel with the misfortune to have an engine fire on the evening of Friday 13 March.

After putting out a ‘Pan Pan’ alert, the crew managed to get the fire under control. But in doing so, they were forced to shut down both engines and were drifting about a mile from the treacherous Ardnamruchan coast in western Scotland without any power.

Tobermory RNLI’s volunteer crew received an immediate launch page at 5.32pm and the lifeboat was underway just 13 minutes later, making best speed to the casualty vessel.

The crew passed a line to the vessel and she was towed towards Tobermory in relatively good conditions.

However, just after dropping the tow rope and securing the fish farm vessel for an alongside tow, the wind picked up significantly which made manoeuvring the much larger vessel a challenge for the lifeboat and her crew.

Nevertheless, the vessel was successfully put alongside the aquaculture pontoon in Tobermory where local coastguard rescue teams and staff from the Tobermory Harbour Authority were able to help secure her.

This was the first ‘shout’ for deputy coxswain Dave Underwood who only qualified as a coxswain in late January, and this was only his second weekend on call.

Lifeboat operations manager Dr Sam Jones said: “We’re extremely pleased that the crew of the fish farm vessel managed to get the fire under control so quickly and that no one was hurt.

“Given the nature of the emergency and the size of the vessel, this would be an extremely challenging shout for any coxswain, let alone a relatively new one. Dave certainly had a baptism of fire in more ways than one on Friday the 13th.”

Published in Scottish Waters
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The RNLI is offering a paid summer media engagement placement based at Swords in North Dublin.

This full-time temporary role (for between three and six months) interviews on the week of Monday 13 April and would be best suited to someone ether studying or recently graduated from a degree in PR, communications or media.

The successful candidate would be required to:

  • Plan, prepare and issue multimedia news releases, using text, photos and videos, and conventional and social media channels;
  • Respond to media enquiries to enhance and protect the reputation of the RNLI;
  • Establish and maintain good media relations;
  • Prioritise and select newsworthy incidents to publicise;
  • Support and brief RNLI staff and volunteers in media activity;
  • Edit and upload content to the RNLI News Centre;
  • Build professional working relationships with a variety of RNLI people;
  • Maintain an awareness of the current news agenda and monitor coverage of the RNLI in the south west;
  • Assist the Regional or National Press Office with handling major incidents and issues; and
  • Support the media activity of media engagement team members and operations personnel remotely or, if required, on location.

Some travel may be required and you may be required to work out of normal office hours on occasion.

The role is for someone who would would enjoy working in a busy communications team with a varied workload, who is self-motivated, enjoys working with people, has excellent spoken and written communication skills, is a good all-round communicator, and who has a high level of computer proficiency and is able to remain calm under pressure.

If you have a passion for PR and working with incredible lifeboat volunteers, the RNLI would love to hear from you.

The closing date or applications is Wednesday 25 March. Full details of the position, including employee benefits and how to apply, can be found on the RNLI website HERE.

Published in Jobs
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Skerries RNLI launched yesterday afternoon (Wednesday 4 March) after Dublin Coast Guard made them aware of a swimmer in difficulty at Red Island headland in Skerries.

The volunteer crew launched the Atlantic 85 lifeboat shortly after 12pm and proceeded to the area that the swimmer was reported to be in (see video HERE).

Arriving on scene, the lifeboat discovered that swimmer had made their way ashore on the rock and the winchman/paramedic from the Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 116 had already reached them.

Two volunteer crew were put ashore to see if they could offer any assistance to the coastguard. The swimmer was uninjured, however the low tide at the time meant that walking across the sharp rocks was not possible in bare foot.

The decision was taken to winch them aboard the helicopter before landing on Red Island where local coastguard volunteers had set up and secured a landing area. The casualty was then transferred to an ambulance to be assessed.

The crew returned to the lifeboat and they stood by while the winch operation was carried out before standing down and returning to the station.

Speaking about the callout, volunteer lifeboat press officer Gerry Canning said: “The swimmer made the right call to head for shore and look for assistance as soon as possible. This was a good outcome today and it’s always great to see how well the different rescue services work together.”

The incident came nine days after Skerries RNLI’s first callout of the year, responding to the activation of an emergency beacon at sea.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Howth RNLI launched their Inshore lifeboat yesterday (Tuesday 3 March) to rescue two people stranded on rocks in Balscadden Bay.

Pagers sounded at 1.58pm after a call was placed to the coastguard reporting two people stranded at the base of the cliffs just east of Howth’s East Pier.

Volunteer crew members launched the inshore lifeboat within 12 minutes of getting the call and proceeded to the area, where they quickly located the casualties.

Both were taken aboard the lifeboat and checked over and were found to be unharmed and in good spirits as they were returned safely to shore.

They confirmed that they were tourists visiting the area and got caught out by the incoming tide while walking at the base of the cliffs.

Speaking following the callout, lifeboat helm Killian O’Reilly said: “We were delighted to assist the tourists after they found themselves in difficulty.

