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Courtmacsherry RNLI's all-weather lifeboat Frederick Storey Cockburn was called out at 10.40am on Tuesday morning (4 October) to help three people on a 70ft fishing boat in difficulty 22 miles offshore, southeast of the Old Head of Kinsale in West Cork.

Under coxswain Sean O’Farrell and a crew of five, the lifeboat was under way quickly and immediately made its way to the area of the casualty to assess the situation.

The distress alarm was raised by the fishing vessel’s crew with the Irish Coast Guard’s Marine Rescue Coordination Centre in Valentia, when they fouled their propellers and became disabled while trawling in the area.

The lifeboat located the casualty at 11.50am and a tow rope was immediately attached in order to secure the fishing vessel in lumpy seas with a strong wind blowing and a three-metre swell.

Having assessed the situation, a decision was made to tow the boat which had three crew on board, to the nearest port of Kinsale, where it was successfully docked at the local pier at 6pm.

Commenting on the callout, Courtmacsherry RNLI’s deputy launching authority Philip White praised all crew for carrying out the rescue so professionally.

“It is ironic that our crew was involved in a long eight-hour rescue today, at the same time that the station’s new Shannon class lifeboat came off the production line in Poole and the traditional bell ringing ceremony was held.”

The crew on board Tuesday’s callout alongside O’Farrell were mechanic Dave Philips and crew members Pat Lawton, Tadgh McCarthy, Evin O’Sullivan and Gearoid O’Donovan.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

 A group of 18 volunteers from Portaferry RNLI in Northern Ireland have been rewarded and recognised for their dedication to saving lives at sea.

At a special meal held in the Co Down coastal town on Friday 9 September, two crew members received a commendation letter from the RNLI for their role in a callout two years ago.

Two volunteers received long-service awards from the charity, while 13 volunteers were presented with the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee medal.

Meanwhile, Patricia Browne was recognised for receiving a British Empire Medal (BEM) for her 42 years of service.

Volunteer crew members Fergal Glynn and Ian Sands were recognised for their dedication and service during a multi-agency search and exceptional delivery of casualty care rescue response two years ago, when they worked to recover a casualty from the water who was sadly later pronounced deceased.

Long-service awards were presented to Jeremy Rogers for 26 years and Simon Rogers for 23 years. During their service at Portaferry RNLI, they served as inshore lifeboat crew and helmsmen, and Simon also acted as lifeboat operations manager. Simon and Jeremy rescued 108 lives between them during their years of service.

As a token of thanks, 13 volunteers from Portaferry RNLI — Chris Adair, Sinead Breen, Colin Conway, Jordan Conway, Graham Edgar, Simon Exley, Tory Killen, Fiona Magee, John Murray, Terence O’Neill, Paddy Ritchie, Mark Stevenson and George Toma — were among the 4,500 volunteers and frontline staff to be awarded a special commemorative Platinum Jubilee medal in recognition of the 65,886 lives the RNLI has saved during the Queen Elizabeth’s 70-year-reign. The commemorative medal was created to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

In June, volunteer Patricia Browne was awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM) for her 42 years of service to the RNLI. First joining the institution in 1979 at Portaferry RNLI, shortly before the town’s lifeboat station was officially established in 1980, Patricia has held the position of chair of the Portaferry Fundraising Branch for 27 years. Under her leadership, the Portaferry Fundraising Branch has raised over £221,000 for the RNLI in the last 10 years.

Speaking at the event last month, Portaferry RNLI’s current lifeboat operations manager Philip Johnston said: “As a station team, we are truly delighted and appreciative of the recognition by the charity and others, of our volunteer work in saving lives at sea.

“It has been a challenging few years for everyone with the pandemic so it is really wonderful that we can gather as a team tonight and reward those who have been recognised for their efforts. Their achievements are testament to their selflessness and dependability over the years and I wish to congratulate and thank them and the wider station team here in Portaferry who work tirelessly to deliver our essential lifesaving service.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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The Lifeboat Lunch, a fundraising event which will see proceeds raised go to Crosshaven RNLI in Cork Harbour, will take place next month as the station prepares to mark 22 years of saving lives at sea.

Tickets for the lunch which will take place in the Carrigaline Court Hotel at 12 noon on Friday 11 November and will include a three-course meal, are now on sale, priced €85.

