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West Cork Kayaker Raises Alarm for Three Swimmers in Distress Near Horse Island

30th May 2013
West Cork Kayaker Raises Alarm for Three Swimmers in Distress Near Horse Island

Both Baltimore RNLI lifeboats responded to an emergency in the Ballydehob area last evening. The alarm was raised at 17.45 and both the all-weather and inshore Lifeboats responded immediately.

A kayaker had reported persons in the water between Horse Island and Audley cove.

The ILB helmed by Michael Cottrell was first on the scene and was directed by the kayaker towards persons in the water. Assisted by crew Gerald O Brien and Pat O Driscoll two casualties were recovered from the water.

One was a good swimmer and was keeping his friend's head above water, both desperately hanging on and near exhaustion. Pat O Driscoll entered the water to help keep the distressed casualty afloat and both were recovered to the ILB.

The ALB and Schull Lifeboat arrived on scene minutes later and both casualties were transferred to Baltimore lifeboat for first aid. The ALB made best speed to Schull Harbour where medical resources had been requested to attend.

Goleen Coastguard were at the pier to assist with landing the casualty and doctor and ambulance arrived soon after.

A 3rd survivor who had been rescued and brought to safety by the kayaker was transferred from Audley Cove by the ILB to join his friends in Schull.

Concern centered around the condition of the most distressed casualty. He was hypothermic and had swallowed a considerable amount of seawater.

The Coastguard rescue helicopter from Shannon arrived on scene, landed in adjacent playing fields and airlifted him to hospital.

None of the survivors were wearing life-jackets and all were lightly clad. Their small craft had capsized and they were attempting to swim to shore.

The evening was fine and warm but with a stiff Northerly breeze. A strong flood tide was sweeping through the sound between Horse Island and the shore.

Baltimore Lifeboat was crewed by Coxswain, Kieran Cotter, Mechanic, Sean McCarthy along with Jim Griffiths, Ger Sheehy, Ronnie Carthy, John O Flynn and Eoin Ryan

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
Afloat.ie Team

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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.

© Afloat 2020

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