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Displaying items by tag: Newcastle

Newcastle RNLI volunteer crew launched the inshore D class lifeboat 'Eliza' at the request of Belfast Coastguard to assist three kayakers who were in difficulties in Dundrum Inner Bay yesterday morning. The bay lies on the south County Down coast about 6km east of Newcastle.

The Inner Bay is almost landlocked and separated by the dune systems of Ballykinler to the north and Murlough to the south.

The kayakers, a mother, her daughter, and a friend, had launched their kayaks at the slipway opposite Dundrum chapel in the Main Street, on a falling tide and paddled towards the channel between Murlough Nature Reserve and Ballykinler Army Camp.

Dundrum Inner Bay is almost landlocked and separated by the dune systems of Ballykinler to the north and Murlough to the south.Dundrum Inner Bay is almost landlocked and separated by the dune systems of Ballykinler to the north and Murlough to the south

With the tide surging out of the Inner Bay and towards the open sea, the three kayaks were swept towards the bar mouth. Conditions were rough at the time and the group were hailed on a tannoy by Range Controllers who saw them from the nearby army camp and who advised them to turn around. With the three kayakers caught in the grip of the tide, one of them managed to call Belfast Coastguard who immediately tasked Newcastle RNLI inshore lifeboat and Newcastle Coastguard team to the scene.

Newcastle RNLI Coxswain, Niall McMurray, said, "Thankfully when we arrived on scene one of the kayakers had managed to make shore on the Murlough side of the channel while the other two had made shore on the Ballykinler side".

Two of the kayakers had capsized and spent some time in the water before making it ashore. The Range Controllers took care of the two people in Ballykinler while the Coastguards from Newcastle picked up the third on Murlough beach and took her to the army camp to be reunited with her group.

"We retrieved the kayaks from the water and returned to station" said Niall McMurray.

"All three kayakers were well equipped with lifejackets, radios and mobile phones but unfortunately got caught out by the strength of a surging tide which swept them towards the bar mouth which was rough because of the south wind".

The RNLI would advise all kayakers to always carry a means of calling for help and have it stored in an easy to reach location in case of emergency. Also, consider taking a mobile phone with the SafeTrx app.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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The volunteer crew at Newcastle RNLI in Co Down returned to sea recently after normal training exercises had to be curtailed due to Covid-19.

While the station has remained fully operational throughout the pandemic and volunteers have remained on call 24/7, training has been limited for Northern Ireland’s RNLI crews.

The crew took their first training session in daylight hours in Dundrum Bay while the second exercise was at night. The volunteers all wore the necessary COVID-19 PPE as well as their usual seagoing suits and lifejackets during the training.

The Mersey class all-weather lifeboat Eleanor and Bryant Girling was given a timely workout on both occasions, which provided an opportunity for the crew members to put their training and lifesaving skills into practice.

Speaking following the exercises, Newcastle RNLI coxswain Nathan Leneghan said: “Maintaining our lifesaving service while keeping our people safe continues to be the RNLI’s main priority.

Newcastle RNLI volunteers on their recent night-time exercise

“Exercises form an important part of our work, allowing our lifeboat crews to maintain their skills and ensure they are always prepared for what they face out at sea.

“In the daylight exercise, we went on a local area knowledge exercise and mechanical shakedown to trial all the systems, ensuring they are ready when required. It was a glorious morning and a great opportunity to return to exercise.”

Newcastle RNLI’s second coxswain Niall McMurray added: “During the night-time exercise, the crew covered some mechanical engine tests after which we went on to focus on emergency procedures.

“We ran through all the alarms on the lifeboat to reacquaint ourselves with the different sounds and how to react if they were activated in a real-life situation. We practised a fire drill and how to deal with a fire in each area of the lifeboat.

“We then went on to test our flares which are primarily used to light up an area at night before concluding the evening learning how to rig and operate the emergency steering.”

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The first shout of 2021 for the Newcastle RNLI Inshore Lifeboat was a call out from Belfast Coastguard just before 3 pm today to reports of two teenage girls cut off by the tide on Murlough Beach.
The beach is a four-mile stretch just east of Newcastle town on Dundrum Bay in the south of Co Down and is owned by the National Trust.

The Inshore D class lifeboat "Eliza" arrived on scene soon afterwards and commenced a shoreline search. Due to surf size, the All-weather Mersey class Lifeboat, Eleanor, and Bryant Girling were also requested to launch and assist with a higher platform for visibility.

But as the crew were preparing to launch the ALB a further page from Belfast Coastguard at 3.15 pm cancelled the launch as both girls had been safely located by parents and were leaving the area.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Just three days after the return of Newcastle RNLI station's D class lifeboat, Eliza, after a refit, in the late afternoon yesterday, Belfast Coastguard requested the immediate launch of the both the station's Lifeboats to reports of an overdue swimmer in the vicinity of the Inner Dundrum Bay area at at Murlough Beach.

