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Displaying items by tag: RNLI

Skerries RNLI rescued two stand-up paddle boarders after strong currents and Force 6 offshore winds prevented them from making their way back to shore.

Shortly before 2.30pm yesterday afternoon (Sunday 28 March), a retired Skerries RNLI volunteer noticed a man and woman struggling to make their way ashore on their paddle boards near Red Island in Skerries.

He alerted the lifeboat operations manager and following a brief discussion it was decided that the pair were not making any progress.

Dublin Coast Guard were contacted and the decision was taken to page the volunteer crew and launch the Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat Louis Simson.

The crew rounded the headland at Red Island and arrived on scene in a matter of minutes, funding the man and woman both extremely tired from fighting against the wind and tide.

They were taken on board the lifeboat along with their paddle boards. A first-aid assessment was carried out but aside from being exhausted they did not require any further medical assistance, and the pair were returned safely to the beach at the lifeboat station.

Speaking about the callout, volunteer lifeboat press officer Gerry Canning said: “It doesn’t matter how good your equipment is, or how prepared you are, things can still go wrong at sea.

“We would remind anyone going to sea to carry a means of contacting the shore for help, even if you do not intend to go far. Something as simple as a phone in a waterproof pouch can make all the difference.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Newcastle RNLI volunteer crew launched the inshore D class lifeboat 'Eliza' at the request of Belfast Coastguard to assist three kayakers who were in difficulties in Dundrum Inner Bay yesterday morning. The bay lies on the south County Down coast about 6km east of Newcastle.

The Inner Bay is almost landlocked and separated by the dune systems of Ballykinler to the north and Murlough to the south.

The kayakers, a mother, her daughter, and a friend, had launched their kayaks at the slipway opposite Dundrum chapel in the Main Street, on a falling tide and paddled towards the channel between Murlough Nature Reserve and Ballykinler Army Camp.

Dundrum Inner Bay is almost landlocked and separated by the dune systems of Ballykinler to the north and Murlough to the south.Dundrum Inner Bay is almost landlocked and separated by the dune systems of Ballykinler to the north and Murlough to the south

With the tide surging out of the Inner Bay and towards the open sea, the three kayaks were swept towards the bar mouth. Conditions were rough at the time and the group were hailed on a tannoy by Range Controllers who saw them from the nearby army camp and who advised them to turn around. With the three kayakers caught in the grip of the tide, one of them managed to call Belfast Coastguard who immediately tasked Newcastle RNLI inshore lifeboat and Newcastle Coastguard team to the scene.

Newcastle RNLI Coxswain, Niall McMurray, said, "Thankfully when we arrived on scene one of the kayakers had managed to make shore on the Murlough side of the channel while the other two had made shore on the Ballykinler side".

Two of the kayakers had capsized and spent some time in the water before making it ashore. The Range Controllers took care of the two people in Ballykinler while the Coastguards from Newcastle picked up the third on Murlough beach and took her to the army camp to be reunited with her group.

"We retrieved the kayaks from the water and returned to station" said Niall McMurray.

"All three kayakers were well equipped with lifejackets, radios and mobile phones but unfortunately got caught out by the strength of a surging tide which swept them towards the bar mouth which was rough because of the south wind".

The RNLI would advise all kayakers to always carry a means of calling for help and have it stored in an easy to reach location in case of emergency. Also, consider taking a mobile phone with the SafeTrx app.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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The all-weather relief fleet lifeboat RNLB Joanna and Henry Williams put to sea shortly after 1:30 pm this afternoon (Wednesday 24 March) under the command of Coxswain Nick Keogh and a volunteer crew, following a launch request from the Coast Guard.

The alarm was raised after the skipper of a 10-metre fishing vessel contacted the Coast Guard to say his vessel was caught up in ropes and unable to steer.

The lifeboat crew located the stricken vessel with two crew about four miles south-east of Wicklow harbour twenty minutes after launching. Conditions on scene were moderate sea with wind south-westerly force 5 and good visibility.

