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Red Bay RNLI's new Atlantic 85 lifeboat was officially named the Geoffrey Charles during a moving ceremony at the lifeboat station in Cushendall, county Antrim yesterday, (Saturday 28 May 2011).  The lifeboat was funded by Roger and Judith Colmer in memory of their son Geoffrey. The couple made the trip to Northern Ireland from their home in England with a group of family and friends to name the lifeboat and pay tribute to Geoffrey.

Geoffrey was a scuba diving instructor and working in Thailand when the devastating 2004 tsunami struck the island of PhiPhi. He helped save many lives during that time by recovering people from the water and bringing the injured for urgent medical assistance. He also returned to the area to help bring comfort to many families who had lost loved ones by helping to get official identification for those lost in the tsunami.  Sadly Geoffrey died shortly after this at the age of 32 and his parents wanted to do something to recognise the work he did in saving lives. Along with other projects they have funded this Atlantic 85 lifeboat in Geoffrey's name.

During the ceremony Roger spoke about Geoffrey and the reason they funded a lifeboat in his memory.  "It is very fitting given that Geoffrey saved people from the sea that we are here today to dedicate and hand over this Atlantic 85 to the Red Bay station in Geoffrey's memory.  In the same way that he saved people from the sea we are confident that those trained and skilled with this craft will carry out the same courageous acts and rescue people around these shores.

This project has given us something positive to focus on and we wish to stay in very close contact with the station.  Geoffrey loved the sea and the natural environment and when we first saw this lifeboat we knew it would be like him – big, powerful, a little bit noisy and very confident. From our very first visit to Red Bay we knew that this was the place for the lifeboat to be stationed in his memory."

In another special tribute well known singer Frances Black, whose father was from Rathlin Island spoke of her love for the area and thanked the Colmers for their gift in Geoffrey's memory.  Frances said, "When we were children we used to spend a lot of time up and around this area  travelling back and forth on the seas around Rathlin Island.  When we were young we thought it was really exciting that the waves were the size of houses but as we got older we became very aware that the seas were quite treacherous in this area, beautiful as it is.

The RNLI have saved many lives up and around this area.  To save one life is a miracle but to save the amount of lives they have is fantastic.  The work the volunteers do and the dedication that they have is absolutely phenomenal.  I would like to say a very special thank you to both Judith and Roger.  It is very important we remember the legacy that Geoffrey has left on this wonderful day. He would be so proud of his family and of what they have done today."

Frances then gave a beautiful accapella rendition of the well known song Bright Blue Rose, which she dedicated to Geoffrey.

Red Bay Lifeboat Operations Manager Alan Murphy accepted the lifeboat into the care of the station, "The lifeboat is the main piece of equipment provided by the RNLI and in many cases this is thanks to the generosity of people like Rogerand Judith Colmer, to whom we are extremely grateful.  We at Red Bay are very proud of our new lifeboat and will keep the boat well maintained and always ready to launch when requested."

The lifeboat was named with a bottle of champagne poured over the side of the boat.  The honour was carried out by Judith and Roger's grandson Edward.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

The RNLI's 30th Portrush Raft Race takes place this weekend promises to deliver the usual fun frolics and madness around the Harbour from 11am on Saturday 28th May right through to Sunday 29th!

The weekend kicks off with the Junior Raft Race at 11am at the harbour, followed by music, street entertainment, The RNLI Roadshow making its first appearance at the Raft Race and a real coup for the committee.
This year for the first time also the RNLI Lifeguard team will be joining the crew for a spectacular safety display at sea, showing how all sections of the RNLI operate together to save lives.

Radio Ulster's Alan Simpson will be the compere for the day bringing his own style of wit and humour and boundless knowledge of local characters, interviewing rafters, crew, committee and sponsors.
To round it all off local band 'Wipe-out' have reformed to bring back a flavour of the Old Raft Race days.....who can forget them playing in blazing sunshine on the balcony of the yacht Club?

On Sunday there will be the Service of Thanksgiving followed by the madness and mayhem that is the Waiters Race....Come down and support your local bar people. This race gets so competitive it's unreal. Who will knock Sharman Crawford from the Ramore Wine Bar off his perch!

The Committee would like to thanks the Causeway SPAR retail group for their support both in time and money, and everyone else who has contributed to this 30th year of rafting!

