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Displaying items by tag: RNLI

The volunteer crew of the Bundoran RNLI Lifeboat was called out to reports of a surfer in difficulty on New Year’s Day afternoon. The emergency call was placed to Malin Head Coast Guard just after 3 pm on Saturday (1st January 2022) with the volunteer crew launching just five minutes following the alert.

The surfer thought to be in difficulty was surfing on the Peak and the lifeboat was on scene within one minute of launching. After a few minutes in the area and having spoken to a surfer in the water, it was determined that all was okay and that the call was one with good intent. As a precaution, the Sligo based Rescue 118 helicopter had been launched from Strandhill and also did a sweep of the area.

Speaking on their return to the station, helm Richard Gillespie advised people along the coast to be alert ‘today was a call with good intent – we would always urge people who think that they see someone in difficulty on the coast to call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coast Guard. We would always rather launch to check something out than not be called at all.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Baltimore RNLI were called out to provide a medical evacuation yesterday (Thursday 30 December) from Cape Clear Island off the coast of West Cork.

The volunteer lifeboat crew launched their all-weather lifeboat at 9.26 am, following a request to bring a doctor to the island and provide a medical evacuation.

The Baltimore all-weather lifeboat crew arrived at North Harbour in Cape Clear Island at 9.52 am The casualty was transferred by stretcher onboard the lifeboat and they departed the Island at 10.05 am. The lifeboat returned to the station in Baltimore arriving at 10.30 am and the casualty was handed over to the care of HSE Ambulance crew at 10.35 am.

There were five volunteer crew onboard the lifeboat, Coxswain Aidan Bushe, Mechanic Micheal Cottrell and crew members David Ryan, Kieran Collins and Jerry Smith. Our station medical advisor, Dr Don Creagh, accompanied the crew on the call. Conditions at sea during the call out were poor with a south-westerly force 4 wind, a 2m sea swell and fog with visibility of 1 nautical mile.

Speaking following the call out, Kate Callanan, Baltimore RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer said: ‘If you find yourself in a medical emergency whilst on an island don’t hesitate call 999 or 112.

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Over the course of 2021, volunteers with Skerries RNLI were presented with long-service awards totalling 190 years of volunteering with the charity that saves lives at sea.

Due to restrictions on gatherings, the north Co Dublin lifeboat station was unable to host an event to celebrate the awards.

However, the seven crew recently received their awards individually at the lifeboat station in recognition of their commitment to save lives at sea.

Lifeboat operations manager Niall McGrotty was recognised for 40 years of service to the Skerries lifeboat, while David May, Eoin McCarthy and William Boylan each received awards for 30 years’ service.

Recognised for 20 years of service apiece were David Courtney, Gerry Canning and Ian Guildea, while a certificate of service was also presented to retired shore crew Tommy Grimes in recognition of his 17 years of dedicated volunteering.

Speaking about the awards, McGrotty said: “Volunteers are the lifeblood of the RNLI and without them the lifesaving work we do wouldn’t be possible.

“The variety of roles being awarded this year is a testament to the dedication and commitment of the volunteers in our station.

“It is an honour to congratulate each person who received this award.”

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The RNLI recently launched its partnership as the official charity partner of The Gemini Boat Race 2022, which is set for Sunday 3 April.

Since 2002, the RNLI’s Chiswick lifeboat station has supported The Boat Race between Oxford and Cambridge with its E-class lifeboat.

The crew are on hand to keep The Boat Race competitors safe, as well as the thousands of spectators who line the banks of the Thames on race day.

In 2016, the RNLI bolstered its lifesaving service with the addition of nine Arancia-class lifeboats crewed by lifeguards. These are strategically positioned along the course to keep the public safe while the tide is incoming.

The partnership first took place in 2019, with the aim of increasing awareness of the RNLI’s flagship ‘float to live’ drowning prevention campaign.

In addition, in 2022 the RNLI’s community safety team will be working with venues and schools along the course to provide lifesaving water safety training and encourage familiarity with throw lines.

The partnership aims to raise funds to support the Thames’ lifesaving service with all proceeds going towards the running costs of the four RNLI stations along the river.

Wayne Bellamy, station manager for RNLI Chiswick, said, “2022 will be the 20th year that my crew and I have supported The Boat Race, and kept competitors and spectators safe. This year also happens to be our station’s 20th birthday.

“In that time, we have launched over 4,000 times and rescued almost 2,000 people, and on behalf of our 100 volunteer crew, fundraisers and water safety team, I would like to thank you for your continued support of the RNLI at Chiswick.”

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, former Chiswick crew member James Kitt has had his first Christmas on call with the RNLI at his new home in Baltimore in West Cork.

