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Lough Ree RNLI together with Athlone Sub Aqua Club have been honoured by the Municipal District of Athlone-Moate on behalf of Westmeath County Council.

The recognition was awarded to the volunteers of Lough Ree RNLI and Athlone Sub Aqua Club as a symbol of acknowledgement of their lifesaving contribution to the community.

Lough Ree RNLI has been operational since 2012 and to date has assisted over 1,000 people, 300 boats and one cow in over 370 call outs.

"Assisted over 1,000 people, 300 boats and one cow in over 370 call outs"

Speaking at the ceremony of recognition, Lifeboat Operations Manager, Tony McCarth thanked the Council for this honour, together with the support they have shown over the years, most especially in providing a location for the Lifeboat Station to call home until the new boathouse is built.

He paid special tribute to his predecessor, Damien Delaney who undertook setting up the operation in Lough Ree. Tony closed his speech with a special word of appreciation for Derry McMahon from Athlone Sub Aqua Club for his many years of service in the community as a diver.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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All In A Row 2019 comes to the capital’s River Liffey on Saturday week, 30 November, challenging teams rowing 40 skiffs, kayaks, canoes and currachs to exceed a 1,000 km target in eight hours.

The organisers are hoping to exceed last year’s target of rowing 1,000km during the event on the river, starting from St. Patrick’s Rowing Club at the Tom Clarke Bridge (formerly the East Link Bridge) and finishing at the Ha’penny Bridge.

The challenge is being undertaken with the aim of showcasing the River Liffey as one of Dublin’s best amenities while raising funds for the RNLI and the Irish Underwater Search and Recovery Unit.

The event will start at 8 am on Saturday 30 November and at 1 pm all boats will gather in front of the Sean O’Casey footbridge. A wreath-laying ceremony, attended by the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Paul McAuliffe, will also take place to commemorate all those who have lost their lives through drowning.

The RNLI, the charity that saves lives at sea, will have an Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat on the river during the day. Fast, manoeuvrable and reliable, the B class lifeboat operates in rough weather conditions, capable in daylight up to force seven and at night, to force six winds. The lifeboat is ideal for rescues close to shore, near cliffs and rocks and can also be beached in an emergency without causing damage to its engines or steering gear. The Atlantic 85 carries a full suite of communication and electronic navigation aids, as well as a searchlight, night-vision equipment and flares for night-time operations.

The lifeboat will be berthed alongside the Jeanie Johnston replica famine ship. The event is also being used as an opportunity to engage with inner-city Dublin schools whose pupils have been invited to the Dublin Docklands Offices to learn about water safety through the RNLI’s Respect the Water campaign and how they can volunteer in their communities to help save lives at sea. The city’s Sea Scouts will also be participating in the event.

Many Dublin rowing clubs have their home on the River Liffey and are a regular sight on the water. At the port end of the river is St. Patrick’s Rowing Club, Stella Maris Rowing Club, East Wall Water Sports Group and Poolbeg Yacht and Boat club. Ringsend Basin is home to the Plurabelle Paddlers (dragon boats) and the Dublin Viking Dragon boats. At the other end of the city beyond Heuston Station there are many river rowing clubs and kayaking clubs, including Phoenix Rowing Club.

On 30 November the many boating clubs of the Liffey will be joined by rowing clubs from other parts of Ireland, to raise funds for the RNLI and the Irish Underwater Search and Recovery Unit.

Commenting on the event, the All In a Row Team said: ‘Everyone knows the River Liffey but most people don’t know how far it stretches and how many rowing groups use it regularly. There is a vibrant boating community on the River Liffey and these clubs regard it as the living artery of the city and one of Dublin’s great and undervalued amenities.

‘After the beautiful summer we’ve had, we know that people are drawn to the water, whether on the coast or inland to enjoy different water sports. The Liffey is an undervalued and underused resource that is right under people’s noses and we want to encourage them to use it and to use it safely. From school children right up to seasoned rowers, this is a great opportunity to draw people down to the Liffey and learn about water safety and the fun activities they can do on the water all year round.’

Competitors are asked to raise sponsorship for the event, and for those not competing and supporters, there is a GoFundMe page for donations

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Howth RNLI is hosting a special Lifeboat Supporters’ Evening tonight, Tuesday 19 November, from 7.30pm at Howth Yacht Club.

Those attending will learn the latest news and updates from the Howth lifesaving volunteers, as well as see video of their vital rescue efforts.

RNLI Christmas cards and souvenirs will also be on sale to raise funs for the charity that saves lives at sea. All are welcome to attend.

This coming Thursday (21 November) there will also be a lifeboat evening at King Sitric restaurant, with a six course local seasonal menu and a lively auction in aid of Howth RNLI. Details are on Facebook HERE.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Arranmore RNLI has paid tribute to lifeboat volunteer Lee Early, who died on Sunday (17 November) after an incident at a pier on the Co Donegal island.

