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Courtmacsherry RNLI Lifeboat in Dog Rescue from Harbour

30th November 2023
Courtmacsherry RNLI Lifeboat Coxswains Ken Cashman and Mark John Gannon on arrival home with Bonnie
Courtmacsherry RNLI Lifeboat Coxswains Ken Cashman and Mark John Gannon on arrival home with Bonnie

A dog that had been reported missing for several hours in West Cork was rescued by the Courtmacsherry RNLI Lifeboat Station on Wednesday afternoon. The station received a call from two people on the shore who had spotted the dog in grave danger of being washed away on a sandbank off Burren Rock in Courtmacsherry Bay. The lifeboat pagers were immediately activated by Lifeboat Operations Manager Brian O'Dwyer.

Within minutes, the Rigid Inflatable Station House Boat was launched with Station Coxswains Ken Cashman and Mark John Gannon on board. The crewmembers responded quickly to the callout and were able to reach the dog, which was struggling in the strong currents. With the assistance of local man Dave Edwards in another small craft, the Lifeboat Crew were able to coax the dog towards the Lifeboat and finally crewman Mark John was able to catch the shocked dog and bring him to the safety of the Lifeboat.

The Lifeboat very quickly returned to the Lifeboat Slipway, where crew members assisted with the safe landing of dog Bonnie on dry land. Shortly after the rescue, the owners of Bonnie arrived as they had been looking for their precious Sheepdog for many hours, as he had been frightened by other dogs in the locality around mid-day. The relieved owners were reunited with Bonnie and were highly praised for the great work done so quickly by the lifeboat crew.

The Courtmacsherry Lifeboat Launch Authority and press officer Vincent O Donovan praised the two concerned ladies on the shore who alerted the authorities immediately when they spotted the dog in difficulty. He also gave credit to the fast response of the Lifeboat Crew, which ensured that Dog Bonnie was reached before being taken out to sea. Vincent added, “it was so great to see the joy on the owner's faces on being reunited with Bonnie and thus a very happy ending for all concerned”. 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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