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Displaying items by tag: Lifeboats

Portrush RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat ran aground temporarily as it assisted an angling boat in difficulty in the Foyle Estuary yesterday afternoon (Sunday 28 June).

The volunteer crew had launched at 3.40pm to reports of a 24ft angling boat in difficulty at the entrance to the Foyle Estuary.

Weather conditions at the time were near gale-force with winds gusting from the west, which made the rescue challenging.

On arriving at the scene, the lifeboat crew established a tow line with the fishing vessel at around 4.27pm and proceeded at a slow speed back to Portrush Harbour in Co Antrim where it arrived about an hour later.

In the extreme weather conditions, the lifeboat temporarily went aground while assisting the casualty vessel to reach the pontoon.

As a safety precaution, the all-weather lifeboat was taken off service to allow a full inspection take place today. Portrush RNLI’s inshore lifeboat remains on service.

The volunteer lifeboat crew acknowledged the help given by local fisherman Richard Connor and the local coastguard team in assisting the lifeboat to get onto the pontoon.

Both the lifeboat crew and the crew of the angling boat were unharmed.

However, it’s understood that a member of the coastguard sustained a hand injury in helping at the scene. Portrush RNLI sends him their best wishes for a full recovery.

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Portaferry RNLI launched twice in three days to reports of broken down boats in the same area of Strangford Lough.

Portaferry’s volunteer crew launched initially on Thursday evening (25 June) at 9.50pm to assist a five-metre cabin cruiser at the entrance to Strangford Lough which had suffered engine failure after a fishing trip.

The inshore lifeboat towed the vessel to Portaferry Marina, handed the vessel to the local coastguard and assisted with berthing.

Portaferry’s lifeboat volunteers launched again yesterday afternoon (Saturday 27 June) at 5.07pm to tow to safety a seven-metre RIB which had suffered engine failure at the south end of Rock Angus, at the beginning of Strangford Lough.

Commenting on the callouts, lifeboat helm Colin Conway said: “As this is a busy period for Portaferry RNLI, we ask you to remember to have all your communication devices in good working order, to follow safety advice to stay as safe as you can, and always to respect the water.”

Skerries RNLI volunteers towed a jet ski with a man and woman on board to safety after they broke down near Barnageeragh beach in North Co Dublin.

Shortly after 5pm yesterday evening (Friday 26 June), the volunteers launched the Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat following a 999 call to Dublin Coast Guard from a jet ski that had broken down.

They located the casualty in shallow water near a large rocky outcrop between Barnageerah and Balbriggan.

The man and woman were taken on board the lifeboat while the jet ski was taken under tow, and they were returned safely to the slipway at the lifeboat station in Skerries.

Speaking about the callout, volunteer lifeboat press officer Gerry Canning said: “You never know when something is going to go wrong, so we’d like to remind anyone going to sea to carry a means of contacting the shore to call for help.”

Elsewhere, Wicklow RNLI brought three fishermen to safety on Thursday afternoon (25 June) after their 12-metre vessel developed mechanical problems off the Wicklow coast.

The alarm was raised after the vessel which was fishing for whelk broke down and lost all propulsion.

Crew on the all-weather lifeboat Jock & Annie Slater located the stricken vessel about nine miles north of Wicklow Harbour, and towed it back to the harbour where it was brought safely alongside the South Quay.

Published in Jetski

As Father’s Day (Sunday 21 June) wound down, Portaferry RNLI’s lifeboat volunteers were paged following reports of an upturned boat off Ardglass in Co Down, Northern Ireland.

The crew launched promptly at 9.17pm in cloudy but good visibility conditions and swiftly made their way to Ardglass.

Arriving on scene around half an hour later, the crew began searching the area for the upturned boat — but soon discovered that the sighting was in fact of a dead whale that was floating on the surface of the Irish Sea.

Commenting on the callout, deputy launching authority Graham Edgar said: “This was an unfortunate conclusion of the search. However we are glad that no lives were in danger.

