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Ballycotton RNLI Rescues Three Fishermen on Board 11m Boat off Power Head in Early Morning Call Out

9th January 2024
Ballycotton RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat, the Austin Lidbury
Ballycotton RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat, the Austin Lidbury

In a daring rescue operation, a volunteer lifeboat crew from Ballycotton RNLI in County Cork saved the lives of three fishermen who were stranded on an 11m boat that had suffered difficulties and was disabled two and a half miles off Power Head.

The incident occurred during the early hours of this morning.

The Austin Lidbury, Ballycotton RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat, was launched at 2.15 am after a distress call was received from the stranded vessel. The harsh weather conditions with temperatures at freezing and a bitter north-easterly wind of force 5-6 and two-metre swell made the rescue operation extremely challenging.

The lifeboat crew quickly located the vessel and confirmed that all crew members were safe. They then secured a tow line and began towing the boat to Crosshaven as conditions were deemed too unsafe to return to Ballycotton with the vessel in tow. The journey was long and arduous, with the towed vessel arriving at Crosshaven at approximately 5.15 am. During the journey, the lifeboat was escorted in by a pod of friendly dolphins as they entered the mouth of Cork Harbour.

The crew of the lifeboat were hailed for their bravery and quick action in rescuing the stranded fishermen. Ballycotton RNLI Coxswain Eolan Walsh said, "Thankfully, all three fishermen were wearing lifejackets and had called for help as soon as they encountered difficulties. Conditions were extremely cold and difficult, and I am thankful to all the volunteers who answered the call last night."

The lifeboat crew comprised Coxswain Walsh, station mechanic Adam Hussey, Eolan Breathnach as navigator, Cíaran Walsh, Michael Kenneally, Claire McCarthy, Ronan Lynch, and Adrian Erangey.

The incident serves as a reminder to all to take necessary precautions when venturing out to sea and to dial 999 or 112 or use VHF radio CH 16 and ask for the Coast Guard in case of an emergency.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats, Fishing 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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