Displaying items by tag: Lifeboats
The RNLI’s chief executive, Mark Dowie, said he will take a 50% pay cut to help the storm caused by the coronavirus.
And the charity that saves lives at sea is also planning to put some 30% of staff on furlough over the next few weeks.
In a statement, Dowie said: “The coronavirus outbreak is testing many charities and emergency services across the UK and Ireland, and the RNLI is no different.
“We have some reserves in place to deal with short, sharp shocks to our financial situation. However, we are all facing unprecedented times and we have seen an immediate impact not just on our frontline services, but also on our ability to fundraise which is already having an impact on our finances.
“We don’t know how long the coronavirus situation will affect us and we need to take what action we can – now and in the next weeks and months – to make sure our charity is in the best position possible to weather this storm.
“This is my watch and it’s my responsibility to make sure the RNLI is here to save lives at sea in the future.”
Dowie confirmed that the RNLI has paused its toning replacement of equipment and buildings, such as station rebuilds and building new lifeboats.
“We’re also looking at new ways to fundraise online and on social media. I’ve also made the decision to reduce my salary by 50% from now until this crisis has passed.
‘Even in these most testing of times our dedicated lifeboat crew continue to ensure our vital search and rescue service remains on service across the UK and Ireland’
“Everyone in the RNLI – supporters, volunteers, staff – are all going above and beyond to get us through these challenging times and I want to make my contribution to the charity I love, beyond my day-to-day work leading this amazing lifesaving service.
“We are also planning to put, initially, around 30% of staff on furlough over the next few weeks.
“As a charity, we have to take a pragmatic approach in these difficult times and make sure we’re focusing our supporters’ donations on maintaining our lifesaving service for generations to come.
“We will be topping up all those on furlough to full pay during April and then in May, to 80% pay if that is above the £2,500 cap set by the [UK] government.”
Dowie added: “I want to pay tribute to all our supporters, volunteers and staff. Even in these most testing of times our dedicated lifeboat crew, along with all those who support them, continue to ensure our vital search and rescue service remains on service across the UK and Ireland, ready to save every one in trouble at sea.
“They need people’s support more than ever in these unprecedented times.”
The RNLI has already paused the roll-out of its seasonal lifeguard service across Great Britain and Northern Ireland in response to the UK government’s instructions for people to stay at home.
RNLI shops and museums have been closed since 23 March and, with local fundraisers unable to hold events or collections, the charity’s annual community-based fundraising campaign, Mayday, has had to be scaled back.
Instead, the charity is looking at ways to replace cancelled events with online fundraising at rnli.org/mayday
The MV Kaami had left Drogheda Port on the evening of Saturday 21 March and was due to arrive in Slite, Sweden this weekend.
But the 90m cargo vessel ran aground in The Minch at what’s known locally as Eugenie Rock, about six nautical miles north-west of Duntulm on Skye.
Portree RNLI’s lifeboat was launched at 2.24am yesterday morning in response to a MayDay call from the MV Kaami, as did the Emergency Towing Vessel Ievoli Black and the Pharos, a Northern Lighthouse Board buoy-laying vessel.
The duty Stornoway Coastguard rescue helicopter arrived on scene, where weather conditions has a Force 8 southerly wind with a rough sea state, and began to airlift eight of the Russian crew to Stornoway. No injuries were reported.
The 26m whitefish trawler Sedulous had five crew on board when it went ashore around the north end of the island as it was leaving Scalloway Harbour for fishing grounds to the west of the Scalloway Islands, just after 3.30am.
Another local trawler, the Radiant Star, was already in the area and had offered its assistance, along with Scalloway Harbour pilot boat Lyrie.
After waiting for the tide to rise, the Radiant Star crew were successful in establishing a tow line with Sedulous, and managed to pull the boat back to deeper water before any serious damage was done.
The Sedulous was then able to return to port in Scalloway under her own steam, escorted by the RNLI Charles Lidbury, and the Aith lifeboat returned to station by 8am.
Aith RNLI lifeboat coxswain John Robertson said: “Life-threatening incidents can happen at sea at any time. So it’s important that you call for help when something goes wrong.
“I’d like to thank the crew of the Radiant Star for their safe and essential assistance this morning. Their quick, competent response was an important part of getting Sedulous and her crew back to safety.
“Local RNLI crews are always ready to respond, and I’m pleased that we once again assembled so many volunteers so quickly.”
John added: “This was our first callout since the recent outbreak of the coronavirus in Shetland, at a time when many folk are self-isolating or social distancing.
“Helping slow the spread of this virus ensures that our volunteers remain healthy, and are able to keep helping save lives at sea.”
In a statement, the lifesaving charity said: “The welfare of our volunteers, supporters and staff along with our ability to maintain our world-class lifesaving service is our priority.
