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Donaghadee RNLI Lifeboat Helps Yacht Taking On Water, Second Call Out In A Week

20th May 2022
Donaghadee Lifeboat Station is situated on the northeast coast of County Down. Donaghadee has had a lifeboat station since 1910 and the crews have been presented with three awards for gallantry. The station now operates an all-weather Trent class lifeboat (above).
Donaghadee Lifeboat Station is situated on the northeast coast of County Down. Donaghadee has had a lifeboat station since 1910 and the crews have been presented with three awards for gallantry. The station now operates an all-weather Trent class lifeboat (above)

Donaghadee RNLI Lifeboat was launched on Thursday 19 May, to assist a yacht taking water onboard approximately 12 miles North East of Bangor, County Down.

The volunteer crew of Donaghadee Lifeboat were requested to launch by Belfast Coastguard on Thursday at 3.22 pm to reports of an 8-metre yacht in difficulty at the mouth of Belfast Lough.

The yacht, with 3 people onboard, left Stranraer at 9.45am and was en route to Bangor when it requested assistance from the Coastguard due to taking on water. They reported that they could see Kilroot Power Station but were unable to narrow down their position.

In moderate sea conditions but good visibility Donaghadee Lifeboat Saxon, launched at 3.33pm and proceeded at full speed toward Belfast Lough. Meanwhile, Irish Coastguard Search and Rescue helicopter 118, which had been on another callout further North, were able to offer assistance in locating the yacht.

To help find them, the crew of the yacht set off a red flare, enabling the crew of the lifeboat to determine their position and consequently Saxon was on scene at 4.11pm followed shortly by the Search and Rescue helicopter.

As the vessels own pump was doing a sufficient job at keeping the water at bay, the crew on the lifeboat established a tow-line to the stricken yacht and proceeded to tow at a speed of approximately 5 knots to the safe haven of Bangor Marina, arriving shortly after 6pm.

The lifeboat refuelled and returned to Donaghadee Harbour and were available for their next callout shortly after 7pm.

Earlier in the week on Tuesday 17 May at 5.55 am, the volunteer crew were launched at the request of Belfast Coastguard after reports from a member of the general public who reported sightings of a man in a small boat holding onto a lobster pot just North of Ballywalter Harbour. The lifeboat launched into moderate/rough conditions and proceeded at full speed toward the casualty, who’s outboard engine had broken down. It transpired that the casualty had contacted a family member with a boat to assist, the lifeboat stayed on scene until the assisting vessel arrived and returned to Donaghadee Harbour at 7.20 am.

Philip McNamara, Donaghadee Lifeboat Coxswain commented ‘Two positive results this week from our callouts – a credit to the member of the public who called in the the small punt holding onto the lobster pot, we would always encourage the public to call 999 and ask for the Coastguard if they are worried, the earlier we are launched the more likely a positive result.

We were happy to ensure the remaining safe passage of the 8 metre yacht into Bangor Marina, again the importance of asking for help as earlier as possible to ensure a positive outcome played a big part in this callout, also having the relevant equipment onboard to help us locate you is essential. As always the crew’s quick response and skill were superb, and I extend my thanks to them.’

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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