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Displaying items by tag: Enniskillen

The RNLI’s new inland lifeboat station on Lower Lough Erne is complete and fully operational.

The station team at Enniskillen RNLI are now looking for new volunteers to join the crew in several roles including lifeboat crew, shore crew, deputy launching authorities and fundraisers.

After being housed in temporary accommodation for 21 years, volunteers at Enniskillen were handed the keys to their new state-of-the-art building on the Killadeas Road at Gublusk earlier this month.

The modern purpose-built lifeboat station is located close to the lough to allow for an efficient launch of its inshore lifeboat.

And the station — which also houses the associated launching tractor and equipment, full crew changing facilities, a workshop, office and training room — will be officially opened at a special ceremony next year.

The build, which took little over a year to complete, was carried out by Omagh-based company Woodvale Construction and handed over to the RNLI on Friday 4 November.

A generous contribution towards the cost of the build was made by the daughter of the late Alfred Russell Wallace Weir from Bangor in Co Down, in his memory.

The building is designed with a heating system which allows the heat to be drawn from the ground, keeping the temperature at an ambient 16C inside. The excess is used to heat the water for showering, washing up and cleaning the vessels. The building is also fitted with solar panels on the roof to generate electricity.

In 2001, Enniskillen became home to the RNLI’s first inland lifeboat station based on Lower Lough Erne.

Due to the overall size and complexity of the lough and its high leisure usage, the decision was taken by the RNLI in 2002 to base a second lifeboat on the upper lough at Carrybridge that would work in conjunction with the original lifeboat station on the lower lough at Killadeas.

Last year Enniskillen RNLI launched 33 times, bringing 73 people to safety.

Enniskillen RNLI’s inshore lifeboat in its new boat shed | Credit: RNLI/Rogan WheeldonEnniskillen RNLI’s inshore lifeboat in its new boat shed | Credit: RNLI/Rogan Wheeldon

Speaking following the handover of the new building to the RNLI, area lifesaving manager Rogan Wheeldon said he was delighted that the station was now complete.

“From the outset, we wanted to build a modern station with full crew facilities with areas for the crew to change and train and space to keep their lifeboat and lifesaving kit safe,” he said. “We now have those facilities and are very happy to be in a position to take over the new lifeboat station and are delighted with both the design and quality of the building.”

Gary Jones, Enniskillen RNLI lifeboat operations manager said the new station was what the crew deserved and is “a testament of the RNLI’s commitment and dedication to the community here locally and a credit to the efforts of our crew in continuing to bring people to safety on Lough Erne”.

He added: “Our volunteers had an opportunity to be shown around their new station and they are overwhelmed with the structure and facilities that they now have when they come together for call outs and training. We would like to thank everyone who has helped us to get to this stage.

“Now that we have our new building, we are keen to have new volunteers join our team. If you are interested in becoming lifeboat crew, shore crew, deputy launching authority or helping in another officer capacity or with fundraising, please contact us to find out more about how you can be involved and help us to continue to save lives on Lough Erne.”

To find out more about how you can volunteer at Enniskillen RNLI, get in touch with Gary at [email protected]

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

An Omagh man who was rescued by the Irish Coast Guard after he was caught in a rip current off a Donegal beach in July has completed the Dublin Marathon in his bare feet to raise awareness of water safety and to raise funds for the RNLI.

A seasoned open water swimmer, Chris Gallagher was visiting Murder Hole Beach when he got caught in a rip current.

“I am an experienced swimmer, having previously been a lifeguard and a world record swimmer as well as swimming all over the world including in Australia but I have never been caught like this before,” he said of his ordeal.

“I wasn’t even 10 metres out into the water when the ferocious rip caught me and threw me about like what I can only describe as being in an industrial washing machine and a racing car at the same time, it was powerful, and I had absolutely no control.

“I felt calm initially as I know how to work my way out of a rip curl as I was caught in Australian waters 22 years ago but nothing I tried worked.

“By the grace of God, a rock was in my grasp as I was being pulled into the rip roaring waters and I managed to get my body out of the water onto that wee rock but I was fighting the waves to stay on as they threw me on and off like a rag doll. I was clinging to the rock for dear life for two hours.”

Given the conditions, the Sligo-based coastguard helicopter Rescue 118 was tasked to the scene and rescued Gallagher from the water.

‘I am an experienced swimmer…but I have never been caught like this before’

Since he was rescued, Gallagher has signed up to be a water safety volunteer with the RNLI with a particular interest in highlighting the dangers of open water swimming.

He has also taken part in a series of inspiring fundraising events with his most recent venture to not only undertake the Dublin Marathon but to do it in his bare feet, which he completed successfully last Sunday (30 October). He also completed the Kerry Hardman Ironman triathlon on his birthday in August and in September a 5k swim of Glencar Lough in Sligo.

