Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Ballycotton RNLI Lifeboat Tows Stranded Powerboat Back to Crosshaven

5th May 2024
The broken down powerboat in tow astern of the Ballycotton RNLI Lifeboat Austin Lidbury
The broken down powerboat in tow astern of the Ballycotton RNLI Lifeboat Austin Lidbury

Ballycotton RNLI Lifeboat The Austin Lidbury was called to action off the Cork coast on Saturday, May 4th, following a request for assistance from the crew of a 24ft power boat that had suffered mechanical failure. The boat was on passage from Penzance to Kinsale when the incident occurred. 

The lifeboat launched at 6:34 pm after receiving the request from Valentia Coast Guard and arrived on the scene at 8:05 pm. With moderate wind, smooth conditions, and excellent visibility, the six volunteer crew members were able to assess the situation and speak with the two people on board. 

After careful consideration, it was decided that the best course of action was to tow the vessel back to Crosshaven. A secure tow line was established, and the 24ft boat was towed at a speed of 6 knots back to Crosshaven. With the assistance of Crosshaven Harbour Master Kieran Coniry, the boat was brought alongside Port of Cork pontoon in Crosshaven at 2:00 am. 

The crew then made their way back to Ballycotton, arriving at 3:15 am, where the boat was washed down and refuelled, ready to go back into service. The volunteer lifeboat crew included Mechanic Adam Hussey, Navigator Síle Scanlon, Mike Kenneally, Adrian Erangey, and Áine Flynn. 

Reflecting on the callout, Coxswain Eolan Breathnach said, "Thankfully, conditions were excellent, and both people were wearing lifejackets and had called for help as soon as they encountered engine difficulties." He advised people to take the correct water safety advice for the activity they are taking part in and always make sure they have a means of raising the alarm if things go wrong. 

The RNLI provides an on-call, 24/7 search and rescue lifeboat service, and they continue to urge people to adhere to relevant water safety guidance for their activity. More information can be found at

Published in RNLI Lifeboats 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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