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Two Call-Outs in 24 Hours See Newcastle Lifeboats Bring Four to Safety

14th July 2023
Newcastle RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat alongside the stricken boat with engine problems near Ballyhoran Beach on Thursday 13 July
Newcastle RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat alongside the stricken boat with engine problems near Ballyhoran Beach on Thursday 13 July Credit: Sean McConkey

Newcastle RNLI in Northern Ireland has this week come to the aid of four people in separate call-outs over a 24-hour period.

The volunteers pagers first sounded at 4.10pm on Wednesday (12 July) when Belfast Coastguard requested the crew to go to the aid of two people on a broken down jet ski in Newcastle Bay on the Co Down coast.

The inshore lifeboat, Eliza, helmed by Locky Leneghan for the first time and with crew members Trez Dennison and Ciaran Leneghan onboard, launched immediately and made its way to the scene.

Weather conditions at the time were described as good with a Force 2 northerly wind.

Once on scene, the lifeboat crew assessed the situation and found that both people were safe and well. It was decided take the two onboard the lifeboat where they were checked over and reassured. They were then brought back to Newcastle Harbour with the jet ski under tow.

Then on Thursday (13 July), the crew were once again paged and requested by Belfast Coastguard to launch and go to the aid of two people on a 19ft boat that had encountered engine problems close to Ballyhoran Beach.

The all-weather lifeboat launched under coxswain Gerry McConkey with five crew members onboard and made its way to the scene, reaching the boat at around 5.25pm in a Force 4 southerly wind.

After assessing the situation, the crew decided to take the two onboard where they were checked over and reassured. The lifeboat crew then worked to establish a tow before bringing the boat to the nearest safe port at Ardglass Harbour where it was handed into the care of Portaferry Coastguard.

Speaking following both call-outs, Sean McConkey, Newcastle RNLI launch authority said: “It has been a busy 24 hours for the station but the crew have been delighted to help.

“We want to wish all four well; the jet ski crew did the right thing in having a means of communication and raising the alarm, that is the right thing to do, and the people onboard the boat [on Thursday] were able to make contact with the coastguard immediately when they realised there was a problem, allowing for a prompt launch of the lifeboat.

“We also want to commend our own Locky Leneghan who had his first call-out on Wednesday since becoming a helm. Locky has been on the lifeboat crew for two years and has worked hard in recent months to complete his training and assessments to make this milestone which is a wonderful personal achievement for him and great news for the station.” 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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