Displaying items by tag: RNLI
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
The first call came Saturday afternoon (7 December) as the lifeboat launched in gale force winds and high seas, alongside the Islay RNLI lifeboat, to assist a 28m vessel that had lost steering in the Sound of Jura, just north of the MacCormaig Islands.
Islay were first to arrive on scene and it was established that the casualty vessel was able to make way using its emergency steering. Oban lifeboat was requested to rendezvous with the Islay volunteers and the casualty vessel to take over the escort.
Having battled high seas and poor visibility, the Oban crew arrived on scene shortly after 6pm.
While the casualty vessel was able to make way under its own power, the decision was made to continue escorting it to the safety of Craobh Haven Marina.
Given the weather conditions, with wind speeds of up to 50mph and the size of the vessel, it was decided that the Islay lifeboat should also remain on scene. The vessel made a steady speed north towards Craobh accompanied by both lifeboats.
On arrival at 8.15pm, the Oban lifeboat used its searchlights to illuminate the entrance in driving rain, giving the casualty vessel enough visibility to manoeuvre into the marina.
After several attempts at berthing in extremely challenging conditions, the vessel made it alongside with assistance from the Oban crew and, with the help of Craobh Haven Marina’s staff, the vessel was safely tied alongside by 9pm.
The second call came yesterday afternoon (Sunday 8 December) when the volunteer crew launched at 3pm to a report of a yacht adrift off Corpach.
The lifeboat made best speed in the conditions, arriving on scene by 4.30pm. Two crew members were put on board the yacht to determine whether anyone was on board.
With nothing found, it was decided a line would be put ashore to a nearby pier to ensure it didn’t drift further. The Fort William Coastguard Team were also on scene to take lines ashore and secure the vessel.
All In A Row 2019 came to the capital’s River Liffey last Saturday, 30th November, and challenged teams rowing 40 skiffs, kayaks, canoes and currachs to exceed a 1,000km target in eight hours in aid of the RNLI.
As Afloat reported earlier, Dragon Boats from the Plurabelle Paddlers and the Dublin Viking Dragon boats created a great spectacle with their drummers beating out the stroke rate. Phoenix Rowing Club from the western side of the Liffey joined with rowers from St. Patrick’s, Stella Maris and East Wall Water Sports Rowing Clubs on the east side, together with teams from Cork, Belfast, Rush, Skerries, Arklow, Carlow, Greystones, Drogheda and Dalkey to raise funds for RNLI Lifeboats and the Irish Underwater Search and Recovery Unit.
The Skipper of the Lagan Currach, at 10 metres/ 33ft long and weighting 1 Ton, was heard to say “ It was a bit of a tight squeeze. Apparently O'Connell Bridge is as wide as it is long. The tunnel under it seemed to go on forever, or maybe it's just the claustrophobia speaking!“
Swords Sailing & Boating Club Vice Commodore Patrick Wodhams handed over a club burgee and a cheque for €710 to Howth RNLI on behalf of funds raised by club members today to the RNLI in Howth in County Dublin.
The funds were raised by Swords club members over 2019, starting with a New Years days sail event followed by the annual club quiz and the club open day.
Baltimore Lifeboat: A Community Story by Éamon Lankford is now available, priced €16, with all proceeds going to Baltimore RNLI.
Seascapes presenter Keane will be in attendance to host the official launch from 8pm next Saturday, and all are welcome to attend — while the author will be signing copies earlier that afternoon from 3pm to 4pm at Hickey’s newsagents in Skibbereen.
For details on how to get a copy of the book, contact [email protected]
As Christmas approaches, the RNLI is issuing its own call for help as new figures show that the charity’s volunteer lifeboat crews are more than 600% busier over the festive period compared with 40 years ago. The charity is facing a ‘Perfect Storm’ with more people than ever needing its help, meaning support from the public is more vital than ever.
During the festive period* last year, RNLI volunteers launched to the rescue 155 times compared with just 21 call outs in 1979. During the festive periods dating back to 1979, RNLI volunteers have rescued 1,453 people and saved 299 lives.
