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Displaying items by tag: RNLI

Lough Derg RNLI were tasked last night (Tuesday 26 October) to assist five people on a 48ft cruiser at anchor near the Benjamin Rocks on the Co Clare shore.

At 11.10pm the inshore lifeboat Jean Spier launched with helm Ger Egan, crew Steve Smyth, Joe O’Donoghue and Doireann Kennedy on board.

Conditions on the lake were very rough with Force 6 southwesterly winds with severe gusts. As it was night, visibility was aided by searchlights, radar and other lifeboat electronic aids.

At 11.24pm the lifeboat had the casualty vessel in sight, it was at anchor just off red marker 1168 which identifies the Benjamin Rocks. The RNLI crew found all five people to be safe and unharmed and wearing their lifejackets.

The skipper explained that the strong winds kept them from making headway, and so at 5.30pm with strengthening winds and failing light, they felt they wouldn’t make harbour and decided to drop anchor and wait out the storm.

However, the cruiser’s location was subjected to the full force of the wind which caused the anchor to drag, taking the vessel close to the rocky shoal.

Given the worsening conditions, the lifeboat helm put a cree member on board the casualty vessel and instructed them to cut the anchor line. But as the anchor warp was all chain and shackled to the cruiser, this was not possible.

With effort, the volunteer weighed anchor and the lifeboat guided the casualty vessel to the shelter and calm of the public harbour at Dromineer. At 12:54am the cruiser was safely secured alongside at Dromineer Harbour and the lifeboat returned to base shortly after 1am.

Liam Maloney, lifeboat operations manager at Lough Derg RNLI, advises water users unfamiliar with Lough Derg to “check the weather for the lakes and plan your course to arrive at safe harbour before nightfall”.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Skerries RNLI responded to two calls for help, one immediately after the other on Sunday afternoon (24 October) afternoon, responding to three kayakers in difficulty near Portrane and then two sailors in difficulty near Laytown.

Shortly after 2pm, Dublin Coast Guard received a 999 call from the public reporting that there was a number of people in distress on what appeared to be an inflatable off Portrane beach.

Skerries RNLI, the Dublin-based Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 116 and the coastguard boat from Howth were all tasked to respond. The volunteers in Skerries launched their Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat Louis Simson and the crew entered a route for Portrane.

Further information then came through from the casualties to say that they had actually been knocked off their kayaks and had lost a paddle, confirming that there were three people in the water.

Rescue 116 was first on scene, maintaining a visual on the casualties until the coastguard boat and the Skerries lifeboat arrived on scene.

One of the casualties had managed to make their way ashore. The remaining two were taken on board the coastguard boat and brought safely back to the beach.

Just minutes later, Dublin Coast Guard re-tasked Rescue 116 and Skerries RNLI to an incident involving a sailing dinghy near Laytown.

They had received 999 calls reporting that the dinghy had capsized and its sailors were having difficulty in righting it. Clogherhead RNLI were also requested to launch.

Rescue 116 was on scene very quickly and established VHF communications with the casualty vessel. At that time they were still confident of righting the vessel and making their own way ashore.

However, with the weather conditions deteriorating and a small craft warning coming into effect — conditions at the time were choppy with a Force 3-4 southerly wind — Dublin Coast Guard requested the two lifeboats to continue on their course until the casualty was confirmed on shore.

Skerries and Clogherhead lifeboats both arrived on scene minutes later. The two men on the dinghy then realised that they had suffered some structural damage to the rigging of their boat and would be unable to make it ashore unaided. The Skerries lifeboat took them under tow and returned them safely to the slipway at the River Nanny.

Speaking about the callout, Skerries RNLI’s volunteer lifeboat press officer Gerry Canning said: “It was a busy afternoon for our volunteers, but thankfully both incidents had a good outcome.

“It was another great example of how the different agencies and flank stations work together to keep people safe on the water.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Wicklow RNLI Inshore lifeboat crew brought a man to safety after his kayak capsized in choppy waters off Wicklow Head yesterday afternoon (Monday 25 October). The kayaker was spotted by members of the public, who contacted the Coast Guard.

