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Marine Rescue News from Ireland

#RescueLough Derg RNLI and Killaloe Coast Guard launched to separate incidents on Easter Monday (22 April) that between them saw four people and a dog rescued on the lough.

In the first incident, Lough Derg’s inshore lifeboat launched to a 37ft cruiser aground north of the mouth of the Scariff River.

With southerly Force 2/3 winds and good visibility, the lifeboat arrived at the scene 45 minutes after its 4pm launch.

Winds had pushed the cruiser close to shore and raised it high out of the water, so the lifeboat approached with caution while the volunteer crew assessed the depths.

One the casualty boat’s sole occupant and skipper was confirmed safe and unharmed, and the boat was checked for damage and lightened for tow, the cruiser was taken off the rocks into deeper water and shortly after was allowed to continue its passage unaided.

At the same time, Killaloe Coast Guard was tasked to assist three people and their dog whose cruiser lost engine power and was blown onto the Clare shore of the lough.

The Killaloe Coast Guard rescue boat launched shortly after the 3.30pm alert and was alongside the casualty vessel within seven minutes.

Once all on board were confirmed safe and well, their boat was safely towed back to Killaloe.

It was the second callout of the Bank Holiday weekend for the Killaloe coastguard unit after a search for a missing person on Friday night (19 April) that concluded on a positive note as the individual was found safe on Saturday (20 April).

A few days previously, Lough Derg RNLI launched to a 60ft cruiser with seven on board that had run aground in Coose Bay.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

It was a busy weekend for RNLI lifeboats in Arklow, Larne and Kilmore Quay which each had callouts over the Easter period.

Arklow RNLI launched on Sunday afternoon (21 April) to assist a jetski in difficulty following a launch request from the Irish Coast Guard at 3.15pm.

The volunteer lifeboat crew left their families on Easter Sunday to answer the callout, bringing the all-weather lifeboat Ger Tigchlearr just north of Arklow Harbour where the casualty vessel had been reported adrift and without power.

The jetski, with two people aboard, was quickly located off the back of Arklow's North Pier, dangerously close to the rocky shoreline.

The two people aboard were immediately recovered onto the lifeboat and a line was secured to the jetski to tow it back to shore.

In Larne, RNLI volunteers were called out twice on Sunday evening to people in difficulty.

In the first callout, both the all-weather and inshore lifeboats were called to aid two kayakers who had overturned near Browns Bay just off Islandmagee.

Larne RNLI launched into a calm sea at 5,45pm with the inshore lifeboat, Terry, tasked to bring the kayakers safely to shore, while the all-weather lifeboat Dr John McSparran was tasked to recover the kayaks left behind.

After a successful recovery of both casualties and their equipment, Larne RNLI helm Pamela Leitch noted: “The two kayakers were wearing buoyancy aids; they also remembered to stay with their kayaks which made it easier for us to identify them and bring them ashore.”

The second callout involved the all-weather lifeboat towing a 26ft sailing boat which had run aground at the East Maidens lighthouse.

One of the two people onboard had asked to dock close to the Maidens so they could have a look around. However, while they were the docked the tide ebbed and the boat was left on rocks.

The remaining crew member was able to use their VHF radio to call for assistance from Belfast Coastguard, who requested the launch of the all-weather lifeboat.

When Larne’s volunteers reached the boat, they found that it had moved off the rocks and that no damage had occurred to the hull.

However, it was suggested that the casualty boat follow the all-weather lifeboat into Larne to assess any further damage.

As both boats were making their way into the Port of Larne, a tow line was established as the casualty vessel was experiencing some engine troubles. The vessel was then towed to a mooring at East Antrim Boat Club.

Meanwhile, in Kilmore Quay, the local RNLI lifeboat was alerted by Dublin Coast Guard at 5.25pm that an 11m boat with two people on board had lost engine power three-and-a-half miles south of Bag-N-Bun Head to the west of Kilmore Quay.

Conditions were near calm at the time with restricted visibility due to coastal fog. Visibility was down to one tenth of a mile at times.

The volunteer crew made best speed towards the casualty vessel, arriving alongside twenty minutes later. A tow line was passed over and the vessel was towed back to Kilmore Quay, which took just under an hour to complete.

The four Easter Sunday callouts came after Saturday launches for Courtmasherry RNLI, to a Spanish-bound yacht in distress, and Carrybridge RNLI, to two boats in difficulty on Upper Lough Erne.

