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Dun Laoghaire RNLI Searches for Missing Child at Forty Foot and Tows Yacht Taking on Water

8th August 2022
The 36ft yacht with a fouled propeller, no power and taking on water is towed to Dun Laoghaire Harbour by the RNLI
The 36ft yacht with a fouled propeller, no power and taking on water is towed to Dun Laoghaire Harbour by the RNLI

Dun Laoghaire RNLI had a busy afternoon on Sunday (7 August) with three separate callouts all within a matter of hours. They began with a missing child at the Forty Foot bathing place, followed by a yacht taking on water with a crew of two adults and five children, and finally, a speedboat with engine trouble and a family of six onboard at Salt Hill.

The volunteer crew were first alerted minutes before 1 pm by the Irish Coast Guard, that a child was missing and was last seen in the water by the group of swimmers with them. Thankfully, Dun Laoghaire RNLI, Rescue 116, and local Lifeguards were all stood down when it transpired that the boy had left the water unseen by his companions and appeared on shore ten minutes later. Raising the alarm when you suspect someone is in danger on or near the water is always the correct action to take.

The second callout came in at 5.10pm, for a 36ft yacht with a fouled propeller and no power, which was taking on water. Dun Laoghaire RNLI all-weather lifeboat under the command of Coxswain Mark McGibney with six crew members onboard, made its way to the scene, launching within ten minutes and arriving on scene at 5.30pm. On board the yacht were two adults and five children aged between 10 and 12, all wearing lifejackets and remaining calm. Weather conditions presented a gentle breeze with excellent visibility.

Dun Laoghaire RNLI Coxswain Mark McGibneyDun Laoghaire RNLI all-weather lifeboat Coxswain Mark McGibney

When on scene, the Coxswain decided an immediate extraction of all casualties was the safest way to proceed, bringing the lifeboat alongside for the adults and children to come safely aboard the lifeboat, before the lifeboat crew tended to the yacht. A salvage pump from the lifeboat was brought aboard the yacht to assist the onboard bilge pump which was struggling to stem the flow of seawater. Positioning one adult crew member and a RNLI volunteer onboard the yacht, the lifeboat secured a towline and began the journey to shore where all seven casualties’ safety alighted.

Speaking following the call out, Dun Laoghaire RNLI Coxswain Mark McGibney said: ‘We’re delighted we were able to secure the casualties safety within 25 minutes of the alarm being raised. I would encourage anyone setting out to ensure they are completely aware of the dangers of loose and unsecured ropes on deck, and further ensure that in the event of an emergency at sea, a VHF radio be the prime means of communication to the Coast Guard and lifeboat service due to the fact that we can use our radio direction finder as a means of homing in on a casualty’s position. A mobile phone should be a secondary means of communication.”

The third callout of the day came as the lifeboat were dealing with the 36ft yacht and was to a 17ft speedboat which had lost all power. The craft, with a family of six onboard, was unable to proceed and was drifting in the Salthill area. The speedboat owner raised the alarm by calling the Irish Coast Guard, and Dun Laoghaire RNLI inshore lifeboat was launched with volunteer Helm Alan Keville and two crew onboard. On arrival at scene, the Helm assessed the situation, and the crew quickly secured a towline to the speedboat, bringing the casualties safely ashore.

Speaking following the call out, Dun Laoghaire RNLI Helm Alan Keville said: ‘It’s vital that no delay is made in raising the alarm when on board a vessel in trouble, early notice makes all the difference, as too does wearing appropriate lifejackets, which in this instance all casualties were thankfully doing.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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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