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Skerries RNLI towed a razor-clam fishing boat with two men on board to safety on Tuesday afternoon (31 January) after they suffered mechanical failure near Rockabill lighthouse.

The volunteers in Skerries launched the Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat Louis Simson shortly after 1.30pm. They were paged following a notification from Dublin Coast Guard that a fishing vessel had broken down and required assistance near the Rockabill lighthouse.

The all-weather lifeboat from Howth RNLI was also tasked and their volunteers set off from Howth towards the vessel.

Skerries RNLI proceeded towards the position indicated by the stricken vessel, and following a short search of the area quickly located the boat some four miles northwest of Rockabill.

It emerged that the fishers had suffered a major mechanical failure and were unable to make any headway under their own power.

Due to the sea conditions, and the potential hazard to other vessels in the area, the lifeboat helm decided that the safest course of action was to tow the fishing boat back to the nearest safe port in Skerries.

An astern tow was established and the lifeboat proceeded towards Skerries with Howth RNLI standing by and providing escort in case the conditions deteriorated any further or the tow parted.

In the calmer water outside the harbour in Skerries, the fishing boat was taken into an alongside tow before being carefully manoeuvred against the pier.

Conditions at the time had Force 5-6 northwesterly winds with a slight to moderate chop.

Speaking about the callout, Gerry Canning, volunteer lifeboat press officer for Skerries RNLI said: “This was a job well done in challenging conditions by the volunteers here in Skerries and also the volunteers from Howth.

“We would remind anyone going to sea to ensure that they have all the safety equipment they need. And where possible carry a VHF radio as mobile phone signal can be unreliable when you are further from the shore.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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On Sunday 5 February, RNLI volunteers past and present will gather at Skerries lifeboat station in north Co Dublin to lay a wreath at sea and remember six of their colleagues who were lost while on a service in 1873.

On 2 February that that year, the lifeboat from Skerries was capsized while proceeding to the assistance of the schooner Sarah of Runcorn which had got into difficulty off Balbriggan.

Six of the men on the lifeboat were drowned: Patrick Reid, James Kelly, William Fitzpatrick, Joseph Halpin, Richard Cochrane, Albert Fanning.

Speaking about the tragedy, Skerries RNLI chair and local historian Sam Shiels said: “At about 8.45pm, in the pitch dark, it was a very stormy night with snow and heavy winds, when the Skerries Lifeboat and coastguard got the call.

“The lifeboat crew went to the aid of Sarah of Runcorn under sail but as they got close to the listing ship, they pulled in their sails and started to row. So rough was it, that the oars of the lifeboat crew were wrenched from their hands.

“Over the next few hours the crews of both Skerries Lifeboat and Coastguard fought admirably to save the crew. Unfortunately, such was the storm, the heavy seas, that six souls were lost that night.

“Today we honour those souls and the legacy they left behind; 150 years later, the spirit of the volunteers who put to sea to save others is still strong.”

The ceremony is scheduled to begin at 12.30pm on Sunday 2 February at Skerries lifeboat station.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Skerries RNLI were tasked on Saturday afternoon (17 September) after Dublin Coast Guard received reports from kayakers that a fishing vessel had sunk off Loughshinny in north Co Dublin and a man was in the water.

The Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat Louis Simson was launched by the volunteers in Skerries shortly before 3pm when they were asked to investigate reports of a man in the water clinging to debris.

As they were arriving on scene, they received an update that the man had been picked up by another fishing boat from Loughshinny and was ashore safely.

One of the volunteers on board is a local doctor, so the lifeboat proceeded into Loughshinny so that he could carry out an assessment of the casualty. However, no further medical assistance was required.

At the request of Dublin Coast Guard, the crew then located the sunken vessel, a razor fishing boat, and recorded the GPS coordinates before recovering any large debris floating on the surface to prevent any further hazards to navigation.

As the boat was on its way back to the station, one of the volunteer shore crew spotted a member of the public having a medical emergency beside the station.

The woman and her family were brought into the station where the volunteers began to administer first aid and called for an ambulance. The lifeboat arrived back and dropped the doctor on board ashore to help with the emergency in the station.

