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Displaying items by tag: Portrush

Portrush RNLI on Northern Ireland’s Causeway Coast was requested to launch twice this weekend to reports of people in difficulty.

The first request by HM Coastguard was on Saturday evening (5 June) when the inshore lifeboat was launched to reports of a kayaker in difficulty at the Skerries.

Visibility was excellent, with a calm sea and a light wind, and the lifeboat volunteers quickly located the kayaker.

It was soon established that the kayaker was very experienced and had taken all precautions, so all was well. The call was deemed a false alarm with good intent.

The second shout was on Sunday afternoon (6 June) at 12.50pm when the all-weather lifeboat was called to assist with a potential medevac after reports of two people caught on a ledge at the Giant’s Causeway.

Again, weather conditions were good, with excellent visibility and a light north-easterly wind.

Before the lifeboat reached the scene, the local coastguard team had located the two people and were able to carry out the rescue without assistance.

Beni McAllister, lifeboat operations manager at Portrush RNLI, said: “This is our fourth launch since Thursday for our volunteer crews and we have no doubt that this will be the pattern for the summer.

“However, it seems that people are heeding the safety message in terms of dialling 999 and alerting the coastguard if they see something that doesn’t look right.

“We would rather be safe than sorry, especially as more and more people are enjoying our beautiful beaches.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Portrush RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat was launched this afternoon (Thursday 3 June) to reports of stand-up paddle boarders in difficulty off Ramore Head.

Due to the fact that the crew had already assembled for some training, they were able to launch immediately just before 3pm.

Conditions were optimal on Northern Ireland’s North Coast today, with excellent visibility and a smooth sea but a strong offshore wind which made it difficult for the five paddle boarders to return to shore.

When the lifeboat arrived on scene, three of the boarders were alongside a local fishing vessel and the lifeboat crew picked the remaining two up.

All five paddle boarders were transferred to the lifeboat and brought back to Portrush Harbour before 3.30pm, where they disembarked exhausted but otherwise well.

Beni McAllister, lifeboat operations manager at Portrush RNLI, said: “These paddle boarders were lucky, in that the offshore winds were quite strong and the five were exhausted trying to get back to shore.

“The local fishing boat was on scene and assisted until the lifeboat arrived. The fact that we had a crew ready to go meant we could respond very quickly.

“We would ask anyone planning a trip to sea to check the weather conditions, especially tides and winds to make sure it is safe to go out. Always have a means of communication with you and make sure someone knows when you will be expected back.”

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Portrush RNLI on Northern Ireland’s North Coast launched to two shouts yesterday (Sunday 30 May) in a busy start to the spring bank holiday weekend.

The inshore lifeboat was first requested to launch by Belfast Coastguard at 5.33pm yesterday evening to reports of a male entering the water at the East Strand.

Despite the heavy traffic and bank holiday crowds in the town, the volunteer lifeboat crew was able to launch at 5.40pm and was on scene four minutes later. Weather conditions were perfect with clear skies and excellent visibility.

The lifeboat arrived to assist the coastguard at East Strand, and the male was subsequently taken into the care of the PSNI.

While on this call, the lifeboat volunteers were alerted to a missing child also on the East Strand. The child was located very quickly and the inshore lifeboat returned to station at 6.10pm.

Beni McAllister, lifeboat operations manager at Portrush RNLI, said: “We are delighted to see visitors back on our beaches after the periods of lockdown, but we would ask members of the public to be careful when at the beach and observe safety precautions.

“Our RNLI Lifeguards are on duty and are only too happy to give advice about enjoying the beach safely.

“Also, children can wander off very quickly and can get lost on a busy beach, so we would ask parents to keep a close eye on their children, as we can appreciate the panic this can generate when a child goes missing.”

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Portrush athlete David McGaffin is taking the RNLI Mayday Mile challenge to a whole new level to raise funds for his local lifeboat station.

The McGaffin family has a long association with Portrush RNLI on Northern Ireland’s North Coast. David’s late father Tom was an integral part of the fabric and was one of the crew on the famous shout in 1989 when the lifeboat was launched to reports of two Spanish trawlers in difficulty.

David, a Springwell Running Club member and long-time supporter of Portrush RNLI, shared his story and why he is setting himself this gruelling challenge.

“The first marathon I took part in was Belfast on 6 May 1985 and was in aid of the RNLI. There was a lot of blistering, some bleeding and an amount of distress so the fact that the race is always held on May Day, which is also an international distress signal, is not lost on me.

