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Displaying items by tag: Arranmore

Arranmore RNLI volunteer Nora Flanagan has been recognised for 25 years of service to the charity that saves lives at sea.

The retired nurse, who serves as the Donegal island station’s press officer, first got involved with the RNLI in 1995 when she became the first female crew member to join Arranmore’s all-weather lifeboat crew.

“I remember my first call out well,” Nora recalls. :We were involved in an all-night search for a fisherman who fell overboard a trawler and I remembering finding that challenging.

“The next day my pager went off again, this time for a medical evacuation. I was more confident on this callout when I was helping the injured person. It was then I realised and understood that there is a role for everybody who wants to join a lifeboat crew.”

Nora also got involved with the local fundraising team and later became the station’s volunteer lifeboat press officer, a role she still holds.

“This involves writing news releases and doing local radio interviews after callouts and keeping in touch with the local media about any activity that is going on at the station such as safety awareness and education, fundraising and events.”

One of the highlights over the years was a visit to the RNLI College in Poole, where Nora was asked to represent the RNLI in Ireland for the launch of Volunteer Spirit, a lifeboat which was funded by selling badges.

“That was a huge honour for me personally, but overall, I have had an exceptional 25 years with the RNLI and I love being part of an organisation that is one big family.”

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Nora could not be presented with her medal in person but said she was delighted to receive the recognition from the RNLI, which came with a warm word of thanks from the charity for having achieved over 20 years of extraordinary service.

Published in Island News
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Two people were rescued by Arranmore RNLI’s volunteer crew in Co Donegal after reports of a RIB in difficulty over the weekend.

The all-weather lifeboat launched on Saturday (1 August) and headed south to the scene in the Portnoo area, where they found one person in the RIB and recovered another from the water before giving casualty care.

A tow was established to bring the RIB to Portnoo where an ambulance was waiting to take the casualty to hospital for further treatment.

This was the first callout for the Arranmore lifeboat crew since March, when coronavirus restrictions were imposed.

Lifeboat coxswain Jimmy Early said: “As there is now an increase in visitors to the Wild Atlantic Way, we would remind people to be fully aware of the RNLI’s water safety messages.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Arranmore RNLI has paid tribute to lifeboat volunteer Lee Early, who died on Sunday (17 November) after an incident at a pier on the Co Donegal island.

TheJournal.ie reports that Early (26) and another man, who survived the incident, were in a car that slipped off the pier into the sea around 5.10am.

It’s believed they had been trying to turn the car on the pier when the accident occurred.

Early’s remains were escorted back to Arranmore yesterday evening (Monday 18 November) ahead of his funeral scheduled for noon tomorrow at St Crone’s Church.

“He was a proud Lifeboatman, a skilled Skipper and a much loved friend to us all, he will be greatly missed by the whole community,” the lifeboat team said in a statement on Facebook.

“The Arranmore Community & diaspora, along with the RNLI and wider SAR community will stand with the Early family at this difficult time. Ar dhéis Dé go mbeidh a anam dilís.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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The community of Arranmore is appealing to people around the world to consider bolstering their numbers on the island off Co Donegal.

The Gaeltacht island, northwest of Dungloe, recently became Ireland’s first offshore digital hub thanks to Three Ireland’s mobile broadband project.

And it’s hoping to use the benefits of that connectivity for remote working to attract people — and especially families — from as far afield as the United States and Australia to relocate there, as Lonely Planet reports.

Published in Island News
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#RNLI - Arranmore  RNLI in Co Donegal assisted a fisherman who got into difficulty off Gola Island at the weekend when his small boat ran aground on rocks.

The all-weather lifeboat was called out at 11am on Sunday 18 March and proceeded to Gola Island to assist the casualty.

On arrival at the scene, the Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 118 from Sligo and the Bunbeg Coast Guard boat had lifted the fisherman from the boat.

The casualty was subsequently transferred to the lifeboat, where he was treated for mild hypothermia.

The lifeboat stayed at the scene until the tide turned before the volunteer crew then secured a tow rope to the boat and transferred both the fisherman, who was fully recovered, and the boat to Bunbeg Harbour.

Speaking following the callout, Arranmore RNLI coxswain Jimmy Early said: “Although it was quite windy, the sea was calm but the wind chill factor was approximately 1-2 degrees centigrade which accounted for the hypothermia.

“Once we treated the fisherman, he made a full recovery and was thankful to all the rescue services for their help.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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#RNLI - Arranmore RNLI has just announced some new recruits to the lifeboat station, including an honorary president and three volunteer lifeboat crew.

Majella O’Donnell has been appointed station president. Majella met with the lifeboat crew last Tuesday 20 February at the station, where she was warmly welcomed with tea and biscuits.