“They did the right thing and called for assistance and remained calm. As visitors to the area they were unfamiliar with the tides and location.

“We were pleased to drop them back ashore safe and sound and hope they enjoy the remainder of their visit to Ireland.”

Published in Rescue
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The RNLI lifeboat stationed in Aith in the Shetland Islands is to be led by local man John Robertson.

He has been appointed by the lifesaving charity as coxswain of the RNLI Charles Lidbury, the regular lifeboat stationed in the village — and will lead the volunteer crew at the most northerly lifeboat base in the UK, right on the edge of Scottish waters.

John (31), who has been the vessel’s full-time mechanic since August 2013, lives in Aith with his family, and was selected for promotion by the RNLI after formal assessments and interviews.

He has taken on the role under supervision, until his final coxswain training is completed in the coming months.

John’s years of service with the RNLI have included being called out to several notable incidents at sea.

His first ever shout was to the fatal sinking of the scallop boat Diamond near the West Burrafirth pier in March 2014, when RNLI volunteers managed to rescue a surviving crew member from the water.

He was also part of the team that attended the rescue of the Edward Henry, the crab fishing boat that was hit by a large wave west of Sumburgh in March 2017 — smashing wheelhouse windows and knocking out engines and electronics.

John and the rest of the RNLI Charles Lidbury crew spent around 14 hours at sea, escorting the damaged vessel to safety through Force 9 winds and heavy seas.

John says that the “time was right” for him to apply for the job of coxswain, and is “feeling good” about the prospect of managing the RNLI station in Aith.

His predecessor, Adam James, has moved to the north of England to take up a job as coxswain with the RNLI's operation on the Humber river near Hull.

John says: “Aith is a settled station with an experienced crew already in place. It was the trust of that crew that encouraged me to apply for the job of coxswain, and that trust is essential.

“Aith is a relatively quiet station, but our callouts tend to be serious, lengthy and often in testing weather conditions. We need to work well as a team in order to save lives at sea — and I’m really looking forward to stepping up and leading that team of committed local volunteers.

“Time is of the essence whenever we launch the RNLI Charles Lidbury, as we try to launch our lifeboat within seven minutes of our pagers going off. That can be quite a tie. I'll tend not to go any further away than Bixter, unless cover has been pre-arranged.

“But this will be a good job for me and my family, and allow me to be home about — pager depending — in between all the paperwork and maintenance that comes with running a lifeboat station.”

John is originally from Voe, but has a family connection to the lifeboat through his wife Kayla whose grandfather Frank Johnston served as lifeboat mechanic for many years, and attended the famous rescue of the crew of the Juniper trawler in February 1967.

Johnston's service that day earned him the RNLI’s Thanks of the Institution inscribed on vellum.

Published in Scottish Waters

Lifeboat teams from Portrush and farther afield gathered in the North Coast town on Friday (28 February) to bid farewell to one of their own, as mechanic/coxswain and crew member Anthony Chambers retires after more than 40 years.

The Chambers family have been linked to Portrush RNLI in Northern Ireland for generations. Anthony’s father Gilbert and brother Derek were both mechanics on the lifeboat before him, and Anthony’s two nephews, Jason and Karl, are following the family tradition of being volunteer crew and an integral part of the station.

But Friday night was all about Anthony — celebrating his career, his retirement, remembering great rescues and the difference he has made to so many people.

Anthony’s most memorable and heroic ‘shout’ was the rescue of two young boys from a cave in August 2009 against a rising tide.

Part of the account of the rescue said: “Anthony fought against the elements in almost total darkness, being smashed against the cave wall … rescuing the boys one by one. It took him 30 minutes to complete the difficult and treacherous return swim twice with the rising tide against him.”

As a result, Anthony was presented with a bronze medal for gallantry in May 2010 by HRH Prince Michael of Kent at the Barbican in London, and fellow crew members with him on that night were presented with a letter of thanks from the RNLI.

This was only one example of Anthony’s bravery and on Friday night, the lifeboat crew, fundraising team and friends gathered in Portrush Yacht Club to celebrate, present gifts and reminisce of rescues gone by.

Portrush lifeboat crew with Anthony Chambers (Photo: RNLI/Judy Nelson)Portrush lifeboat crew with Anthony Chambers | Photo: RNLI/Judy Nelson

It was a testament to Anthony’s popularity that Portrush Yacht Club was packed to capacity with ex-crew members and representatives from Lough Swilly, Red Bay, Larne, Ballyglass, Portpatrick and Donaghadee lifeboat stations.

It was an opportunity for Anthony’s family, his wife Maryna, son Alistair and stepdaughter Louise, to meet so many of his colleagues in the RNLI and hear of his many exploits.

The formal part of the evening was introduced by MC and fellow lifeboat crew member Tim Nelson. Volunteer coxswain Des Austin presented gifts on behalf of the crew and Keith Gilmore, lifeboat operations manager, presented a vellum and letter of thanks from Mark Dowie, chief executive of the RNLI.

