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RNLI Lifeboat News From Ireland

Fenit and Kilrush RNLI were involved in a major multi-agency search and rescue operation last night for a windsurfer who was missing at sea for seven hours.

Fenit RNLI was requested to launch their all-weather lifeboat at 5.34pm yesterday evening (Sunday 11 November) following initial reports from the Irish Coast Guard that there was a person reported overdue off the Ballybunion coast in County Kerry.

The alarm had been raised after the windsurfer who was last seen at approximately 4pm, had not returned to shore.

The all-weather lifeboat under Coxswain Tony Stack launched immediately and the volunteer crew made their way to the scene.

The Irish Coast Guard helicopter, Rescue 115 from Shannon was also tasked along with the Irish Naval vessel, the Le Niamh, which was in the area at the time. The inshore lifeboat from Kilrush RNLI was subsequently requested to launch and join the search.

Weather conditions at the time were blowing Force 6-7 and there were 3m swells. Despite it being dark, visibility was good for searching.

The search continued until approximately 11pm when news came that the windsurfer had managed to make it ashore and raise the alarm with a member of the public. He was subsequently transferred by ambulance to University Hospital Limerick. The windsurfer had managed to travel by sea the 25 nautical miles from Ballybunion in County Kerry to Kilkee in County Clare.

Speaking following the call out, Charlie Glynn, Kilrush RNLI crew member and Lifeboat Press Officer said: ‘This is such good news this morning and we are delighted that after the windsurfer was missing for so long yesterday evening, that this man is alive. While we don’t have the details from the casualty’s perspective, he had to have been an experienced windsurfer who was wearing the correct clothing and gear and who knew what to do when he got into difficulty. He stayed with his board and managed somehow to travel the long distance to shore. All in the RNLI wish him well for a full and speedy recovery following what must have been a frightening experience for him. 

‘We would remind everyone taking to the sea to always respect the water. Always carry a means for calling for help, such as a personal locator beacon, especially if you are on your own, 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 RNLI Lifeboats

#Lifeboats - Bundoran’s RNLI crew assisted a surfer safely to shore on Saturday afternoon (10 November).

The volunteers launched after a member of the public raised the alarm, having spotted someone they thought to be in difficulty and waving their arm off Rougey Point in Bundoran.

The Irish Coast Guard requested the inshore lifeboat to launch at 3.28pm and 10 minutes later the lifeboat, helmed by Killian O’Kelly, was at sea.

Weather conditions at the time were blowing a light south-easterly wind and there was a three-metre swell.

Once on scene, the lifeboat crew observed that the surfer, while not in difficulty or in any immediate danger, was in a challenging part of the sea and some distance away from the shore.

The crew made the decision to take the teenager onboard and transport him safely back to Bundoran Lifeboat Station.

Speaking following the callout, O’Kelly said: “We would like to commend the member of the public who raised the alarm this afternoon — that is always the right thing to do if you see someone you think or know to be in difficulty.

“While this surfer was not in any immediate danger, he was some distance from shore so we made a call to assist him safely back to shore.”

Elsewhere, a person who went missing while kitesurfing off Ballybunion in Co Clare yesterday evening (Sunday 11 November) was found on land several hours later, as RTÉ News reports.

The kitesurfer, who had come ashore at Kilkee, was said to be suffering the effects of cold after spending as much as two-and-a-half hours at sea and was taken to hospital.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Red Bay RNLI’s inshore lifeboat was launched this afternoon (Friday 2 November) following reports that a French tourist had sustained a broken ankle after falling on rocks at Kenbane Head near Ballycastle, North Antrim. Two members of Ballycastle coastguard and a paramedic were also on scene to assist the woman after her fall.

Conditions on scene were calm and overcast. Red Bay RNLI volunteer lifeboat crew brought the tourist to Ballycastle harbour where she was met by a waiting ambulance.

Commenting on the callout Red Bay RNLI crewmember Gary Fife said, ‘We wish the lady a full recovery from her injury. Our inshore lifeboat crew often respond to callouts for people on land who fall and sustain injury while exploring our beautiful coastline. We would advise people to be careful when walking near the coastline and always bring a means of calling for help.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#Lifeboats - Dunmore East RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat launched in the early hours of yesterday morning (Thursday 1 November) to a 23m fishing trawler that had run aground with five people onboard half a mile south-west of Dunmore East Harbour.

