Displaying items by tag: RNLI
A new book providing a collection of first-hand accounts of some of the most dramatic rescues carried out by RNLI lifesavers around Ireland and the UK over the past 20 years, features an incredible feat of bravery by a Cork lifeboat crew. Told in the words of Castletownbere RNLI Coxswain Dean Hegarty, it provides a first-hand account of the dramatic rescue of a fishing crew in storm force conditions after their vessel lost all power at the harbour entrance of Castletownbere in West Cork. Six lives were saved that night and the Coxswain is set to receive a medal for gallantry, and the crew and launching authority, letters of thanks from the Institution. The book Surviving the Storms goes on sale today (Thursday 11 June) with royalties from all sales supporting the lifesaving charity.
Surviving the Storms features 11 stories of extraordinary courage and compassion at sea, providing a rare insight into the life-or-death decisions the RNLI have to make when battling the forces of nature and saving lives.
The Castletownbere RNLI rescue from 2018 is included with those of a Northern Ireland lifeboat mechanic who swam into a cave to rescue two teenage boys when they became trapped with a rising tide in dangerous conditions and lifeguards in Cornwall saving the lives of people, moments away from drowning. This book has an abundance of drama told from the unique perspective of the RNLI lifesavers, as well as those they rescue.
In an extract from the book Dean Hegarty, who at 24-years old had been on the lifeboat crew for five years and was a recently appointed Coxswain on his second callout in charge, explains what he saw when he and his lifeboat crew came on scene.
‘Within 10 minutes of the original mayday call, we were on the scene. What I saw when we arrived, I can’t lie; It almost gave me a heart attack. The way the tide was going out and the wind was coming in, it was churning the sea up and creating a big, watery explosion. There were huge swells reaching six metres, the height of a two-storey house, tossing the fishing boat around like a rag doll and pushing her ever closer to the sixty-metre cliffs to the west of the harbour mouth. The gales were now peaking at storm force 11. My heart started to race as I watched waves crashing up against the cliffs, with the vessel only 30 or so metres away from the rocky shoreline.’
RNLI Chief Executive, Mark Dowie, said: ‘Surviving the Storms is a wonderful account of selflessness and bravery although there is no book big enough to do justice to every RNLI rescue and rescuer. We have hundreds of lifeboat stations and thousands of crew members and lifeguards all dedicated to saving lives. Between them, they’ve helped so many people survive the storms and I’m proud of every one of them.’
Both the inshore and all-weather lifeboats were launched as a precaution due to the nature of the incident, after reports that the man had fallen at Port-Na-Happle just off the Convent Walk, a popular scenic coastal path in Portstewart.
Volunteer lifeboat crew member Dr Colm Watters, who is a consultant at Causeway Hospital’s emergency department, was transferred ashore to assist the local coastguard with the treatment of the casualty before he was passed into the care of the NI Ambulance Service.
Lifeboat operations manager Keith Gilmore said later: “We had the opportunity to do some training with our coastguard colleagues last year and this has paid off in terms of our joint working procedures.
“We are fortunate to have a volunteer with Colm’s expertise on crew and this was invaluable in this incident. We wish the casualty well and hope he has a speedy recovery.”
Earlier in the day, Wicklow RNLI brought three fishermen to safety at lunchtime after their 12-metre vessel got into difficulties off the Wicklow coast.
The alarm was raised earlier in the morning after the fishing boat’s propeller got fouled in ropes near the Codling Buoy.
Crew of the all-weather lifeboat Jock & Annie Slater located the drifting fishing vessel 14 miles east of Wicklow Harbour and quickly established a tow. The boat was safely tied alongside the South Quay at 12:30pm.
Portaferry’s volunteer crew launched the inshore lifeboat promptly at 3.14pm and made their way to the scene in sunny conditions with good visibility and a Force 4 northerly wind.
Arriving 11 minutes later, the crew noticed two people in the water and hanging on to their jet skis, along with a kayaker who had rowed out to assist but in doing so had gott into difficulty.
The volunteer crew recovered all three people out of the water and took them aboard the lifeboat, bringing them to safety on the shore of Strangford Lough.
The volunteer crew of three immediately launched the lifeboat at 1pm after a report from the Irish Coast Guard of two people onboard a small rowing boat having difficulty getting back to shore.
The crew — consisting of helm Nathan Burke, Laura Jackson, and Jack Shanahan — arrived at the scene 15 minutes later and took the rowing boat under town and back to shore at Coliemore Harbour.
Jackson, who is also Dun Laoghaire RNLI’s community safety officer, said: “It is important to highlight the RNLI and Irish Coast Guard’s message at the moment asking people to take extra care when using the sea.
“Please make sure you have a plan of action in case you get into difficulty, always check the tide times and weather conditions along with having a method of communication to call for help if needed.
“Dun Laoghaire RNLI remains on call and is fully operational during the coronavirus pandemic. While there is no crew training or exercises taking place, our volunteers are here, ready to respond to those in need.”
