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Sligo Bay RNLI Reminds people of Text Coney Service to Help Prevent Visitors Getting Caught Out by the Tide

4th July 2022

Volunteers at Sligo Bay RNLI are reminding visitors planning a trip to Coney Island to take advantage of the free Text Coney service to help prevent them getting cut off by the tide.

The RNLI text messaging service was introduced by the charity seven years ago in a direct response to a coastal safety risk identified by the local community in Sligo.

The Coney Island causeway and its flooding tidal waters present a risk to people who are unsure of the tide times and the best times to cross from the mainland.

In the past, Sligo Bay RNLI has responded to numerous call outs around Coney Island that relate to tidal cut off and activities around the sandbanks and tidal channels. The lifeboat crews can be restricted by water depth when attending these incidents especially during the crucial early phase of the flooding tide where people are starting to cut off or are bogged in.

The text messaging system accompanied by signage directs people to the numbers to text, encourages safer crossing and decision making.

Anyone planning to visit the island by car, bike or foot is encouraged to Text the word Coney to 51155 (from Republic of Ireland mobiles) or 81400 (from Northern Ireland/UK mobiles) to find out the safe crossing times for that day.

The RNLI will reply with information on the best times subject to good weather conditions along with key safety messages reminding users to always leave extra time to return safely, to never attempt to cross if the strand is covered with water and in the event of an emergency to dial 999 or 112 and ask for the Coast Guard.

Now, as the summer holidays get underway, Willie Murphy, Sligo Bay RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager is urging people to save the numbers and use them ahead of any planned trip: ‘This is a wonderful free service and I would encourage people to save the numbers 51155 or 81400 to their phones under Text Coney and that way they have the relevant information to hand and know what to do if planning a trip to the island. Simply texting the word Coney means we can help people get the best advice on the day and help them to make safer choices when accessing the coast, reducing their risk of getting into difficulty.’

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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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