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Lough Derg RNLI Lifeboat launched to assist a person on board a 30ft–cruiser, aground at Gortmore Point, at the north-eastern shore of Lough Derg yesterday morning.

Valentia Coast Guard requested Lough Derg RNLI Lifeboat to launch to assist a person on board a 30ft cruiser that had gone aground on Lough Derg, south of Portumna

The lifeboat launched at 10.45am with helm Eleanor Hooker, Ger Egan and Lorna Walsh on board. Winds were west-southwest, Force 3/4, visibility was good.

The lifeboat located the vessel at Gortmore Point, on the north-eastern shore of Lough Derg. The person on board was safe and unharmed, but distressed. They were wearing their lifejacket.

An RNLI volunteer climbed across and provided reassurance. The RNLI crew member checked the boat for any damage, and once satisfied the cruiser was not holed, set up a tow.

The cruiser was taken off the rocks and out into safe water, where the drives and engine were checked and found to be in working order.

With two RNLI volunteers on board the casualty vessel with its skipper, the lifeboat accompanied the cruiser to Dromineer harbour.

Brendan O’Brien, Deputy Launching Authority for Lough Derg RNLI Lifeboat, advises lake users ‘who find themselves in difficulty, to dial 999 or 112 and ask for Marine Rescue’. ‘The RNLI Lifeboats and its volunteers provide 24hr rescue service, every day of the year.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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The first Shannon class RNLI lifeboat to go on service in Ireland was officially named today in a special ceremony attended by crowds of people in Buncrana, county Donegal. The €2.4m life-saving vessel has already been on nineteen callouts since its arrival on the North-West Coast last year and today it was officially named the ‘Derek Bullivant’ by the man responsible for getting the RNLI’s latest class of lifeboat named after an Irish river.

Arklow man Jimmy Tyrrell was with the RNLI for 46 years, making him the charity’s longest serving lifeboat operations volunteer on his retirement. He campaigned to have the RNLI name a class of lifeboat after an Irish river, in recognition of the service and dedication of Irish lifeboat volunteers. His wish was finally realised with the design and manufacture of the Shannon class lifeboat. The first of the class went on service at Dungeness in Kent back in 2014 .Jimmy was asked by Lough Swilly RNLI to officially name the lifeboat and he did so through the time honoured tradition of pouring champagne over the bow of the lifeboat to cheers from the crowd.

It was an emotional day for Jimmy, whose family are well-known and respected boat builders, as it is the culmination of a 27-year campaign to name an Irish lifeboat class. Speaking at the ceremony he said, ‘During my lifeboat career I have seen many changes in lifeboats, from wood, to steel, to fibre-glass and to today’s composite construction. Lifeboat speeds varied from eight-knots going downhill with the wind up your transom to this wonderful new waterjet propulsion achieving 25-knots. However, one thing that has not changed in the RNLI and that is its people. The basic commitment of crews is the same. Generations of them have put their lives on the line and sometimes lost their lives trying to help those in peril on the seas.’

A small service of blessing followed led by Fr Francis Bradley, Parish Priest of Buncrana and Reverend Judi McGaffin, Church of Ireland Rector.
The Donegal lifeboat station was the first in Ireland to receive the new lifeboat, which is the most modern and technically advanced lifeboat in the RNLI fleet. The Shannon is first class of lifeboat to be propelled by waterjets instead of traditional propellers, making it the most agile and manoeuvrable all-weather lifeboat in the fleet. The lifeboat has a top speed of 25 knots and a range of 250 nautical miles. The lifeboat was developed to operate in the worst of sea conditions and is self-righting, automatically turning the right side up in the event of a capsize.

The Derek Bullivant lifeboat (ON 1315) was funded by legacies from Mr Derek Bullivant and Mrs Valerie Walker. Mr. Bullivant was born in Birmingham in 1922 and went on to establish one of the biggest aluminium recycling companies in the UK. He wanted his success to benefit lifesaving and humanitarian charities which led him to provide a generous legacy which helped to fund the Lough Swilly lifeboat. The second legacy was bequeathed from Mrs. Valerie Walker from Portsmouth. Mrs. Walker was a supporter of the RNLI and her legacy has been used to part fund the lifeboat. A plaque honouring her will be placed in the lifeboat station.