“Given the fantastic weather we’ve had this weekend, we’ve seen higher numbers of people coming back to the beaches and putting their boats and other craft back in the water, earlier than usual,” said Mark Corcoran, community safety officer at Arklow RNLI.

“We’d like to remind people to always respect the water, wear a lifejacket and carry a means of calling for help when going out on the water.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Portaferry RNLI launched to the aid of a fishing vessel with three on board which suffered engine failure on Strangford Lough yesterday afternoon (Saturday 20 April).

Volunteers were paged while taking part in in a ‘crew day’, whereby they gathered to clean down the lifeboat and station, after reports that a boat had suffered engine failure one mile from Strangford Narrows.

The lifeboat launched at 2.50pm in sunny weather conditions with good, clear visibility and little wind.

When they arrived on scene at 3.03pm, they established a tow line and proceeded to the nearest and safest mooring point at Cook Street quay in Portaferry.

The volunteer crew then handed the fishing boat and its crew over to HM Coastguard, and returned to station at 4:15pm.

Commenting on yesterday’s rescue, Simon Rogers, Portaferry RNLI lifeboat operations manager, said: “The hard work and dedication of our volunteers has once again resulted in the safe return to shore of the skipper and his crew who were having trouble while at sea.

“He certainly took the right course of action calling for help once he realised that his engine had failed.

“We are all delighted with the outcome and urge anyone considering going on the water to take all necessary precautions. It has been a busy week for the volunteers.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Ten volunteer lifeboat crew from Ballyglass RNLI, in conjunction with Belmullet Cycling Club, will undertake a 150km cycle from Sligo Bay RNLI in Rosses Point to Ballyglass RNLI in Belmullet on Saturday 27 April.

A total of 130 cyclists from all over Ireland are registered to take part in the Waves-2-Wheels fundraiser which will see proceeds raised go to Ballyglass RNLI.

Allen Murray, Ballyglass RNLI station mechanic and Waves-2-Wheels chairperson, said he is overwhelmed by the hard work and dedication of all involved in getting the charity cycle from the rolling waves to the rolling road, and hopes it will be a safe and successful event.

“The idea was born last autumn when members of the lifeboat crew and the cycling club were discussing ways they could work together to raise funds in the locality,” Murray said.

“A charity cycle from a neighbouring lifeboat station to Ballyglass was suggested and agreed upon almost instantly. From there the hard work of organising the event and training began.

“A large number of the crew came on board to swap the sea for the saddle to raise much needed funds to maintain the high standard of training and equipment needed by Ballyglass RNLI volunteers to save lives at sea.”

Lifeboat coxswain and Waves-2-Wheels secretary James Mangan explained how important it is to raise awareness and funds for our lifeboats.

“Having two lifeboats working out of two locations both here at Ballyglass (all-weather lifeboat) and at Belmullet (inshore lifeboat) involves a lot of training and maintenance to ensure our volunteers and boats are ready 24/7 for whatever they may face when the pagers call them to sea.

“We are very lucky here in Mayo to have such wonderful supporters and sponsors and are very grateful to all who help us out in any way.

“When our volunteers launch to assist those in trouble at sea they know that they have the best of training and equipment to help bring them home safely. The crew kit alone costs between €1,000-€2,000, including lifejacket, and this gives the crew confidence to face various conditions and weathers, night or day.”

The RNLI’s two lifeboat stations in Mayo at Achill Island and Ballyglass launched 40 times in 2018 bringing 25 people to safety.

These rescues are only possible because of the donations made to the charity by supporters. And Waves-2-Wheels is currently accepting donations online ahead of the big ride in nine days’ time.

The cycle begins at Rosses point at 9am on Saturday 27 April, with the cyclists travelling through Easkey, Enniscrone, Ballina, Crossmolina and arriving at Belmullet’s inshore lifeboat station after 4pm.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Horse riders and owners have been warned over taking their animals to beaches or mudflats after two separate rescue incidents in the UK in recent days

Last Saturday (13 April) two horses and their riders were rescued from thick mud after they became stuck while riding on the Wirral coast near Liverpool.

Hoylake RNLI’s hovercraft joined Flint and Wirral Coastguard Rescue among the emergency services at the scene on Saturday morning, which saw one of the horses stuck up to its belly in very thick mud.

