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Displaying items by tag: Lifeboats

Youghal RNLI’s volunteer crew were paged this morning (Sunday 2 August) at 8.03am to help a one-person fishing boat with engine trouble, six miles south of Capel Island off East Cork.

Operating safely within the RNLI and Government Covid-19 guidelines, the inshore lifeboat crew reached the 16ft fishing boat shortly after launch in good weather conditions.

One member of the crew boarded the fishing boat and, after making sure that the person on board was fine, a tow was established to bring the vessel back to Ferrypoint.

Speaking after the callout, deputy launching authority Mark Nolan said: “Engine trouble is one of the main reasons for RNLI callouts. Problems can occur at any time; being prepared is key.

“Always carry a form of communication with you, just like the person on-board today; once he realised there was a problem, he was able to call for help straight away, avoiding any unnecessary danger.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Portrush RNLI’s inshore lifeboat launched to the rescue of a 50-year-old woman who fell into the water while with a coasteering group at Dunseverick near the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland yesterday afternoon (Saturday 1 August).

The volunteer crew applied casualty care to the woman, and one remained to watch over her while the lifeboat collected a paramedic and a member of the local coastguard team to assist at the scene.

Suspecting the woman had sustained a back injury, the team called for a helicopter and she was transferred to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast by the regional air ambulance. R199 from Prestwick in Scotland was also dispatched to the scene.

Portrush lifeboat operations manager Keith Gilmore said later: “Causeway Coasteering did exactly the right thing in calling the RNLI and the coastguard to make sure that the casualty could receive appropriate treatment.”

Published in Rescue
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Larne RNLI rescued a jet skier who had fallen into the water off the Co Antrim coast and couldn’t get back onto his craft.

The volunteer crew launched the in-shore lifeboat Terry just after 8pm on Tuesday evening and reached the casualty just north of Tweeds Port slipway within minutes.

The man, who had been in the water for 30 minutes, was recovered into the lifeboat and checked to make sure he wasn’t suffering from his time in the water.

He was then brought back to shore at Tweeds Port and handed over to the care of the NI Ambulance Service. The lifeboat crew then returned to the water to recover the jet ski.

Philip Ford-Hutchinson, Larne RNLI’s deputy launching authority, said: “The casualty was lucky as cold water shock can set in when you are submerged for any amount of time and in any season. Please, when using the water, respect the water.”

Elsewhere, Skerries RNLI had a busy start to the week as they responded to two separate callouts within two hours.

Skerries RNLI towing a broken-down jet ski ashore (RNLI/Gerry Canning)Skerries RNLI towing a broken-down jet ski ashore | RNLI/Gerry Canning

The lifeboat first launched on Sunday (26 July) shortly after 2pm to return two men on a jet ski safely back to shore after they suffered mechanical difficulties off Colt Island.

Then just two hours later the volunteers were called upon alongside the Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 116 and Skerries coastguard unit to carry out a search for a swimmer in distress in the same area, between Colt Island and St Patrick’s Island.

Following a thorough search, and the crew speaking to numerous kayakers in the area, Dublin Coast Guard was satisfied that it was a false alarm with good intent and the helicopter and lifeboat were stood down.

Speaking later, volunteer lifeboat press officer Gerry Canning said: “It’s days like this that you really see the dedication of our volunteer crews.

“Some of them were still on the harbour following the first call out when their pagers sounded the second time. This meant that we could launch quite quickly to what was potentially a serious incident. Thankfully in both cases it was a good outcome.”

Published in Jetski
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Sligo Bay RNLI was involved in the rescue of a swimmer in difficulty at Rosses Point earlier this week.

The volunteer lifeboat crew launched their inshore lifeboat at 8pm on Wednesday evening (15 July) to go to the aid of the open water swimmer, who was in the water off the first beach in Rosses Point.

On arrival at the scene, the crew observed that the swimmer was being helped by other swimmers and kayakers who were nearby at the time.

The swimmer was then taken aboard the lifeboat and brought back to station where they were transferred into the care of a waiting ambulance and brought to Sligo University Hospital for further treatment.

Speaking after the callout, Sligo Bay RNLI press officer Aisling Gillen said: 'We would like to wish the swimmer a speedy recovery and commend everyone involved in the rescue as the sea conditions at the time were very choppy and this could have had a very different outcome.

