Displaying items by tag: RNLI
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.
But the crew of the North Co Dublin lifeboat station confirms it takes any activation of an emergency beacon seriously.
Skerries RNLI were tasked shortly before 7.30am yesterday morning (Monday 24 February) after Dublin Coast Guard picked up the signal from an emergency beacon almost two miles north-east of Skerries.
The Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat was launched by the volunteer crew into strong west to south-west winds, gusting to 30 knots at times.
Skerries lifeboat, the Howth lifeboat and the Irish Coast Guard’s helicopter Rescue 116 all proceeded to the last co-ordinates received and began a thorough search of the area in challenging conditions.
It was soon found that the vessel registered to the EPIRB (emergency position-indicating radio beacon) was safely tied up in Skerries Harbour, but the EPIRB had been removed.
The lifeboats and the helicopter continued to search the area until the coastguard was satisfied that the beacon had not been taken to sea aboard another vessel, and the operation was stood down.
Speaking about the callout, volunteer lifeboat press officer for Skerries RNLI, Gerry Canning, said: “EPIRBs are a vital piece of safety equipment, often designed to activate when a vessel capsizes or sinks, so any activation has to be treated very seriously.
“It was a wet morning for most people today, but even more so for our crews.”
Two volunteer crew members at Carrybridge RNLI lifeboat station have had a vital part of their crew training funded by Lloyd’s Register Foundation.
Shani Spence from Lisbellaw and Joe Donnelly from Enniskillen, recently travelled to the RNLI College in Poole, Dorset, to complete the charity’s Crew Emergency Procedures course.
The course sees volunteer crew being trained in a variety of crucial subjects such as how to deal with fires aboard lifeboats, how to ‘abandon ship’ in the event of an emergency (with a 4m jump into water), team survival swimming, coping in a life-raft in simulated darkness, how to right a capsized inshore lifeboat, and the importance of lifejackets. It also includes sessions on the correct use of flares, fire extinguishers and throw bags.
Talking about the training, Shani, who volunteers as a crew member, said: ‘This course definitely helped with my confidence in an actual emergency as I got to have a hands-on approach and see how it all feels in real life, meaning it will be a little less scary if anything went wrong.’ Joe, who also volunteers as a crew member, said: ‘It was a very good and intriguing course which I enjoyed very much.’
Shani and Joe’s training took place in the Sea Survival Centre at the RNLI College, where they were joined by other RNLI volunteer crew members from around the UK and Ireland.
The training was funded by Lloyd’s Register Foundation, a charitable foundation that helps to protect life and property by supporting engineering-related education, public engagement and the application of research. The Foundation has committed to funding the RNLI’s Crew Emergency Procedures course for a second 5-year period until December 2020. This additional funding of £1.06M brings their total support for RNLI crew training to just over £2.46M* since 2008. More than 3,000 RNLI volunteer crew members have now received the training thanks to Lloyd’s Register Foundation’s funding.
Alex Evans, Lifesaving Training Manager at the RNLI said, ‘We are so grateful to Lloyd’s Register Foundation for funding this vital part of our volunteer crews’ training.
‘Their support is very important to us and it’s fantastic how, so far, over 3,000 of our crew members have benefitted from Lloyd’s Register Foundation funding this part of their training. As only one in ten of our volunteer crew members comes from a professional maritime background, the Crew Emergency Procedures course is crucial in giving our volunteers the training they need and helping keep them as safe as possible while carrying out rescues. It gives volunteers the confidence to save lives even in the most challenging conditions.’
This donation is the latest in Lloyd’s Register Foundation’s relationship with the RNLI, which was recognised in 2010 when it received the Group Supporter Award from HRH Prince Michael of Kent in recognition of its valuable support of the charity.
Members of Howth RNLI’s Community Safety Team were on hand to promote and offer water safety advice at the Ireland Angling 2020 exhibition at the National Show Centre in Swords last weekend The charity that saves lives at sea has been a popular presence at the annual fishing show for the last thirteen years.
495 anglers and water sports enthusiasts from all over Ireland attending the annual event visited the RNLI stand to avail of tips and advice from the RNLI Community Safety Team. A wide range of safety devices, including various types of personal locator beacons, and communication aids from VHF radios to waterproof mobile phone cases were on display at the stand. Visitors discussed which devices were best suited to their particular needs depending on which sport they were involved with.
Visitors brought their lifejackets to the lifejacket clinic to get advice about their upkeep and maintenance. Of the twelve lifejackets looked at three had serious issues which would have led to them being completely ineffective in an emergency, and the other nine had expired firing heads. Being prepared and wearing a suitable lifejacket gives a casualty time for the emergency services to reach them. Each year approximately 1,200 anglers are rescued around the coasts of Ireland and the UK.
