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Portaferry & Bangor Lifeboats Spring Into Action For Search & Rescue Callouts

15th July 2014
Portaferry & Bangor Lifeboats Spring Into Action For Search & Rescue Callouts

#RNLI - Portaferry RNLI launched its inshore lifeboat yesterday afternoon (14 July) to the aid of a man who had suffered a head injury in one of the races during Portaferry Sailing Club’s annual regatta.

The lifeboat launched at 2.36pm and met up with the injured man a few minutes later on board his 12m yacht just off Marfield Bay in Strangford Lough, Co Down.



Weather conditions at the time were cloudy with good visibility, with a Force 2 to 3 southerly wind and calm seas.



After assessing the injured man’s condition, the volunteer crew transferred him into the lifeboat before taking him to Strangford Harbour, where he was then passed into the care of the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service.

Around the same time, RNLI Bangor was launching to investigate reports that children could have been on board an abandoned homemade raft spotted adrift off Ballymacormick Point on the edge of Belfast Lough.

Calm seas and fine weather allowed the lifeboat to proceed at full speed to the search area between Ballymacormick Point and Orlock Point.

After an extensive two-hour search of the area in conjunction with a fishing vessel and a coastguard rescue team, nothing was found.

The search was later terminated when enquiries found that there was a high probability that the raft had drifted from shore during high water.

Michael McKenna, volunteer RNLI helmsman who was involved in the search, took the opportunity to remind all children playing along the coast of the SAFE code: S for spot the dangers, A for always go with a friend, F for find and follow the safety signs and flags and E for Emergency - put up your hand and shout or ring 999/112 and ask for the coastguard.

It was the third callout for Bangor RNLI in three days, after a busy Saturday 12 July that began with a morning request from Belfast Coastguard to assist in the search for an inflatable dinghy.

The dinghy had been spotted by a concerned member of the public at the mouth of Larne Lough.
 
The Bangor volunteer crew joined the Larne RNLI lifeboat in the search for the dinghy and its occupants. The former were quickly on scene and found the dinghy deserted with its engine down and a rope around the propeller.
 


The name painted on the dinghy hull was passed to Belfast Coastguard who were able to contact the owners. Thankfully, the owners reported that the dinghy had broken free from their vessel and that no one was on board.



The second call of the day came at 11:55am when the Bangor lifeboat launched to rescue four people from a motor boat that had broken down off the oil jetty at Cloghan Point, on the northern shores of Belfast Lough.
 


On scene, the RNLI crew quickly evaluated the situation and manoeuvred the lifeboat close to the broken-down vessel.

With relatively calm weather conditions, a tow rope was rigged and successfully passed to the motor boat, which was then towed the four miles back to the safety of Bangor Marina.
 


"Engine failure close to shore could lead to a life-threatening situation," said Bangor RNLI volunteer helmsman Iain Dobie.

"We always urge everyone going to sea to make sure their electrical systems and engine are well maintained and in good working order. A good anchor and chain should always be carried as part of essential safety equipment.

"We are glad the family on board this vessel are now safely ashore," he added.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy is a contributor covering all things on the water, from boating and wildlife to science and business

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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.

SSE Renewables are the sponsors of the 2020 Round Ireland Race.

Wicklow Sailing Club in association with the Royal Ocean Racing Club in London and The Royal Irish Yacht Club in Dublin.

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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