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The RNLI’s most westerly shop in Ireland will officially open its doors next Saturday 1 October from 1-4pm on Inis Mór, raising vital lifesaving funds for the charity that saves lives at sea.

And the day will also see the opening of the new Aran Islands RNLI Visitor Experience.

The new shop, which is located inside Aran Islands lifeboat station at Kilronan Pier, has quickly become a key attraction since opening its doors back in June to both the islanders and the many visitors who come each year.

Located in the boat hall of the station, meanwhile, the new Visitor Experience will bring people through 175 years of captivating history featuring imagery and facts about the station’s lifeboats, memorable milestones, awards, rescue stories and the many volunteers from the island who have made up the lifesaving crew over the years.

Speaking ahead of Saturday’s official opening and following the first season of trading, RNLI community manager Brian Wilson said: “We are delighted that Inis Mór is joining the heritage of lifeboat station shops in the RNLI.

Outside the Aran Islands lifeboat station shop, the RNLI’s most westerly outlet in Ireland, which opened in June | Credit: RNLI/Aran IslandsOutside the Aran Islands lifeboat station shop, the RNLI’s most westerly outlet in Ireland, which opened in June | Credit: RNLI/Aran Islands

“This is the second RNLI shop on the west coast of Ireland, along with Sligo Bay which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. The response in the first week back in June more than exceeded our expectations and that momentum key up throughout the summer season.

“We have had a wonderful response from locals and tourists alike and we want to thank the team here for their efforts in getting us to this point as well as thanking everyone who has visited and shown their support since the opening.

“To now also have the Visitor Experience open is wonderful as it will give the many tourists who come to the Aran Islands each year another attraction to enjoy while giving them a terrific insight to the station’s rich history and the work of the volunteer team who have made such an impact over so many years. This meandering visitor experience is a special mark of respect to all the people, call outs and stories this lifeboat station has to tell.”

Everyone is welcome to attend the official opening of the Visitor Experience and shop from 1-4pm next Saturday 1 October, during which visitors can view the new facilities, speak to the crew and purchase a token from the shop as a memento of their day.

Meanwhile, the shop team at Aran Islands RNLI is still on the lookout for more volunteers. If you think you can give some time to help out, call into the shop for more information.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Wicklow RNLI went to the assistance of a lone sailor on Tuesday morning (20 September) after his vessel got fouled in ropes.

The all-weather lifeboat Joanna and Henry Williams slipped its moorings from the south quay at 8.50am following a pager alert and proceeded to sea under the command of coxswain Ciaran Doyle and a volunteer crew.

Twenty minutes later the casualty vessel was located seven miles offshore near the South India Buoy. Conditions in the area were good with calm sea and good visibility.

The lone sailor on the 12-metre motor vessel had left Wicklow Harbour a couple of hours earlier and was returning to Wales, when the propellor got fouled in ropes and the boat lost all propulsion.

The coxswain carried out an assessment and, as the vessel had no propulsion, it was decided the best course of action was to tow the casualty back to Wicklow harbour.

Two volunteer crew were transferred onto the motor vessel to assist with the tow line. The motor cruiser was then towed to Wicklow and brought alongside the East Pier at 10.55am where the sailor was landed safely ashore.

Speaking about the call out, volunteer lifeboat press officer Tommy Dover said: “The sailor had attempted to free the obstruction, but he was unable to unravel the rope from around the propellor. He did the right thing calling for assistance and we were happy to help.

“When going afloat we would remind everyone to check their engine and fuel, always wear a lifejacket or buoyancy aid, and carry a means of calling for help.

“If you see someone in difficulty on or near the water, dial 999/112 or use Marine VHF Channel 16 and ask for the coastguard.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Ballyglass RNLI came to aid of four fishermen in Donegal Bay in the early hours of Wednesday morning (21 September) after their 55ft trawler got into difficulty overnight.

The volunteer crew were requested to launch their all-weather lifeboat by Malin Head Coast Guard at 2.20am and go to the aid of a drifting trawler four miles west of Malin Beg in Donegal.

Launched under coxswain James Mangan, the lifeboat set out across Donegal Bay just after 2.30am to assist the crew of the large vessel that had lost power and was adrift.

Conditions on the overnight passage were less than favourable with southerly Force 5-6 winds, a 2-3m sea swell and poor to fair visibility.

The lifeboat made the journey north to assist the fishermen as Arranmore RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat is currently in dry docks for routine maintenance.

Once on scene at 5.25am, the lifeboat crew assessed the situation and found that the fishermen were safe and well.

It was decided to establish a secure tow and bring the vessel to the nearest safe port at Killybegs where they secured the trawler at 11.40am. The crew then began the preparations for the return journey to Ballyglass.

Speaking after the trawler was safely berthed, Pádraig Sheerin, Ballyglass RNLI lifeboat operations manager commended the crew for their dedication.

