Displaying items by tag: Lifeboats
It was a long night at sea for Arklow RNLI on Tuesday evening (4 August) as its volunteers launched to assist three people on a yacht in difficulty in the Irish Sea some 25 miles off the Co Wicklow town.
The yacht was intercepted just north of the Arklow Bank amid swells of up to five metres, and its crew were suffering from fatigue and sea sickness.
Worsening conditions meant the yacht was not able to make headway either by sail or its own engine tower, so it was taken under tow by the lifeboat to Wicklow Harbour as the safest and shortest option — eventually arriving at 1.15am, more than six hours after launch.
Lifeboat coxswain Brendan Dillon commented: “Given the prevailing conditions at sea, this could have ended very differently.”
The volunteer crew were on the scene with the inshore lifeboat just eight minutes after launch, following an alert from passers-by who heard the kayaker calling for help at Walter Rock in the Strangford Narrows.
Directed by those members of the public, the lifeboat reached the casualty who had been in the water for between 15 and 30 minutes, clinging to his upturned kayak.
He was taken onboard the lifeboat and made comfortable before being returned to shore and passed into the care of Portaferry Coastguard. The lifeboat crew then returned to the Narrows to recover the kayak.
Speaking after the callout, Portaferry RNLI press officer Jordan Conway said: “We would like to commend the members of the public who raised the alarm last night which ensured we reached the casualty in good time.
“As the summer season continues, we remind everyone planning a trip to sea to always respect the water.
“Always carry a means of calling for help and keep it within reach. Wear a personal flotation device and check the weather and tides.
“Tell someone where you are going and when you are due back and always wear appropriate clothing for the conditions and your trip.”
As the lifeboat passed Holy Island, its crew spotted an SOS light signal from the shore, in an area known as the Black Rocks.
The lifeboat navigated with caution to the casualty vessel, which had dropped anchor nearby but the anchor dragged and saw the boat pushed into a dangerous and rocky area of shore.
The two adults and two teenagers on board were found safe and unharmed, and wearing their lifejackets.
An RNLI volunteer transferred to the casualty vessel and, after checking for damage, set up for a tow to bring the vessel off the rocks and back out to safe water.
The lifeboat then took the casualty vessel to Mountshannon Harbour, making slow progress in the poor weather with reduced visibility and eventually arriving just after 10.30pm.
With the harbour at capacity, the skipper of a moored vessel offered to have the casualty boat rafted next to theirs for the night.
Keith Brennan, trainee helm at Lough Derg RNLI, commended the quick actions of the skipper on the casualty vessel.
“He did everything correctly: deploying the anchor once his engine failed, calling for help and using light signals to indicate his position to the lifeboat.”
The all-weather lifeboat launched on Saturday (1 August) and headed south to the scene in the Portnoo area, where they found one person in the RIB and recovered another from the water before giving casualty care.
A tow was established to bring the RIB to Portnoo where an ambulance was waiting to take the casualty to hospital for further treatment.
This was the first callout for the Arranmore lifeboat crew since March, when coronavirus restrictions were imposed.
Operating safely within the RNLI and Government Covid-19 guidelines, the inshore lifeboat crew reached the 16ft fishing boat shortly after launch in good weather conditions.
One member of the crew boarded the fishing boat and, after making sure that the person on board was fine, a tow was established to bring the vessel back to Ferrypoint.
Speaking after the callout, deputy launching authority Mark Nolan said: “Engine trouble is one of the main reasons for RNLI callouts. Problems can occur at any time; being prepared is key.
“Always carry a form of communication with you, just like the person on-board today; once he realised there was a problem, he was able to call for help straight away, avoiding any unnecessary danger.”
Portrush RNLI’s inshore lifeboat launched to the rescue of a 50-year-old woman who fell into the water while with a coasteering group at Dunseverick near the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland yesterday afternoon (Saturday 1 August).
The volunteer crew applied casualty care to the woman, and one remained to watch over her while the lifeboat collected a paramedic and a member of the local coastguard team to assist at the scene.
Suspecting the woman had sustained a back injury, the team called for a helicopter and she was transferred to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast by the regional air ambulance. R199 from Prestwick in Scotland was also dispatched to the scene.
Portrush lifeboat operations manager Keith Gilmore said later: “Causeway Coasteering did exactly the right thing in calling the RNLI and the coastguard to make sure that the casualty could receive appropriate treatment.”
The volunteer crew launched the in-shore lifeboat Terry just after 8pm on Tuesday evening and reached the casualty just north of Tweeds Port slipway within minutes.
The man, who had been in the water for 30 minutes, was recovered into the lifeboat and checked to make sure he wasn’t suffering from his time in the water.
He was then brought back to shore at Tweeds Port and handed over to the care of the NI Ambulance Service. The lifeboat crew then returned to the water to recover the jet ski.
Philip Ford-Hutchinson, Larne RNLI’s deputy launching authority, said: “The casualty was lucky as cold water shock can set in when you are submerged for any amount of time and in any season. Please, when using the water, respect the water.”
Elsewhere, Skerries RNLI had a busy start to the week as they responded to two separate callouts within two hours.
The lifeboat first launched on Sunday (26 July) shortly after 2pm to return two men on a jet ski safely back to shore after they suffered mechanical difficulties off Colt Island.
Then just two hours later the volunteers were called upon alongside the Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 116 and Skerries coastguard unit to carry out a search for a swimmer in distress in the same area, between Colt Island and St Patrick’s Island.
