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Skerries Lifeboat Launches in Multi-Agency Response to Swimmer in Difficulty

23rd April 2021
Skerries RNLI recovering a lifebuoy from the water during a search for potentially missing swimmers off Balbriggan on Wednesday evening 21 April Skerries RNLI recovering a lifebuoy from the water during a search for potentially missing swimmers off Balbriggan on Wednesday evening 21 April Credit: RNLI/Gerry Canning

Skerries RNLI’s volunteers launched their inshore lifeboat on Wednesday evening (21 April) as part of a multi-agency response to reports of a swimmer in difficulty near the Martello tower in Balbriggan.

The Atlantic 85 lifeboat Louis Simson was launched within minutes of the crew being paged just before 7pm and proceeded directly to the area indicated.

On arrival the crew found the Dublin-based Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 116 already on scene and winching a man from the water.

The casualty was the lowered onto the beach and into the care of an ambulance crew and members of Dublin Fire Brigade who administered first aid before he was transferred to hospital.

Meanwhile, further reports came in that other swimmers had entered the water to assist the casualty and a subsequent emergency call raised concerns that there may still be someone in the water.

Rescue 116, Skerries RNLI and the Skerries Coast Guard unit coordinated to carry out a search of the immediate area covering the water and the shoreline.

The lifeboat investigated a number of objects at the request of Rescue 116, including a lifebuoy which they recovered into the lifeboat.

When Dublin Coast Guard was satisfied that the area had been thoroughly searched and there were no further swimmers in danger, the lifeboat was stood down and returned to station.

Speaking about the callout, press officer Gerry Canning said: “When a person is in trouble in the water, every second counts. Rescue 116 were on scene very quickly and it was an excellent response from all of the emergency services who worked brilliantly together.

“Our thoughts are with the friends and family of the man taken from the water and we hope he makes a full recovery.”

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.

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