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Displaying items by tag: Lifeboats

Howth RNLI’s volunteer crew launched both their all-weather and inshore lifeboats to two separate incidents on Sunday (7 August).

The larger lifeboat was launched shortly after 3pm to reports of a motorboat with three people on board which had suffered engine failure two miles north of Ireland’s Eye, the uninhabited island off the coast of Howth.

The lifeboat, under the command of second coxswain Ian Sheridan, located the broken-down vessel within 15 minutes of launching.

Once it was established that all on board were well, the crew passed a tow line from the lifeboat and the boat was towed back to Howth Harbour. Weather conditions were good with light southerly winds.

A few hours later, at 7.15pm a call came in from a concerned sailor regarding an inflatable dinghy in Howth Sound with three people on board who were attempting to row back to Burrow Beach.

Due to the southerly winds, the inflatable was being blown offshore.

The volunteer lifeboat crew were paged and the smaller inshore lifeboat was launched shortly after. The lifeboat RIB reached the inflatable in minutes, and it was observed that none of the three on board were wearing lifejackets.

The lifeboat crew took the three individuals onto the lifeboat and returned them to the safety of Howth Harbour.

Speaking following the incident, Howth RNLI inshore lifeboat helm Ian Martin said: “Although the conditions for heading out on the water were good today, things can change very quickly and with inflatables like these, even the slightest wind can take them out to sea. That is why inflatables are not suitable for Irish waters.

“It’s also really important that anyone going out on the water wears a lifejacket that is suitable for the activity they are doing and that it is in good working order and fits well.

“With the good weather forecast for the coming week, we expect a lot of people will be spending time on or near the water. If you do get into trouble, remember to Float to Live: Lean back, using your arms and legs to stay afloat. Control your breathing, then call for help or swim to safety. In a coastal emergency call 999 or 112 for the coastguard.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Portaferry RNLI in Northern Ireland was requested to launch by Belfast Coastguard to reports of a fishing boat aground at St John’s Point early on Friday morning (5 August).

The volunteer crew’s pagers sounded at 6.24am and they made their way to St John’s point at Ardglass, where they arrived just before 7am and were joined by Newcastle RNLI with their all-weather and inshore lifeboats.

They found the 16m fishing boat, with a crew of four, was aground on a rocky coastline off St John’s Point.

Portaferry’s inshore lifeboat crew checked the fishing boat for damage before taking the four male adults onboard the lifeboat and bringing them to safety at Ardglass Marina.

Once on land, the casualties were transferred into the care of Newcastle Coastguard Rescue Team.

Commenting on the callout, Portaferry RNLI helm Chris Adair said: “This was an early morning callout for our crew and thankfully it had a successful outcome.

“We also wish to express our thanks to our colleagues in Newcastle RNLI who launched both their lifeboats and travelled to the scene. We were grateful to have them there.

“With conditions fair, the four casualties were brought to safety quickly and we wish them well.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Red Bay RNLI has rescued three people this afternoon (Wednesday 3 August) after their inflatable dinghies were swept out to sea off Cushendall on Northern Ireland’s East Antrim coast.

The volunteer crew were requested to launch both their all-weather and inshore lifeboats at 2.22pm by Belfast Coastguard after the group raised the alarm that their three inflatable dinghies had become swamped with water.

Weather conditions at the time were good with calm seas but there was a Force 4 offshore wind blowing.

The all-weather lifeboat launched under coxswain Paddy McLaughlin with four crew at 2.28pm along with the inshore lifeboat helmed by Gary Fyfe with three crew members onboard.

With the exact location unknown, the lifeboats started an immediate search of the area with the inshore lifeboat crew locating the three casualties on the swamped inflatables two miles east of Cushendall.

The three inflatable dinghies recovered by Red Bay lifeboat volunteers | Credit: RNLI/Red BayThe three inflatable dinghies recovered by Red Bay lifeboat volunteers | Credit: RNLI/Red Bay

The casualties were wet, cold and shaken from their experience. The crew worked to safely transfer them onto the all-weather lifeboat where they were then brought ashore.