TheJournal.ie reports that Early (26) and another man, who survived the incident, were in a car that slipped off the pier into the sea around 5.10am.

It’s believed they had been trying to turn the car on the pier when the accident occurred.

Early’s remains were escorted back to Arranmore yesterday evening (Monday 18 November) ahead of his funeral scheduled for noon tomorrow at St Crone’s Church.

“He was a proud Lifeboatman, a skilled Skipper and a much loved friend to us all, he will be greatly missed by the whole community,” the lifeboat team said in a statement on Facebook.

“The Arranmore Community & diaspora, along with the RNLI and wider SAR community will stand with the Early family at this difficult time. Ar dhéis Dé go mbeidh a anam dilís.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Lerwick lifeboat launched late Friday night (15 November) to the aid of a fishing vessel which had grounded on rocks just north of the Shetland Islands harbour.

The 26-metre, Inverness-registered trawler was stuck fast and was listing when the Severn-class all-weather lifeboat arrived on scene around 1.40am.

Lerwick Port Authority vessels Knab and Kebister, and the fishing vessel Faithlie, also arrived soon after to assist.

After assessing the damage, attempts by the lifeboat crew to tow the vessel off the rocks on a falling tide were unsuccessful, with two tow lines on the lifeboat snapped in the effort. The other vessels on scene were also unable to free the trawler from the rock.

The nine crew members were taken off the stricken vessel by the lifeboat around 4am and safely returned to Lerwick Harbour, with only minor injuries, and into the care of the ambulance service.

Weather conditions were calm with light winds and a moderate sea swell, with the air temperature just above freezing.

Around 12 hours later, the lifeboat returned to the scene to assist with another attempt to refloat the vessel at high tide, just before 1pm on Saturday.

The Knab and Kebister were successful in pulling the vessel off the rocks on Saturday afternoon and took the vessel under tow into Lerwick Harbour, accompanied by Lerwick lifeboat.

Lerwick RNLI’s deputy coxswain Tommy Goudie said: “The outcome of this grounding could have been a lot worse. Thanks to fair weather and the combined efforts of ourselves and Lerwick Port Authority vessels, the fishing crew are safe, and the vessel is now safely in harbour.

“The crew did the right thing by contacting the coastguard as soon as they knew they needed help. They were wearing survival suits and life jackets and deployed their life raft in case it became necessary. Our crew are always ready to respond and we’re pleased to be able to assist.”

Published in Scottish Waters

Wicklow RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat put to sea at 1.20pm on Saturday afternoon (16 November) after being tasked to assist a whelk fishing vessel in difficulties.

The lifeboat, under the command of coxswain Nick Keogh and a volunteer crew, was alongside the drifting vessel half an hour later, some 10 miles south east of Wicklow harbour.

A rope had been fouled in the vessel’s propeller while whelk fishing and it had lost all propulsion.

Weather conditions on scene had a moderate sea state, with winds north-westerly Force 4 and good visibility.

A towline was quickly established and the fishing vessel was towed into Wicklow Harbour, where the three fishermen were landed safely ashore and the boat was secured alongside the south quay at 4.30pm.

The crew on the callout alongside Keogh were mechanic Brendan Copeland, David O’Leary, Lisa O’Leary and John Stapleton.

Published in Fishing
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Bundoran RNLI volunteers launched their inshore lifeboat this afternoon after a concerned crew member spotted an upturned kayak just off the shore at Nuns Pool.

Crew member Fergal Muller was at the cliffs on Bundoran’s West End when he raised the alarm at 2.50 pm.

The lifeboat was launched five minutes later with helm Brian Gillespie and three crew members on board.

Weather conditions at the time were described as fair with a northerly Force 4-5 wind and a slight 2-3m sea swell.

Once on scene, the crew recovered the kayak and began a 25-minute search for any occupants.

During the search, word came to Bundoran Lifeboat Station that the occupant had been brought to shore by fellow kayakers while the kayak had been carried out to sea in a rip current. The lifeboat was subsequently stood down.

Speaking following the call out, Captain Tony McGowan, Bundoran RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager said: ‘We are delighted that no one was in any immediate danger this afternoon and that the group of kayakers had made their way safely to shore. I would like to commend Fergal for his quick thinking in raising the alarm when he observed the capsized kayak and praise the crew for what was a swift response.

‘We would remind anyone planning a trip to sea regardless of their activity, to always respect the water. Always wear a lifejacket, always carry a means of communication and should you get into difficulty call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coast Guard. We would also appeal to everyone to remember that should you for any reason need to leave or abandon your vessel, to please report it as missing to the Coast Guard once you have safely made it to shore.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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14th November 2019

A 'Perfect Storm' Hits the RNLI

As a new lifeboat arrived in Lough Ree on Tuesday an envelope arrived on my desk from the RNLI, painting a perspective of the lifeboat service from a different viewpoint.

