Displaying items by tag: Lifeboats
Lifeboat teams from Portrush and farther afield gathered in the North Coast town on Friday (28 February) to bid farewell to one of their own, as mechanic/coxswain and crew member Anthony Chambers retires after more than 40 years.
The Chambers family have been linked to Portrush RNLI in Northern Ireland for generations. Anthony’s father Gilbert and brother Derek were both mechanics on the lifeboat before him, and Anthony’s two nephews, Jason and Karl, are following the family tradition of being volunteer crew and an integral part of the station.
But Friday night was all about Anthony — celebrating his career, his retirement, remembering great rescues and the difference he has made to so many people.
Anthony’s most memorable and heroic ‘shout’ was the rescue of two young boys from a cave in August 2009 against a rising tide.
Part of the account of the rescue said: “Anthony fought against the elements in almost total darkness, being smashed against the cave wall … rescuing the boys one by one. It took him 30 minutes to complete the difficult and treacherous return swim twice with the rising tide against him.”
As a result, Anthony was presented with a bronze medal for gallantry in May 2010 by HRH Prince Michael of Kent at the Barbican in London, and fellow crew members with him on that night were presented with a letter of thanks from the RNLI.
This was only one example of Anthony’s bravery and on Friday night, the lifeboat crew, fundraising team and friends gathered in Portrush Yacht Club to celebrate, present gifts and reminisce of rescues gone by.
It was a testament to Anthony’s popularity that Portrush Yacht Club was packed to capacity with ex-crew members and representatives from Lough Swilly, Red Bay, Larne, Ballyglass, Portpatrick and Donaghadee lifeboat stations.
It was an opportunity for Anthony’s family, his wife Maryna, son Alistair and stepdaughter Louise, to meet so many of his colleagues in the RNLI and hear of his many exploits.
The formal part of the evening was introduced by MC and fellow lifeboat crew member Tim Nelson. Volunteer coxswain Des Austin presented gifts on behalf of the crew and Keith Gilmore, lifeboat operations manager, presented a vellum and letter of thanks from Mark Dowie, chief executive of the RNLI.
John Martin from the fundraising team also presented gifts on behalf of the team. Shirley Austin, Des’s wife, presented Anthony’s wife Maryna with flowers on behalf of the crew.
Beni McAllister, honorary secretary of Portrush Yacht Club, presented Anthony with a life membership of the club in recognition of its close links with the lifeboat station.
Anthony took to the floor to thank everyone for the gifts and good wishes. He went on to wish the current crew well and also the new coxswain/mechanic Dave Robinson, who takes over the helm.
But the crew of the North Co Dublin lifeboat station confirms it takes any activation of an emergency beacon seriously.
Skerries RNLI were tasked shortly before 7.30am yesterday morning (Monday 24 February) after Dublin Coast Guard picked up the signal from an emergency beacon almost two miles north-east of Skerries.
The Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat was launched by the volunteer crew into strong west to south-west winds, gusting to 30 knots at times.
Skerries lifeboat, the Howth lifeboat and the Irish Coast Guard’s helicopter Rescue 116 all proceeded to the last co-ordinates received and began a thorough search of the area in challenging conditions.
It was soon found that the vessel registered to the EPIRB (emergency position-indicating radio beacon) was safely tied up in Skerries Harbour, but the EPIRB had been removed.
The lifeboats and the helicopter continued to search the area until the coastguard was satisfied that the beacon had not been taken to sea aboard another vessel, and the operation was stood down.
Speaking about the callout, volunteer lifeboat press officer for Skerries RNLI, Gerry Canning, said: “EPIRBs are a vital piece of safety equipment, often designed to activate when a vessel capsizes or sinks, so any activation has to be treated very seriously.
“It was a wet morning for most people today, but even more so for our crews.”
At a gathering at RNLI Lerwick lifeboat station to mark the occasion last Tuesday evening (4 February), members of the guild and current lifeboat crew members paid tribute to Bella’s contribution on the committee.
After her first 10 years, Bella was then treasurer for 23 years, from 1992 until 2015. Since then, she has continued to support fundraising events and activities, including volunteering in the RNLI Lerwick shop.
In recognition of her long service, Bella received a RNLI Gold Badge and Bar in 2016.
The guild raises funds for the RNLI towards the operational costs of the Lerwick lifeboat in Scotland's far nothern isles, which relies entirely on public donations.
