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The team at Newcastle RNLI in Northern Ireland is calling for a new volunteer lifeboat press officer to help them to save lives at sea.

This role will help raise awareness of the RNLI through the promotion of the lifeboat station’s vital work, including newsworthy rescues carried out by the crew.

Newcastle RNLI is seeking someone who can produce and distribute regular new releases, be available to answer media enquiries, work to support media opportunities and facilitate interview requests.

The role is best suited to someone with good writing and communication skills, who lives locally and can be flexible with their time.

Lisa Ramsden, Newcastle RNLI’s lifeboat operations manager, said: “Volunteering with us gives people the opportunity to make a real difference in their local community, to save lives and become part of the larger RNLI family.

“We can’t keep people safe without the support of our wonderful volunteers, who truly make a difference every day no matter which role they are fulfilling.

“Becoming a volunteer lifeboat press officer is a great chance to play a crucial part in helping to save lives.

“We’re looking for an enthusiastic person with good writing and interpersonal skills and who enjoys working with people and at times under pressure to inform the media and update our community on the various lifesaving activities that are happening at the station from rescues to fundraising, community safety to events.”

Anyone interested in finding out more or wants to apply should follow the link to the RNLI website HERE.

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Clean-up operations are under way in Newcastle and other parts of Co Down after the Shinma River burst its banks due to heavy rainfall from Storm Francis yesterday (Tuesday 25 August).

As BreakingNews.ie reports, as many as 300 homes were affected by the floodwaters which rose over one metre in some areas.

South Down MLA Colin McGrath said of the scene: “It is like a disaster zone.”

Flooding was particularly acute in the Bryansford Avenue area of Newcastle, along the north side of the Shinma River at the foot of the Mournes.

The Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service said a number of people were rescued from their homes as a specialist rescue team, flood response teams and local crews attended the situation.

Dozens of homes and businesses in Co Cork were also damaged by flooding and strong winds as the storm blew through the county early yesterday. The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

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A spate of boat vandalism at Newcastle Harbour in Co Down is putting lives at risk, a former coastguard chief claims.

John Lowry told the Belfast Telegraph that a number of boats in the Northern Ireland harbour have been damaged and loosened from their moorings over recent weeks.

The latest incident saw fellow sailors recover a boat from a nearby beach in difficult weather.

“We’re calling for the council to put more procedures in place,” said Lowry. “Part of the harbour isn't lit up at night at all and the boat owners are calling for help.”

The Belfast Telegraph has more on the story HERE.

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The RNLI lifeboat crew in Newcastle, Co Down rescued three people over two callouts in the space of 24 hours earlier this week.

The all-weather lifeboat first launched on Monday morning (13 July) to aid a boat with two people aboard who were experiencing difficulties somewhere between Bloody Bridge and William’s Harbour.

The casualty vessel was located swiftly and was taken under tow to the slipway at Annalong, but tidal conditions required the assistance of the inshore lifeboat to bring it to a safe mooring.

Newcastle RNLI coxswain Nathan Leneghan commended the boat owner for deploying his anchor to prevent the vessel drifting onto rocks, which would have made for a trickier rescue.

The following morning, Tuesday 14 July, the all-weather lifeboat was launched again — this time to a pleasure boat with engine failure.

The lifeboat crew headed in calm conditions to the given location inside the Cow and Calf, some six miles east of station on the East Coast of Northern Ireland.

After navigating through submerged rocks on an ebbing tide, the lifeboat was able to take the casualty vessel, with one person on board, under tow to Dundrum Harbour from where it had set off.

Tidal conditions again necessitated the launch of the inshore lifeboat to assist with the final tow to a safe mooring.

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This morning Newcastle RNLI were tasked along with their colleagues from Newcastle and Kilkeel Coastguard to assist a casualty who had trapped his foot under the vehicle with an incoming tide while in the process of trying to launch their boat.

