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Swimmers at Dalkey Island Rescued by Dun Laoghaire Harbour RNLI

20th August 2023
Dun Laoghaire’s inshore lifeboat returns to the harbour after rescuing swimmers at nearby Dalkey Island on Dublin Bay
Dun Laoghaire’s inshore lifeboat returns to harbour after rescuing swimmers at nearby Dalkey Island on Dublin Bay Credit: Afloat

A group of swimmers were rescued by Dun Laoghaire Harbour RNLI this morning near Dalkey Island on Dublin Bay.

The crew was on a training exercise in the station’s inshore lifeboat when they were alerted to an incident unfolding at Dalkey Island. The swimmers had become separated from their main group, and upon reaching shore, became concerned for their friends who had not returned.

A passing Dive Support RIB was flagged down and alerted the Coast Guard, who promptly tasked Dun Laoghaire’s inshore lifeboat. All swimmers were accounted for, and the remaining swimmers were brought safely ashore and assessed by ambulance crews.

This was the first callout for volunteer crew member Andrew Sykes, who had recently passed out as a Helm at Dun Laoghaire RNLI for the station’s Inshore lifeboat. Andrew joined the station at the age of 18 and has worked his way up to the senior position of lifeboat Helm after six years on the lifeboat crew.

Dun Laoghaire RNLI Deputy Launch Authority Dara Totterdell urged all swimmers to keep safety in mind, advising them to know the area they are swimming in, watch the tides and the sea state, have an agreed plan, and know their limits. The RNLI’s Float to Live campaign recommends anyone in difficulty to float on their back if in trouble and never hesitate to call for help.

“We would encourage anyone planning a water-based activity to be wary of sea temperatures and to wear a wetsuit as hypothermia can set in within minutes,” Totterdell said. “If you see someone who may be in trouble in the water, raise the alarm immediately and call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coast Guard. Time is always of the essence in these situations.” 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.

© Afloat 2020