KC from Cork’s 96FM will MC the lunch and music will be provided by the Loungeman.

Speaking ahead of the event, Annamarie Fagan, Crosshaven RNLI Fundraising Chairperson, said: ‘Crosshaven RNLI celebrated its 20th anniversary during the pandemic but unfortunately, due to restrictions at the time, we couldn’t mark the occasion. Now two years on and in 2022 as we mark 22 years of saving lives at sea, we are delighted through this lunch that we are finally able to celebrate a wonderful lifesaving milestone while raising much-needed funds.

‘Last year, Crosshaven RNLI launched its inshore lifeboat 32 times with our volunteer crew bringing 54 people to safety. That is a great achievement for the station team, who selflessly dedicate so much time to training and responding to call-outs. Proceeds raised from the sale of tickets and the raffle for the lunch will ensure the crew are provided with the best of kit and equipment so they can continue to save lives at sea.’

Tickets for the event sponsored by Astra Construction can be booked through Eventbrite by clicking thelifeboatlunchcrosshaven.eventbrite or by emailing [email protected]

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Aran Islands RNLI officially opened their new shop and Visitor Experience on Inis Mór this weekend, raising vital funds for the charity that saves lives at sea and awareness of the work of the lifeboat crew serving the islands. The sun came out for the grand opening, which took place on Saturday (1 October). The honour of cutting the ribbon fell to mother and daughter, Margaret Gill and Lena O’Connell. Both RNLI volunteers, Margaret is Treasurer of the Aran Islands fundraising branch with almost 40 years of service to the charity, while Lena is the station Lifeboat Press Officer and a fundraiser.

Lena and Margaret: Aran Islands Lifeboat Press Officer and Fundraising Volunteer Lena O’Connell and Aran Islands RNLI Treasurer Margaret Gill cut the ribbon on the Aran Island RNLI’s Visitor Experience as the crowd watches on. Photo: RNLI/Nigel MillardLena and Margaret: Aran Islands Lifeboat Press Officer and Fundraising Volunteer Lena O’Connell and Aran Islands RNLI Treasurer Margaret Gill cut the ribbon on the Aran Island RNLI’s Visitor Experience as the crowd watches on. Photo: RNLI/Nigel Millard

The new shop is located next to the Aran Islands lifeboat station at Kilronan Pier, while the Visitor Experience is inside the boat hall. The shop offers a wide range of RNLI branded goods, including clothing and accessories, toys and stationery. It is expected to open seven days a week during the tourist season from Easter through to Autumn and will coincide with the ferry timings to and from the island.

Shop volunteers: Jack O’Connell and Siobhan McGuinness were on hand to welcome customers to the new Aran Islands RNLI shopShop volunteers: Jack O’Connell and Siobhan McGuinness were on hand to welcome customers to the new Aran Islands RNLI shop Photo: RNLI/Nigel Millard

The Visitor Experience makes wonderful use of the large number of images and information about the station’s lifeboats, including memorable milestones, awards and rescue stories. The opening brought out a group of locals and visitors, with music provided by well-known musician Locko Cullen and a delicious buffet lunch laid on by Teach Nan Phaidí.

Back Row L-R: Nora O’Donnell, Padraic O’Tuairisg, RNLI Head of Region Anna Classon. Front Row: Michelle O’Donnell and Lifeboat Operations Manager for the Aran Islands RNLI Michael T. Hernon.Back Row L-R: Nora O’Donnell, Padraic O’Tuairisg, RNLI Head of Region Anna Classon. Front Row: Michelle O’Donnell and Lifeboat Operations Manager for the Aran Islands RNLI Michael T. Hernon. Photo: RNLI/Nigel Millard

Aran Islands RNLI station mechanic Máirtín Eoin Coyne was MC for the event and, welcoming people to the short ceremony, was Lifeboat Operations Manager, Michael T. Hernon, who thanked the dedicated volunteers who have supported the lifeboat station and fundraising for nearly a century. RNLI Regional Engagement Manager Daniel Curran acknowledged the huge amount of people who had made the opening possible.

RNLI Head of Region, Anna Classon, whose own grandfather was a member of the Garda Síochána stationed on the island, and who made Inis Mór a home for her mother and uncles for many years, gave her speech in Irish and paid tribute to the lifeboat and island communities who support the RNLI in their lifesaving work.

