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Displaying items by tag: Lifeboats

Baltimore RNLI’s volunteer crew were called out to reports of a boat on fire off Sherkin Island in West Cork yesterday afternoon (Saturday 10 July).

Under coxswain Aidan Bushe, the all-weather lifeboat launched at 3.34pm following a request from the Irish Coast Guard to attend the blaze on RIB in Horseshoe Harbour.

The lifeboat arrived at the scene five minutes later and found that the occupants of the RIB had already been removed to another vessel and all were safe.

Volunteers used their onboard fire hose on the burning vessel but unfortunately the RIB was beyond recovery and it sank a short time later.

Speaking following the callout, Baltimore RNLI’s press officer Kate Callanan said: “There were a number of vessels in the immediate vicinity at the time this fire broke out and Baltimore RNLI would like to thank those who assisted in bringing the occupants of the RIB to safety.”

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Aran Islands RNLI has welcomed a new full-time mechanic to the station. Mairtín Eoin Coyne takes over from Johnny Mulkerrin, who retired after 35 years last month.

Mairtín Eoin, an Aran Islander from birth, is no stranger to the station having served as a volunteer on the all-weather lifeboat for more than 20 years, having joined in 1996.

Mairtin Eoin was part of the crew that undertook training at the RNLI's College in Poole, Dorset, to learn the workings of the current Severn class lifeboat before she came to the Island in 1997.

Through the years, Mairtín Eoin has undertaken other courses to further his education, including lifeboat sea survival and mechanical maintenance of lifeboats.

For the past five to six years, he has regularly served as cover for now-retired mechanic Johnny Mulkerrin when needed.

Michael Hernon, Aran Islands RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager, welcomed Mairtín Eoin on behalf of the station: 'We are delighted to welcome Mairtín Eoin who took up his post on the 1 June and we wish him many more safe and happy years at sea. His role as full-time mechanic at Aran Islands RNLI will ensure the operational effectiveness of our station through the operation, maintenance and repair of the lifeboat and its associated machinery and equipment.'

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Lough Ree RNLI’s volunteer crew were the recipients of a number of personalised gifts from a keen lifeboat supporter at a presentation yesterday afternoon (Sunday 4 July).

Limerick man Mark Conway (43) visited Coosan Point Athlone with his friend Tommy Corbett and key worker Ivana Kottesova, bringing with him a self-crafted model of an all-weather lifeboat.

The creative artist, who has honed his skills with the Brothers of Charity in the Treaty City, had earlier this year contacted then lifeboat operations manager Tony McCarth to offer the replica as a gift to the station.

At a special ceremony at the Lough Ree RNLI boathouse at Coosan Point, Conway met McCarth, current lifeboat operations manager Jude Kilmartin, treasurer Vincent Rafter and members of the crew and their families and presented his metre long model of an RNLI lifeboat.

During the visit Conway had another surprise in store when he also presented a painting of a lifeboat which was also his own work.

Kottesova said: “Mark has already made presentations to the RNLI at Lough Derg, Kilrush, Courtmacsherry and Kinsale and hopes eventually to visit all RNLI lifeboat stations on the island.”

Kilmartin expressed the charity’s gratitude for the presentation and said he looked forward to displaying the art in a place of prominence in the new boathouse, which is on schedule for completion later this year.

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Kinsale RNLI’s lifeboat launched on Saturday 3 July to help a solo yachtsman struggling at sea with damaged sails.

The yachtsman had left the Caribbean island of Carriacou on Thursday 13 May en route to the UK. But three weeks into the voyage, the 51ft ketch lost engine power, forcing the skipper to continue his 6,500km journey under sail.

He told his rescuers that his yacht was becalmed in the Atlantic for 10 days when the wind dropped. Then after he was able to resume his voyage, the sails were damaged, further hampering progress.

By the time the Irish Coast Guard became aware of his plight on Saturday morning, the vessel was travelling at just three knots per hour with no prospect of reaching its intended destination.

Kinsale RNLI’s volunteers tracked the vessel online throughout the day and grew increasingly concerned for its safety. At 6pm, the lifeboat was requested to launch by the coastguard to assess the situation, and the crew located the vessel off the Old Head of Kinsale.

Lifeboat helm Jonathan Connor placed crew member Felix Milner on board the stricken yacht and, after consultation, decided that taking the ketch under tow was necessary to assist the vessel to reach the nearest safe and suitable port.

Milner remained on board the yacht on the final leg of the journey to Kinsale Harbour to safeguard the wellbeing of the skipper, who was exhausted but uninjured despite his long ordeal.

