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Displaying items by tag: RNLI

The RNLI has urged the Northern Ireland public to exercise caution when visiting the coast and be aware of the dangers while lifeguards are currently not deployed on the region’s beaches.

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.

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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

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Kilrush RNLI’s inshore lifeboat aided in the rescue of a child swept out to sea on an inflatable lilo.

The incident yesterday afternoon (Thursday 28 May) occurred shortly after 3pm off Beal Strand on the Kerry shore of the Shannon Esturary.

It’s understood the casualty, a young girl, had been swept out to sea due to strong winds and tides in the area.

Lifeboat volunteers arrived on scene as the Shannon-based Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 115 had located the casualty some distance from shore and winched a crew member to the water to assist her.

The girl — who was found to be distressed and had swallowed water — was assessed on board the lifeboat before being taken back to Beal Strand, from where she was transferred to Rescue 115 and flown to University Hospital Kerry in Tralee as a precaution.

Press officer Charlie Glynn said: “Thankfully this rescue had a successful outcome and the young girl was reunited with her family.”

He added: “As the current Covid-19 restrictions continue to apply, the RNLI are fully operational and on call 24/7. We ask everyone to follow Government travel instructions.”

Dun Laoghaire RNLI crew on the inshore lifeboat Realt Na Mara (Photo: RNLI/Liam Mullan)Dun Laoghaire RNLI crew on the inshore lifeboat Realt Na Mara | Photo: RNLI/Liam Mullan

Elsewhere yesterday, Dun Laoghaire RNLI launched its inshore lifeboat to a vessel with four on board believed to be sinking in Dublin Bay.

On arrival at the scene it was found the boat was not taking on water but had mechanical issues, and the lifeboat took it under tow to the safety of Dun Laoghaire Harbour.

Edward Totterdell, Dun Laoghaire RNLI’s deputy launching authority, said: “It has been a busy week for our station and volunteer crew having responded to four callouts from the Irish Coast Guard so far.

“It is important to highlight the RNLI and Irish Coast Guard’s message this week asking people to take extra care when using the sea.

“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 if people need us.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Both Clifden RNLI lifeboats were launched to reports of a young child that had been swept out to sea on his surfboard while at the beach with his family in Renvyle shortly after 4.30 pm yesterday.

The offshore wind conditions had changed extremely quickly and the child began to drift further and further away from the shore.

While the RNLI lifeboats were en route to the scene, a local fisherman had made his way to collect the casualty and brought him safely back to shore where he was reunited with his mother.

With the June Bank holiday and fine weather approaching, Community Safety Officer with Clifden RNLI Miryam Harris said ‘With the beautiful weather at the moment, we would encourage everyone to be safe in their seaside activities.

Be sure to check the tides and wind forecast regularly as conditions can change so quickly.

Always try to do your activity with another person, have a means of calling for help with you and wear a life jacket appropriate to your activity. We are all very relieved at the outcome of this launch and well done to the fisherman who came to the aid of this family’.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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The Courtmacsherry All-Weather Trent Class RNLI Lifeboat was called out at 2.10 pm this afternoon to go to the aid of swimmers who had got into difficulty off Virgin Mary’s Bank in Inchydoney Island, West Cork.

Under Coxswain Sean O Farrell and a crew of five, the Courtmacsherry Lifeboat was underway very quickly, under the Station’s new COVID-19 Launch protocols and immediately made its way at top speed to the area of the causalities. Also mobilised was the local Irish Coastguard Unit from Castlefreke, the Coastguard Rescue 115 Helicopter from Shannon and the Local HSE Ambulance. Four persons were swimming together when two got into difficulty. The others made the shoreline and raised the alarm by immediately contacting the rescue services.

Thankfully the two swimmers in difficulty were later able to get ashore where they were assessed by the rescue services, following a very traumatic ordeal. All four were hugely appreciative of the responses of the Rescue Services.

