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Busy Weekend of Callouts for Skerries Lifeboat Volunteers

24th January 2021
Skerries RNLI volunteers watch as Rescue 116 prepares to winch the casualties Skerries RNLI volunteers watch as Rescue 116 prepares to winch the casualties Credit: RNLI/Gerry Canning

Skerries RNLI’s volunteer crew had a busy weekend responding to calls to stranded walkers on Friday (22 January) and a missing swimmer today (Sunday 24 January).

Shortly before 4.30pm on Friday afternoon, Dublin Coast Guard tasked Skerries RNLI following a call from An Garda Síochána reporting that a number of people had been cut off by the rising tide on Barnageeragh beach.

The lifeboat was launched and proceeded to the area indicated, where the crew quickly spotted one adult and three children at the base of the cliff above the waterline.

While the casualties were uninjured, conditions underfoot in the area were very poor due to a large number of submerged rocks covered in seaweed and algae.

Following a consultation with members of the Skerries Coast Guard unit who were at the top of the cliff, it was decided that due to the falling temperatures and rapidly fading light, the safest option would be to request the assistance of the Dublin-based Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 116.

A crew member stayed with the casualties to reassure them and keep them calm until the helicopter arrived and winched them aboard.

Then today, Sunday 24 January, the volunteer crew were paged shortly after 12.30pm following a call from a concerned family member when a swimmer in Skerries had not returned at the expected time.

The lifeboat launched immediately and made its way around the headland to the swimming platform known locally as The Springers.

Upon arrival it was quickly established that the swimmer had since made it safely ashore. They were well equipped for cold water swimming and required no assistance. The lifeboat was stood down and returned to the station.

Speaking about the callouts, which came a week after the town’s first of the year, Skerries RNLI’s Gerry Canning said: “Friday afternoon was a fantastic example of how well all the emergency services work together, with full-time emergency service personnel and volunteers working alongside each other seamlessly to get the best possible outcome.

“Thankfully the call for the swimmer on Sunday was a false alarm with good intent. We encourage anyone who thinks someone may be in difficulty in or near the sea to dial 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard. The earlier they make that call the better.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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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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