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Newcastle RNLI Assists Group of Laser Dinghy Sailors in Difficulty in Challenging Seas

24th May 2021
The scene on the beach at Newcastle when the RNLI came to the aid of a group of sailors yesterday afternoon (Sunday 23 May) after two Laser dinghies got into difficulty off the South Promenade
The scene on the beach at Newcastle when the RNLI came to the aid of a group of sailors yesterday afternoon (Sunday 23 May) after two Laser dinghies got into difficulty off the South Promenade

Newcastle RNLI in County Down came to the aid of a group of sailors yesterday afternoon (Sunday 23 May) after two vessels got into difficulty off the South Promenade.

The inshore D class lifeboat was requested to launch shortly after 3 pm yesterday following a report from Belfast Coastguard that five people were in the water. The lifeboat helmed by Declan Barry and with three volunteer crew members onboard, launched immediately and made its way the short distance to the scene. Newcastle Coastguard was also tasked along with Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service, the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service and the PSNI.

Four Laser dinghies and a rigiflex safety boat had been in the water prior to the incident. A challenging low tide swell resulted in one of the dinghies capsizing and suffering a broken mast. While the other three lasers had made it safely to shore, the crew of the rigiflex went to assist with the broken mast. Whilst doing so, it was also capsized by a strong wave leaving three people in the water, but they too made it safely to shore by themselves.

Four people then returned to the water to recover the two boats which had, by then, been carried into shallower water. The Laser was successfully recovered but the group were having difficulty with the much heavier rigiflex.

The lifeboat went as far as the water's edge as the incident was close to the station’s slipway. Due to the conditions, the helm remained with the lifeboat while the three other crew members waded towards the upturned boat.

With no one in immediate danger, the lifeboat crew assisted by members of Newcastle Coastguard, went into the surf to assist in righting the boat which they did successfully.

Following the incident, six sailors were brought to Newcastle Lifeboat Station for assessment and treatment by the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service. No one was in need of any further medical attention.

Speaking following the call out, Newcastle RNLI Helm Declan Barry, said: ‘We were happy to see that everyone was safe and well and not in any immediate danger. Conditions at sea can change quickly and the surf was challenging yesterday so we were glad to be able to help in ensuring everyone got back to shore safely after the boats got into difficulty. There was a multi-agency response to the call out and we would like to commend our volunteers and colleagues in the other services for working well together.’

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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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