Commenting on this afternoon’s callout, the Courtmacsherry RNLI Voluntary LPO Vincent O Donovan thanked all the Lifeboat crewmembers and Station Officers for ensuring a safe callout today. He commented that “It was also vital that the call for help to the Rescue services was made as quickly as possible as vital minutes can be so important in all rescues”.

The crew on board this afternoon’s call out were Coxswain Sean O Farrell, Mechanic Stuart Russell and crew members Tadgh McCarthy, Dara Gannon and Evin O Sullivan. Of note was that five other crewmembers were quickly at the station in order to give any help required. Attached is a picture of the Lifeboat crew after returning to base.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

The chief executive of the RNLI has said England’s lifting of coronavirus restrictions has put the lifesaving charity “in an impossible situation”.

It comes after a Bank Holiday weekend in the UK that saw two people die in separate incidents in Cornwall, as BBC News reports.

The RNLI paused the rollout of its seasonal lifeguard service at the end of March. As it explores plans to introduce a safe summer service, no beaches it usually covers are currently lifeguarded.

In an open letter released yesterday (Tuesday 26 May), Mark Dowie said “safety advice and warnings will only go so far when people are desperate to enjoy some freedom after weeks of lockdown”.

He added: “But, as a lifesaving charity, the RNLI cannot stop people going to beaches.

“Rolling out a lifeguard service – especially in a pandemic – is not as simple as putting a lifeguard on a beach.

“We found out about the easing of lockdown restrictions in England at the same time and in the same way as the general public.

“Contrast that with shops, which were given three weeks’ notice and even car showrooms have been given seven days’ warning to prepare.”

Dowie said proper training needs to be given and PPE sourced before lifeguard services can resume — and even at that, a reduced budget from the pause on fundraising activity means not all beaches will be covered even by peak season.

“No one is to blame for the situation we find ourselves in,” he said. “We’re asking everyone to help manage an impossible situation, so please follow our safety advice and think before you head to the coast.”

The full letter can be read below:

Dear Sir/Madam,

Despite our warnings that there were no lifeguards on patrol this weekend, crowded beaches, hot weather and big waves meant our lifeboat crews had their busiest weekend so far this year. At least two people lost their lives.

This puts the RNLI in an impossible situation. With thousands flocking to English beaches now lockdown restrictions have been eased, we must strike a balance that keeps the public and our lifeguards safe.

Safety advice and warnings will only go so far when people are desperate to enjoy some freedom after weeks of lockdown. But, as a lifesaving charity, the RNLI cannot stop people going to beaches.

Rolling out a lifeguard service – especially in a pandemic – is not as simple as putting a lifeguard on a beach. We found out about the easing of lockdown restrictions in England at the same time and in the same way as the general public. Contrast that with shops, which were given three weeks’ notice and even car showrooms have been given 7-days warning to prepare.

We have to work out how to do in-water rescues and give first aid – normally conducted at close quarters and often with people coughing up water. We have to find PPE that will work on a beach and in the water – visors and aprons are no good on a rescue board. And we have to train our lifeguards in procedures to reduce the risk of infection. All this takes time and we learnt of the lifting of restrictions at the same time as everyone else.

Lifesaving is our priority. But the fundamental sustainability of the charity is also a consideration. Local authorities contribute just 20% of the £20M needed to pay for a normal lifeguard season – the remaining £16M comes from RNLI donations. Right now, our charity faces an expected £45M shortfall in funding by the end of the year because many of our fundraising activities have had to stop.

No-one is to blame for the situation we find ourselves in. We’re asking everyone to help manage an impossible situation, so please follow our safety advice and think before you head to the coast.

Signed,

Mark Dowie

RNLI Chief Executive

Published in Water Safety
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RNLI lifeboat crews from Skerries and Clogherhead launched yesterday (Monday 25 May) to retrieve a number of adults and children who had become stranded on rocks near Mornington Beach, east of Drogheda.

The lifeboats were launched shortly before 3pm after Dublin Coast Guard received emergency calls about the group’s welfare.

Also tasked were the Irish Coast Guard’s Dublin-based helicopter Rescue 116, the Drogheda Coast Guard boat, and a coastguard land unit, with all arriving on scene within minutes.