To round off his series of events, he is running an Eighties-themed night this Saturday 5 November in the Village Inn in Killyclogher. Proceeds from all events will go to Bundoran RNLI and Lough Erne’s two RNLI lifeboat stations, at Enniskillen and Carrybridge in Northern Ireland.

Speaking of Gallagher’s efforts to raise both funds and water safety awareness, RNLI community manager Nuala Muldoon said: “Chris really is an inspiration and his own rescue story highlights how even the most experienced water users can still find themselves in difficulty.

“We are delighted that he is now promoting water safety and are in awe at how adventurous he has been in setting himself courageous challenges in his pursuit to raise funds.

“Thanks to Chris, the proceeds raised will now power our lifesaving volunteer crews to continue their good work in saving lives both at sea and on inland waters.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Waterways Ireland advises masters of vessels and waterway users on the Erne System in Northern Ireland that the power bollards at the Round ‘O’ jetty and at Carrybridge will be isolated on Friday 4 November for the winter period.

Power will be reconnected at the start of the 2023 boating season, the cross-border body for Ireland’s inland waterways adds.

Published in Inland Waterways

Enniskillen RNLI came to the aid of two people on Sunday (3 July) after their boat ran aground on Lower Lough Erne.

The lifeboat volunteers were paged by Belfast Coastguard shortly before 1.45pm to rescue the duo at Gull Rock, close to Castle Archdale in Co Fermanagh.

At the time of launch, there was a lot of cloud cover and there was a Force 5 wind blowing from the northwest. It was this wind that had pushed the casualty’s boat onto Gull Rock after developing engine problems.

The inshore lifeboat, helmed by Stevie Ingram and with three crew members onboard, launched immediately. On reaching the reported location, the crew discovered that the casualty vessel had suffered from engine difficulties on the shore of Gull Rock and as a result was taking on water and starting to lean on its side.

Due to the shallow waters, the lifeboat could not get alongside the casualty vessel. The crew assessed the situation and a decision was made for a crew member to swim to the shoreline to reach the boat. The man and woman onboard were safe and well with words of reassurance from the RNLI crew member.

Due to the water intake, a tow line could not be established. The Irish Coast Guard’s Sligo-based helicopter Rescue 118 was tasked to airlift the two people and the crew member to the nearby St Angelo Airport in Enniskillen.

The casualty vessel was left in position at Gull Rock with its anchor deployed to ensure it did not become a navigation hazard.

Speaking after the callout, Enniskillen RNLI helm Stevie Ingram said: “We want to commend the people on the vessel for doing the right thing and calling the coastguard. Sunday’s callout highlights the importance of inter-agency working and we would like to thank our colleagues in Rescue 118.

“The summer holidays got under way this week and we would remind everyone to enjoy their activities on the lough but to always think safety first. Bring a means of communication with you when you go out on, or near, the water. Even if you’re onshore, and you spot something happening on the water the best thing to do is dial 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
Tagged under

Waterways Ireland advises masters of vessels and waterway users on the Erne System that the Castle and Henry St jetties in Enniskillen will be closed for three periods in the upcoming week to facilitate the Erne Classic coarse angling competition in the Co Fermanagh town.

Mooring will not be permitted at these jetties on Monday 9 May between 7am and 7pm, Wednesday 11 May between 7am and 7pm, and Friday 13 May between 7am and 5pm.

Published in Inland Waterways

The RNLI in Carrybridge and Enniskillen on Lough Erne received a donation of £1500 from Wild Blue Green Yonder following a charity swim around Castle Island in Enniskillen.

The swim was held in September as part of the Festival Lough Erne events and had approximately 30 people in attendance to take part in the 750 metre swim around the island. The group had previously attended an open water swimming course organised by the Policing and Community Safety Partnership (PCSP).

The cheque was presented to Peter Scott from the Lough Erne Fundraising Branch for the Carrybridge and Enniskillen RNLI stations. Peter is also Water Safety Officer for both stations and part of that role is to provide education training around water safety.

Stephen Scott, Lifeboat Operations Manager, at Carrybridge RNLI praised all those who took part in the swim for all their hard work and dedication raising money for both lifeboat stations on Lough Erne. “The funds raised are vital to the continuing work of the RNLI on Lough Erne, both at our Carrybridge and Enniskillen stations, and will assist with future life saving operations. We are delighted to have strong links to the community here in Fermanagh and would wish to record our thanks to Wild Blue Yonder for the donation we have received.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

The volunteer lifeboat crews of Carrybridge and Enniskillen RNLI were recently delighted to receive a donation of £1,600 raised at a special event that crossed swimming with mindfulness.