Further details can be obtained by calling the Raft Race hotline 07969 814605

History - The First Portrush Raft Race

The Portrush Raft Race has its origins in a special relationship that existed between two Johns. One John (Scott) was closely involved in the day-to-day affairs of the Portrush Lifeboat; the other John (McNally) was the co-owner of the Harbour Bar in Portrush.

In summer 1981 John Scott brought into the Harbour Bar a Lifeboat Magazine containing an article about a Raft Race that the Oban Lifeboat Ladies Guild had successfully run as a fund raiser. John Scott showed the article to John McNally and both were in agreement that the West Bay would provide an ideal venue for running a similar fund raising event in Portrush. The matter rested for some months until there was a clearing-out of the bar shelves when the magazine re-appeared.

A letter was sent to the Oban Ladies Guild who were most helpful in providing copies of their rules and entry form along with some very valuable comments on their experience. The way was clear to start and all that was needed was some willing volunteers to help with the organisation. Regulars of the Bar offered their support and so the first Raft Race Committee was formed. Guinness offered to be the main sponsor which significantly helped in bringing the Portrush Raft Race to the public's attention. The spring bank holiday weekend was selected as it tied in with the Coleraine Borough Council's idea of having a Spring Bank Holiday Fair in Portrush.

An idea was hatched to have a Le Mann type start from the West Beach with crews standing at the water's edge and then sprinting up the beach to collect their rafts and head for the sea with the finish line at the Lifeboat in the harbour. It was agreed from the start that the focus would be family entertainment, rather than speed, with special emphasis being placed on raft design and crew costume.

The first race, which was held on Saturday 29th May 1982, attracted 39 entries with a number making a very special effort to design their rafts attractively. The rafts ranged from the most basic design to the resplendent Quinquireme of Nineveh complete with galley slaves, skeleton, albatross and shark. The ladies of the Fantasy Island also attracted considerable interest with their palm tree, grass skirts and badly fitting coconut shells. The sun shone and the wind from the South West was fresh providing a welcome assist for the tired crews.

The first across the line was the aptly named Portrush Flyer (J Porter, C Irwin, W Green, W Gallagher, N Gaile and N Gibson see above) followed by Titanic Raft 1 and Leonora. The first all ladies raft was also Leonora which was crewed by the girls from Dunluce School, Bushmills ( K Hunter, K Diamond, W Torrens, P McConaghy, S Boswell and M Parke). The best designed raft was Quinquireme of Nineveh ( B Magowan, C Woffinoin, D McKeown, A Creelman, N Adams and C Thompson) and the best costumed crew were Fantasy Island (M McFadden, V Haslam, J Sutchliffe, G Douglas, E Thompson and E Sutcliffe). There were other awards eg most humorous Titanic 1, Perseverance Titanic 2 and most important of all most sponsorship which went to the boys of Dunluce School Bushmills whose raft Big Berta raised over £650.

The first Raft Race rose over £3000 which was way beyond the committee's expectation and guaranteed the continuation of the event. In the 22 years that the two John's were involved the race grew from a Saturday afternoon event to an action packed Raft Race Weekend. Their involvement ceased after the death of John Scott in 2004. It is wrong to single out individuals but particular mention must be made of John and Fay Scott who gave the event the life that made it so enjoyable for all involved in the organisation. Margaret and Alan McFadden who also showed everyone how to enter the spirit of the event and have great fun. Finally mention must be made of Rosie Kirker Millar who sadly recently passed away. Rosie epitomised a can-do spirit and gave so much energy to the committee.

J McNally
May 2011

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Dun Laoghaire Lifeboat is set to appoint Mark McGibney as Coxwain with effect from 1 June. Eamon O'Leary will become second Coxwain from the same date.

A well-known Dublin Bay and racing sailor, McGibney is the sailing manager of the Royal Irish Yacht Club on Dun Laoghaire's waterfront.

The Dun Laoghaire station is among the busiest in the Irish division.  A Trent-class all-weather lifeboat (ALB) 'Anna Livia' and smaller D-Class inshore lifeboat (ILB) are based in the harbour with a crew-panel of 28 local men and women supported by shore-crew and fund-raising volunteers.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
Next weekend's Foyle Days (21 and 22) is set to welcome the return of the Johanna Lucretia, a two masted wooden schooner built in 1945, along with other vessels which are to visit the north-west city, writes Jehan Ashmore.
The annual maritime festival will bring the sailing boats upriver on the River Foyle and berth at the Queen's Quay. The public are invited to come on board free of charge and explore the vessels. The largest being the 96ft Johanna Lucretia, which was built originally as a fishing boat but never used for that purpose.

