#LIFEBOAT – The people of Baltimore welcomed a new addition to their community today when the RNLI delivered a €3 million Tamar class to the west Cork village. It is set to replace the Hilda Jarrett Tyne class lifeboat, which has served Baltimore since 1988. The new lifeboat left RNLI Headquarters in Poole last Saturday calling at a number of lifeboat stations along the way before undertaking the final leg of the journey this morning from Crosshaven to Baltimore Harbour.
Onboard the lifeboat was Baltimore RNLI crewmembers, Coxswain Keiron Cotter, mechanic Cathal Cottrell, Jerry Smith, Ronald Carthy and Patrick Collins along with RNLI Training Divisional Inspector Owen Medland and Deputy Divisional Engineer Michael Carmody. Ferry operators brought passengers out to escort the new lifeboat home and the harbour was full of local school children and residents.
The new lifeboat, which is named Alan Massey (ON 1302) was largely funded through a legacy from Mrs Dorothy May Massey from Watford in England, and has been named in memory of her late brother Alan, who it is understood had a love of the sea.
It was a proud day for Baltimore RNLI Coxswain Keiron Cotter who said, "We have been looking forward to this moment for a long time and we wish to acknowledge our volunteer lifeboat crew both past and present. The arrival of a new lifeboat to a station is an occasion of great pride and excitement. The Hilda Jarrett has served us well for over twenty years but as a Coxswain you look forward to receiving the newest lifeboat model with all the latest developments and technology onboard. We will spend the next month or so training all the volunteer lifeboat crew on her before we say goodbye to our Tyne class lifeboat, which will be returned to the relief fleet in Poole.
New home: The new Baltimore lifeboat passes 'The Beacon' on it's arrival escorted by Baltimore inshore lifeboat. Photo: Provision
We have so many memories onboard that old lifeboat, one of the highlights being the Rambler rescue last August. However along with the successful rescues there have also been tragedies and most recently we witnessed this with the search for the missing crewmen from the Tit Bonhomme in Glandore Harbour. Our thoughts are with their families today."
Crews celebrate the new lifeboat alongside in Baltimore harbour. Photo: Provision
The new Tamar class lifeboat is 16.3 metres in length with a maximum speed of 25 knots compared to the 14.3 metres of Baltimore RNLI's current Tyne class lifeboat which has a maximum speed of 18 knots. The lifeboat is self-righting in the event of a capsize and is fitted with an integrated electronics systems and information management system, which allows the lifeboat crew to monitor, operate and control many of the boats systems from shock mitigating seats.
The Tamar also carries a Y boat (an inflatable daughter boat) which is housed under the aft deck and deployed from a hinged door in the transom. The lifeboat has room for 44 survivors.
RNLI Training Divisional Inspector Owen Medland who made the journey with the lifeboat crew added, "I have been involved with this project for the last few years and today is a great day for everyone in Baltimore. This lifeboat represents a significant investment in safety along the west cork coastline. I wish the crew the very best and I know this lifeboat will go on to be a vessel that will save many lives and be a symbol of safety and protection for all those who venture out to sea."
#LIFEBOAT – The annual fundraising dinner in aid of Ballycotton RNLI lifeboat was held on Wednesday, 8 February, at The Grain Store, Ballymaloe, in East Cork, with special guest, Phil Coulter.
Tickets sold out well in advance of the event, with the proceeds going towards the RNLI's, Lifejackets for Lifesavers, appeal. The RNLI have designed innovative lifejackets in consultation with their lifeboat crew members and are due to replace all lifejackets in every lifeboat station in Ireland later this year. Events are being run to fund this and the event at The Grain Store, Ballymaloe, will be used to fund the replacement of lifejackets at Ballycotton RNLI lifeboat station.
In her speech, Ms. Fiona Flynn, Chairman of the Ballycotton RNLI lifeboat fundraising committee, welcomed the guests to the event. She informed them that RNLI lifeboats responded to over 980 calls for assistance in 2011, rescuing over 900 persons. Ballycotton lifeboat launched 14 times in 2011, 7 of which were night time rescues. She explained that the volunteer crew at Ballycotton spent 170 hours at sea during these shouts and a further 560 hours on training exercises. When Ms. Flynn finished, Rory Allen then welcomed the special guest of the evening, Phil Coulter.
To check the guests' vocals the evening's entertainment was opened with a rousing rendition of Ireland's Call. Phil Coulter sang a few more songs before introducing an array of amazing entertainers. The first on stage was Christine Moran, a 13 year old from Aghada. She wowed the audience with her rendition of Danny Boy, accompanied on the piano by the maestro himself. Following a second song from Christine, Deirdre Casey from Shanagarry took to the stage. She was followed by dance duo, Keith & Futo. Aghada's answer to West Life took to the stage in the guise of Eddie & Paddy, accompanied by Rory Allen on guitar. In between their two songs, Paddy kept the audience entertained with his stories.
