Displaying items by tag: RNLI
The volunteer lifeboat crew with Helm, Owen Cavanagh and crew Doireann Kennedy, Joe O’Sullivan and Jimmy Kjell Gundegjerde, launched the inshore B-class lifeboat Jean Spier. Weather conditions were cloudy with good visibility and southerly winds, Force 3/4.
The Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 115 was also tasked and the mobile Coast Guard unit from Killaloe travelled by road to Garrykennedy to join in the major search and rescue operation, which also included the Gardaí.
The lifeboat crew arrived at the coordinates provided by the Coast Guard, but there was no sign of the casualties. After sighting the two casualties in the water Rescue 115 hovered above the location where two people were in the water and holding on to their kayaks. The lifeboat made their way immediately to the scene.
The Lough Derg RNLI lifeboat crew immediately took both casualties out of the water and into the lifeboat and began casualty care. The lifeboat crew then brought the casualties to Garrykennedy harbour where they were met by ambulance and paramedics to whom the RNLI volunteers handed over the care of the casualties.
Owen Cavanagh, volunteer Helm at Lough Derg RNLI said: ‘ This was a major search and rescue operation today and I’m thankful we were able to rescue these two people from the water with the help of our colleagues. The water is extremely cold at this time year and with the two kayakers out of their craft and in the water they needed help immediately. Our thoughts are with them and their families and we hope they make a full recovery from their ordeal.’
As TheJournal.ie reports, it’s understood that a large wave crashed against the harbour wall and washed two people from the top of the pier 15 feet to the lower deck.
Neither individual was washed into the sea but both were hospitalised for treatment. Community safety officer Mark Corcoran reminded the public to ‘stay back, stay high and stay dry’ when walking near the coast.
The incident came just hours after the lifeboat charity and the Irish Coast Guard issued their annual safety message for the Christmas and New Year period.
The Irish Coast Guard and the RNLI have called on the public to pay particular attention to their personal safety when engaging in any water-based or coastal activities over the Christmas and New Year period. The two organisations have also issued a joint thank you to their nationwide search and rescue teams for their work during the past twelve months and paid tribute to the men and women who keep our waters and coastal areas safe.
Christmas/New Year Swims:
Swimming in open water is very different to swimming in a pool. Unseen currents, cold water and waves make open water swimming more challenging. Even the strongest swimmers can tire quickly in the sea.
- Never swim alone. Always try and take part in an organised swim with safety cover nearby.
- Consider wearing a wetsuit and bright coloured hat for longer swims.
- Check weather and tide times before you set out.
- Always swim parallel to the shore and not straight out. Cold water and currents can tire you out quickly and make it harder to return to shore.
- Never swim under the influence of alcohol
- If you see some in trouble, or think they are in trouble, dial 999 or 112 and ask for the Coast Guard
For coastal walkers:
Stay Back – Stay High – Stay Dry; when engaged in coastal walks and avoid any unfamiliar routes and be mindful of changes caused by coastal erosion and the risk of trip, slips and falls.
Ensure that pets are kept under control in case they get into difficulty and cause owners to risk their own safety in attempting to rescue them.
For leisure boaters or small fishing boat operators:
- Remember to carry a suitable means to call for help such as mobile phone, vhf radio or Personal Locator beacon
- If engaged in any boating activities wear an appropriate personal flotation device – it could save a life.
- Before proceeding, tell someone ashore your plans and what time you expect to be back.
- Always check the weather and take heed of any warnings.
Irish Coast Guard Head of Operation, Gerard O’Flynn said, ‘As we move past the shortest day of the year, everybody looks forward to getting out and about. Please be safety conscious, plan your activity carefully and always advise friends and colleagues of your plans and intentions. Coast Guard Rescue Coordination Centres at Malin, Valentia and Dublin will be fully staffed over the Christmas period as will our day and night Helicopter Search and Rescue services.’ He reiterated his thanks to volunteer members of the RNLI and Coast Guard who will continue to be available to respond over the holiday period.
