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Bundoran Lifeboat Launches as Paddle Boarders are Blown Out to Sea

9th June 2021
Bundoran RNLI’s inshore lifeboat in action
Bundoran RNLI’s inshore lifeboat in action Credit: RNLI/Bundoran

Bundoran RNLI in Co Donegal were requested to launch on Tuesday evening (8 June) to reports of two paddle boarders being blown out to sea off Mermaid’s Cove in north Co Sligo.

The emergency call was made just after 6pm to Malin Head Coast Guard who immediately paged the Bundoran lifeboat volunteers. Within minutes the inshore lifeboat William Henry Liddington set off with four crew on board.

The Sligo-based Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 118 was also tasked to the scene, where the lifeboat crew assisted the two paddle boarders back to shore and assessed their wellbeing.

Lifeboat helm Brian Gillespie said later: “We were glad to be able to bring the paddle boarders back to safety and the person on the shore called 999 when they did.

“We would always remind people that if they see anyone in trouble on the coast to call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard, and for paddle boarders to be mindful of offshore winds which can catch people out very easily.”

Elsewhere in Donegal, Arranmore RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat was called on Sunday afternoon (6 June) to assist a RIB which got into difficulty on rocks off Kincasslagh.

Arranmore RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat | Credit: RNLI/ArranmoreArranmore RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat | Credit: RNLI/Arranmore

When the lifeboat arrived on scene, the Bunbeg Coast Guard boat had secured the casualty boat and brought it to safety.

Arranmore volunteer’s busy weekend also saw a callout on Saturday (5 June) for a medevac from the island. The patient was transferred to a waiting ambulance at Burtonport.

Frankie Bonner, second coxswain, said: “We are a 24-hour on-call service and prepared at a minute’s notice to answer any call for assistance.

“Our callouts are many and varied, from providing medical assistance in transferring patients from the island to assisting boats and people in trouble within a 50-mile radius of our base in Arranmore.”

Frankie is the son of Francis Bonner, who served as coxswain on the lifeboat for many years along with his three sons Frankie, Seamus and Michael, who are part of the volunteer crew at Arranmore RNLI.

There is still a strong family tradition of voluntary service at Arranmore RNLI since the first lifeboat came to the island in 1883.

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.

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