Over the years she has changed hands between Dutch and UK interests for recreational use. Several years ago she starred in the RTE TV reality show 'Cabin Fever' where she replaced the show's first ship Camaret of Cornwall (branded as 'Cabin Fever') after it ran aground off Tory Island.

During the two-day festival (11am-5pm) the boating community at the event will include the Coleraine Yacht Club, Foyle Paddlers, Foyle Punts, Lough Foyle Yacht Club, Lough Swilly Yacht Club, Moville Boat Club, RNLI and the Foyle (SAR) Search and Rescue.

Visitors to Foyle Days can call to the Clipper stand and learn more about the city's entry of the Derry~Londonderry boat in the 2011-2012 Clipper Round the World Race. Learn more about the countries the crew will visit and also how to get involved in the event. For more information about the race, at 40,000 miles is the world's longest race go to www.clipperroundtheworld.com/

Running alongside the festival a continental market with 40 stalls will be open to all at the recently revamped Guildhall Square. For further details about Foyle Days click here.

Published in Maritime Festivals
Wicklow RNLI all weather lifeboat was launched just before 0820am this morning after it was reported that a fishing vessel was in need of assistance, approximately a half mile South of Wicklow Head.
The lifeboat under the command of Coxswain Nick Keogh was quickly on scene and located the small fishing vessel drifting after engine failure , a towline was quickly passed and established , the fishing vessel with 3 crew was towed safely back to Wicklow harbour and was secured alongside the South Quay by 0910am. The lifeboat returned to Station and was ready for service again at 0945am.
This is the 5th callout this year for the busy station that was established in 1857.
Crew list - Coxswain Nick Keogh, Mechanic Brendan Copeland, Ciaran Doyle, Lisa O Leary, Brendan Kavanagh and Tommy Murphy.
Shore crew - John Sillery, John Hayden, Tommy Dover, John Docherty, Carol Flahive, Wayne Jones, Kevin Rahill, John Vize and Alan Goucher.
Published in RNLI Lifeboats
Tagged under
Volunteer lifeboat crew with Wexford RNLI had to deal with two dramatic callouts on the river Slaney within the space of two hours yesterday (Sunday 8th May).  Twenty rowers taking part in a triathlon were brought to safety as waves swamped their boat and a man was rescued after he was seen falling from Wexford bridge.
Four of the eight rowing boats involved in a triathlon got into difficulty as strong wind over tide caused dangerous waves which swamped the boats and capsized one.  The boats were spotted by members of the Wexford Harbour Boat Club who had safety boats in the water as part of their weekly sailing practice. The Wexford RNLI Lifeboat was training at the time and came to the assistance of the rowers, some of whom were in the freezing water for ten minutes. Conditions were challenging with a southerly force 6 and wind over tide which resulted in seas of 3 foot waves, making it very difficult for the rowers. All rowers were brought ashore.
One hour after the callout, a man was spotted falling from Wexford bridge, at 1:09pm. The quick action of the public and the gardai ensured that the lifeboat, some of whose crew were still at the station was able to launch within minutes of the man entering the water.  With the help of the gardai on the bridge who kept a visual on the man the lifeboat crew were able to locate him. The man was unconscious when lifeboat volunteer Frank O'Brien, jumped into the water and pulled him into the lifeboat.  First aid was immediately adminstered and the casualty was brought back to the lifeboat station and met by a  waiting ambulance.
Published in RNLI Lifeboats
Tagged under
A man walking on Sandymount beach on Dublin Bay yesterday evening had a lucky escape when he became cut-off by the incoming tide and was rescued by the new RNLI inshore lifeboat from Dun Laoghaire.

The incident occurred shortly after 10pm when the man was walking on a sandbank approximately one mile from Strand Road in Sandymount when he became aware that he was cut-off by the rising flood tide. The Irish Coastguard service that co-ordinates marine rescue received a phone call from the casualty and the inshore lifeboat was launched at 10.20pm.

