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Fisherman Rescued By RNLI Crew Meets His Rescuers - And Owes His Life To Lifejacket Initiative

9th October 2013
Fisherman Rescued By RNLI Crew Meets His Rescuers - And Owes His Life To Lifejacket Initiative

#RNLI - A fisherman whose boat sank in minutes has thanked several organisations who implemented and trained him on using a lifejacket for saving his life. 

Samuel Cully, a fisherman from Portavogie, was in the water for 45 minutes after his vessel sank on Wednesday 18 September, off the coast of Co Down.  Weather conditions at the time were rough seas with Force 5 to 6 winds blowing.

RNLI lifeboats from Portaferry and Donaghadee were launched within minutes of a May Day being received by the Belfast Coastguard, along with the Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 116.

Recently Cully was reunited with the volunteer crew at Portaferry who rescued him.

Just weeks earlier, Cully had been provided with a personal flotation device in a grant-aided scheme run by the Fishermen’s Mission with funding and support from Seafish, the Department for Agriculture and Rural Development through the European Fisheries Fund, the Northern Ireland Fish Producers Organisation, RNLI, the Maritime Coastguard Agency and supermarket Asda.

The project aims to ensure that fishermen will receive a grant-aided PFD and the training required to ensure its proper use.

Frankie Horn, RNLI fishing safety manager for the UK and Ireland, said: "It’s great that Samuel is safe, and back with his family. We want fishermen to see the benefits of wearing a personal flotation device or lifejacket and for them to wear it voluntarily.

"This will be an ongoing process for us, talking to fishermen and working with the manufacturers to ensure that the PFDs provided are the best possible design for the fishing industry."

With the funding and logistics generously covered by other agencies, the RNLI was involved in leading the safety training session – an act that Cully is immensely grateful for. 

"I was only able to swim five or ten metres or so, and even then the wind and swell were washing me away from the shore," he recalled. "The boat went down so quickly, and I was so relieved to find the lifejacket doing exactly what I was told it would do. I cannot thank all those organisations involved enough."

In more recent news, Donaghadee and Portaferry RNLI launched yesterday (Tuesday 8 October) to go to the aid of a man fishing off rocks who became stranded by the tide.

Belfast Coastguard had received a call from a member of the general public just after 10.20am alerting them of the emergency.

On arriving on the scene, Donaghadee's all-weather lifeboat crew found their colleagues from Portaferry RNLI's inshore lifeboat were taking the man off the rocks and returning him safely into Portavogie harbour.

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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