”Growing up in Portrush, especially if you fish and mess about in boats, you are very aware of the work that the RNLI does and the amount of money that it takes to keep the service operating.

“My father Tom, who was a RNLI member for many years, initially as a shoreline member, then lifeboat crew and latterly as the deputy launch authority, spent many years fundraising for the RNLI and was one of the founder members of the Portrush Raft Race.

”The RNLI, especially the boat crews, can be a self-deprecating bunch and do not take praise well. To them it’s just a job they do, and once a mission is over, they get ready for the next one.

‘To complete this challenge I will have to run more miles in a month than I have ever done before and week four will be the most miles I will have ever run in a week’

“I have been fortunate to know many crew members, including some who served on the Portrush lifeboat in the 1960s. I have been on boats running for the cover of the harbour in bad weather as the lifeboat launches to someone in distress, and have stood safely on the harbour wall watching the lifeboat head out into the worst weather that the North Atlantic can deliver.

”What I do know about the RNLI is that they are ordinary people doing extraordinary things and deserving of all the medals, commendations and plaudits they receive.“

David added: ”In the absence of the Raft Race I will be taking part in the RNLI May Day Mile challenge, but taking it just a bit further.

“The challenge is simple: set an exercise goal, raise some sponsorship and then complete it. Those of you that know me will know that it’s not going to be that straightforward, there’s no point doing easy if you’re asking for money. I know that you expect some degree of pain, suffering and sacrifice to part you from your hard earned cash, and to that end I will be running the date each day. That’s one mile on the first, two on the second, three on the third and so on.

”To save you from doing the maths the first week is handy enough, week two is alright, it’s tougher going in week three, week four is insane and the last three days just mad. To complete this challenge I will have to run more miles in a month than I have ever done before and week four will be the most miles I will have ever run in a week.“

Portush RNLI press officer Judy Nelson praised David’s dedication to the lifeboat station, especially at a time when the station’s fundraising activities have been severely curtailed by the pandemic while crews have been busier than ever.

”To have someone like David who is not only running to raise funds but also raising awareness of the work our volunteers do is fantastic — we wish him all the best."

If you want to donate to David and the station you can do so via the JustGiving link HERE.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Portrush RNLI’s volunteer crew launched their inshore lifeboat to reports of a fishing vessel in difficulty just outside the Northern Ireland harbour yesterday evening, Wednesday 31 March.

The 26-foot vessel with three on board lost power just outside the North Coast harbour’s wall at 5.25pm. Within minutes the lifeboat crew arrived in scene and set up a successful tow to the harbour pontoon.

Beni McAllister, lifeboat operations manager at Portrush RNLI, said: “With the season starting and all boats being allowed back in the harbour, we would ask that boat owners make sure that their boats are ready to go to sea and that all checks have been made.

“We are expecting a busy holiday season and look forward to welcoming our RNLI lifeguard colleagues back on the beaches this weekend.”

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Both Portrush RNLI lifeboats were launched within an hour of each other to separate incidents on Northern Ireland’s North Coast this afternoon (Wednesday 24 February).

Initially, the volunteer crew were requested to launch the all-weather lifeboat by Belfast Coastguard at 12.36pm in response to reports of a surfer in difficulty at Castlerock.

While en-route, the crew received notification that the surfer had made it back to the beach unaided and all was well.

When they were returning to station, they were re-tasked to reports of two persons who had been swept off the rocks just between Portrush and Portstewart.

The all-weather crew requested that the inshore lifeboat was also launched as the casualties were reported to be close to the rocks.

Conditions and visibility today were good which helped both boats to make good time.

However again, before the ILB arrived on scene, the two persons had been able to get back onto the rocks without assistance from the volunteer lifeboat crews.

Beni McAllister, lifeboat operations manager at Portrush RNLI, said: “Although both boats were launched today and were stood down on both shouts, we would ask that if people feel that there is someone in difficulty in the sea, that they dial 999 and ask for the coastguard.

“We have said this before, but our crews would rather be safe than sorry.”

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Portrush RNLI’s volunteers rescued two surfers who got into difficulty while surfing at Co Antrim’s East Strand earlier today (Monday 1 February).

The inshore lifeboat launched before 1.30pm following a number of 999 calls to both the coastguard and the lifeboat station, and arrived on scene within four minutes amid fair weather conditions.

It emerged that the two surfers had got caught in a rip current and despite repeated attempts to get back to shore, they realised they couldn’t as they were becoming very tired. They attracted the attention of a number of onlookers who dialled 999.

