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RNLI Lifeboat News From Ireland

Rosslare Harbour RNLI rescued a windsurfer who fell off his board and got into difficulty on Sunday afternoon, ending up in the water for an hour and a half.

The volunteer crew was requested to launch their all-weather lifeboat by the Irish Coast Guard at 1.15pm on Sunday (13 January) after a passer-by raised the alarm. 

The man had fallen off his board and despite attempting to get back on, he kept getting blown off by the wind and was being swept out to sea. 

The lifeboat under Coxswain Art Sheil and with six crew members onboard, launched immediately and made their way to the scene.

Weather conditions at the time were described as blowing a Force 4-5 south to southwesterly wind.

On arrival, the lifeboat crew located the casualty 1.1 nautical miles offshore. The windsurfer was cold and in shock but otherwise safe and well.

He was subsequently transported onto the lifeboat where he was first assessed and then brought back to the comfort of Rosslare Harbour’s lifeboat station. 

Speaking following the call out, Dave Maloney, Rosslare Harbour RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager said: ‘We would like to commend the member of the public who spotted the windsurfer in difficulty and raised the alarm, that was an important factor in this call out as the man was in the water for an hour and a half. Thankfully, despite being cold and shook up, he was otherwise ok. 

‘It is important to always respect the water and to be mindful that conditions at sea can change and cause problems. We would encourage people to always carry a means for calling for help such as a personal locator beacon, especially if windsurfing alone - it could be a lifesaver. Always tell someone you are going out and when you will be back. Make sure they know where you are sailing and who to call if you are not back in time.’

Published in Surfing

The Dunleary Lifeboat Project is the subject of a new exhibition at the DLR Lexicon in Dun Laoghaire from next week.

Running from Tuesday 22 January to Monday 4 February, the exhibition is being held in partnership with Advanced Tourism & Travel students from Sallynoggin Senior College.

Ossian Smyth, Cathaoirleach of Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, will be on hand for the launch night on Monday 21 January from 6pm where Mary Mitchell O’Connor, Minister of State for Higher Education, will also be the keynote speaker.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the original RNLB Dunleary was stationed in the South Dublin harbour from 1919 to 1937, and returned to its former haul in August of 2019 thanks to the efforts of a local restoration group.

For more on the project and the latest updates, see the group’s Facebook page.

Published in Dublin Bay

#Lifeboats - The first callout of 2019 for the RNLI crew at Crosshaven was a medevac for a fisherman taken ill on a large fishing vessel in the early hours of Sunday 6 January.

Shortly after 5.30am volunteers from Crosshaven RNLI were paged and requested by the Irish Coast Guard to go the assistance of an ill crew member onboard a UK-registered supertrawler two miles south of Roches Point.

The inshore lifeboat, with Ian Venner in command and Derek Moynan, Caomhe Foster and Alan Venner onboard, were quickly under way and met with the ship at 6.10am.

Having assessed the situation, the lifeboat crew swiftly evacuated the ill man back to station in Crosshaven before handing him into the care of National Ambulance Service paramedics.

Speaking following the callout, Crosshaven RNLI lifeboat operations manager Patsy Fegan said: “We would like to wish the casualty a speedy recovery and thank our crew. Our hats are off to them.

“It’s a shock to the system to be awoken from a deep sleep by your pager and be on a lifeboat within 10 minutes but this is what our volunteers are willing and prepared for in order to help someone in need.”

Shore crew on Sunday morning were Gary Heslin, Molly Murphy, Jonathan Birmingham and James Fegan.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Lough Ree RNLI and Athlone Sub Aqua Club volunteers responded to reports of a person in the water in Athlone town late last night.

At 11.25pm on the 30 December 2018 Lough Ree RNLI volunteers were alerted by the Irish Coast Guard in Malin Head to reports of a person in the water at Athlone Town on the Quays between the Castle and Sean’s Bar. Athlone Sub Aqua Club was also alerted to the incident.

