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Galway RNLI Rescues Six People From Water After Group Gets Cut off by Tide at Rabbit Island

19th July 2022
Galway RNLI lifeboat
Galway RNLI lifeboat

Galway RNLI rescued six people who got into difficulty in the sea off Rabbit Island on Monday evening (18 July). The group who had walked over to the island at low tide became stranded by the incoming tide and were attempting to swim back to shore when they got into difficulty.

The volunteer crew at Galway RNLI were requested to launch their inshore Atlantic 85 class lifeboat at 5.30 pm by the Irish Coast Guard after a member of the public spotted one of the group getting into the water and attempting to swim back to shore. Concerned that the group was going to get into difficulty, they immediately raised the alarm.

The lifeboat helmed by David Oliver and with crew members, Brian Niland, Martin Oliver and Cathal Byrne onboard, launched within minutes and made its way to the scene approximately 10 minutes from the station.

Weather conditions at the time were good with hot weather, flat calm seas, clear skies and good visibility.

Arriving on scene, the lifeboat crew observed six people in the water attempting to swim the quarter of a mile back to shore.

With one of the group struggling and in great difficulty, the crew first went to their rescue taking the casualty out of the water and bringing them safely onboard the lifeboat. The crew then rescued the five others onto the lifeboat before returning them all safely back to shore at Murroogh House.

Speaking following the call out, Barry Heskin, Galway RNLI Deputy Launching Authority said: ‘Time was of the essence this evening and we need to commend the member of the public who had the foresight to raise the alarm as soon as they thought the group might get into difficulty, that made a difference and helped to ensure we were on scene at the right time.

‘The group had walked out to Rabbit Island at low tide but then got stranded when the tide came in and their access to the mainland was cut off. It was when they attempted to swim back that they experienced difficulties. While was one of the group was in danger, we were thankfully able to rescue them from the water in good time and no casualty care needed to be administered. We would like to wish the group well following what was a frightening experience for them.

‘We have some beautiful weather at the minute, and we want everyone to enjoy it, but we would urge everyone to think safety first and respect the water. Before planning an activity on or near water, check weather and tide times to ensure it is safe to proceed. When going out always carry a means of communication and let someone on the shore know where you are going and when you are due back.

‘We are also experiencing some spring tides at the minute, and it is very easy for people to get cut off. If you do happen to become stranded, don’t attempt to swim to shore yourself, rather use your means of communication to call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coast Guard. And if you do get into difficulty in the water, try to float to live. To do this, lean back, using your arms and legs to stay afloat. Control your breathing, then call for help or swim to safety.’

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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