Menu

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Displaying items by tag: Lifeboats

Courtown RNLI volunteers invite everyone in the community to their ‘Jingle Mingle’ event this Saturday 9 December.

The fundraising committee is hosting the Christmas afternoon from 2pm-5pm on the North Pier in Courtown, Co Wexford.

It’s an opportunity to gather and meet neighbours and friends from the community and enjoy some festive cheer.

Christmas carols, homemade mince pies and heart-warming hot chocolate will be on offer, and Santa will be arriving at 4pm to great the children and give them a little gift.

The team will also be hosting the annual ‘Light a Light’ remembrance ceremony. Candles of love, hope and remembrance are currently on sale in the Taravie at €3 each, with all proceeds going towards the Courtown lifeboat. The candles will be lit at 4.45pm, a lovely way of remembering loved ones.

The lifeboat shop will also be open on Saturday from 11am to 5pm with lots of Christmas cards, calendars, diaries and gifts on sale.

Courtown RNLI’s fundraising committee and the volunteer crew look forward to welcoming everyone to their Christmas get-together this Saturday.

Courtown RNLI Jingle Mingle poster

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
Tagged under

Dun Laoghaire RNLI crew member Gary Hayes has been named the Christine Buckley Volunteer of the Year for 2023.

Hayes picked up the overall honour at the Volunteer Ireland Awards ceremony in Limerick on Saturday night (2 December) after he was nominated by a fellow crew member for his work with both Dun Laoghaire RNLI and Dalkey First Responders.

The Volunteer Ireland awards are the annual initiative to celebrate volunteers in Ireland. The awards shine a light on the remarkable achievements of volunteers around the country by honouring them at a national level. Every year one truly exceptional volunteer is named Christine Buckley Volunteer of the Year in her memory.

Hayes, who works as operations manager at Dun Laoghaire Marina, has been a volunteer at Dun Laoghaire lifeboat station for 21 years — currently serving as a helm and inshore lifeboat mechanic — while he has been a volunteer with Dalkey First Responders for nine years.

His nomination described the crucial role he played in saving lives at sea: “As a helm, Gary operates the lifeboat during dangerous rescue missions, navigating through challenging conditions to reach those in distress. His skills and experience are essential in ensuring the safe and effective execution of rescues. Gary’s commitment and dedication have undoubtedly resulted in countless lives being saved and families being reunited.

Gary Hayes with his Christine Buckley Volunteer of the Year award trophy | Credit: Alan Hayes/FacebookGary Hayes with his Christine Buckley Volunteer of the Year award trophy | Credit: Alan Hayes/Facebook

“Additionally, Gary's role as a community first responder demonstrates his commitment to the welfare of his local community. Community first responders are trained volunteers who provide immediate care to those suffering from medical emergencies before professional help arrives.

“Gary’s willingness to step up in times of crisis and offer his medical expertise helps to bridge the gap between an incident occurring and the arrival of emergency medical services. By providing prompt medical attention, Gary significantly increases the chances of positive outcomes for those in need.

“Furthermore, Gary’s volunteer work directly contributes to building a safer and more resilient community. His involvement in both the RNLI and as a community first responder helps raise awareness about water safety and emergency preparedness. By sharing his experiences and knowledge with others, Gary inspires individuals to become more vigilant around water and encourages them to consider volunteering themselves. This multiplier effect further strengthens the community’s ability to respond swiftly and effectively to emergencies.”

Speaking on being nominated and shortlisted in the Safety and Emergencies category, and then being named the overall winner on the night, Hayes said: “To be nominated for one was a shock. It was a real privilege to be nominated and shortlisted among everyone else who was there on the night and I was definitely not expecting to be announced as the overall winner — everyone else was more than deserving so it was a big surprise.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

A group of three Irish friends have joined together to write and produce a song honouring lifeboat volunteers throughout the RNLI, which they hope will raise vital funds and awareness of the work carried out by the charity that saves lives at sea.

Eamon O’Brien, Bill Shanley and Ed Jackson, known collectively as The Islands Project, wrote “The Shout” after being inspired seeing the work of lifeboat volunteers at home in Ireland and in the UK.