“We would like to wish the fishermen well. Despite the very early hours of this morning when the pagers went off, there was a great turn out once again from our volunteers with plenty of assistance and team work to launch the lifeboat as promptly as possible,” he said.

“It is thanks to the commitment, dedication and hard work of the volunteer crew, along with the top-class training and equipment provided by the RNLI, and the funds raised by all those who donate to the lifeboats, that allow us to continue saving lives at sea. A sincere and heartfelt thank you to one and all.”

Joining Mangan on the callout were mechanic Allen Murray and Paudge Kelleher, as well as Eric Geraghty and Ciaran Deane — who also out on the 22-hour callout just three days ago to rescue a kayaker trapped in a cave at Downpatrick Head.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Former Rosslare RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager, David Maloney has been awarded a Commendation from the Operations Director of the RNLI for his role in a rescue in September 2016, where his actions saved the life of a woman trapped in a cabin on a yacht which had been dashed on rocks in the harbour.

As Afloat reported at the time, in the early hours of 14 September 2016, during a strong north-west gale, a small yacht owned and crewed by a Swedish couple entered Rosslare Harbour. On arrival, the engine stalled, and the yacht was blown onto on the rock armour, where it was pummelled by waves.

A call for help was raised, and Rosslare lifeboat was launched. However, due to the location of the casualty vessel, the lifeboat was unable to reach the yacht from the water. Rosslare RNLI volunteer Jamie Ryan arrived at the scene with the station Lifeboat Operations Manager David Maloney and found a man standing on the quay wall looking at the yacht, clearly in shock. In sympathising with the man on what they thought to be the loss of his vessel, they discovered that his partner was still onboard.

The stricken yacht damaged by rock armour in Rosslare Harbour The stricken yacht damaged by rock armour in Rosslare Harbour

With the yacht being broken up by the waves, Jamie discussed the option of using a rope which could be put around Dave’s waist, to reach the woman, but they both realised there would be no time for this. The woman was in immediate risk of being pulled out to sea and lost. Using his skill and lifeboating knowledge and with the waves pummelling the vessel, Dave manoeuvred across the rocks and into the cabin of the yacht. Once there, he took hold of the woman and pulled her out of the cabin and up to the safety of the quay wall.

Dave never sought recognition for his action that night, but the station put him forward for his role in the rescue and during a recent Coast Review visit by the RNLI, the Operations Director, Mr. John Payne, presented Dave with the RNLI commendation. In doing so, the charity wished to acknowledge his brave actions that night and recognise it as a life saved by an RNLI volunteer.

Commenting on the honour, Rosslare RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager Jamie Ryan, who succeeded David in the role, said, ‘we are delighted that David has been officially recognised by the RNLI for his incredibly brave action that night five years ago, which saved a life. It was a split-second decision but one that was made with years of experience and knowledge of lifesaving behind it. It could have easily been a tragedy, and I’m sure was a traumatic experience for the couple. David embodies the best of our lifesaving ethos, and we are very proud of him and his role at our station.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Helvick Head RNLI was requested to launch their inshore lifeboat on Tuesday afternoon, 20 September, following a report that a swimmer was in difficulty off Clonea beach.

With calm seas and Force 2-3 south westerly winds, the volunteer crew launched the ‘Robert Armstrong’ lifeboat at 5.35 pm following a request by the Irish Coast Guard. It followed a report from a member of the public that a swimmer was in difficulty near Ballinclamper, the southern end of Clonea beach.

The lifeboat, helmed by Alan Kelly and with crew members Joe Foley and Simon O’Hara onboard, made its way to the reported location arriving on scene at 5.40 pm. However, the lifeboat was stood down as it transpired the male swimmer was snorkelling in the area and did not require any assistance. 

Speaking following the call out, John Condon, Helvick Head RNLI Deputy Launching Authority, said: ‘This call out turned out to be a false alarm with good intent, but we would commend the person who raised the alarm, reporting what they perceived as someone in difficulty. It is always better to be safe than sorry, safety is always our priority.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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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.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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The RNLI volunteer crew at Bundoran will feature in the brand new series of popular BBC Two programme Saving Lives at Sea this week.

Featuring footage captured on helmet cameras, the primetime documentary series lets viewers witness rescues through the eyes of the RNLI lifesavers while meeting the people behind the pagers.

The popular 10-part documentary is now in its seventh series and includes the lifesaving work of RNLI volunteer lifeboat crews from around Ireland and the UK.

Including interviews with lifeboat crews, the series will also hear from the rescuees and their families who are here to tell the tale, thanks to the RNLI.

Filming at Bundoran Lifeboat StationFilming at Bundoran Lifeboat Station

This forthcoming episode on BBC2 at 8 pm this Thursday, 22 September, includes Bundoran RNLI’s rescue in October last year of a teenage girl who got into difficulty in a rip current and was being taken out to sea. A member of the public becomes a good Samaritan when thinking safety first, enters the water with a lifebuoy and goes to the casualty’s aid, holding her until the lifeboat arrives.

