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RNLI lifeguards return to five Causeway Coast beaches for Easter

12th April 2017
RNLI Lifeguards RNLI Lifeguards

RNLI lifeguards will return to five Causeway Coast beaches to provide cover during this year’s Easter holidays.

Commencing this Good Friday (14 April), lifeguards will be operating from Beach Lifeguard Units on Benone Strand, Portstewart Strand, East and West Strands in Portrush and Whiterocks.

The lifeguards will be on duty daily from 11am to 7pm up until Sunday 23 April.

Following the Easter break the lifeguards will resume a weekend duty on the five beaches on the Causeway Coast and also on Tyrella beach in County Down. Daily full time cover will commence on all eight beaches on the Causeway Coast and three in County Down on Saturday 24 June. This will run throughout the summer season finishing on Sunday 3 September. Weekend cover will continue until the end of September.

Ahead of the Easter cover resuming on Good Friday, RNLI lifeguards have spent three weeks in intensive induction training with the lifeguard management team to ensure they are fully prepared for the season ahead.

RNLI lifeguard supervisor Karl O’Neill said they are expecting a busy week: ‘Pre-season preparations have went well and our lifeguards are ready and looking forward to getting back on the beaches and doing what they do best, providing beach safety advice to visitors and helping out anyone who might find themselves in difficulty either in the water or on the beach itself.

We would remind anyone planning a trip to the beach to be mindful that particularly at this stage in the season the water is still cold. Come dressed for the weather conditions to ensure your visit is both safe and enjoyable.’ 

The RNLI has been working closely with its colleagues in the Causeway Coast and Glens District Council to ensure the beaches and lifeguard units are ready and equipped and that lifeguard training and preparation has been carried out seamlessly and successfully.

‘With the training complete, our lifeguards are looking forward to being back on patrol and putting their skills into action,’ Karl continued. ‘During the Easter break we would encourage visitors to speak to our lifeguards, ask for safety advice, and most importantly call on them should they find themselves in difficulty’.

The RNLI’s advice for anyone planning a trip to the beach is to respect the water, check weather and tide times before you go and if planning to go into the water, swim at a lifeguarded beach, between the red and yellow flags. Avoid using inflatables in strong winds or rough seas.

If you get into trouble, stick your hand in the air and shout for help and if you see someone else in trouble, tell a lifeguard. If you can’t see a lifeguard, call 909 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard.

Last year, lifeguards in Northern Ireland responded to 235 incidents coming to the aid of 255 people. Incidents ranged from saving a life, carrying out a rescue, assisting a casualty, providing casualty care and minor first aid to being involved in searches, near misses and incidents involving missing and found people. The lifeguards also worked closely with their colleagues at Portrush, Newcastle and Kilkeel RNLI lifeboat stations.

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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