‘She’s one in a million and will always be welcome in our shop, where she will always find the kettle on’
Throughout the year, the guild organises many events, including the popular Lifeboat Open Day in midsummer and the Lifeboat Ball later in the year. Committee members also attend country shows during the summer months to generate income and to raise the profile of the RNLI.
In 2019, the Lerwick Lifeboat Guild, including funds raised by the men’s committee, raised a total of over £44,000.
Rhoda Watt, joint chair of the Lerwick Ladies Lifeboat Guild and current treasurer, said: “Bella has been absolutely dedicated beyond measure and will be missed on our committee. She’s one in a million and will always be welcome in our shop, where she will always find the kettle on.”
Malcolm Craigie, RNLI Lerwick lifeboat operations manager, said: “The RNLI relies on dedicated fundraisers across the country to provide equipment and training for our volunteer crews, so that we’re ready to respond 24 hours a day.
“On behalf of the lifeboat crew, we’re hugely grateful to Bella for everything she has done for the Lerwick Lifeboat Guild over the last 38 years.”
Despite challenging conditions the lifeboat reached the scene quickly, but found that the divers had already been recovered from the water.
The lifeboats small inflatable XP boat was made ready to put a crew ashore to assist with casualty care. However, the Scottish Ambulance Service and coastguard rescue teams arrived at that point and were able to assist the casualties.
At this time, further reports reached the coastguard of another diver drifting to the north. The lifeboat immediately proceeded to the scene and discovered that the object was actually the dive gear of one of the divers now being treated by the Scottish Ambulance Service.
After the crew returned to station and as they were drying off, one of the volunteers noticed a dingy drifting across Oban Bay.
It was observed that the oars were in place on the dinghy, which prompted concern that someone may have fallen from it, so the crew relaunched into Storm Ciara to ensure that no life was at risk.
Several boats were on moorings in Oban Bay and a systematic search of these moorings began. Oban Coastguard Team, who had also just returned from the previous incident located the dinghy and were able to identify a name on it.
Fortunately this allowed them to locate the owner, who was safe and well and unaware that his dinghy had gone adrift.
Following the report of a crush injury at the fish farm in the Sound of Mull, Tobermory RNLI’s volunteer crew launched their Severn class all-weather lifeboat, Elizabeth Fairlie Ramsey, shortly after 10am.
The crew collected two Scottish Ambulance Service personnel and a member of the local coastguard rescue team, and proceeded to the fish farm by MacLean’s Nose on the south coast of Ardnamurchan, near to Kilchoan.
Having stabilised the injured man, the lifeboat returned to Tobermory where the crew were met by other members of the local coastguard team and Police Scotland.
The casualty was transferred to a waiting ambulance before being taken to Tobermory Golf Club for a further transfer to the air ambulance, Helimed 5, which then flew the man to Glasgow for hospital treatment.
Lifeboat operations manager Dr Sam Jones said: “This was another great example of multi-agency working between the emergency services in our local community and beyond.
“We’d like to thank all those at the fish farm who gave immediate first aid on scene and all of us at the station wish the injured man a very speedy recovery.”
This was also the first shout for one of Tobermory RNLI’s newest recruits, Jenny Hampson, a project manager for the Tobermory Harbour Association.
Launching at around 10.15am into a calm sea, the all-weather lifeboat Dr John McSparran made its way to the casualty boat where a volunteer crew member was put aboard to assess its pilot, who was safe and well.
A tow line was then established so that the casualty boat could be towed into East Antrim Boat Club to be put onto a mooring.
Larne’s inshore lifeboat Terry met the casualty vessel in Larne Harbour, where the tow line was passed across and an alongside tow was carried out to allow the casualty to tie up on its mooring at the boat club.
Speaking following the callout, Larne RNLI lifeboat operations manager Allen Dorman said: “We had a good turnout from our crew today as we had been planning to do some assessments, but it was great to see how the crew reacted when the call came in.
“Everyone knew what they had to do and acted accordingly and were delighted to help the vessel's owner. I’m also pleased to say that the assessments were carried out after the call out and everyone passed.”
Larne RNLI coxswain Frank Healy added: “I was pleased to see the casualty was wearing appropriate safety equipment when we arrived and would like to remind anyone thinking of going onto the water to check that their boat is fully operational and that they have appropriate safety equipment onboard.
“If you do get into trouble at sea remember to call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”
After the All Blacks' disappointing run in the Rugby World Cup last year, the New Zealander made his home country proud by emerging victorious in the contest at the Mishnish in Tobermory yesterday, Saturday 25 January.