On arrival at the scene, the crew found the casualty had managed to free his foot and Newcastle RNLI tractor assisted the vehicle, which had now become bogged in the soft sand along with boat and trailer back off the shore to safety.

Newcastle NIFRS were also tasked along with PSNI and Belfast CGOC co-ordinated the incident.

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Five crew were rescued from a fishing vessel that ran aground on rocks on approach to Ardglass Harbour early yesterday morning (Wednesday 23 October).

Portaferry and Newcastle RNLI’s volunteer lifeboat crews launched to assist after a Mayday call from the 24-metre vessel, which had been drifting towards Phennick Point outside the harbour.

The Belfast Telegraph reports that the boat, the Cork-registered Dillon Owen, was attempting to enter the harbour to land its herring catch when it quickly lost powe

As the lifeboats proceeded towards Ardglass, the fishing vessel was stuck on the rocks and had begun taking on water. The Dublin-based Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 116 was also scrambled to the scene carrying extra pumps.

Following a dynamic risk assessment between the lifeboats and fishing boat skipper, an attempt was made to tow the vessel off the rocks.

But due to worsening weather and tidal conditions, it was decided after numerous attempts by the Newcastle lifeboat coxswain to evacuate the crew of the vessel instead — with Rescue 116 airlifting them to safety upon its arrival.

Speaking after the rescue, Newcastle RNLI coxswain Nathan Leneghan said: “This morning's rescue was a success due to multi-agency teamwork with our colleagues in the Irish Coast Guard, volunteers at Portaferry RNLI and Portaferry and Newcastle coastguard teams. Thankfully this was positive outcome, and all five fishermen are safe and well.”

Kevin Quigley of the NI Fishery Harbour Authority said the fishing vessel remained listing “very badly” at the harbour and further attempts would be made to refloat it.

Published in Rescue

Eight French sailors were happy to see Newcastle RNLI when their motor yacht had engine troubles off the Co Down coast last Friday night (19 July).

Conditions were poor, with fog and rain and a southerly Force 3 wind with a 1-2m swell when the all-weather lifeboat reached the stricken boat some 14 miles off Newcastle at 10pm.

All eight on board were found safe and well, and prepared for the rough conditions with foul weather clothing and lifejackets.

At the request of the vessel’s skipper, a tow was established and the boat was towed into Ardglass Harbour, where members of Newcastle Coastguard assisted with mooring.

Speaking afterwards, Newcastle RNLI coxswain Nathan Leneghan said: “We would like to commend the actions of the yacht’s crew for having the correct lifesaving equipment on board and for calling for assistance at the earliest opportunity as the situation could have deteriorated with weather conditions worsening.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Lifeboats from Clogherhead, Newcastle and Kilkeel were involved in the search for a woman missing in Carlingford Lough at the weekend, which came to a sad end yesterday afternoon (Monday 18 March) with the discovery of a body in the water off Greenore.

Newcastle RNLI was tasked to divert from a morning training exercise on the Co Down coast to join the major search operation which began on Sunday (17 March), concentrating on the entrance to Carlingford Lough and outlying islands.

During this search the all-weather lifeboat located a casualty in the water and, working with volunteer lifeboat crews from Clogherhead and Kilkeel RNLI, the casualty was taken ashore to Greenore Harbour by the Kilkeel lifeboat and placed in the care of An Garda Síochána.

The casualty was shortly after confirmed to be the remains of Ruth Maguire from Newcastle, who went missing during a hen party in Carlingford on Saturday night (16 March).

Speaking following the search, Newcastle RNLI coxswain Nathan Leneghan said: “On behalf of Newcastle RNLI I wish to express our deepest sympathy to the family and friends of the woman who was recovered from the water this afternoon.

“The thoughts and prayers of the everyone involved in the search are with them at this sad time. I also wish to commend the volunteer crews for their commitment and professionalism.”

Kilkeel RNLI lifeboat operations manager John Fisher added: “This was not the outcome we or the family wanted and at this difficult time our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of the casualty.