Anna said, ‘This community, with the support of the RNLI, has been serving those in trouble on the sea for many years. It has a been a selfless tradition, with a history of bravery, volunteering, and kindness to strangers. Thank you for joining the RNLI in the bravest of endeavours, to put others before yourselves, in whatever role you play. I congratulate all involved with this lovely new shop and visitor experience and hope you welcome many people across the threshold in the years to come.’

After conducting the official ribbon cutting with her daughter Lena, Aran Islands RNLI Treasurer Margaret Gill said, ‘We are so thrilled to have our new shop and visitor experience on Inis Mór. There is an incredible history of lifeboating and lifesaving on this island and a group of committed volunteers that support it. There are tales of rescues and brave deeds going back generations and it’s lovely to have somewhere for visitors and locals to take a minute, look around the exhibits, and learn a bit about our history. They can also visit our shop when they have finished and buy a little memento of their trip to the island or an early Christmas card. As a charity the RNLI relies on the generosity of the pubic and we are so grateful for that ongoing support.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Holyhead RNLI volunteers were honoured to welcome Their Royal Highnesses The Prince and Princess of Wales on Tuesday, during a whistle-stop tour that brought them back to the island they once called home.

The Royal couple met lifeboat crew members and shop volunteers in their first visit to Wales since becoming The Prince and Princess of Wales.

Their Royal Highnesses chatted to volunteers, including 21-year-old lifeboat helm Sion Owens, one of the station’s youngest ever helms, and 83-year-old Gill Davies, who has volunteered in the RNLI shop for over 20 years.

Tony Price, Holyhead RNLI Coxswain, said: ‘It was an absolute pleasure to welcome The Prince and Princess of Wales to Holyhead RNLI and a privilege to have met them. They both showed a genuine and passionate interest in the work of the RNLI, from our shop volunteers to the lifeboat crew.

‘They spent a long time chatting to many of us about our individual roles and the part we play in saving lives at sea. They seemed so at ease and asked many interesting questions about the RNLI, showing a particular interest in mental health.’

Their Royal Highnesses The Prince and Princess of Wales meet a youngster at Holyhead RNLITheir Royal Highnesses The Prince and Princess of Wales meet a youngster at Holyhead RNLI

The station has special relevance for The Prince and Princess, as they lived on Anglesey for several years while Prince William was an RAF search and rescue helicopter pilot, stationed at RAF Valley, which included working with the island’s lifeboat crew on rescues during his time in the role.

The Prince and Princess of Wales’ first Royal visit after announcing their engagement was also on the island as they attended a service of dedication for RNLI lifeboat, the Hereford Endeavour, at Trearddur Bay Lifeboat Station in 2013.

The Royal couple had a tour of Holyhead Lifeboat Station, including the ‘local knowledge’ room, put together by the crew for visitors to familiarise themselves with local waters. Their Royal Highnesses were also able to have a close-up view of the station’s D class inshore lifeboat Mary and Archie Hooper.

Holyhead Lifeboat Operations Manager David Owens said: ‘We are extremely honoured that our station was chosen for the couple’s first visit to Wales since becoming The Prince and Princess of Wales.

‘The local people have a genuine fondness for the Royal couple, who were a part of island life while they lived locally. The fact that they have chosen to come to our station indicates how special Anglesey is to them, and how at home they feel here.

‘Our volunteers are very proud of what they do, and meeting The Prince and Princess was a real honour, and something none of them will forget.’

Prince William’s last engagement with the RNLI was at an Emergency Services Day event last year when he met 12-year-old Ravi Saini who made national headlines in 2020 when he used the RNLI’s Float to Live advice after being caught in a rip current while on holiday in Scarborough.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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On Sunday afternoon (25 September), Valentia Coast Guard requested Lough Derg RNLI to assist three people on a 30ft cruiser reported adrift in Scariff Bay, southeast of Mountshannon Harbour.

The inshore lifeboat Jean Spier launched at 3.47pm with helm Eleanor Hooker, Owen Cavanagh, Steve Smyth and Tom Hayes on board.

Winds were westerly Force 4 gusting Force 5, with fair visibility, a low mist and frequent squalls.

Shortly after 4pm the lifeboat located the casualty vessel by the Scilly Islands in Scariff Bay. All three people on board were unharmed.

The lifeboat provided two survivor lifejackets and requested that the third person don their lifejacket on board.