The volunteer crew on board the inshore lifeboat, The Eric Rowse were quickly on scene and immediately commenced a search for the person. They were joined by members of Athlone Sub Aqua Club. Conditions at the time were very calm with partial visibility due to darkness.

A casualty was taken from the water and handed into the care of HSE Paramedics who were waiting on the quayside and brought to hospital.

Athlone Gardai have sadly confirmed that the person subsequently passed away.

Lough Ree RNLI and Athlone Sub Aqua Club would like to extend their sincere condolences to the family at this time.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Bangor RNLI has paid tribute to its dedicated lifeboat volunteers after what’s hoped to be its final callout of 2018.

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.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Evelyn Bennett, who has been the Chair of the Donaghadee Royal National Lifeboat Institution Fundraising branch since 2005 has been honoured with a British Empire Medal ( BEM ).

Evelyn has been instrumental in encouraging the local community to fundraise for their lifeboat station and to support them in their life-saving work and activities. Evelyn, along with a strong and dedicated fundraising team supporting her, is a key organiser of the annual Donaghadee Lifeboat Festival which is now in its 12th year. The festival brings thousands of people of all age groups, to the town, to view the stations All Weather Lifeboat Saxon and to get know the lifeboat crew and fundraising team.

Evelyn’s working career began as a personal secretary with the BBC, and when a family came along she became heavily involved in her local community via the Community Association and Donaghadee Sailing Club before investing herself within the RNLI Donaghadee Fundraising Committee.

Evelyn’s passion for the RNLI is a family held one. Her late husband Murdoch was a volunteer with the lifeboat for over thirty years and the tradition is proudly carried on by her son Ross. Her enthusiasm, good humour and dedication shines through and encourages all those around her to give what they can in support of the lifeboat.

Commenting on her award of the British Empire Medal, Evelyn said, ‘I am overwhelmed to have been chosen to receive this honour. The RNLI is a charity I am proud to volunteer for and it is one that is very close to my heart. When we set up the new branch in 2005 we brought a great team together who worked tirelessly to support the station and we are still doing it today’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#Lifeboats - Volunteers from Clifden RNLI had a pre-Christmas callout to go to the aid of a bull who fell from a steep cliff near the western Connemara town on Saturday evening (22 December).

At 5pm, Clifden RNLI’s deputy launching authority Saul Joyce requested the station’s Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat to launch to assist a local farmer whose bull had slipped down a cliff and become stuck on the shoreline below.

The area was inaccessible by road and difficult to access on foot. The farmer, three members of the public and the local vet were on scene.

Helmed by Alan Pryce and with crew members Thomas Davis, Daniel Whelan and Ian Shanahan onboard, the lifeboat was launched immediately and attended the scene around half a mile from the station.

Weather conditions at the time were favourable with a light westerly Force 1-2 breeze. The sea was flat and calm at high tide.

Crew member Davis was put ashore to assist the farmer and vet, and a plan was put in place whereby a bridle or halter was attached to the animal and passed to the lifeboat.

Under the instruction of the vet and farmer, the lifeboat gently made way astern and used the tension on the line to guide the animal off the dangerous rocks into the water.

The lifeboat crew then guided the bull as it swam to a nearby beach, where it made its way up the shore to safety.

The lifeboat stood by until all parties were safely away from the cliffs and water and then returned to base.

Speaking following the rescue, Clifden RNLI Helm Alan Pryce said: “We were happy to assist the local farmer and vet to help the bull out of the hazardous position it was in.

“We are very aware of the dangers posed by large animals that are distressed and were glad to be able to assist the farmer while also providing a safety presence to him and the individuals working with him to bring the bull to safety, on what was a dangerous and dark shore.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Dun Laoghaire RNLI’s annual Christmas Eve ceremony to remember the 15 volunteer lifeboat crew who died on service in Dublin Bay on 24 December 1895 will take place at noon this coming Monday.