“As the summer continues, we would remind everyone to always respect the water.

“Always check weather and tide times before you go, if swimming, never swim alone, and should you get into difficulty or see someone else in trouble, dial 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

Published in Sea Swim
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The RNLI lifeboat crew in Newcastle, Co Down rescued three people over two callouts in the space of 24 hours earlier this week.

The all-weather lifeboat first launched on Monday morning (13 July) to aid a boat with two people aboard who were experiencing difficulties somewhere between Bloody Bridge and William’s Harbour.

The casualty vessel was located swiftly and was taken under tow to the slipway at Annalong, but tidal conditions required the assistance of the inshore lifeboat to bring it to a safe mooring.

Newcastle RNLI coxswain Nathan Leneghan commended the boat owner for deploying his anchor to prevent the vessel drifting onto rocks, which would have made for a trickier rescue.

The following morning, Tuesday 14 July, the all-weather lifeboat was launched again — this time to a pleasure boat with engine failure.

The lifeboat crew headed in calm conditions to the given location inside the Cow and Calf, some six miles east of station on the East Coast of Northern Ireland.

After navigating through submerged rocks on an ebbing tide, the lifeboat was able to take the casualty vessel, with one person on board, under tow to Dundrum Harbour from where it had set off.

Tidal conditions again necessitated the launch of the inshore lifeboat to assist with the final tow to a safe mooring.

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Oban RNLI in western Scotland has expressed sadness at the retirement of Dr Colin Wilson as a volunteer crew member.

Dr Wilson has served the RNLI in Oban since 1990, first joining when the station had the Brede class lifeboat Ann Ritchie.

It was a love of the sea that drew Dr Wilson to sign up with the lifesaving charity. “I wanted to help those in distress,” he said.

Since joining, Dr Wilson has become a dedicated crew member and an integral part of the station’s family, contributing to many callouts, training exercises and fundraising events.

Over his 30 years with the volunteer crew, Dr Wilson attended a whopping 660 callouts totalling over 1,100 hours at sea, covering 12,668 miles — half-way around the world — and burning 159,891 litres of fuel. And that’s not including exercises and delivery trips.

His knowledge and expertise in both diving medicine and treating divers with decompression sickness has proved invaluable over the years

Dr Wilson’s 35 years as a local GP and time as a senior partner of the Lorn Medical Centre have seen his voluntary role extend further within the RNLI, as has contributed as a Lifeboat Medical Adviser and Regional Medical Adviser for Scotland as well as serving on the charity’s medical committee.

His knowledge and expertise in both diving medicine and treating divers with decompression sickness has proved invaluable over the years.

Finlo Cottier, a deputy coxswain and crew member of Oban lifeboat who has served alongside Dr Wilson since 2001, said: “It’s always reassuring when you go to sea with Colin amongst the crew. A special blend of knowledge, wisdom and humour.”

Another longtime cremate, Ian Henry, said: “Colin has been an absolute stalwart and aside from being a mentor, font of knowledge, medical advisor both formal and informal, medicinal coffee prescriber, he has first and foremost been a friend. I know I speak for everyone when I say the door is always open.”

Of the hundreds of callouts he attended, the one that sticks out most for Dr Wilson was just two years ago, on the night of 28 July 2018.

“It was a really nasty night with winds gusting 60 knots and we received three separate Mayday calls,” he said. “It was a great crew all working together for good results in adverse weather.”

Another was on 10 January 1998, as documented in Willie Melville’s book The Story of Oban Lifeboat:

One of those services that brings tremendous satisfaction to a coxswain, his crew and the whole station took place on 10 January. Oban Coastguard reported that a canoeist was overdue at Cuil Bay, Duror…

The lifeboat arrived on scene at 1952, first making a counter-clockwise search of the island. As she was veering offshore to avoid the shallows her searchlight picked up the canoeist clinging to the waterlogged canoe some 2 cables offshore.

Crew member Dr Colin Wilson assessed the casualty's condition as being serious enough to have him airlifted by the rescue helicopter, also on scene, to hospital in Oban - meantime he was given oxygen on the lifeboat and made as warm as possible.

Dr Wilson recalled: “This man was extremely hypothermic and was lucky to be found alive. He survived, and was discharged home the next day. A great result.”