After arriving into Kinsale at 9.15pm, the yachtsman enjoyed his first hot shower in over seven weeks before being reunited with his son and two daughters, who live in West Cork and were waiting for him on the pier.

Commenting on the rescue, the yachtsman said: “The RNLI Kinsale are some of the nicest people I have ever met. Their expertise and commitment leave me humbled. It is an institution I have always supported and will do so for the rest of my days.”

Kinsale helm Connor added: “It is a tribute to the yachtsman’s seamanship that he made a 6,500km voyage single-handed and remained calm and focused despite the many problems he encountered in the course of his journey.

“He is very fit and able but was clearly exhausted after 52 days alone at sea and it was the right decision to help him over the final hurdle and bring him safely to Kinsale.”

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The volunteer crew at Aran Islands RNLI were asked to launch their all-weather Severn class lifeboat just after 8pm yesterday (Sunday 4 July) to a woman in need of medical attention on Inis Mór, the largest of the Galway Bay island chain.

With the patient safely transferred aboard the lifeboat by the crew following COVID-19 health and safety protocols, the lifeboat — under coxswain Tommy Dirrane with a full crew — headed straight for Rossaveal Harbour and the waiting ambulance.

Weather conditions at the time of launching were good with calm seas and a light westerly breeze blowing, with fair visibility.

Speaking after the callout, Dirrane said: “There was a great response time from the crew which ensured we could promptly get the patient on her way to the medical attention she needed. We would like to wish the patient a speedy recovery.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Kinsale RNLI’s inshore lifeboat was launched on Friday afternoon (25 June) to help an injured sailor on a racing yacht competing in the Sovereign’s Cup.

Volunteers were paged before 2pm following a report to the Irish Coast Guard that a crew member had sustained a head injury after being struck by the boom.

The yacht was met by the Kinsale lifeboat just off Charles Fort, where an RNLI volunteer boarded the Class One vessel to carry out a medical assessment.

As the casualty was bleeding heavily from a head wound, lifeboat helm Jim Grennan decided the safest course of action was to transfer him to the lifeboat and bring him to Kinsale for immediate medical attention. The casualty was accompanied by the yacht skipper who was deeply concerned for his welfare.

Emergency medical personnel had been alerted before the lifeboat launched and the RNLI crew handed the man into their care, where he received stitches to his head wound.

Lifeboat helm Jim Grennan said: “These accidents can happen to even the most experienced sailors and the crew on board the racing yacht remained calm and followed the correct procedures to the letter.

“They had dressed the casualty’s wound and the yacht skipper stayed with him throughout his ordeal until he received the all-clear from the medical team in Kinsale.

“We were happy to be able to bring him back safely and commend the yacht crew for their swift reactions.”

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A new inshore Atlantic 85 class lifeboat has officially gone on service at Union Hall RNLI in in West Cork.

The lifeboat, which arrived at the lifeboat station last week, replaces the last Atlantic 75 in Ireland, Margaret Bench of Solihull, which has been used to save lives at sea in West Cork since 2017. Previous to this, Maritime Nation was in service from 2014. Both of these lifeboats came from the RNLI’s relief fleet.

The volunteer lifeboat crew began familiarisation training on the new lifeboat this past Monday and it was officially declared a search and rescue asset by the Irish Coast Guard last night, Thursday 24 June.

It has been funded through a legacy from the late Raymond Fielding. Raymond and his wife Christine were keen sailors and sailed into Glandore Harbour many times over the years.

Due to his many fond memories of West Cork, Raymond wanted his legacy to fund an Atlantic 85 class lifeboat and he requested that it came to Union Hall.

The Christine and Raymond Fielding will be officially named at a special ceremony and service of dedication at Union Hall lifeboat station at a later date.

The new lifeboat has been funded through a legacy from the late Raymond Fielding | Credit: RNLI/Union HallThe new lifeboat has been funded through a legacy from the late Raymond Fielding | Credit: RNLI/Union Hall

Union Hall’s new lifeboat has some advancements on its predecessor. The Atlantic 85 design allows room for four crew members and more kit than the Atlantic 75, which only had room for three people.

The lifeboat is powered by two 115HP engines and has a stronger hull and greater top speed of 35 knots. The added radar allows the crew to operate more effectively in poor visibility and there is also VHF direction-finding equipment.

Another feature is the manually operated self-righting mechanism which, combined with inversion-proofed engines, keeps the lifeboat operational even after capsize. The lifeboat can also be beached in an emergency without causing damage to its engines or steering gear.

The Atlantic 85, which was introduced to the RNLI fleet in 2005, also carries a full suite of communication and electronic navigation aids, as well as a searchlight, night-vision equipment and flares for night-time operations.

