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Displaying items by tag: RNLI

Arklow RNLI launched swiftly on Sunday (1 August) to assist a support vessel that lost propulsion during a sailing regatta off the Co Wicklow town.

Most of the volunteer crew were already close to the station when they received the request to launch just after 11am, and the all-weather lifeboat Ger Tighclearr was soon under way with coxswain Ned Dillon at the helm.

Once on scene, about a quarter-mile north-east of the Arklow Harbour entrance, it was established that the 10.5ft motor cruiser with two crew aboard had become entangled in fishing gear.

An RNLI volunteer went aboard the cruiser to assist but after efforts to clear the props failed, it was decided to tow the vessel — which had been acting as a support boat as part of the local Sailing Regatta — back into the safety of the harbour.

Following the callout, Arklow RNLI’s community safety officer Mark Corcoran said: “Thankfully we had a positive result this morning. This callout shows that anybody can become entangled in fishing gear; indeed I have myself as have other members of our own crew.

“I’m delighted the time and effort we spend on delivery of our community safety plan and our interactions with all of the groups and clubs who use the harbours and river keep the water safety message to the fore in people’s minds.”

The crew alongside Dillon on this callout were station mechanic James Russell, Craig O’Reilly, Geoff Kearnes, Eddie McElheron and Jimmy Myler.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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This bank holiday weekend, with more people expected to take part in water-based activities, the RNLI is sharing some advice and top tips to help people stay safe on the water, whether travelling to the coast or visiting inland waters.

RNLI Water Safety Lead, Kevin Rahill said: ‘This Bank Holiday weekend, many people are going to be heading to the water to enjoy themselves. We want to see people having fun in or on the water and keeping safe while doing it. By taking a few simple steps, everyone can reduce the risk of an accident.’

‘Even in Summer, water temperatures can be cold, rarely going above 15 degrees. Cold Water Shock can affect everyone. To avoid this, acclimatise to the water slowly to get used to the cold. If you fall in unexpectedly, remember to ‘Float to Live’ – lie on your back and spread your arms and legs, gently moving them to keep afloat. Keep floating until you feel your breath coming back before calling for help or swimming ashore if nearby.’

With swimming becoming increasing popular Kevin Rahill offered the following advice, ‘Always choose to swim in a lifeguarded area and swim between the flags. Stay within your depth and swim parallel to the shore. Watch out for rip currents, if you do get caught in one, try to swim parallel to the shore until you can feel you are out of the current before trying to swim shore. Inflatable toys are not suitable for any open water and should be kept for the pool. They can easily be blown offshore very quickly.’

For other activity such as water boating, sailing, canoeing, paddle boarding, wear an appropriate personal flotation device suitable for the activity, and always carry a means of calling for help.

Water safety Ireland adds:  Nine people have drowned at waterways on the island of Ireland in seven days, six at inland waterways, leading Water Safety Ireland to make a national stay safe appeal to the public throughout the Bank Holiday weekend and the month of August. People are advised to swim only at Lifeguarded waterways or in areas that are traditionally known to be safe and have ringbuoys available for rescues.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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The rescue of cousins Sara Feeney (23) and Ellen Glynn (17) after being swept out to sea on paddleboards captured the attention of the country last August. How a balmy summer's evening quickly turned into a nightmare for the cousins' parents onshore, to the quick-witted reaction of the two women to lash the boards together, to the fishermen who realised the initial search was too focused on inner Galway Bay.

A story of endurance as Sara and Ellen survived 15 hours at sea, and the tears of relief among hundreds of volunteers searching the Galway and Clare coastlines and in Galway RNLI lifeboat station, where the volunteer crews have recovered more bodies than most of them care to remember.

When 23-year old NUI Galway graduate Sara Feeney and her 17-year old cousin Ellen Glynn set out for a short spin on paddleboards one evening in mid-August 2020, they only expected to be on the water for a short time.