For Eamon O’Brien, originally from Cork but now living in Dublin, songwriting started as a pandemic project which quickly took hold and became a passion. He started writing lyrics in 2020 and when he met with Ed Jackson, sailing on the Shannon, he already had the idea for a song about the work of the RNLI.

Ed, a part-time musician from Mayo living in Dublin, and Eamon took their idea to well-known guitarist and music producer Bill Shanley of Cauldron Music, whose father was a friend of Eamon’s, and between the three of them, the lifeboat song “The Shout” was born.

Taking its inspiration from the term the lifeboat volunteers use for a search-and-rescue call-out, “The Shout” takes the listener on a journey around Ireland and the UK, name-checking many of the institutions’ lifeboat stations including Dun Laoghaire and Castletownbere in Ireland and Cowes, Cromer, Llandudno and Stornoway across the water.

The group launched the song at Dun Laoghaire lifeboat station in Dublin, which is not far from where Eamon lives. The lifeboat volunteers were due to go on their weekly training exercise and showed the group around the busy station. The crew were then presented with CD copies of the single before giving their seal of approval to the song.

Commenting on the project and his hopes for it, Eamon O’Brien said: “This has been a real labour of love. We are all involved with the water in some way, either through where we live or taking part in water-based activities. You see lifeboats in the water and you know they are there to go out when others are seeking shelter and returning to shore.

“The work the volunteers do is incredible and it is replicated at over 200 lifeboat stations throughout Ireland and the UK. Each man and woman is trained to the highest standard and is responsible for saving lives in some of the most challenging conditions.

“Conscious of the fact that 2024 is the 200th anniversary of the RNLI lifeboat service, I would love people who listen to this song to think about the incredible service the RNLI provides and consider donating to the charity to support their work.”

Speaking at the launch of the single, Dun Laoghaire RNLI coxswain Mark McGibney added: “We were delighted to welcome the group to our station to mark the release of ‘The Shout’. You can walk into any lifeboat station and the kit and the training is exactly the same. I’m very proud of our crew here, who give up so much of their time and never fail to turn up when the pagers go off. But it wouldn’t be possible without the support we get from the public and from our fundraisers.

“I hope that the song gives people a little bit of an insight into the work we do and that it helps raise some funds for the charity. Thank you so much to Eamon, Bill and Ed for writing this song — we hope everyone enjoys it.”

“The Shout” is available on all major music streaming platforms.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

James Corballis and Aaron O’Reilly, two trainee crew members with Galway RNLI, have completed their training programme and passed their final assessments which means that they can progress to fully fledged crew.

Lifeboat training covers a range of skill sets such as seamanship and boat handling, navigation and search and rescue. Trainee crew must complete 15 training modules and 49 different assessments of activities in the lifeboat station and on the water to ensure that the lifeboat and crew aboard are ready to handle a wide range of situations when saving lives at sea.

James Corballis is originally from Kilkenny and has been living in Galway for the past 15 years. “The RNLI has been a big part of my family growing up and from where I live in Galway I could see the lifeboat launching at all hours day and night. It was something that I always I hoped I would do and in 2020 I was able to join the RNLI,” he said.

“I’m delighted to have now completed my trainee plan, completed and passed the final assessments which means I can now move on to be ‘substantive’ crew and take on more responsibilities when we head out to sea when the pager goes off.“”

Aaron O’Reilly grew up on the water and has always been involved in sailing and powerboating. He said: “I’ve been involved in water-based sports all my life and I know how important it is to have assistance if you need it, if there is an accident or medical emergency out on Galway Bay.

“I joined the RNLI so I could give back to the community and now that I have passed all my assessments, I’ll be able to play a greater part in providing a 24-hour rescue service for the people who need our assistance.”

Frankie Leonard, lifeboat training coordinator with Galway RNLI said: “James and Aaron started volunteering with the RNLI in late 2020 and once they completed their training as shore crew, moved on to the training plan that would enable them to become crew on the lifeboat.