An RNLI volunteer transferred across to the casualty vessel and established that that engine had failed.



Given the location and the deteriorating weather conditions and poor forecast, the helm requested the crew to set up for an astern tow to Mountshannon Harbour.

In the lee of Bushy Island at the entrance to Mountshannon Bay, the lifeboat volunteers changed to an alongside tow to facilitate navigating the channel into harbour.

The casualty vessel was safely tied alongside at Mountshannon Harbour at 4.45pm and the lifeboat returned to station.

Liam Maloney, deputy launching authority at Lough Derg RNLI advises boat users to “carry sufficient lifejackets for all passengers and wear them, and also carry a means of communication so that you can call for assistance if you find yourself in difficulty on the lake”.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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The RNLI’s most westerly shop in Ireland will officially open its doors next Saturday 1 October from 1-4pm on Inis Mór, raising vital lifesaving funds for the charity that saves lives at sea.

And the day will also see the opening of the new Aran Islands RNLI Visitor Experience.

The new shop, which is located inside Aran Islands lifeboat station at Kilronan Pier, has quickly become a key attraction since opening its doors back in June to both the islanders and the many visitors who come each year.

Located in the boat hall of the station, meanwhile, the new Visitor Experience will bring people through 175 years of captivating history featuring imagery and facts about the station’s lifeboats, memorable milestones, awards, rescue stories and the many volunteers from the island who have made up the lifesaving crew over the years.

Speaking ahead of Saturday’s official opening and following the first season of trading, RNLI community manager Brian Wilson said: “We are delighted that Inis Mór is joining the heritage of lifeboat station shops in the RNLI.

Outside the Aran Islands lifeboat station shop, the RNLI’s most westerly outlet in Ireland, which opened in June | Credit: RNLI/Aran IslandsOutside the Aran Islands lifeboat station shop, the RNLI’s most westerly outlet in Ireland, which opened in June | Credit: RNLI/Aran Islands

“This is the second RNLI shop on the west coast of Ireland, along with Sligo Bay which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. The response in the first week back in June more than exceeded our expectations and that momentum key up throughout the summer season.

“We have had a wonderful response from locals and tourists alike and we want to thank the team here for their efforts in getting us to this point as well as thanking everyone who has visited and shown their support since the opening.

“To now also have the Visitor Experience open is wonderful as it will give the many tourists who come to the Aran Islands each year another attraction to enjoy while giving them a terrific insight to the station’s rich history and the work of the volunteer team who have made such an impact over so many years. This meandering visitor experience is a special mark of respect to all the people, call outs and stories this lifeboat station has to tell.”

Everyone is welcome to attend the official opening of the Visitor Experience and shop from 1-4pm next Saturday 1 October, during which visitors can view the new facilities, speak to the crew and purchase a token from the shop as a memento of their day.

Meanwhile, the shop team at Aran Islands RNLI is still on the lookout for more volunteers. If you think you can give some time to help out, call into the shop for more information.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Wicklow RNLI went to the assistance of a lone sailor on Tuesday morning (20 September) after his vessel got fouled in ropes.

The all-weather lifeboat Joanna and Henry Williams slipped its moorings from the south quay at 8.50am following a pager alert and proceeded to sea under the command of coxswain Ciaran Doyle and a volunteer crew.

Twenty minutes later the casualty vessel was located seven miles offshore near the South India Buoy. Conditions in the area were good with calm sea and good visibility.

The lone sailor on the 12-metre motor vessel had left Wicklow Harbour a couple of hours earlier and was returning to Wales, when the propellor got fouled in ropes and the boat lost all propulsion.

The coxswain carried out an assessment and, as the vessel had no propulsion, it was decided the best course of action was to tow the casualty back to Wicklow harbour.

Two volunteer crew were transferred onto the motor vessel to assist with the tow line. The motor cruiser was then towed to Wicklow and brought alongside the East Pier at 10.55am where the sailor was landed safely ashore.

Speaking about the call out, volunteer lifeboat press officer Tommy Dover said: “The sailor had attempted to free the obstruction, but he was unable to unravel the rope from around the propellor. He did the right thing calling for assistance and we were happy to help.

“When going afloat we would remind everyone to check their engine and fuel, always wear a lifejacket or buoyancy aid, and carry a means of calling for help.