Covid-19 restrictions had prevented them from going to their closest beach at Silver Strand on north Galway Bay, so they drove out with Sara's mum Helen to Furbo beach, 12 km west of Galway city.

There were swimmers in the water, enjoying the heat in fading light as they pumped up the inflatable boards and took to the water at around 9.30pm.

Sara's mum Helen walked her dog, Otis, along the short shoreline. Within a short space of time she wondered why she couldn't see the cousins on the water.

Little did she know at that time that the two women were shouting and frantically waving their paddles, unable to make it back to shore.

The northerly breeze had turned north-easterly and gained in strength, and the two women had no means of communication – Ellen had forgotten her wet bag that normally carried her mobile phone. They were wearing lifejackets, but no wetsuits – only bikinis – and had no food or water.

Realising they were in danger of being separated, the two women strapped their boards together. Back on shore, Helen Feeney had dialled the emergency services and had been put through to the Irish Coast Guard.

For a time, the two women remained confident that they would be located and were initially only worried about all the trouble they would have caused. As darkness fell and the hours passed, they spotted boats and a helicopter coming close enough to light up the sea around them, but in the vast sea area, they could neither be seen nor heard.

Shooting stars and bioluminescence lifted their spirits briefly, and Ellen sang every Taylor Swift song that she knew. Conditions worsened, with heavy rain. When a lightning storm forced an Irish Coast Guard helicopter to fly off to the north, they knew they would have to try and survive the night. By now, they were clinging to their boards in a heavy swell.

As the fog lifted well after dawn, they realised just how much trouble they were in, with the Cliffs of Mother just south of them, the Aran island of Inis Oírr to the north, and the Atlantic to the west.

They had been carried all of 18 nautical miles or 33 kilometres diagonally across Galway Bay and out into the ocean. A chance sighting of floats attached to crab pots set by Aran fisherman Bertie Donohue saved them from drifting further.

When they were located by Galway fisherman Patrick Oliver and his son Morgan in their catamaran, Johnny Ó, the two women had been the focus of a major air/sea search co-ordinated by Valentia Coast Guard and had spent 15 hours at sea. "We found them, but they saved themselves," Patrick Oliver would say later.

Fishermen Patrick Oliver and his son Morgan located the girlsFishermen Patrick Oliver and his son Morgan located the girls

This documentary features interviews with Sara Feeney and Ellen Glynn and their families one year on, speaking also to key people involved in their rescue, recalling how a balmy evening turned into a long, dark terrifying 15 hours that will be remembered as the miracle of Galway Bay.

Narrated by Lorna Siggins

Produced by Lorna Siggins and Sarah Blake

Sound Supervision by John Doyle and Peadar Carney

Available for podcast on Thursday 29th July

Broadcast on RTÉ Radio 1 on Sunday 1st August @ 6pm, Monday 2nd August @ 3pm, and Tuesday 3rd August @ 10pm

Published in Rescue

In response to media reports on the RNLI’s humanitarian work in the English Channel, chief executive Mark Dowie has spoken of his pride in the efforts of the charity’s lifeboat volunteers.

“I could not be prouder of our amazing volunteer lifeboat crews, who launch to the aid of anyone who is in trouble in or around the water and needs our help,” he said. “We have done this since the RNLI was founded in 1824 and this will always be our ethos.

“Every year, our lifeboat crews and lifeguards rescue around 30,000 people. We do not judge a casualty on what circumstances have found them in trouble.

“Our crews are tasked by HM Coastguard in the UK and the Irish Coast Guard in Ireland to rescue anyone who is at risk of drowning. They go home after a shout secure in the knowledge that without their help, the person they rescued may not have been able to be reunited with their own family. That is why they do what they do.

“These same principles apply to our lifesaving work in the Channel. We do not judge those we rescue — where we believe there is a risk to life at sea, we will always launch in response to a call from HM Coastguard.