RNLI Lifesaving Manager Sean Dillon added, ‘This Christmas and New Year we will have over 1,500 lifeboat volunteers ready to drop everything if a call for help comes in. There are many people who are spending Christmas with loved ones this year thanks to the actions of RNLI and Coast Guard crews and for that we are grateful to the men and women who give their time to keep people safe on the water. However, we know that not everyone can be saved, and our lifeboat crews are as busy as ever. Following simple safety advice before you set out can prevent a tragedy and give you valuable time to wait for help, if it is needed.’
The all-weather lifeboat was launched at 1.16pm at the request of the Irish Coast Guard to assist an 18m fishing vessel with two people onboard, that was experiencing engine problems some two nautical miles south of Baltimore Harbour.
Conditions at the time were moderate, with a south south-westerly Force 3-4 wind, two-metre sea swell and good visibility.
The lifeboat with six volunteer crew onboard reached the casualty vessel just over 20 minutes later. Once the crew had assessed the situation, they established a tow and brought the vessel back to Baltimore.
Baltimore’s inshore lifeboat launched with four crew members to assist with berthing the vessel at the north pier once they had entered the harbour.
Speaking following the callout, press officer Kate Callanan said: “Whilst there was no immediate danger to the crew on board, the skipper of the fishing vessel did the right thing in calling for assistance from the Irish Coast Guard.”
John first became involved in 1987 and was fully enrolled as a crew member by 1988. He went on to become a helm on three Atlantic class lifeboats: the Atlantic 21 Marjory Turner, Atlantic 75 Patricia Jennings and the current Atlantic 85 Gordon and Phil.
He also served as lifeboat training co-ordinator between 2001-2009 and again between 2016-2017.
Speaking on the night, John said: “Since I started with the RNLI 30 years ago, I’ve seen many changes and big improvements, the standard of training is so high these days.”
There have been many memorable rescues for John over the years. One he remembers from his early days happened one summer evening, when a man from Cork city traveled to Youghal to try out his new surfboard that he’d received as a birthday gift.
John recalls: “The man had booked a surfing lesson, but the teacher was late so he decided to go out on his own. Shortly after he entered the water, he began to be swept out to sea with the offshore breeze.
“When we arrived the man was in the water and being carried further out to sea, he was freezing cold. Had we not arrived when we did, the outcome could have been very different.”
During his 30 years with Youghal RNLI, John Innes was instrumental in saving 34 lives at sea.
Deputy launching authority Brendan O’Driscoll said: “The time, effort and commitment John has shown to Youghal RNLI over the last 30 years has been outstanding.
“On behalf of everybody at the lifeboat station, I would like to thank him for the immense contribution he has made over the years and we all wish him well in his future endeavours.”
At noon this Christmas Eve at the end of the East Pier in Dun Laoghaire on Dublin Bay, RNLI volunteer lifeboat crew will gather to lay wreaths at sea and remember 15 of their predecessors who were lost while on service in gale force conditions to the SS Palme that had run aground off Blackrock in 1895.
The annual ceremony also remembers all those who were lost around our coasts, rivers and inland waters in 2019. Included in this will be lifeboat volunteer Leigh Early from Arranmore RNLI in Donegal who died last month and the three crewmembers of the French SNSM lifeboat service who lost their lives while on service in June.
The ceremony takes place each Christmas Eve in all weathers and lifeboat crew are joined by members of the Dun Laoghaire Coast Guard and Civil Defence who form an honour guard. Both Dun Laoghaire RNLI’s inshore and all-weather lifeboats will launch, and the crew will lay wreaths off the east pier in view of the public.
"The whole of her crew, 15 in number, drowned"
On 24 December 1895 the 'Civil Service No. 1' Dun Laoghaire lifeboat was wrecked while proceeding to the assistance of the SS Palme of Finland. The whole of her crew, 15 in number, drowned. The lifeboat capsized 600 yards from the distressed vessel and, although every effort was made to send help to the lifeboat and to the Palme, nothing could be done.
The second Dun Laoghaire lifeboat 'Hannah Pickard' also launched but it too capsized under sail, fortunately, all crew returned safely. The Captain, his wife, child and 17 crew were eventually rescued on the 26 December by the SS Tearaght.
The short ceremony takes place under the lighthouse at the end of the East Pier. It includes an ecumenical blessing, a reading from a news article published at the time and music.