‘Kiwi’ has continued in a tradition of world champions at the lifeboat station, on the Isle of Mull in western Scotland, with operations manager Dr Sam Jones winning the title in 2007 and former coxswain Phil Higson being champion in 2008 and 2011.
Competitors submit their best plate of mince and tatties to a panel of judges, with the winner being declared world champion.
But there was controversy when it emerged that coxswain David McHaffie and Dr Sam Jones had been two of the three judges, and some of the audience claimed that there had been ‘a fix’.
But Dr Jones dismissed the accusations. “Kiwi won his world title absolutely fair and square,” he said. “It was a blind tasting and none of us had any idea whose mince we were sampling.
“We’re hoping that at our next training night, Kiwi will cook up his championship dish to warm up the volunteer crew when they come back from exercise.”
Mr Rodger Harvey-Jamieson made the very generous donation of £10,000 cheque from his family to each station when he visited Kyle of Lochalsh RNLI.
Mr Alfie Edwards, representing the Applecross Boat Pull Team, also handed over to each station a cheque for £1,000. The team have been fundraising for local charities and the RNLI for several years.
Thanking Mr Harvey-Jamieson and Mr Edwards were Portree coxswain Hamish Corrigall and operations manager John Ellis, as well as Emma Noble and Daniel Elliot representing Kyle station.
The defibrillator is fitted in a highly visible protective cabinet outside the station door next to the small boat harbour, which is a popular spot for locals and visitors in Scotland’s Shetland Islands throughout the year.
Accessible 24 hours a day, providing an emergency asset for the area, the automated external defibrillator (AED) can monitor the heart rhythm and, if necessary, deliver an electric shock to the heart, which is the most effective treatment for a heart attack.
AEDs can be used by anyone, without the need for any specialist training, as any rescuer will be guided through what to do by the voice commands and display panel.
The defibrillator has been part-funded by a grant from the British Heart Foundation, and a local crowdfunding effort raised the extra money required to purchase the equipment and stainless-steel cabinet necessary to house it.
Lerwick lifeboat crew are particularly thankful to one anonymous donor who gave £900 to the appeal.
Scottish charity Lucky2BHere, which has helped to provide many defibrillators in Shetland, has also provided AED training to the lifeboat crew.
It is thought that next nearest public access defibrillator is around 400 metres away, outside the Stewart Building, while the nearby Lerwick Boating Club has a defibrillator located in their premises.
Darren Harcus, coxswain of RNLI Lerwick, said: “Installing this defibrillator fits well with our function as the charity which saves lives at sea. This will be an important lifesaving asset for the Lerwick waterfront, partly paid for by the local community.
“We’d like to thank all those who have made donations for this defibrillator, the British Heart Foundation who have provided grant funding, Lucky2BHere who have provided support, and our RNLI Estates Team who have dealt with the necessary paperwork to install and provide electrical power to the defibrillator on the building.”
The dance, held this year at the Allingham Arms Hotel in Bundoran, is the flagship fundraising event of the volunteer crew and has been a staple of the annual event calendar for more than 40 years.
Award-winning country music singer Robert Mizzell, originally from Louisiana and now based in Ireland, will perform on the night and is looking forward to playing the event.
“Since I’ve moved to Ireland I’ve become very aware of the amazing work the volunteers of the RNLI do so selflessly,” he said. “It is my great pleasure to be invited back to play at their annual dance this year. I look forward to seeing many of the supporters of this great charity on the night.”
Event director Cormac McGurren is reminding supporters that not only is it a great night of music, but there are some great prizes in the monster raffle, too.
“Local businesses have once again been so generous in donating prizes for us for the raffle and we would like to thank traders in Bundoran and Ballyshannon for their great support. A special thanks to Mr Oilman who is donating €250 worth of oil for our door prize on the night, too.”
The dance will take place on Friday 31st January with Kieran McAree on stage from 9pm and Robert Mizzell on stage from 11pm.
Proceeds from the dance will fund ongoing training of the volunteer crew based at Bundoran Lifeboat Station, who are on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, serving the entire Donegal Bay area for marine emergencies.
Tickets are just €15 and are on sale now from all crew members, the Allingham Arms, Bundoran Tourist Office, BMG Hardware Bundoran, O’Neill’s Next Door Off Licence Ballyshannon and on the door on the night.
More information on the lifeboat service in Bundoran can be found on the station’s Facebook page.