Accepting the lifeboat, Lough Swilly RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager John McCarter said, ‘While we are in celebratory mood today God knows we have seen and been closely involved in our share of tragedy around our community, and we remember all those who have suffered great loss at the mercy of the sea. However at Lough Swilly RNLI it also strengthens our resolve to work harder and keep our equipment state of the art to enable us to provide search and rescue service around our coast. The Derek Bullivant lifeboat is testament to that.’

‘There are thirty volunteers at Lough Swilly RNLI. A number of our crew have been here from the beginning as young boys and girls and matured with the station where they now have families and potential new volunteers coming on themselves. Today is a very proud day for all of us here at Lough Swilly RNLI and I am absolutely delighted on behalf of all at Lough Swilly to accept this new Shannon Class boat the RNLB Derek Bullivant into our care.’

In the 29 years since Lough Swilly RNLI was established they have launched 741 times, brought 568 people to safety and saved forty-nine lives.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) have joined with the Maritime Coastguard Agency (MCA), the Fishermen’s Mission and Seafish, the group responsible for the promotion of the fishing industry, to hold a fishing safety event in Kilkeel, County Down next month.

The event will be held at 11am on Friday 8th July 2016 in the Fishermen’s Mission centre in Kilkeel. It is open to all fishermen to attend and is free of charge.

RNLI Fishing Safety Manager, Frankie Horne will lead the event which will involve a demonstration and discussion focused on safety in the fishing community. It will take an in-depth look at the areas where fishermen are being seriously injured or losing their lives fishing. This year has already seen fatalities in the industry.

The demonstration and talk will focus on the areas of stability, safety awareness and deck machinery. The RNLI have run a number of campaigns in the past aimed at fishermen. Last January the charity launched a hard-hitting campaign encouraging fishermen to make sure their boats kept them safe at sea.

RNLI Fishing Safety Manager Frankie Horne said, ‘I have been a fisherman for 37 years from cook, to deck hand to skipper/owner. I am also a volunteer lifeboat Coxswain at Peel RNLI on the Isle of Man. We are working with fishermen on how to make their industry safer. This starts with the fishermen themselves and with us listening to and addressing their concerns.’

‘We want the fishermen to help us solve the safety problems in the industry that lead to loss of life, or life-changing injuries. Fishing is still the most dangerous peace time occupation and we all have a collective responsibility to make fishing safer.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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One of the country’s largest celebrations the coast, the Wexford Maritime Festival is set to host five vintage lifeboats later this week from June 24th to 26th as the vessels voyage to Wexford from across Ireland and the UK.

The 100 year old ‘Whitby’ lifeboat will arrive for display during the festival weekend along with former Royal National Life Boats the ‘Canadian Pacific’ from Kyle of Lochalsh, ‘J. W. Archer’ from Wales and the ‘Joseph Soar’ from Coleraine. The antiquated lifeboats will take pride of place on the Quayside in Wexford town alongside a Wexford's maritime heritage showcase at the festivals Maritime Model Village where an exhibition on Vintage Transport through the lens of Robert Shorthall with over 100 model boats and aircraft will be on display.

Wexford Maritime Festival offers festivalgoers an action-packed programme of events on Wexford Quays, with everything displays of maritime heritage to opportunities to try a new watersport along with search and rescue displays to stunt aircraft taking to the skies.

Commenting on the upcoming weekend one of the festival organisers Lorraine Galvin says, “We are set to welcome over 40,000 people to the festival, most of our events are on offer for free or for a nominal price with all proceeds from this event being donated to the RNLI. This is the fifth year of the festival and the programme is our biggest yet, we are also expanding the programme by a day as we run from Friday right through until Sunday evening this year. This festival is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate our 275 kilometres of coastline here in Wexford.”

The festival launches on the Friday evening with a Gala Banquet hosted by the Wexford Food Family with celebrity chef Phelim Byrne. In all 38 festival events will take place, highlights inlcude Rescue Saturday where a major Search and Rescue display with aircraft, lifeboats and ambulance crews showcase their capabilities and skills. Along with a large Emergency Services Village, visitors can meet the crews and see their equipment including the first visit by the Irish Armys Mowag Piranha IIIH 8x8 armoured personnel carrier, Irish Coast Guard, RNLI, Defence Forces, Civil Defence, Gardia, Wexford MarineWatch, Seal Rescue, HSE.

Fun-day Sunday sees a spectacular stunt show with formations with two RV 7 aircraft with gravity defying, jaw dropping displays take to the skies above the Quayside.