Majella’s interest in seafaring began when her family, from Thurles in Co Tipperary, went to Spiddal, Co Galway on their annual holidays. Her father and mother Tom and Marion Roche, both keen sailors, often brought the family on board their boat and sailed the entire west coast of Ireland.

Majella has a house on Owey Island, often piloting her own boat when visiting the island, and says she has always been aware of the role of the lifeboats in saving lives at sea. She is also married to famous singer and Donegal native Daniel O’Donnell.

On meeting the crew and Arranmore RNLI press officer Nora Flanagan, Majella said how pleased she is to be part of this vital service.

“I’ve always had a huge passion for water safety and have been a great admirer of the work of the RNLI,” she said. “I want to lend my support to the work the Arranmore Lifeboat crew do, not just as a figurehead of the station but to be actively involved and in the forefront of all aspects of the station to help the crew continue their role of saving lives at sea.

“I may not be a crew member of the lifeboat going out to sea but I think I can see my role as an asset, not only in fundraising, but listening to the needs of the crew, highlighting the importance of this vital service to all those who use the sea for business or pleasure and spreading the message of safety on the sea.”

Coxswain Jimmy Early with station president Majella O'DonnellCoxswain Jimmy Early with station president Majella O'Donnell

The station has also signed up three new crew members: a Polish native, a round-the-world sailor and a young Leaving Cert student.

Before he arrived in Arranmore last August, Krakow man Sebastian Sebo had no awareness of the work of the lifeboats, even though he had been in Ireland since 2006 working as a promoter at the Olympia Theatre in Dublin.

Sebastian happened upon Arranmore when cycling the Wild Atlantic Way. Seven months later, having fallen in love with the island, its people and the pace of life, and discovering the role of the lifeboat, he not only decided to stay but applied to join the crew.

Sebastian is currently undergoing his apprenticeship with the Arranmore Lifeboat and said: “Even though I had no previous experience of boats, I’m really enjoying being part of the crew and learning the ropes, all the crew are very supportive and take time and patience teaching me the various skills involved. I love living on Arranmore and especially being part of the RNLI.”

Experienced sailor and mother of four boys Sharon O’Donnell felt privileged to be asked to join the lifeboat crew seven months ago.

Sharon’s experience with boats started at a young age when she fished with her father on his trawler and continued when she joined the crew of the yacht Derry~Londonderry~Doire in the 2015-16 Clipper Race.

Sharon joined the crew of the yacht in China, sailed the Pacific to America and back to Derry via the Netherlands and London, a journey which lasted four months.

Lifeboat coxswain Jimmy Early said: “I was aware of Sharon’s involvement in the Clipper Race and greatly admired her abilities as a very competent sailor, and knew she would be an asset to the Lifeboat. Having said that, you don’t have to have any experience to serve on the lifeboat as full training is given.”

Sharon said her training on the yacht was slightly different to her experience with Arranmore RNLI.

“All of the crew had to undergo training to sail on the yacht, but the lifeboat serves a different purpose and this is reflected in the training,” she said. “All crew members of the lifeboat serve an apprenticeship and have to undergo competence based training, we are trained in various skills to help each crew member save lives and have to prove our competence in each skill prior to continuing with the next one.

“I’m really enjoying working with the lifeboat and learning new, challenging skills.”

At 18 years of age, Erin McCafferty is the youngest crew of the Arranmore lifeboat, and is currently studying for her Leaving Cert at Gairmscoil Mhic Diarmada on the island,

Erin became a crew member six months ago and is halfway through her apprenticeship. She also follows the Arranmore tradition of families serving on the lifeboat: Erin’s father John has been a crew member for 10 years, and her great-grandfather was a volunteer in the 1920s.

Erin hopes to study marine science at NUI Galway and said that her time spent on the lifeboat has convinced her that this is the direction she wants to take. She is particularly concerned about the amount of plastic pollution in all the oceans that is having an adverse affect on marine life.

Erin’s father John said: “I would encourage all young people to join the lifeboat crew if there is a station in their area, not only do they become part of an important service but it encourages them to be independent, problem solve and it is an experience they will be proud of no matter which direction their lives take.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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#RNLI - Arranmore RNLI in Co Donegal was called out yesterday morning (Monday 6 November) at 11.45am to assist a 19ft fishing boat with two people onboard.

The small boat was approximately 400 metres from Arranmore Lifeboat Station when it developed engine failure.

On arrival at the stricken vessel, the lifeboat crew established a tow rope and towed the boat safely to anchor off Arranmore.

“This was probably one of the shortest calls we’ve had for several years,” said lifeboat coxswain Jimmy Early. “We were called out at 11.45am and we were back at anchor at 12.18pm.