Skerries Coast Guard unit were also on scene and assisted with the casualty care before managing the traffic for the ambulance and assisting with the recovery of the lifeboat to the station.

Speaking about the callout, volunteer lifeboat press officer Gerry Canning said: “We are very proud of our volunteers for their vigilance and professionalism in two very different but equally stressful situations.

“We also saw another fine example of all the emergency services working together, with volunteers and professionals seamlessly pulling together to try and ensure the best outcome.”

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Skerries RNLI were tasked on Thursday morning (8 September) following emergency calls to Dublin Coast Guard reporting a small RIB with a person on board in difficulty off Rush beach.

Pagers were sounded shortly after 11.30am and the volunteers quickly launched the Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat Louis Simson.

The lifeboat navigated around the headland at Red Island and through the islands before proceeding towards Rush, around 6km south of Skerries in north Co Dublin.

As they were approaching the area indicated by the concerned caller, the crew obtained a visual on the boat immediately. The lifeboat was positioned alongside the vessel and it was quickly determined that there was nobody on board and that the vessel was securely tied to a mooring.

Dublin Coast Guard on radio were satisfied that it was a false alarm with good intent. The lifeboat was stood down and returned to station in Skerries. Conditions at the time had a fForce 4-5 northeasterly wind with a moderately choppy sea.

Speaking about the callout, volunteer lifeboat press officer Gerry Canning said: “Thankfully in this instance it was a false alarm with good intent. The member of the public was genuinely concerned that someone was in trouble on the water and did the right thing in dialling 999 and asking for the coastguard.”

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Organised by Skerries Coastal Rowing Club, ‘Round Rockabill Rowing Race’ is a gruelling, 15km race into open sea, open to various categories, including FISA, East Coast Skiffs, One Design and more.

At least 25 boats will arrive in Skerries on Saturday 27th August.

The race starts at 10:30 from the south strand in Skerries followed by a 7.5km row straight out towards Rockabill, round it and back again to the south strand for a beach sprint finish!

The event is supported by Fingal Co. Co. and sponsored by local businesses.

Rowers racing in last years round Rockabill race

‘Round Rockabill Rowing Race’ will bring rowing clubs from all over Ireland to our beautiful coastline.

Spectators will have a perfect, unobstructed view of this spectacle from the whole of the south beach and boats will take off in waves, depending on specific handicaps.

Each boat will set off from the south beach in Skerries at 10:30 and row straight out towards the Rockabill lighthouse. Once rounded, the crews will need to row back the same way for a beach sprint finish on the south beach.

Skerries Rowing Club
Skerries Rowing Club is a young and vibrant coastal rowing club, founded in 2012 and celebrating 10 years this year. Today the club consists of over 100 members, from age 11 to over 70, from all sorts of backgrounds with all sorts of abilities and aspirations, from recreational rowing to seriously competitive rowing. Skerries row in clinker-built traditional wooden east-coast skiffs with fixed seats and wooden oars. There are four oars people - each with a sweep oar, and a coxswain. SRC is a member of the East Coast Rowing Council and competes in ECRC regattas most summer weekends against our fellow east coast clubs.

Published in Coastal Rowing
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Skerries RNLI were tasked on Thursday evening (18 August) following 999 calls to Dublin Coast Guard reporting a mother and child on a paddleboard being blown out to sea near Balbriggan.

The north Co Dublin lifeboat’s volunteer crew launched within minutes of pagers sounding shortly after 8pm, headed for a position one mile north of Bremore Point in Balbriggan some 200 metres off shore.

Conditions at the time had a Force 5 westerly wind with a moderately choppy sea.

Arriving on scene, the volunteer crew quickly spotted the casualties and moved the lifeboat alongside them. Having confirmed that they were unable to make their way back to the beach, both mother and child were taken on board the lifeboat, along with their paddleboard.

The crew carried out a quick first aid assessment and decided that the best course of action would be to bring them back to the warmth of the lifeboat station for further observation.

Once ashore in the boathouse, they were checked over by a local GP, who also happened to be one of the crew on board the lifeboat.

The mother and child did not require any further medical assistance and were soon able to leave the station safe and well when a family member arrived to collect them.