“We want to be absolutely clear that we are incredibly proud of the work our volunteer lifeboat crews do to rescue vulnerable people in distress.

“When our lifeboats launch, we operate under International Maritime Law, which states we are permitted and indeed obligated to enter all waters regardless of territories for search and rescue purposes.

“And when it comes to rescuing those people attempting to cross the Channel, we do not question why they got into trouble, who they are or where they come from. All we need to know is that they need our help.

“Our crews do what they do because they believe that anyone can drown, but no one should. They believe in and remain focused on our core purpose, along with every member of the RNLI, to save lives at sea.”

First-hand accounts from lifeboat volunteers in England’s south east who respond to emergencies in the English Channel can be found on the RNLI website HERE.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Skerries RNLI were tasked by Dublin Coast Guard yesterday afternoon (Wednesday 28 July) following a 999 call from a member of the public reporting paddle boarders in difficulty in Rush Harbour.

Shortly before 3pm, the volunteer crew at Skerries RNLI launched their Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat following the report from a concerned member of the public that two stand-up paddle boarders were unable to return to shore and were in danger of being pushed onto rocks.

The lifeboat rounded the headland at Red Island in Skerries and set a course for Rush. While en route, they first received an update that one paddle boarder had made it ashore but the other had been stranded on rocks near the harbour.

As they passed the entrance to Loughshinny Harbour, they received a further update that the second person had made it safely ashore.

The lifeboat was stood down and returned to the station, where the boat and station were bath sanitised and made ready for the next service.

Conditions at the time were slight with a Force 4 westerly wind.

Speaking about the callout, press officer Gerry Canning said: “We have a lot of people making the most of having the sea on their doorstep at the moment, so it’s vital that people continue to raise the alarm whenever they think someone is danger.

“The caller today was genuinely concerned for the safety of the paddle boarders and did the right thing in dialling 999 and asking for the coastguard.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Volunteer lifeboat crew from Helvick Head RNLI in Waterford, rescued three kayakers stranded on rocks at Kilmurrin Cove yesterday afternoon (Wednesday 28 July) when a sudden squall capsized one of the kayaks and the group were forced onto the rocks as conditions rapidly deteriorated. The three kayakers were brought to safety when the lifeboat crew carried out a challenging manoeuvre to bring the lifeboat close to the rocks in the choppy waters and the group were helped onto the lifeboat by lifeboat crew and the winchman from Rescue 117.

The alarm was raised at 12.18 pm and Helvick RNLI were joined on the scene by Rescue 117, Bunmahon Coast Guard and Bunmahon Community Rescue Boat. The kayakers got into difficulty when conditions turned from mild to challenging quite quickly. Squalls and horizontal rain saw one kayaker capsize and the group were pushed over to rocks at Kilmurrin Cove. Taking refuge on the sharp rocks in the worsening conditions, a rescue operation was immediately launched. The winchman from Rescue 117 was able to descend from the helicopter onto the rocks and stay with the group as the lifeboat crew made the difficult approach to the rocks.

With no shoreline or safe landing spot, the lifeboat Helm performed a veering down manoeuvre which brought the lifeboat close to the rocks. A lifeboat crewmember swam to the rocks to assist the Rescue 117 winchman with the transfer of the casualties onto the lifeboat. In a highly precise and closely timed exercise, which relied on the crew taking note of the movement of the lifeboat into and away from the rocks, the three casualties were helped onboard the lifeboat and brought to the safety of the shore, where they were met by members of Bunmahon Coast Guard.

Commenting on the callout Helvick Head RNLI crewmember Joe Foley said, ‘“This was a great outcome in some challenging conditions. The wind picked up very quickly out there and the group were right to seek safety on the rocks. We were glad to see that they were all wearing buoyancy aids and had not sustained any injuries other than some scratches. The veering down manoeuvre which we carried out is something that we practice regularly in training, but every scenario is different, and it is challenging when dealing with multiple casualties and a moving lifeboat in choppy water. We have a great group of search and rescue agencies around here and we all work well together.”

