Displaying items by tag: Lifeboats
Five years into his remarkable and challenging project to photograph all RNLI lifeboat station in the UK and Ireland with a Victorian-era camera, Jack Lowe has visited 147 stations and met more than 2,000 volunteers.
And it’s not over yet, as the West of Ireland and Scotland’s Western Isles are among those locations yet to be covered by The Lifeboat Station Project between now and the end of 2022.
They will add to the more than 35,000 miles he’s already covered with his trusty converted ambulance, ‘Neena’, which also serves as his mobile darkroom for the 19th-century wet plate collodion process he used to produce his distinct, monochrome images.
Last September, Lowe toured Northern Ireland to complete that 10-station leg of his mammoth undertaking.
That came almost a year after he reached the half-way mark in his project, shortly following his 100th station visit at Valentia — and at a time of self-doubt, before crowdfunding support provided the boost needed to see the rest of the task through.
At the same time, he’s expanded the scope of the project — including images of station mechanics and other key volunteers, as well as making sound recordings that go ‘behind the scenes’.
“Ultimately, I’m honoured beyond words to be making this archive,” Lowe says. “It’s a privilege spending time with so many lifeboat volunteers, preserving their bravery and devotion for future generations.”
The Lifeboat Station Project’s dedicated website has links to Lowe’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram feeds, as well as his Patreon campaign.
Aberdeen’s all-weather lifeboat was called for a medevac from an oilfield platform supply vessel (PSV) at anchor in Aberdeen Bay on Friday evening (3 January).
The casualty complained of chest pain and numbness in one side of his body – symptoms typically associated with heart attack — and the lifeboat launched immediately, navigating through an unusually busy bay anchorage.
Coxswain Michael Cowlam said: “Conditions were excellent — perfect visibility and a gentle swell from the gentle offshore breeze. The challenge was finding the right vessel in the densely crowded anchorage. None of us had ever seen it so busy.”
Once the casualty’s vessel had been located, however, he was swiftly returned to shore and the care of the Scottish Ambulance Service.
Less than 24 hours previously, Aberdeen’s D-class inshore lifeboat and the all-weather vessel’s Y-boat were launched to assist in a river bank search of the River Dee after concerns were raised for the safety of an elderly man missing in the area.
The crews searched extensively but were stood down when, happily, a member of the public found the missing man in the city centre.
Lifeboat operations manager Bill Deans later commented: “For all three of Aberdeen’s lifeboats to be called out on service in the first three days of a New Year is exceptional. I can’t remember a start to the year like it in my 40-plus years’ service at Aberdeen Lifeboat Station.”
Elsewhere, in Oban, the lifeboat Mora Edith MacDonald was launched twice to two separate incidents between Friday and Saturday (3 & 4 January).
The first call came at 7.26pm on Friday following reports of a red flare sighting in Loch Melfort. A thorough search was conducted by the lifeboat, Oban’s coastguard team and HM Coastguard’s rescue helicopter but with nothing found, the search was stood down.
Just hours later, shortly before 10am on Saturday morning, the volunteers were called again, this time to a yacht that had broken its morning in Connel Bay and run aground.
Given the nature of the tides in the area, near the Falls of Lora, the decision was made to refloat the vessel, which has no persons on board at the time, and secure it to a nearby morning.
Wicklow RNLI held its annual Service of Remembrance on New Year’s Day (Wednesday 1 January) in memory of all deceased lifeboat volunteer members, sailors from the town and all those associated with the sea from Wicklow.
The ceremony began with a short religious prayer conducted by Fr Donal Roche and Rev Jack Kinkead, who blessed the flowers and wreaths.
After the blessing, coxswain Nick Keogh and the lifeboat crew took the floral tributes out into the bay and placed them on the water.
A minute’s silence was also held in memory of all the former members of Wicklow lifeboat who have risked everything to save the lives of others ever since the RNLI lifeboat station was established in 1857.
A man in his 60s was recovered in the early hours of this morning (Sunday 5 January) but died at University Hospital Waterford.
Tobermory RNLI’s volunteer crew had their first shout just 12 hours into 2020 when they went to assist a seriously injured casualty on a remote island in Loch Sunart in the western Scottish Highlands.
The pagers sounded just before midday on Wednesday 1 January and the volunteer crew were tasked by the UK Coastguard to carry out a medical evacuation, or medevac, from the island of Carna for a casualty who had fallen down a flight of stairs.
Tobermory's Severn class lifeboat was launched and the crew collected two Scottish Ambulance Service paramedics from Laga Bay before heading to the island.
Two lifeboat crew members accompanied the paramedics ashore to attend the casualty. After receiving treatment at the scene, the casualty was transferred to the lifeboat which then returned to Laga Bay for a further transfer to the waiting ambulance with the assistance of Salen Coastguard Rescue Team.
The lifeboat returned to Tobermory where it was refuelled and made ready for service shortly before 4pm.
Tobermory RNLI coxswain David McHaffie said: “This was a real team effort with our colleagues from the Scottish Ambulance Service and Salen Coastguard. All of us at the lifeboat station wish the casualty a speedy recovery.”
Brian Kehoe, station mechanic at Kilmore Quay RNLI, has retired from his position as full-time station mechanic and coxswain after serving over 50 years with the RNLI, half as a volunteer and half as an employee.
