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Portaferry RNLI Aid Two Men on Vessel in Danger of Sinking West of St John’s Point Lighthouse

8th September 2021
The inshore lifeboat from Portaferry
The inshore lifeboat from Portaferry

Portaferry RNLI came to the aid of two men this morning (Wednesday 8 September) after their 9m rib took on water and was in danger of sinking off St John’s Point Lighthouse in county Down. Newcastle RNLI also responded.

The volunteer crew at Portaferry RNLI were requested to launch their inshore lifeboat by Belfast Coastguard at 11.06 am following a Pan Pan alert. The report was that the vessel was sinking one mile west of St John’s Point. Meanwhile, Newcastle RNLI was requested to launch their all-weather lifeboat.

The inshore lifeboat from Portaferry helmed by Chris Adair and with crew members, Simon Exley, George Toma and Ian Sands onboard, launched immediately and made its way to the scene approximately 25 minutes away.

Weather conditions at the time were good with clear skies, moderate visibility due to a sea fog, smooth seas and a light breeze.

Arriving first on scene, the Portaferry lifeboat crew observed that the men onboard the boat were safe and well and were already using their own salvage pump to deal with the ingress of water.

The lifeboat helm transferred a crew member onboard the boat with another salvage pump should it be required. However, having assessed the situation and with the crew’s own pump coping well with the intake of water, a decision was made to escort the vessel to the nearest safe port at Ardglass Harbour. Newcastle RNLI was subsequently stood down. On arrival at Ardglass, the vessel was assisted by the Newcastle Coastguard team.

Speaking following the call out, Portaferry RNLI Helm Chris Adair said: ‘The men onboard the vessel acted quickly this morning which ensured that help was with them in good time should the situation have deteriorated. We would like to commend them for doing everything right in raising the alarm early on when they knew they were in difficulty, for wearing their lifejackets and for being prepared for the situation they encountered and using their own salvage pump. All these factors helped in keeping them safe and we were delighted to escort them back to Ardglass.’

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.

© Afloat 2020

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