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Portaferry Lifeboat Launches Twice In Two Days On Strangford Lough

5th May 2017
Portaferry RNLI's Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat Portaferry RNLI's Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat Photo: RNLI/Portaferry

#RNLI - The volunteer lifeboat crew at Portaferry RNLI responded for the second time in 48 hours to a launch request yesterday evening (Thursday 4 May) to go to the aid of five men on board a 7m yacht experiencing difficulty on Strangford Lough.

The Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat launched at 8.45pm for the reported location of the casualty, which was just north of Don O’Neill Island in Strangford Lough.

The lifeboat crew arrived on scene at 8.52pm in clear weather and good visibility, but with a Force 6 north-easterly was creating choppy sea conditions with a moderate two-metre swell.

The five men on the sailing boat had experienced some heavy going and though they were in no longer in any immediate danger, the lifeboat crew made the decision to escort them into the safe waters of Ringhaddy Sound.

Less than 48 hours previously, the Portaferry lifeboat crew launched to the aid of five men and two women stranded on two adjacent islands in Strangford Lough.

The group had been on a 6m cabin cruiser that started to experience electrical problems before they decided to beach the craft on Salt Island, after three of the party were put ashore on neighbouring Green Island.

The Portaferry Lifeboat crew arrived on scene at 11.22am, nine minutes after launch, and took on board the five people on Salt Island, taking them to Killyleagh before returning to Green Island for the remaining individuals.

At the time of the launch, the weather was sunny with very good visibility, a Force 3 easterly wind and calm sea conditions.

Commenting on the rescue, Portaferry RNLI lifeboat operations manager Brian Bailie said: “Once again all the hard work and hours invested in training has paid off with a happy ending to today’s rescue.

“With the start of the good weather and more and more craft taking to the water, it is increasingly important that everyone respects the water and makes all the necessary checks before going on the water.”

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.

© Afloat 2020

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