The RNLI advises to always wear the proper safety equipment for your activity and always bring a means of calling for help.

This is the fourth callout for Helvick RNLI in the last ten days.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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In a busy Tuesday afternoon (27 July) for Enniskillen RNLI, the volunteer lifeboat crew launched on two callouts in the vicinity of Castle Archdale.

The first came at 4.30pm after a passer-by alerted the coastguard to a person who went overboard from their vessel.

In choppy conditions with a strong westerly Force 4-5 wind, the inshore lifeboat John and Jean Lewis as well as the rescue watercraft sped to the scene.

On arrival, they found that the casualty has managed to get back on to their Whaley boat when it came to a halt and returned to shore to seek assistance.

Crews from the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service and NI Ambulance Service took care of the casualty on shore as they had spent some time in the water.

On returning to the station, the volunteer crew spotted a cruiser with two adults and a dog on board that was struggling in the challenging weather.

After transferring a crew member onto the vessel, the lifeboat volunteers were able to take command of the cruiser and safely navigate it back to the jetty at Rossigh. All on board were in good health but were a little shaken by the conditions.

Speaking following the callout, Enniskillen RNLI helm Stephen Ingram said: “It is very easy for things to go wrong in rough weather. We would remind people to use safety equipment and make sure to the ‘kill cord’ is properly attached. Always bring a means of communication with you and make sure to check the weather forecast before heading out.

“We would also like to commend the individual on the shore who called the coastguard. When you spot something happening on the water the best thing to do is dial 999 and ask for the coastguard.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Baltimore RNLI launched on back-to-back callouts in West Cork on Sunday evening (25 July), including a medevac and a motorboat taking on water.

The first launch was at 8.15pm to reports of a 23ft motorboat taking on water at Church Strand within Baltimore Harbour.

Arriving on scene just two minutes later, the all-weather lifeboat volunteers put crewman John Kearney was put aboard the casualty vessel to assess the situation.

The leak was plugged using a wooden dowel plug from the lifeboat, and the casualty vessel was able to make it own way to the pier in Baltimore under escort from the inshore lifeboat.

While the volunteer inshore lifeboat crew were still in the boathouse after that callout, a second request came from the Irish Coast Guard for a medevac from Cape Clear Island.

The all-weather lifeboat crew launched at 9.15pm and proceeded to Cape Clear’s North Harbour 25 minutes later to retrieve the patient, a girl who had been injured in an accident on the island.

Upon return to the station at 10.15pm, the lifeboat volunteers handed the girl over to the care of the waiting HSE ambulance crew.

Conditions at sea during both calls were flat calm with a south-westerly Force 2 wind, no sea swell and good visibility.

Speaking following the callouts, press officer Kate Callanan said: “It was a busy evening for Baltimore RNLI and our volunteer crews with our inshore and all-weather lifeboats on back-to-back calls. If you get into difficulty at sea or on the coast, call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Skerries RNLI rescued two adults and two children on Sunday afternoon (25 July) after their inflatable kayak had been pulled out to sea by strong currents.

Just before 2pm, Dublin Coast Guard requested Skerries RNLI to launch their Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat to respond to a Pan-Pan VHF call.

A group of experienced sea kayakers raised the alarm after they encountered an inflatable kayak with two adults and two children on board struggling to make way against the wind and the tide.

The lifeboat was launched and proceeded immediately to the area where the kayak had been spotted, east of Colt Island in Skerries. The crew soon spotted the inflatable, which had been towed by the other kayakers into the shelter of the island.

All four casualties were taken on board the lifeboat and found to be unharmed. To avoid any hazards to navigation or further callouts, their kayak was also taken on board and the group were returned to the shore at Skerries.