Dunmore East RNLI lifeboat launched today (Saturday, June 6) to a report of a capsized sailing dinghy northeast of Dunmore East harbour. It was unknown at the time how many people were onboard the sailing dinghy.
Just before 5 pm, the Dunmore East RNLI lifeboat launched at the request of the Irish Coast Guard to a report from of a capsized dinghy to the northeast of Dunmore East harbour.
Within minutes of the launch, the Trent Class Dunmore East RNLI lifeboat ‘Elizabeth and Ronald’ arrived on scene to find one person in the water alongside the capsized sailing dinghy. The person was recovered safely from the water and assessed by the volunteer crew. One of our crew boarded the capsized sailing vessel, managed to re-right the dinghy and secure the sails. The dinghy was then taken under tow and brought to the safety of Dunmore East Harbour.
Karen Harris, Deputy Launch Authority Dunmore East RNLI said: ‘We would like to thank the member of the public who made the call for help. It was a very quick response by our volunteer crew today which resulted in a positive outcome. We would like to remind people, not to go out to sea alone, always have a way of calling for help and remember to adhere to the current restrictions in place’.
Howth RNLI launched both the all weather lifeboat and the inshore lifeboat in 5 separate call-outs over the bank holiday weekend to rescue 12 people who found themselves in difficulty
The RNLI pagers sounded at 6.38pm on Sunday 31st May after a call was placed to the Coast Guard reporting 4 people stranded by the tide on rocks in Balscadden bay Howth. The inshore lifeboat was launched and located the 4 people 8 minutes later. They had become cut off by the tide and were quickly assessed and found to be in good spirits despite being in the water for a period of time. They were transferred back to the safety of Howth harbour.
The RNLI pagers sounded again on Monday 1st June at 4.04pm to reports of a speed boat that had mechanical problems and drifted onto Sutton strand. The inshore lifeboat was launched and quickly located the boat with 3 family members onboard.
The speedboat was taken in tow by the crew of the inshore lifeboat and the family were unharmed by the incident and returned safely to shore at Howth Lifeboat Station.
The RNLI pages again sounded just over an hour later at 5.50pm to reports of 5 people stranded by the tide in the centre of Baldoyle estuary. The coast guard helicopter Rescue 116 was also tasked to the scene and airlifted 1 of the party of 5 people while a local paddle boarder was assisting in returning 3 people to shore as the final person swam to shore. Howth RNLI inshore lifeboat assessed the casualties on the beach.
Rescue 116 landed on Portmarnock strand and passed the casualty to the RNLI inshore lifeboat who returned them safely to their friends.
The RNLI had launched earlier in the weekend on 2 further occasions to false alarms with good intent.
Speaking following the callout, Noel Davidson, Howth RNLI Volunteer Press Officer said: ‘Our volunteer lifeboat crew are always ready to respond to a call for help and have launched 13 times in the last 20 days. Thankfully while some of the call outs proved to be false alarms with good intent, this bank holiday the RNLI were able to rescue 12 people from separate call outs and all were brought to safety from situations that could have been quite serious’
‘Always check the tide times and conditions before you set off and while out, be aware of your surroundings and keep an eye on the tide direction. Ask for local advice and look out for safety signs. Always carry a means of calling for help and know to call 112/999 and ask for the Coastguard if you or someone else is at risk.’
The RNLI continues to provide an on call 24/7 search and rescue lifeboat service. To ensure peoples’ own safety in or on the water please adhere to the relevant water safety guidance for your activity. More information can be found at www.rnli.org/safety
The all-weather lifeboat, under coxswain Ned Dillon and crew Brendan Dillon, Geoff Kearnes, Eddie McElheron, Leigh Downey and Matt Heaney, were paged at 3.20pm and launched immediately.
Upon arrival at the scene some two miles east of Arklow, one of the kayakers and his boat were transferred to the lifeboat, while the other was escorted back to Arklow South Beach.
Speaking following the callout, Mark Corcoran, Arklow RNLI’s community safety officer, said: “Thankfully we were able to assist these kayakers safely back to shore.
“Given the good weather and the relaxation of some the Covid-19 protocols, there are a lot more people around and on the water, we would like to reiterate our message that if you are going on or in the water.
“Always carry a means of calling for help, always wear a lifejacket and other appropriate protection, always check the weather and tides before going to sea and please Respect The Water.
“Arklow RNLI remains on call and is fully operational during the coronavirus pandemic. While there is no crew training or exercises taking place, our volunteers are here if and when our community need us.”
The RNLI has issued advice with the Irish Coast Guard to ask people to avoid using the water for exercise while restrictions are in place. This is to minimise the risk to search and rescue volunteer crews, helicopter crew and other frontline emergency services of being unintentionally exposed to the coronavirus.
The volunteer lifeboat crew were tasked on Friday afternoon (29 May) after reports of the incident off Grey Point.
Arriving at the scene, they found the 13-year-old boy had been retrieved from the water by a motorboat that has seen him in difficulty, and he was safety returned to the beach at Helen’s Bay.
Bangor RNLI emphasises that the boy had no lifejacket on, and that without the help of others “this could easily have turned into a tragedy”.