John Martin from the fundraising team also presented gifts on behalf of the team. Shirley Austin, Des’s wife, presented Anthony’s wife Maryna with flowers on behalf of the crew.

Beni McAllister, honorary secretary of Portrush Yacht Club, presented Anthony with a life membership of the club in recognition of its close links with the lifeboat station.

Anthony took to the floor to thank everyone for the gifts and good wishes. He went on to wish the current crew well and also the new coxswain/mechanic Dave Robinson, who takes over the helm.

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The first time this year that pagers sounded for the volunteers of Skerries RNLI may have ended in a false alarm.

But the crew of the North Co Dublin lifeboat station confirms it takes any activation of an emergency beacon seriously.

Skerries RNLI were tasked shortly before 7.30am yesterday morning (Monday 24 February) after Dublin Coast Guard picked up the signal from an emergency beacon almost two miles north-east of Skerries.

The Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat was launched by the volunteer crew into strong west to south-west winds, gusting to 30 knots at times.

Skerries lifeboat, the Howth lifeboat and the Irish Coast Guard’s helicopter Rescue 116 all proceeded to the last co-ordinates received and began a thorough search of the area in challenging conditions.

It was soon found that the vessel registered to the EPIRB (emergency position-indicating radio beacon) was safely tied up in Skerries Harbour, but the EPIRB had been removed.

The lifeboats and the helicopter continued to search the area until the coastguard was satisfied that the beacon had not been taken to sea aboard another vessel, and the operation was stood down.

Speaking about the callout, volunteer lifeboat press officer for Skerries RNLI, Gerry Canning, said: “EPIRBs are a vital piece of safety equipment, often designed to activate when a vessel capsizes or sinks, so any activation has to be treated very seriously.

“It was a wet morning for most people today, but even more so for our crews.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Bella Irvine has retired from the Lerwick Ladies Lifeboat Guild after 38 years service, since first volunteering for the Shetland Islands RNLI unit in 1982.

At a gathering at RNLI Lerwick lifeboat station to mark the occasion last Tuesday evening (4 February), members of the guild and current lifeboat crew members paid tribute to Bella’s contribution on the committee.

After her first 10 years, Bella was then treasurer for 23 years, from 1992 until 2015. Since then, she has continued to support fundraising events and activities, including volunteering in the RNLI Lerwick shop.

In recognition of her long service, Bella received a RNLI Gold Badge and Bar in 2016.

The guild raises funds for the RNLI towards the operational costs of the Lerwick lifeboat in Scotland's far nothern isles, which relies entirely on public donations.

‘She’s one in a million and will always be welcome in our shop, where she will always find the kettle on’

Throughout the year, the guild organises many events, including the popular Lifeboat Open Day in midsummer and the Lifeboat Ball later in the year. Committee members also attend country shows during the summer months to generate income and to raise the profile of the RNLI.

In 2019, the Lerwick Lifeboat Guild, including funds raised by the men’s committee, raised a total of over £44,000.

Rhoda Watt, joint chair of the Lerwick Ladies Lifeboat Guild and current treasurer, said: “Bella has been absolutely dedicated beyond measure and will be missed on our committee. She’s one in a million and will always be welcome in our shop, where she will always find the kettle on.”

Malcolm Craigie, RNLI Lerwick lifeboat operations manager, said: “The RNLI relies on dedicated fundraisers across the country to provide equipment and training for our volunteer crews, so that we’re ready to respond 24 hours a day.

“On behalf of the lifeboat crew, we’re hugely grateful to Bella for everything she has done for the Lerwick Lifeboat Guild over the last 38 years.”

Published in Scottish Waters

The volunteer crew of Oban RNLI’s lifeboat Mora Edith MacDonald faced the gale-force conditions of Storm Ciara on two separate callouts yesterday (Sunday 8 February).

At 10:14am, HM Coastguard requested an immediate launch following reports of a group of divers in difficulty to the south of Oban, in Western Scotland.

Despite challenging conditions the lifeboat reached the scene quickly, but found that the divers had already been recovered from the water.

The lifeboats small inflatable XP boat was made ready to put a crew ashore to assist with casualty care. However, the Scottish Ambulance Service and coastguard rescue teams arrived at that point and were able to assist the casualties.

At this time, further reports reached the coastguard of another diver drifting to the north. The lifeboat immediately proceeded to the scene and discovered that the object was actually the dive gear of one of the divers now being treated by the Scottish Ambulance Service.

After the crew returned to station and as they were drying off, one of the volunteers noticed a dingy drifting across Oban Bay.

It was observed that the oars were in place on the dinghy, which prompted concern that someone may have fallen from it, so the crew relaunched into Storm Ciara to ensure that no life was at risk.

Several boats were on moorings in Oban Bay and a systematic search of these moorings began. Oban Coastguard Team, who had also just returned from the previous incident located the dinghy and were able to identify a name on it.

Fortunately this allowed them to locate the owner, who was safe and well and unaware that his dinghy had gone adrift.

Published in Scottish Waters
Page 10 of 111

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