The Inshore lifeboat, under the command of helm Alan Goucher and two volunteer crew launched at 4:25 pm. They arrived on scene four minutes later and located the casualty on the cliff under Wicklow Head Lighthouse, weather conditions in the area at the time were wind south-westerly force five with rough sea.

The kayaker had left Wicklow harbour earlier in the afternoon and intended to travel south along the coast, but due to tidal conditions and rough sea at Wicklow Head the kayak capsized and he was thrown into the water. The man managed to swim towards the cliff and climb five feet above the waterline, to wait until help arrived.

The casualty was transferred onto the lifeboat and landed safely ashore.

Speaking after the call out Wicklow RNLI Press Officer, Tommy Dover said: ‘The casualty was fortunate to have been spotted by walkers at Wicklow Head this afternoon, he was shaken after his ordeal but required no medical attention. We urge anyone going afloat to always carry a means for calling for help and if they get into difficulty dial 999 or 112 and ask for the Coast Guard.’

Crew List: Helm Alan Goucher, Lisa ‘O Leary and John Stapleton.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Three members of Larne RNLI’s fundraising committee, who between them have volunteered for a combined 70 years, have been awarded with long-service medals recognising their contribution to saving lives at sea in Northern Ireland.

Pamela McAuley, Esther Dorman and Stephen Craig were presented with their medals ahead of the reopening of the lifeboat Christmas shop in the Murrayfield arcade in Larne, Co Antrim.

Recalling why she got involved with the charity, Pamela McAuley — who is the chair of Larne RNLI’s fundraising committee — said: “My family have always been keen sailors, being involved with a local sailing club.

“I thought it seemed a good way to give something back to a charity that is always ready and willing to answer every call for help at sea.”

Stephen Craig said: “I got asked to help out with a fashion show that the fundraisers put on in the autumn of 1998 and enjoyed helping out. It wasn’t until 1999 that I officially joined as a volunteer.

“I have been a lifelong sailor with a particular interest in sea safety and with prior work commitments I would have found it difficult to commit as a crew member. However, volunteering with the fundraisers was a suitable alternative.”

Esther Dorman, who is the secretary of the fundraising committee and has been volunteering for the RNLI for 30 years, added: “Like Stephen and Pam, my family has been involved with Larne RNLI now for many years, with my brother, nephew and niece all being volunteers.

“I’m happy to be involved with fundraising as I feel I’m supporting a worthwhile cause.”

Larne RNLI’s pop-up Christmas shop is back this year in the Murrayfield arcade in Larne. The shop is open every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 10am to 4pm.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Baltimore RNLI were called out to provide assistance to a windsurfer in difficulty in Baltimore harbour, West Cork yesterday evening (Monday, 25 October).

The volunteer lifeboat crew launched their inshore lifeboat at 6.30pm following a request from the Irish Coast Guard who had received a report from members of the public that a windsurfer appeared to be in difficulty in Baltimore harbour.

The Baltimore inshore lifeboat crew arrived at the casualty at 6.32 pm to find him already paddling his own way back to Sherkin Island. The casualty was happy to continue to make his own way back so Baltimore inshore lifeboat escorted him until he had safely reached the pier on Sherkin Island at 6.45 pm. Once the lifeboat crew were satisfied that the casualty required no further attention the lifeboat returned to station, arriving at 6.55 pm.

There were four volunteer crew onboard the lifeboat, Helm Micheal Cottrell and crew members David Ryan, Ian Lynch and James Kitt. Assisting at the boathouse were Jerry and Rianne Smith. Conditions in the harbour during the call were calm with a south-westerly force 2 wind and no sea swell.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Following previous appearances by Dunmore East, Kilmore Quay and Rosslare Harbour RNLI, the volunteer lifeboat crew in Portrush will be taking to the small screen next Tuesday 2 November as they feature in the 10th and final episode of this series of Saving Lives at Sea.

Real-life rescue footage gives a frontline view of how the charity’s lifesavers risk their own lives as they go to the aid of those in danger at sea and strive to save every one. It’s accompanied by emotive interviews from the volunteer lifeboat crews alongside the people they rescue and their families.