‘Wild and Free at the Sea’ was held by Dips N Hips in Rossnowlagh, Co Donegal last September, welcoming 50 people for a day of open water swimming, yoga and mindfulness on the beach.

It also marked the beginning of a ‘dip a day’ challenge for the month of October, where organiser Coná Gallagher braved the waters of Lough Erne every single day.

On behalf of Dips N Hips, Coná handed over a cheque to Ivan Kee from the Lough Erne Fundraising Branch for the Carrybridge and Enniskillen RNLI stations.

Stephen Scott, lifeboat operations manager at Carrybridge RNLI, praised all those who took part in the challenge and in particular Coná for all their hard work and dedication raising money for both lifeboat stations on Lough Erne.

“The funds raised will have a significant impact for the crews at both Carrybridge and Enniskillen and will assist with future lifesaving operations,” he said.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

A father and son from Bellanaleck are among eight new lifeboat crew members who will carry pagers for the first time this Christmas at Carrybridge and Enniskillen RNLI in Northern Ireland.

As the RNLI continues its Christmas Appeal, Brian and John Sammon — who are ready to swap turkey and pudding for the December waters of Lough Erne — are urging people across Co Fermanagh to help their fellow crew, and the thousands of other volunteer crews carrying pagers over the festivities, to continue their lifesaving work.

It was when 19-year-old John became eligible to become a crew member two years ago that the family duo encouraged each other to join.

Brian says: “I had thought about joining the lifeboat crew at different times over the years because I was so aware of the work of the RNLI and I really wanted to give something back, but it wasn’t until John reached the eligible age at 17 and we saw a recruitment drive for new crew that we encouraged each other to get involved. We attended an open night and it just snowballed from there.”

Having received their pagers in November, Brian and John are now preparing to hear the beeping sound as the request for help comes in for the first time.

“We are excited but also nervous at the same time,” Brian says, “but we are here, and we want to help. That is why we joined; we want to support what is an invaluable service on Lough Erne.”

Among the other new crew members at Carrybridge are Simon Kidney, Matthew Nelson, Simon Carson, Paul McDaid and Cliff Walters, while Richard McFarland has joined the lifeboat crew at Enniskillen.

Richard, who lives in Lisbellaw, has always had a great love for the water but having worked away he couldn’t commit to joining the lifeboat crew until he returned home.

“This is my first Christmas on call,” Richard says, “and I know even over the festive period, our lifesavers are ready to drop everything at a moment’s notice and rush to the aid of someone in trouble on the water…We hope that this year’s Christmas appeal will show people just how tough it can be, but also that with their help we can get so much closer to our goal of saving every one.”

To make a donation to the RNLI’s Christmas Appeal, visit RNLI.org/Xmas

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

In a busy Tuesday afternoon (27 July) for Enniskillen RNLI, the volunteer lifeboat crew launched on two callouts in the vicinity of Castle Archdale.

The first came at 4.30pm after a passer-by alerted the coastguard to a person who went overboard from their vessel.

In choppy conditions with a strong westerly Force 4-5 wind, the inshore lifeboat John and Jean Lewis as well as the rescue watercraft sped to the scene.

On arrival, they found that the casualty has managed to get back on to their Whaley boat when it came to a halt and returned to shore to seek assistance.

Crews from the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service and NI Ambulance Service took care of the casualty on shore as they had spent some time in the water.

On returning to the station, the volunteer crew spotted a cruiser with two adults and a dog on board that was struggling in the challenging weather.

After transferring a crew member onto the vessel, the lifeboat volunteers were able to take command of the cruiser and safely navigate it back to the jetty at Rossigh. All on board were in good health but were a little shaken by the conditions.

Speaking following the callout, Enniskillen RNLI helm Stephen Ingram said: “It is very easy for things to go wrong in rough weather. We would remind people to use safety equipment and make sure to the ‘kill cord’ is properly attached. Always bring a means of communication with you and make sure to check the weather forecast before heading out.

“We would also like to commend the individual on the shore who called the coastguard. When you spot something happening on the water the best thing to do is dial 999 and ask for the coastguard.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
Tagged under

Enniskillen RNLI launched to the aid of four people on a speedboat adrift in shallow water in the vicinity of Castle Archdale yesterday (Sunday 13 June).

Following a request from Belfast Coastguard, the volunteer crew launched the station’s inshore lifeboat John and Jean Lewis at 7.35pm to go to the aid of the 16ft speed boat, which had engine difficulties and was adrift in the Castle Archdale area of Lower Lough Erne.

Weather conditions at the time were choppy with a south-westerly wind.

The crew quickly found the drifting boat on the western side of Crevinishaghy Island.

All four adults onboard were found to be safe and well and wearing the correct safety equipment.

The volunteer crew then established a tow between the lifeboat and the vessel and all casualties were brought to Castle Archdale marina safely.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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