Speaking following the callout, Fyfe said: “Time was of the essence this afternoon and thankfully the group had a means of communication to raise the alarm when they knew they were in difficulty. This meant we could get locate and rescue them quickly before they were in any greater danger.

“We know inflatables can be fun, but we would encourage people to remember that they are designed for pools and not the beach where they can be easily swept out to sea particularly in offshore winds like today.

“If you do bring an inflatable to the beach, make sure you choose a lifeguard beach and use it close to the shore and between the red and yellow flags. Make sure children are supervised and never use an inflatable in big waves or when the orange windsock is flying.

“If you do get into trouble or see someone else in difficulty, dial 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

Today’s incident off Cushendall happened just 24 hours after a teenager was rescued from an inflatable unicorn blown out to sea at Strangford Lough, as reported earlier on Afloat.ie.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Portaferry RNLI in Northern Ireland rescued a teenager after he drifted more than half a mile out to sea on an inflatable unicorn on Tuesday afternoon (2 August).

The volunteer crew launched the inshore lifeboat promptly at 3.45pm and made their way to Kilard Point in Strangford Lough where concerned members of the public had raised the alarm with Belfast Coastguard, the RNLI says.

The lifeboat crew located the casualty at Angus Rock within Strangford Lough and they immediately set about bringing the teenager onboard the lifeboat to checking him over for any injuries. The casualty was found to be safe and well.

The crew then proceeded back to Kilcief beach and transferred the casualty into the care of his family and the coastguard.

Commenting on the callout, Portaferry RNLI helm Ian Sands said: “We were glad to rescue the casualty this afternoon and bring him to safety. The casualty did the right thing by staying with the inflatable until help arrived.

“It is important to note that while inflatables can be fun, they are not designed for the beach where they can be easily be blown offshore.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Aran Islands RNLI’s volunteer crew responded to two medical emergencies on a busy Bank Holiday Monday (1 August).

The first call came at 3.42am when the crew on Inis Mór were requested to launch by the Irish Coast Guard to go the aid of a man on the neighbouring island of Inis Meáin who was in need of further medical attention.

Under coxswain John O’Donnell, the all-weather lifeboat launched and headed straight for Inis Meáin where the patient was safely transferred aboard the lifeboat and brought to the mainland at Ros an Mhíl. Conditions at the time of launching were good with calm seas and good visibility.

The next call was at 10.39pm on Monday night when a patient on Inis Mór was in need of further medical attention.

With the patient transferred safely aboard the lifeboat at the pontoon at Kilronan Harbour, the lifeboat launched under O’Donnell and a full crew for the mainland and transfer to a waiting ambulance.

Conditions at sea this time were challenging, with poor visibility and a Force 5 southwesterly wind blowing.

Speaking after the callout, O’Donnell said: “It has been a busy weekend for our volunteers and they didn’t hesitate to respond to their pagers. We would like to wish both patients a speedy recovery.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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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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In the first of two callouts in quick succession on Saturday evening (30 July), Newcastle RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat was called to assist a broken-down boat at Gunns Island.

The volunteer crew answered their pagers at 5.57pm and launched the lifeboat in smooth seas but with poor visibility, mist and a Force 1-2 wind.

Before arriving on scene at Gunns Island northeast of the Co Down lifeboat station on Northern Ireland’s east coast, it emerged the Portaferry Coastguard Rescue Team had already assisted the crew of the boat and got them ashore. Arrangements were made to have the boat recovered later.

Then at 6.56pm the lifeboat was diverted to a second call to reports of a vessel in distress between Killyleagh and Whiterock in Strangford Lough to the north.

The crew attended the area and conducted a thorough search but nothing was found. Portaferry Coastguard Rescue Team carried out their own shore search and again nothing was found.

The volunteer crew were stood down at 8.50pm and returned to Newcastle Lifeboat Station, where the lifeboat was made ready for the next callout, at 11pm.

Shane Rice, RNLI coxswain for Newcastle RNLI said: “Thankfully both these callouts ended well. The persons who raised the alarm did exactly the right thing by dialling 999 and asking for the coastguard.”

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Rosslare Harbour RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat responded on Saturday morning (30 July) to a local fisherman who reported his vessel was rapidly taking on water.