Now in its sixth series, the 10-part maritime TV documentary showcases the lifesaving work of the RNLI’s volunteer lifeboat crews from around Ireland and the UK. The series is on BBC Two on Tuesdays at 8pm as well as being available following broadcast on BBC iPlayer (for viewers in the UK).

The final episode of the current series sees Portrush RNLI rescue a teenage boy who gets into difficulty while jumping into the sea off rocks at Portstewart Head.

As the all-weather lifeboat approaches the scene, the crew observe a person in the water waving their arms. A teenage boy who is wearing a wetsuit is struggling against an ebbing tide which is pulling him away from the land and out to sea off the west side of Portstewart Head.

Coxswain Des Austin manoeuvres the lifeboat close to where the casualty is in the surf and breaking waves while the station’s mechanic Dave Robinson dons a drysuit and PPE. A line is attached to the mechanic who jumps into the water and grabs the casualty to safety.

The lifeboat crew administer casualty care to the boy, who is showing signs of hypothermia and exhaustion and is suffering from the effects of shock.

Austin said: “It’s great that we can showcase the lifesaving work of RNLI volunteers in a TV programme like this. Without the generous support and donations from the public, we wouldn’t be able to save lives at sea and it’s great to be able to share what we do with our supporters from the comfort of their own home.”

During 2020, RNLI lifeboats in Northern Ireland launched 234 times with their volunteer crews coming to the aid of 253 people. Eighty-nine of those launches were carried out in the hours of darkness. RNLI lifeguards meanwhile responded to 225 incidents coming to the aid of 285 people, six of whom were lives saved.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Ballycotton RNLI’s all-weather Trent class lifeboat Austin Lidbury was called out by Valentia Coast Guard to a report from a passing yacht of a possible upturned boat south of Nohaval.

Conditions were fresh with Force 6-7 south-westerly winds and clear visibility when the lifeboat launched at 2.20pm yesterday afternoon (Sunday 24 October).

Two miles west of Daunt Rock, the lifeboat crew discovered the remains of an old boat with its hull upturned in the water. It is believed it may have been washed out to sea as a result of recent storms.

Ballycotton RNLI duty coxswain Barry Murphy said: “Thankfully this was a false alarm, and the call was made with good intent. The RNLI would always ask members of the public to call 999/112 if they feel somebody is in possible danger.”

All crew from Ballycotton RNLI returned safely at 5.20pm to refuel and wash down in preparation for the next callout.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Fethard RNLI launched its inshore lifeboat on Friday afternoon last (22 October) to conduct a sea search. A concerned member of the public out kayaking reported seeing a body like object floating in the sea off Baginbun Beach in County Wexford.

The volunteer crew was requested to launch their inshore lifeboat by the Irish Coast Guard just after p.m. The crew proceeded to Fethard Dock, launched the lifeboat, and made their way to an area east of Baginbun beach to carry out a search. Weather conditions at the time were good with a light south-westerly breeze, calm sea conditions and good visibility.

The multi-agency response involved Fethard RNLI, Fethard Coast Guard, The National Ambulance Service, An Garda Siochana and Coast Guard Helicopter Rescue 117. An extensive sea search of Baginbun Bay was carried out by Fethard RNLI lifeboat, with Rescue 117 assisting from the air. Fethard Coast Guard ground units carried out a shoreline search.

After two hours, the search was stood down by the Irish Coast Guard, when nothing was found.

Speaking after the call out, Pete Barry, Fethard RNLI Deputy Launch Authority said “Even though the call turned out to be a false alarm, we would like to commend the member of the public who did the right thing by calling 999 to report what they saw. They thought someone had gotten into trouble and had good intent calling the authorities. We would rather launch to investigate what was seen and put everyone’s mind at ease. This call also highlights the importance of always carrying a means of communication when involved in water activities by the sea.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Portrush RNLI’s lifeboat volunteers dashed out of a book launch to a very different kind of launch yesterday afternoon (Saturday 23 October) following reports of two paddle boarders in difficulty some 600 metres off Portstewart Strand on Northern Ireland’s Causeway Coast.