The swimmer had got separated from his friend. Coastguard teams from Newcastle, Kilkeel and Portaferry, police officers from Newcastle and Downpatrick and the Coastguard helicopter from Valley, in Wales were also involved in the search.

Dundrum Outer Bay lies east of Newcastle in south County Down. The Outer Bay is a wide gently shelving bay, and the Inner Bay is an estuarine lagoon, connected to the Outer Bay by a tidal channel.

The search extended from Murlough Beach, around Dundrum inner bay to Tyrella Beach in difficult conditions with a strong, cold onshore wind.

Over two hours after he went missing the swimmer was found by Police Officers on the beach at Ballykinler Army Base, having been swept away from Murlough and across the bay before coming ashore. The man was taken to hospital.

The rescue was coordinated by Belfast Coastguard Operations Centre.

This story was updated on November 17 with up to date details of the rescue operation

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The team at Newcastle RNLI in Northern Ireland is calling for a new volunteer lifeboat press officer to help them to save lives at sea.

This role will help raise awareness of the RNLI through the promotion of the lifeboat station’s vital work, including newsworthy rescues carried out by the crew.

Newcastle RNLI is seeking someone who can produce and distribute regular new releases, be available to answer media enquiries, work to support media opportunities and facilitate interview requests.

The role is best suited to someone with good writing and communication skills, who lives locally and can be flexible with their time.

Lisa Ramsden, Newcastle RNLI’s lifeboat operations manager, said: “Volunteering with us gives people the opportunity to make a real difference in their local community, to save lives and become part of the larger RNLI family.

“We can’t keep people safe without the support of our wonderful volunteers, who truly make a difference every day no matter which role they are fulfilling.

“Becoming a volunteer lifeboat press officer is a great chance to play a crucial part in helping to save lives.

“We’re looking for an enthusiastic person with good writing and interpersonal skills and who enjoys working with people and at times under pressure to inform the media and update our community on the various lifesaving activities that are happening at the station from rescues to fundraising, community safety to events.”

Anyone interested in finding out more or wants to apply should follow the link to the RNLI website HERE.

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Clean-up operations are under way in Newcastle and other parts of Co Down after the Shinma River burst its banks due to heavy rainfall from Storm Francis yesterday (Tuesday 25 August).

As BreakingNews.ie reports, as many as 300 homes were affected by the floodwaters which rose over one metre in some areas.

South Down MLA Colin McGrath said of the scene: “It is like a disaster zone.”

Flooding was particularly acute in the Bryansford Avenue area of Newcastle, along the north side of the Shinma River at the foot of the Mournes.

The Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service said a number of people were rescued from their homes as a specialist rescue team, flood response teams and local crews attended the situation.

Dozens of homes and businesses in Co Cork were also damaged by flooding and strong winds as the storm blew through the county early yesterday. The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

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A spate of boat vandalism at Newcastle Harbour in Co Down is putting lives at risk, a former coastguard chief claims.

John Lowry told the Belfast Telegraph that a number of boats in the Northern Ireland harbour have been damaged and loosened from their moorings over recent weeks.

The latest incident saw fellow sailors recover a boat from a nearby beach in difficult weather.

“We’re calling for the council to put more procedures in place,” said Lowry. “Part of the harbour isn't lit up at night at all and the boat owners are calling for help.”

The Belfast Telegraph has more on the story HERE.

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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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This morning Newcastle RNLI were tasked along with their colleagues from Newcastle and Kilkeel Coastguard to assist a casualty who had trapped his foot under the vehicle with an incoming tide while in the process of trying to launch their boat.

On arrival at the scene, the crew found the casualty had managed to free his foot and Newcastle RNLI tractor assisted the vehicle, which had now become bogged in the soft sand along with boat and trailer back off the shore to safety.

Newcastle NIFRS were also tasked along with PSNI and Belfast CGOC co-ordinated the incident.

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Five crew were rescued from a fishing vessel that ran aground on rocks on approach to Ardglass Harbour early yesterday morning (Wednesday 23 October).

Portaferry and Newcastle RNLI’s volunteer lifeboat crews launched to assist after a Mayday call from the 24-metre vessel, which had been drifting towards Phennick Point outside the harbour.

The Belfast Telegraph reports that the boat, the Cork-registered Dillon Owen, was attempting to enter the harbour to land its herring catch when it quickly lost powe

As the lifeboats proceeded towards Ardglass, the fishing vessel was stuck on the rocks and had begun taking on water. The Dublin-based Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 116 was also scrambled to the scene carrying extra pumps.