“Belfast Coastguard will report the whale as a hazard to navigation to ensure all other vessels in the area will be aware of the remains.”

Both Portrush RNLI lifeboats were requested to launch by HM Coastguard yesterday afternoon (Saturday 20 June) to reports of person on an inflatable paddleboard in difficulty in the sea just off Portstewart on Northern Ireland’s North Coast.

The inshore lifeboat was launched at 1.23pm initially into a slight sea swell with an offshore wind and made their way to Portstewart, followed by the all-weather lifeboat 10 minutes later.

The inshore crew arrived on scene at 1.35pm and successfully recovered the casualty who was 200 metres from shore. The crew found that the casualty had been blown out to sea, had fallen off their board and been unable to get back on.

Both casualty and their board were swiftly returned to shore where they were handed over to the care of the coastguard and NI Ambulance Service who had been called as a precaution. The all-weather lifeboat was stood down.

Ivor Paul, deputy launching authority at Portrush RNLI, said: “We would urge people not to bring inflatables to the coast as it is so easy to get caught by the wind and within seconds you can suddenly be in danger. If in doubt talk, to the lifeguards and check out the RNLI and coastguard websites for guidance and advice.”

Courtmacsherry RNLI’s lifeboat volunteers were called out at 3.50pm yesterday afternoon (Saturday 20 June) to go to the aid of a lone windsurfer who had got into difficulty just offshore of Harbour View in Courtmacsherry Bay.

The alarm was raised by concerned persons on shore that the surfer was unable to return to his base as the winds were escalating.

While the winds were beginning to blow a gale off the South West Coast, both the Trent class lifeboat and the station’s inshore lifeboat were launched under coxswain Mark Gannon and a combined crew of nine volunteers.

After conducting a thorough search of the coastline from Burren Pier to Coolmain Strand, the windsurfer was finally located as he got ashore by himself downstream of Harbour View. The crew of the inshore lifeboat approached to confrm his status and found he was tired but uninjured.

Lifeboat operations manager Brian O’Dwyer thanked all the lifeboat crew members for the quick response and carrying out the search operation in a very professional fashion.

He reiterated that it is always best to raise the alarm quickly in the event of a difficulty being spotted from shore by dialling 999 or 112 and asking specifically for the coastguard.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Wexford RNLI came to the rescue of five people on Monday afternoon (15 June) after the jet ski they were on lost power and began to sink.

The four teenagers and an adult had managed to get on top of a nearby pontoon on the River Slaney between Ferrycarrig Bridge and Killurin Bridge, where they then raised the alarm with the Irish Coast Guard.

Wexford RNLI volunteers were paged just before 3pm and launched the inshore lifeboat with three crew on board within 12 minutes.

Once on scene before 3.30pm, the crew took the four teenagers on board the lifeboat and brought them safely ashore at Killurin.

The lifeboat then returned to the scene for the adult and jet ski. Conditions at the time were good with no swell and a falling tide.

Speaking following the callout, Wexford RNLI helm Damien Foley said: “Everyone was wearing lifejackets and did the right thing by calling for help to the coastguard when they could.”

The volunteer crew of Damien Foley, Ger Doran and David Marskell, all of who were working at the time, were back at Wexford Lifeboat Station at 4.30pm. It was also the first rescue for volunteer crew member David Marskell.

Elsewhere on Monday, Aran Islands RNLI responded to two medevac shouts, on Inis Oírr and Inis Mór respectively, bringing two women to the mainland for treatment — one for a suspected broken arm.

Aran Islands lifeboat coxswain Declan Brannigan said: “Our volunteers didn't hesitate to answer both calls today and we would like to wish both women a speedy recovery.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Bangor's lifeboat rescued four people aboard a motorboat from Carrickfergus after the boat broke down off Whitehead, and the group risked drifting into a shipping lane in Belfast Lough in fading light.

A volunteer crew from Bangor RNLI was requested by Belfast Coastguard just after 10pm on Saturday night last (13 June) to attend the broken down motorboat just off Whitehead.

