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Three fishermen were rescued by the Wicklow RNLI on Thursday afternoon, February 22. The fishermen were brought to safety after their vessel developed mechanical problems three miles southeast of Wicklow Head. 

The lifeboat, RNLB Bridie O’Shea, was dispatched from the South Quay at 2:50 pm under the command of Coxswain Nick Keogh. The crew was alongside the casualty vessel within ten minutes. The fishermen had deployed their anchor after losing propulsion while fishing for whelk and contacted the Coast Guard for assistance.

The rescue operation took place in moderate sea conditions, with good visibility and a south-easterly wind force four. 

Coxswain Nick Keogh stated, ‘We carried out an assessment on the 12-metre fishing vessel and found that a rope was fouled in one of the propellers, so we established a tow and brought it back to Wicklow port.’

The fishing vessel arrived at the South Quay just before 4:20 pm, where the three crew members were safely landed ashore.

The RNLI reminds everyone to always check their engine and fuel, wear a lifejacket or buoyancy aid, and carry a means of calling for help when going afloat. If you see someone in difficulty on or near the water, dial 999 and ask for the Coast Guard.

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Three days after the rescue of three fishermen last Saturday afternoon, Wicklow RNLI launched lunchtime on Tuesday (13 February) to assist three more fishermen after their vessel experienced mechanical problems.

Under the command of coxswain Ciaran Doyle, the all-weather lifeboat Bridie O’Shea slipped its moorings from the south quay shortly before 9am and proceeded north to the casualty vessel’s last reported position.

The 11-metre fishing vessel was located at 9.35am drifting some eight miles off Bray Harbour, with three fishermen onboard were found to be safe and well.

Their fishing boat was found to have suffered engine failure and was unable to return to port under its own power, so the decision was made to tow the vessel to safety.

A towline was quickly established, and the lifeboat began to tow the stricken vessel back to Wicklow harbour, where it was secured alongside the south quay at 12.40pm and the fishermen were landed safely ashore.

Weather conditions at the time were favourable with calm sea and good visibility.

Speaking after the call-out, lifeboat press officer Tommy Dover said: “The fishermen did the right thing this morning by calling the coastguard for assistance. Our volunteer crew were happy to help.”

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Three fishermen were rescued by the Wicklow RNLI on Saturday afternoon (10th February) after their 12-metre vessel developed mechanical problems off the Wicklow coast.

The Coast Guard requested the RNLI relief fleet all-weather Shannon lifeboat RNLB Bridie O’Shea at 12.50pm, and a volunteer crew led by Coxswain Tommy McAulay responded immediately. The skipper of the fishing vessel had reported that it was fouled in ropes and drifting south, prompting the rescue mission.

The Wicklow lifeboat reached the fishing vessel just ten minutes after launching. An assessment was carried out, and as the vessel had no propulsion due to the fouled propeller, the only option was to tow it back to Wicklow port.

The Wicklow RNLI crew after returning to port after the incident Photo: Tommy DoverThe Wicklow RNLI crew after returning to port after the incident Photo: Tommy Dover

Coxswain Tommy McAulay said, “We located the vessel about a half mile south of Wicklow Head, conditions in the area were lumpy, with a three-metre swell at times. The tow was slow at first due to the strong tidal flow at Wicklow Head, but we adjusted the course to take the boat further offshore where the tide was not as strong.”

The fishing vessel was secured alongside the South quay at 2.40pm, and the three fishermen were landed safely ashore. This was the first callout of 2024 for the Wicklow lifeboat volunteers, and it comes in the run-up to the RNLI’s 200th birthday on 4 March 2024.

The RNLI reminds everyone to check their engine and fuel before going afloat, 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 and ask for the Coast Guard

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Six Wicklow lifeboat volunteers have been honoured with meritorious awards from the RNLI Chief Executive, Mark Dowie, for their part in the rescue of three fishermen off the Wicklow coast earlier this year as Afloat reported here.

On Wednesday evening (1st November), Area Lifeboat Manager Lisa Hollingum presented the commendations to Coxswain Ciaran Doyle, Peter Byrne (Station Mechanic), Carol Flahive, Paul Sillery and Stephen Kenny. Ian Heffernan was unable to attend due to work commitments.

The call-out occurred on Saturday, 14 January 2023, when Wicklow all-weather lifeboat RNLB Joanna and Henry Williams slipped its moorings at the south quay at 11.30 am, following a Coast Guard launch request to investigate reports of a fishing vessel with engine failure off the Wicklow coast.

