#Lifeboats - Bangor RNLI was delighted yesterday (Tuesday 29 January) Yesterday afternoon, Bangor RNLI was delighted to welcome a delegation led by Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence, Chairman of the RNLI Operations Committee.
Sir Tim and other top RNLI officials met volunteers who run the Bangor lifeboat station as part of the charity’s coastal review.
Together, they spent more than two hours discussing the running of the lifeboat station, the views of management, crew members and fund-raisers, as well as their hopes for the future.
Sir Tim, who is chairman of the RNLI’s operations committee, explained that he and his colleagues visit every lifeboat station in the country in a rolling series of visits to ensure the RNLI remains relevant to each station’s unique needs.
He thanked all the Bangor RNLI volunteers for their commitment to keeping the local waters and shores safe and said how impressed he was to see the high standards set by Bangor are being maintained.
Just after 6.30am this morning (Monday 31 December) the lifeboat was called to assist in the rescue of a vulnerable woman in the water off Carrickfergus.
The inshore lifeboat Jessie Hillyard was stood down after the woman was assisted by land-based rescue services, but according to the Bangor RNLI Facebook page, even this callout illustrated the dedication of its crew.
“Every time the pagers go off, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year, our dedicated volunteers drop everything to launch the lifeboat with the aim of saving lives at sea.
“This morning, 16 volunteers turned up at the lifeboat station to help, and while only four were needed to crew the boat, the others stayed around to clean the boat on her return.
“Please raise a glass to them tonight, for everything they do to keep the waters and shore around us safer.
“Please also toast our wonderful fundraising team who work so hard to raise the vital funds we need to provide this service.
“And, thanks to everyone who has contributed their hard-earned money to the RNLI this year — we really do appreciate it.
“Finally, please remember that this is a difficult time of year for many people, and that lives can be saved with a friendly word or a smile.”
Bangor RNLI was first to launch at 3.15pm to reports that a fishing boat had a fouled propeller and was taking on water while drifting ashore onto rocks near Carrickfergus.
Once on scene, the Bangor lifeboat crew established a towline and were able to pull the sinking boat off the rocks, as well as transfer two of its crew to the safety of the inshore lifeboat Jessie Hillyard, where they were given casualty care.
The remaining two fishermen were recovered on the shoreline by coastguard members.
Due to the vessel taking on too much water, the decision was taken to request the assistance of Donaghadee RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat and use its salvage pump to try and save the vessel.
Bangor cut their towline and proceeded to take the two casualties, who were wet and cold, to Carrickfergus and the care of the waiting coastguard crew.
Donaghadee’s volunteers were paged at 4.12pm and proceeded on their lifeboat Saxon at full speed to the last reported location of the sinking vessel.
Upon arrival, the fishing boat was already semi submerged and in the shipping lane, posing a danger to shipping traffic and local boats.
The crew were able to secure a line and tow the boat to shallow waters just north-east of Carrickfergus and prevent it becoming a danger to other boats. Unfortunately, the boat was unable to be recovered.
Speaking after the dual operation, Donaghadee RNLI coxswain Philip McNamara said: “Although unable to make it on time to save the fishing boat, the main concern is the safety of the crew members onboard. Thankfully the speedy response of our colleagues in Bangor ensured the people were brought to safety before the situation deteriorated any further.
“The crew member that requested assistance as soon as they realised they were in trouble did the right thing; the two crew members that made it ashore were very lucky to do so. If in difficulties it can be best to stay with your vessel as long as possible and avoid entering the water if you can.”
In other RNLI news from Northern Ireland, young members of Lough Erne Yacht Club went the extra mile for the lifesaving charity when they held a mini triathlon that raised £310 for Enniskillen Lifeboat Station, based at their club.
Emma Brines and Emily Torrens along with Peter Brines, Charlie Valentine and Adam Torrens presented the cheque to Lifeboat crew members Olivia Crosgrove, Padraig Lunny and helm Brian McAleer (photo by Bob Torrens). The young sailors thanked club members, family and friends for their support.
#RNLI - Last Wednesday evening (8 August), two men enjoying an evening’s fishing on their speedboat near Groomsport in Co Down hit rocks and lost their propeller.
Thanks to their skill, it wasn’t long until they were able to hand the rescued vessel over to the Bangor Coastguard Rescue Team and make their way back to Bangor to enjoy what remained of their evening.
More recently, volunteer crew from Bangor launched to a report of a person in the water on the Carrickfergus side of Belfast Lough yesterday, Monday 13 August.
On arrival, however, the crew determined that it was just a cluster of helium-filled balloons, and returned to base.
#RNLI - Bangor RNLI’s volunteer crew headed to the shore in front of Royal Belfast Golf Club early yesterday afternoon (Saturday 7 July) to assist in the rescue of a young woman who had fallen to the rocks below.
However, due to the inaccessibility of the site for vehicles, the inshore lifeboat was requested to move the casualty, a South African national, to a place where she could be evacuated safely.
Arriving at the scene, due to the shallow waters, members of the crew jumped into the water to walk the boat closer to shore.
Coastguard rescue team members then carried the stretcher with the woman out to the boat, where it was laid across the bow of the boat.
The lifeboat then made its way safely to the slipway at Royal North Yacht Club, where the casualty was transferred to an ambulance and onward to hospital.
Bangor RNLI helmsman James Gillespie thanked his volunteer crew of Russel McKeague, Johnny Gedge and Ian Browne, and said: “This was an excellent example of the RNLI, the coastguard rescue team and the ambulance service working together, and we all wish this young woman a speedy recovery.”