Michael Cahill and Shannon Burke showed their Irish dancing skills before Roisin Donohoe took to the stage with her harp. This 15 year old, Junior Certificate student from Kinsale, amazed the audience with her skill on the harp. Before she left the stage she set her harp aside to sing unaccompanied. Roisin's proud mother later told a guest she also plays the viola and had actually won a competition earlier that day. The Armani Acrobats rounded up that section of the entertainment.
Following the presentation of the Ballycotton Lifeboats book, Ballycotton Lifeboats, 150 Years of Gallantry, by Fiona Flynn to Phil Coulter a very enjoyable evening was finished up when all those who participated in the entertainment returned to the stage and joined in with the guests to sing Home from the Sea, under the direction and musical accompaniment of Phil Coulter.
An impromptu traditional session then commenced with a couple of guests observed dancing to the music. A very enjoyable evening was had by all and a general reluctance by some to end their night out.
#LIFEBOATS – RNLI Lifeboats in Ireland launched 980 times to a variety of call outs in 2011. 905 people were rescued over the course of the year by volunteer lifeboat crews who spent over 9,826 hours on service at sea.
Howth RNLI lifeboat station in Dublin was the busiest coastal Irish station, launching to 48 requests for help and, bringing 60 people to safety. They were followed by Crosshaven RNLI in Cork who launched 46 times and assisted 43 people. Enniskillen, one of Ireland’s two inland RNLI lifeboat stations which operates bases on both Upper and Lower Lough Erne, launched 52 times and brought 46 people to safety.
The busiest month for rescues was July with 155 launches followed by August with 124 calls for assistance. February 2011 was the busiest February for Irish launches in the RNLI’s history, as were May and October 2011.
Over a third of the RNLI’s call outs for last year were also carried out in darkness. The statistics show that launches to vessels suffering machinery failure still account for the largest number of call outs (187) followed by vessels reported to be in trouble (78), grounded (74) and capsizing (73).
Commenting on the 2011 statistics RNLI Deputy Divisional Inspector Gareth Morrison said: ‘Our lifeboat volunteers continue to show selfless dedication and commitment to saving lives. Some stations are extremely busy while others have less call outs but spend long hours at sea in awful conditions. There were some outstanding rescues last year including that to Rambler 100, in which Baltimore RNLI recovered 16 crew members off the upturned hull of the racing boat during the Fastnet race. Sadly there were also long searches for missing loved ones.
‘The work of the volunteer lifeboat crews could not be made possible without the generosity of the public who in difficult times continue to support Irish lifeboat crews. While these figures give an interesting insight into search and rescue by the RNLI on Irish waters they are by no means the full story. As well as working to save lives at sea the RNLI provides other programmes and services for the public including sea safety advice and clinics, education roadshows and visits to lifeboat stations.’
The 2011 figures are being released in the wake of the RNLI Lifejackets for Lifesavers campaign which will see every lifeboat station in Ireland take delivery of new specially designed lifejackets in September. The lifejackets have been commissioned by the RNLI for search and rescue work and have been given the seal of approval from lifeboat volunteers. The cost of providing the lifejackets for all 43 lifeboat stations in Ireland is estimated at €160,000.
#LIFEBOAT – Wicklow Lifeboat took part in a joint training exercise with an Air Corp helicopter in Wicklow bay on Saturday morning. The Air Corp AW139 helicopter crew landed on the Castle near the lifeboat Station at Wicklow harbour for a briefing prior to the exercise. During the exercise, three of the lifeboat crew were winched into the helicopter using various winch methods.
#RESCUE – Lifeboat crew with Howth RNLI spent over ten hours on Saturday (4 February 2012) assisting a 17 metre fishing tralwer, with seven crew onboard, 36 miles north east of Howth, which was rapidly taking on water.
Howth RNLI were requested to launch their all weather lifeboat to the fishing vessel at 1.08 pm on Saturday afternoon and it would be nearly ten and a half hours later when they returned to the harbour with the casualty vessel under tow.
The Irish Coast Helicopter were also on scene to help the stricken vessel and a winchman delivered a salvage pump onboard to help the crew try and staunch the water. With the lifeboat on scene the Coast Guard helcopter returned to base and the lifeboat crew worked quickly to establish a tow in difficult conditions. Weather was force six with a strong southerly wind.
Keeping the casualty vessel under tow in bad conditions proved challenging and the rope parted a couple of times. Sixteen miles north east of Howth the fishing crew reported that the water coming into the vessel was increasing and the tow was stopped. A lifeboat crewmember was transferred onto the fishing trawler and a new salvage pump was put onboard. The source of the leak was identified and action taken to stem the flow of water. The lifeboat once again undertook the tow and eventually arrived into Howth harbour at 10.25pm. All crew onboard the fishing vessel were unhurt.
