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Sea Kayakers Rescued By Clifden Lifeboat Crew

7th August 2019
File image of Clifden RNLI’s inshore and Mersey class lifeboats, which launched to the kayakers in distress yesterday evening File image of Clifden RNLI’s inshore and Mersey class lifeboats, which launched to the kayakers in distress yesterday evening Credit: RNLI/Nicholas Leach

Two sea kayakers were rescued from the water off Ballyconneely in western Connemara by Clifden RNLI’s volunteer lifeboat crew yesterday afternoon (Tuesday 6 August).

Just after 4.30pm the lifeboat station’s volunteers responded to reports via the Irish Coast Guard of kayakers in distress from a member of the public on shore, who gave detailed information of their location.

According to Clifden RNLI, the lifeboat crew were told one kayaker had entered the water and got into difficulty when they were separated from the vessel, which had also flooded and capsized.

Clifden’s Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat, helmed by Joe Acton, was first on the scene and found the two kayakers standing and waving from offshore rocks near the Connemara Golf Course.

The two women, with their the remaining kayak, were taken on board the lifeboat where they were quickly assessed and given blankets as they were returned to shore, where members of Cleggan Coastguard Unit took over their care.

Clifden’s inshore D class lifeboat was also on the scene having travelled by road and launched at a nearby beach. Helmed by Owen Hayes, this second lifeboat recovered the capsized kayak and also returned to shore.

The Mersey class all-weather lifeboat was stood down en route to the scene.

This was the third launch in a week by the Clifden lifeboat crew. The station’s operations manager John Brittain said: “The crew did very well today to get three boats on the water in a matter of minutes and thankfully we were on the scene very quickly.

“This is an example of how situations at sea can change rapidly, and the vigilance of the public is so important, especially at busy times of year and in holiday destinations.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats, Kayaking
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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