Bundoran RNLI Helm Brian Gillespie, who will feature in the upcoming episode, says: ‘Rip currents can be difficult to spot and can be notoriously dangerous. When you get caught in one, it can be a frightening experience. Peter, who responded initially with a lifebuoy, deserves great credit for his role in the rescue because he had safety in mind first, which was crucial in keeping both the girl and him safe until our lifeboat arrived. Great credit is also due to the large number of our volunteer crew who arrived at the station so promptly on the day, as time is always of the essence in situations like these.

‘We are delighted to see this rescue featuring on this year’s series of Saving Lives at Sea. Our lifesaving work would not be possible without donations from the public and we are delighted to be able to share a frontline view of the rescues they support with their kind generosity.’

In 2021, RNLI lifeboats in Ireland launched 1,078 times, coming to the aid of 1,485 people, 21 of whom were lives saved. Bundoran RNLI launched 18 times, bringing eight people to safety, one of whom was a life saved.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Valentia Coast Guard activated the pagers at 9.28 pm on Saturday, 17 Sept, requesting the Crosshaven RNLI crew in Cork Harbour to attend to a disabled 22’ powerboat with two adults and two children on board in Lough Mahon close to the R8 buoy.

The vessel had anchored clear of the shipping channel and requested assistance from the Coast Guard.

The volunteer crew of Ian Venner, Norman Jackson, Jonny Bermingham and David Venner were underway by 9.40 pm and arrived at the casualty vessel at 10.15 pm.

A tow was established and the casualty vessel was safely berthed at Monkstown Marina before the lifeboat returned to Crosshaven to be washed down, refuelled and declared ready for service once more at 12.15 am.

Helm, Ian Venner commented, "whilst conditions were calm, the night temperature was very cold on the water, and it was important to get the occupants ashore as quickly as possible.”

Shore Crew were Kevin McCarthy and Patsy Fegan.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Achill Island RNLI went to the assistance of two local fishermen whose 21ft fishing vessel was experiencing engine difficulties this morning.

The volunteer lifeboat crew were requested by Malin Head Coast Guard to go to the assistance of the two fishermen who reported difficulties with their engine close to Corrán, off Achill Island, shortly after 10am this morning. The ‘Sam and Ada Moody’ launched with Dave Curtis, Coxswain, Michael Cattigan, Mechanic, Patrick Kilbane, Terry Hogarth and Declan Corrigan on board. They quickly reached the vessel, which was located approximately two miles from the Lifeboat Station, in what was described as ideal sea and weather conditions at the time.

On reaching the vessel, both fishermen were found to be safe and well. The vessel was assessed, and a decision was made to tow it the short distance to Corrán, the nearest and safest pier.

Speaking after the call out, Ciaran Needham, Achill Island RNLI’s Lifeboat Operations Manager, said: ‘The fishermen on board this vessel did everything right and made the right call in seeking assistance. Anyone can encounter problems with their vessel, and while sea and weather conditions were perfect this morning, they can change very quickly. Our advice is never to hesitate to call the Coast Guard for help if you encounter unexpected problems while at sea. Our crew are always happy to assist.’

Published in Fishing
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Baltimore RNLI Lifeboat was called out this morning to provide assistance to a yacht with one person on board that got into difficulty 25 miles south of Glandore, West Cork.

The volunteer lifeboat crew launched their all-weather lifeboat at 8.35 am, following a request from the Irish Coast Guard to go to the assistance of a 30-foot yacht, with one person on board, which had become propped on a fishing net that was floating on the surface, 25 miles south of Glandore Harbour off the coast of West Cork.

The Baltimore all-weather lifeboat crew arrived at the casualty vessel at 10 am. After making sure the person onboard was okay, Coxswain Aidan Bushe assessed the situation and decided that undertaking a tow was necessary and the safest way to assist.

Volunteer crew members from the lifeboat passed a tow to the yacht and once a secure tow was established, the lifeboat and casualty vessel were underway. The lifeboat proceeded to Baltimore Harbour. On arrival within the harbour, volunteer lifeboat crew member Brendan Cottrell was transferred onto the casualty vessel to assist with berthing.

Once the casualty vessel was secured at the pier in Baltimore, the lifeboat then returned to the station, arriving at 1.40 pm.

Five volunteer crew were onboard the lifeboat, Coxswain Aidan Bushe, Mechanic Cathal Cottrell and crew members Pat Collins, Brendan Cottrell and Sean McCarthy. Conditions at sea during the call were calm with a north easterly force 3 wind, a 1m sea swell and good visibility.

Speaking following the call out, Kate Callanan, Baltimore RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer, said: ‘It has been a busy month so far for Baltimore RLNI who have been on a total of four call outs between 4th and 15th September including two medical evacuations from Sherkin and more recently Cape Clear Islands. Please remember, if you get into difficulty at sea or on the coast or an island, call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coast Guard.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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