Launching at 2.32pm on request of Belfast Coastguard, the inshore lifeboat arrived on scene 12 minutes later amid choppy seas and squally showers with a southerly wind.

The volunteer crew quickly located the two paddle boarders on one board, and were able to get both safely back to shore, where they were handed into the care of the local coastguard team.

At the time the pagers were activated, the crew had been supporting their lifeboat medical officer Dr Martin O’Kane at the launch of his book Dee the Little Lifeboat.

Alice Rohdich and Martin O’Kane with their book Dee the Little Lifeboat | Credit: RNLI/Judy NelsonAlice Rohdich and Martin O’Kane with their book Dee the Little Lifeboat | Credit: RNLI/Judy Nelson

Dr O’Kane wrote the children’s book as a fundraiser for the station and is illustrated by local artist Alice Rohdich, wife of former lifeboat crew member Damian Rohdich.

The assembled guests including local MLAs, councillors, journalists and friends were treated the sound of several pagers being activated and a scramble of yellow-clad volunteer lifeboat crew running out the door towards the lifeboat house in very dramatic start to a wonderful book launch.

Portrush RNLI press officer Judy Nelson said: “I could not have timed this shout any better if I had tried. This certainly showed people how quickly the crew respond to the pager and to see them all running for the door certainly added to the drama.

“It certainly helped to reinforce how important our fundraising events are — to support our volunteer crew to save all lives at sea.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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As schools in Northern Ireland prepare for the half-term break, the RNLI and the Coastguard are reminding everyone to stay safe if they are heading to the coast or are visiting the local inland waterways as the autumn sets in.

During last year’s half-term holidays, RNLI lifeboats across Ireland and the UK launched 143 times and aided 78 people as its volunteer crews dealt with everything from tidal cut-offs and struggling paddleboarders to slips and trips on coastal paths, as well as vessels in distress.

Lisa Hollingum, RNLI Water Safety Delivery Support said: ‘With the best of the weather behind us for the year, we’re asking those visiting the coast and inland waterways this half-term to consider the dangers.

‘Our lifeboats often rescue those cut off by the tide on coastal walks, so we encourage you to check the tide times and ensure you have planned to get back safely before the water level rises.

‘For those planning a coastal walk, also consider the terrain as what may seem like firm ground can, in fact, be very soft sand or mud meaning that people might get stuck.

‘If you are cruising on the inland waterways, plan your journey, and be aware of the shorter evenings so that you leave enough time to reach your overnight mooring.

‘Over the coming months, sea and lake conditions will become rougher and more unpredictable which brings many additional dangers. Large waves will break on the shoreline which increases the risk of people being swept off their feet, along with coastal erosion causing cliff falls making some areas more dangerous.

‘Around 140 people lose their lives around Irish and UK coasts, including on inland waterways each year, and over half never even planned to enter the water. If you do find yourself in the water unexpectedly, FLOAT to live by fighting your instinct to thrash around, lean back, extend your arms and legs, and float until you gain control of your breathing, before deciding whether to call for help or swim to safety.’

Claire Hughes, Director of HM Coastguard, said: ‘Autumn is a perfect time to explore the coastal areas and inland waterways around the UK, the summer crowds have gone and the weather is ideal for a walk. However, the sunshine can quickly vanish making the temperature much colder and the lifeguards who were present in peak season are no longer on most beaches. It is vital at this time of year to be prepared before you head to the coast.

‘As always, we are ready to deal with emergency situations but please take note of safety advice and don’t take risks. If you see anybody in trouble, don’t enter the water yourself to try and rescue them, call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.’

The RNLI’s key coastal safety advice is:

  • Have a plan - check the weather forecast, tide times, read local hazard signage and let someone know where you are going and when you intend to be back
  • Keep a close eye on your family and keep dogs on a lead near the edge of cliffs
  • If walking or running be aware that coastal paths, promenades and piers may be slippery or prone to waves breaking over them
  • If you fall into the water unexpectedly, FLOAT to Live. Fight your instinct to thrash around, lean back and relax, extending your arms and legs
  • In an emergency dial 999, and ask for the Coastguard
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