Speaking after the callout, Coxswain Nick Keogh said: ‘The crew made repeated attempts to cut the rope free from the jammed rudder, but it was decided the best option was to tow the fishing vessel back into Wicklow harbour.’

A towline was quickly established, and the fishing vessel with two crew was brought safely alongside the East pier at 2:45 pm.

The crew on the callout were Coxswain Nick Keogh, Mechanic Brendan Copeland, Lisa O’ Leary, Carol Flahive, Graham Fitzgerald and Peter Byrne.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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One of the RNLI’s busiest lifeboat stations has urged the public to be water safety aware as they anticipate the increased demand for their services to continue. Lifeboat crew at Dun Laoghaire Harbour RNLI have seen their launch requests significantly increase over the last twelve months as a number of factors have worked to raise demand on local lifeboat volunteers. The station, which operates two lifeboats out of the Dublin harbour has urged the public to be aware of the common causes for lifeboat callouts and to make sure they have the proper water safety advice to stay safe on or near the water.

Dun Laoghaire RNLI lifeboat crew responded to launch requests more than 100 times in 2020, an increase of over a hundred per cent on 2019 and brought 101 people to safety. The increase is attributed in part to Covid related changes in peoples use of the sea and the surge in Stay-cations.

The introduction of the new cycle path and changes to local traffic systems under the Coastal Mobility Intervention have also impacted on volunteer crews’ response times. Lifeboat crews are paged by the Coast Guard and must make their way to the station through the busy town of Dun Laoghaire to launch the lifeboats and answer the call for help. Crew can have limited information before they launch and treat every callout as an emergency. The public can help by being water safety aware.

Common causes for Dun Laoghaire’s lifeboat launches in 2020 were to swimmers in trouble, people cut off by the tide on Sandymount and boaters in difficulty. The Station hopes that if people are aware of the issues and what to do if they get into trouble before they engage in their chosen activity, then lives will be saved.

Stephen Wynne, Dun Laoghaire RNLI Lifeboat Operations ManagerStephen Wynne, Dun Laoghaire RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager Photo: via Twitter

If going on a coastal walk check the tide times and always dial 999 or 112 and ask for the Coast Guard if you see someone in trouble on or near the water. For boaters always carry a means of calling for help and wear a lifejacket.

Advice for sea swimmers

  • Always check the weather forecast and tides.
  • Never swim alone and if possible, have somebody ashore who is familiar with your plans and can observe your progress.
  • Only swim in sheltered areas and swim parallel to the shore.
  • Be visible. Wear a brightly coloured swim cap or use a tow float to increase your visibility in the water.
  • Acclimatise to cold water slowly to reduce the risk of cold-water shock.
  • If in doubt, don’t go out!

Stephen Wynne, Dun Laoghaire RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager added, ‘There are always challenges for lifeboat crews when responding to emergencies and our lifeboat crew have been meeting those challenges for almost two centuries. Covid has certainly seen an increase in numbers of people visiting the coast and taking up new interests including water sports. Our lifeboat volunteers have also had to deal with the effects of a new traffic scheme in the area to facilitate the works carried out under the Coastal Mobility Intervention which has added time to their journey to the station, particularly at busy times during the day.’

‘We would like to remind the public of simple and effective safety advice which could save their life. Our lifeboat crews will always respond to calls for help but as we know, seconds count in a search and rescue scenario. We are extremely grateful to the general public for their continued support and we hope the busy summer months ahead will be safe and enjoyable for water users.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

The RNLI has been working with partners behind the scenes through the challenges of lockdown to recruit, train and prepare their lifeguards for what is expected to be another busy summer on Northern Ireland’s beaches.

The charity will deliver their usual lifeguard service across the Causeway Coast and in County Down this year, in its standard phased approach. Five beaches on the Causeway Coast will go on service for the Easter period, with a daily patrol from Good Friday, 2 April to Sunday, 11 April. RNLI lifeguards will then start a weekend service on the same beaches along with Tyrella in county Down from Saturday 1 May, prior to the full-time daily season starting on all 11 beaches on Saturday 26 June.

In 2020, RNLI lifeguards in Northern Ireland responded to 225 incidents and came to the aid of 285 people, six of whom were lives saved.