Commenting on the event Dun Laoghaire RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager Stephen Wynne said: ‘The loss of 15 lifeboat volunteers devastated the local community but the RNLI here kept going. Volunteer lifeboat crew came forward then, as they still do, to help those in trouble at sea and on inland waters. We hold this ceremony to honour their memory and pay tribute to them but also to remember all those lost to drowning in our waters.’
‘Our lifeboat crew is on call this Christmas as they are every day of the year and we hope everyone has a safe and peaceful time. People are very welcome to come and join us at the end of the East Pier, it’s our Christmas tradition and one that is very dear to us.’
Lough Swilly and Portrush RNLI were requested to launch their all-weather lifeboats by Belfast Coastguard at 2.15 pm on Saturday (14 December) following a Mayday alert from a 45ft fishing boat.
The five men who had been fishing for crab got into difficulty 20 miles north of Fanad Head. The boat lost power and encountered steering difficulties while violent waves smashed the wheelhouse windows in.
Lough Swilly RNLI volunteers launched their all-weather lifeboat and started their 90-minute journey to the scene some 34 nautical miles from their station. Portrush RNLI meanwhile, had 50 nautical miles to travel. Weather conditions at the time were extremely challenging with the volunteers facing Force 9-10 gales and sea swells of 50ft. Arranmore RNLI was requested to launch shortly after at 4 pm.
Once on scene, Lough Swilly RNLI’s lifeboat crew assessed the situation and checked that the five crew were safe and well. The fishermen were cold, tired and shaken from the severity of the weather conditions but were otherwise in good health. Due to the challenging conditions, the decision was made to leave the crew on board their boat rather than transfer them to the lifeboat. The lifeboat crew worked with the fishermen to establish a tow but despite attempts, the tow parted on three occasions in the storm. On arrival Arranmore RNLI’s lifeboat took over the tow and brought the vessel back into the mouth of Lough Swilly where the tow was transferred to Lough Swilly’s lifeboat to allow Arranmore’s RNLI’s crew make the three and half hour return trip back to their station in heavy seas.
Speaking following the call out, Joe Joyce, Lough Swilly RNLI Lifeboat Press Officer said: ‘This was an extremely challenging call out for all the RNLI volunteers involved and we are delighted that the five fishermen were brought safely back to shore.
‘Our lifeboats launched in dangerous weather conditions on Saturday afternoon and our volunteers, 20 in all, spent almost 15 hours at sea, most of it in the hours of darkness. They faced gale-force conditions and 50ft swells but with great courage, selflessness and teamwork they successfully met and overcame those challenges to bring the fishermen to safety.
‘While challenging for our crews, this call out was a huge testament to the level of training RNLI volunteers undergo. Lifeboat crew members are highly trained and skilled to carry out such challenging work and thanks to the generosity of the public, we are provided with the best of equipment and technology to save lives at sea.’
Volunteer lifeboat crews from Crosshaven and Ballycotton RNLI in Cork will share their own stories of how they got involved with the lifesaving charity on TV for RTÉ One’s Nationwide this coming Wednesday 18 December.
And the two stations will also carry out a joint exercise to recover an unconscious casualty from the water, as they appeal to the public to support the RNLI’s ‘Perfect Storm’ fundraising campaign.
In Crosshaven, local business owners Aoife Dinan, of Rejuvenate beauty salon, and Denis Cronin of the popular Cronin’s Bar both volunteer for the Cork Harbour village’s lifeboat crew.
Denis was a keen surfer before he volunteered for the lifeboat and now answers the pager by jumping on his pushbike and heading to the station a couple of minutes away.
Aoife and her partner lost a close friend to drowning and she is now an active member of the lifeboat crew, often running from her business to make callouts at the station.
Best friends Molly Murphy and Caoimhe Foster joined the lifeboat together when they were in fifth year in school. They speak about what it was like to rush out of the classroom and down to the lifeboat station for a callout and to leave their schoolmates behind.
Ballycotton RNLI crew member Alan Cott lost his brother Glynn when the Maggie B sank in 2006. He is very proud of his involvement with the lifeboat and is honouring the memory of his brother in the work he does to save lives at sea.