The short ceremony at the end of the East Pier, beside the lighthouse, will include music, readings, an ecumenical blessing and wreath-laying.

Please allow time to walk the pier to arrive for the midday start.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

The Irish Coast Guard and the RNLI, in the run-up to the Christmas period, are reminding the public to look after their personal safety when engaged in any water or coastal based activities.

They have issued a joint safety message reminding the public to heed simple safety advice when they are out on the water or engaged in any activity along the water’s edge. The two organisations have cautioned that many accidents and tragedies take place involving people who never expected to end up in the water.

There are some key pieces of advice that the RNLI and the Irish Coast Guard ask people to keep in mind when they are around the water over the Christmas and New Year break: 

Stay Back – Stay High – Stay Dry when engaged in coastal walks and avoid any unfamiliar routes and be mindful of changes caused by coastal erosion and the risk of trip, slips and falls.

Ensure that pets are kept under control in case they get into difficulty and cause owners to risk their own safety in rescuing them.

Remember to carry a suitable means to call for help such as mobile phone, vhf radio or Personal Locator beacon

If engaged in any boating activities Do Wear an appropriate personal flotation device – it could save a life.

If going out alone, tell someone ashore your plans and what time you expect to be back.

For anybody engaged in a Christmas or New Year swim only participate in an organised swim that has appropriate safety facilities

Always remember if you see anybody in trouble on the water or along the coast or if you think they are in trouble Ring 112 and ask for the Coast Guard. 

The RNLI’s ‘Float to Live’ message advises people who fall into cold water unexpectedly to fight their instinct to swim until the cold-water shock passes.

They should pause, and float on their back until able to catch their breath and either call for help or swim to land if it is nearby. The Coast Guard is reiterating its message to Stay afloat – Stay in Contact, meaning that if they can stay afloat and raise the alarm then they have an excellent chance of being rescued.

Irish Coast Guard Operations Manager Gerard O’Flynn said, ‘at this time of year people love to get out and about. Do so safely and act sensibly and wisely and if in doubt shout. Coast Guard services, will be fully operational over the holiday period.”

RNLI Lifesaving Manager Sean Dillon said, ‘It is much easier than people realise to get into trouble in the water. Whatever activity you are doing, make sure you are aware of the dangers, know your limits and do not take risks. Over the previous ten years, from Christmas Eve to New Year’s Day, RNLI lifeboats launched 137 times and assisted 57 people in Ireland. While all the search and rescue services stand ready to help people, being prepared and taking some basic safety advice can avoid an accident or a serious tragedy.’

In conclusion, both Sean and Gerard, wish all RNLI and Coast Guard volunteers, their shore-based support teams and staff, a happy and safe Christmas. Volunteer lifeboat and coast guard crews remain on call over the Christmas period.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#WaterSafety - For many in Ireland a festive dip in the sea is part of a Christmas tradition.

But the RNLI reminds anyone planning for a seaside swim next week that the sea is at its coldest, and potentially most deadly.

If you run straight into cold water, you are more likely to suffer from cold water shock. The best way to avoid this is to wear a wetsuit.

If this isn’t possible, walk into the sea slowly and stay shallow. This will allow your body time to acclimatise gradually.

Cold water shock is a physiological response which causes uncontrollable gasping. This increases the risk of you swallowing water and puts a strain on your heart — in extreme cases it can cause cardiac arrest.

If you feel you this happening to you, fight your instinct to thrash around and swim hard, instead just lie back and float.

The initial shock will pass within 60–90 seconds, and when you have regained control of your breathing, you can then try swimming to safety or calling for help.

This skill will give you a far better chance of staying alive.

If you see someone else in trouble in the water, fight the instinct to go in yourself. Call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.

The RNLI’s drowning prevention campaign, Respect the Water, aims to raise awareness of key hazards like cold water shock, and lifesaving skills like floating.

Find out more about how to float and about cold water shock by visiting RespectTheWater.com.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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