Following a thorough search, and the crew speaking to numerous kayakers in the area, Dublin Coast Guard was satisfied that it was a false alarm with good intent and the helicopter and lifeboat were stood down.
Speaking later, volunteer lifeboat press officer Gerry Canning said: “It’s days like this that you really see the dedication of our volunteer crews.
“Some of them were still on the harbour following the first call out when their pagers sounded the second time. This meant that we could launch quite quickly to what was potentially a serious incident. Thankfully in both cases it was a good outcome.”
On arrival at the scene, the crew observed that the swimmer was being helped by other swimmers and kayakers who were nearby at the time.
The swimmer was then taken aboard the lifeboat and brought back to station where they were transferred into the care of a waiting ambulance and brought to Sligo University Hospital for further treatment.
Speaking after the callout, Sligo Bay RNLI press officer Aisling Gillen said: 'We would like to wish the swimmer a speedy recovery and commend everyone involved in the rescue as the sea conditions at the time were very choppy and this could have had a very different outcome.
“As the summer continues, we would remind everyone to always respect the water.
“Always check weather and tide times before you go, if swimming, never swim alone, and should you get into difficulty or see someone else in trouble, dial 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”
The all-weather lifeboat first launched on Monday morning (13 July) to aid a boat with two people aboard who were experiencing difficulties somewhere between Bloody Bridge and William’s Harbour.
The casualty vessel was located swiftly and was taken under tow to the slipway at Annalong, but tidal conditions required the assistance of the inshore lifeboat to bring it to a safe mooring.
Newcastle RNLI coxswain Nathan Leneghan commended the boat owner for deploying his anchor to prevent the vessel drifting onto rocks, which would have made for a trickier rescue.
The following morning, Tuesday 14 July, the all-weather lifeboat was launched again — this time to a pleasure boat with engine failure.
The lifeboat crew headed in calm conditions to the given location inside the Cow and Calf, some six miles east of station on the East Coast of Northern Ireland.
After navigating through submerged rocks on an ebbing tide, the lifeboat was able to take the casualty vessel, with one person on board, under tow to Dundrum Harbour from where it had set off.
Tidal conditions again necessitated the launch of the inshore lifeboat to assist with the final tow to a safe mooring.
Dr Wilson has served the RNLI in Oban since 1990, first joining when the station had the Brede class lifeboat Ann Ritchie.
It was a love of the sea that drew Dr Wilson to sign up with the lifesaving charity. “I wanted to help those in distress,” he said.
Since joining, Dr Wilson has become a dedicated crew member and an integral part of the station’s family, contributing to many callouts, training exercises and fundraising events.
Over his 30 years with the volunteer crew, Dr Wilson attended a whopping 660 callouts totalling over 1,100 hours at sea, covering 12,668 miles — half-way around the world — and burning 159,891 litres of fuel. And that’s not including exercises and delivery trips.
His knowledge and expertise in both diving medicine and treating divers with decompression sickness has proved invaluable over the years
Dr Wilson’s 35 years as a local GP and time as a senior partner of the Lorn Medical Centre have seen his voluntary role extend further within the RNLI, as has contributed as a Lifeboat Medical Adviser and Regional Medical Adviser for Scotland as well as serving on the charity’s medical committee.
His knowledge and expertise in both diving medicine and treating divers with decompression sickness has proved invaluable over the years.
Finlo Cottier, a deputy coxswain and crew member of Oban lifeboat who has served alongside Dr Wilson since 2001, said: “It’s always reassuring when you go to sea with Colin amongst the crew. A special blend of knowledge, wisdom and humour.”
Another longtime cremate, Ian Henry, said: “Colin has been an absolute stalwart and aside from being a mentor, font of knowledge, medical advisor both formal and informal, medicinal coffee prescriber, he has first and foremost been a friend. I know I speak for everyone when I say the door is always open.”
Of the hundreds of callouts he attended, the one that sticks out most for Dr Wilson was just two years ago, on the night of 28 July 2018.
“It was a really nasty night with winds gusting 60 knots and we received three separate Mayday calls,” he said. “It was a great crew all working together for good results in adverse weather.”
Another was on 10 January 1998, as documented in Willie Melville’s book The Story of Oban Lifeboat:
One of those services that brings tremendous satisfaction to a coxswain, his crew and the whole station took place on 10 January. Oban Coastguard reported that a canoeist was overdue at Cuil Bay, Duror…
The lifeboat arrived on scene at 1952, first making a counter-clockwise search of the island. As she was veering offshore to avoid the shallows her searchlight picked up the canoeist clinging to the waterlogged canoe some 2 cables offshore.
Crew member Dr Colin Wilson assessed the casualty's condition as being serious enough to have him airlifted by the rescue helicopter, also on scene, to hospital in Oban - meantime he was given oxygen on the lifeboat and made as warm as possible.
Dr Wilson recalled: “This man was extremely hypothermic and was lucky to be found alive. He survived, and was discharged home the next day. A great result.”
When asked what he will miss most, Dr Wilson said: “I will miss working as part of a really great crew and team. I have shared in both the joy of many successes and in the sadness surrounding some less happy events, providing care and support wherever possible.
“I hope to continue my association with Oban Lifeboat by volunteering in a different capacity.”
Dr Wilson also passed on his thanks to fellow crew members, “past and present, for great memories of working in a fantastic team, in training, in fundraising and ultimately, while out at sea on shouts”.
He added: “I also salute all those who support the RNLI throughout the country in the many ways they do, helping those in trouble at sea.”