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Displaying items by tag: Portrush

#coastguard – A search is currently underway for the owner of two fishing rods found near rocks at the Blue Pool, Portrush.
A member of the public called Belfast Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre at just after 11am because they had spotted the two abandoned fishing rods. Because the coastguard cannot be sure that the owner hadn't fallen in to the water they sent the Portrush Coastguard Rescue Team, the RNLI Lifeboat from Portrush and the Irish Coastguard helicopter based at Sligo to the scene. Despite an extensive search the owner of the fishing rods has not been found.
Belfast Coastguard Watch Manager Ian Murdock said:
"Until we find out that the owner of the fishing rods is safe and well we have to assume the worst. If you were fishing at the Blue Pool last night or early this morning please call the coastguard, particularly if you left some equipment behind.
"Rocks can be dangerous and slippery so please consider whether there is anywhere safer to fish. Because there is little to hold on to even a small wave can wash you off in to the sea and so the coastguard recommends that when fishing from rocks you wear a suitable floatation device, you check weather and tidal conditions and tell someone on shore where you are going and what time you plan to be back. If you don't return on time ask them to call 999 and ask for the coastguard.

Published in Coastguard
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#RNLI - Portaferry RNLI is looking for new volunteer crew members to join its search and rescue service in Co Down.

The station currently has 17 lifeboat and two shore crew to cover its inshore service on Strangford Lough but is now calling on new volunteers to come forward and find out how they can get involved in helping the charity continue to save lives at sea.

To that end, the station will be hosting two open days early next month for all interested candidates to learn more.

"We are looking for anyone aged 17 years and over who is willing to offer some of their free time to join what I believe to be, one of the most exhilarating and rewarding voluntary services that is out there," said lifeboat operations manager Brian Bailie.

"Every volunteer receives first class training from the RNLI and learns new skills which can benefit them in many walks of life. Lifeboat crew members need to have a reasonable level of fitness, have good eyesight and not be colour-blind."

He added: "Anyone who would like to volunteer but feels they would not meet the requirements for lifeboat crew should in no way be put off, as shore crew also play an essential role in the launch and recovery of the lifeboat when it goes on service."

For anyone who feels they have the time and commitment to volunteer for the charity which is on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, is asked to email Brian at [email protected].

Alternatively, prospective volunteers can come along to the station’s open days from 7-9pm next Tuesday 7 May or from 2-4pm next Saturday 11 May.

Elsewhere in Northern Ireland, primary school children will have the opportunity to hit the surf with RNLI lifeguards over the next month.

The charity’s ‘Hit the Surf’ programme runs from 7 May to 7 June on the East Strand Beach in Portrush.

Aimed at primary five to seven pupils aged eight to 11, the programme - which is expanding to accommodate more schools this year - gives children a unique opportunity to gain practical lessons in lifesaving and beach safety. All equipment is provided free of charge.

Each session lasts two-and-a half-hours and includes a theory lesson on staying safe at the beach, the role of beach lifeguards and the RNLI, and detailed information on flags and rip currents.

There are practical lessons in lifesaving and surf based skills, while lifeguards aim to build pupils confidence in the sea. Children also learn about the local hazards and the beach environment.

Sessions are still available for schools who want to book pupils in. For more information contact Jessica on 0777 441 4208 or email [email protected]

Last year RNLI lifeguards located on beaches in Co Down and along the Causeway Coast responded to 158 incidents and assisted 176 people who found themselves in difficulty.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - Rather than accept gifts for their 50th wedding anniversary, a Portstweart couple have asked their family and friends to make donations to Portrush RNLI.

As the Coleraine Times reports, Ewart Toms and his wife - who are well known butchers in the area - raised £500 for the RNLI which they were more than happy to hand over to lifeboat station volunteers at Portrush.

They said: “We wanted to mark this special occasion in our lives, by making a donation to a cause close to our hearts, and to the volunteers who risk their lives to save others.”

The Coleraine Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#boatjumble – Portrush Boatowners Association is eagerly looking forward to the annual boat jumble at Portrush Harbour on Saturday 30th March 2013.

The boat jumble which is usually held in October was rescheduled to Easter Saturday, so that visitors to Portrush could enjoy the event, which combines a gathering of the local boatowners raising funds for charity and a bit of banter and craic. The Charities benefitting this year are Chest Heart and Stroke and Portrush Lifeboat Station.

