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Lifeboat crew at Castletownbere RNLI were launched this evening (Friday 26 April) at 6.16pm to assist a 33ft fishing vessel which had lost all power in Bere Haven Harbour in West Cork. The callout came during a severe weather warning as Storm Hannah swept through the country.

The lifeboat crew battled sea conditions reaching force nine to assist the vessel with a crew of two people onboard. The fishing boat had lost all power and was at the mercy of the weather. Once on scene the lifeboat crew quickly took the vessel under tow and brought it safely to shore where the crew could seek shelter.

Commenting on callout Castletownbere RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager Paul Stevens said, ‘Conditions are very challenging offshore this evening and the crew did a great job in bringing everyone home safe. The waves are very high and there are strong winds blowing. We would advise everyone to seek shelter and not attempt to go out during the weather warning.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Both Red Bay RNLI lifeboats launched this morning (Wednesday 24 April) when a 28ft yacht on passage from Oban in Scotland to Belfast got into difficulty when its five-person crew became ill in challenging sea conditions and were unable to safely command the vessel.

The crew of the yacht raised the alarm at 8.30am this morning to ask for assistance when they were unable to continue their journey due to conditions at sea which caused four of the crew to become unwell. The yacht’s anchor had also been dragging the vessel throughout the night. Sea conditions off the Antrim coast today were described by the lifeboat crew as ‘challenging’ as easterly winds created rolling seas.

Once the alarm was raised, both Red Bay lifeboats were launched, and when on scene two lifeboat crew were put aboard the yacht to bring it back to Cushendall, escorted by the lifeboats. Once on land, the crew of the yacht received medical assistance from paramedics.

Commenting on the early morning callout Red Bay RNLI Coxswain Paddy McLaughlin said, ‘Conditions off the Antrim coast this morning are quite challenging, with rolling seas and easterly winds. This would have been a difficult passage for the crew, and they made the right call when they raised the alarm. With the anchor dragging, it was becoming increasingly difficult for the crew to continue their journey and the motion of the vessel would have severely hampered their attempts.’

The rescue was coordinated by Belfast coastguard and land-based coastguard teams from Ballycastle and Larne also attended.

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This Sunday (28 April 2019) Wicklow RNLI will bid farewell to their beloved lifeboat Annie Blaker, the last operational Tyne Class lifeboat in the RNLI’s fleet. The historic vessel will launch for the final time at Wicklow lifeboat station on Sunday 28 April at 1:30 pm and will be joined by a flotilla of vessels including lifeboats from the flanking RNLI stations at Dun Laoghaire and Arklow.

The Tyne class lifeboat has been retired by the RNLI as it has been replaced by faster classes of lifeboats capable of up to 25 knots; the Tyne class could reach 18 knots at full speed. The Tyne all-weather lifeboat was the first fast slipway-launched lifeboat in the Institution.

The lifeboat will available to view by the public on the slip at the East Pier from 10 am on Sunday morning. At 12:30 pm the lifeboat will be prepared for launching, which will take place at 1.30pm. The lifeboat will be honoured on its departure with a flotilla made up of local and RNLI boats.

Wicklow's RNLB Annie Blaker Wicklow's RNLB Annie Blaker under Wicklow Head lighthouse Photo: Afloat.ie

The Tyne class lifeboat was officially retired from the RNLI at the Wicklow lifeboat station on Friday 5 April after 30 years of service there. During that period, the lifeboat was launched over 348 times on callouts and rescued 408 people. The Tyne was introduced into the RNLI fleet in 1982 with the final one built in 1990. While the last Tyne is at Wicklow, there have been Tyne class lifeboats on service in Ireland at Arranmore, Lough Swilly, Kilmore Quay and Baltimore.

Speaking ahead of the launch, Wicklow RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager Des Davitt commented: ‘It will be a very emotional time for some of the crew who have served for almost thirty years on this historic lifeboat. She has been as much a part of the crew as any volunteer that passed through our doors and she has earned her retirement.’

‘We would love people to come down to the station to say goodbye to Annie and wish her fair winds on her last passage as a lifeboat.’