“It is a real credit to both of them that they were able to complete the training modules, put the skills learned into practice on shore and on the boat and prepare for and pass their assessments while also dealing with the challenges we all faced during the pandemic.

“We are delighted to have two crew with their expertise and enthusiasm on board. Crew training is a continuous process and the learning never stops.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
Tagged under

Wexford RNLI launched to the aid of a casualty who got cut off by the tide while walking near the Ferrybank area on Sunday evening (26 November).

The casualty alerted his family members of his whereabouts and they contacted the Irish Coast Guard who coordinated the rescue.

Curracloe Coast Guard unit assembled and were on scene at 5pm. Despite the darkness, they were able to locate the man who was in the water and unable to get ashore.

Wexford RNLI then launched their inshore lifeboat to assist at 5.37pm and were on scene 5.55pm. With assistance from the shore-based coastguard unit, the lifeboat crew led by helm Ger Doran quickly located the casualty and took him onboard the lifeboat.

The casualty was swiftly returned to the lifeboat station. He was found to be slightly cold and wet but otherwise in good spirits. After being warmed up in the station, he went home with his family.

Speaking after the rescue, Dave Dempsey, Wexford RNLI’s deputy launching authority said: “It was a good result with great teamwork between ourselves and our colleagues in the coastguard ensuring the casualty was brought back safely to his family.

“The casualty did the right thing in carrying a mobile phone while walking near the shoreline and we would like to commend him for that as it meant he was able to raise the alarm when he knew he was in difficulty.”

Wexford RNLI's volunteer crew on this call-out included helm Ger Doran, John Michael Murphy, Dave Marskell and Andy Ennis.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
Tagged under

Volunteers representing Lough Derg RNLI lifeboat station were honoured with a scroll and a cheque for €500 at the annual Nenagh Municipal District Awards on Monday evening (20 November) in recognition of their volunteer work on Lough Derg.

The award, presented by Cllr John ‘Rocky’ McGrath, Cathaoirleach of the Nenagh Municipal District Tipperary Council Council, was in recognition of the volunteers “dedication and commitment to saving lives and their spirit of volunteerism in contributing of their time and efforts to enhance water safety on Lough Derg”.

The Lough Derg volunteers offered their grateful thanks to Rosemary Joyce, district administrator of Nenagh Municipal District and her team for their warm welcome and hospitality at the Civic Offices in Nenagh on Monday evening.

“Our heartiest congratulations too to the local communities, organisations and individuals who also received awards for their volunteer work,” they added,

Eleanor Hooker, helm and lifeboat press officer said it was a “tremendous honour for volunteers at Lough Derg RNLI lifeboat station to receive this award in recognition of the team’s lifesaving work and water safety programmes on Lough Derg”.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
Tagged under

Following their fellow Northern Ireland lifeboat volunteers in Larne, as reported last month on Afloat.ie, the crew at Carrybridge RNLI will feature in the latest series of Saving Lives at Sea on BBC Two at 8pm next Thursday 23 November.

Carrybridge RNLI helm Chris Cathcart, who was on both call-outs that will feature in the upcoming episode, said: “Our lifesaving work would not be possible without donations from the public and we are delighted to be able to share a frontline view of the rescues they support with their kind generosity.

“This is the first time Carrybridge RNLI features on the Saving Lives at Sea series and the rescues are a good example of where our volunteers’ training, skills and experience all come to the fore in helping bring casualties — and in the second case, animals — to safety.

“The RNLI can often carry out animal rescues which can be important in ensuring no one else puts themselves in danger in trying to rescue their own pet or animal in the water. The episode also highlights the great teamwork not just among our own volunteers but with our colleagues from the various emergency services.”

Cathcart added: “The first rescue comes late on a summer’s evening when the casualty has an accident with the digger he is working from and sustains a leg injury.

“He makes the correct decision to swiftly call for help and a multi-agency response and coordination from our own volunteers and our colleagues in the Irish Coast Guard’s Rescue 118 helicopter at Sligo swings into action and works exactly as we train for in such situations.