John McKenna, Community Safety Officer with Howth RNLI commented, “It is reassuring that the number of anglers who are heeding our advice and wearing lifejackets in recent years has increased, but there is still work to do to get the message out to all anglers. We would urge shore anglers, especially those who fish off rocks, to wear a life jacket and to carry a mobile phone in a waterproof case. Most people don’t realise that once a phone is charged they can call 112 for help, even if the phone has no SIM card and no credit. Personal locator beacons are also useful and anglers should always tell friends or family where you are going and when they expect to return home. We want people to be able to enjoy participating in water sports safely”.
The RNLI is aiming to reduce coastal drowning significantly by 2024 through its Respect the Water campaign, which engages with water users on how to stay safe and maintain their equipment. Anyone who unexpectedly finds themselves in water is urged to follow the RNLI’s Float to Live advice – firstly float on your back, then call for help and communicate your location. Try to stay calm and keep your moral up until the emergency services reach you.
Launching in force 8 North Westerly winds and choppy conditions, the inshore lifeboat arrived on the scene a few minutes later to find the fisherman had managed to get safely onto land.
The crew established a tow line and brought the fishing boat off the rocks and alongside the lifeboat. One crew member then boarded the vessel and began to pump out water as it was towed safely back to Harvey’s dock and handed over to the awaiting Coast Guard unit.
The Lifeboat returned to the station at 5.41 pm. The Lifeboat crew were, Patsy O’Mahoney (Helm), James Hanna, Liam Keogh and Jack Nolan.
Patsy O’Mahoney, Youghal RNLI Helm said: ‘Situations can change very quickly at sea, especially in stormy conditions. Our training really stood to us today dealing with the swell and high winds’.
At a gathering at RNLI Lerwick lifeboat station to mark the occasion last Tuesday evening (4 February), members of the guild and current lifeboat crew members paid tribute to Bella’s contribution on the committee.
After her first 10 years, Bella was then treasurer for 23 years, from 1992 until 2015. Since then, she has continued to support fundraising events and activities, including volunteering in the RNLI Lerwick shop.
In recognition of her long service, Bella received a RNLI Gold Badge and Bar in 2016.
The guild raises funds for the RNLI towards the operational costs of the Lerwick lifeboat in Scotland's far nothern isles, which relies entirely on public donations.
‘She’s one in a million and will always be welcome in our shop, where she will always find the kettle on’
Throughout the year, the guild organises many events, including the popular Lifeboat Open Day in midsummer and the Lifeboat Ball later in the year. Committee members also attend country shows during the summer months to generate income and to raise the profile of the RNLI.
In 2019, the Lerwick Lifeboat Guild, including funds raised by the men’s committee, raised a total of over £44,000.
Rhoda Watt, joint chair of the Lerwick Ladies Lifeboat Guild and current treasurer, said: “Bella has been absolutely dedicated beyond measure and will be missed on our committee. She’s one in a million and will always be welcome in our shop, where she will always find the kettle on.”
Malcolm Craigie, RNLI Lerwick lifeboat operations manager, said: “The RNLI relies on dedicated fundraisers across the country to provide equipment and training for our volunteer crews, so that we’re ready to respond 24 hours a day.
“On behalf of the lifeboat crew, we’re hugely grateful to Bella for everything she has done for the Lerwick Lifeboat Guild over the last 38 years.”
Despite challenging conditions the lifeboat reached the scene quickly, but found that the divers had already been recovered from the water.
The lifeboats small inflatable XP boat was made ready to put a crew ashore to assist with casualty care. However, the Scottish Ambulance Service and coastguard rescue teams arrived at that point and were able to assist the casualties.
At this time, further reports reached the coastguard of another diver drifting to the north. The lifeboat immediately proceeded to the scene and discovered that the object was actually the dive gear of one of the divers now being treated by the Scottish Ambulance Service.
After the crew returned to station and as they were drying off, one of the volunteers noticed a dingy drifting across Oban Bay.
It was observed that the oars were in place on the dinghy, which prompted concern that someone may have fallen from it, so the crew relaunched into Storm Ciara to ensure that no life was at risk.
Several boats were on moorings in Oban Bay and a systematic search of these moorings began. Oban Coastguard Team, who had also just returned from the previous incident located the dinghy and were able to identify a name on it.
Fortunately this allowed them to locate the owner, who was safe and well and unaware that his dinghy had gone adrift.