The volunteer lifeboat crew pagers sounded at 9.25pm following reports of a person in the water at Whitehead off the Antrim coast.
Sea conditions at the time were very rough with winds gusting up to 60mph (97kmh).
As the Larne RNLI crew assembled and made preparations to leave the Port of Larne, Belfast Coastguard cancelled the launch following confirmation from the PSNI that two women were ashore safe and well.
Larne Coastguard, Portmuck Coastguard and the PSNI were also tasked to the incident.
Speaking later, Larne RNLI Coxswain Frank Healy said: “During what is extremely challenging weather conditions, I am proud to say 18 volunteers answered the call immediately. This demonstrates our crew dedication to help those in distress at sea.
“Our volunteer lifeboat crews will always launch to rescue those in danger at sea, but to launch into conditions like these could also put their lives at risk.
“I strongly urge people to respect the water and stay away from the coastline during the storm. If you do see someone else in trouble in the water, call 999 and ask for the coastguard. Don’t enter the water yourself as you could also end up in serious danger.”
Saving Lives at Sea, showcasing the lifesaving work of the RNLI, starts next Wednesday 16 August at 8pm on BBC Two.
The 12-part series features real rescues carried out by the charity’s lifeboat crews around Ireland and the UK, and gives a unique insight into the lives of the charity’s volunteer lifeboat crew members, who rescue thousands of people and save hundreds of lives around our coastline every year.
Castletownbere will be in episode three, as the crew rescue a lone sailor in storm conditions and rescue two fishermen from a boat that sinks.
Saving Lives at Sea features real-life rescue footage accompanied by heart-warming and emotive testimonials from the crew and the people they rescue.
The series has been filmed over the past year, with lifeboat crews using RNLI and special cameras and welcoming filmmakers into their day-to-day life. Rescues from the RNLI’s archives are also revisited.
Last year alone, RNLI lifeboats in Ireland launched 1,136 times rescuing 1,649 people.
Saving Lives at Sea will be broadcast weekly from Wednesday 16 August to Wednesday 1 November on BBC Two at 8pm. The series is made for the BBC by Blast! Films.
Volunteers from Donaghadee and Bangor RNLI were requested to launch their lifeboats this evening (Thursday 3 August) after a group of dinghy sailors got into difficulty off the County Down coast.
The inshore lifeboat from Bangor and the all-weather lifeboat from Donaghadee launched shortly after 5pm following a report from Belfast Coastguard that two dinghies with 10 people onboard were in difficulty in an area off South Briggs.
Weather conditions at the time were dry and sunny with a north west Force 4 wind blowing.
The sailors had got caught out by an offshore wind which made it difficult for them to make any headway back to land.
Once on scene, the lifeboat crews observed that the five people onboard each dinghy had managed to regain control.
Both lifeboats then escorted the sailors safely back to Ballyholme.
Speaking following the call out, Peter Irwin, Donaghadee RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager said: ‘Sailing is a popular activity on the County Down coastline especially at this time of year. Weather can change no matter how well you prepare for your trip and it was an offshore wind that caused problems this evening but thankfully all are safe and well. We would remind anyone going to sea this summer to respect the water. Always wear a lifejacket and always carry a means of calling or signalling for help. Should you get into difficulty dial 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard.’
#RNLI - During the Sea Bangor Festival over the weekend, Bangor RNLI was delighted to welcome Jackie Patton of Ballyholme Yacht Club and Robert Montgomery from the Belfast Kayak Club to receive a cheque for £1,700 raised for the lifeboat station in the fifth annual Bangor Bay Sea Kayak Race last month.
Receiving the cheque was deputy launching authority Bryan Lawther, watched by crew members Kyle Marshall, Kat Lindsay, Joanne Heasley and Richard McClinton - and not forgetting Stormy Sam.
Thanking Patton and Montgomery, Lawther said: “As a charity, It is events like yours that raise the money we need to protect the waters around our coast.
“And the event itself gave us the opportunity to discuss sea safety with all participants.”
Organised by Jackie Patton of Ballyholme Yacht Club and members of Belfast Kayak Club, and with all proceeds going to the RNLI, more than 70 kayakers and paddle boarders took to the water in a wide variety of craft, and were seen on their way by a volunteer crew from Bangor RNLI.
Before taking to the water, each kayak was checked by organisers to make sure it met the required safety standard, and that every competitor was suitably attired.
Delighted by the turnout, Jackie Patton said afterwards: “This event gets better every year, with more boats taking part, and the pre-race checks give us a perfect opportunity to reinforce key safety messages with the kayakers.”
RNLI community safety officer Peter E Bullick was also on hand to offer safety advice to competitors.
Following the event, the prizegiving was held in Ballyholme Yacht Club, and Bangor RNLI lifeboat operations manager Kevin Byers thanked everyone for their generosity and said it was events like this that provided vital funds to the RNLI.
Unfortunately, the start of the race was delayed by an unrelated accident on one of the yacht club’s slipways, as safety boats were being launched.
The Bangor RNLI crew were among the first to attend, and were able to put their first aid training into practice by helping to lift the casualty into the ambulance.
Helmsman Gareth Whan said: “There are always danger points when launching boats, and this accident highlights the fact that accidents happen off the water as well as on.
“The crew and I were delighted to be able to offer some assistance to the casualty, and we wish him well for a full recovery.”