A ‘Try it Dock’ will be on offer in the Maritime Village with local water sports groups taking people out to try out some new waterbased. Wexford Sub Aqua club will host a free try a dive Sunday 26 at 4.45 p.m. and the ever popular Raft Races take place on Sunday afternoon for teams of six.

A rowing regatta and sailing regatta will also take place and a flyboarder 'Ironman’ will quire literally walk on water. And for the landlubbers, lots of activities will be on offer shoreside with food and music to the fore with Wexford band Corneryboy and SoulTrek and the Funk Generation will entertain the messes along with a Big Barbeque bash for a summer festival vibe.

The Childrens Village welcomes fun activities including Art and Colouring, Crazy Games, Disco Fun, Wobbly Circus Show, Viking Village and Recreate Environment Workshops.

Published in Maritime Festivals

The RNLI held its Annual Presentation of Awards at the Guinness Storehouse on Friday (17 June 2016) where the charity presented 56 individual awards to volunteers from across the country. Five of the awardees were from Dublin North. However the ceremony was tinged with sadness for Howth RNLI representatives as one of the recipients, Ms Rosemary O’Neill from Howth RNLI, had passed away a few days before she was due to receive her Gold Badge for fundraising. Howth RNLI Lifeboat Management Group Chairman Russell Rafter accepted the award on her behalf to warm applause from the crowd.

The awardees were honoured for their significant contribution to the RNLI in Ireland and years of dedicated and committed service to the charity. Many awardees were fundraising volunteers, recognised for years of service to the charity, while others were lifeboat crew who collected their long-service badges after many years on the lifeboat.

Guest of honour at the ceremony was outgoing RNLI Chairman Charles Hunter-Pease who will step down later this year after a successful term as Chairman of the Institution.

Speaking to the awardees and their friends and family during the ceremony, Charles Hunter-Pease commented; ‘To everyone receiving an award, whether their service has been at sea or ashore, please wear it with pride. It is the mark of someone very special, selflessly dedicated to the lives of others.’

‘Every day, all around our coastline, people come together to do something incredible for someone they’ve probably never met. Lifeboat crews put to sea not knowing what situation they will face. It also takes determination to raise funds. It’s a determination that sees people raise astonishing sums to keep our service running, and that is no small feat, it requires endless talent, imagination and energy.’

Mr. David Delamer Chairperson of the RNLI Council in Ireland formally opened the proceeded and who welcomed the volunteers and their families to the ceremony. The citations for each awardee were read by Emma Gibson RNLI Area Manager and Owen Medland RNLI Divisional Operations Manager for Ireland central.

The Dublin North awardees citations were as follows:

Ms Rosemary O'Neill’s Gold Badge was collected by Howth RNLI Lifeboat Management Group Chairman Russell Rafter collecting. Sadly Rosemary had passed away suddenly a few days before the awards ceremony. She was an active and valued volunteer, who at the age of 89 served the RNLI as Box Secretary in Malahide. Rosemary's roles during her 22 years volunteering with the Howth branch included Branch Secretary and Souvenir Secretary. The branch will deeply miss Rosemary. Her efficiency and enthusiasm, which she shared with all involved at Howth, were an enormous benefit to the charity.

Mr John Massey from Howth RNLI received a Gold Badge. John was lifeboat crew before becoming a Deputy Launching Authority at Howth Lifeboat station. John had accrued 47 years of service to the RNLI when he retired in 2015. He was described by the former Lifeboat Operations Manager as his ‘right hand man.’

Mrs Rose Michael received a Bar to Gold Badge. Rose has a lifetime of fundraising for the RNLI and is Chairperson of Howth RNLI Branch. The continued success of this fundraising branch is largely down to Rose’s leadership and her ongoing hard work which is supported by a dedicated group of volunteers. Rose looks for every opportunity and builds on events each year. She engages with fundraisers and is a steadfast and dependable volunteer.

Mr Ian Sheridan from Howth Station Branch was awarded his Long Service Badge. Ian has RNLI running through his veins and is the face of lifeboating in his role as Howth Station Mechanic and Deputy 2nd Coxswain at Howth’s busy lifeboat station. Having previously served as a volunteer in Howth, Ian served ten years as Coxswain of Ballycotton lifeboat, before coming home and makes himself available to support all station activities and events. With four young children and supporting Ian’s commitment to the RNLI, Ian’s wife Lyn is equally deserving of and sharing in this award.