“Whether it’s a long or short call out we are always ready to answer the call and we were delighted to help bring the boat and it’s crew to safety.”

In a separate incident on Friday (3 November), the lifeboat crew were attending a presentation in the Waterfront Hotel in Dungloe when they were alerted by a local man to a disturbance in the sea off Arranmore.

The man reported a white shape and a flock of sea birds in the sea and the lifeboat crew were asked to investigate.

On arrival, the crew discovered a dead whale which subsequently washed up at Béal a’ Chraois, a sheltered cove on the east of the island, where it remained as of yesterday.

The Waterfront Hotel had hosted a fundraising dinner dance in September in support of the Arranmore RNLI Lifeboat – raising €25,250 – and were in the process of presenting the crew with the cheque when they were interrupted by the callout.

Early added: “We would like to thank the Waterfront Hotel for their incredible generosity and congratulate them on their upgrade to four star status.

“This event goes to prove that we, the lifeboat crew are on call 24/7 and no matter what the occasion we are here to answer the call, that is our priority.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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#RNLI - Arranmore RNLI was called to give assistance to a crabbing boat which got into difficulty off Arranmore on Tuesday (19 September).

The all-weather lifeboat was alerted at 4pm when the 60-tonne, 15m vessel with four crew on board suffered engine failure 35 miles northwest of Arranmore off the Donegal coast.

Weather conditions at the time were moderate with south, south east winds, Force 6-7 and a 3-4m swell.

When the lifeboat reached the crabbing boat, the crew secured a tow rope and the fishing vessel was towed to the safety of Burtonport harbour.

Arranmore RNLI coxswain Jimmy Early said: “This was a textbook rescue with favourable weather conditions and experienced fishermen who knew exactly what action to take in an emergency, they did all the right things to effect their rescue.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - Arranmore RNLI's lifeboat crew responded to their third callout in a week early yesterday (Friday 18 August) to assist a fishing trawler with five people on board which got into difficulty after engine failure.

The fishing vessel, which left Killybegs in the early hours, was not long after stranded 10 miles north-west of Glen Head in Co Donegal. The Arranmore lifeboat launched at 3.30am and reached the casualty vessel at 5am.

Weather conditions at the time were challenging, with a two-metre swell and west south-west winds of Force 5-7.

Having reached the trawler in darkness, the lifeboat managed to get a rope on board to tow the vessel to Killybegs harbour, though progress was hindered as the rope broke several times due to the weight of the vessel and the high sea swell.

After a slow nine-hour tow, the fishing boat was finally safely berthed at Killybegs and the lifeboat returned to base at 6pm, a full 14 hours and 30 minutes after launch.

Arranmore RNLI coxswain Jimmy Early paid tribute to the crew of the fishing vessel.

“They were a very experienced fishing crew and knew exactly what was required to bring them safely ashore. Now it's bedtime, hopefully.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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#RNLI - Arranmore RNLI's all-weather lifeboat was called out to assist two people in a boat with engine failure off the coast of Glen Head in Co Donegal on Saturday evening (20 May).

The stricken vessel, which had left Bunbeg and was on its way to Sligo, developed engine trouble and was taking in water so dropped anchor off Glen Head until the volunteer lifeboat crew arrived in scene to secure a tow rope and bring to Burtonport, where is now in dry dock for repairs.

Speaking following the callout, Arranmore RNLI coxswain Jimmy Early said the crew did the right thing calling out the lifeboat when they got into difficulty.

“As we approach the summer we would remind anyone heading to sea to always respect the water.

“When going out to sea for pleasure or business, make sure you have adequate fuel, that your boat is in good repair, you wear safety equipment, and have ways of contacting the emergency services.

“Tell someone on shore when you are going out, where you are going and your estimated time of arrival back.”

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About the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race

The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race is undoubtedly one of the greatest ocean adventures on the planet, also regarded as one of its toughest endurance challenges. Taking almost a year to complete, it consists of eleven teams competing against each other on the world’s largest matched fleet of 70-foot ocean racing yachts.

The Clipper Race was established in 1996 by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first person to sail solo, non-stop, around the world in 1968-69. His aim was to allow anyone, regardless of previous sailing experience, the chance to embrace the thrill of ocean racing; it is the only event of its kind for amateur sailors. Around 40 per cent of crew are novices and have never sailed before starting a comprehensive training programme ahead of their adventure.

This unique challenge brings together everyone from chief executives to train drivers, nurses and firefighters, farmers, airline pilots and students, from age 18 upwards, to take on Mother Nature’s toughest and most remote conditions. There is no upper age limit, the oldest competitor to date is 76.

Now in its twelfth edition, the Clipper 2019-20 Race started from London, UK, on 02 September 2019.

 

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