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Courtmacsherry Lifeboat in Early Morning Rescue of 40ft Yacht Off Old Head of Kinsale

18th June 2022
Courtmacsherry RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat arriving at the West Cork harbour’s pontoon with the 40ft yacht
Courtmacsherry RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat arriving at the West Cork harbour’s pontoon with the 40ft yacht, which had been on passage from Spain to Cobh when it encountered difficulties offshore  Credit: RNLI/Courtmacsherry

Courtmacsherry RNLI’s volunteers called out early this morning (Saturday 18 June) at 4.35am to go to the aid of a 40ft yacht in difficulties 21 miles south east of the Old Head of Kinsale in West Cork.

The all-weather lifeboat Frederick Storey Cockburn, under coxswain Ken Cashman and a crew of six, was quickly away at 4.47am and proceeded quickly to the reported location of the casualty vessel.

The yacht, which was on passage from Spain to Cobh with four people on board, had developed mechanical and other difficulties in northeasterly Force 5 sea conditions and requested assistance.

Once the lifeboat reached the yacht at 5.45am, Cashman and crew assessed the situation and decided to establish a tow at a safe speed in choppy waters to the nearest port of Courtmacsherry, where the yacht was tied safely at the harbour pontoon around 8.30am.

Courtmacsherry RNLI deputy launching authority Vincent O’Donovan said: “It was great to see so many of our volunteers respond so quickly from their beds early this morning to this callout and it was prudent that the yacht made a decision early this morning to seek assistance in some heavy seas as they had battled the elements from 100 miles off shore.”

Joining Cashman on this callout were mechanic Chris Guy and crew members Mark John Gannon, Dara Gannon, Donal Young, Ciaran Hurley and Denis Murphy.

This was the third callout in the last three days for the Courtmacsherry lifeboat station, following a search for a swimmer reported missing off Garrettstown on Thursday who subsequently had got to shore themselves, and the rescue of a 13ft RIB with one person on board on the same day.

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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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