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Santa Claus Delayed by Hoax Lifeboat Call

19th December 2011
Santa Claus Delayed by Hoax Lifeboat Call

 

#SANTA – The arrival of Santa Claus to Mullaghmore Pier by Bundoran RNLI Lifeboat on Sunday afternoon was delayed due to a hoax distress call received to Malin Head Coast Guard.

As the four Bundoran Lifeboat crew were about to embark on their trip to Mullaghmore, they were diverted and tasked to an alleged incident in Donegal Town where, following a phone call to the Coast Guard at Malin Head, it was believed that four people were in an upturned boat near the quay in the town.

Santa on board the lifeboat about to depart

Santa afloat in an RNLI RIB

Bundoran RNLI Lifeboat sped to the scene. The Rescue 118 Helicopter was also tasked from its base in Strandhill as were the Killybegs Coast Guard. As the rescue services reached the scene the call was declared a hoax and they were stood down. Speaking about the incident, Bundoran RNLI Lifeboat Deputy Launching Authority Patrick O'Doherty commented 'it's sad in this day that people still get a kick out of making hoax calls to the rescue services – not one but three services were tasked on this occasion making them all unavailable should a real call for a real emergency have come in. The Gardai have been informed about this and will no doubt make their own enquiries.'

Following the incident the Bundoran Lifeboat crew carried on to their original destination of Mullaghmore Pier where they joined in the fun with Santa and the boys and girls of the area. Santa was then zipped into his lifejacket, boarded the lifeboat and was waved off from the pier by the assembled crowd. Just before he got on the lifeboat Santa said 'I'd like to thank the hardworking volunteer crew of Bundoran RNLI Lifeboat. Their work to save lives at sea is to be applauded and I know that I will be in safe hands on Christmas Eve should there be an emergency with the sleigh as I fly over the area'.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Royal National Lifeboat Institute (RNLI) in Ireland Information

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is a charity to save lives at sea in the waters of UK and Ireland. Funded principally by legacies and donations, the RNLI operates a fleet of lifeboats, crewed by volunteers, based at a range of coastal and inland waters stations. Working closely with UK and Ireland Coastguards, RNLI crews are available to launch at short notice to assist people and vessels in difficulties.

RNLI was founded in 1824 and is based in Poole, Dorset. The organisation raised €210m in funds in 2019, spending €200m on lifesaving activities and water safety education. RNLI also provides a beach lifeguard service in the UK and has recently developed an International drowning prevention strategy, partnering with other organisations and governments to make drowning prevention a global priority.

Irish Lifeboat Stations

There are 46 lifeboat stations on the island of Ireland, with an operational base in Swords, Co Dublin. Irish RNLI crews are tasked through a paging system instigated by the Irish Coast Guard which can task a range of rescue resources depending on the nature of the emergency.

Famous Irish Lifeboat Rescues

Irish Lifeboats have participated in many rescues, perhaps the most famous of which was the rescue of the crew of the Daunt Rock lightship off Cork Harbour by the Ballycotton lifeboat in 1936. Spending almost 50 hours at sea, the lifeboat stood by the drifting lightship until the proximity to the Daunt Rock forced the coxswain to get alongside and successfully rescue the lightship's crew.

32 Irish lifeboat crew have been lost in rescue missions, including the 15 crew of the Kingstown (now Dun Laoghaire) lifeboat which capsized while attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme on Christmas Eve 1895.

FAQs

While the number of callouts to lifeboat stations varies from year to year, Howth Lifeboat station has aggregated more 'shouts' in recent years than other stations, averaging just over 60 a year.

Stations with an offshore lifeboat have a full-time mechanic, while some have a full-time coxswain. However, most lifeboat crews are volunteers.

There are 46 lifeboat stations on the island of Ireland

32 Irish lifeboat crew have been lost in rescue missions, including the 15 crew of the Kingstown (now Dun Laoghaire) lifeboat which capsized while attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme on Christmas Eve 1895

In 2019, 8,941 lifeboat launches saved 342 lives across the RNLI fleet.

The Irish fleet is a mixture of inshore and all-weather (offshore) craft. The offshore lifeboats, which range from 17m to 12m in length are either moored afloat, launched down a slipway or are towed into the sea on a trailer and launched. The inshore boats are either rigid or non-rigid inflatables.

The Irish Coast Guard in the Republic of Ireland or the UK Coastguard in Northern Ireland task lifeboats when an emergency call is received, through any of the recognised systems. These include 999/112 phone calls, Mayday/PanPan calls on VHF, a signal from an emergency position indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) or distress signals.

The Irish Coast Guard is the government agency responsible for the response to, and co-ordination of, maritime accidents which require search and rescue operations. To carry out their task the Coast Guard calls on their own resources – Coast Guard units manned by volunteers and contracted helicopters, as well as "declared resources" - RNLI lifeboats and crews. While lifeboats conduct the operation, the coordination is provided by the Coast Guard.

A lifeboat coxswain (pronounced cox'n) is the skipper or master of the lifeboat.

RNLI Lifeboat crews are required to follow a particular development plan that covers a pre-agreed range of skills necessary to complete particular tasks. These skills and tasks form part of the competence-based training that is delivered both locally and at the RNLI's Lifeboat College in Poole, Dorset

 

While the RNLI is dependent on donations and legacies for funding, they also need volunteer crew and fund-raisers.

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