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Two Callouts in Two Days for Baltimore’s Inshore Lifeboat to Vessels Propped on Pot Buoys

28th August 2022
File image of Baltimore RNLI’s inshore lifeboat
File image of Baltimore RNLI’s inshore lifeboat Credit: RNLI/Baltimore

Baltimore RNLI’s lifeboat volunteers were called upon twice in two days, both time to boats that had got into difficulty near Cape Clear Island in West Cork
On Friday 26 August, the crew launched their inshore lifeboat at 10.27am following a request from the Irish Coast Guard to go to the assistance of a 32ft yacht with one person on board which was propped around half a kilometre north of Bird Island, just off Cape Clear.   
The lifeboat was on scene 12 minutes later, under helm Pat O’Driscoll with crew members Kieran O’Driscoll, Rob O’Leary and John Kearney Jr, the latter being put aboard the casualty vessel to assist the lone sailor.

While they were able to free the yacht from the pot buoy line on which it was snagged, the propeller was still fouled so the helm decided that a tow was necessary.

Kearney assisted in rigging a tow and the lifeboat and casualty vessel were under way by 10.58am. The lifeboat then proceeded to Baltimore Harbour, the nearest safe and suitable port, arriving at 12.05pm to secure the casualty vessel at the pier.
Then on Saturday (27 August), the lifeboat was launched at 3.15pm to a report of a 28ft fishing boat with two people on board which was propped on another pot buoy, near South Harbour in Cape Clear Island.

Baltimore’s lifeboat operations manager Tom Bushe had initially been alerted to the problem by a relative of the vessel’s skipper.  
The lifeboat crew — helm Pat O’Driscoll with Eoin O’Driscoll, Ian Lynch and Johnny McKenna — arrived at the casualty vessel at 3.26pm.

While the skipper and his crew mate had managed to free themselves from the pot buoy line, they were unable to manoeuvre so helm Pat O’Driscoll made the decision that a tow was required. 

The lifeboat passed a towline to the vessel to establish a tow by 3.30pm and proceeded north to North Harbour on Cape Clear Island, the nearest safe and suitable port on this occasion, where the casualty vessel was secured at the pier at 4.32pm. 
Speaking following these callouts, Kate Callanan, Baltimore RNLI volunteer lifeboat press officer said: “It has been a busy couple of days for Baltimore Lifeboat and as always we are grateful to our crews for being ready to answer their pagers as soon as required.

“Please remember, if you find yourself in difficulty whilst at sea call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.” 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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