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Donaghadee RNLI Lifeboat Tow Broken Down Fishing Boat to Safety

18th August 2020
The fishing boat towed by Donaghdee RNLI The fishing boat towed by Donaghdee RNLI

The all-weather RNLI lifeboat from Donaghadee on the North Down coast launched at 3 am this morning (Tuesday18th) to the Belfast Coastguard's request to assist a 15m fishing boat with one person onboard. The boat, which was on passage from the fishing harbour of Ardglass on the south coast of Co Down, to Mallaig in Scotland, ran into mechanical difficulties in the early hours of this morning and drifted ashore at Templepatrick, just south of Ballyvester beach near Donaghadee.

The volunteer crew launched the RNLI Saxon at 3am and in flat calm sea conditions and driving rain made full speed and was on the scene in less than 10 minutes. As the vessel was so far inshore on a falling tide, the daughter inflatable lifeboat was launched and crew members John Ashwood, Deputy Coxswain, and Ross Bennett, crew member, made their way to the fishing boat to assess the situation.

It was decided that they should attempt a tow, but the attempt was unsuccessful due to the tidal conditions. After liaising with Belfast Coastguard and the fishing boat's skipper, the decision was made that the best plan would be for the lifeboat to return when the tide had risen. The lifeboat and crew returned to station at approximately 4.15am.

After a couple of hours' sleep, the crew relaunched at 8am and in similar conditions made their way back to the fishing boat at Templepatrick. They were able to go alongside as the tide had risen sufficiently and the same two crew members were transferred along with a salvage pump and towline. The tow was established while the salvage pump removed any excess water, and the boat was towed off the rocks stern first. The towrope was then transferred to the bow of the vessel, and an assessment was made to ensure there was no damage to the hull.

Saxon then proceeded a slow tow to Bangor in Belfast Lough, and while waiting for permission to enter the harbour, the lifeboat went alongside the vessel and transferred the lifeboat mechanic who was able to assess the mechanical difficulties and restart the fishing boat's engine. After discussions with the skipper and the coastguard, agreement was made that the vessel, now being under its own power, was able to proceed onwards to Mallaig.

Philip McNamara, Donaghadee RNLI Coxswain said: 'I would just like to thank our volunteer crew members for being so quick to come to the assistance of this fishing boat and of course their willingness to return again a few hours later and lose part of their days work. A thank you to their employers also, for their flexibility. We all wish the skipper and his boat safe onward passage to Scotland".

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
Betty Armstrong

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Betty Armstrong

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Betty Armstrong is Afloat and Yachting Life's Northern Ireland Correspondent. Betty grew up racing dinghies but now sails a more sedate Dehler 36 around County Down.

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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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