“The second call-out sees us come to the rescue of a distressed cow heavily stuck in mud and with most of its body submerged in water.

“The police, fire service and the farmer who owns the cow all play their part as she becomes tired and weak and shivers in the cold. After several attempts, the cow is eventually brought to safety and able to stand and feed on the grass.

“No one likes to see animals in any kind of danger and again the swift response by multiple agencies and the farmer himself, ensures a successful outcome”.

If you get inspired to volunteer with the RNLI by the TV series, there are a variety of roles from lifeboat crew, to fundraiser, lifeguard to shop volunteer. Fund out more at rnli.org/volunteer.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Clogherhead RNLI volunteers were tasked by the Irish Coast Guard on Thursday 16 November to come to the aid of two drifting vessels.

Following the request at 1.48pm to assist the two drifting vessels near the entrance to Carlingford Lough, the Clogherhead volunteers launched their all-weather Shannon class lifeboat immediately under coxswain Sean Flanagan with five crew members onboard.

When the lifeboat reached the scene at around 2.30pm, Kilkeel RNLI were already on standby. Sea conditions were calm at the time with good visibility and a southerly wind blowing.

It was found that one vessel was towing another and the leader vessel had broken down. Both vessels with crew on board were drifting towards the shore. A local trawler had towed both vessels away from the shore to safety.

Having assessed the situation, for the safety of the crew on board, a decision was made for Clogherhead’s volunteers to establish a towline to the leader vessel which was done successfully.

Both vessels were then towed back to the nearest safe port at Port Oriel in Clogherhead. The lifeboat arrived in Port Oriel at 5.30pm where Clogherhead Coast Guard provided assistance with locating a berth for both vessels. The crew on the vessels were seen safely ashore.

Speaking following the call-out, Flanagan said: “It was very important that the crew of the drifting vessels contacted the coastguard for assistance. Most importantly they were wearing lifejackets.

“With the help of Kilkeel RNLI, volunteers we were able to assess the situation in a short space of time and thankfully, on this occasion, there was no risk to human life. We also appreciated the help of our colleagues in Clogherhead Coast Guard.

“Should you get into difficulty at sea always call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
Tagged under

As one of the youngest members of the RNLI family, Lough Ree RNLI and its volunteer crew are already looking forward to a special year in 2024 when the charity celebrates its 200th birthday.

With the theme of ‘Commemorate, Celebrate, inspire’, a full calendar of activities is planned throughout the year in Ireland and the UK.

On 4 March 2024, the actual birthday, a number of large public events are planned including a Thanksgiving Service at Westminster Cathedral. On 1 August 2024 ‘One Moment, One Crew’ will see volunteers gather at 18.24 to mark the year and the importance of every volunteer to the charity.

Many local events will also take place including a ‘Connecting Communities’ initiative which will see a commemorative scroll travel to RNLI facilities and be signed on behalf of the crew by one of the volunteers. Lough Ree RNLI expects to welcome the scroll in late summer 2024.

In preparation for the celebrations, Lough Ree’s volunteer crew are ready to welcome the public to the lifeboat station at Coosan Point in the next few weeks.

The lifeboat station at Coosan will host a pop-up shop on Saturdays 18 and 25 November | Credit: RNLI/Tom McGuireThe lifeboat station at Coosan will host a pop-up shop on Saturdays 18 and 25 November | Credit: RNLI/Tom McGuire

On the next two Saturdays, 18 and 25 November, the charity will host a pop-up shop at the lifeboat station. This will be the first opportunity for supporters and patrons of the charity to locally acquire specially designed merchandise marking RNLI 200.

The shop will also carry the full range of RNLI Christmas cards along with many new products and a wide selection of stocking fillers.

The RNLI shop at the lifeboat station at Coosan Point will be open from 12.30 to 3pm on 18 and 25 November and will have the facility to take card payments.

Next month, on 16 December the volunteer crew at Lough Ree RNLI will host a special Open Day at the lifeboat station with a ‘family festive’ theme. Activities planned include face painting, a kids’ DJ and a visit from Santa in the afternoon.