To ensure the RNLI can continue its lifesaving work this Christmas and into the future, the charity is running a major fundraising appeal, The Perfect Storm, with the aim of raising £1.8M and recruiting 12,000 new supporters.
While many people will be thinking about presents, turkey and time with the family, dedicated RNLI volunteers from 238 lifeboat stations across the UK and Ireland will be ensuring their yellow wellies and lifejackets are ready for when the call comes and will be ready to drop everything at a moment’s notice to save lives at sea.
In many cases, generations of the same family could be forced to abandon their turkey dinner and head to their local lifeboat station when the call for help comes in.
Long-serving RNLI volunteer Phil Eaglen joined Wells Lifeboat Station in 1967 and has dedicated an incredible 50 years of his life to saving others with the RNLI. This Christmas, joining him around the dinner table with their pagers close at hand will be his son and granddaughter, who like Phil, will be ready to respond if the call comes in.
Phil, who joined Wells RNLI as a shore crew volunteer at the age of 17, says:
‘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.’
The causes of callouts over the festive period have changed over the years. In the early 80s the most common reason for callouts was to commercial fishing vessels and powered craft. One notable rescue arose on Boxing Day in 1985 when a 65ft trawler found itself in difficulty in storm force conditions which saw the Ramsgate lifeboat launch. The trawler had run aground and the lifeboat launched into horrendous weather conditions to attach a tow and saved those onboard. The bravery shown by the lifeboat crew resulted in the coxswain being awarded a silver gallantry medal.
Since 2000, many of those needing help are often just visiting the coast and not out on vessels or watercraft. As well as slips, trips and falls, tidal cut offs are also a contributing factor to RNLI call outs.
Some families will be cherishing Christmas together thanks to the RNLI. Ben and Natalia Taylor are heading to Hoylake to pay their respects to the crews of Hoylake and New Brighton after the lives of their twin daughters, Evie and Lola, 12, were dramatically saved earlier this year.
The family were holidaying in Kent when the twins, who were playing in the sea on an inflatable unicorn, were swept along by the wind and rapidly started heading out to sea.
Ben swam out to what he described were just ‘two dots’ in the distance heading further out to sea. Margate RNLI lifeboat was launched and Ramsgate RNLI lifeboat and RNLI lifeguards joined the search. They picked up frantic dad Ben and thankfully discovered the girls had clung to a buoy and were safe and well after being picked up by a pleasure boat.
Ben says: ‘I cannot put into words the terror we experienced that day, it really put into perspective how precious life and family is. We’re already planning our Christmas this year and that really is thanks to the RNLI acting so quickly. It was the advice given just a couple of days before on the beach which helped Lola and Evie about what to do if they got into trouble and helped to save their lives.
‘I can’t bear to think what kind of Christmas this year could have been for me and my family, but thankfully and luckily we’re still here and have lots of fantastic celebrations planned. I’m in total admiration of all the volunteers who came to help us that day.
‘To think they do this voluntarily is just incomprehensible. Please donate whatever you can to support the Perfect Storm appeal and help the RNLI crews to continue saving lives.’
The RNLI’s Perfect Storm appeal has been launched in response to some major challenges the charity is facing. In 2018, the RNLI’s financial resources dropped by £28.6M, while its crews are busier than ever.
Portaferry RNLI came to the aid of three people stranded on Trasnagh Island near Whiterock at Killinchy on the western shore of Strangford Lough this afternoon, as the weather deteriorated.
Portaferry’s volunteer crew launched promptly at 1.26 pm and made their way to the island and arrived on scene at 1.45 pm, in fair but rainy weather conditions and easterly winds. The sea state was moderate.
When on scene, the volunteer crew transferred the three workmen off the island, where they had been working since the early hours of the morning. As the weather had got worse, the small boat that they had used to get out to the island was not suitable to complete the return journey to shore. The lifeboat crew took the three workmen to shore, where they were met by the local coastguard team.
Commenting on today’s call out, Graham Edgar, Portaferry RNLI Deputy Launching Authority said: ‘While not in any immediate danger, the men certainly took the right course of action today calling for help once they realised that they could not get back to shore. We were delighted to help and would urge anyone considering going to sea to take all necessary precautions and respect the water.’