The jumble takes place on the North Pier and consists of stalls and car boots selling all things nautical and maybe not so nautical. It gives boatowners a chance to buy boating paraphanalia as well as maybe the odd boat up for grabs.
The local Coastguard will be on hand to give Sea Safety advice and the Portrush Lifeboat will hopefully be alongside side with her crew, which offers an excellent opportunity to have a tour of the lifeboat and ask the crew questions about how she works.

Also this year the Association have asked local men Andy McClelland and John Lynn to come along with their boats.

John is planning to sail solo from Islay to Portrush in his laser dinghy retracing the steps of his late father Robert who made the same journey on a windsurfer. John will also be raising funds for Portrush Lifeboat Station.

Local Lifeboat crew member and Junior World Kayaking Champion Andy McClelland wil be kayaking 22 miles across the Irish Sea in May in aid of kidney research, Alzheimers Society and the regional respiratory Belfast City Hospital.

There will be an opportunity to talk to both John and Andy about their plans.

Charlie Grossie Chair of the Portrush Boatowners Association commented:-

'"The Association is yet again proud to be able run the Boat Jumble in support of the RNLI and the NI Chest Heart and Stroke charities. We are hoping for good weather and good turn on the day. We look forward to being able to make a healthy donation in support of both charities".

The Boat Jumble starts at 10am to 3pm on 30th March 2013. Stalls/Cars caost £25 and entry fee is £3 for adults, children get in free.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
Tagged under

#SeaKayaking - A Portrush teen is preparing to cross the Irish Sea by kayak for charity this summer.

Top surf kayaker Andy McClelland aims to raise funds for the Alzheimer's Society, Kidney Research and the Regional Respiratory Centre with his One Man One Boat campaign, which will see him kayak 22 miles across the open water from Donaghadee in Co Down to Portpatrick in Scotland.

The current Surf Kayak Junior World Champion will embark on his challenge in a high-performance sea kayak on loan from Rockpool Sea Kayaks and is presently planning his trip with fellow physiotherapy students at Ulster University Jordanstown as well as the Causeway Coast Kayaking Club.

McClelland has yet to set a date for the solo crossing, awaiting word on the best possible weather and sea conditions in May.

The Alzheimer's Society has more on the story HERE.

Published in Kayaking

#RNLI - Portrush RNLI has rescued a kayaker who got into difficulty off the Co Antrim coast.

The volunteer lifeboat crew had an early call out on Sunday morning (17 February) to the kayaker who got into trouble on the water at West Bay.



There were strong southerly winds at time which caused a swell. The kayak capsized and was whipped by the prevailing wind into the harbour area, leaving the kayaker stranded and treading water.



A Portrush lifeboat crew member who witnessed the scene on the West Strand spotted the incident and promptly raised the alarm.



The inshore lifeboat crew - including Mark Mitchell as helm, Andy McClelland and Stevie Ritchie - launched within minutes and had the kayaker back at base within 20 minutes.



Portrush RNLI lifeboat operations manager Robin Cardwell said: "The kayaker was very fortunate as the winds were quite strong in the West Bay. Our volunteer crew launched quickly and was able to bring him back to shore safely."

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#portrush – Tim Nelson's interest in all things connected with the RNLI has paid dividends in relation to the return of a silver gallantry medal presented to a local man for saving the life of a boy in Portrush in 1891.

Tim a keen collector and married to the Station's Press Officer, Judy Nelson was searching the web for images of RNLI issued medals as he had seen an unnamed RNLI bronze medal on eBay and was trying to work out if it was a modern copy or an original. As part of his on-going research Tim discovered a silver medal on the Internet awarded by the RNLI for bravery. As he read the accompanying history and the description of the medal he was surprised to find that the rescue that the medal had been awarded for had occurred in Portrush Harbour in 1891.

Tim said

'Obviously having an interest and connection with the Lifeboat Station in Portrush, I was very excited by the find. I contacted Robin Cardwell Lifeboat Operations manager to tell him and contacted the seller to express interest in the medal.'

Robin was keen to learn more and between himself, Tim, Des Austin, Coxswain, arrangements were made to purchase the medal to return it to its home Station in Portrush.