When asked what he will miss most, Dr Wilson said: “I will miss working as part of a really great crew and team. I have shared in both the joy of many successes and in the sadness surrounding some less happy events, providing care and support wherever possible.

“I hope to continue my association with Oban Lifeboat by volunteering in a different capacity.”

Dr Wilson also passed on his thanks to fellow crew members, “past and present, for great memories of working in a fantastic team, in training, in fundraising and ultimately, while out at sea on shouts”.

He added: “I also salute all those who support the RNLI throughout the country in the many ways they do, helping those in trouble at sea.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Two Baltimore women are running a virtual relay race around Ireland for their local lifeboat, after the annual charity walk was cancelled over coronavirus restrictions.

Anna Carthy and Odharnait Collins are now on day three their ‘Race to Raise’ in aid of Baltimore RNLI, in which they and other participants are getting out and about for a walk, run, swim or cycle and adding up their distances.

At the end of day two yesterday (Monday 13 July), the group has already totalled hundreds of kilometres — the distance from Baltimore to Wicklow anti-clockwise around the coast.

And the organisers have raised more than €600 awards their €1,000 goal for the local lifeboat service.

“Covid-19 restrictions have had a huge impact on our annual fundraising events for Baltimore lifeboat with many events having been cancelled,” said Carthy and Collins.

“We have been thinking how we could run these events virtually, whilst obeying these restrictions, and so have moved our annual lifeboat walk online this year.

“Please help us walk the distance around Ireland from station to station to create awareness and raise money for this vital service.”

For more details see the ‘Race to Raise’ page on Facebook and the fundraising page on GoFundMe.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

A motorboat with four on board which was overcome by poor weather was towed to safety by Kinsale RNLI volunteers this past week.

The inshore lifeboat Miss Sally Anne Baggy II was requested to launch shortly after 11.30am on Wednesday (8 July) to assist the 16ft motor boat off Barry’s Head, near Nohoval.

All four on board the vessel were found to be unharmed, and their boat was taken under tow to the safety of Kinsale Marina.

This marked the first rescue for the Kinsale lifeboat crew under the new RNLI coronavirus protocol, with the crew wearing protective masks and gloves in addition to the standard PPE.

Lifeboat helm Jonathan Connor said: “The RNLI remains on call throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. When we go on a callout, we don’t know the level of assistance required, or the proximity we will have to the people we are going to help.

“Safety is always paramount in our minds and wearing the full PPE and following strict RNLI guidelines minimises the risk of exposure for both our volunteer crew and those we rescue.

“The people onboard this boat did exactly the right thing by calling for assistance. If any member of the public gets into difficulty on the water or spots someone else in difficulty, they should call 112 or 999 immediately and ask for the coastguard.”

Shortly after their return to station, the crew were requested to launch for a second time to assist a 30ft vessel that had lost steerage at the mouth of the harbour.

But the lifeboat was stood down en route when the crew onboard managed to right the craft and make their own way to safety.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Portrush RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat ran aground temporarily as it assisted an angling boat in difficulty in the Foyle Estuary yesterday afternoon (Sunday 28 June).

The volunteer crew had launched at 3.40pm to reports of a 24ft angling boat in difficulty at the entrance to the Foyle Estuary.

Weather conditions at the time were near gale-force with winds gusting from the west, which made the rescue challenging.

On arriving at the scene, the lifeboat crew established a tow line with the fishing vessel at around 4.27pm and proceeded at a slow speed back to Portrush Harbour in Co Antrim where it arrived about an hour later.

In the extreme weather conditions, the lifeboat temporarily went aground while assisting the casualty vessel to reach the pontoon.

As a safety precaution, the all-weather lifeboat was taken off service to allow a full inspection take place today. Portrush RNLI’s inshore lifeboat remains on service.

The volunteer lifeboat crew acknowledged the help given by local fisherman Richard Connor and the local coastguard team in assisting the lifeboat to get onto the pontoon.

Both the lifeboat crew and the crew of the angling boat were unharmed.

However, it’s understood that a member of the coastguard sustained a hand injury in helping at the scene. Portrush RNLI sends him their best wishes for a full recovery.

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Portaferry RNLI launched twice in three days to reports of broken down boats in the same area of Strangford Lough.

