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Preparations are well underway to bring the RNLI’s latest lifeboat for the Irish fleet to its new home at Dunmore East next month. The €2.4 million vessel will be the first Shannon class lifeboat to be based in the south-east. It’s a bittersweet moment for the lifeboat crew and fundraisers at Dunmore East RNLI, as the arrival signals the end of the station’s current Trent class lifeboat, Elizabeth and Ronald, which has been saving lives at sea there since October 1996.

The name of the new lifeboat will be William and Agnes Wray 13-41. Dunmore East RNLI crew will bring the lifeboat home the week commencing 20th September, with arrival expected in Dunmore East Harbour on Sunday 26th September at 13.41hrs to coincide with the lifeboats number.

William and Agnes Wray entered the water for the first-time last month at the RNLI college in Poole, where the charity’s All-Weather Lifeboats are built. During the build the station are kept up to date on the progress of their lifeboat, although the Coxswains and mechanics have been unable to visit due to Covid restrictions. The arrival of the new lifeboat means a demanding training schedule for the entire station as they learn how to launch and operate the new vessel. The first crew to be trained onboard the new lifeboat will depart for Poole on the 23rd of August, with the mechanics following in September. Training will continue for some weeks until the entire station is familiar with their new lifeboat and they officially inform the Coast Guard that the William and Agnes Wray is on service and the Elizabeth and Ronald has been stood down.

Say Hello to Dunmore East RNLI's New Shannon Class Lifeboat

The Shannon class lifeboat is the first modern all-weather lifeboat to be propelled by waterjets instead of traditional propellers, making it the most agile and manoeuvrable all-weather lifeboat in the RNLI’s fleet. The naming of the Shannon class of lifeboat follows a tradition of naming lifeboats after rivers but it's the first time an Irish river has been chosen and was done so to reflect the commitment and dedication of Irish lifeboat crew for generations.

Commenting on the news Dunmore East RNLI Coxswain Roy Abrahamsson said, ‘This is a very proud moment for the crew and the community of Dunmore East. While we have huge affection for our current Trent class lifeboat, which has served us so well and brought many people home, we are thrilled to receive a state of the art Shannon class lifeboat, the first of its type to be based in the South-East. It’s a huge investment by the RNLI in lifesaving for this area. This will help us to continue to save lives at sea for generations to come.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Lough Derg RNLI assisted five people on vessels in difficulty across two back-to-back shouts on the lough today, Monday 16 August.

In the first callout, the lifeboat was alerted by Valentia Coast Guard to a 30ft cruiser reported aground close to Mountshannon Harbour in the southwestern part of Lough Derg.

With Eleanor Hooker at the helm and crew Owen Cavanagh, Joe O’Donoghue and Chris Parker on board, the inshore lifeboat Jean Spicer launched at 11.40am in moderate conditions with Force 4 north-westerly winds blowing.

Within 15 minutes the lifeboat had sighted the casualty vessel, which was aground on a sandbar in the bay east of Mountshannon Harbour. The lifeboat took frequent soundings on a cautious approach to the casualty vessel, located in an area known for its sudden shallows.

The cruiser’s skipper was found to be safe and unharmed and wearing his lifejacket.

Given the vessel’s location close to a navigation channel to a small marina, it was decided the safest plan was to take the cruiser off the sandbar and out into safe water. The skipper was asked to drain his water tanks to lighten the vessel.

Soon the lifeboat had the cruiser off the sandbar and under tow to safe water, where drives and rudder were found to be undamaged and in good working order. The cruiser made way under its own power to Mountshannon Harbour.

Upon departing the scene at 12.32pm, the lifeboat crew were requested by Valentia Coast Guard to attend a family of four on a 40ft cruiser broken down by Navigation Mark E at the Goat Road at the lough’s north-eastern shore.

The cruiser had suffered an electrical failure, and the skipper had dropped anchor to prevent being pushed onto a rocky shore.

The lifeboat was alongside within half an hour, finding all on board safe and unharmed and wearing lifejackets.

