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Three Callouts In Two Days For Portaferry Lifeboat

1st August 2016
Three Callouts In Two Days For Portaferry Lifeboat Photo: RNLI/Portaferry

#RNLI - Portaferry RNLI has urged the public to be vigilant and to take care near or on water this summer following three callouts in two days for the Co Down lifeboat station.

The volunteer lifeboat crew was first put into action on Friday afternoon (29 July) when during a routine exercise, the inshore lifeboat observed three people on a small inflatable boat that had broken down and was on a rock off Killyleagh. Weather conditions at the time were described as good with the sun shining and a slight breeze.

Following unsuccessful attempts to restart the engine, the lifeboat crew offered their assistance and proceeded to take the three onboard and bring them safely back to shore in Killyleagh.

The lifeboat launched for a second time on Friday evening following a 999 call from a bystander on the shore at the northern end of Strangford Lough.

At the scene the crew found a man was using a small tender boat to get out to his yacht, which was on a mooring between the islands. However, with the tide rushing between the islands at six to seven knots, it was making conditions difficult. The lifeboat went alongside the boat and ensured the man made his way safely to the yacht.

The lifeboat crew was called on for a third time shortly after 6pm on Saturday (30 July) when a 10m yacht with one onboard broke down and was becalmed off the north rock in Cloughey, Portavogie. Conditions at the time were good with an easterly Force 2 wind blowing, some cloud and a calm sea.

Once on scene, the lifeboat crew observed that the engine had lost power and proceeded to work with the yachtsman to establish a towline before bringing the vessel safely into Portavogie.

Speaking following what has been a busy period for the station, Portaferry RNLI lifeboat operations manager Brian Bailie said: "We would encourage everyone visiting the coastline this summer to enjoy themselves but to remember to respect the water.

"Always wear a lifejacket and always have a means for calling and signalling for help and ensure everyone know how to use it. Always check the weather forecast and tide times.

"Make sure someone ashore knows where you are going and who to call if you don’t return on time. Learn how to start, run and maintain your engine and always carry tools and spares."

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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