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Two open water swimmers who got into difficulty during their Christmas Day swim near Bangor in Northern Ireland have been praised for wearing kit that made it easier to find them.

The pair were reported to be having problems in Belfast Lough off Grey Point Fort in Helen’s Bay by a passer-by who called 999 and asked for the coastguard.

Bangor and Portaferry Coastguard Rescue Teams and Bangor RNLI’s lifeboat were both sent, along with paramedics, Air Ambulance NI and PSNI.

One of the swimmers made it to shore by themselves and was treated by coastguard personnel, while the other was rescued from the water by Bangor lifeboat. Both were handed into the care of the NI Ambulance Service.

Jude McNeice of HM Coastguard said: “The fact that both swimmers were wearing tow floats made it much easier to locate them.

“Even the most experienced swimmer can be caught out by a change in the conditions and we’d always urge open water swimmers to make sure they have kit like this before taking to the water. It could save your life.”

Commenting on the incident on social media, Bangor RNLI said: “On Facebook there are a number of comments critical of the two swimmers, but Bangor RNLI won’t be joining in.

“We can be pretty sure the casualties did not leave home planning to be reckless and requiring rescue; they just got into difficulty and almost paid the ultimate price. They have our amazing rescue services to thank for still being with us.”

Published in Rescue
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Fethard RNLI joined Kilmore Quay’s coastguard unit in a multi-agency operation to rescue local residents trapped in their homes by heavy flooding on Christmas Day, according to RTÉ News.

It’s reported that a number of people in the village of Bridgetown were safely removed by lifeboat, while motorists who were either cut off by the flooding or trapped in the water were also assisted.

Wexford Civil Defence and Wexford Fire Service also joined in the rescue effort on Saturday 25 December, as Kilmore Quay Coast Guard acknowledged on social media.

Heavy rainfall delayed the arrival of the Waterford-based Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 117 — and was also responsible for the erosion of bridges near Enniscorthy due to the swelling of the River Borough (Boro), a tributary of the River Slaney.

In a statement, Transport Minister Eamon Ryan said his department “will provide full support for Wexford County Council and other councils as they address and repair the damage caused by the flash floods”.

Published in Rescue

The annual Dun Laoghaire RNLI Christmas Eve ceremony was held this afternoon to honour the memory of 15 lifeboat volunteers who died on service 126 years ago. This year’s ceremony also marked the 200th anniversary of the death of four crew members who died on a call-out at Christmas time in 1821.

The short service at the end of the East Pier commemorated all lives lost around our coasts and on inland waters in 2021.

Dun Laoghaire RNLI’s volunteer crew traditionally hold this annual ceremony at the East Pier lighthouse as part of a long-standing local custom to acknowledge the sacrifice of their colleagues in carrying out their duty.

Wreaths were placed by the lifeboat crew at sea off the East Pier in memory of all lives lost at seaWreaths were placed by the lifeboat crew at sea off the East Pier Photo: Conrad Jones

The lifeboat service on Dublin Bay is one of the oldest in the world, dating back to 1803 and a lifeboat was based at nearby Sandycove as one of several local stations.

During a service to the brig Ellen in an easterly gale on 28 December 1821, the lifeboat with 14 crew members onboard, was swamped and the crew were washed out of the lifeboat with four people losing their lives; Hugh Byrne, Thomas Fitzsimons, John Archbold and Thomas Grimes.

On Christmas Eve in 1895, the number two lifeboat was capsized in gale force winds while proceeding to the assistance of the SS Palme of Finland that had run aground off Blackrock. All 15 crew members onboard, drowned.

During today’s ceremony, wreaths were placed by the lifeboat crew at sea off the East Pier in memory of all lives lost at sea.

The Covid-19 compliant ceremony beside the lighthouse, featured musician William Byrne performing The Ballad of the Palme and Sports broadcaster Des Cahill who reading a newspaper account of the disaster, which was published at the time. An ecumenical blessing was given by Reverends Bruce Hayes and Fr. Padraig Gleeson before a lament was played by piper Paul McNally.

There was a joint guard of honour provided by representatives from the Dun Laoghaire Coast Guard Unit and Civil Defence.

As the ceremony came to a close, Dun Laoghaire RNLI’s inshore lifeboat was called out to rescue a dog that had fallen from the West Pier at Coal Harbour. They immediately raced to the scene, retrieving the dog from the water and reuniting it with the owner, before returning back to station and standing down.

The names of the 15 volunteer crew members who died in 1895 were John Baker, John Bartley, Edward Crowe, Thomas Dunphy, William Dunphy, Francis McDonald, Edward Murphy, Patrick Power, James Ryan, Francis Saunders, George Saunders, Edward Shannon, Henry Underhill, Alexander Williams and Henry Williams.