Following a dynamic risk assessment between the lifeboats and fishing boat skipper, an attempt was made to tow the vessel off the rocks.

But due to worsening weather and tidal conditions, it was decided after numerous attempts by the Newcastle lifeboat coxswain to evacuate the crew of the vessel instead — with Rescue 116 airlifting them to safety upon its arrival.

Speaking after the rescue, Newcastle RNLI coxswain Nathan Leneghan said: “This morning's rescue was a success due to multi-agency teamwork with our colleagues in the Irish Coast Guard, volunteers at Portaferry RNLI and Portaferry and Newcastle coastguard teams. Thankfully this was positive outcome, and all five fishermen are safe and well.”

Kevin Quigley of the NI Fishery Harbour Authority said the fishing vessel remained listing “very badly” at the harbour and further attempts would be made to refloat it.

Published in Rescue
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The Irish Coast Guard

The Irish Coast Guard is Ireland's fourth '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.

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

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

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.

Irish Coastguard FAQs

The Irish Coast Guard provides nationwide maritime emergency response, while also promoting safety and security standards. It aims to prevent the loss of life at sea, on inland waters, on mountains and in caves; and to safeguard the quality of the marine environment.

The main role of the Irish Coast Guard is 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. It has three marine rescue centres in Dublin, Malin Head, Co Donegal, and Valentia Island, Co Kerry. The Dublin National Maritime Operations centre provides marine search and rescue responses and coordinates the response to marine casualty incidents with the Irish exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

Yes, effectively, it is the fourth "blue light" service. The Marine Rescue Sub-Centre (MRSC) Valentia is the contact point for the coastal area between Ballycotton, Co Cork and Clifden, Co Galway. At the same time, the MRSC Malin Head covers the area between Clifden and Lough Foyle. Marine Rescue Co-ordination Centre (MRCC) Dublin covers Carlingford Lough, Co Louth to Ballycotton, Co Cork. Each MRCC/MRSC also broadcasts maritime safety information on VHF and MF radio, including navigational and gale warnings, shipping forecasts, local inshore forecasts, strong wind warnings and small craft warnings.

The Irish Coast Guard handles about 3,000 marine emergencies annually, and assists 4,500 people - saving an estimated 200 lives, according to the Department of Transport. In 2016, Irish Coast Guard helicopters completed 1,000 missions in a single year for the first time.

Yes, Irish Coast Guard helicopters evacuate medical patients from offshore islands to hospital on average about 100 times a year. In September 2017, the Department of Health announced that search and rescue pilots who work 24-hour duties would not be expected to perform any inter-hospital patient transfers. The Air Corps flies the Emergency Aeromedical Service, established in 2012 and using an AW139 twin-engine helicopter. Known by its call sign "Air Corps 112", it airlifted its 3,000th patient in autumn 2020.

The Irish Coast Guard works closely with the British Maritime and Coastguard Agency, which is responsible for the Northern Irish coast.

The Irish Coast Guard is a State-funded service, with both paid management personnel and volunteers, and is under the auspices of the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport. It is allocated approximately 74 million euro annually in funding, some 85 per cent of which pays for a helicopter contract that costs 60 million euro annually. The overall funding figure is "variable", an Oireachtas committee was told in 2019. Other significant expenditure items include volunteer training exercises, equipment, maintenance, renewal, and information technology.

The Irish Coast Guard has four search and rescue helicopter bases at Dublin, Waterford, Shannon and Sligo, run on a contract worth 50 million euro annually with an additional 10 million euro in costs by CHC Ireland. It provides five medium-lift Sikorsky S-92 helicopters and trained crew. The 44 Irish Coast Guard coastal units with 1,000 volunteers are classed as onshore search units, with 23 of the 44 units having rigid inflatable boats (RIBs) and 17 units having cliff rescue capability. The Irish Coast Guard has 60 buildings in total around the coast, and units have search vehicles fitted with blue lights, all-terrain vehicles or quads, first aid equipment, generators and area lighting, search equipment, marine radios, pyrotechnics and appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE). The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) and Community Rescue Boats Ireland also provide lifeboats and crews to assist in search and rescue. The Irish Coast Guard works closely with the Garda Siochána, National Ambulance Service, Naval Service and Air Corps, Civil Defence, while fishing vessels, ships and other craft at sea offer assistance in search operations.

