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Wicklow Lifeboat Assists Solo Sailor After Distress Call

20th June 2016
Wicklow's all-weather lifeboat towing the stricken yacht into Wicklow Harbour Wicklow's all-weather lifeboat towing the stricken yacht into Wicklow Harbour Photo: RNLI/Tommy Dover

#RNLI - Wicklow RNLI's all-weather lifeboat launched yesterday afternoon (Sunday 19 June) to a solo sailor in distress six miles off the Wicklow coast.

A marine VHF radio distress signal was received by the Irish Coast Guard from the French sailor on passage from France to Norway, when the twin rudder of his yacht suffered damaged and he was unable to steer the vessel.

The lifeboat was alongside the casualty 30 minutes after launch. Rescue 116, the Dublin-based coastguard helicopter was also tasked to the incident, remaining overhead while lifeboat volunteer Ciaran Doyle was transferred onto the yacht to assist the sailor with hauling an anchor and preparing a towline.

Weather conditions at the time had a rough sea state with a southerly Force 5-6 wind and good visibility.

With a towline established, the 10m yacht was taken back to Wicklow Harbour. Due to the conditions at the time, the journey took over 90 minutes as the line parted on three occasions.

The yacht was safely alongside the south quay at 5pm on Sunday evening.

Speaking after the callout, Wicklow RNLI lifeboat press officer Tommy Dover said: "Our coxswain Nick Keogh displayed great boat handling skills this afternoon in challenging conditions, while safely transferring a crewmember onto the yacht to assist the lone sailor."

This was the second callout over the weekend. On Saturday morning (18 June), during the Round Ireland Yacht Race, Wicklow RNLI helm Vinnie Mulvihill was busy preparing the inshore lifeboat for exercise when he heard shouts that someone was in the water near the East Pier.

Quick-thinking Mulvihill left the boat and entered the water to assist the woman after she slipped and fell in while going ashore from a moored boat.

Wicklow RNLI VinnieMulvihill19062016

Woman rescued by Wicklow RNLI after she slipped into the harbour (Photo: RNLI/Milo Vanbeck)

He brought the women alongside a nearby boat and with the help of the occupants, she was taken out of the water and assessed at the lifeboat station by first aider Carol Flahive.

No further medical assistance was required and the woman left the station none the worse from her ordeal after a cup of tea and changing into dry clothes.

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.

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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