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Displaying items by tag: Portaferry

 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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Portaferry RNLI in Northern Ireland rescued a male after he drifted more than a mile out to sea while holding on to the edge of a 15ft cabin cruiser on Tuesday afternoon (23 August).

The lifeboat crew were launched to reports of a person in the water after the alarm was raised by a local woman at Kilcief Gaelic park when she heard calls for help and contacted Belfast Coastguard.

Portaferry’s volunteer crew launched the inshore lifeboat promptly at 3.40pm and made their way to Rock Angus in Strangford Lough.

When on scene at 3.45pm, the lifeboat crew faced Force 4 conditions with a choppy sea state but excellent visibility.

The lifeboat crew located the casualty in the water and clinging to the cabin cruiser at the bar bouy at the start of Strangford Lough.

They immediately set about bringing the casualty onboard the lifeboat while checking him over for any injuries. The crew then proceeded back to Strangford Harbour and transferred the casualty into the care of his family and Portaferry Coastguard rescue team.

Following this, the lifeboat headed back to station to pick up another crew member and the salvage pump in case the casualty boat was taking on water.

When on scene again with the cabin cruiser, the crew checked the area over for any debris and then recovered the boat and established a tow to Strangford Harbour.

Commenting on the callout, Portaferry lifeboat press officer Jordan Conway said: “We were glad to rescue the casualty this afternoon and bring him to safety. The member of the public did the right thing by contacting the coastguard when she heard the calls for help.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Portaferry RNLI in Northern Ireland was requested to launch by Belfast Coastguard to reports of a fishing boat aground at St John’s Point early on Friday morning (5 August).

The volunteer crew’s pagers sounded at 6.24am and they made their way to St John’s point at Ardglass, where they arrived just before 7am and were joined by Newcastle RNLI with their all-weather and inshore lifeboats.

They found the 16m fishing boat, with a crew of four, was aground on a rocky coastline off St John’s Point.

Portaferry’s inshore lifeboat crew checked the fishing boat for damage before taking the four male adults onboard the lifeboat and bringing them to safety at Ardglass Marina.

Once on land, the casualties were transferred into the care of Newcastle Coastguard Rescue Team.

Commenting on the callout, Portaferry RNLI helm Chris Adair said: “This was an early morning callout for our crew and thankfully it had a successful outcome.

“We also wish to express our thanks to our colleagues in Newcastle RNLI who launched both their lifeboats and travelled to the scene. We were grateful to have them there.

“With conditions fair, the four casualties were brought to safety quickly and we wish them well.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Portaferry RNLI in Northern Ireland rescued a teenager after he drifted more than half a mile out to sea on an inflatable unicorn on Tuesday afternoon (2 August).

The volunteer crew launched the inshore lifeboat promptly at 3.45pm and made their way to Kilard Point in Strangford Lough where concerned members of the public had raised the alarm with Belfast Coastguard, the RNLI says.

The lifeboat crew located the casualty at Angus Rock within Strangford Lough and they immediately set about bringing the teenager onboard the lifeboat to checking him over for any injuries. The casualty was found to be safe and well.

The crew then proceeded back to Kilcief beach and transferred the casualty into the care of his family and the coastguard.

Commenting on the callout, Portaferry RNLI helm Ian Sands said: “We were glad to rescue the casualty this afternoon and bring him to safety. The casualty did the right thing by staying with the inflatable until help arrived.

“It is important to note that while inflatables can be fun, they are not designed for the beach where they can be easily be blown offshore.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Portaferry RNLI launched for the third time in two days on Wednesday evening (20 July) to retrieve a kayak that had drifted off Slanes Bay on Northern Ireland’s Arts Peninsula.

A member of the public raised the alarm shortly before 7.30pm after observing two children abandon a kayak when they got out of their depth in the water and decided to return to shore.

Portaferry RNLI’s volunteer crew — including new member Jesse Brown on her first callout — launched the inshore lifeboat promptly and made their way to Slanes Bay amid good weather conditions.

The kayak was located one mile off Slanes Bay at 8.05pm and the crew took it on board to prevent it becoming a risk to others on the water. The lifeboat then proceeded bay to nearby Cloughy beach and transferred the kayak into the care of the Portaferry Coastguard rescue team.