Once on scene, the RNLI crew quickly recovered the two surfers into the lifeboat and returned with them to Portrush Harbour, where they were handed off to the care of the waiting coastguard team.

Beni McAllister, lifeboat operations manager at Portrush RNLI, said: “Surfing during lockdown has become extremely popular on both our beaches here in Portrush and it is a great pastime both mentally and physically.

“However, rip tides can be treacherous, and we would ask people to take care and check on conditions before entering the water.

“These two surfers did the right thing in alerting onlookers and we are relieved that people reacted very quickly and dialled 999, which allowed us to get onto scene very quickly.

“Remember if you see someone in trouble, dial 999 and ask for the coastguard.”

The crew on this callout were helm Ben Wilson and volunteers Christy Bradley and Daniel Thorne.

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A car was moments away from plunging into the sea after it edged over the side of the pier at Portrush on the North Coast on Tuesday morning at about 9.30 am.

The car moved forward from the council car parking bays facing the harbour and both front wheels tipped over the pier perimeter, leaving the vehicle sitting on its metal frame with its bonnet above the waves.

A van was used to tow the white car back onto its four wheels on solid ground and no one was injured in the incident.

Portrush is a small harbour enclosed by two piers where it is possible to berth alongside a pontoon or to pick up moorings in the harbour area.

Causeway Coast & Glens Borough Council in whose area Portrush Harbour lies, was asked for comment on the incident but it was not received at time of press

More from Belfast Live here

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Portrush RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat launched to reports of a yacht in difficulty off Rathlin Island in Northern Ireland last night (Friday 2 October).

The volunteer crew were in the water just before 9pm, half an hour after paging, and headed to the location of the single-handed yachtsman four miles north-west of Rathlin in moderate to rough seas.

Cox Dave Robinson and his crew arrived on scene at 10pm and established that the yachtsman was able to manoeuvre himself into Rathlin Harbour, on the island off mainland Co Antrim, but requested their guidance.

“The yachtsman did the right thing in contacting the coastguard as he was experiencing some difficulties getting into harbour, and we were glad to provide the support,” said Portrush’s new lifeboat operations manager Beni McAllister.

“We would prefer that people were safe than sorry and would ask that they dial 999 and ask for the coastguard if help is required.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Portrush RNLI has rescued a teenage boy who got into difficulty while jumping into the sea off rocks at Portstewart Head yesterday afternoon.

The volunteer crew were requested to launch their all-weather lifeboat by Belfast Coastguard at 2.42 pm following an initial request to go to the aid of someone in distress off Downhill Beach which subsequently transpired to be a false alarm with good intent. However, once on board, the lifeboat crew were alerted by the Coastguard to a separate incident after a 999 call was made by a member of the public to say a person was in difficulty in the water off Portstewart Head, some five nautical miles from Portrush.

The lifeboat launched under Coxswain Des Austin and with six crew members onboard and made its way to the scene arriving in less than 10 minutes.

Weather conditions at the time were challenging with a Force 6-7 north to northwest wind, some showers, and a rough sea with 2-3m swells. Visibility was good.

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

The Coxswain manoeuvred the lifeboat close to where the casualty was in the surf and breaking waves while the station’s mechanic donned a dry suit and PPE. A line was then attached to the mechanic who jumped into the water and grabbed the casualty to safety. The remainder of the crew pulled the mechanic and casualty around to the starboard side of the lifeboat as the Coxswain manoeuvred into position.

A line was then attached to the lifeboat mechanic who jumped into the water and grabbed the casualty to safetyA line was then attached to the lifeboat mechanic who jumped into the water and grabbed the casualty to safety

The lifeboat crew administered casualty care to make the boy who was showing signs of hypothermia and exhaustion and was suffering from the effects of shock, comfortable, as the lifeboat made its way back to Portrush Harbour. He was then transferred into the care of Coleraine Coastguard and the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service.

Speaking following the call out, Portrush RNLI Coxswain Des Austin said: ‘Conditions were challenging at sea today and time was of the essence. The tide was turning at the time the casualty got into difficulty and the conditions were pulling him out to sea.

The prompt actions of the lifeboat crew saved a life and we would like to wish the casualty well following his ordeal.

‘We would remind anyone planning an activity at sea to always respect the water. Always be prepared, always have the right clothing and safety equipment including a lifejacket or buoyancy aid. Conditions at sea can change quickly and it is important to understand how that affects the area of coastline.

Should you get into difficulty or see someone in trouble, dial 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard.’

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