Emergency services tried digging around the horse to free its legs to no avail. The RNLI crew and coastguard also used their mud lances in an attempt to soften the sand with water and compressed air, but the mud proved too thick for this equipment.

After some further digging, and with gentle encouragement from the emergency services, the horse managed to free itself but became stuck again.

Finally, mud boards and mats were deployed to provide the horse with some firmer footing.

The horse was freed again and managed to climb onto the boards with some assistance. A vet on the scene then administered a sedative to avoid any further distress to the animal and to help the emergency services to move it to shore safely.

“Considering the ordeal the horse had been through, its behaviour was exceptional in what was clearly a distressing situation,” said Hoylake RNLI crew member Ian Farrall. “The emergency service teams worked really well together, pooling their resources and experience to ensure a good outcome in very difficult circumstances.”

The following day, HM Coastguard received 999 calls reporting a horse and rider in distress and stuck in the mud at Burnham-on-Sea beach in Somerset.

Fortunately the rider was not injured but the coastguard launched a multi-agency response to recover the horse and keep the rider safe before the rising tide covered the area.

Gemma Griffiths, the senior maritime operations officer who was co-ordinating the incident in Somerset, offered safety advice for walkers and riders as the longer days come in.

“Take care when walking or riding over these big expanses of tidal sand or mud and consider getting guidance from someone with local knowledge if you are at all unsure about your route.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

A volunteer crew from Portaferry RNLI launched to a 999 call in the early hours of Sunday morning (14 April) reporting that a yacht with three people on board had hit rocks at Rainey Island near Ballydoran in Strangford Lough.

The lifeboat launched at 1.50am in cloudy weather conditions with good visibility and Force 4 south-easterly winds. The Portaferry crew arrived on scene 35 minute later with good visibility and a moderate sea state.

When the volunteer crew arrived on scene, they found that the yacht had made itself off the rocks and proceeded into Strangford Lough Yacht Club.

Portaferry RNLI closely followed the boat to the pontoon, went alongside yacht and checked that all onboard were safe and well before returning to station at 3.35am.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Wicklow RNLI volunteers were alerted by pager at 1.05pm on Friday afternoon (12 April) following a launch request to assist a fishing boat with engine failure.

The all-weather lifeboat Jock and Annie Slater put to sea shortly before 1.15pm under the command of coxswain Nick Keogh and proceeded towards the vessel, which was reported to be 23 miles north-east of Wicklow Harbour.

The lifeboat was alongside the 10-metre fishing boat an hour later. Conditions in the area were good, with south-easterly Force 3 winds.

The fishing vessel with three crew had developed mechanical problems and had lost propulsion. A towline was secured, and the vessel was towed back towards Wicklow over the next three-and-a-half hours, being secured safely alongside the North Quay shortly before 6pm.

This was the third callout since the all-weather lifeboat Jock and Annie Slater went on station at Wicklow on Friday 5 April.

Earlier in the week, Kilkeel RNLI’s volunteer crew launched at 4.20pm on Wednesday (10 April) to respond to a call from the skipper of a fishing boat that a semi-submerged kayak was adrift at Leestone Point, north east of Kilkeel Harbour.

Conditions were good and the crew arrived quickly on scene. On examination of the kayak, the crew found there was an algae growth on her bottom and no signs that it had been recently occupied.

With no reports of a missing kayaker, the kayak was taken on board the lifeboat which then returned to the station. Kilkeel Coastguard were in attendance.

Speaking afterwards, John Fisher, Kilkeel RNLI lifeboat operations manager, said: “It is important that if a small craft is lost or abandoned that it is reported to the coastguard. This will prevent any further reports by concerned members of the public or other persons.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#Lifeboats - Baltimore RNLI carried out a medevac on Thursday night (11 April) from Sherkin Island off the coast of West Cork.

The volunteer crew launched their all-weather lifeboat following a request from the Irish Coast Guard at 9.29pm to provide medical assistance and evacuation to an islander living on Sherkin.

Conditions at sea during the callout were calm with good visibility and no sea swell.

The lifeboat arrived at Sherkin pier at 9.45pm, the casualty was brought onboard and the lifeboat departed the island within four minutes, handing the casualty over to the care of HSE ambulance crew at 10.08pm.