Commenting on the callout, Portaferry RNLI helm Chris Adair said: “Thankfully we were able to assist in bringing the kayak safely back to shore without it posing a danger to others.”

The previous evening, the Portaferry lifeboat launched to the aid of three casualties across two callouts in the space of two hours.

The first of these was two assist a female sea swimmer who had got into difficulty close to Killough Pier, west of Ardglass in Co Down.

As the lifeboat was en route via the Strangford Narrows, word came through that a local RIB has provided assistance and brought the swimmer ashore to the care of waiting emergency services. The crew were stood down and returned to Strangford to carry out their weekly exercise.

While out on exercise, the volunteer crew received reports from concerned kayakers of two paddleboarders struggling against the tide off Kilard Point after drifting a mile out from Kilclief Beach.

Once on scene, the volunteer crew helped the casualties aboard the lifeboat and brought them ashore to Strangford Pier.

Josh Boyd, Portaferry RNLI helm said: ‘“Clear information made it very straightforward for us to locate the two paddleboarders in the nick of time. With tide pulling the two further away from the shore, it was absolutely the correct thing for the kayakers to do in calling for help.”

As the weather gets warmer and more people travel to the coast, Portaferry RNLI reminds anyone planning a trip to sea or an activity on the water to always carry a means of calling for help, always wear a lifejacket and other appropriate protection and always check the weather and tides before going to sea.

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

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Portaferry and Peel RNLI came to the aid of a kayaker who got into difficulty in the Irish Sea earlier this week.

The man, who had been kayaking from the Isle of Man to Northern Ireland from early morning on Wednesday (8 June) became fatigued and, when he couldn’t see land, raised the alarm for help.

Both the inshore lifeboat from Portaferry RNLI and the all-weather lifeboat from Peel RNLI on Mann were requested to launch.

The pagers at Portaferry RNLI sounded shortly after 5pm as the station’s operational and fundraising volunteers were enjoying a visit by the RNLI’s chief executive Mark Dowie.

The inshore lifeboat, helmed by Chris Adair and with three crew onboard, launched immediately and made its way to the scene some 14 miles out from the Strangford Narrows. The Irish Coast Guard’s Dublin-based helicopter Rescue 116 was also tasked.

Weather conditions at the time were drizzly but there was good visibility. The sea was calm and there was a Force 3 easterly wind blowing. Once on scene at 5.58pm, the crew faced a Force 4 wind, fair visibility and a rough sea state.

The volunteer crew assessed the situation before helping the casualty out of his kayak and bringing him onboard the lifeboat.

He was then transferred to Peel RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat where he was brought inside the wheelhouse to be warmed up.

Both Portaferry and Peel lifeboat crews made their way to Portaferry with the casualty, who was checked over to ensure he was safe and well before he got warmed up with pizza and tea at the station.

Speaking following the callout, Philip Johnston, Portaferry RNLI lifeboat operations manager said: “The casualty was wearing the appropriate gear for kayaking and made the right decision to call the coastguard for help once he found the conditions too much.

“We would like to wish him well and thank our fellow volunteers from Peel and our colleagues in the coastguard who were also on scene.

“The pagers went off as our volunteers were having a meeting with Mark Dowie, our chief executive who was visiting from England. We were delighted to update him on our lifesaving work at Portaferry RNLI and were equally delighted to be brought up to speed from him on the various work that is happening across our charity that we are all so passionate about.

“As the pagers went off, Mark commented that out of the 124 stations that he has visited so far, we were the fourth station to have a call out during his visit.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Portaferry RNLI launched to the aid of four people across three callouts on Strangford Lough over the weekend for the Northern Ireland volunteer lifeboat crew.

The first call came just after 1am on Saturday morning (28 May) when a spoken-word mayday was picked up by Belfast Coastguard reporting an incident on Strangford Lough. There were no other details provided.

Helmed by Chris Adair and with three crew members onboard, the inshore lifeboat was launched for a search of the Portaferry shoreline. The HM Coastguard helicopter Rescue 199 from Prestwick was also tasked.

After three hours of searching and with nothing found, the lifeboat was stood down and the incident was declared a false alarm with good intent.

