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Portrush RNLI Lifeboat Rescue Teenage Boy in Difficulty off Portstewart Head (Video)

26th September 2020
Portrush RNLI Lifeboat approaches the teenager Portrush RNLI Lifeboat approaches the teenager Photo: Harry Higginson

Portrush RNLI has rescued a teenage boy who got into difficulty while jumping into the sea off rocks at Portstewart Head yesterday afternoon.

The volunteer crew were requested to launch their all-weather lifeboat by Belfast Coastguard at 2.42 pm following an initial request to go to the aid of someone in distress off Downhill Beach which subsequently transpired to be a false alarm with good intent. However, once on board, the lifeboat crew were alerted by the Coastguard to a separate incident after a 999 call was made by a member of the public to say a person was in difficulty in the water off Portstewart Head, some five nautical miles from Portrush.

The lifeboat launched under Coxswain Des Austin and with six crew members onboard and made its way to the scene arriving in less than 10 minutes.

Weather conditions at the time were challenging with a Force 6-7 north to northwest wind, some showers, and a rough sea with 2-3m swells. Visibility was good.

As the lifeboat approached the scene, the crew observed a person in the water waving their arms. A teenage boy who was wearing a wetsuit was struggling against an ebbing tide which was pulling him away from the land and out to sea off the west side of Portstewart Head.

The Coxswain manoeuvred the lifeboat close to where the casualty was in the surf and breaking waves while the station’s mechanic donned a dry suit and PPE. A line was then attached to the mechanic who jumped into the water and grabbed the casualty to safety. The remainder of the crew pulled the mechanic and casualty around to the starboard side of the lifeboat as the Coxswain manoeuvred into position.

A line was then attached to the lifeboat mechanic who jumped into the water and grabbed the casualty to safetyA line was then attached to the lifeboat mechanic who jumped into the water and grabbed the casualty to safety

The lifeboat crew administered casualty care to make the boy who was showing signs of hypothermia and exhaustion and was suffering from the effects of shock, comfortable, as the lifeboat made its way back to Portrush Harbour. He was then transferred into the care of Coleraine Coastguard and the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service.

Speaking following the call out, Portrush RNLI Coxswain Des Austin said: ‘Conditions were challenging at sea today and time was of the essence. The tide was turning at the time the casualty got into difficulty and the conditions were pulling him out to sea.

The prompt actions of the lifeboat crew saved a life and we would like to wish the casualty well following his ordeal.

‘We would remind anyone planning an activity at sea to always respect the water. Always be prepared, always have the right clothing and safety equipment including a lifejacket or buoyancy aid. Conditions at sea can change quickly and it is important to understand how that affects the area of coastline.

Should you get into difficulty or see someone in trouble, dial 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
Afloat.ie Team

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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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