As Afloat reported earlier, the new Atlantic 85 on Athlone’s famous lake, based at Coosan Point, is a positive statement about the future of the service, which is vital because all of us mariners have a safety valve available to be opened by the RNLI on request for assistance, anywhere along the coast and on the inland waters and that is an assurance of help that is always there and a source of ever-present comfort.

The communication inside that RNLI envelope however, contained a message that the RNLI needs a bit of comfort itself – because it is facing into a ‘Perfect Storm’ – reflective to a certain degree of modern life.

Bluntly put – fundraising has dipped and the RNLI needs funds.

It isn’t a terminal crisis, but it is wise to prepare for the future and so the lifeboat service is looking for 12.000 new supporters.

"Bluntly put – fundraising has dipped and the RNLI needs funds"

Niamh Stephenson, Public Affairs Manager for the RNLI in Ireland outlined the situation to me on my radio programme this week – The public continues to be extremely generous but, while the lifesavers are busier than ever, fundraising has dropped and the Perfect Storm is at hand – the biggest appeal ever undertaken by the RNLI, to counter the evolving situation.

Listen to Niamh Stephenson on the Podcast below

The new lifeboat on Lough Ree, named Tara Scougall, has gone into service, with the crew training on her this week. The Eric Rowse which she replaces launched 292 times in five years of service and assisted 716 people.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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A group of seven men from the North Coast hatched a novel way to carry out some fundraising for the Portrush and Islay RNLI volunteer lifeboat crews recently.

As a group of keen sailors and avid supporters of the RNLI and the Scottish islands, they wanted to marry the two passions together and have some fun along the way.

The team decided to row to Islay to recreate a journey made over the generations using only manpower to raise money for the lifeboats.

The team was fortunate to be able to borrow ‘Home to Portrush’, the famous local boat that had crossed the Atlantic in record time in February 2018. Their challenge was to visit all the coastal distilleries on Islay and collect some whiskey from each one.

Ashley Moore, one of the crew, said: “We left from Ballintoy at 3am in idyllic conditions in order to reach Port Ellen and not be swept around the headland as the tide turned.

“Thankfully we made it in nine-and-a-half hours and over the next three days went on to visit Laphroaig, Lagavulin, Ardbeg, Coal Ila, Bunnahabhain, Bowmore and Bruichladdich, collecting whisky bottles along the way.

“We were blown away by the warmth of the welcome across Islay and the distilleries — we were given many offers of food and accommodation and each distillery presented us with a bottle of whisky and a stave from one of their barrels to allow us to create the Islay Sea Collection.”

On returning home, team member and local architect Graeme Montgomery set out to design and create a unique cask to display the bottles of whisky, with the source of each stave marked.

‘This is a really exciting and novel way to raise funds for the two stations’

Bids are now being accepted until Sunday 17 November at just-whisky.co.uk for this ‘one of a kind’ whisky collection — and sponsors, including Coleraine software company Spatialest, have already pledged £2,000.

To register to bid you will have to pay £5 but this will be donated to RNLI. During registration, under box number 2 will see a box asking you to leave a message — in this box you must type in RNLI BID to ensure that the £5 registration fee comes to Portrush and Islay RNLI.

Portrush lifeboat operations manager Keith Gilmore said: “This is a really exciting and novel way to raise funds for the two stations. We often have to work with Islay, and this is a great way to work with one of our neighbours and local supporters to raise funds for the RNLI.”

Ashley Moore added: “This was a really fun way to see the Scottish islands in a different way while helping to raise funds to support the work of the RNLI – and to enjoy some exceptional whisky!

“As sea lovers each one of our team never takes for granted the exceptional and brave work of the lifeboat crews and we are so grateful to know they are there whenever needed.”

Published in Scottish Waters

Carrybridge RNLI’s inshore lifeboat launched yesterday afternoon (Tuesday 12 November) to a vessel adrift close to an island in Upper Lough Erne north-east of Knockninny Marina.

Winds were north-westerly Force 2 when the lifeboat Douglas Euan & Kay Richards arrived on the scene and slowly proceeded to the location of the vessel, with one man on board.

With the owner’s permission, and due to weather conditions pushing the boat onto the island, the lifeboat crew set up a tow line to being the casualty vessel into deeper water and then onwards to the safety of the marina.

Speaking following the callout, lifeboat operations manager Stephen Scott advised all boat users: “Before setting out on your journey, please plan your route and carry out regular checks of their vessels.

“With the constantly changing water levels at this time of year, please be vigilant for floating debris in the water. Also have a means of calling for assistance if you find yourself in trouble.

“If you see someone in trouble on the water or are in difficulties yourself the number to dial is: 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

Carrybridge RNLI is currently seeking new crew members to join its search and rescue service in Co Fermanagh, and will be hosting an open evening for all interested candidates at the lifeboat station next Thursday 21 November from 7pm.

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