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Skerries Lifeboat Rescues Two Swimmers in Difficulty

18th September 2021
Skerries RNLI returning to station with the swimmers safely on board
Skerries RNLI returning to station with the swimmers safely on board Credit: RNLI/Gerry Canning

Skerries RNLI rescued a man and a woman who got into difficulty while swimming off the north Co Dublin town this week.

The lifeboat unit was requested to launch shortly before 5pm on Thursday afternoon (16 September) after a 999 call from the public that swimmers were shouting for help off the local swimming spot known as The Captains.

The Skerries volunteers had the Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat Louis Simson on the water within minutes of the pagers being activated, and were on scene just two minutes later.

A member of the public standing on shore at The Captains indicated the direction that the swimmers had been seen and the crew soon spotted them in the water some 300 metres offshore.

The swimmers, a man and a woman, were taken on board the lifeboat where their condition was quickly assessed.

They were experienced swimmers but had been caught by a current and as a result they had been in the water for 40 minutes and were both cold and exhausted.

The lifeboat crew made the swimmers as comfortable as possible while they returned to the station. Once there they were brought into the crew changing rooms where they were helped to dry off and begin to warm up while local doctor and volunteer crew member Jack Keane further assessed their condition.

It was decided, as a precautionary measure, to request an ambulance. Following a thorough check by the paramedics, both swimmers were soon happy enough to be on their way.

Skerries Coast Guard volunteers also responded and were on scene when the lifeboat returned to offer assistance if needed. Conditions at the time were calm, with a Force 2 southerly wind.

Speaking about the callout, press officer Gerry Canning said: “When you hear that there is a swimmer in difficulty you are immediately concerned as they are already in the water, so every second counts.

“The crew assembled very rapidly, and shore crew and tractor driver did a great job launching the boat safely and quickly.

“The member of the public who made the prompt 999 call and directed the lifeboat in the direction of the casualties played a big part too. It’s a great outcome from a serious situation.”

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.

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