The Annie Blaker lifeboat was replaced by the relief Shannon class lifeboat Jock and Annie Slater, which went on station on Friday 5 April.

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#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

At 1.14pm on the Saturday 20 April Carrybridge RNLI’s inshore lifeboat, Douglas Euan & Kay Richards and Rescue Water Craft (RWC) were launched to a vessel with two people which had run aground North West of Knockninny.

Winds were Southerly, Force 0. Visibility was excellent with a part cloudy sky.

The lifeboat and RWC arrived with the casualty vessel and after checking the people on the boat where ok the volunteer crew checked the boat for water ingress and found none. With the owner’s permission, the vessel was refloated and towed into deeper water and again the boat was checked for water leaks as well as the steering and propulsion checked and all was found to be ok.

The vessel was then able to continue on its planned journey.

Whilst the lifeboat and RWC were returning to the station the crew were alerted by another vessel with two people on board which had broken down. The crew assisted the boat by towing it back to a private marina.

Speaking following the call out, Stephen Scott, Lifeboat Operations Manager at Carrybridge RNLI advised all boat users: ‘to enjoy the fantastic weather over the holiday period, but as it is for many the start of the boating season to carry out regular maintenance checks and to plan their voyage using relevant charts. We would also remind all water users to wear lifejackets and to respect the water. If you see someone in trouble on the water or are in difficulties yourself the number to dial is: 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard.’’

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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.”

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The Courtmacsherry All-Weather RNLI Lifeboat was called out at 7.40 pm last night (Saturday) to go to the aid of a 40 ft Yacht which sought assistance 34 Miles off Courtmacsherry and due south of the Seven Heads peninsula in West Cork.

Under Coxswain Sean O Farrell and a crew of five, the Lifeboat was quickly away on the Bank Holiday Saturday and immediately made its way at full speed to the yacht.

The yacht had four persons on board and was en route to Spain from Ireland when they lost engine power two days ago.

Yesterday evening, they were losing all battery power as well and sought assistance from The Coastguard.

The Lifeboat reached the causality at 9.30 pm and immediately took the Boat in tow. After a slow tow in good conditions, the Lifeboat and the yacht arrived at the safe surrounds of the CastlePark Marina in Kinsale at 2.45 am this morning. The crew of the yacht were well pleased to be on safe soil early this morning, as they were drifting helplessly over the past few days in calm winds.  

The Crew on this long callout were Coxswain Sean O Farrell, Mechanic Tadgh McCarthy and Crewmembers Ken Cashman, Denis Murphy, Evin O Sullivan and Conor Tyndall.

Having been at sea for over eight hours, The Trent Class Lifeboat “Frederick Story Cockburn” returned to its moorings in Courtmacsherry just after 4 am, after refuelling.

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At 3:40pm Thursday 18th April, Lough Derg RNLI was requested by Valentia Coast Guard to assist 7 people on a 60-ft cruiser aground in Coose Bay, between Split Rock and Hagen Rock.

Volunteer crew, with helm Eleanor Hooker, Owen Cavanagh, Keith Brennan and Doireann Kennedy arrived on scene and assessed the situation. Two experienced marine engineers Fergal Kearney and Will Ellis were also at the scene.

Visibility was good, with easterly winds, force 2/3.

The lifeboat took soundings of depth as it approached the casualty vessel which was aground on an extremely hazardous shoal. All passengers were wearing their lifejackets and were found to be well and unharmed. Two RNLI volunteers and Mr Kearney transferred to the cruiser and checked for ingress of water, found none but established that there was significant damage to the rudder.

Lifeboat crew set up for tow and eased the cruiser off the rocks and into safe water. The tow was passed to the rescue vessel from the cruiser company. An RNLI crew member remained with the casualty vessel until they were satisfied that the handover was complete.

The lifeboat returned to the Station and was ready for service at 6 pm.

Volunteer helm, Eleanor Hooker advises boat users ‘to remain with the navigation marks, and to ask locals about hazards before setting out from harbour’.

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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
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