“If you see someone in difficulty on or near the water, dial 999/112 or use Marine VHF Channel 16 and ask for the coastguard.”

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Ballyglass RNLI came to aid of four fishermen in Donegal Bay in the early hours of Wednesday morning (21 September) after their 55ft trawler got into difficulty overnight.

The volunteer crew were requested to launch their all-weather lifeboat by Malin Head Coast Guard at 2.20am and go to the aid of a drifting trawler four miles west of Malin Beg in Donegal.

Launched under coxswain James Mangan, the lifeboat set out across Donegal Bay just after 2.30am to assist the crew of the large vessel that had lost power and was adrift.

Conditions on the overnight passage were less than favourable with southerly Force 5-6 winds, a 2-3m sea swell and poor to fair visibility.

The lifeboat made the journey north to assist the fishermen as Arranmore RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat is currently in dry docks for routine maintenance.

Once on scene at 5.25am, the lifeboat crew assessed the situation and found that the fishermen were safe and well.

It was decided to establish a secure tow and bring the vessel to the nearest safe port at Killybegs where they secured the trawler at 11.40am. The crew then began the preparations for the return journey to Ballyglass.

Speaking after the trawler was safely berthed, Pádraig Sheerin, Ballyglass RNLI lifeboat operations manager commended the crew for their dedication.

“We would like to wish the fishermen well. Despite the very early hours of this morning when the pagers went off, there was a great turn out once again from our volunteers with plenty of assistance and team work to launch the lifeboat as promptly as possible,” he said.

“It is thanks to the commitment, dedication and hard work of the volunteer crew, along with the top-class training and equipment provided by the RNLI, and the funds raised by all those who donate to the lifeboats, that allow us to continue saving lives at sea. A sincere and heartfelt thank you to one and all.”

Joining Mangan on the callout were mechanic Allen Murray and Paudge Kelleher, as well as Eric Geraghty and Ciaran Deane — who also out on the 22-hour callout just three days ago to rescue a kayaker trapped in a cave at Downpatrick Head.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Former Rosslare RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager, David Maloney has been awarded a Commendation from the Operations Director of the RNLI for his role in a rescue in September 2016, where his actions saved the life of a woman trapped in a cabin on a yacht which had been dashed on rocks in the harbour.

As Afloat reported at the time, in the early hours of 14 September 2016, during a strong north-west gale, a small yacht owned and crewed by a Swedish couple entered Rosslare Harbour. On arrival, the engine stalled, and the yacht was blown onto on the rock armour, where it was pummelled by waves.

A call for help was raised, and Rosslare lifeboat was launched. However, due to the location of the casualty vessel, the lifeboat was unable to reach the yacht from the water. Rosslare RNLI volunteer Jamie Ryan arrived at the scene with the station Lifeboat Operations Manager David Maloney and found a man standing on the quay wall looking at the yacht, clearly in shock. In sympathising with the man on what they thought to be the loss of his vessel, they discovered that his partner was still onboard.

The stricken yacht damaged by rock armour in Rosslare Harbour The stricken yacht damaged by rock armour in Rosslare Harbour

With the yacht being broken up by the waves, Jamie discussed the option of using a rope which could be put around Dave’s waist, to reach the woman, but they both realised there would be no time for this. The woman was in immediate risk of being pulled out to sea and lost. Using his skill and lifeboating knowledge and with the waves pummelling the vessel, Dave manoeuvred across the rocks and into the cabin of the yacht. Once there, he took hold of the woman and pulled her out of the cabin and up to the safety of the quay wall.

Dave never sought recognition for his action that night, but the station put him forward for his role in the rescue and during a recent Coast Review visit by the RNLI, the Operations Director, Mr. John Payne, presented Dave with the RNLI commendation. In doing so, the charity wished to acknowledge his brave actions that night and recognise it as a life saved by an RNLI volunteer.

Commenting on the honour, Rosslare RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager Jamie Ryan, who succeeded David in the role, said, ‘we are delighted that David has been officially recognised by the RNLI for his incredibly brave action that night five years ago, which saved a life. It was a split-second decision but one that was made with years of experience and knowledge of lifesaving behind it. It could have easily been a tragedy, and I’m sure was a traumatic experience for the couple. David embodies the best of our lifesaving ethos, and we are very proud of him and his role at our station.’

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