One of the lifeboat crew transferred across and confirmed that none of the systems on board were working. Given the location and weather conditions, the helm decided to take the cruiser under tow to Kilgarvan Harbour, the safest close harbour.

Liam Maloney, deputy launching authority at Lough Derg RNLI, advises water users to “check the weather forecast for inland lakes and always carry a means of communication. Dial 999 or 112 and ask for marine rescue if you find yourself in difficulty on the water.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Achill Island RNLI was involved in the medical evacuation of a patient from Clare Island at the weekend.

The volunteer lifeboat crew launched at 9.29 am on Saturday (14 August) under Coxswain Dave Curtis and with five crew members on board. It followed a request from the Irish Coast Guard to assist with the evacuation of a patient from the island. Sea conditions were flat calm at the time and the weather was overcast with some drizzle.

The all-weather lifeboat Sam and Ada Moody arrived at Clare Island at 9.51 am. Four crew members proceeded to go ashore and prepare a safe landing site for the Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 118 from Sligo which was also tasked to the scene. The lifeboat crew then assisted the island nurse and the crew of Rescue 118 with transferring the patient to the aircraft before they were airlifted to the hospital.

Speaking after the call out, Achill Island RNLI Coxswain Dave Curtis: ‘We were happy to help and would like to wish the casualty well. We train regularly for situations like this and this call out was a good example of a good inter-agency response from our own volunteers here in Achill and our colleagues in the Irish Coast Guard.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

The volunteer crew of Youghal RNLI were tasked yesterday (Sunday 15 August) by the Coast Guard to reports of a number of kayakers in trouble near the floating pontoon in Ardmore Bay.

Launching at 3.26 pm under the Helm of Liam Keogh, the Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat arrived on scene to discover that the group of eight kayakers had been helped safely to shore by local boat users. The lifeboat crew spoke to those involved and were satisfied that everybody was ok and no further assistance was required.

The Coast Guard then asked Youghal RNLI to check the area for any further water users due to high levels of water activity in the area, as sea conditions were not ideal, with a blustery North East, Force 5 wind and a falling tide.

Speaking after the call out Mark Nolan, Youghal RNLI Deputy Launching Authority said:’ Before embarking on any form of water-based activity be sure to check the local tide and weather conditions, wear a personal floatation device, tell someone where you are going and when you’ll be back and carry a means of calling for help’.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Castletownbere RNLI lifeboat was launched last night (Friday 13th August 2021) at 8.20 p.m to go to the immediate assistance of a yacht that had broken away from its mooring at Trafrask on the shores of the Beara peninsula in West Cork.

A member of the public spotted the stricken yacht from the shore and was concerned that the vessel would be washed against the rocky shoreline and become damaged. They telephoned the Coast Guard’s Marine Research Coordination Centre in Valentia to raise the alarm.

Castletownbere lifeboat, ‘Annette Hutton’, was tasked at 8.10 p.m. and launched within ten minutes under the command of Coxswain Dave Fenton with crew Marney O’Donoghue, Martin Cronin, John Paul Downey and Aaron O’Boyle.

The yacht was located at 8.45 p.m. in a small inlet known as Trafrask Bay near Adrigole – the boat was aground with no persons on board. Coxswain Fenton described the conditions onscene as ‘calm’. The lifeboat launched its inflatable Y-boat with two crew members and attempted to tow the yacht. However, the grounded yacht would not move so then a tow was then attached to the lifeboat. The yacht was pulled clear and reattached securely to the mooring.

Commenting on the callout, Lifeboat Operations Manager, Paul Stevens stated that: ‘However minor the problem may seem at the time, members of the public should never hesitate to call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coast Guard - an early response from the emergency services ensures that situations such as this can be dealt with quickly and effectively’.

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Kilmore Quay RNLI rescued four people early this morning (Thursday 12 August) after their yacht got into difficulty and subsequently sank 50 miles off the Wexford coast.

The volunteer crew were requested to launch their all-weather Tamar class lifeboat Killarney at 2.44am to attend to the 14m yacht which had sustained a damaged rudder 50 miles south of Kilmore Quay while on passage from Dublin to Vigo in Spain.