The lifeboat capsized when about 600 yards from the distressed vessel and, although every effort was made to render help to the lifeboat and to the SS Palme, nothing could be done.

The number one lifeboat also put out with only a crew of nine and obtained six further volunteers from HMS Melampus. She also capsized under sail but fortunately, all regained the lifeboat.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Volunteering for the RNLI is truly a family affair for lifeboat crews in Co Wexford.

While Robbie Connolly is looking forward to his first Christmas on call since becoming a helm at Wexford RNLI earlier this year, his father-in-law Eugene Kehoe — a seasoned coxswain at Kilmore Quay — will also be ready to answer the call if there is an emergency at sea.

As the lifesaving charity continues its Christmas Appeal, Robbie and Eugene will skip their dinner for the difficult seas of winter should their pagers sound.

And they are urging people across Wexford — home to five stations at Courtown, Wexford, Kilmore Quay, Rosslare Harbour and Fethard — to help their crews, and the thousands of other volunteer crews on call over the Christmas period, to continue their lifesaving work.

“I am 10 years on the lifeboat crew at Wexford RNLI,” says Robbie, who is an engineer by day. “I have always had a love for the sea but when I finished college and started working alongside crew members and a deputy launching authority, I was encouraged to join, and I am delighted to be involved.”

As a helm, Robbie is responsible for the inshore lifeboat and his fellow crew during the launch of the lifeboat and while at sea.

“I have had one callout as helm so far and it was to a yacht with three people onboard that had got into difficulty on a falling tide and ran aground as it was coming into Wexford Harbour.

“Where our station is located, there are shifting sands and the channel is changing regularly so time was of the essence and with the callout happening at night, there was the added challenge of working in the dark. But thankfully, we had a safe and successful outcome.

“There are a few differences in being a helm,” he adds, “you are more conscious of looking after your own crew as well as those you are going to rescue and the conditions at sea.

“However, what my helm’s training taught me was to have more confidence in my decision making and skills ability and I suppose in that sense it is about having self-belief and making your 10 years of training and experience become second nature when responding to a callout.”

Shane Crawford joins his brother Colum on the Aran Islands RNLI crew | Credit: RNLIShane Crawford joins his brother Colum on the Aran Islands RNLI crew | Credit: RNLI

Elsewhere, Aran Islands RNLI will have two new volunteer lifeboat crew on call, ready to drop everything and help launch the lifeboat to save those in trouble at sea.

Fisherman and father-of-five Georgie Gillan and NUIG student Shane Crawford are the most recent recruits to join the lifeboat.

Georgie says: “I’ve grown up around the sea and I’ve seen its power and its potential. I’m enjoying the training, and learning a different set of skills, all based around search and rescue and saving others.

“Being out on the lifeboat, you’re part of a team, the feeling of giving back is a great one. The standard of the kit and the training is so high and the support we get to do this job is amazing. I’m grateful to the people who support the work of the lifeboats and keep them at sea all year round.”

Meanwhile, Shane — a first year Arts student at NUIG Galway — knew from an early age that he would wear a lifeboat pager, as helping others is in his DNA.

His mother is the local community nurse and his father served with the local fire service for many years. Shane's older brother Colum is also a member of the Aran Islands RNLI volunteer lifeboat crew and is currently studying to become a paramedic.

Adding his support to the RNLI Christmas Appeal, Shane says: “It has been a dream for me to be on the lifeboat crew ever since I was very young. I feel very at home onboard the lifeboat even though I’m still new to it.

“The communication between the crew when we are out at sea is incredible and you can see the training and commitment of everyone involved. Every piece of kit has a purpose, and the RNLI are always looking to evolve and improve the equipment. It’s maintained to the highest standard and we are aware of the responsibility that comes with that.

“When the pagers goes, no lifeboat volunteer hesitates to answer the call, and these rescues would not be possible without the donations from the RNLI’s generous supporters, helping to fund the essential kit, training equipment needed by lifeboat crews all year round. Thank you to everyone who supports the appeal this Christmas.”

To make a donation to the RNLI’s Christmas Appeal, visit RNLI.org/Xmas

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

A father and son from Bellanaleck are among eight new lifeboat crew members who will carry pagers for the first time this Christmas at Carrybridge and Enniskillen RNLI in Northern Ireland.

As the RNLI continues its Christmas Appeal, Brian and John Sammon — who are ready to swap turkey and pudding for the December waters of Lough Erne — are urging people across Co Fermanagh to help their fellow crew, and the thousands of other volunteer crews carrying pagers over the festivities, to continue their lifesaving work.