Brian went afloat for his last exercise on Tuesday (31 December) as station mechanic. He was joined by crew from the flanking lifeboat stations of Rosslare Harbour, Fethard-on-Sea and Dunmore East.
Back ashore after the exercise, Brian’s family gathered at the harbour for some photos and the people of the village came to wish him a happy retirement.
An official night to mark Brian’s retirement will take place at Coast Hotel Kilmore Quay on Saturday 25 January, and all are welcome to attend. Everyone at Kilmore Quay Lifeboat Station wishes Brian and his wife Theresa a long and healthy retirement.
As TheJournal.ie reports, it’s understood that a large wave crashed against the harbour wall and washed two people from the top of the pier 15 feet to the lower deck.
Neither individual was washed into the sea but both were hospitalised for treatment. Community safety officer Mark Corcoran reminded the public to ‘stay back, stay high and stay dry’ when walking near the coast.
The incident came just hours after the lifeboat charity and the Irish Coast Guard issued their annual safety message for the Christmas and New Year period.
The all-weather lifeboat was launched at 1.16pm at the request of the Irish Coast Guard to assist an 18m fishing vessel with two people onboard, that was experiencing engine problems some two nautical miles south of Baltimore Harbour.
Conditions at the time were moderate, with a south south-westerly Force 3-4 wind, two-metre sea swell and good visibility.
The lifeboat with six volunteer crew onboard reached the casualty vessel just over 20 minutes later. Once the crew had assessed the situation, they established a tow and brought the vessel back to Baltimore.
Baltimore’s inshore lifeboat launched with four crew members to assist with berthing the vessel at the north pier once they had entered the harbour.
Speaking following the callout, press officer Kate Callanan said: “Whilst there was no immediate danger to the crew on board, the skipper of the fishing vessel did the right thing in calling for assistance from the Irish Coast Guard.”
John first became involved in 1987 and was fully enrolled as a crew member by 1988. He went on to become a helm on three Atlantic class lifeboats: the Atlantic 21 Marjory Turner, Atlantic 75 Patricia Jennings and the current Atlantic 85 Gordon and Phil.
He also served as lifeboat training co-ordinator between 2001-2009 and again between 2016-2017.
Speaking on the night, John said: “Since I started with the RNLI 30 years ago, I’ve seen many changes and big improvements, the standard of training is so high these days.”
There have been many memorable rescues for John over the years. One he remembers from his early days happened one summer evening, when a man from Cork city traveled to Youghal to try out his new surfboard that he’d received as a birthday gift.
John recalls: “The man had booked a surfing lesson, but the teacher was late so he decided to go out on his own. Shortly after he entered the water, he began to be swept out to sea with the offshore breeze.
“When we arrived the man was in the water and being carried further out to sea, he was freezing cold. Had we not arrived when we did, the outcome could have been very different.”
During his 30 years with Youghal RNLI, John Innes was instrumental in saving 34 lives at sea.
Deputy launching authority Brendan O’Driscoll said: “The time, effort and commitment John has shown to Youghal RNLI over the last 30 years has been outstanding.
“On behalf of everybody at the lifeboat station, I would like to thank him for the immense contribution he has made over the years and we all wish him well in his future endeavours.”
Volunteer lifeboat crews from Crosshaven and Ballycotton RNLI in Cork will share their own stories of how they got involved with the lifesaving charity on TV for RTÉ One’s Nationwide this coming Wednesday 18 December.
And the two stations will also carry out a joint exercise to recover an unconscious casualty from the water, as they appeal to the public to support the RNLI’s ‘Perfect Storm’ fundraising campaign.
In Crosshaven, local business owners Aoife Dinan, of Rejuvenate beauty salon, and Denis Cronin of the popular Cronin’s Bar both volunteer for the Cork Harbour village’s lifeboat crew.
Denis was a keen surfer before he volunteered for the lifeboat and now answers the pager by jumping on his pushbike and heading to the station a couple of minutes away.
Aoife and her partner lost a close friend to drowning and she is now an active member of the lifeboat crew, often running from her business to make callouts at the station.
Best friends Molly Murphy and Caoimhe Foster joined the lifeboat together when they were in fifth year in school. They speak about what it was like to rush out of the classroom and down to the lifeboat station for a callout and to leave their schoolmates behind.
Ballycotton RNLI crew member Alan Cott lost his brother Glynn when the Maggie B sank in 2006. He is very proud of his involvement with the lifeboat and is honouring the memory of his brother in the work he does to save lives at sea.
Speaking about the programme and the launch of the Perfect Storm appeal by the RNLI, area lifesaving manager Brian O’Driscoll said: “Our lifeboat crew are what is best in the RNLI. These men and women give up their time to train and launch lifeboats in all weathers and to all types of situations.
“Our thanks to the Nationwide team for visiting two of our Cork lifeboat stations and speaking to our volunteer lifeboat crew about why they do it and what they get out of it.
“Many people don’t realise that the RNLI is a charity and we depend on the generosity of the public to continue with our work saving lives at sea.
“Aoife, Denis, Alan, Molly and Caoimhe give their time and their passion to the RNLI and in return they get the training, skills and equipment to be able to help those in trouble at sea. We are very grateful for the support of the public and we don’t take it for granted.”
To support the RNLI’s Perfect Storm appeal this Christmas, helping to ensure the charity’s brave volunteers can continue saving lives at sea, visit RNLI.org/ThePerfectStorm