In calm conditions and only light winds, there was no immediate danger, but there was a possibility of the boat drifting into the shipping lane used by the Belfast to Cairnryan ferry.

In fading light, helm Kyle Marshall and the crew were able to reach the craft quickly and, having assessed the situation, attached a tow rope and towed them back to Carrickfergus Marina.

By the time they reached the marina, the light had all but gone.

Speaking following the callout, Marshall said: “We were delighted to be able to help these people and return them safely to the marina.

“We would ask everyone returning to the water after lockdown to ensure their vessel has been well maintained, and they have all the appropriate safety gear on board.”

Boat owner Alan McIlroy was effusive in his praise of the Bangor crew: “These guys are worth their weight in gold, and after realising we had a problem, we were delighted to see them arrive. They were totally professional, and very skilled.”

Published in Belfast Lough
Tagged under

Youghal RNLI’s inshore lifeboat and her volunteer crew responded to their pagers yesterday (Sunday 14 June) when the alarm was raised by two people aboard a fishing vessel with steering failure.

Helmed by Liam Keogh, The lifeboat launched just before 1pm to the 20ft fishing vessel, 2km south east of Youghal Harbour near the Black Ball buoy, in fairly calm sea conditions.

Once the fishing boat was located, one crew member boarded, following all Covid-19 guidelines and procedures, and worked to quickly establish a tow.

The fishing vessel was then safely towed back to its mooring in Ferrypoint and the lifeboat returned to the station by 1.40pm.

Speaking after the callout, Lou Stepney, Youghal RNLI’s volunteer press officer, said: “Mechanical failure is one of the main reasons for RNLI callouts.

“Situations can change very quickly at sea. We advise anyone out on the water to be prepared for an emergency by always wearing a lifejacket, checking your equipment before you set off and always to carry a means of calling for help, call 112/999 and ask for the coastguard.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
Tagged under

Sea swimmer and experienced kayaker Kevin O’Sullivan has presented Skerries RNLI with a donation of €1,200 from monies raised while kayaking solo around the island of Ireland.

Kevin’s three-year venture started in 2016 and was spurred by his love of kayaking.

“After over 35 years of kayaking, looming large in front of me was my own personal edge,” he explains of his decision to embark on the solo circumnavigation.

“I had been operating as a volunteer kayak instructor with Skerries Sea Scouts for seven years. Being inspired by the courage of the many junior paddlers within their ranks, I decided it was high time I ventured outside my own comfort zone as this mission materialised out of the faintest whisper of a long-held dream I had thought about for years.”

During the planning of the trip, Kevin said he was aware of the work done by volunteers at his local RNLI station in Skerries, and Medicins Sans Frontiers in the Mediterranean.

“I decided to put a charity element to my venture. Monies raised were split down the middle and shared.

“My local involvement with The Frosties, a year-round sea swim group, gave me first-hand knowledge of the very critical service the RNLI offers to all water users. We have availed of their service on a few occasions.

“I am not alone in complimenting their non-judgemental approach to any rescue they carry out. It is wonderful to give something back to this great organisation.’

Kevin’s circumnavigation was all the more remarkable in that he achieved it in his spare time, committing to the adventure for almost three years.

“I would kayak a stretch over a few days, camping as I went, depositing my kayak with a helpful soul, whilst returning home to family and work for a period.

Kevin O’Sullivan using his paddle to pass the ‘Bag of Swag’ while maintaining social distancing (Photo: RNLI/Gerry Canning)Kevin O’Sullivan using his paddle to pass the ‘Bag of Swag’ while maintaining social distancing | Photo: RNLI/Gerry Canning

“When the next favourable weather window opened coincident with my time off work, I would return to my boat continuing along the coast, all the while eating away at the total distance of 1,750 km to put me back into Skerries where I started.”

First circumnavigated in 1978 by a three-man team, around 100 have now completed the trip, mostly in small groups.

“Only 25 of these have been solo. Mick O’Meara, from Waterford, holds the record at 23 days, and was my own personal inspiration for the trip.”

