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Busy Weekend for Helvick Head RNLI With Two Callouts During Station Celebrations

26th August 2022
Helvick Head RNLI’s lifeboats on the water with the Naval Service’s LÉ George Bernard Shaw during its open day celebrations
Helvick Head RNLI’s lifeboats on the water with the Naval Service’s LÉ George Bernard Shaw during its open day celebrations last Sunday 21 August Credit: RNLI/Youghal

Helvick Head RNLI in Co Waterford was called upon twice on the same weekend as it celebrated the 25th anniversary of its reopening.

The first callout was during a bright and sunny Saturday afternoon (20 August), when lifeboat volunteers were paged at 4.30pm to give onshore assistance to a beachgoer with a leg injury at Helvick Head cove.

The female tourist had sustained a dislocated knee while sitting on the rocks and was supported by a number of crew members until an ambulance arrived.

She was treated on scene by paramedics before being transferred to hospital and later released to recover at home.

A family member visited the station the following day to thank all involved as it materialised that this was not the first time the casualty had encountered the lifeboat services.

Over 20 years ago, she had been one of a number of children cut off by the tide at Faill an Staicin beach and subsequently rescued by the lifeboat crew.

The following day (Sunday 21 August), Helvick Head RNLI were celebrating the 25th anniversary of the reopening of the station with an open day to recognise its relationships with other local emergency services.

While conducting an exercise in front of local crowds, alongside the crews of Naval Service vessel LÉ George Bernard Shaw, the Irish Coast Guard’s Waterford-based helicopter Rescue 117 and Youghal RNLI, the volunteer lifeboat was redirected at 3.52pm at the request of the coastguard.

It followed a report that an 18-foot pleasure boat had broken down in Dungarvan Bay.

The lifeboat — helmed by Richard Haines and with crew members Alan Kelly, Pat Devereux and Rian Kelly onboard — made its way to the reported location through choppy waters and Force 3-4 northwesterly winds.

Once on scene, the crew assessed the situation and found the three male casualties to be safe and well. As the boat had sustained engine failure, a decision was made to tow it back to Helvick Head pier.

Speaking following the callout, John Condon, Helvick Head RNLI deputy launching authority said: “The casualties did the right thing by calling for help when they realised they were in difficulty.

“We would remind anyone planning a trip to sea to always go prepared. Wear a lifejacket and be sure to carry a means of communication. Should you get into trouble or see someone else in difficulty, dial 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats 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.


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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