At 12:15 pm, the drifting fishing vessel with three crew was located west of the Codling Bank. Weather conditions at the time were sea state rough with a three-metre swell, wind was strong gusting north easterly force 7- 8 at times.

Coxswain Ciaran Doyle conducted an assessment of the vessel, which was found to have engine failure. As the vessel had no propulsion and unable to return to port under its own power and with the deteriorating weather, it was decided the best course of action was to tow the vessel back to Wicklow. A towline was established, and course was set for Wicklow Harbour at 12.45pm.

Speaking after the callout Coxswain Ciaran Doyle said “We located the fishing vessel drifting eighteen miles north-east of Wicklow harbour, conditions at the scene were challenging, but the crew worked well and had no difficulties preparing a towline. The tow home was slow due to the weather, and we had to adjust the towline on a couple of occasions to suit the conditions.”

The fishing vessel was brought alongside the east pier at Wicklow harbour at 5.30 pm and the three fishermen were landed safely ashore.

Speaking after the presentation, Lifeboat Press Officer, Tommy Dover said: “We are extremely proud of our lifeboat volunteers and the commitment they give to the local community. They demonstrated excellent teamwork and skilled boat handling during a challenging six-hour service in poor weather conditions. This recognition by RNLI Chief Executive Mark Dowie is deeply appreciated by Wicklow RNLI.”

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The Wicklow RNLI inshore lifeboat rescued two foil surfers who were in distress due to tidal conditions on Saturday afternoon (30 September), according to the Coast Guard's alert. The Inshore lifeboat was launched around 3:40 pm and quickly found the surfers at the entrance of Wicklow Harbour, who were struggling to get back ashore due to the changing tidal conditions. The sea state was slight, and there was a south-westerly wind force of 3/4 at the time. However, the weather was poor, with mist and rain hindering visibility.

The lifeboat crew safely rescued the surfers and their foil boards. One of the surfers had become exhausted while paddling against the falling tide and was thoroughly checked by the crew, but did not require medical attention. The lifeboat crew landed the two surfers safely ashore and returned to the station. It was the first official "Shout" for a trainee crew member, Deirdre Rizo, who performed commendably.

Tommy Dover, Wicklow's Lifeboat Press Officer, praised the trainee crew for their hard work and dedication throughout the past year of training as lifeboat volunteers. Dover also reminded everyone to check their engine and fuel before going offshore, wear a lifejacket or buoyancy aid, and carry a means of calling for help throughout the journey. He advised people to dial 999 and ask for the Coast Guard if they see anyone in difficulty on or near the water.

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A team of volunteers from the Wicklow RNLI launched an all-weather lifeboat early on Sunday morning to rescue a sailor who was stranded on a yacht with mechanical and electrical issues.

The yacht, a 36ft sailing vessel, was located approximately half a mile northeast of Wicklow Harbour, and the sailor was in distress. The Coast Guard paged the RNLI crew at 1:48 am, and they immediately sprang into action. At 2:00 am, the RNLB Joanna & Henry Williams set sail in force 6-7 winds blowing from the northwest.

The crew, led by Coxswain Tommy McAuley, quickly assessed the maritime emergency and decided to take the yacht under tow back to the safety of Wicklow Harbour. The yacht was safely secured alongside at approximately 2:45 am, and the RNLI volunteer crew prepared the lifeboat to be of further service.

Coxswain Tommy McAuley expressed his pride in his team after the heroic maritime rescue, stating: “A call out during the hours of darkness always adds an extra challenge, but the crew are very well prepared throughout the year with the training they undertake.”

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Both Wicklow RNLI lifeboats were launched on Thursday, 14 September, in response to an aircraft in difficulty.

The Coast Guard had issued a pager alert to investigate reports of an aircraft struggling off the Wicklow coast.

The initial report suggested that a light aircraft had ditched into the sea near the Six-mile point. However, as the lifeboats approached the search area, more information was relayed to them from the Coast Guard. It turned out that the aircraft was a large, unmanned drone being flown in the area and had crashed into the sea.

Despite favourable weather conditions, with calm seas and good visibility, the situation could have been serious. The inshore lifeboat crew located the significantly damaged drone floating a mile off Newcastle Beach. It was subsequently towed ashore and handed over to its owner.

Tommy Dover, the Lifeboat Press Officer, commended the volunteer crew for their rapid response. He also urged anyone in an emergency situation or who spots someone else in trouble to call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coast Guard.

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Wicklow RNLI brought three fishermen to safety on Wednesday morning (6 September) after their vessel developed mechanical problems north-east of Wicklow Harbour.