“At this time I would also like to thank the volunteer crew for their commitment and energy. We train for such an incident but always pray that it has a better outcome.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#Rescue - Newcastle RNLI was involved in the rescue of three yachts in Strangford Lough during Storm Ali on Wednesday (19 September).

The lifeboat volunteers were first alerted at 11.40am to go the aid of a stricken yacht at Newtownards Sailing Club in Co Down.

As the all-weather lifeboat launched, under coxswain William Chambers, it quickly became apparent the challenging weather conditions the crew would face on their passage to Newtownards.

The main water tight doors were closed and all crew seated as they faced eight-metre waves hitting from the side.

A Force 8 gale was blowing as the crew approached Strangford Lough. It was some 90 minutes later before the seas started to settle as the lifeboat was sheltered by the shore.

On arrival at Newtownards at 2.15pm, the coastguard was concerned that there may be a person onboard the weather-beaten yacht, Newcastle RNLI confirmed that nobody had been on the boat and she was safely on the mooring.

The lifeboat was then requested to go the aid of another yacht drifting across the lough from White Rock and Kircubbin, but unfortunately by the time the volunteers reached the vessel there was nothing they could do as it was on the rocks on an ebbing tide.

On return to station, approaching Portaferry, the crew were alerted to a third yacht in difficulty. The crew established a tow line and managed to free the vessel and towed it to the safety off a mooring in Strangford.

Leaving the sheltered waters of Strangford Lough, the lifeboat and its crew once again faced mountainous seas and the coxswain decided to stop in Ardglass Marina for an hour to let the wind decrease and the wave size drop.

Leaving Ardglass around 6pm, the crew faced large but bearable seas, making it back to Newcastle an hour later.

“This was a challenging day for our volunteers given that we launched into rough seas when Storm Ali was at its worst,” said Chambers of the seven-hour shout.

“It was also uncertain at that point if there was a life at risk onboard the yacht. Thankfully there wasn’t in this case.

“It was a long and challenging day but our volunteers are highly skilled and trained for these situations and were delighted to be able to help.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - Newcastle RNLI rescued six fishermen in a callout that lasted 12 hours on Monday 5 February.

At 3.10pm, Newcastle’s volunteer crew were alerted to Belfast  Coastguard’s request for a lifeboat to assist a fishing vessel breakdown 15 miles southeast of Newcastle Harbour.

The all-weather Mersey class lifeboat Eleanor and Bryant Girling was launched at 3.20pm and reached the casualty vessel an hour later. Weather conditions at the time were calm but cold with excellent visibility.

Communications were made with the skipper and it was agreed that the best option was for the lifeboat to tow the boat back to the port of Kilkeel.

While the tow got underway at a slow speed of four knots and with 15 miles to go, the estimated time of arrival in Kilkeel was approximately 8.30pm.

However, due to size of the vessel and the tide ebbing, the lifeboat crew were not able to enter the harbour until 1am.

At 12.30am it was decided to launch Kilkeel RNLI’s inshore lifeboat to assist with the manoeuvring of the fishing vessel into the tight harbour entrance. Shortly after 1.20am the vessel was alongside the quay and handed over to Kilkeel Coastguard rescue team.

Speaking following the callout, Newcastle RNLI volunteer lifeboat press officer Nathan Leneghan said: “This was the first callout of the year for Newcastle RNLI and we were delighted to help bring the fishing crew to safety.

“This was a long and challenging callout due to the tide and size of the boat but we worked with the conditions and with the support of colleagues from Kilkeel RNLI were able to bring the boat to safety.

“We would remind anyone taking to sea to always respect the water. Check weather and tide times before you leave and always let someone ashore know when you are leaving and when you are due back. Always wear a lifejacket and always carry a means of calling or signalling for help should you get into difficulty.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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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.

FAQs

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.

© Afloat 2020

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