Allianz and Afloat - Supporting Irish Boating

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Displaying items by tag: Lifeboats

A volunteer crew member from Carrybridge Lifeboat Station successfully completed the rigorous RNLI helm assessment this past Wednesday 9 March.

Twenty-nine-year-old Kyle Boyd works for Openreach and has spent a lifetime on Upper and Lower Lough Erne in Co Fermanagh, Northern Ireland.

Kyle started his RNLI voluntary service at Carrybridge on 8 October 2015, commencing his trainee crew member training, which he completed successfully.

He then continued his journey towards the successful helm qualification which he obtained after various assessments, with his final assessment being completed yesterday by trainer assessor Stephen McNulty.

Kyle is now qualified and able to take command of the station’s Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat, Douglas Euan and Kay Richards.

Following his final assessment, when responding to a callout Kyle will be responsible for taking charge of the lifeboat when on the inland waterways of Lough Erne.

The RNLI describes the duty of a helmsman as being “to use utmost endeavours to safeguard and rescue the lives of those in danger, whilst having regard for the safety of their crew”.

Following the trainer assessor’s visit, helm Kyle Boyd said: “It feels amazing to pass out and take the next step in my lifeboat volunteer career. I’m really looking forward to taking the helm on training and shouts alike.”

Stephen Scott, lifeboat operations manager at Carrybridge RNLI, added: “I am very pleased that after all Kyle’s hard work and commitment to training, involving many long cold nights afloat on Upper Lough Erne, Kyle has achieved the status of RNLI helm for our Atlantic inshore lifeboat.

“He will be a great asset to the existing helms and will further enhance our ability to respond to the call to save lives on the inland waterways of Lough Erne.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

It was a busy afternoon on International Women’s Day for one of Portrush RNLI’s three women crew volunteers as the lifeboat was launched on Tuesday 8 March to reports of a fishing vessel in difficulty.

The 26ft vessel with two men on board had reported engine problems and was drifting towards land on Northern Ireland’s North Coast.

In response, the all-weather lifeboat launched at 12.46pm. Weather conditions were overcast with a choppy sea and bitterly cold southerly winds with gusts of around 50mph (80kmh).

The lifeboat arrived on scene at 1.34pm and the crew carried out a dynamic risk assessment to decide on the most appropriate course of action for the fishermen and their vessel.

The fishermen had been dragging their anchor but were forced to deploy the extra weight of their trawling gear to anchor the boat until Portrush RNLI arrived on scene.

It was agreed that the best plan was to attach a tow line and tow the vessel to safety and to the nearest harbour which was Greencastle.

The anchor and the trawl gear were left in situ with a floating buoy for recovery later.

Following a successful tow, the volunteer crew — which included Debs Smyth, one of Portrush’s three female crew members — returned to station at 4.49pm.

Beni McAllister Lifeboat Operations Manager said: “Once the crew arrived on scene, as always, an assessment was carried out along with the crew of the stricken vessel to agree the best course of action. This is a procedure that our crew carry out and train for on a regular basis.

“We are glad we were able to get the vessel and her crew to safety.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Lough Derg RNLI’s volunteer crew were called to assist two people on a 37ft yacht that ran aground on the lough on Saturday afternoon (5 March).

At 3.36pm the lifeboat Jean Spier launched with helm Owen Cavanagh and crew Doireann Kennedy, Chris Parker and Tom Hayes on board, headed for Church Bay on the southwestern Co Clare shore, some 3km west of the station. Winds were light, north-easterly Force 1 and visibility was very good.

After rounding Hare Island close to the Clare shore, the casualty vessel came into sight. The skipper of the yacht had kept his jib hoisted to help identify himself to the lifeboat crew.

Church Bay is known for its rocky shoals, and in a cautious approach to the vessel, lifeboat crew took depth soundings off the bow.

Once alongside the casualty vessel, the lifeboat established that all on board were safe, unharmed and were wearing their lifejackets.

An RNLI volunteer was transferred to the casualty vessel to check that it was not holed and to help lower the jib.