Portaferry’s volunteer crew launched initially on Thursday evening (25 June) at 9.50pm to assist a five-metre cabin cruiser at the entrance to Strangford Lough which had suffered engine failure after a fishing trip.

The inshore lifeboat towed the vessel to Portaferry Marina, handed the vessel to the local coastguard and assisted with berthing.

Portaferry’s lifeboat volunteers launched again yesterday afternoon (Saturday 27 June) at 5.07pm to tow to safety a seven-metre RIB which had suffered engine failure at the south end of Rock Angus, at the beginning of Strangford Lough.

Commenting on the callouts, lifeboat helm Colin Conway said: “As this is a busy period for Portaferry RNLI, we ask you to remember to have all your communication devices in good working order, to follow safety advice to stay as safe as you can, and always to respect the water.”

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Irish Coast Guard

The Irish Coast Guard is Ireland's 4th Blue Light service (along with An Garda Síochána, the Ambulance Service and the Fire Service). It provides a nationwide maritime emergency organisation as well as a variety of services to shipping and other government agencies.

The purpose of the Irish Coast Guard is to promote safety and security standards, and by doing so, prevent as far as possible, the loss of life at sea, and on inland waters, mountains and caves, and to provide effective emergency response services and to safeguard the quality of the marine environment.

The Irish Coast Guard has responsibility for Ireland's system of marine communications, surveillance and emergency management in Ireland's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and certain inland waterways.

It is responsible for the response to, and co-ordination of, maritime accidents which require search and rescue and counter-pollution and ship casualty operations. It also has responsibility for vessel traffic monitoring.

Operations in respect of maritime security, illegal drug trafficking, illegal migration and fisheries enforcement are co-ordinated by other bodies within the Irish Government.

Introduction

On average, each year, the Irish Coast Guard is expected to:

  • handle 3,000 marine emergencies
  • assist 4,500 people and save about 200 lives
  • task Coast Guard helicopters on missions around 2000 times (40 times to assist mountain rescues and 200 times to carry out aeromedical HEMS missions on behalf of the HSE), Coast Guard volunteer units will respond 1000 times and RNLI and community lifeboats will be tasked by our Coordination Centres about 950 times
  • evacuate medical patients off our Islands to hospital on 100 occasions
  • assist other nations' Coast Guards about 200 times
  • make around 6,000 maritime safety broadcasts to shipping, fishing and leisure craft users
  • carry out a safety on the water campaign that targets primary schools and leisure craft users, including at sea and beach patrols
  • investigate approximately 50 maritime pollution reports

The Coast Guard has been around in some form in Ireland since 1908.

List of Coast Guard Units in Ireland

  • Achill, Co. Mayo
  • Ardmore, Co. Waterford
  • Arklow, Co. Wicklow
  • Ballybunion, Co. Kerry
  • Ballycotton, Co. Cork
  • Ballyglass, Co. Mayo
  • Bonmahon, Co. Waterford
  • Bunbeg, Co. Donegal
  • Carnsore, Co. Wexford
  • Castlefreake, Co. Cork
  • Castletownbere, Co. Cork
  • Cleggan, Co. Galway
  • Clogherhead, Co. Louth
  • Costelloe Bay, Co. Galway
  • Courtown, Co. Wexford
  • Crosshaven, Co. Cork
  • Curracloe, Co. Wexford
  • Dingle, Co. Kerry
  • Doolin, Co. Clare
  • Drogheda, Co. Louth
  • Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin
  • Dunmore East, Co. Waterford
  • Fethard, Co. Wexford
  • Glandore, Co. Cork
  • Glenderry, Co. Kerry
  • Goleen, Co. Cork
  • Greencastle, Co. Donegal
  • Greenore, Co. Louth
  • Greystones, Co. Wicklow
  • Guileen, Co. Cork
  • Howth, Co. Dublin
  • Kilkee, Co. Clare
  • Killala, Co. Mayo
  • Killybegs, Co. Donegal
  • Kilmore Quay, Co. Wexford
  • Knightstown, Co. Kerry
  • Mulroy, Co. Donegal
  • North Aran, Co. Galway
  • Old Head Of Kinsale, Co. Cork
  • Oysterhaven, Co. Cork
  • Rosslare, Co. Wexford
  • Seven Heads, Co. Cork
  • Skerries, Co. Dublin
  • Summercove, Co. Cork
  • Toe Head, Co. Cork
  • Tory Island, Co. Donegal
  • Tramore, Co. Waterford
  • Waterville, Co. Kerry
  • Westport, Co. Mayo
  • Wicklow
  • Youghal, Co. Cork

The roles of the Irish Coast Guard

The main roles of the Irish Coast Guard are to rescue people from danger at sea or on land, to organise immediate medical transport and to assist boats and ships within the country's jurisdiction.