Speaking following the lifeboat officially going on service, Union Hall RNLI lifeboat operations manager John Kelleher said: “We are extremely grateful to Raymond Fielding for his generous legacy donation which has funded our permanent lifeboat here at Union Hall.

“As we welcome a new lifeboat, there is also a sense of nostalgia as we are the last lifeboat station in Ireland to use an Atlantic 75 lifeboat.

“We are looking forward to being the custodians of this new lifeboat which will allow our volunteers to go on to rescue and save many more lives in the years to come.”

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Lough Derg RNLI launched yesterday afternoon (Thursday 24 June) to assist a family of five on a 30ft cruiser in difficulty by navigation mark G on the eastern shore of the lough.

At 2.20pm the inshore lifeboat Jean Spier launched with helm Eleanor Hooker, Steve Smyth and Chris Parker on board. Weather conditions had a westerly Force 4/5 wind and poor visibility with rain, mist and frequent squalls.

The lifeboat arrived on scene 11 minutes later and found the family on board — two adults, two teenagers and a child — were safe and unharmed and wearing their lifejackets.

An RNLI volunteer was transferred across to the casualty vessel to reassure everyone on board. They also established that the boat’s anchor was holding and evidently stuck fast.

With the weather continuing to deteriorate, the RNLI helm made the decision to take the family onto the lifeboat and transfer them to the safety of the nearest safe harbour at Terryglass.

Christine O’Malley, lifeboat operations manager at Lough Derg RNLI, advises boat users to “ensure your boats and engines are checked and fuelled ahead of your journey”.

The incident was the latest in a busy week for Lough Derg RNLI, with three separate callouts since last Wednesday 16 June for cruisers run aground on the lough.

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Lough Derg RNLI launched to assist 12 people on a 52ft cruiser aground inside the Goat Road at navigation mark E on the eastern shore of Lough Derg.

At 6.15pm on Tuesday evening (22 June), Valentia Coast Guard called on Lough Derg’s lifeboat volunteers and the inshore lifeboat Jean Spier launched 15 minutes later with helm Keith Brennan, Eleanor Hooker, Dom Sharkey and Owen Cavanagh on board.

As the lifeboat arrived on scene, at a raised shoal for migrating birds, the crew found the cruise hire company were already present and setting up to refloat the cruiser and stood by.

When the tug had the cruiser off the shoal and in safe water where it was able to make way safety, the lifeboat crew informed the coastguard and were stood down.

The callout was just the latest in a number of incidents involving grounded cruisers on Lough Derg within the last seven days.

Christine O’Malley, lifeboat operations manager at Lough Derg RNLI, advises boat users to “plan your passage, study your charts and don’t stray off the charted navigation routes”.

Skerries RNLI searching the shoreline from Loughshinny to Rush | Credit: RNLI/Gerry CanningSkerries RNLI searching the shoreline from Loughshinny to Rush | Credit: RNLI/Gerry Canning

Elsewhere, Skerries RNLI in north Co Dublin launched on Monday evening (21 June) following reported sightings of red distress flares near Loughshinny.

With nothing found in a search of the shoreline from Rush to Loughshinny, the inshore lifeboat was proceeding towards Lambay Island to search further out to sea when they received an update that Skerries Coast Guard were speaking to a person who was flying a drone in the area.

The drone operator confirmed that he was operating in the area where the flares were reported, and the lifeboat was stood down satisfied that the incident was a false alarm with good intent.

Lifeboat press officer Gerry Canning added: “The crew did get to enjoy a magnificent summer solstice sunset on the way home.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Union Hall RNLI’s latest volunteer got more than he expected last night (Tuesday 22 June) after the lifeboat crew were called to assist two people on a yacht with mechanical difficulties off Toe Head in West Cork.

The lifeboat, helmed by Michael Limrick with Liam Limrick and new recruit Craig Jennings onboard, were on a training exercise at the time and launched back out to sea at 9pm.

One at Toe Head the crew observed that the 34ft yacht was making progress but was slow due to mechanical issues. Sea conditions were good at the time with a moderate northerly breeze, so the volunteer crew stayed alongside the yacht and escorted it back to the pier at Union Hall.

Speaking following the callout, Peter Deasy, Union Hall RNLI’s deputy launching authority, said: “Our volunteer crew were just returning from an exercise and a busy day of training so I asked the crew if they would like an alternative crew but they were very willing to interrupt their training and proceed to assist the casualties.

“We congratulate Craig Jennings on what started as a three-hour training exercise for him but turned into nearly five hours at sea and included his first callout with Union Hall RNLI.

“We would remind everyone for the season ahead to always carry a means of communication and wear a lifejacket.”

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