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Two Swimmers Caught in Rip Current Rescued by Sligo Bay Lifeboat

9th September 2021
Sligo Bay RNLI’s volunteers approach the two swimmers in distress on their inshore lifeboat
Sligo Bay RNLI’s volunteers approach the two swimmers in distress on their inshore lifeboat Credit: RNLI/Eithne Gallagher

Sligo Bay RNLI reminds sea swimmers of the importance of not struggling against rip currents after two people were rescued from a strong current at the ominously named Deadman’s Point.

The volunteer crew were requested to launch their inshore lifeboat shortly after 5.40pm on Tuesday evening (7 September) following a report that two swimmers had got into difficulty in the waters adjacent to Sligo Yacht Club.

Weather conditions at the time were described as good with light winds, good visibility but with a very strong incoming tide.

The lifeboat launched under helm Daryl Ewing and with David Bradley, Ross Palmer and Owen McLoughlin onboard. On arrival at the scene, the crew observed that both swimmers were wearing tow floats which had helped to keep them afloat until the lifeboat reached them.

The lifeboat crew checked that the swimmers were safe and well before taking them onboard and bringing them back to the lifeboat station where they were made comfortable.

Speaking following the callout, Sligo Bay RNLI helm Daryl Ewing said: “Thankfully both swimmers were safe but they were shocked at how quickly they were taken out by the rip current.

“Rip currents can be difficulty to spot, but are sometimes identified by a channel of churning, choppy water on the sea’s surface. Even the most experienced beachgoers and swimmers can be caught out by rips so never be afraid to ask for advice and read any local signage.

“If you do get caught in a rip, don’t try to swim against it or you will get exhausted. If you can stand, wade and don’t swim. If you can, swim parallel to the shore until free of the rip and then head for shore. Always raise your hand and shout for help.

“If you see someone who you think might be in trouble, don't delay: dial 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

This was the second rescue for the Sligo Bay lifeboat this week, after the volunteer crew launch to the aid of an injured fisherman on a charter vessel on Sunday 5 September, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats, Sea Swim
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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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