Lough Ree station visits officer Paul Kelly said: “We have had a very special year welcoming visitors to our new facility. Among the most enthusiastic are our younger supporters and we look forward to seeing them again on one of these days at lifeboat station.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

At a recent awards ceremony, some 14 members of Clifden RNLI’s fundraising branch received long service medals recognising their combined 400 years of fundraising in Connemara.

As a fully independent charity organisation, the RNLI relies on donations to fund its lifesaving work. The Clifden lifeboat crew are on call 24/7 but they require ongoing training, well maintained equipment, lifeboats and shore equipment to carry out their mission of saving lives at sea.

None of this would be possible without the dedication, commitment and drive of our local fundraisers who have each dedicated many years to supporting their local coastal community.

The commitment and selflessness of Clifden’s fundraising volunteers was acknowledged by Danny Curran, RNLI regional engagement manager.

Speaking at the ceremony, he said: “I know how much thought and effort goes in raising every euro for our charity and I’m extremely grateful to the volunteers here today who have worked tirelessly on this goal for decades. In rain, hail and snow; every week, every month, every year, you have ensured we can keep our life saving services running.

“These awards are not just to celebrate the fundraising volunteers for their incredible achievements over many years but also their families and friends who play a key role in supporting our work.”

Long service award recipients include Padraig Mc Donagh from Kilkerrin who is the longest serving fundraiser in the branch, having dedicated an incredible 55 years to Clifden RNLI; Eileen and Oliver Coyne from Cleggan, who are responsible for the legendary RNLI Christmas hamper raffle; and Anne Marie Bennett, outgoing chair of the fundraising branch and highly valued RNLI volunteer.

A special moment was observed for Lavinia Joyce who sadly passed away in August this year. Lavinia was the first chairperson of the Clifden/Connemara fundraising branch, or the “Clifden Ladies Guild” as it was known when she joined in 1992. Her enthusiasm, dedication and sense of purpose to be involved with the RNLI was infectious. She was an inspiration to all of us and an absolute lady. Rest in peace, Lavinia.

Clifden RNLI Long Service Awardees 2023:

  • Geraldine Heanue
  • AnneMarie Bennett
  • Padraic Griffin
  • Stewart Freeman
  • Collin Mullen
  • Paraic Mc Donagh
  • Percy Hyland
  • Oliver and Eileen Coyne
  • Jacqueline Hannon
  • Nancy Duffy
  • Lavinia Joyce
  • Ann Day
  • Thomas King
Published in RNLI Lifeboats
Page 1 of 154

The Irish Cruiser Racing Association (ICRA) Information

The creation of the Irish Cruiser Racing Association (ICRA) began in a very low key way in the autumn of 2002 with an exploratory meeting between Denis Kiely, Jim Donegan and Fintan Cairns in the Granville Hotel in Waterford, and the first conference was held in February 2003 in Kilkenny.

While numbers of cruiser-racers were large, their specific locations were widespread, but there was simply no denying the numerical strength and majority power of the Cork-Dublin axis. To get what was then a very novel concept up and running, this strength of numbers had to be acknowledged, and the first National Championship in 2003 reflected this, as it was staged in Howth.

ICRA was run by a dedicated group of volunteers each of whom brought their special talents to the organisation. Jim Donegan, the elder statesman, was so much more interested in the wellbeing of the new organisation than in personal advancement that he insisted on Fintan Cairns being the first Commodore, while the distinguished Cork sailor was more than content to be Vice Commodore.

ICRA National Championships

Initially, the highlight of the ICRA season was the National Championship, which is essentially self-limiting, as it is restricted to boats which have or would be eligible for an IRC Rating. Boats not actually rated but eligible were catered for by ICRA’s ace number-cruncher Denis Kiely, who took Ireland’s long-established native rating system ECHO to new heights, thereby providing for extra entries which brought fleet numbers at most annual national championships to comfortably above the hundred mark, particularly at the height of the boom years. 

ICRA Boat of the Year (Winners 2004-2019)