The medal was awarded by The Royal National Lifeboat Institution to: John Boyd Seaman who was not a crew member but a seaman living in Portrush. The full citation reads:

On 8 May 1891, while going out to his smack (small boat) which was at anchor in Portrush Harbour, a boy was thrown into the sea after his boat ran into another vessel's wake. John Boyd saw this from his position on another boat some 100 yards away. Despite being encumbered with his coat and sea boots, John Boyd jumped into the water and swam to the boy, as did fisherman David Patton, who, though twice as far away on shore, ran to the quay, threw off his coat, jumped in the sea and went to his aid. Boyd and Patton both supported the boy until a boat came from shore to further assist them. The RNLI voted John Boyd and David Patton its silver medal and accompanying vellum testimonial on 14 May 1891 The award was reported in various papers including the Belfast News-Letter, Saturday 16 May 1891).

John Boyd's medal has had quite a journey before returning to the home station. It formed part of the Watters Collection, sold at Glendinnings between 9-12 June 1913; it was subsequently part of the American Numismatic Society collection until 2006 and was sold for the ANS by Morton & Eden Auctioneers, 26 October 2006.

The medal was purchased by a collector Dr Roger Willoughby, who has a keen interest in lifesaving medals and is planning to write a book about Lifesaving Medals issued in Ireland. Dr Willoughby would be delighted to hear from anyone with any information that could assist him with his research. He can be contacted via email at [email protected]

Robin Cardwell Lifeboat Operations Manager commented:-

'We are delighted to have this medal back in Portrush were it first started out. It has had quite a journey around the world and we are so pleased that Tim found it and was able to assist in its return.'

The medal was purchased from crew funds and donations made by Willie Gregg as part of his on-going fundraising initiatives for Portrush Station and Willie's Orphan Fund

The medal will form part of the Stations history exhibition and can be seen on station open days.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
Tagged under

#SURFING - One of Ireland's top surfers claims he has found the world's biggest waves off the coast of Ireland.

As Irish Central reports, Portrush waverider Al Mennie says that he and surfing partner Andrew Cotton have found two waves reaching as much as 120 feet in secret locations off the coasts of Antrim and Donegal.

The duo are currently waiting for the right conditions to surf the biggest swells.

"The good days are few and far between – 90 percent of the swells are unrideable and we'd reckon that only two days each year are rideable," Mennie told the Irish Independent.

Their location is being kept under wraps for now due to safety concerns, as the waves crash down in a hazardous rocky area - making them definitely not suitable for novices.

Irish Central has more on the story HERE.

Published in Surfing

Both Portrush Lifeboats were in action on Saturday afternoon (15th October) to rescue four people in an overturned boat at the Barmouth at Portstewart.

Both boats were launched at 15.50 hours on a wet dark afternoon after reports had been received of an overturned rib. When the Inshore boat arrived on scene there was a heavy 2 metre swell. Three people were on top of the rib and one in the water.

The volunteer ILB crew got the person in the water into the lifeboat by which time the All-weather lifeboat was on scene. All persons were then transferred to the ALB and taken to Portrush.

All were wearing wetsuits and did not require medical attention.

Robin Cardwell LOM stated

'This was a perfect example of  team work between the two crews of the lifeboats from Portrush There was no hesitation in the volunteer crews responding to this shout. Each man knew what he had to do to bring the four people and their rib ashore'.

More from UK coastguard source here:

Six people have been rescued from a capsized dive boat at the entrance to the River Bann this afternoon.

Belfast Coastguard received a '999' call from a member of the public at 3:48 pm informing them that they had witnessed a small boat capsize and there were people in the water.  Coastguard Rescue Officers from Coleraine were sent to the scene. The Portrush inshore and all weather RNLI lifeboats were requested to launch and the Irish Coastguard rescue helicopter from Sligo was scrambled.

Steve Carson, Watch Manager, Belfast Coastguard, says:
"The inshore lifeboat was first on scene and discovered one person in the water and a further five people on the upturned hull of a Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat (RHIB). The conditions on scene were challenging with a large sea swell.
All six people have now been transferred to the all weather lifeboat and taken to Portrush Harbour and do not require further medical assistance.
The RHIB is being towed to harbour by the lifeboat.
We would like to remind the public that if they witness an incident along the shoreline or on the coast to ring '999' and ask for the Coastguard. Swift action from the member of the public this afternoon greatly assisted in the rescue of the six people in the water."

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

The RNLI's 30th Portrush Raft Race takes place this weekend promises to deliver the usual fun frolics and madness around the Harbour from 11am on Saturday 28th May right through to Sunday 29th!

The weekend kicks off with the Junior Raft Race at 11am at the harbour, followed by music, street entertainment, The RNLI Roadshow making its first appearance at the Raft Race and a real coup for the committee.
This year for the first time also the RNLI Lifeguard team will be joining the crew for a spectacular safety display at sea, showing how all sections of the RNLI operate together to save lives.