At 2.06am, the Dunmore East RNLI all-weather lifeboat launched on service to assist the fishermen.

Minutes after the launch, the Trent class lifeboat Windsor Runner arrived on scene to find the trawler high and dry on the rocky shoreline with an ebbing tide.

The five crew onboard the trawler were in no immediate danger, so it was decided to wait for the tide to rise again and then tow the vessel off the rocks.

Dunmore East’s lifeboat crew remained on scene and at 7am the trawler with five crew onboard was successfully towed away the rocks undamaged and was able to make its way under power to Dunmore East Harbour.

Escorted by Dunmore East RNLI’s lifeboat, they made the safety of the harbour at 7.20am.

Dunmore East RNLI coxswain Michael Griffin said: “The conditions on scene were good at the time and thankfully the trawler didn’t sustain any major damage.

“Credit to our volunteer crew who worked tirelessly during the early hours of this morning to ensure the success of the mission.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

The RNLI is deeply grateful and humbled by the generosity of Mrs Elizabeth O’Kelly to bequeath over €6 million in her will to the charity. Gifts in wills, be they large or small, are vital to the charity’s work in saving lives at sea, they fund six out of every 10 lifeboat launches.

Mrs O’Kelly who prior to her passing, lived in Stradbally County Laois, was a long-standing supporter of the RNLI. She held a high regard for the volunteer work carried out by the charity which appealed to her ethos and she herself for many years, volunteered her time to help out at an RNLI stall at the RDS in Dublin. 

Throughout her life, she displayed great kindness towards her many friends and was most charitable in supporting those in need. This has been reflected in her generous decision to bequest the funds to five charities.

Mrs O’Kelly asked that her legacy be used to support the RNLI’s lifesaving work in Ireland. The impact of her incredible generosity will be directly felt by our volunteer crews and the people whose lives they save for many years to come. As this is such a large legacy, the RNLI will be carefully considering all options to ensure the funds are used where they are needed most and with a view to how they can be spent to fittingly reflect Mrs O’Kelly’s support for the charity.

The RNLI provides a 24-hour search and rescue service and has 46 lifeboats stations in Ireland and 59 lifeboats. In 2017, Irish lifeboats launched 1,088 times and our volunteer crews rescued 1,471 people, that’s an average of four people aided each day.

As a charity, we rely on the generosity of the public to fund our lifesaving service and to ensure our lifeboat stations are properly equipped, our lifeboats are maintained and that our volunteers are highly trained and skilled to continue their work in saving lives at sea.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

At 5.27pm on Sunday 28 October, Carrybridge RNLI’s inshore lifeboat, Douglas Euan & Kay Richards and Rescue Water Craft (RWC) launched following a request by Belfast Coastguard to assist a vessel with one person on board which had run aground approximately 1 mile West of Kilmore Quay.

Winds were South Easterly, Force 1. Visibility was good with a clear sky.

The lifeboat and RWC arrived with the casualty vessel and found all to be safe and well after their initial inspection, with no water ingress being observed.

The volunteer crew successfully refloated the vessel and towed it to deeper water, where it was then checked for any water ingress and none was located. The propulsion and steering were tested by the owner and was found to be working fine.

The lifeboat and RWC escorted the vessel back to Knockninny Marina leaving one crew member on board due to the failing light. Once it was secured the crew departed and made their way back to the station arriving at 7.15pm.

Speaking following the call out, Chris Cathcart, Helm at Carrybridge RNLI said: ‘We would remind all boat users before going afloat to plan your passage and to follow the navigation channels. In the event of an emergency, the number to dial is: 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard.’’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

 At 16:15pm on Friday 19 October, Carrybridge RNLI’s inshore lifeboat, Douglas Euan & Kay Richards and Rescue Water Craft (RWC) launched following a request by Belfast Coastguard to assist a vessel with three persons on board which had run aground approximately 1 mile North of Knockninny Marina.

Winds were South Westerly, Force 2. Visibility was good with an overcast sky.

The lifeboat and RWC arrived with the casualty vessel and once on board assessed the vessel for water ingress and none was found.