The second callout came at 4pm on Saturday after Belfast Coastguard reported that a person on a small punt had got into difficulty in shallow waters.

After emerging from the vessel and attempting to drag it to shore, the person had reportedly got stuck in mud in Cadew Bay, south of Whiterock on Strangford Lough.

The lifeboat helmed by Adair launched and made its way to the scene, where approach was made tricky by the low water conditions.

Portaferry and Bangor Coastguard mud rescue teams were also tasked and helped bring the person and their boat ashore, and the RNLI volunteers were subsequently stood down.

The lifeboat crew were called out once again on Sunday morning (29 May) at 5.21am following a report that a 30ft yacht with three people onboard that had run aground outside Portaferry Marina.

Adair again helmed the lifeboat along with three crew members and after assessing the situation on scene, they decided the best course of action was to establish a towline and bring the grounded vessel to the nearest safe port at Portaferry Marina.

Speaking following the three callouts, Portaferry RNLI’s lifeboat press officer Jordan Conway said: “This has been a busy weekend for our volunteer lifeboat crew and we would like to commend them and out colleagues in the coastguard for their efforts in going to the aid of those in difficulty.

“We would also like to commend the person who raised the alarm with good intent for the first call out. While nothing was found, we would always much rather launch and find nothing rather than not launch at all.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

The volunteer crew at Portaferry RNLI launched at the request of a stand-up paddle boarder in difficulty on Guns Island in Co Down yesterday afternoon (Tuesday 5 October).

Launching at 3.14pm in sunny weather with good visibility and a Force 5 northwesterly wind, the inshore lifeboat arrived on scene 10 minutes later and a crew member was placed on the island to assess the casualty.

The paddle boarder was beginning to suffer from mild hypothermia after having been in the water for some time prior to the lifeboat’s arrival. They were placed onboard the lifeboat and taken ashore at Ballyhornan Bay, where they were transferred to the care of Portaferry Coastguard Rescue Team.

Commenting on the callout, Portaferry RNLI helm Fergal Glynn said: ‘“he casualty was wearing appropriate clothing and had made the right decision to make himself safe on the island once they had got into difficulty.

“We would urge anyone planning to spend time on the water to be careful of the conditions and particularly the wind direction, as offshore winds can prove difficult to fight against.”

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Lifeboat crews from Portaferry and Newcastle RNLI were involved in the rescue of a man whose cabin cruiser was in danger of sinking off Co Down yesterday (Thursday 16 September).

The volunteers were requested to launch their lifeboats at 6pm yesterday evening following a request from Belfast Coastguard to go the aid of the casualty, who had abandoned his 9m cabin cruiser and had been rescued by the crew of a nearby motorboat.

Portaferry RNLI’s inshore lifeboat — helmed by Fergal Glynn and with crew members George Toma, Rosslyn Watret and David Fisher onboard — launched immediately and made its way to the scene one mile east of Gunn’s Island, southeast of the entrance to Strangford Lough on Northern Ireland’s east coast.

Newcastle RNLI, meanwhile, launched its all-weather lifeboat under coxswain Gerry McConkey and six crew members onboard, facing Force 4-5 southerly winds and a two- to two-and-a-half-metre sea swell.

Once on scene, the lifeboat crews saw that the casualty — who had been on his way to Bangor when his vessel took on water and the engine cut out — had deployed his life raft prior to his rescue.

The crews also observed that the cruiser was partially submerged, was listing and in a spin.

Having first checked that the casualty was safe and well on the motorboat, Portaferry RNLI transferred him onto the lifeboat before doing a further assessment. The man was cold and in shock but otherwise well.

The crew took the life raft onboard and deflated it before bringing the casualty to the nearest safe port at Ardglass, where they transferred the casualty into the care of Portaferry Coastguard.

Remaining at the scene, Newcastle RNLI proceeded to deal with the casualty vessel, with some crew working to establish an alongside tow while other crew members started the lifeboat’s salvage pump.

Due to the sea conditions, a decision was made to keep the pump onboard the lifeboat and instead pass the hose onto the boat to relieve the ingress of water.

In calmer waters and in the entrance of Strangford Lough, two crew members were transferred onto the vessel to assess the extent of the flooding. The lifeboat then proceeded to tow the vessel safely back to Strangford Lough.