It comes after the skipper of a fishing vessel that sank late last year off the Isle of Man has attributed their rescue to the safety training the crew had undertaken previously and to their lifejackets, which were fitted with personal locator beacons (PLBs).
On the evening of 23 November last year, the fishing vessel Polaris suffered a catastrophic hull failure in the Irish Sea off the west coast of the Isle of Man.
The vessel sank so rapidly that the skipper only had time to send out a Mayday to the coastguard and other surrounding fishing boats before the vessel became submerged.
The coastguard immediately launched two RNLI lifeboats, from Port St Mary and Port Erin, and a rescue helicopter. However, it was a local fishing vessel, Lynn Marie, which arrived first on scene.
The skipper and a crew member from Polaris had been in the water for at least 15-20 minutes before help arrived.
The skipper of the Lynn Marie feared the worst on arriving at the scene as the Polaris had already gone below the water. The skipper stopped his engine to listen for the crew of the Polaris, which proved a wise decision as he heard two men in the water shouting. The Lynn Marie crew located them with a search light and recovered them from the water.
‘I can tell you that there is no doubt that the lifejackets saved our lives’
Commenting on the rescue, Horne said: “After speaking with Gordon Mills, the skipper of the Polaris, and the crew of Lynn Marie on their arrival at Peel, it was quite clear that this could have been a very different story had the crew of both vessels not acted so professionally.
“The crew had attended safety training and wore lifejackets fitted with personal locator beacons which had increased their chances of survival.”
Gordon Mills, skipper of Polaris, added: “At no time did I feel our lives were in danger due to our training and equipment.
“We had a policy of wearing lifejackets on the working deck since attending refresher training, where I was shown a film involving fishermen wearing their normal working clothes, being put through their paces in the RNLI Survival Centre Environmental Pool, both with and without lifejackets in cold water with wave movement whilst attempting to recover themselves.”
Mills added: “To see fishermen struggling in a controlled environment and only lasting a few minutes or in some cases a few seconds without the lifejacket makes you think about your own safety.
“I can tell you that there is no doubt that the lifejackets saved our lives. We wouldn’t have even been afloat for the crew of fishing vessel Lynn Marie to recover us from the water had we not been wearing them.
“I would encourage all fishermen to start wearing their lifejackets while on deck — you just never know when you might need it.”
Following the report of a crush injury at the fish farm in the Sound of Mull, Tobermory RNLI’s volunteer crew launched their Severn class all-weather lifeboat, Elizabeth Fairlie Ramsey, shortly after 10am.
The crew collected two Scottish Ambulance Service personnel and a member of the local coastguard rescue team, and proceeded to the fish farm by MacLean’s Nose on the south coast of Ardnamurchan, near to Kilchoan.
Having stabilised the injured man, the lifeboat returned to Tobermory where the crew were met by other members of the local coastguard team and Police Scotland.
The casualty was transferred to a waiting ambulance before being taken to Tobermory Golf Club for a further transfer to the air ambulance, Helimed 5, which then flew the man to Glasgow for hospital treatment.
Lifeboat operations manager Dr Sam Jones said: “This was another great example of multi-agency working between the emergency services in our local community and beyond.
“We’d like to thank all those at the fish farm who gave immediate first aid on scene and all of us at the station wish the injured man a very speedy recovery.”
This was also the first shout for one of Tobermory RNLI’s newest recruits, Jenny Hampson, a project manager for the Tobermory Harbour Association.
Launching at around 10.15am into a calm sea, the all-weather lifeboat Dr John McSparran made its way to the casualty boat where a volunteer crew member was put aboard to assess its pilot, who was safe and well.
A tow line was then established so that the casualty boat could be towed into East Antrim Boat Club to be put onto a mooring.
Larne’s inshore lifeboat Terry met the casualty vessel in Larne Harbour, where the tow line was passed across and an alongside tow was carried out to allow the casualty to tie up on its mooring at the boat club.
Speaking following the callout, Larne RNLI lifeboat operations manager Allen Dorman said: “We had a good turnout from our crew today as we had been planning to do some assessments, but it was great to see how the crew reacted when the call came in.
“Everyone knew what they had to do and acted accordingly and were delighted to help the vessel's owner. I’m also pleased to say that the assessments were carried out after the call out and everyone passed.”
Larne RNLI coxswain Frank Healy added: “I was pleased to see the casualty was wearing appropriate safety equipment when we arrived and would like to remind anyone thinking of going onto the water to check that their boat is fully operational and that they have appropriate safety equipment onboard.
“If you do get into trouble at sea remember to call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”