Speaking later, lifeboat press officer Gerry Canning said: “It was encouraging to see all four wearing lifejackets and they had a mobile phone in a waterproof pouch. However, no matter how prepared you are, sometimes you can get caught out.

“We’d like to say a big thank you to the other kayakers who recognised the danger of what was happening, made the call for help, and stayed with the casualty until that help arrived. They played a huge part in ensuring a good outcome.”

Portrush RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat approached the motorboat with steering failure | Credit: RNLI/Daniel ThornePortrush RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat approached the motorboat with steering failure | Credit: RNLI/Daniel Thorne

Elsewhere, Portrush RNLI launched on Saturday afternoon (24th July) to a report of a 34ft motorboat with steering failure just off Portballintrae on Northern Ireland’s Causeway Coast.

Once on scene, the volunteer crew performed a dynamic risk assessment and decided to tow the boat and its three crew to the nearest safe, suitable port which in this case was Portrush Harbour.

“This is a classic tow manoeuvre which our crew train are trained to do,” said lifeboat operations manager Beni McAllister.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

This month the Oireachtas Library has been displaying an 1807 pamphlet by Reverend William Liddiard (1773–1841), calling for the establishment of an organised lifeboat service along the Irish coast.

Rev Liddiard was writing in response to the sinking of two ships in Dublin Bay — the Rochdale and the Prince of Wales — which saw the loss of almost 400 lives in one night:

“I have seized the moment when the feelings of the nation are afloat, and before they can possibly be thought to have subsided, of recommending a more general establishment of the Life-boat; a plan, which affords in some degree a balm for the despondency of the moment, promising as it does to prevent a recurrence of misfortunes similar to those, which have lately gloomed our shores.”

As special collections librarian Kate McCarthy writes, it is clear from the pamphlet that Rev Liddiard was impressed with the work to develop a dedicated lifeboat service at Bamburgh Castle on the north-east coast of England.

And he was particularly keen to use the then recently constructed Martello towers as dedicated lifeboat stations in Ireland.

“However,” McCarthy adds, “it was not until 1824 that the National Institution for the Preservation of Lives and Property from Shipwreck was established for Britain and Ireland (now the Royal National Lifeboat Institution). But the sinking of the Rochdale and Prince of Wales added to a growing campaign for the development of a safe pier at the small village of Dunleary (now Dun Laoghaire).”

The Oireachtas website has more on Rev Liddiard’s pamphlet HERE.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Coronavirus (COVID-19): Irish Sailing & Boating

Since restrictions began in March 2020, the Government is preparing for a 'controlled and gradual return to sport' and the 2020 sailing fixtures are being tentatively redrafted by yacht clubs, rowing clubs angling and diving clubs across Ireland as the country enters a new phase in dealing with the Coronavirus. The hope is that a COVID-19 restrictions might be eased by May 5th as Sport Ireland has asked national governing bodies for information on the challenges they face. 

Coronavirus (COVID-19) information

COVID-19 is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It's caused by a virus called coronavirus.

To help stop the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) everyone has been asked to stay at home. But some people may need to do more than this.

You may need to either:

You do these things to stop other people from getting coronavirus.

Read advice for people in at-risk groups

Read advice about cocooning.

Restricted movements

Everybody in Ireland has been asked to stay at home. You should only go out for a few reasons, such as shopping for food.

But you need to restrict your movements further if you: 

  • live with someone who has symptoms of coronavirus, but you feel well
  • are a close contact of a confirmed case of coronavirus
  • have returned to Ireland from another country

You need to restrict your movements for at least 14 days.

But if the person you live with has had a test and it is negative, you don't need to wait 14 days. You should still follow the advice for everyone - stay at home as much as possible.

Close contact

This is only a guide but close contact can mean:

  • spending more than 15 minutes of face-to-face contact within 2 metres of an infected person
  • living in the same house or shared accommodation as an infected person

How to restrict your movements 

Follow the advice for everybody - stay at home.

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