(The evening was extra special for Ian as he was the recipient of a Father’s Day makeover on TV3’s Ireland AM. He was nominated by his family.)

Mr Conor Walsh from Skerries Station Branch also received a Long Service Badge. Conor has served Skerries RNLI since its formation and currently is one of the most experienced Helms at the lifeboat station. He also works for the RNLI as Divisional Maintenance Manager.

Awardees were present from across Ireland representing lifeboat stations and branches in Dublin, Wicklow, Galway, Cork, Waterford, Mayo, Wexford, Kerry, Donegal, Clare, Limerick and Athlone.

One of the highest honours of the evening went to Ian Walsh who recently retired as Lifeboat Operations Manager with Helvick Head RNLI. During the evening, along with the Honorary Lifeboat Governorship award, there were 31 Gold Badges, 12 Bar to Gold Badges, one Certificate of Thanks and 12 Long Service Badges presented by the Chairman.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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The RNLI has today launched an innovative free text message service aimed at preventing people getting caught out by dangerous tides when travelling to Coney Island in County Sligo.

In what is the first of its kind in Ireland, the RNLI text messaging service is being introduced by the charity in a direct response to a coastal safety risk identified by the local community in Sligo.

For years the causeway which provides access to Coney Island and the nature of its flooding tidal waters have presented a risk to the public who are unsure of the tide times and the appropriate times to cross from the mainland.

Sligo Bay RNLI has responded to numerous incidents around Coney Island that relate to tidal cut off and activities around the sandbanks and tidal channels. However, the volunteer lifeboat crews have often been restricted by water depth when attending these incidents especially during the crucial early phase of the flooding tide where people are starting to cut off or are bogged in.

It is hoped that the new text messaging system accompanied by signage directing people to the numbers to text, will encourage safer crossing and decision making.

Anyone planning to visit the island by car, bike or foot is encouraged to Text Coney to 53600 (from Republic of Ireland mobiles) or 81400 (from Northern Ireland/UK mobiles) to find out the safe crossing times for that day.*

The RNLI will reply with information on the best times subject to good weather conditions along with key safety messages reminding users to always leave extra time to return safely to the mainland, to never attempt to cross if the strand is covered with water and in the event of an emergency to dial 999 or 112 and ask for the Coast Guard.

Speaking at the launch of Text Coney today, Rogan Wheeldon, RNLI Community Incident Reduction Manager said: ‘This is a perfect example of a community on the coast identifying a risk and working collaboratively to help save lives at sea. By providing the public with the relevant information to make safer choices when accessing the coast it reduces their risk, the risk to our lifeboat crew, and also to those in the community that are putting their own lives at risk to help those in trouble’.

Joe Henderson, Sligo Bay RNLI Coastal Safety Officer added: ‘Over recent years our lifeboat crew at Sligo Bay RNLI has been called out many times to rescue people who have been caught out by the tide. As part of the RNLI’s work in prevention of accidental drowning we now have this wonderful texting system in place with good signage here at The Causeway and we really want to make people aware that is here and encourage locals and visitors alike to get texting when planning a visit to the beautiful Coney Island. We would like to thank everyone involved in bringing this development to fruition including the residents of Coney Island and Sligo County Council.’

The Text Coney launch comes a week after the RNLI launched Respect the Water, its annual national accidental drowning prevention campaign which will run throughout the Summer.

Respect the Water aims to highlight the risk of accidental drowning when people are near the coastline by encouraging safer behaviour both in and around the water.

The campaign is primarily aimed at males aged between 16 and 39 but the same advice is relevant for anyone visiting the coast.

The RNLI is warning of the key dangers that can lead to accidental drowning - cold water, unexpected entry into the water, and rip currents and waves.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Fethard RNLI launched this morning to a 21-foot fishing vessel with a fouled propeller one mile from Baginbun Head.

There was one fisherman on board the boat. While the lobster pots were being recovered onto the vessel a rope became tangled in the propeller and prevented the vessel from moving, leaving it stranded.

The lifeboat launched from Fethard dock in good weather with a northerly wind gusting 3/4 knots. Fethard lifeboat was on scene with the fishing vessel at 11.05am.

The volunteer lifeboat crew were able to release the rope and the fishing vessel came back to Fethard Dock under its own steam.