Radio Ulster's Alan Simpson will be the compere for the day bringing his own style of wit and humour and boundless knowledge of local characters, interviewing rafters, crew, committee and sponsors.
To round it all off local band 'Wipe-out' have reformed to bring back a flavour of the Old Raft Race days.....who can forget them playing in blazing sunshine on the balcony of the yacht Club?

On Sunday there will be the Service of Thanksgiving followed by the madness and mayhem that is the Waiters Race....Come down and support your local bar people. This race gets so competitive it's unreal. Who will knock Sharman Crawford from the Ramore Wine Bar off his perch!

The Committee would like to thanks the Causeway SPAR retail group for their support both in time and money, and everyone else who has contributed to this 30th year of rafting!

Further details can be obtained by calling the Raft Race hotline 07969 814605

History - The First Portrush Raft Race

The Portrush Raft Race has its origins in a special relationship that existed between two Johns. One John (Scott) was closely involved in the day-to-day affairs of the Portrush Lifeboat; the other John (McNally) was the co-owner of the Harbour Bar in Portrush.

In summer 1981 John Scott brought into the Harbour Bar a Lifeboat Magazine containing an article about a Raft Race that the Oban Lifeboat Ladies Guild had successfully run as a fund raiser. John Scott showed the article to John McNally and both were in agreement that the West Bay would provide an ideal venue for running a similar fund raising event in Portrush. The matter rested for some months until there was a clearing-out of the bar shelves when the magazine re-appeared.

A letter was sent to the Oban Ladies Guild who were most helpful in providing copies of their rules and entry form along with some very valuable comments on their experience. The way was clear to start and all that was needed was some willing volunteers to help with the organisation. Regulars of the Bar offered their support and so the first Raft Race Committee was formed. Guinness offered to be the main sponsor which significantly helped in bringing the Portrush Raft Race to the public's attention. The spring bank holiday weekend was selected as it tied in with the Coleraine Borough Council's idea of having a Spring Bank Holiday Fair in Portrush.

An idea was hatched to have a Le Mann type start from the West Beach with crews standing at the water's edge and then sprinting up the beach to collect their rafts and head for the sea with the finish line at the Lifeboat in the harbour. It was agreed from the start that the focus would be family entertainment, rather than speed, with special emphasis being placed on raft design and crew costume.

The first race, which was held on Saturday 29th May 1982, attracted 39 entries with a number making a very special effort to design their rafts attractively. The rafts ranged from the most basic design to the resplendent Quinquireme of Nineveh complete with galley slaves, skeleton, albatross and shark. The ladies of the Fantasy Island also attracted considerable interest with their palm tree, grass skirts and badly fitting coconut shells. The sun shone and the wind from the South West was fresh providing a welcome assist for the tired crews.

The first across the line was the aptly named Portrush Flyer (J Porter, C Irwin, W Green, W Gallagher, N Gaile and N Gibson see above) followed by Titanic Raft 1 and Leonora. The first all ladies raft was also Leonora which was crewed by the girls from Dunluce School, Bushmills ( K Hunter, K Diamond, W Torrens, P McConaghy, S Boswell and M Parke). The best designed raft was Quinquireme of Nineveh ( B Magowan, C Woffinoin, D McKeown, A Creelman, N Adams and C Thompson) and the best costumed crew were Fantasy Island (M McFadden, V Haslam, J Sutchliffe, G Douglas, E Thompson and E Sutcliffe). There were other awards eg most humorous Titanic 1, Perseverance Titanic 2 and most important of all most sponsorship which went to the boys of Dunluce School Bushmills whose raft Big Berta raised over £650.

The first Raft Race rose over £3000 which was way beyond the committee's expectation and guaranteed the continuation of the event. In the 22 years that the two John's were involved the race grew from a Saturday afternoon event to an action packed Raft Race Weekend. Their involvement ceased after the death of John Scott in 2004. It is wrong to single out individuals but particular mention must be made of John and Fay Scott who gave the event the life that made it so enjoyable for all involved in the organisation. Margaret and Alan McFadden who also showed everyone how to enter the spirit of the event and have great fun. Finally mention must be made of Rosie Kirker Millar who sadly recently passed away. Rosie epitomised a can-do spirit and gave so much energy to the committee.

J McNally
May 2011

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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