The volunteer crew successfully refloated the vessel and towed it to deeper water. The boat was again assessed for water ingress, and its propulsion and steering tested. The vessel was found to be ok.

The lifeboat and RWC escorted the vessel for a time as it made its onward journey, after which the crew departed and made their way back to the station arriving at 17:45pm.

Speaking following the call out, Stephen Scott, Deputy Launching Authority at Carrybridge RNLI said: ‘Boat users should be mindful of shallow sections of water and always keep to the main navigation channels. All water users should wear a lifejacket and always carry a means of communication for help. The number to dial should you find yourself in trouble is: 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

At a special naming ceremony and service of dedication held yesterday (Saturday 13 October), Ballyglass RNLI officially named its new D class lifeboat, Clann Lir, in the Mayo coastal town.

The honour of naming the lifeboat went to Derek Moran, Secretary General of the Department of Finance, with the help of Sophie Reilly from Belmullet National School, winner of a competition to choose the name of the new lifeboat.

The lifeboat which went on service earlier this year was funded by a donation from the Central Bank of Ireland.

The Central Bank, on behalf of the Department of Finance, issues several commemorative coin products every year to mark different historical events, figures and to promote Irish arts and heritage. 

The Central Bank had scheduled the launch of its 2017 Annual Mint Set, which paid tribute to the vital work carried out by the Irish Coast Guard and Irish Lighthouses for March 2017. However, the launch was postponed following the tragic loss of the crew of Rescue 116 on 14 March 2017.

Following the tragedy the Minister for Finance agreed that the proceeds from the sale of the Annual Mint Set 2017 be donated to a nominated charity. The RNLI was selected as the main beneficiary of this donation as its work closely aligns with the work of the Irish Coast Guard and the Commissioners of Irish Lights. 

Almost 4,900 Annual Mint sets were sold up to the end of January this year and a donation of just over €74,000 was made to the RNLI. The proceeds have been used to fund the new lifesaving vessel which is stationed at Ballyglass, with the remainder going towards lifeboat kit equipment and crew training.

During the naming ceremony, Eddie Diver, Ballyglass RNLI Fundraising Chairman, accepted the lifeboat on behalf of the charity, from Gerry Quinn, Chief Operations Officer of the Central Bank, before handing her over into the care of Ballyglass Inshore Lifeboat Station.

Having accepted the lifeboat on behalf of the volunteer crew, Lifeboat Operations Manager Padraic Sheeran in his address paid tribute to all involved at the station: ‘I thank Eddie for handing us this new D Class lifeboat, and the Central Bank of Ireland for donating it to us. Thanks to everyone here today and to our great supporters of the station. And last but not least a huge thank you to the volunteer crew and fundraising committee - as Lifeboat Operations Manager it’s a pleasure to work with you all.’

The Clann Lir was blessed in a service of dedication led by Father Kevin Hegarty before the lifeboat was officially named by Derek Moran.

The new inshore lifeboat replaces The Western which launched 58 times while on service in Ballyglass coming to the aid of 20 people. Clann Lir will now serve alongside Ballyglass RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat Bryan and Gordon which has launched 153 times since going on service in Ballyglass, with her crews coming to the aid of 153 people, 14 of whom were lives saved. 

The name of the new lifeboat is one close to the heart of those in the Belmullet community and was chosen by Sophie Reilly, a pupil at Belmullet National School.

Pupils in the school were given the task of nominating a suitable name for the lifeboat that had to be Irish with either a nautical or community theme. Three names were shortlisted by the volunteers in Ballyglass RNLI before the station’s volunteers picked a fitting winner, Clann Lir.

Clann Lir or The Children of Lir, is an Irish legend that tells the story of Lir and his four children. Bodb Dearg, king of the Tuatha De Danann and rival of Lir, gave his daughter Aeb to Lir, in order to appease him. Lir and Aeb had four children: one girl, Fionnuala, and three sons: Aed and twins Fiachra and Conn. Aeb died and Bodb Dearg sent another of his daughters, Aoife, to marry Lir.

Aiofe was jealous of the children's love for their father and for this reason she decided to kill them but did not have the courage; instead using her magic she changed the children into swans. They were condemned to wander for 900 years over certain lakes and rivers in Ireland.