Speaking following the call out, Walter Foley, Fethard RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager said: ‘The fisherman did exactly the right thing calling for the assistance of the RNLI. Weather conditions were good and allowed the volunteer crew to swiftly release the rope from the propeller allowing the fishing vessel to return under its own steam.’

Fethard RNLI volunteer lifeboat crew on the callout were Helm Thomas Stafford and Nicoletta Parrell, Dean Foley, Damian McGarry. The launch vehicle driver was Eileen Murphy.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Crosshaven RNLI lifeboat launched at 10.53pm last night to a small yacht aground at White Bay on the East side of Cork Harbour.

At the scene, the crew found one person in the water attempting to hold the yacht off the beach in the swell and another person on the beach.

One RNLI crewman swam ashore to assess the situation and attach a towline to the yacht. As the casualties were cold and wet, they were handed into the care of Guileen Coast Guard unit for transportation, while the lifeboat brought the vessel to Crosshaven.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Five RNLI lifeboats were launched last night from Larne and Red Bay in Northern Ireland and Portpatrick in Scotland to take part in an extensive search for a missing microlight aircraft. The craft is understood to have two people onboard when it was reported missing off the Northern Ireland coastline.

The launch was requested by the coastguard when the aircraft was reported overdue at 8.30pm and a major search operation was put in place.

Joining the five RNLI lifeboats in the major search were the Irish Coast Guard Helicopter Rescue 116 along with a rescue helicopter from Prestwick and local coastguard teams.

Search conditions were described as extremely challenging as visibility was poor due to thick fog. Larne RNLI launched their all-weather lifeboat and D class lifeboat, Red Bay RNLI launched their Atlantic 85 and all-weather lifeboat along with the all-weather lifeboat from Portpatrick. The lifeboats between them searched a huge area off the Northern Ireland coastline before standing down the search after 4am. It is expected that the search will resume again this morning; however weather conditions remain poor with heavy fog still present.

UK Coasguard adds

At about 8.30pm yesterday (Thursday 9 June) Distress and Diversion (based at Swanwick) notified the UK Coastguard that a small microlight aircraft with two persons on board had been reported overdue.

The microlight was transiting the Northern Ireland coastline when it went missing and an extensive search is being carried out in the area.

Last night and in the early hours of this morning, the UK Coastguard search and rescue helicopter based at Prestwick, the Irish Coastguard helicopter based at Dublin, Ballycastle, Coleraine, Stranraer, Portpatrick, Larne and Campbelltown Coastguard Rescue Teams, Larne RNLI inshore and all weather lifeboats, Red Bay inshore and all weather lifeboats and Portpatrick RNLI all weather lifeboats, were all involved in the search.

The search was suspended due to poor visibility as a result of fog at 3.00am today (Friday 10 June). The teams and rescue units are waiting for the visibility to improve before they resume the search.

The Northern Ireland North West Mountain Rescue Team will also be joining the search today.

Ryan Gray, Senior Maritime Operations Officer at the UK Coastguard said: ‘UK Coastguard has also issued a Mayday relay broadcast in the area and several merchant shipping vessels have responded and are keeping a lookout for this aircraft. We may send further resources as the search widens.’

The Northern Ireland Police and Police Scotland have also been informed.

A further update will be provided when the search resumes.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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The Courtmacsherry RNLI All Weather Lifeboat was called out at 9.05 pm tonight to go to the aid of a 35–ft French yacht that got into difficulty one mile off the Old Head of Kinsale in West Cork.

The Courtmacsherry Lifeboat under Coxswain Sean O'Farrell and a crew of six launched immediately and reached the vessel at 9.26pm and succeeded in quickly getting a tow rope on board, which had lost power and was drifting. With a crew of three on board, the yacht was taken immediately under tow by the lifeboat and arrived back safely to Courtmacsherry pier at 10.35pm.

The yacht was under passage from France when they encountered difficulties just off the Old Head of Kinsale and sent out a Mayday distress call.

Courtmacsherry RNLI Voluntary Lifeboat Operations Manager Brian O Dwyer said " the quick response of the Crew tonight, with some in the Lifeboat House attending a Crew and Fundraising meeting to organise the Stations Open Day on Sun June 26th, was testament to their commitment to lifesaving and it was great to have the casualty in the safe surround of Courtmacsherry Pier pontoon just over 90 minutes from receiving the Callout from Valentia Coastguard".

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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