Now the lifeboat unit is appealing to contact the boy and his family to invite them to visit the lifeboat station when regulations allow, to find out more about what they do.
“We are also interested to find out from him how he felt when he realised things were going wrong, in the hope that this might prevent others getting into difficulty.”
Rollout of the normal seasonal lifeguard service was halted at the end of March due to the measures put in place by the Northern Ireland Executive to control the spread of Coronavirus.
Despite the challenges of the coronavirus outbreak, the charity will be running a restricted lifeguard service on some Northern Ireland beaches. However, this service will not be starting until later in June.
“As we move to a gradual relaxing of restrictions as advised by the Northern Ireland Executive and we experience the good weather, we expect many people to be eager to visit the coast,” said Karl O’Neill, RNLI lead lifeguard supervisor.
“We ask those who are visiting beaches to continue to be aware of the inherent dangers and to avoid taking risks.
“The RNLI’s water safety campaign is advising people to keep their family safe when they are at the coast, avoid using inflatables and if they see anyone in trouble, dial 999 and ask for the coastguard.”
Anyone planning a visit to the coast should remember and follow RNLI safety advice:
- Have a plan - check the weather forecast, tide times and read local hazard signage.
- Keep a close eye on your family – on the beach and in the water.
- Don’t allow your family to swim alone.
- Don’t use inflatables.
- If you fall into the water unexpectedly, FLOAT TO LIVE. Fight your instinct to thrash around, lean back, extend your arms and legs, and Float.
- In an emergency dial 999, and ask for the coastguard.
- The RNLI’s safety information can be found at rnli.org/safety/beach-safety
RNLI volunteer lifeboat crew in Northern Ireland remain on call and are expecting to see an increase in callouts as the good continues and lockdown restrictions gradual ease.
The charity that saves lives at sea appeals to the public to please take extra care and follow water safety advice.
Earlier this week, RNLI chief executive Mark Dowrie published an open letter saying that England’s relaxing of lockdown rules without prior consultation with the charity had put it “in an impossible situation” with regard to its provision of lifesaving services.
The life-saving partnership between the GAA and the search and rescue charity, the RNLI, is gearing up this bank holiday weekend to help save lives. The two organisations have been working together in communities throughout Ireland to share water safety advice with GAA players and to deliver water safety talks to GAA clubs around the country.
As the bank holiday approaches the charity has seen a sharp increase in lifeboat callouts, as volunteer lifeboat crews launched 30 times in the last ten days compared to just 45 callouts over the previous two months during the coronavirus restrictions.
As the good weather is set to continue for the weekend, the RNLI is concerned that lives may be lost as people are beginning to visit the coast for recreation following a slight easing of restrictions which permit people to exercise within a 5km radius. Working together, the RNLI and the GAA are sharing important water safety advice and asking people to share the message and know what to do in an emergency. In joint messaging created to be shared on social media platforms, the warning will be given that lifeguards can’t be everywhere, so protect your family, never use inflatables in the sea and dial 112 or 999 for the Coast Guard in an emergency. The GAA will start sharing the safety messaging today (Friday 29 May) across their social media channels and will continue over the weekend. After which the organisations will continue their water safety work over the summer and feature players and RNLI lifeboat volunteers giving tips and advice on staying safe on the water.
The key water safety messages from the RNLI and the GAA are:
- Protect your family – we must all take great care on the water this summer and look out for our family and our community
- Do not use inflatables
- In an emergency dial 112 or 999 and ask for Coast Guard
RNLI Head of Water Safety Gareth Morrison said, ‘This partnership between the GAA and the RNLI is literally a lifesaver. As the coronavirus restrictions start to ease under the Government’s plan, although with the 5km still in place, we are expecting to see increasing numbers of people visit our beautiful coast and take to the water.’
‘This has already been evidenced by a sharp increase in the number of callouts for our volunteer lifeboat crews. Over the last number of days, we have launched to members of the public cut off by tide, stranded on rocks, swimmers and kayakers in difficulty, children blown out to sea on inflatables and leisure craft in trouble.’
‘Getting safety advice out through the GAA brings the message to our communities.’
GAA President John Horan added: ‘It has been a pleasure to work with the RNLI on our lifesaving partnership for the past three years. With our shared volunteer ethos and our roots in the community, we know that we can continue to help the charity with their vital lifesaving work.’
‘The GAA has not been untouched by drowning tragedies. Many of our players and members have suffered because of drowning. It would be unbearable if, as we start to emerge from the coronavirus lockdown and start to spend time with loved ones outside and on the coast, that we might lose a loved one to drowning.’
‘I urge everyone to take heed of safety advice and share it with family and friends this weekend and in the weeks and months ahead. We have been proud to have the RNLI in Croke Park on match days in their full lifeboat kit centre stage in recent years and it’s a partnership that has been embraced and welcomed by our people.’
‘I look forward to seeing this partnership flourish over the coming months and I hope everyone has a safe bank holiday weekend.’
RNLI water safety advice can be found at www.rnli.org/safety