Lifeguards responded to a range of incidents and performed various actions including water rescues, casualty care and minor first aid as well as helping to reunite missing children with their families.

During last year’s season, there were approximately 358,412 visitors to RNLI lifeguarded beaches. In addition to rescues, lifeguards carried out thousands of preventative actions to keep visitors safe. This work included providing safety advice to people on weather and sea conditions as well as conducting timely interventions to ensure visitors were on the safest area of the beach and in the correct flag zone for their specific activity.

Speaking ahead of the Easter period which will see a daily patrol from 11am to 7pm on Benone, Portstewart, Portrush East, Portrush West and Whiterocks until Sunday, 11 April, Karl O’Neill, RNLI Lead Lifeguard Supervisor, said:

‘RNLI lifeguards are at the forefront of the charity’s lifesaving work, offering preventative safety advice to visitors and rescuing those in difficulty in the water. Not only do they receive the best training but the best equipment too, so they are able to deal with any emergency situation as professional first responders.

‘Each year the RNLI works in partnership with our local authorities and landowners to set up and roll out the lifeguard service, which is complex in normal times even without the challenges of doing so during a pandemic. However, we have been here before, and with the added benefit of being able to plan ahead, we have developed contingencies should things change.

‘The protocols and measures introduced last year because of coronavirus will continue. We are working with local authorities and landowners, who ask us to provide a lifeguard service on their beaches, to make sure the environment for lifeguards to return to is safe. We will continue to monitor the risk to our people and the public in relation to the pandemic.’

The daily full-time seasonal service will be extended to Downhill, Castlerock and Ballycastle on the Causeway Coast and to Murlough and Cranfield in county Down from Saturday 26 June.

The RNLI is encouraging the public to follow government advice on social distancing, travel and contact with others when visiting the beach to keep themselves and lifeguards safe.

Michael Thompson, RNLI Area Lifesaving Manager, said: ‘RNLI lifeguards play a vital role in keeping beach visitors safe, but they can’t be everywhere, so will be supported by the charity’s 24/7 lifeboat service and water safety work. This comprehensive water safety education programme involves working with partners, local communities and the public to help everyone enjoy a safe visit to the coast.

‘Coastal areas provide a great opportunity to enjoy fresh air and open space but it is important to remember it can be an unpredictable and dangerous environment, particularly during spring and early summer when air temperatures are warm but water temperatures remain dangerously cold, increasing the risk of cold water shock. We’d therefore remind anyone entering the water to take extra care and avoid unnecessary risks as early season conditions are more challenging.

‘Whatever your chosen activity though, basic precautions can greatly reduce the risk of getting into difficulty, and also improve your chance of being found quickly should you need rescuing. For activities like kayaking and paddleboarding we’d recommend you carry a means of calling for help on you, such as a mobile phone in a waterproof pouch, and ensure you are wearing the right kit. A wetsuit will keep you warm and help you float in an emergency but wearing an appropriate buoyancy aid or lifejacket is still vital. For open water swimmers and dippers, please also remember to acclimatise slowly and be visible with a bright hat.’

The RNLI is urging anyone choosing to visit the coast to make sure they keep themselves and their families safe by following beach safety advice along with the government’s advice on travel and social distancing:

Beach safety advice

  • Visit a lifeguarded beach and swim between the red and yellow flags
  • Check the weather forecast, tide times and read local hazard signage to understand local risks
  • If you fall into the water unexpectedly, FLOAT TO LIVE. Fight your instinct to thrash around, lean back, extend your arms and legs, and Float.
  • In an emergency dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard.

You can keep up to date with relevant water safety advice on social media by searching #RespectTheWater so that you can have an enjoyable and safe time at the coast.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Aran Islands RNLI’s volunteer crew were asked to launch their all-weather lifeboat from Inis Mór last night (Sunday 21 March) for a local man on the neighbouring island of Inis Meáin who sustained a facial injury and was in need of further medical attention.

The lifeboat launched under coxswain John O'Donnell and a full crew and headed straight for Inis Meáin. Conditions at the time of launching were good, with calm seas, a slight breeze and clear visibility.