Speaking following the callout, Kate Callanan, Baltimore RNLI volunteer lifeboat press officer, said: “Baltimore RNLI regularly provides the vital service of medical evacuations (medevacs) for residents and visitors to local islands such as Sherkin, Cape Clear and Heir.

“If you find yourself in need of medical assistance, call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

Elsewhere, volunteer lifeboat crews from the Aran Islands and Galway RNLI participated in a multi-agency training exercise on Galway Bay this week.

The all-weather lifeboat from Aran Islands RNLI and the inshore lifeboat from Galway Bay RNLI were among the many emergency service agencies that took part in a maritime mass rescue exercise.

The scenario training, which saw the lifeboat crew practise an evacuation of survivors from a seagoing ferry in a busy shipping lane, was organised as part of a multi-agency exercise co-ordinated by the Irish Coast Guard.

Among the other agencies involved were the Irish Coast Guard rescue helicopters located at Sligo and Shannon, Doolin/Inisheer Boat Unit, Costello Bay, Killaloe, Kilkee and Cleggan Coast Guard units, Galway Fire Service and the HSE.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Wicklow RNLI’s relief Shannon class lifeboat Jock and Annie Slater has its first callout yesterday morning (Tuesday 9 April) to go to the aid of a whelk-fishing vessel with engine failure.

The lifeboat, under the command of second coxswain Ciaran Doyle, located the drifting vessel two miles east of Kilcoole at 11.10am.

Weather conditions in the area at the time had an easterly Force 5 with moderate sea.

A towline was quickly established, and the trawler was taken in tow. The fishing vessel and three crew were brought safely alongside the South Quay in Wicklow Harbour shortly after 12.30pm.

This was the first callout for the Shannon class lifeboat which went on station last Friday.

It comes during a very busy period at Wicklow RNLI as Jock and Annie Slater replaced Annie Blaker, the last Tyne class lifeboat in the RNLI fleet, which was officially retired last Friday 4 April after 30 years of service with Wicklow lifeboat station.

The slipway-launched lifeboat has been the busiest all-weather lifeboat in the history of the station — being involved in over 340 services, and rescuing over 400 people, since her arrival in 1989.

The final callout for Annie Blaker came last Thursday evening (3 April) when coxswain Nick Keogh and a volunteer crew launched to assist two sailors on a yacht with a rope-fouled propeller nine miles off the Wicklow coast.

Annie Blaker has been replaced by the relief lifeboat Jock and Annie Slater, which will operate from temporary facilities at the South Quay while the slipway and station are redeveloped to accommodate a new permanent lifeboat, which is expected to arrive in 2022.

Wicklow RNLI operations manager Des Davit said: “This month will be bittersweet for all of us involved in Wicklow Lifeboat Station. We will be saying goodbye to a magnificent boat, the last Tyne in the fleet, the Annie Blaker.

“At the same time, thanks to a magnificent effort of skill, determination and commitment by the crew just one month after her arrival, Lifeboat 13-01, the Jock and Annie Slater, went on service.

“Because of the skill of the crew and their huge commitment to training this new, state of the art lifeboat went on service much earlier than anticipated.

“We hope to have a farewell party for ‘Annie’ later in the month so keep an eye out for more information on this both in the press and on social media.”

In other news, BT Ireland, operator of the national 999/112 emergency call answering service, has donated €5,000 to the RNLI.

Bundoran, Rosslare and Courtmacsherry RNLI each received donations through BT Ireland’s nationwide payroll giving scheme ‘Give As You Earn’ to support their vital services in the community.

Captain Tony McGowan, Bundoran RNLI lifeboat operations manager, said: “This is a huge donation that will help our lifeboat crews continue to save lives at sea.

“These funds will help to ensure our crews are fully kitted, trained and skilled to do the work that they do and that our lifeboat is equipped, fuelled and maintained.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Friday night is sure to be a winner on Dublin Bay as Clontarf Yacht & Boat Club hosts its annual auction night in aid of the Howth RNLI lifeboat tonight, Friday 5 April.

Gary Sargent and Elaine Ball will host the auction from 9.30pm with many items up for bidding, including vouchers for Irish Ferries and Stena Line.

The CY&BC also invites attendees to bring along their own items for auction to raise finds for the lifesaving charity.

Complimentary wine and cheese will be served for those who come early from 8.30pm.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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