The children had to spend 300 years on Lough Derravaragh, 300 years in the Sea of Moyle and their last 300 years as swans at Sruwaddacon Bay near Erris in County Mayo, before flying to Inishglora, an island off the coast of the Belmullet Peninsula.

Here they met a monk who baptised them. Instantly they had back their human shapes but because of their very old age they died immediately. They were buried on the island in the one grave.

The RNLI formally established a lifeboat station in Ballyglass in 1989 and today the volunteers work from two stations that are home to an all-weather lifeboat, Bryan and Gordon, and the new inshore lifeboat. 

The D class lifeboat has been the workhouse of the RNLI’s lifesaving service for nearly 50 years. It is inflatable but robust; highly manoeuvrable and capable of operating much closer to shore than all-weather lifeboats. It is specifically suited to surf, shallow water and confined locations, often close to cliffs, among rocks or even in caves.

First introduced to the fleet in 1963, the design of the D class has continued to evolve since its introduction and the latest version was introduced in 2003. As with all D class lifeboats, the Clann Lir has a single 50hp outboard engine and can be righted manually by the crew after a capsize. Onboard equipment includes both fitted and hand-held VHF radios, night-vision equipment, and first aid kit, including oxygen. 

The 5m lifeboat is landrover launched and has a 25-knot maximum speed. It can carry up to three lifeboat crew and five survivors.

A crowd of well-wishers turned up to see the lifeboat officially named with a bottle of champagne poured over the side of the boat at the end of the ceremony.

Among the guests on the platform party were Michael Cosgrove, fundraising secretary who welcomed guests and opened proceedings, Gerry Quinn, Chief Operations Officer of the Central Bank of Ireland who handed over the lifeboat, Eddie Diver, Ballyglass Fundraising Chairman who accepted the lifeboat on behalf of the RNLI and handed it over into the care of Ballyglass Lifeboat Station, Padraic Sheeran, Ballyglass RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager, Derek Moran, Secretary General of the Department of Finance who named the lifeboat, and Sophie Reilly, winner of the competition to pick the name of the lifeboat.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#Lifeboats - Castletownbere’s all-weather lifeboat launched last night (Wednesday 10 October) to a Mayday from six fisherman whose boat lost power and was drifting rapidly towards the shore.

Pagers sounded for the volunteer RNLI crew at 7.30pm following the alert to the Irish Coast Guard from the 25m fishing boat, which had fouled its propeller at the entrance to the West Cork harbour.

With time of the essence, coxswain Dean Hegarty and his four crew launched immediately and the lifeboat was on scene within five minutes, at which point the vessel was just 20 metres from the shore.

The boat had been blown into a small area by Pipers Rock at the harbour mouth in south-westerly Force 8-9 gales and amid a 4-5m swell.

The lifeboat crew worked quickly to set up a towline and rescue the boat and her crew from immediate danger before bringing them safely back to Castletownbere.

“Given the weather conditions and how close the fishing boat was drifting to the shore at this point, the lifeboat’s timely arrival managed to avert a potential tragedy,” said Paul Stevens, Castletownbere RNLI lifeboat operations manager.

“The fishermen did the right thing in raising the alarm when they did and we would like to wish them well following what must have been a challenging experience.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#Lifeboats - Arklow’s volunteer RNLI crew rescued four people in two separate callouts over the weekend.

The first launch was on Saturday afternoon (6 October) to a yacht which had gotten into difficulty and was without power about one mile east of Arklow harbour.

Three crew and their vessel were towed safely back to Arklow.

The second callout came in the early hours of Sunday morning (7 October) when the Arklow lifeboat launched at 2.30am to a report of a person in the water in the harbour.

Thanks to witnesses on scene as well as local gardaí and coastguard officers, the casualty was located and thrown a life ring to keep them afloat till the lifeboat arrived minutes later.

Once out of the water, the casualty was taken to hospital by ambulance.

“We would like to extend our thanks to the members of the public who alerted the coastguard and the local gardaí to this incident,” said Mark Corcoran, community safety officer at Arklow RNLI.

“Without this early call for help and assistance during the rescue, this callout could have ended very differently.”

Arklow RNLI reminds the public to people to respect the water – always wear a lifejacket and to carry a means of calling for help when going out on or near the water.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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