Once at the pier in Inis Meáin, the patient was transferred safely aboard the lifeboat by the volunteer crew.

Following all strict Covid-19 health and safety guidelines, the lifeboat then processed straight for Rossaveal Harbour on the mainland and the waiting ambulance.

Speaking after the callout, O’Donnell said: “There was a quick response time by the volunteer crew to get the patient to the medical attention needed. The crew never hesitate to answer their pagers when they go off.

“We would like to wish the patient a speedy recovery.”

The callout came just days after the lifeboat crew were tasked with a double medevac amid poor visibility last Monday, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Dun Laoghaire Harbour RNLI’s volunteer crew launched both lifeboats this weekend to assist seven people in two separate incidents

Dun Laoghaire RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat was launched this afternoon (Sunday 21 March) following a request from the Irish coast guard at 4.10 pm, to assist five people on board a motorboat that had reported engine failure and was adrift close to the shore in Killiney Bay

The lifeboat was launched under Coxswain Adam O’Sullivan with five crew members on board and made its way to the scene on arrival at 4:35 pm the crew could see the vessel was drifting towards Killiney Beach, and quickly assessing the situation the crew decided to take the vessel in tow, they then proceeded to bring the vessel back to Dun Laoghaire Marina.

Also yesterday (Saturday 20 March) the station's inshore lifeboat was launched at 2:34pm under Helm Alan Keville and two crew to an incident just south of Sorento Point in Dalkey where two people on board a rigid inflatable boat had reported to the Irish Coast Guard that they also had suffered engine issues onboard, the lifeboat’s volunteer crew took the vessel in tow and returned it to Dun Laoghaire Marina.

Dun Laoghaire RNLI's All-Weather Lifeboat assisting vessel in Killiney BayDun Laoghaire RNLI's All-Weather Lifeboat assisting a small speedboat in Killiney Bay

All onboard the stricken vessels were wearing lifejackets with no medical attention required.

The Weather conditions at the time of both incidents were described as good with a light wind and good visibility.

Speaking following the call out, Adam O’Sullivan, Dun Laoghaire RNLI lifeboat Coxswain today said: ‘The people on board the vessel took the correct steps by calling for help once they knew they were having issues onboard it is also always great to see everyone wearing their lifejackets. I would like to take this opportunity to remind everybody to make sure that their vessels are checked and in working order before taking to the water. At this time of year, these checks are of great importance with vessel engines and safety equipment having not being used over the winter months.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

The volunteer crew at Newcastle RNLI in Co Down returned to sea recently after normal training exercises had to be curtailed due to Covid-19.

While the station has remained fully operational throughout the pandemic and volunteers have remained on call 24/7, training has been limited for Northern Ireland’s RNLI crews.

The crew took their first training session in daylight hours in Dundrum Bay while the second exercise was at night. The volunteers all wore the necessary COVID-19 PPE as well as their usual seagoing suits and lifejackets during the training.

The Mersey class all-weather lifeboat Eleanor and Bryant Girling was given a timely workout on both occasions, which provided an opportunity for the crew members to put their training and lifesaving skills into practice.

Speaking following the exercises, Newcastle RNLI coxswain Nathan Leneghan said: “Maintaining our lifesaving service while keeping our people safe continues to be the RNLI’s main priority.

Newcastle RNLI volunteers on their recent night-time exercise

“Exercises form an important part of our work, allowing our lifeboat crews to maintain their skills and ensure they are always prepared for what they face out at sea.

“In the daylight exercise, we went on a local area knowledge exercise and mechanical shakedown to trial all the systems, ensuring they are ready when required. It was a glorious morning and a great opportunity to return to exercise.”

Newcastle RNLI’s second coxswain Niall McMurray added: “During the night-time exercise, the crew covered some mechanical engine tests after which we went on to focus on emergency procedures.

“We ran through all the alarms on the lifeboat to reacquaint ourselves with the different sounds and how to react if they were activated in a real-life situation. We practised a fire drill and how to deal with a fire in each area of the lifeboat.