“With this in mind, and given the current situation with Covid-19, we have taken the decision to close all RNLI shops, museums and visitor centres with immediate effect.
“Our lifeboat stations remain operational and we will continue to respond to those in need but will not be open to visitors.
“Our lifeboats will continue to launch to those in peril at sea.”
After putting out a ‘Pan Pan’ alert, the crew managed to get the fire under control. But in doing so, they were forced to shut down both engines and were drifting about a mile from the treacherous Ardnamruchan coast in western Scotland without any power.
Tobermory RNLI’s volunteer crew received an immediate launch page at 5.32pm and the lifeboat was underway just 13 minutes later, making best speed to the casualty vessel.
The crew passed a line to the vessel and she was towed towards Tobermory in relatively good conditions.
However, just after dropping the tow rope and securing the fish farm vessel for an alongside tow, the wind picked up significantly which made manoeuvring the much larger vessel a challenge for the lifeboat and her crew.
Nevertheless, the vessel was successfully put alongside the aquaculture pontoon in Tobermory where local coastguard rescue teams and staff from the Tobermory Harbour Authority were able to help secure her.
This was the first ‘shout’ for deputy coxswain Dave Underwood who only qualified as a coxswain in late January, and this was only his second weekend on call.
Lifeboat operations manager Dr Sam Jones said: “We’re extremely pleased that the crew of the fish farm vessel managed to get the fire under control so quickly and that no one was hurt.
“Given the nature of the emergency and the size of the vessel, this would be an extremely challenging shout for any coxswain, let alone a relatively new one. Dave certainly had a baptism of fire in more ways than one on Friday the 13th.”
This full-time temporary role (for between three and six months) interviews on the week of Monday 13 April and would be best suited to someone ether studying or recently graduated from a degree in PR, communications or media.
The successful candidate would be required to:
- Plan, prepare and issue multimedia news releases, using text, photos and videos, and conventional and social media channels;
- Respond to media enquiries to enhance and protect the reputation of the RNLI;
- Establish and maintain good media relations;
- Prioritise and select newsworthy incidents to publicise;
- Support and brief RNLI staff and volunteers in media activity;
- Edit and upload content to the RNLI News Centre;
- Build professional working relationships with a variety of RNLI people;
- Maintain an awareness of the current news agenda and monitor coverage of the RNLI in the south west;
- Assist the Regional or National Press Office with handling major incidents and issues; and
- Support the media activity of media engagement team members and operations personnel remotely or, if required, on location.
Some travel may be required and you may be required to work out of normal office hours on occasion.
The role is for someone who would would enjoy working in a busy communications team with a varied workload, who is self-motivated, enjoys working with people, has excellent spoken and written communication skills, is a good all-round communicator, and who has a high level of computer proficiency and is able to remain calm under pressure.
If you have a passion for PR and working with incredible lifeboat volunteers, the RNLI would love to hear from you.
The closing date or applications is Wednesday 25 March. Full details of the position, including employee benefits and how to apply, can be found on the RNLI website HERE.
Two volunteer crew were put ashore to see if they could offer any assistance to the coastguard. The swimmer was uninjured, however the low tide at the time meant that walking across the sharp rocks was not possible in bare foot.
The decision was taken to winch them aboard the helicopter before landing on Red Island where local coastguard volunteers had set up and secured a landing area. The casualty was then transferred to an ambulance to be assessed.
The crew returned to the lifeboat and they stood by while the winch operation was carried out before standing down and returning to the station.
Speaking about the callout, volunteer lifeboat press officer Gerry Canning said: “The swimmer made the right call to head for shore and look for assistance as soon as possible. This was a good outcome today and it’s always great to see how well the different rescue services work together.”
The incident came nine days after Skerries RNLI’s first callout of the year, responding to the activation of an emergency beacon at sea.
Pagers sounded at 1.58pm after a call was placed to the coastguard reporting two people stranded at the base of the cliffs just east of Howth’s East Pier.
Volunteer crew members launched the inshore lifeboat within 12 minutes of getting the call and proceeded to the area, where they quickly located the casualties.
Both were taken aboard the lifeboat and checked over and were found to be unharmed and in good spirits as they were returned safely to shore.
They confirmed that they were tourists visiting the area and got caught out by the incoming tide while walking at the base of the cliffs.
Speaking following the callout, lifeboat helm Killian O’Reilly said: “We were delighted to assist the tourists after they found themselves in difficulty.
“They did the right thing and called for assistance and remained calm. As visitors to the area they were unfamiliar with the tides and location.
“We were pleased to drop them back ashore safe and sound and hope they enjoy the remainder of their visit to Ireland.”
He has been appointed by the lifesaving charity as coxswain of the RNLI Charles Lidbury, the regular lifeboat stationed in the village — and will lead the volunteer crew at the most northerly lifeboat base in the UK, right on the edge of Scottish waters.