The helicopters are designated as airborne from initial notification in 15 minutes during daylight hours, and 45 minutes at night. The aircraft respond to emergencies at sea, on inland waterways, offshore islands and mountains and cover the 32 counties. They can also assist in flooding, major inland emergencies, intra-hospital transfers, pollution, and can transport offshore firefighters and ambulance teams. The Irish Coast Guard volunteers units are expected to achieve a 90 per cent response time of departing from the station house in ten minutes from notification during daylight and 20 minutes at night. They are also expected to achieve a 90 per cent response time to the scene of the incident in less than 60 minutes from notification by day and 75 minutes at night, subject to geographical limitations.

Units are managed by an officer-in-charge (three stripes on the uniform) and a deputy officer in charge (two stripes). Each team is trained in search skills, first aid, setting up helicopter landing sites and a range of maritime skills, while certain units are also trained in cliff rescue.

Volunteers receive an allowance for time spent on exercises and call-outs. What is the difference between the Irish Coast Guard and the RNLI? The RNLI is a registered charity which has been saving lives at sea since 1824, and runs a 24/7 volunteer lifeboat service around the British and Irish coasts. It is a declared asset of the British Maritime and Coast Guard Agency and the Irish Coast Guard. Community Rescue Boats Ireland is a community rescue network of volunteers under the auspices of Water Safety Ireland.

No, it does not charge for rescue and nor do the RNLI or Community Rescue Boats Ireland.

The marine rescue centres maintain 19 VHF voice and DSC radio sites around the Irish coastline and a digital paging system. There are two VHF repeater test sites, four MF radio sites and two NAVTEX transmitter sites. Does Ireland have a national search and rescue plan? The first national search and rescue plan was published in July, 2019. It establishes the national framework for the overall development, deployment and improvement of search and rescue services within the Irish Search and Rescue Region and to meet domestic and international commitments. The purpose of the national search and rescue plan is to promote a planned and nationally coordinated search and rescue response to persons in distress at sea, in the air or on land.

Yes, the Irish Coast Guard is responsible for responding to spills of oil and other hazardous substances with the Irish pollution responsibility zone, along with providing an effective response to marine casualties and monitoring or intervening in marine salvage operations. It provides and maintains a 24-hour marine pollution notification at the three marine rescue centres. It coordinates exercises and tests of national and local pollution response plans.

The first Irish Coast Guard volunteer to die on duty was Caitriona Lucas, a highly trained member of the Doolin Coast Guard unit, while assisting in a search for a missing man by the Kilkee unit in September 2016. Six months later, four Irish Coast Guard helicopter crew – Dara Fitzpatrick, Mark Duffy, Paul Ormsby and Ciarán Smith -died when their Sikorsky S-92 struck Blackrock island off the Mayo coast on March 14, 2017. The Dublin-based Rescue 116 crew were providing "top cover" or communications for a medical emergency off the west coast and had been approaching Blacksod to refuel. Up until the five fatalities, the Irish Coast Guard recorded that more than a million "man hours" had been spent on more than 30,000 rescue missions since 1991.

Several investigations were initiated into each incident. The Marine Casualty Investigation Board was critical of the Irish Coast Guard in its final report into the death of Caitriona Lucas, while a separate Health and Safety Authority investigation has been completed, but not published. The Air Accident Investigation Unit final report into the Rescue 116 helicopter crash has not yet been published.

The Irish Coast Guard in its present form dates back to 1991, when the Irish Marine Emergency Service was formed after a campaign initiated by Dr Joan McGinley to improve air/sea rescue services on the west Irish coast. Before Irish independence, the British Admiralty was responsible for a Coast Guard (formerly the Water Guard or Preventative Boat Service) dating back to 1809. The West Coast Search and Rescue Action Committee was initiated with a public meeting in Killybegs, Co Donegal, in 1988 and the group was so effective that a Government report was commissioned, which recommended setting up a new division of the Department of the Marine to run the Marine Rescue Co-Ordination Centre (MRCC), then based at Shannon, along with the existing coast radio service, and coast and cliff rescue. A medium-range helicopter base was established at Shannon within two years. Initially, the base was served by the Air Corps.

The first director of what was then IMES was Capt Liam Kirwan, who had spent 20 years at sea and latterly worked with the Marine Survey Office. Capt Kirwan transformed a poorly funded voluntary coast and cliff rescue service into a trained network of cliff and sea rescue units – largely voluntary, but with paid management. The MRCC was relocated from Shannon to an IMES headquarters at the then Department of the Marine (now Department of Transport) in Leeson Lane, Dublin. The coast radio stations at Valentia, Co Kerry, and Malin Head, Co Donegal, became marine rescue-sub-centres.

The current director is Chris Reynolds, who has been in place since August 2007 and was formerly with the Naval Service. He has been seconded to the head of mission with the EUCAP Somalia - which has a mandate to enhance Somalia's maritime civilian law enforcement capacity – since January 2019.

  • 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

Sources: Department of Transport © Afloat 2020

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