The lifeboat made further soundings around the vessel and, given the isolated location, the helm made the decision to take the casualty off the rocks and into safe water, having first emptied the yacht’s ballast and water tanks to reduce the draft of the vessel.

When the lifeboat volunteers were satisfied there was no damage to the propellers or drives, the casualty vessel made way by motor to its home harbour in Dromineer. The lifeboat departed the scene and was back at station at 4.31pm.

Liam Maloney, deputy launching authority at Lough Derg RNLI advises boat users to “study your charts when planning your passage and keep to the navigation routes”.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Are you a good communicator and willing to engage with the media? If so, Dunmore East RNLI may have just the volunteer role for you.

The Co Waterford station is currently recruiting for the position of volunteer lifeboat press officer.

The successful candidate will be responsible for keeping local media informed of lifesaving activity and promoting newsworthy rescues, lifeboat station events and RNLI campaigns via a variety of channels.

Established in 1884, Dunmore East Lifeboat Station provides search and rescue cover to the South East Coast of Ireland, operating an all-weather Shannon class lifeboat. Dunmore East crews have received 17 awards for gallantry.

For more on the role and how to apply, see the RNLI website HERE. The closing date for applications is Sunday 27 March.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Volunteers at Newcastle RNLI rescued a swimmer who got into difficulty in rough seas close to the Co Down harbour this morning (Wednesday 2 March).

Two volunteers and three visiting staff members were working at the lifeboat station when shortly after 11am they observed a swimmer clinging to a buoy off the slip, having struggled in rough seas, and immediately went to their aid.

Station mechanic Shane Rice, under the watchful eye of the four others, grabbed a throw line and threw it to the swimmer who was able to reach it and hold on as the group successfully pulled them out of the water and brought them safely onto shore.

Weather conditions at the time were poor, with an easterly Force 6 wind and moderate waves.

Speaking following the rescue, Newcastle RNLI lifeboat operations manager Lisa Ramsden said: “This morning’s rescue was testament to our team who were in the right place at the right time, reacting quickly and efficiently, and I want to commend them for responding with courage and determination when they spotted the person in difficulty. We would like to wish the swimmer well following their experience this morning.”

She added: “Open water swimming is a popular activity, and we would encourage all swimmers to enjoy their swim while using some key safety advice.

“Check weather forecast and tide times before venturing out. Always carry a means of calling for help and let someone on the shore know where you are going and when you are due back. If you can, try to avoid swimming alone — consider going with a buddy or as part of a group and look out for one another.

“Make sure you have the right kit. We would recommend a wetsuit in order to keep you warm and to increase your buoyancy together with a bright swim cap to make you more visible and a tow float to use in an emergency.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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The volunteer lifeboat crews of Carrybridge and Enniskillen RNLI were recently delighted to receive a donation of £1,600 raised at a special event that crossed swimming with mindfulness.

‘Wild and Free at the Sea’ was held by Dips N Hips in Rossnowlagh, Co Donegal last September, welcoming 50 people for a day of open water swimming, yoga and mindfulness on the beach.

It also marked the beginning of a ‘dip a day’ challenge for the month of October, where organiser Coná Gallagher braved the waters of Lough Erne every single day.

On behalf of Dips N Hips, Coná handed over a cheque to Ivan Kee from the Lough Erne Fundraising Branch for the Carrybridge and Enniskillen RNLI stations.

Stephen Scott, lifeboat operations manager at Carrybridge RNLI, praised all those who took part in the challenge and in particular Coná for all their hard work and dedication raising money for both lifeboat stations on Lough Erne.

“The funds raised will have a significant impact for the crews at both Carrybridge and Enniskillen and will assist with future lifesaving operations,” he said.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Aran Islands RNLI’s volunteer crew were requested to launch just after midnight this morning (Wednesday 22 February) for a medevac for a patient on Inis Mór in need of further medical attention.

The Severn class lifeboat launched under coxswain John O'Donnell and a full crew onboard after pagers sounded at 12.10am.