Under coxswain Eugene Kehoe and with four crew onboard, the lifeboat immediately launched and made its way to the scene. They were updated on the way that the yacht’s crew had made the decision to turn back and slowly make their way to Kilmore Quay.

Arriving at the location at 5.30am, the lifeboat crew checked that all onboard the yacht were safe and well before assessing its situation. It was decided to set up a towline and return the vessel to the nearest port which was Kilmore Quay.

As the yacht began to take on water, the lifeboat crew placed a salvage pump on the vessel. But such was the speed at which the vessel was taking on water, it was not enough to deal with the situation.

A second salvage pump was requested by the Irish Coast Guard helicopter from Waterford, Rescue 117, which was also tasked to the scene.

However, it was decided at this stage to remove the four people from the yacht and transfer them safely onto Kilmore Quay RNLI’s lifeboat. The yacht subsequently sank.

The lifeboat brought the four casualties safely back to Kilmore Quay where they arrived at around 11am.

Speaking following the call out, Kilmore Quay RNLI’s lifeboat operations manager John Grace said: “It is always sad when a vessel is lost at sea but thankfully the crew onboard the yacht was safely rescued and are now back on shore.

“The casualties did the right thing in raising the alarm when they encountered problems in the early hours of this morning which helped to prevent the situation from becoming much worse.

“Despite the best efforts of everyone on scene, the vessel took on a lot of water. Our priority then was to ensure that the casualties were taken off the yacht and transferred safely on to the lifeboat.

“We would like to wish the casualties well following their ordeal this morning and we would like to commend our volunteers who despite the early call and darkness of night, did not hesitate to respond.”

The lifeboat crew involved in this callout were coxswain Eugene Kehoe, mechanic Philip Walsh and crew members Aidan Bates, Sean Furlong and Nigel Kehoe.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Courtmacsherry RNLI’s all-weather Trent class lifeboat Frederick Storey Cockburn was called out yesterday morning (Monday 9 August) to go to the aid of a 40ft pleasure boat that sought assistance three miles off the Seven Heads in West Cork.

The lifeboat, under coxswain Mark Gannon and a crew of six launched at at 11.40am and reached the casualty vessel 35 minutes later.

Once on scene, the coxswain assessed the situation. As the casualty vessel — with 12 people on board — was completely disabled, it was decided to establish a tow and bring the vessel to the nearest port of Courtmacsherry.

Weather conditions at sea were reasonable and the lifeboat proceeded at a safe towing speed back to safe surrounds of the Courtmacsherry pontoon, arriving there at 1.30pm.

Lifeboat operations manager Brian O’Dwyer said: “It was very prudent to be alerted so quickly of the difficulties onboard the pleasure boat this morning and great that the lifeboat was able to bring the casualty back smoothly to Courtmacsherry Harbour on this, our 19th call out of 2021.”

The Courtmacsherry RNLI lifeboat crew involved in this callout were coxswain Mark Gannon, mechanic Stuart Russell and crew members Mark John Gannon, Ciaran Hurley, Jim O’Donnell, Dave Philips and Conor Tyndall.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

On Saturday evening, 7 August, Valentia Coast Guard requested Lough Derg RNLI lifeboat to launch to assist a family of four on a cruiser reported aground close to Terryglass Harbour.

At 8.44 pm the lifeboat Jean Spier launched with helm Ger Egan, crew Joe O’Donoghue, Chris Parker and Ciara Moylan on board. The lake had a moderate chop with westerly winds Force 4, gusting Force 6. Visibility was poor with frequent squalls

At 9:06 pm the lifeboat had the casualty vessel in sight; it was aground on a rocky shore close to Terryglass Harbour. The lifeboat anchored and veered down to the casualty vessel and transferred an RNLI volunteer across, where he reported back to the lifeboat that there were five people on board; a boat owner in the harbour had been transferred out to the casualty vessel earlier when he had seen them in difficulty. All five people were safe and unharmed and wearing their lifejackets.

The RNLI volunteer on board the casualty vessel checked that the vessel was not holed and given the weather conditions, the RNLI helm decided that the safest course of action was to take the cruiser off the rocks and out into safe water.

