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Castletownbere RNLI Recovers British Adventurer’s Transatlantic Vessel Abandoned in Hurricane

6th January 2016
happy_socks
The lifeboat crew proceeded to take the vessel Happy Socks under tow and bring her safely to Castletownbere RNLI

Castletownbere RNLI has recovered a British adventurer’s transatlantic boat which was abandoned in a hurricane some 400 miles west of Portugal.

In what was their first call out of 2016, the volunteer lifeboat crew was requested to go the assistance of a boat yesterday afternoon (Tuesday 5 January) which was reported to be floating about 500m from the shore in Dunmanus Bay.

The lifeboat launched in Force Seven winds at 2.50pm and made its way amid a large sea swell to the scene, arriving at 3.27pm.

On arrival the crew noted that the boat Happy Socks was unmanned. The lifeboat crew proceeded to take the vessel under tow and bring her safely to Castletownbere.

Speaking following the call out, Paul Stevens, Castletownbere RNLI Lifeboat Press Officer said: ‘It transpired that this boat had been abandoned two months ago 400 miles west of Portugal by a lone oarswoman who was rowing from Cape Cod to London. She abandoned the boat in a hurricane and was picked up by a Canadian vessel.’

The British adventurer Sarah Outen MBE successfully completed her London2London expedition in November having set out from Tower Bridge in April 2011. Her goal via the world expedition was to row, bike and kayak the northern hemisphere, inspiring children and fundraising for charities. In her four and a half year adventure which saw her cover 25,000 miles, Sara overcame huge obstacles and endured extreme conditions in remote environments, including the hurricane on the Atlantic last year which forced a pre-emptive evacuation after 143 days at sea.

On hearing the good news about Happy Socks, Sarah phoned Castletownbere lifeboat station and tweeted last night: ‘Today I got that wonderful sort of news that makes your tummy turn and tears flow and rocks your happy socks off. Happy Socks is safe. We are making plans to go and retrieve her from SW Ireland where the @RNLI crew in Castletownbere found her today, just 500m from shore. A big and very grateful shoutout to the @RNLI crew at Castletownbere for bringing her in and letting us know. Go Happy Socks!’

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.

© Afloat 2020

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