Kevin says he wasn’t sure he could “stomach” the challenge due to his propensity for sea sickness, but the story of Mick O’Meara kept his spirits up.

“Thankfully I was graced with good weather, great support and my body held out so that after three summers, my kayak found itself being slid back onto its rack after a 903-day absence.”

Kevin recalled of his achievement: “I camped, B&Bed, was put up by strangers, slept in adventure centres, friends’ houses and hostels. I used planes, trains and automobiles to get to and from the remotest corners of this island to complete my paddling project.

“Once, in fact, I walked two-and-a-half kilometres on the Hook Peninsula to get to my B&B from the beach I landed on, back in November 2017. The proprietor, who very kindly reopened his B&B for me, stood shocked when I rolled my 18ft long kayak up his driveway rather than atop my car.”

Gerry Canning, volunteer lifeboat press officer for Skerries RNLI, commended Kevin for his fundraising efforts on behalf of the station.

“This was a phenomenal effort with an amazing amount raised for Skerries RNLI and we want to say a huge thank you to Kevin. With so many fundraising events cancelled this year, donations like this are even more crucial.

“We can really feel Kevin’s pride for what he has achieved and his enthusiasm for helping the charities he donated to. These funds are very much appreciated by all here at Skerries and will help us to continue to save lives at sea.”

Published in Kayaking
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Fastnet Yacht Race 

This race is both a blue riband international yachting fixture and a biennial offshore pilgrimage that attracts crews from all walks of life:- from aspiring sailors to professional crews; all ages and all professions. Some are racing for charity, others for a personal challenge. For the world's top professional sailors, it is a 'must-do' race. For some, it will be their first-ever race, and for others, something they have competed in for over 50 years! The race attracts the most diverse fleet of yachts, from beautiful classic yachts to some of the fastest racing machines on the planet – and everything in between. The testing course passes eight famous landmarks along the route: The Needles, Portland Bill, Start Point, the Lizard, Land’s End, the Fastnet Rock, Bishop’s Rock off the Scillies and Plymouth breakwater (now Cherbourg for 2021 and 2023). After the start in Cowes, the fleet heads westward down The Solent, before exiting into the English Channel at Hurst Castle. The finish is in Plymouth, Devon via the Fastnet Rock, off the southern tip of Ireland.

  • The leg across the Celtic Sea to (and from) the Fastnet Rock is known to be unpredictable and challenging. The competitors are exposed to fast-moving Atlantic weather systems and the fleet often encounter tough conditions
  • Flawless decision-making, determination and total commitment are the essential requirements. Crews have to manage and anticipate the changing tidal and meteorological conditions imposed by the complex course
  • The symbol of the race is the Fastnet Rock, located off the southern coast of Ireland. Also known as the Teardrop of Ireland, the Rock marks an evocative turning point in the challenging race
  • Once sailors reach the Fastnet Rock, they are well over halfway to the finish in Plymouth.
  • The lighthouse first shone its light on New Year’s Day in 1854
    Fastnet Rock originally had six keepers (now unmanned), with four on the rock at a time with the other two on leave. Each man did four weeks on, two weeks off

At A Glance – Fastnet Race

  • The world's largest offshore yacht race
  • The biennial race is 605 nautical miles - Cowes, Fastnet Rock, Plymouth
  • A fleet of over 400 yachts regularly will take part
  • The international fleet is made up of over 26 countries
  • Multihull course record: 1 day, 8 hours, 48 minutes (2011, Banque Populaire V)
  • Monohull course record: 1 day, 18 hours, 39 minutes (2011, Volvo 70, Abu Dhabi)
  • Largest IRC Rated boat is the 100ft (30.48m) Scallywag 100 (HKG)
  • Some of the Smallest boats in the fleet are 30 footers
  • Rolex SA has been a longstanding sponsor of the race since 2001
  • The first race was in 1925 with 7 boats. The Royal Ocean Racing Club was set up as a result

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