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Helvick RNLI Rescue Three Kayakers Stranded on Rocks at Kilmurrin Cove

29th July 2021
The RNLI lifeboat crew rescued three kayakers stranded on rocks at Kilmurrin Cove
The RNLI lifeboat crew rescued three kayakers stranded on rocks at Kilmurrin Cove

Volunteer lifeboat crew from Helvick Head RNLI in Waterford, rescued three kayakers stranded on rocks at Kilmurrin Cove yesterday afternoon (Wednesday 28 July) when a sudden squall capsized one of the kayaks and the group were forced onto the rocks as conditions rapidly deteriorated. The three kayakers were brought to safety when the lifeboat crew carried out a challenging manoeuvre to bring the lifeboat close to the rocks in the choppy waters and the group were helped onto the lifeboat by lifeboat crew and the winchman from Rescue 117.

The alarm was raised at 12.18 pm and Helvick RNLI were joined on the scene by Rescue 117, Bunmahon Coast Guard and Bunmahon Community Rescue Boat. The kayakers got into difficulty when conditions turned from mild to challenging quite quickly. Squalls and horizontal rain saw one kayaker capsize and the group were pushed over to rocks at Kilmurrin Cove. Taking refuge on the sharp rocks in the worsening conditions, a rescue operation was immediately launched. The winchman from Rescue 117 was able to descend from the helicopter onto the rocks and stay with the group as the lifeboat crew made the difficult approach to the rocks.

With no shoreline or safe landing spot, the lifeboat Helm performed a veering down manoeuvre which brought the lifeboat close to the rocks. A lifeboat crewmember swam to the rocks to assist the Rescue 117 winchman with the transfer of the casualties onto the lifeboat. In a highly precise and closely timed exercise, which relied on the crew taking note of the movement of the lifeboat into and away from the rocks, the three casualties were helped onboard the lifeboat and brought to the safety of the shore, where they were met by members of Bunmahon Coast Guard.

Commenting on the callout Helvick Head RNLI crewmember Joe Foley said, ‘“This was a great outcome in some challenging conditions. The wind picked up very quickly out there and the group were right to seek safety on the rocks. We were glad to see that they were all wearing buoyancy aids and had not sustained any injuries other than some scratches. The veering down manoeuvre which we carried out is something that we practice regularly in training, but every scenario is different, and it is challenging when dealing with multiple casualties and a moving lifeboat in choppy water. We have a great group of search and rescue agencies around here and we all work well together.”

The RNLI advises to always wear the proper safety equipment for your activity and always bring a means of calling for help.

This is the fourth callout for Helvick RNLI in the last ten days.

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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