The volunteer crew launched at 9.40am and headed to the scene 10 miles north of Rosslare Europort, where they passed over a salvage pump to help remove the water from the fishing boat.

However, with the water at waist height, the crew of the casualty vessel were concerned and close to abandoning ship.

The lifeboat coxswain Eammon O’Rourke ordered the Y boat to be deployed for the crew of the fishing vessel, but eventually the salvage pump made better progress in emptying the water from inside the hull.

After several hours, all the water was pumped out and the casualty vessel was stabilised. The vessel was then towed back to the safety of Rosslare Europort.

Commenting later, O’Rourke said: “This was an excellent service where the power and speed of the Severn lifeboat combined with our well-trained volunteer crew undoubtedly saved the fishing boat crew and their vessel.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Ahead of the August Bank Holiday weekend, the Irish Coast Guard, RNLI, Water Safety Ireland and Met Éireann are appealing for people to take care when they are on or near the water.

With many people continuing to enjoy the summer holidays or planning a break this weekend, the organisations are asking people to be particularly mindful to check weather forecasts and tide times before venturing out and if planning on entering the sea to know how to spot and safely handle a rip current.

If planning other activities such as paddleboarding, the request is to always go prepared so the water can be enjoyed safely.

Evelyn Cusack, head of forecasting in Met Éireann says: “While there will be some warm sunny spells, the weather will be mixed this weekend. For a detailed forecast for 10-days ahead for over 1,000 locations around Ireland including the beaches, lakes and mountains, go to met.ie.”

If heading out on the water or visiting the coast:

  • Always check the weather and tide times.
  • Carry a reliable means of raising the alarm such as a VHF radio or personal locator beacon (PLB) and a mobile phone in a waterproof pouch as back-up.
  • Tell someone where you are going and what time you are due back.
  • If going afloat, wear a lifejacket or suitable personal flotation device for your activity.
  • Never ever swim alone. Only swim in areas that are supervised by lifeguards or in areas with which you are familiar.
  • Should you get into difficulty or see someone else in trouble, dial 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.

Kevin Rahill, RNLI water safety lead said: “This weekend will see spring tides so we would encourage anyone planning a walk or activity near the coast to check tide times before venturing out to avoid becoming cut off.

“The RNLI is also urging everyone to remember to ‘Float to Live’ if they do get into trouble in the water this weekend. To do this: Lean back, using your arms and legs to stay afloat. Control your breathing, then call for help or swim to safety. In a coastal emergency, call 999 or 112 for the coastguard.”

Irish Coast Guard operations manager Micheál O’Toole said: “We wish to thank the public for their cooperation and support and for the responsible approach displayed when participating in any water based or coastal activity.

“We would also advise people to avoid bringing inflatable toys to the beach, rivers or lake side as users can easily get swept away from the shore.”

Water Safety Ireland’s acting chief executive Roger Sweeney said: “Swimmers should watch out for rip currents which are one of the most dangerous natural hazards at Irish beaches.

“The strong channel of water running from a beach back to sea can be difficult to spot so the best way to avoid them is to swim at lifeguarded beaches between the red and yellow flags. If caught in one, don’t exhaust yourself trying to swim against it. Swim parallel to the beach until free of the narrow current and then head for shore.”

Published in Water Safety

Three people were brought to safety by Ballycotton RNLI after their pleasure boat suffered engine failure 17 nautical miles south of Helvick Head on Wednesday evening (27 July).

Ballycotton’s all-weather lifeboat Austin Lidbury was requested to launch by Valentia Coast Guard at 6.50pm when the 16.5ft fishing boat reported engine failure.

Weather conditions were calm and once on scene, the lifeboat crew assessed the situation. Alan Cott, a volunteer crew member, boarded the small boat and was able to get the engine started again.

Ballycotton RNLI lifeboat crew made the decision to then escort the boat to the safety of Helvick Harbour before returning to Ballycotton at 10.30pm.

Commenting after the callout, Cott said: “Thankfully conditions were very good and all three people were wearing lifejackets and had called for help as soon as they encountered engine difficulties.

“We would advise people to take the correct water safety advice for the activity they are taking part in and to always make sure they have a means of raising the alarm if things go wrong.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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