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First Call Out of the Year for Howth RNLI Sees Lifeboat Crew aid Paddleboarders & Kayakers

3rd January 2022

The volunteer lifeboat crew of Howth RNLI had their first launch of 2022 yesterday (Sunday 2 January) to paddleboarders in difficulty off the coast of Portmarnock Beach. Immediately after that, they were tasked to rescue a group of kayakers who could not make it back to Howth Harbour due to the strong off-shore winds.

The inshore lifeboat was launched at 2.05 pm and made way towards Portmarnock Beach. Weather conditions were poor with strong winds and one-metre-high seas. Once on scene at Portmarnock, Howth Lifeboat crew located the paddleboarders who had made their way ashore with their punctured paddleboard. A crew member was sent ashore to assess the paddleboarders before they were handed into the care of a Coast Guard crew on Portmarnock beach.

As the lifeboat crew made their way back to Howth, they were alerted to another situation involving five kayakers who were in difficulty as they made their way back to Howth Harbour, due to the strong off-shore winds. The volunteer lifeboat crew located three of the kayakers who had taken shelter on Ireland’s Eye, an island just North of Howth Harbour. The crew took the kayakers on board the lifeboat and brought them back to Howth. The lifeboat then escorted the remaining two kayakers back to the safety of the harbour.

Speaking following the call-out, Howth RNLI inshore lifeboat helm, Lorcan Dignam said, ‘When going on the water it’s really important that you always check the weather and tides and be mindful that conditions can change quickly. You should always carry a means of calling for help and keep it within reach. Although the weather has been quite mild recently, sea temperatures are very cold at this time of year and people taking to the water should be dressed for the conditions and always wear a lifejacket. Thankfully the outcome today, our first launch of 2022, was a successful one with the paddleboarders and kayakers all returned safely to shore.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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.

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