“We then went on to test our flares which are primarily used to light up an area at night before concluding the evening learning how to rig and operate the emergency steering.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Aran Islands RNLI was tasked for a medevac from Inis Mór as a scheduled patient transfer by air was cancelled due to poor visibility yesterday morning, Monday 15 March.

Due to poor visibility, a scheduled patient transfer by air was unable to go ahead. The crew were requested to transfer the patient to Rossaveal.

Following all strict Covid-19 health and safety guidelines, the patient was transferred safely aboard the lifeboat to Rossaveal by both the RNLI crew, under John O'Donnell, and the Inis Mór Fire Service.

Having just launched on the return leg, the lifeboat was called back to Inis Mór as another patient on the island needed further medical attention.

The second patient was safely transferred aboard the lifeboat by the volunteer crew at the pontoon on Inis Mór, and the lifeboat then headed straight for Rossaveal Harbour and the waiting ambulance.

Speaking after the callout, Aran Islands RNLI coxswain John O'Donnell said: “The volunteer crew responded quickly and two patients are safely on their way to further medical attention — we would like to wish them both a speedy recovery.

“Poor visibility can be very dangerous on the water. Should you get into difficulty or see someone else in trouble, call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

File image of Fenit RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat (Photo: RNLI/Fenit)File image of Fenit RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat | Photo: RNLI/Fenit

Elsewhere, Fenit RNLI’s volunteer crew responded to a report of concern for a windsurfer in the Maharees Islands area early on Sunday evening, 14 March.

The all-weather lifeboat launched with a full crew on board and headed to the location near Castlegregory, on the north side of the Dingle Peninsula.

The Irish Coast Guard’s Shannon-based helicopter Rescue 115 also attended the scene in a search co-ordinated by Valentia Coast Guard.

A search of the given location was under way when word was received that the windsurfer had safely made his way ashore.

Speaking following the callout, Fenit RNLI coxswain Finbarr O’Connell said: “Fenit RNLI are delighted with a safe and positive outcome for all concerned. As always this is an opportunity to remind all users of the sea to be as prepared as possible when going to sea.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Red Bay and Larne RNLI came to the aid of 17 fisherman last night (Thursday 11 March) after their 35m Spanish trawler got into difficulty 11 miles east of Cushendall.

The volunteer crews at both stations were requested to launch their all-weather lifeboats just before 7.30pm following a report from Belfast Coastguard that the trawler had lost all power and was drifting into a shipping lane.

Weather conditions at the time were challenging with Storm Force 10 gusts of up to 54 knots and high seas recorded during the course of the call out.

Red Bay RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat under Coxswain Paddy McLaughlin and with five crew onboard, was on scene first to assess the situation. Larne RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat meanwhile, under Coxswain Frank Healy and with four crew members onboard, was diverted from a training exercise and made its way to the scene.

Weather conditions at the time were challenging with Storm Force 10 gusts of up to 54 knots and high seasWeather conditions at the time were challenging with Storm Force 10 gusts of up to 54 knots and high seas

Red Bay RNLI began to work with the crew of the trawler to establish a towline while the all-weather lifeboat from Larne illuminated the scene in what were dark, wet and windy conditions.

The lifeboat started a slow tow to bring the vessel back to Red Bay but the extreme weather forced the tow to part mid-way.

Larne RNLI established a second tow and brought the trawler the remainder of the way into Red Bay where it was secured at 11 pm.

Both lifeboats were requested to launch once again this morning after the trawler began to drag its anchor out of Waterfoot. In much better conditions and daylight, Red Bay RNLI safely towed the vessel into the shelter of Red Bay.

Speaking following the call out, Larne RNLI Coxswain Frank Healy said: ‘Weather conditions on scene last night were extremely challenging for all involved and I would like to commend our volunteers both here and in Red Bay for their teamwork over the three and half hours as they worked in darkness amid Force 10 winds gusting up to 54 knots and high seas. Our volunteers are highly skilled and trained for all eventualities at sea and that was certainly put to the test last night but we were delighted to help and bring the fishermen to safety.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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