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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
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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
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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

#Lifeboats - Arklow RNLI launched on Tuesday (2 April) to assist a vessel in distress following a request from the Irish Coast Guard and a pager alert at 3.20pm.

The volunteer crew left their jobs and normal workday behind and within minutes of the alert were aboard the lifeboat Ger Tigchlearr and under way to the reported position, some nine miles south east of Arklow and close to the offshore Arklow sand banks.

The casualty boat, a fishing vessel, had reported engine failure and was adrift, unable to anchor.

As the lifeboat made its way to the location, fellow Arklow RNLI coxswains and crew members who were at work aboard a wind turbine transfer and maintenance vessel heard the radio request for assistance.

The work vessel was closer to the stricken fishing boat, which was by now approximately half a mile from the sandbanks and in real danger of being wrecked in the prevailing westerly wind and moderate sea conditions.

Following a consultation with the lifeboat coxswain, the workboat crew were able to get a line safely aboard the vessel and tow it away from the sandbanks for a time.

As this was in progress, the lifeboat arrived on scene and its crew set up their own tow to bring the vessel and three aboard back home to Arklow.

Following the callout, Mark Corcoran, community safety officer at Arklow RNLI, said: “Thanks to the quick thinking and actions of our volunteers who were at work on the wind turbine vessel, Arklow RNLI was in the happy position to tow this fishing vessel and her crew of three to safety.

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

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Youghal’s latest RNLI recruits followed a training exercise on Sunday (31 March) with a callout to a 10ft open boat experiencing engine trouble just off the old Youghal bridge in the East Cork town.

The volunteer crew launched the inshore lifeboat Gordon and Phil within four minutes of returning to station in fresh conditions.

They quickly reached the troubled vessel with two men wearing lifejackets onboard.

A tow line was established and the boat was safely towed back to the ferry slip in Youghal where it was handed over to the owner at 3.40pm, just 10 minutes after launch.

Mark Nolan, deputy kaunching authority at Youghal RNLI, said: “The two people onboard had the good sense to anchor the boat as soon as they started to experience engine trouble.

“They had both a VHF radio and mobile phone with them also and so were able to call for help quickly. It is essential to carry some form of communication with you when you go out on the water.

“We would also like to say well done to all of our shore crew today, all of which were new recruits.”

Recently Youghal RNLI received a cheque for more than €3,000 raised by the Ardmore Christmas Day swim, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Youghal’s RNLI volunteers were presented last week with a cheque for €3,439.60 from the organisers of the Ardmore Christmas Day swim.

The event was first organised in 1997 and has successfully run every Christmas Day since. The swim is always well supported by the local community and 2018’s was no exception.

The swimmers met on the beach at Ardmore at 12.15pm on Christmas Day in dry but chilly conditions and made the dash into the water for a quick dip before heading back to the beach for a hot drink.

Youghal RNLI’s inshore lifeboat, Gordon and Phil, and her volunteer crew were there on the day to oversee the safety of the swimmers.

Lifeboat operations manager Derry Walsh said: “We would like to send our thanks to everyone who came out on Christmas Day and took part in the swim, and a special thank you to those who have organised the swim over the last 22 years.

“The RNLI depend on the generosity of the public to save lives at sea, and this donation will help to ensure our lifeboat and crew are always ready when they are called upon.”

Elsewhere, a callout for Larne RNLI to a suspected vessel in trouble on Friday evening (29 March) turned out to be false alarm as smoke seen rising from a vessel at the Maidens was part of a training exercise.

Paul Johnston, Larne RNLI deputy launching authority, said: “We would like to commend the member of the public for contacting the coastguard and raising the alarm. We would always much rather launch to find all is safe and well than not launch at all.”

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