A search involving Gardai and coastguard shore units was already underway and the ILB began combing the area with the assistance of searchlights and white parachute flares.  The casualty relayed his position to the ILB crew via the Dublin Coastguard radio service and was located within 20 minutes.

The ILB crew took the casualty on board and brought him to Dun Laoghaire one hour after the call-out.  He was unhurt in the incident and did not require hospital attention.

The new inshore lifeboat was named "Realt Na Mara" by broadcaster Pat Kenny and his wife Cathy at a ceremony last Saturday.  The €35,000 craft was donated privately and this evening's call was the second today.  Earlier, four people on a small powerboat got into difficulties off Bulloch Harbour in Dalkey.

Tonight's incident is not an infrequent occurrence as the sandbanks on Sandymount Strand have tricked other walkers in the past as the incoming tide floods the lower-lying beach area closer to the shore and depths become impossible to walk, especially in surf.

"The casualty was very lucky to escape injury or worse," commented Stephen Wynne, Lifeboat Operations Manager at Dun Laoghaire RNLI.  "There was less than two hours remaining before high-water but at that stage the sandbank would have been completely covered.  Sea-temperatures on the East Coast are still less than ten degrees and the chances of survival would have been slim".

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
The rapid response of the RNLI Baltimore inshore lifeboat averted catastrophe at sea today, when a young fishermen fell overboard 11 miles south of Baltimore harbour.

Valentia Coast Guard alerted the Baltimore lifeboat station at 12:43pm and both the inshore lifeboat Bessie and the all-weather lifeboat Hilda Jarrett put to sea. The twin engined Atlantic 75 which has a top speed of 32 knots, reached the casualty within 20 minutes under the direction of Helmsman Youen Jacob.

Crewman Ronan Callanan administered oxygen to the stricken fisherman stabilising his condition, which had been serious due to long immersion in water. Further medical attention was offered by all weather lifeboat crewman Jerry Smith when it arrived on scene 20 minutes later.

Given the seriousness of the fishermans condition it was decided that an airlift was the most appropriate course of action and a rescue helicopter was called.

Helmsman Youne Jacob, commended the Captain and crew of the fishing boat in retrieving the fisherman from the water, which was made even more difficult by the choppy sea conditions prevailing.

The Inshore lifeboat then returned to Baltimore Harbour, However the allweather lifeboat remained at seas, as another distress call was received from a fishing vessel adrift 30 miles offshore.

In current weather conditions it will take them two hours to reach the vessel and several more to tow her back to shore.

Onboard the inshore lifeboat were Helmsman Youen Jacob, crewmen Ronan Callanan and Tadhg Collins.

On board the all weather lifeboat are coxswain Aidan Bushe, Cathal Cottrell, Jerry Smith, Ronnie Carty and father and son team Pat and Diarmuid Collins

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
Terence Johnson was made a Life Governor of Irish Water Safety to day at the Westbury Hotel, Dublin in due recognition of his work as Chairman of the Irish Management Committee of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution. The Government Chief Whip, Minister Paul Kehoe T.D. made this presentation and thanked him for the important role he played in promoting water safety and saving peoples lives at sea during his tenure. Minister Kehoe commended Mr. Johnson for the exceptional voluntary work that he did to advance the search and rescue facilities in Ireland.

Approximately forty Life Governors of Irish Water Safety were in attendance at the ceremony. They included former Minister Bobby Molloy, former Director of the Coast Guard Captain Liam Kirwan, former Chairman of the National Safety Council Cartan Finnegan to name but a few. Also in attendance was Commodore Mark Mellett DSM, Flag Officer Commanding the Naval Service, Mr. Chris Reynolds current director of the Coast Guard.

Guest Speakers were Mark Mellett, Director of the Naval Service, TJ Mc Carron, Ballybunion Community Rescue Boat, Eddie Breen and County Manager of Wexford Co Co.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Skerries RNLI Lifeboat was tasked last night at 8pm to reports of an upturned hull in the water off Donabate Co Dublin. The lifeboat was launched within six minutes and with the help of the Coast Guard Helicopter "Rescue 116" quickly located the object in the water. The object turned out to be a racing mark that was not floating correctly. The boat returned to station, refuelled and was ready for service before 10pm

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
Page 173 of 188

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