John (31), who has been the vessel’s full-time mechanic since August 2013, lives in Aith with his family, and was selected for promotion by the RNLI after formal assessments and interviews.
He has taken on the role under supervision, until his final coxswain training is completed in the coming months.
John’s years of service with the RNLI have included being called out to several notable incidents at sea.
His first ever shout was to the fatal sinking of the scallop boat Diamond near the West Burrafirth pier in March 2014, when RNLI volunteers managed to rescue a surviving crew member from the water.
He was also part of the team that attended the rescue of the Edward Henry, the crab fishing boat that was hit by a large wave west of Sumburgh in March 2017 — smashing wheelhouse windows and knocking out engines and electronics.
John and the rest of the RNLI Charles Lidbury crew spent around 14 hours at sea, escorting the damaged vessel to safety through Force 9 winds and heavy seas.
John says that the “time was right” for him to apply for the job of coxswain, and is “feeling good” about the prospect of managing the RNLI station in Aith.
His predecessor, Adam James, has moved to the north of England to take up a job as coxswain with the RNLI's operation on the Humber river near Hull.
John says: “Aith is a settled station with an experienced crew already in place. It was the trust of that crew that encouraged me to apply for the job of coxswain, and that trust is essential.
“Aith is a relatively quiet station, but our callouts tend to be serious, lengthy and often in testing weather conditions. We need to work well as a team in order to save lives at sea — and I’m really looking forward to stepping up and leading that team of committed local volunteers.
“Time is of the essence whenever we launch the RNLI Charles Lidbury, as we try to launch our lifeboat within seven minutes of our pagers going off. That can be quite a tie. I'll tend not to go any further away than Bixter, unless cover has been pre-arranged.
“But this will be a good job for me and my family, and allow me to be home about — pager depending — in between all the paperwork and maintenance that comes with running a lifeboat station.”
John is originally from Voe, but has a family connection to the lifeboat through his wife Kayla whose grandfather Frank Johnston served as lifeboat mechanic for many years, and attended the famous rescue of the crew of the Juniper trawler in February 1967.
Johnston's service that day earned him the RNLI’s Thanks of the Institution inscribed on vellum.
Lifeboat teams from Portrush and farther afield gathered in the North Coast town on Friday (28 February) to bid farewell to one of their own, as mechanic/coxswain and crew member Anthony Chambers retires after more than 40 years.
The Chambers family have been linked to Portrush RNLI in Northern Ireland for generations. Anthony’s father Gilbert and brother Derek were both mechanics on the lifeboat before him, and Anthony’s two nephews, Jason and Karl, are following the family tradition of being volunteer crew and an integral part of the station.
But Friday night was all about Anthony — celebrating his career, his retirement, remembering great rescues and the difference he has made to so many people.
Anthony’s most memorable and heroic ‘shout’ was the rescue of two young boys from a cave in August 2009 against a rising tide.
Part of the account of the rescue said: “Anthony fought against the elements in almost total darkness, being smashed against the cave wall … rescuing the boys one by one. It took him 30 minutes to complete the difficult and treacherous return swim twice with the rising tide against him.”
As a result, Anthony was presented with a bronze medal for gallantry in May 2010 by HRH Prince Michael of Kent at the Barbican in London, and fellow crew members with him on that night were presented with a letter of thanks from the RNLI.
This was only one example of Anthony’s bravery and on Friday night, the lifeboat crew, fundraising team and friends gathered in Portrush Yacht Club to celebrate, present gifts and reminisce of rescues gone by.
It was a testament to Anthony’s popularity that Portrush Yacht Club was packed to capacity with ex-crew members and representatives from Lough Swilly, Red Bay, Larne, Ballyglass, Portpatrick and Donaghadee lifeboat stations.
It was an opportunity for Anthony’s family, his wife Maryna, son Alistair and stepdaughter Louise, to meet so many of his colleagues in the RNLI and hear of his many exploits.
The formal part of the evening was introduced by MC and fellow lifeboat crew member Tim Nelson. Volunteer coxswain Des Austin presented gifts on behalf of the crew and Keith Gilmore, lifeboat operations manager, presented a vellum and letter of thanks from Mark Dowie, chief executive of the RNLI.
John Martin from the fundraising team also presented gifts on behalf of the team. Shirley Austin, Des’s wife, presented Anthony’s wife Maryna with flowers on behalf of the crew.
Beni McAllister, honorary secretary of Portrush Yacht Club, presented Anthony with a life membership of the club in recognition of its close links with the lifeboat station.
Anthony took to the floor to thank everyone for the gifts and good wishes. He went on to wish the current crew well and also the new coxswain/mechanic Dave Robinson, who takes over the helm.