Speaking following the callout, Portaferry RNLI helm Fergal Glynn said: “We would like to wish the casualty well following his ordeal yesterday evening and commend the crew of the motorboat who were first on scene and rescued him.

“This operation was a team effort with our colleagues from Newcastle RNLI and Portaferry Coastguard all playing their part to bring both the man and the vessel to safety.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Portaferry RNLI came to the aid of two men this morning (Wednesday 8 September) after their 9m rib took on water and was in danger of sinking off St John’s Point Lighthouse in county Down. Newcastle RNLI also responded.

The volunteer crew at Portaferry RNLI were requested to launch their inshore lifeboat by Belfast Coastguard at 11.06 am following a Pan Pan alert. The report was that the vessel was sinking one mile west of St John’s Point. Meanwhile, Newcastle RNLI was requested to launch their all-weather lifeboat.

The inshore lifeboat from Portaferry helmed by Chris Adair and with crew members, Simon Exley, George Toma and Ian Sands onboard, launched immediately and made its way to the scene approximately 25 minutes away.

Weather conditions at the time were good with clear skies, moderate visibility due to a sea fog, smooth seas and a light breeze.

Arriving first on scene, the Portaferry lifeboat crew observed that the men onboard the boat were safe and well and were already using their own salvage pump to deal with the ingress of water.

The lifeboat helm transferred a crew member onboard the boat with another salvage pump should it be required. However, having assessed the situation and with the crew’s own pump coping well with the intake of water, a decision was made to escort the vessel to the nearest safe port at Ardglass Harbour. Newcastle RNLI was subsequently stood down. On arrival at Ardglass, the vessel was assisted by the Newcastle Coastguard team.

Speaking following the call out, Portaferry RNLI Helm Chris Adair said: ‘The men onboard the vessel acted quickly this morning which ensured that help was with them in good time should the situation have deteriorated. We would like to commend them for doing everything right in raising the alarm early on when they knew they were in difficulty, for wearing their lifejackets and for being prepared for the situation they encountered and using their own salvage pump. All these factors helped in keeping them safe and we were delighted to escort them back to Ardglass.’

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Every Year Ireland's Search & Rescue Services deliver emergency life saving work on our seas, lakes and rivers.

Ireland's Water Safety Agencies work hard to provide us with the information we need to keep safe, while enjoying all manner of water based activities.

There's no better fun than getting out on the water but being afloat is a responsibility we all need to take seriously.

These pages detail the work of the rescue agencies. We also aim to promote safety standards among pleasure boaters, and by doing so, prevent, as far as possible, the loss of life at sea and on inland waters. If you have ideas for our pages we'd love to hear from you. Please email us at [email protected]

Think Before You Sink - Wear a Lifejacket

Accidents can happen fast on water and there may not be time to reach for a lifejacket in an emergency therefore don't just carry a lifejacket - wear it; if it's not on you, it can't save your life.

Irish Water Safety's Safe Boating Alert:

Check condition of boat and equipment, hull, engine, fuel, tools, torch.

Check the weather forecast for the area.

Check locally concerning dangerous currents and strong tides.

Do not drink alcohol while setting out or during your trip.

Carry an alternative means of propulsion e.g. sails and oars or motor and oars.

Carry a first aid kit on board and distress signals (at least two parachute distress rockets, two red hand flares).

Carry a fire extinguisher, a hand bailer or bucket with lanyard and an anchor with rope attached.

Carry marine radio or some means of communication with shore.

Do not overload the boat - this will make it unstable.

Do not set out unless accompanied by an experienced person.

Leave details of your planned trip with someone ashore - including departure and arrival times, description of boat, names of persons on board, etc.

Wear a Lifejacket at all times.

Keep an eye on the weather - seek shelter in good time.

In Marine Emergencies, call 999 or 112 and ask for Marine Rescue.

Lifejackets Checklist

Ensure Cartridges have not been punctured and are secured firmly.

Ensure all zips, buckles, fasteners and webbing straps are functioning correctly and adjusted to fit the user.

Check that fitted lights are operating correctly.

Ensure that Automatic Inflation devices are fully serviced and in date.

Check that the valve or lifejacket is not leaking.