Under the command of coxswain Alan Goucher, the all-weather lifeboat Joanna and Henry Williams slipped its mooring at 8.55am to reports of a fishing boat with engine failure.

The volunteer lifeboat crew located the casualty vessel 35 minutes after launching in a position some 12 miles northeast of Wicklow Harbour.

Conditions on scene had a mild Force 1 north-eastery wind and moderate calm seas, but visibility was incredibly poor at only 100 metres.

After an assessment of the situation was carried out by the coxswain, it was decided a tow was the best option given the casualty vessel’s engine failure.

The tow was established and a course set for Wicklow Harbour, with the casualty vessel being secured alongside at 11am.

Speaking after the call-out, Goucher said: “The visibility on scene was incredibly poor and it required extensive navigation skills to safely find the casualty and her crew.

“All the volunteer crew’s training for these types of conditions was put to very good use today.

“We would like to remind everyone to have an effective means of communication in case of an emergency. That communication helped us locate the casualty today.”

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Just hours after the conclusion of their station’s open day on Sunday (6 August), Wicklow RNLI’s volunteer crew members responded to the first of two call-outs in 24 hours.

Pagers sounded just after 9.30pm on Sunday night and within 10 minutes the all-weather lifeboat Ruth and David Arthur was making best speed to a position just south of Greystones to attend a six-metre fishing vessel with one person on board which was adrift after suffering engine failure.

Arriving on scene 30 minutes after launch, the lifeboat coxswain assessed the situation and decided that the safest option was to tow the vessel to the nearest port.

The fishing vessel’s lone crew was safely landed ashore at Greystones Marina shortly after 10.35pm.

The second call-out came at 5.40pm on Monday (7 August) when a concerned member of the public reported a small inflatable dinghy with four people on board appeared to be struggling to get back to shore due to the turning tide and westerly offshore wind.

The D-class inshore lifeboat was launched within minutes under helm Paul Sillery and it quickly located the the dinghy and its occupants just as they were making it ashore at Travelahawk beach.

Once it was ascertained that no further assistance was required, the lifeboat was stood down by the Irish Coast Guard.

Speaking later, Sillery emphasised the dangers of using inflatables in the sea: “Inflatables can pose significant risks, as they are susceptible to changing tides, offshore winds and currents.

“We would urge everyone to leave the inflatables at home and not bring them into the sea. If you see someone in trouble in the water, please call 112 or 999 and ask for the coastguard.”

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The Wicklow RNLI Lifeboat Station opened its doors and lifeboats to the public on the August Bank Holiday Monday for the first time in four years due to Covid-19.

Despite the mixed weather, it turned out to be a hugely successful day.

The station's volunteers had worked hard in the months leading up to the event to ensure that the facilities were ready to welcome the public. The fundraising team provided endless supplies of tea, coffee, and sweet treats, while the volunteer RNLI lifeboat crew provided tours of the lifeboats and answered any questions asked by children and adults alike.

Two Shannon Class lifeboats on display at the Wicklow RNLI Lifeboat Station Open DayTwo Shannon Class lifeboats on display at the Wicklow RNLI Lifeboat Station Open Day

The public was given the opportunity to explore both Shannon class lifeboats, the RNLB Ruth and David Arthur, and RNLB Joanna & Henry Williams, along with the D class Denis Audrey. The volunteer crew were happy to answer any questions, discuss the equipment onboard, and inform the public of the roles they have within the station.

During a simulated rescue in the harbour, the public was shown the capabilities of the lifeboats, including slow speed transfers between the lifeboats, man overboard drills, and the manoeuvrability of the boats.

The RNLI lifeboat demonstration in Wicklow HarbourThe RNLI lifeboat demonstration in Wicklow Harbour

The station's mascot, Stormy Stan, also made an appearance, meeting, greeting, and posing for photos with all the children that were down for a look. The crew also took the opportunity to take a crew photo.

In addition to the RNLI lifeboat station's open day, the Gardaí, the Garda Sub Aqua Unit, Civil Defense, and the Coast Guard were also present, demonstrating their equipment and answering questions from the public.

 Some of the activities during the Wicklow Harbour RNLI Lifeboat Open Day Crowds gathered for the Wicklow Harbour RNLI Lifeboat Open Day

Volunteer lifeboat press officer Connie O’Gara spoke about the event, saying, "We’d like to thank the public for visiting us for the open day. Considering the torrential rain at times, it was great to see so many people come down and have a look around. It takes a lot of time to organize, but it is a nice way for the crew to say thanks for all the support and donations we receive throughout the year."

The open day was a great success, allowing the public to gain insight into the vital work carried out by the RNLI lifeboat station and other emergency services.

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