Two women, a man and three children were located on the breakwater on the Mornington side of the River Boyne. It’s understood that the women and children had managed to climb up onto the rocks after they were pulled out to sea by a strong current, and the man had come to their assistance.

Working together, Skerries RNLI and Drogheda Coast Guard used their inshore boats to transfer the woman and one of the children to Clogherhead’s all-weather lifeboat for a possible transfer to the helicopter.

However, after consultation with the woman and Rescue 116, it was decided to bring them to a waiting ambulance on Mornington pier to be assessed and treated for their injuries.

The two inshore boats then recovered the remaining casualties from the rocks and brought them to be checked out by ambulance paramedics.

Subsequently the lifeboat crew were informed that another child had also been in the water and had suffered cuts and bruises.

However, they had made it back to shore with assistance from one of the adults. That child was picked up from the beach with another adult and brought for assessment by the ambulance crews.

Speaking about the call out, volunteer lifeboat press officer for Skerries RNLI, Gerry Canning, said: “Any incident involving multiple casualties has the potential to be serious.

“This was another great example of how well our volunteers work alongside our colleagues from our flank stations, from the coastguard and indeed all the emergency services.

“We hope all the casualties involved make a full and speedy recovery.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Youghal RNLI’s volunteer crew were part of a multi-agency operation yesterday evening (Sunday 24 May) to reports of a missing person in Youghal.

The inshore lifeboat launched in good weather on a filling tide at 6.04pm a few minutes after pagers sounded.

Working alongside the Irish Coast Guard and its Rescue 117 helicopter from Waterford, a comprehensive search was undertaken from the inner harbour at Youghal to Knockadoon.

But the lifeboat crew were pleased to stand down at 7.30pm after the reported person was found safe on shore.

Speaking following the callout, Youghal RNLI lifeboat operations manager Derry Walsh said: “We welcome the news that the individual was found safe and well.

“We would like to remind the public that although our volunteers are currently not taking part in weekly training exercises due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we remain on call and available 24/7.

“If in need of help please call 112/999 and ask for the coastguard.”

The Youghal lifeboat crew on this callout were Martin Morris, Mike Brooks, Jack Nolan and Karen Walsh.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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The Irish Mirror reports that two people were rescued from a beach in Co Louth on Saturday afternoon (23 May) after getting into difficulty in the water.

Clogherhead RNLI and the Irish Coast Guard were tasked to the scene at Priests’ Beach in Blackrock, south of Dundalk,

And it’s understood the two individuals, who were surfers, were airlifted to hospital in Drogheda for treatment by the Dublin-based coastguard helicopter Rescue 116.

Published in Coastguard

Four Dun Laoghaire-Based 29er sailors have raised more than €7,700 for the RNLI in their virtual cycling challenge.

Last weekend, the quartet of Max Goodbody, Nathan van Steenberge, Sam Ledoux and Tim Norwood — along with their coach Thomas Chaix — took on the epic round-Ireland route on stationary bakes in their own homes.

In just over a week the team have covered a total of 1,700km — and that’s all the more impressive considering they’ve been fitting in biking sessions around their school work.

Along the way they’ve been joined on various legs by fellow 29er team member Leah Rickard, Finn sailor Oisin McClelland, Laser Radial challenger Aoife Hopkins and Olympic silver medallist Annalise Murphy.

But as they enter the home stretch and the remaining 360km to Dun Laoghaire tomorrow afternoon (Tuesday 19 May), the pressure will be on as they will be joined by Dublin-based former pro cyclist and current super coach Matteo Cigala.

Cigala’s 20-year professional career included junior participation in the World Championship representing Italy and stand-out performances for many years in Ireland’s An Post Ras.

As a coach, he supported Greg Swinand in his two successful Irish hour record efforts. He is the founder and head coach of Cigala Cycling and current head of athlete performance at Ireland’s only professional cycling team, EvoPro Racing.

For more on the team’s endeavour and how to support their efforts, see the GoFundMe page HERE.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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