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Early Morning Callout for Ballyglass Lifeboat to Assist Four Fishermen in Donegal Bay

21st September 2022
File image of Ballyglass RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat
File image of Ballyglass RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat Credit: RNLI/Ballyglass

Ballyglass RNLI came to aid of four fishermen in Donegal Bay in the early hours of Wednesday morning (21 September) after their 55ft trawler got into difficulty overnight.

The volunteer crew were requested to launch their all-weather lifeboat by Malin Head Coast Guard at 2.20am and go to the aid of a drifting trawler four miles west of Malin Beg in Donegal.

Launched under coxswain James Mangan, the lifeboat set out across Donegal Bay just after 2.30am to assist the crew of the large vessel that had lost power and was adrift.

Conditions on the overnight passage were less than favourable with southerly Force 5-6 winds, a 2-3m sea swell and poor to fair visibility.

The lifeboat made the journey north to assist the fishermen as Arranmore RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat is currently in dry docks for routine maintenance.

Once on scene at 5.25am, the lifeboat crew assessed the situation and found that the fishermen were safe and well.

It was decided to establish a secure tow and bring the vessel to the nearest safe port at Killybegs where they secured the trawler at 11.40am. The crew then began the preparations for the return journey to Ballyglass.

Speaking after the trawler was safely berthed, Pádraig Sheerin, Ballyglass RNLI lifeboat operations manager commended the crew for their dedication.

“We would like to wish the fishermen well. Despite the very early hours of this morning when the pagers went off, there was a great turn out once again from our volunteers with plenty of assistance and team work to launch the lifeboat as promptly as possible,” he said.

“It is thanks to the commitment, dedication and hard work of the volunteer crew, along with the top-class training and equipment provided by the RNLI, and the funds raised by all those who donate to the lifeboats, that allow us to continue saving lives at sea. A sincere and heartfelt thank you to one and all.”

Joining Mangan on the callout were mechanic Allen Murray and Paudge Kelleher, as well as Eric Geraghty and Ciaran Deane — who also out on the 22-hour callout just three days ago to rescue a kayaker trapped in a cave at Downpatrick Head.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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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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