Commenting on the callout Howth RNLI crewmember Dave Howard said, " This was a long callout for our all weather lifeboat crew. Condtions were not great offshore and going from the lifeboat onto the casualty vessel in a two to three metre swell was very challenging. However when a fishing vessel reports taking on water, it is vital to make sure that the crew are safe and that the tow does not part. We are relieved that all crew got home safe."
#LIFEBOATS – While RNLI beach lifeguards take a break from life-saving on the North coast of Northern Ireland, RNLI Lifeguard Supervisor Tim Doran, originally from Armagh and living in Portstewart, along with his colleague Ross Macleod, RNLI Beach Safety Programme Manager, were busy teaching others (pictured above) how to save lives thousands of miles away in Cameroon.
The two lifeguards were part of a joint international project between the RNLI and the Swimming Teachers Association (STA). Its aim was to reduce the loss of life by drowning in Cameroon. This is a coastal country where eighty percent of the population cannot swim and drowning at sea and in lakes is a daily occurrence.
Tim Doran and Ross MacLeod, whose father hails from Holywood, County Down, along with Gary Seghers, Qualifications Development Manager at STA held a week long course which trained twenty local people from across Cameroon to become swimming and water safety instructors. The course took place in the coastal town of Kribi and is the first of its kind ever run in the country. It is one of the first projects of its kind to be run by RNLI lifeguards and the plan is to roll out more.
As an RNLI lifeguard supervisor in Northern Ireland Tim Doran is used to training recruits in life-saving so the challenge of bringing it to Cameroon was one he couldn't pass up. "The RNLI is a charity that places a high value on training and safety with both its lifeguards and volunteer lifeboat crews. It was amazing to be able to go to a country like Cameroon and to put the skills we have been taught into practice. There is obviously a huge difference between the two countries but the basics of life-saving are the same no matter where you live. We have taught a small group in Africa to save lives, who will in turn go on to train others how to swim and be safe in the water. That is an incredible feeling."
As well as delivering the training, the RNLI have also donated some of their old equipment and first aid supplies to the group. The RNLI and STA will keep in touch with the life-savers to see how they are getting on with their training. Tim and his RNLI lifeguard colleagues will be back on Northern Ireland beaches along the North coast from June.
#RESCUE - The Irish Times reports that the search has resumed for a fisherman who fell overboard from a trawler in the Irish Sea yesterday.
The crewman of the Kilkeel-registered fishing vessel Zenith was reported missing some nine miles (14.5km) off Clogherhead, Co Louth.
The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.
#SAOIRSE RONAN – Volunteer lifeboat crew with Wicklow RNLI received a surprise visitor during their navigation course this morning (Monday 23 January 2012). Well known actress Saoirse Ronan dropped in to say hello while filming nearby. The actress was filming scenes for director Neil Jordan's new film 'Byzantium' at Wicklow harbour.
The Hollywood actress makes her slipway debut
Tommy Dover, Wicklow RNLI volunteer said, " Saoirse kindly agreed to pose with some of the lifeboat crew from Wicklow RNLI and hear all about the work of the charity. We were delighted to welcome her and if she ever wants to sign up as lifeboat crew, she is more than welcome."
The RNLI is holding their SOS fundraising day this Friday with events happening all around the country. Funds raised are going towards purchasing new lifejackets for the volunteer lifeboat crews. The target is €160,000.
Wicklow RNLI lifeboat crew are no strangers to famous actors visiting the lifeboat station. Both Brendan Gleeson and Don Cheadle called into the lifeboat station while they were filming The Guard nearby.
Top winner on the day in the shore angling competition at Kilgorman beach was James Ryan from New Ross, who hooked an impressive 24 fish - all of which went back in the water under catch-and-release rules.
Anglers from Galway, Belfast, Clare, Wicklow, Dublin, Waterford and across Wexford took part. It is hoped that more than €4,200 was raised to support the Courtown lifeboat.
#GLANDORE SEARCH – The Naval Vessel LE Niamh has joined up to 18 other vessels including lifeboats from Baltimore and Courtmacsherry and a large fleet of up to 18 fishing vessels in a bid to locate five men missing from a trawler that ran aground off the Cork coast earlier this morning. The Naval Service have also sent a diving team, who were engaged in a search for a missing person in the River Corrib in Galway, to the scene.
As reported earlier today, the 40–foot fishing vessel the Tit Bonhomme sank in heavy seas close to Adam and Eve Island at the entrance to Union Hall harbour at around 6am.
One crewman, who is Egyptian, was rescued from the sea by a Coastguard helicopter.
His five crewmates, two from Ireland, three from Egypt, are still missing.