Speaking about the callout, volunteer lifeboat press officer Gerry Canning said: “We have responded to a number of paddleboard instances off Balbriggan this summer with offshore breezes making it difficult if not impossible to get back to the beach.

“Thankfully in this case they did the right thing in staying on the board and waiting for help to arrive.

“Remember, if you see someone in difficulty on or near the water, dial 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Following a busy lead-in to the weekend with three callouts in 24 hours, the volunteers at Skerries RNLI in north Co Dublin were kept on their toes by four calls between Saturday and Sunday.

Shortly before 1pm on Saturday afternoon (13 August), Dublin Coast Guard tasked Skerries RNLI following a 999 call from the public reporting that a child had been cut off by the tide and was stranded on the rocks near Balbriggan Harbour.

As they were arriving on scene, the crew received an update that some swimmers had assisted the person safely to the shore. The lifeboat was stood down and returned to the station in Skerries to be washed down and made ready for service.

Pagers sounded again for the volunteers shortly after 5pm on Saturday following reports of a missing person. However, they were located almost immediately and the volunteers were stood down before the lifeboat was launched.

Shortly before 3pm on Sunday afternoon (14 August) the volunteers launched the lifeboat having been tasked by Dublin Coast Guard to respond to reports of a kayaker missing off Balbriggan.

As they were approaching Balbriggan Harbour, the lifeboat received an update from the coastguard that the person had been located safe and well. Both Skerries RNLI and Clogherhead RNLI, who were also responding as they were on the water when the alarm was raised, were stood down.

The lifeboat had just been recovered to the apron at the boathouse when the volunteers were requested to launch again immediately, following a distress call from a RIB that had suffered engine failure near Lambay Island.

As they were navigating toward Lambay, the crew received an update that another vessel, a tender to a local yacht, was standing by the boat until the lifeboat arrived, and had provided updated GPS coordinates of their position.

The lifeboat navigated to the position given and was on scene in minutes. There were five adults on board the casualty vessel and after a quick check that everyone was safe and well, the vessel was taken under tow.

While the tow was under way, another local yacht, this time with a member of Howth RNLI on board, contacted the lifeboat and offered to take over the tow as they were headed for Howth, the home port of the stricken vessel.

The lifeboat was carefully positioned alongside the yacht and the tow was passed over. The volunteer crew then headed for home to make the lifeboat ready for the next service.

Speaking about the callouts, volunteer lifeboat press officer for Skerries RNLI, Gerry Canning said: “We’ve had an incredibly busy couple of weeks now, responding to calls at all hours of the day. It really highlights the dedication and commitment of all the volunteers at the station.”

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Skerries RNLI responded to their third emergency in 24 hours on Friday evening (12 August) when they were tasked by Dublin Coast Guard to stand by a small boat on Donabate Strand as it refloated after running aground earlier in the day.

Shortly after 8pm, the Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat Louis Simson was launched by the volunteers and a course was set to navigate through the islands and south towards Donabate.

As the lifeboat was en route, the crew received an update from the coastguard that the vessel had begun to float. There was one man on board, and he had managed to start his engine and was proceeding towards Malahide.

The lifeboat was requested to escort him to Malahide. However, as they were nearing the scene, they received a further update that the vessel was taking on water.

Oon scene, the lifeboat crew found that the boat was now fully submerged in shallow water, with the man standing on the deck waving his torch to try and attract their attention.

The helm manoeuvred the lifeboat as close as possible and a crew member made their way on to the boat to assess the man’s condition.

While he did not require medical assistance, it was decided that it would be unsafe to attempt to tow the boat, or to transfer him to the lifeboat in the dark, and that the safest course of action would be to walk him back to the beach.

The volunteer crew escorted him safely to the shore where he was greeted and further assisted by Skerries Coast Guard Unit.

Earlier in the day, shortly after 11am, Skerries RNLI were tasked to assist when a person had become trapped on the cliff face at Loughshinny.

The lifeboat was on scene in a matter of minutes and stood by in case the man slipped and entered the water at the base of the cliffs.

Howth Coast Guard Unit, with the assistance of Skerries Coast Guard Unit, successfully carried out a cliff rescue and brought the man to safety at the top of the cliffs. The lifeboat was stood down and returned to base.