Conditions at the time of launching were challenging with a strong southwest wind blowing and a three-metre sea swell.

With the patient safely aboard, the lifeboat headed straight for Rossaveal Harbour and the waiting ambulance crew to whom the patient was transferred.

Speaking after the callout, O’Donnell said: “Conditions were challenging, it was a dirty night, but the volunteer crew didn’t hesitate to respond to get the patient on their way to the medical attention needed. We wish them a speedy recovery.

“With the recent weather conditions, we would like to advise the public to follow all weather warnings and if going out to stay safe, stay well back from cliff edges and if you see someone in trouble call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

The volunteer crew of Clifden RNLI were requested to conduct a search operation in response to an EPIRB signal eight miles west of the Connemara town in what was one of their “most challenging” callouts in some time.

EPIRB is a device carried on vessels to alert search and rescue services in case of an emergency out at sea.

The lifeboat crew launched their Shannon Class all-weather lifeboat at approximately 10.20am yesterday (Tuesday 22 Feburary) into extremely strong winds and heavy seas.

Despite a Force 8 wind and seven-metre swell, a full search of the area west of Turbot Island was carried out by the volunteer crew.

Thankfully, no evidence of a vessel in distress was found in the area and the operation was stood down by the Irish Coast Guard at midday.

Nessa Joyce, Clifden RNLI’s deputy launch authority, said: “In terms of weather, this operation was one of the most challenging we have dealt with in a while.

“It was a successful operation and a testament to both the training of our crew and safety and reliability of our rescue craft.

“All-weather lifeboats are made for conditions like this and everyone in Clifden RNLI is really looking forward to bringing a brand new Shannon Class ALB into service later this spring. My thanks to the crew for braving the weather today to ensure a successful outcome.”

The operation was carried out by John Mullen (coxswain), Tom Davis, Owen Hayes, James Mullen, Andy Bell and Kenneth Flaherty.

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Three volunteer lifeboat crew members at Bundoran RNLI will take on the forthcoming Bundoran 10 event by walking the full route in their drysuits, yellow wellies, lifejackets and helmets — all while raising money for the charity.

Brian Fowley, Chris Fox and Paul Gallagher decided that they wanted to do something different to raise funds and came up with the novel approach to complete the 10-mile (16km) walk which happens on Saturday 5 March in Bundoran, Co Donegal.

Fox said: “It will be a challenge on the day but we can often be out on long callouts so we are regularly in the kit for a couple of hours at a time — we generally don’t have to walk so far, though!”

Fowley added: “We are delighted with the donations that have come through to date and thankful to all of those who contributed to the fundraiser which is available through the Bundoran RNLI Facebook page.”

Gallagher said: “We are thrilled to have been allocated the race numbers 999, 112 and 834 — the former two representing the emergency phone numbers while 834 represents the RNLI fleet number of the Bundoran lifeboat, B-834’

The Bundoran 10 replaces the Cara Bundoran challenge and will take place on Saturday 5 March. Bundoran RNLI has been chosen as one of the beneficiary partners for the event.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Skerries RNLI were tasked yesterday evening (Tuesday 1 February) to investigate reports of two people stranded on Colt Island off the North Co Dublin town.

Dublin Coast Guard had received several 999 calls from concerned members of the public reporting that two people appeared to be stranded on the island.

The volunteers in Skerries received the call shortly after 5pm and launched their Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat Louis Simson directly for Colt Island.

As they arrived on scene the crew could see that the tide was especially low and the waters around the island were very shallow. The two men were making their own way ashore and were almost back on the beach.

The lifeboat updated Dublin Coast Guard and stood by until the men were safely ashore. The lifeboat was then stood down and returned to the station. Skerries Coast Guard unit were also on scene on the shore.

Speaking about the callout, Skerries RNLI’s Gerry Canning said: “Our volunteers are always ready to drop what they are doing and respond to a call for help. Thankfully on this occasion it was a false alarm with good intent.

“The members of the public were genuinely concerned for the two men and did the right thing in dialling 999 and asking for the coastguard.”

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