It was when 19-year-old John became eligible to become a crew member two years ago that the family duo encouraged each other to join.

Brian says: “I had thought about joining the lifeboat crew at different times over the years because I was so aware of the work of the RNLI and I really wanted to give something back, but it wasn’t until John reached the eligible age at 17 and we saw a recruitment drive for new crew that we encouraged each other to get involved. We attended an open night and it just snowballed from there.”

Having received their pagers in November, Brian and John are now preparing to hear the beeping sound as the request for help comes in for the first time.

“We are excited but also nervous at the same time,” Brian says, “but we are here, and we want to help. That is why we joined; we want to support what is an invaluable service on Lough Erne.”

Among the other new crew members at Carrybridge are Simon Kidney, Matthew Nelson, Simon Carson, Paul McDaid and Cliff Walters, while Richard McFarland has joined the lifeboat crew at Enniskillen.

Richard, who lives in Lisbellaw, has always had a great love for the water but having worked away he couldn’t commit to joining the lifeboat crew until he returned home.

“This is my first Christmas on call,” Richard says, “and I know even over the festive period, our lifesavers are ready to drop everything at a moment’s notice and rush to the aid of someone in trouble on the water…We hope that this year’s Christmas appeal will show people just how tough it can be, but also that with their help we can get so much closer to our goal of saving every one.”

To make a donation to the RNLI’s Christmas Appeal, visit RNLI.org/Xmas

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

A brother and sister who volunteer to save lives at sea with Valentia RNLI have called on the public to support the charity’s Christmas Appeal.

Dominic and Cornelia Lyne will be on call, along with their colleagues at the Kerry lifeboat station and RNLI volunteers at 45 other lifeboat stations across Ireland, ready to launch at a moment’s notice to save lives.

Cornelia and Dominic grew up in a house where the RNLI lifeboat pager going off was a familiar sound. The siblings are the children of former volunteer lifeboat crew member Nealie Lyne, who after 25 years saving lives at sea is now a deputy launching authority at the station.

Dominic says: “Because we are family, once you put on the gear, we are all in it together and we have to ensure we all come home to those waiting for us.”

Cornelia is very proud of being a female crew member in the RNLI and hopes to inspire other women to join, too.

“I’m nearly 10 years a crew member and I still love it when we have landed home safe after a callout during the summer when there are a lot of tourists around and the kids see me walking up to the boathouse in my full gear and they realise girls can join the crew too.

“When the pagers go, no lifeboat volunteer hesitates to answer the call, and these rescues would not be possible without the donations from the RNLI’s generous supporters, helping to fund the essential kit [and] training equipment needed by lifeboat crews all year round. Thank you to everyone who supports the appeal this Christmas.”

James Kitt joined Baltimore RNLI after relocating to the West Cork town with his Irish girlfriend Emma | Credit: RNLIJames Kitt joined Baltimore RNLI after relocating to the West Cork town with his Irish girlfriend Emma | Credit: RNLI

Meanwhile, in neighbouring West Cork, one of Baltimore RNLI’s newest recruits is James Kitt, who joined the lifeboat station after relocating with his Irish girlfriend Emma.

Baltimore RNLI is one of eight lifeboat stations based in Cork, along with Castletownbere, Courtmacsherry, Union Hall, Kinsale, Crosshaven, Ballycotton and Youghal.

James was previously volunteer lifeboat crew at Chiswick on the Thames in London, one of the busiest of the charity’s lifeboat stations.

Born in Poole in Dorset, he met Emma in the States at a sailing event and the couple decided to relocate to Ireland before the pandemic, moving to Dublin.

When the first lockdown came, the couple relocated to Baltimore with James working remotely for an Irish aid organisation. Having swapped the busy London life for West Cork, he says he couldn’t be happier finding a station where he can use his lifeboat training.

“I’m one of a number of new joiners to the lifeboat crew in Baltimore and the level of maritime experience and expertise here is incredible,” he says. “Although it’s not surprising when you see the love of the sailing here. I’m learing so much from my colleagues and getting into the West Cork way of life. Emma and I love it here and feel very much at home.

“Baltimore lifeboat is so embedded in the community, something that’s a little harder to achieve at a busy London station. When there is a callout here everyone is aware of it and the whole place gets behind the crew, it’s fantastic.

“When the pager goes, no lifeboat volunteer hesitates to answer the call, and I know first hand that these rescues would not be possible without the donations from the RNLI's generous supporters.”

To make a donation to the RNLI’s Christmas Appeal, visit RNLI.org/Xmas

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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