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Courtmacsherry RNLI Lifeboat in Callout to 48-ft Yacht off the Seven Heads in West Cork

7th August 2022
The RNLI lifeboat and the yacht arrive into Courtmacsherry Harbour entrance
The RNLI lifeboat and the yacht arrive into Courtmacsherry Harbour entrance

The Courtmacsherry RNLI Lifeboat Station was alerted this evening, (Sunday, August 7th) at 7.30 pm by the Valentia Coast Guard Marine Rescue Co-Ordination Centre, that a 48-foot yacht had got into difficulties 4.5 miles off the Seven Heads coastline near Clonakilty Bay and required assistance.

Within minutes of the crew bleepers being activated, the Station’s All Weather Trent Class Lifeboat “Frederick Storey Cockburn” under Coxswain Sean O Farrell and a crew of six was launched and headed to the scene of the alert.

Just after 8.15 pm, the Lifeboat located the yacht with two crew on board, and after assessing the situation, a decision was made to secure a tow line to the casualty and tow the yacht, which had encountered mechanical difficulties on its passage from New Ross to Clifden, back to the nearest port of Courtmacsherry.

The lifeboat arrived safely at port just after 10 pm, and the causality was placed at a mooring in the lower harbour as the Courtmacsherry Pontoon is undergoing a major dredging operation that commenced last Friday.

The Courtmacsherry RNLI Lifeboat voluntary Duty Launch Authority Vincent O Donovan said, “It was great to see the quick reaction of our volunteers on this busy summer evening, who dropped whatever they were at and rushed to the station in order to help others in danger. It’s been a long day for most of these volunteers as they also took part earlier in the day in a major multi-agency Search and Rescue exercise off Broadstrand in Courtmacsherry Bay”

The Courtmacsherry Lifeboat crew were Coxswain Sean O Farrell, Mechanic Dave Philips and crew members Ken Cashman, Kieran Boyle, Donal Young, Ciaran Hurley and Denis MurphyThe Courtmacsherry Lifeboat crew were Coxswain Sean O Farrell, Mechanic Dave Philips and crew members Ken Cashman, Kieran Boyle, Donal Young, Ciaran Hurley and Denis Murphy

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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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