Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Tramore Lifeboat Assists in Rescue of Two Swimmers in Difficulty

10th June 2023
Tramore RNLI’s inshore lifeboat and crew
Tramore RNLI’s inshore lifeboat and crew Credit: RNLI/Tramore

Tramore RNLI were involved in the rescue of two swimmers who got into difficulty off Tramore Beach on Friday evening (9 June).

The volunteer crew were requested to launch their inshore lifeboat at the request of the Irish Coast Guard following a call from a family member stating that her mother and brother were in difficulty off the Ladies slip in Tramore.

Pagers alerted the crew at 5.37pm and the D-class lifeboat — helmed by Dave O’Hanolan and with crew members Ronan McConnell, Noirin Phelan and Will Palmer onboard — launched minutes later at 5.42pm and made its way to the casualties reported position.

Weather conditions at the time were described as sunny and warm with two to three feet of surf and a brisk east to northeasterly wind.

On arrival, the lifeboat crew observed both casualties in the water with the male casualty keeping the female afloat. The mother and son had got caught in a rip current while swimming.

As they were close to the beach, two members of the public who spotted the pair in difficulty had gone into the water with a life ring and assisted in the recovery of the man while the woman was subsequently rescued by the lifeboat crew.

The Waterford-based Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 117, which was on exercise just minutes away, attended and their winchman — a paramedic — was lowered onto the beach to assess the casualties. Both were found to be shaken but otherwise safe.

Speaking following the callout, Tramore RNLI helm Dave O’Hanolan said: “Time was of the essence this evening and we would commend the family member who raised the alarm and the members of the public who with safety in mind first, used a life ring before entering the water. The efforts of everyone this evening resulted in a life saved.

“As we continue to enjoy some good weather, we would encourage anyone planning a trip to the coast or an activity at sea to always go prepared by wearing a lifejacket or suitable flotation device and to always carry a means of communication.

“For swimmers or anyone getting into the water, we would remind people that rip currents can be difficult to spot but are sometimes identified by a channel of churning choppy water on the sea’s surface. Even the most experienced beachgoers can be caught out by rips.

“The best way to avoid them is to choose a lifeguarded beach and to always swim between the red and yellow flags which have been marked based on where is safer to swim in the current conditions. This also helps you to be spotted more easily should something go wrong.

“If you do find yourself caught in a rip, don’t try to swim against it or you will get exhausted. If you can stand, wade don’t swim. If you can, swim parallel to the shore until free of the rip and then head for shore or raise your hand and shout for help.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats Team

About The Author Team

Email The Author is Ireland's dedicated marine journalism team.

Have you got a story for our reporters? Email us here.

We've got a favour to ask

More people are reading than ever thanks to the power of the internet but we're in stormy seas because advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. Unlike many news sites, we haven’t put up a paywall because we want to keep our marine journalism open. is Ireland's only full–time marine journalism team and it takes time, money and hard work to produce our content.

So you can see why we need to ask for your help.

If everyone chipped in, we can enhance our coverage and our future would be more secure. You can help us through a small donation. Thank you.

Direct Donation to Afloat button

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.

© Afloat 2020