On Thursday evening, as the volunteer crew were conducting their scheduled training, they received a VHF radio call from Dublin Coast Guard asking them to investigate reports of people in the water trying to make their way back from Shenick Island.

The lifeboat proceeded towards the island immediately, and as they rounded the headland at Red Island they spotted the group wading towards the shore in chest-deep waters.

They were confident that they could make their own way ashore and declined to be taken into lifeboat. The lifeboat stood by until they reached the safety of the beach before returning to the training session.

Speaking about the callout, volunteer lifeboat press officer Gerry Canning said: “As the warm weather continues we are seeing a huge increase in the number of people enjoying themselves on the water. Unfortunately we are also seeing an increase in the number of launches for our volunteers.

“We would just like to remind everyone to be conscious of their safety. Check the local tides and weather, wear a lifejacket or buoyancy aid if you are going afloat, and always carry a means of calling for help. If you see someone in difficulty on or near the water, dial 999 and ask for the coastguard.”

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Skerries RNLI were tasked in the early hours of Wednesday morning (10 August) by Dublin Coast Guard after they received a call that a razor clam fishing boat had run aground on rocks in the North Co Dublin town.

Shortly after 3am pagers sounded for the volunteer crew and the Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat Louis Simson was launched swiftly. With the casualty vessel visible from the boathouse, they were on scene almost immediately.

The lifeboat was carefully manoeuvred alongside the vessel to check on the condition of its two crew, who were in injured. The lifeboat crew carried out a quick inspection of the outside of the vessels’ hull and there did not appear to be any significant damage.

The two men wished to stay on board the vessel and wait for the incoming tide to lift it clear of the rocks.

Skerries RNLI escorting the razor clam vessel to Skerries | Credit: RNLI/Joe MaySkerries RNLI escorting the razor clam vessel to Skerries | Credit: RNLI/Joe May

With the potential for any unseen damage to result in another call out, the decision was taken for the lifeboat to return to the vessel and stand by when it began to float.

Shortly after 6am, the lifeboat attached a line to the grounded boat and as it began to float, they towed it clear of the rocks. Once in open water the tow was released, and the boat made its own way to the safety of Skerries Harbour, escorted by the lifeboat.

Speaking about the callout, volunteer lifeboat press officer Gerry Canning said: “It was an early start for our volunteers this morning, and it’s been a very busy week, but we are ready to go 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. If you see someone in difficulty on or near the water, dial 999 and ask for the coastguard.”

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Skerries RNLI were tasked on Bank Holiday Monday afternoon (1 August) by Dublin Coast Guard following 999 calls reporting a girl being blown out to sea on her paddleboard.

The volunteers in Skerries launched their Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat Louis Simson shortly after 2pm within minutes of pagers sounding set a direct course for the reported location off Balbriggan Harbour.

The Irish Coast Guard’s Dublin-based helicopter Rescue 116 and Skerries Coast Guard unit were also tasked.

As the lifeboat was arriving on scene, they received a message from the helicopter that girl had been separated from her board and was in the water. The helicopter maintained a visual on the casualty and guided the lifeboat to her position.

As the lifeboat approached it became obvious that the girl was starting to tire and struggling to reach for the boat. One of the volunteer crew entered the water and swam to her to keep her afloat and assist her towards the lifeboat.

Once on board, a first aid assessment was carried out. She was tired and cold but did not appear to need any medical assistance.

The lifeboat was positioned into shallow water before one of the crew helped the girl to the shore where she was handed into the care of her parents and the Skerries Coast Guard unit.

The lifeboat then retrieved the paddleboard and the leash, which had become separated from the board, before returning to the station in Skerries.

Conditions at the time had a Force 3 southwesterly wind with slight seas and good visibility.

Speaking about the callout, volunteer lifeboat press officer Gerry Canning said: “Unfortunately we are seeing a rise in calls to paddleboards and kayaks. The breeze can take a person away from the shore quite quickly.

“Our advice is to always wear a lifejacket and carry a means of contacting the shore, even if you don’t intend on going far from the shore.”

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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.

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