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Two Callouts In 24 Hours Keep Portaferry Lifeboat Volunteers Busy

16th September 2018
Portaferry RNLI's inshore lifeboat Portaferry RNLI's inshore lifeboat Credit: RNLI/Portaferry

#RNLI - Yesterday evening (Saturday 15 September) at 4.45pm, a volunteer RNLI crew from Portaferry launched to the aid of two men in trouble in the water just off Ballyhenry Island.

The two men had been using a personal watercraft when one of them had fallen from the vessel and was struggling to get back to it.

The second man, realising that the first was in difficulty, started to swim from the shore to try and help at the small island, around 1.5 miles north of Portaferry on the eastern shore of Strangford Lough in Co Down.

At the time, the weather was cloudy with good visibility, a southerly wind and calm seas.

Portaferry RNLI launched at 4.50pm and 10 minutes later were on scene, where the lifeboat crew took both men on board before returning them to Cooke Street Quay in Portaferry and into the care of the Portaferry Coastguard team.

The second launch was this morning (Sunday 16 September) in response to a Mayday call regarding an angler who had fallen from rocks into the sea just off Ardglass Golf Course.

Pagers sounded at 8.36am and the crew were on the water six minutes later, arriving on scene at 9.10am.

Weather conditions at the time were overcast with good visibility, a south-westerly Force 3 wind and moderate seas.

The male casualty had in the meantime been picked up by a local boat and returned to shore at Ardglass Marina. The lifeboat continued to the marina where they administered casualty care before leaving him in the care of the local coastguard team at 9.40am.

Commenting on the weekend’s events, Portaferry RNLI lifeboat operations manager Simon Rogers said: “We can go for weeks without any callouts, but during those quiet periods our volunteer boat and shore crew members train hard every week, preparing for situations such as this.

“It is thanks to their dedication and hard work that we are able to respond so quickly an as often as required to help those in trouble at sea.”

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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