Each year the Irish Coast Guard co-ordinates the response to thousands of incidents at sea and on the cliffs and beaches of Ireland. It does this through its Marine Rescue Centres which are currently based in:

  • Dublin
  • Malin Head (Co Donegal)
  • Valentia Island (Co Kerry).

Each centre is responsible for search and rescue operations.

The Dublin National Maritime Operations Centre (NMOC) provides marine search and rescue response services and co-ordinates the response to marine casualty incidents within the Irish Pollution Responsibility Zone/EEZ.

The Marine Rescue Sub Centre (MRSC) Valentia and MRSC Malin Head are 24/7 centres co-ordinating search and rescue response in their areas of responsibility.

The Marine Rescue Sub Centre (MRSC) Valentia is the contact point for routine operational matters in the area between Ballycotton and Clifden.

MRSC Malin Head is the contact point for routine operational matters in the area between Clifden and Lough Foyle.

MRCC Dublin is the contact point for routine operational matters in the area between Carlingford Lough and Ballycotton.

Each MRCC/MRSC broadcasts maritime safety information on VHF and, in some cases, MF radio in accordance with published schedules.

Maritime safety information that is broadcast by the three Marine Rescue Sub-centres includes:

  • navigational warnings as issued by the UK Hydrographic Office
  • gale warnings, shipping forecasts, local inshore forecasts, strong wind warnings and small craft warnings as issued by the Irish Meteorological Office.

Coast Guard helicopters

The Irish Coast Guard has contracted five medium-lift Sikorsky Search and Rescue helicopters deployed at bases in Dublin, Waterford, Shannon and Sligo.

The helicopters are designated wheels up from initial notification in 15 minutes during daylight hours and 45 minutes at night. One aircraft is fitted and its crew trained for under slung cargo operations up to 3000kgs and is available on short notice based at Waterford.

These aircraft respond to emergencies at sea, inland waterways, offshore islands and mountains of Ireland (32 counties).

They can also be used for assistance in flooding, major inland emergencies, intra-hospital transfers, pollution, and aerial surveillance during daylight hours, lifting and passenger operations and other operations as authorised by the Coast Guard within appropriate regulations.

The Coast Guard can contract specialised aerial surveillance or dispersant spraying aircraft at short notice internationally.

Helicopter tasks include:

  • the location of marine and aviation incident survivors by homing onto aviation and marine radio distress transmissions, by guidance from other agencies, and by visual, electronic and electro-optical search
  • the evacuation of survivors from the sea, and medical evacuees from all manner of vessels including high-sided passenger and cargo vessels and from the islands
  • the evacuation of personnel from ships facing potential disaster
  • search and or rescue in mountainous areas, caves, rivers, lakes and waterways
  • the transport of offshore fire-fighters (MFRTs) or ambulance teams (MARTs) and their equipment following a request for assistance
  • the provision of safety cover for other search and rescue units including other Marine Emergency Service helicopters
  • pollution, casualty and salvage inspections and surveillance and the transport of associated personnel and equipment
  • inter-agency training in all relevant aspects of the primary role
  • onshore emergency medical service, including evacuation and air ambulance tasks
  • relief of the islands and of areas suffering from flooding or deep snow

The secondary roles of the helicopter are:

  • the exercise of the primary search, rescue and evacuation roles in adjacent search and rescue regions
  • assistance to onshore emergency services, such as in the evacuation of high-rise buildings
  • public safety awareness displays and demonstrations
  • providing helicopter expertise for seminars and training courses

The Irish Coast Guard provides aeronautical assets for search and rescue in the mountains of Ireland. Requests for Irish Coast Guard assets are made to the Marine Rescue Centres.

Requests are accepted from An Garda Síochána and nominated persons in Mountain Rescue Teams.

Information courtesy of Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (July 2019)

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