At 9.42 pm the lifeboat had the cruiser off the rocks and out into safe water, where the drives and rudder were found to be in good working order. With an RNLI volunteer remaining on board and the lifeboat remaining alongside, the cruiser made its own way to the safety of Terryglass Harbour

At 9.52 pm the lifeboat departed and was back at Station at 10.24 pm

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RNLI volunteers from Skerries and Howth were tasked to Rush in north Co Dublin on Wednesday afternoon (4 August) following a Pan-Pan VHF call from small fishing boat with two on board that was taking on water near the entrance to Rogerstown Estuary.

With the possibility of persons entering the water, both lifeboats launched shortly after 4.30pm and headed for Rogerstown at the maximum possible safe speed amid moderate conditions, with a Force 4 wind.

As the inshore lifeboat from Skerries arrived on scene, they could see that the casualty vessel had sunk on the bar at the entrance to Rogerstown Estuary.

There were people in the water in the vicinity of the boat where it was grounded, however the water was shallow enough for them to stand.

As lifeboat volunteers assessed the situation, Howth RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat arrived and stood by in case of needed assistance. A ground unit from Skerries Coast Guard was also in attendance.

It was quickly established that the two people from the boat had made it to safety on the beach, but then re-entered the water trying to lay out an anchor to secure the boat.

With the aid of the Skerries RNLI crew, they managed to turn the boat to bring the bow into the waves, which enabled them to bail the boat out and refloat it.

Noting the large number of windsurfers and kitesurfers in the area, Skerries’ helm decided that the boat presented a hazard and could potentially lead to a further callout if left where it was.

The vessel was subsequently taken under tow to the nearest safe harbour at the slipway in Rogerstown. The casualties returned to shore and with the immediate danger passed, Howth RNLI were stood down and returned to station.

Speaking about the callout, Skerries RNLI’s press officer Gerry Canning said: “There is always a great deal of concern when there is the possibility of someone ending up in the water.

“Thankfully on this occasion the boat grounded on a sand bar and they were able to make their way to safety. But it highlights that things can and do go wrong at sea and shows the value of carrying a means to call for help if needed.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Lough Ree RNLI volunteers got an opportunity recently to examine progress on the building of the new boathouse at Coosan Point, Athlone, Co. Westmeath.

As the charity enters its tenth year of service on Lough Ree the local RNLI volunteer lifeboat crew look forward to the completion of a state of the art boathouse beside its current base at Coosan Point on Lough Ree.

Built on a site donated by the Inland Waterways Association of Ireland, which will have its national headquarters under the same roof, the 280sqm two-storey facility will transform the ability of Lough Ree RNLI to offer a vital service to the midlands. At its heart is the boathouse which will be home to the Atlantic 85 Inshore lifeboat ‘Tara Scougall’ allowing for quicker access on to the water via a new purpose-built slip-way.

Other facilities include a large meeting room to facilitate ongoing training of crews and water safety education for community groups. Alongside is a communications centre, managers office, mechanics workshop and a small shop.

The 280sqm two-storey facility will transform the ability of Lough Ree RNLI to offer a vital service to the midlandsThe 280sqm two-storey facility will transform the ability of Lough Ree RNLI to offer a vital service to the midlands

The main contractors, Woodvale Construction from Omagh, Co. Tyrone have been on site since last autumn. Built to the highest specifications and heated geothermally it is expected that the facility will be handed over to the RNLI in September with the local volunteer crew taking possession in October.

Given that this is one of the busiest RNLI stations in Ireland, with almost 400 call outs, 30 already this year, assisting over 300 vessels and coming to the aid of over a thousand people this building is a critical piece of infrastructure for a lakeside community.

Locally, the Lough Ree RNLI fundraising committee started a campaign to raise a community contribution of €100,000. Treasurer Vincent Rafter said that he wanted to ‘thank those who had already donated and organised ‘Go Fund Me’ pages.’ He said that ‘while great progress had been made at a difficult time for all charities it is hoped that one final wave of generosity from local businesses, community organisations, sports clubs and individuals will see the target achieved.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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