Speaking about the programme and the launch of the Perfect Storm appeal by the RNLI, area lifesaving manager Brian O’Driscoll said: “Our lifeboat crew are what is best in the RNLI. These men and women give up their time to train and launch lifeboats in all weathers and to all types of situations.
“Our thanks to the Nationwide team for visiting two of our Cork lifeboat stations and speaking to our volunteer lifeboat crew about why they do it and what they get out of it.
“Many people don’t realise that the RNLI is a charity and we depend on the generosity of the public to continue with our work saving lives at sea.
“Aoife, Denis, Alan, Molly and Caoimhe give their time and their passion to the RNLI and in return they get the training, skills and equipment to be able to help those in trouble at sea. We are very grateful for the support of the public and we don’t take it for granted.”
To support the RNLI’s Perfect Storm appeal this Christmas, helping to ensure the charity’s brave volunteers can continue saving lives at sea, visit RNLI.org/ThePerfectStorm
This unique Christmas event has raised over €12,000 for the RNLI since it was started in 2014 by Karen Kenny of the Dublin University Sub Aqua Club.
Divers will enter the water at 1pm, and spectators will also see the local D-class lifeboat and Howth Coast Guard RIB and a flyby from the Dublin-based coastguard helicopter, weather and operations permitting.
The rescue was acknowledged by the RNLI with a written letter of commendation from the charity’s then chief of operations.
On 28 December 1998, a surfer raised the alarm that two others could not get ashore. Helm Daimon Fergus takes up the story:
“Tony McGowan, our lifeboat operations manager, contacted the Irish Coast Guard in Malin Head and had our volunteer crew paged. Tony Cummins was at the helm along with Damien McNamara and myself.
“Our lifeboat, an Atlantic 75, was launched and underway within seven minutes. There was a south easterly Force 5 offshore wind and a swell of 22ft at the time.
“The main challenge was the swell which was breaking over the breakwater and into the channel from the boathouse. I remember Tony had to time the swells and judge the right moment to clear the channel.”
Once clear, the lifeboat ran before a quartering sea and reached the casualties at 4.22pm.
“We had been guided to the exact location by a shore party sent from the lifeboat station,” Daimon says. “We swiftly managed to recover the two casualties and one surf board just to the north of the surf line.
“As we came back and approached the station, Tony once again had to time our return carefully because of the breaking swells in the approach channel. I won’t forget the fact that the first surfer squeezed my hand so tight that he bent the thick silver ring on my right hand into my finger and the ring had to be cut off when we got back to the station.”
In commending the crew, the RNLI’s letter to the station read: “Although this service was short in duration, all those involved are to be commended for the alacrity of the launch, the contribution of the shore party, as well as the seamanship exhibited by Tony Cummins.”
One of the rescued surfers was Mark Ponsonby from Letterkenny, who says he will be eternally grateful for the speedy launch of the lifeboat that day.
“It’s been over 20 years now since my brother and myself were rescued by the RNLI in the sea at Bundoran. I often wonder what would have happened to us or become of us if it wasn’t for the timely interaction and rescue by the RNLI services that day.
“In a matter of minutes, they had answered the emergency call and had launched the boat. The Irish Coast Guard helicopter was also tasked to come to our aid.
“The conditions we found ourselves in were extreme and treacherous and the timing was critical for that rescue as the light was fading fast, yet the RNLI volunteers didn’t hesitate to get to us as fast as possible. My family will forever be grateful to the RNLI on that day and will never forget what they did for my brother and me that day.”
Now, as the current volunteer lifeboat crew prepare for Christmas 2019, they too will be ready and willing to respond should their pagers go off.
For Daimon, who has been a volunteer for 25 years, Christmas is no different to any other time of year: “We’ll still be on call ready to save lives and delay our own Christmas celebrations. We couldn’t do what we do without the support of the public.
“The RNLI has experienced a shortfall in funds, but we are rescuing more people than ever before. We are facing the Perfect Storm and are calling on people to make a donation this Christmas to ensure we can continue saving lives at sea.”
To support the RNLI’s Perfect Storm appeal this Christmas, helping to ensure the charity’s brave volunteers can continue saving lives at sea, visit RNLI.org/ThePerfectStorm