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Displaying items by tag: RNLI

The National Opera House in Wexford is set to host a once-in-a-lifetime event, RNLI 200: A Celebration of Volunteers, Their Families and the Community on Thursday 23 May.

This special commemorative event marks the 200-year legacy of the RNLI and pays tribute to the brave volunteers who crew the boats, their families who make sacrifices and the communities that support them.

RNLI 200 promises to be an unforgettable journey through history, showcasing the courage and dedication of RNLI volunteers.

The one-night-only spectacular will feature a diverse range of performances, including song, dance, spoken word and video presentations.

Audiences will be treated to stories ranging from the foundation of the RNLI to epic rescues carried out by lifeboat crews along the South-East of Ireland, namely Courtown, Wexford, Rosslare Harbour, Kilmore Quay and Fethard RNLI.

Local talents such as George Lawlor, Tony Carthy, Chris Currid, The Craic Pots, Wexford School of Ballet and Performing Arts and Dara Pierce Ballet Academy will grace the stage alongside nationally recognised artists like pipe player Mark Redmond and tenor Glenn Murphy.

Under the baton of composer Liam Bates, the evening promises to be a symphony of emotion and celebration. Adding to the star-studded line-up, Celtic Thunder’s Ryan Kelly, Celtic Woman star Chloe Agnew and, fresh from their sellout performance at the National Concert Hall, The Sea of Change Choir will make a special guest appearance, with more surprise guests to be announced in the coming weeks.

Produced by Wexford-based Seanchai Productions Ltd, known for their events such as Wexford Virtual St Patrick's Day and The Green Light Sessions in 2021, RNLI 200 is set to captivate audiences with its blend of entertainment and heartfelt tribute.

RNLI 200 organisers say the event would not be possible without the generous support of sponsors PTSB, the EPA, Kent Stainless and The Talbot Collection.

Proceeds from the event will go to the RNLI. Tickets are priced at €30 each and are available from www.nationaloperahouse.ie.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Clifden RNLI’s volunteer lifeboat crew in western Co Galway were tasked just before 2pm on Thursday (11 April) following a request from the Irish Coast Guard to provide a medical evacuation for a casualty on Inishbofin.

Clifden’s Shannon class all-weather lifeboat St Christopher was launched under coxswain David Barry with Joe Acton, Dan Whelan, Andy Bell, Neil Gallery and Shane Conneely as crew. The coastguard’s Sligo-based helicopter Rescue 118 was also dispatched.

Weather conditions at the time were poor, with limited visibility and deep swells.

When the lifeboat crew arrived at the island, the casualty was received on board St Christopher and a casualty care assessment was carried out on the person, who was injured from a fall.

The casualty was immediately transported to Cleggan pier and the awaiting ambulance for further treatment in hospital.

Speaking about the call-out, Barry said: “This tasking was a real team effort involving the Cleggan Coast Guard, HSE National Ambulance Service and the local community in Inishbofin who provided great assistance during the transfer of the casualty. My thanks to all involved and I also wish the person a swift recovery.

“The volunteer crew at our station are on call 24/7. If you get into difficulty, or see someone else in trouble, call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Celebrity chef Glen Wheeler from 28 At The Hollow will cook up a delicious menu at Enniskillen RNLI’s lifeboat station at 7pm on Monday 29 April.

The culinary masterclass is in aid of the Enniskillen lifeboat and tickets for the event are £15. Get yours via the evening’s Eventbrite page or via the Northern Ireland phone contacts in the event poster above.

Enniskillen RNLI is also calling on members of the public to support the RNLI’s Mayday fundraising campaign, after revealing they launched 17 times last year on Lough Erne — as did their neighbours at Carrybridge RNLI.

The RNLI’s Mayday fundraiser begins on Monday 1 May and will run for the whole month across Ireland and the UK. Afloat.ie has more on the initiative HERE.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Bangor RNLI, the lifesaving charity on Belfast Lough based in Northern Ireland, has launched a Mayday fundraising campaign to support its vital services.

The charity has revealed that it was called into action 36 times in 2023, highlighting the importance of its work in saving lives.

To support its lifesaving services, the charity is urging members of the public to participate in the Mayday Mile, a challenge to cover a mile a day throughout May.

The funds raised will help provide the necessary training and equipment to keep the lifesavers safe. Glen McMahon, a Bangor RNLI volunteer, emphasised the significance of the charity’s work and the need for public support, particularly during the busiest time of the year.

The RNLI’s Mayday fundraiser begins on May 1 and will run throughout Ireland and the UK. To participate in the Mayday Mile or find out more about the RNLI’s vital work, visit rnli.org/SupportMayday.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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A humpback whale caught in fishing ropes off the coast of Cornwall in south-west England has been saved thanks to the efforts of local rescuers.

According to Marine Industry News, the whale known locally as “Ivy” became entangled in Mounts Bay on Easter Sunday (31 March) and was soon spotted in distress by both fishing crews and a wildlife-watching tour.

Conditions at sea were choppy at the time, meaning these onlookers could not intervene.

But in the afternoon Penlee RNLI’s volunteer lifeboat crew came to the rescue, cutting the whale free from their inshore lifeboat.

Hannah Wilson, co-owner of tour group Marine Discovery Penzance said: “It’s incredible what the guy at the helm achieved because it was properly rough.”

Marine Industry News has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife

Arklow RNLI in Co Wicklow were requested to launch early on Tuesday morning (2 April) following reports of a large yacht with four crew onboard in difficulty near the Arklow Bank.

Shortly after 6.30am, Arklow volunteers launched the station’s all-weather lifeboat Ger Tigchlearr and the crew made best speed to the yacht’s reported position, some 18 miles south-east of Arklow.

Once on scene, it was established that the 16-metre vessel had developed engine failure. The lifeboat crew assessed the situation and, due to the vessel not being able to make safe progress, it was decided to take the vessel under tow back to the nearest safe port at Arklow.

Both boats arrived back into Arklow at around 10.30am, and the casualty vessel was secured on the pontoons in the inner dock.

Speaking following the rescue, Jimmy Myler, Arklow RNLI launch authority said: “Huge thanks once again to our volunteer crew both onshore and on the lifeboat who at a moments notice go to sea to assist others, whether day or night.

“As we continue to enjoy the Easter break, we would remind everyone planning a trip to sea or near the coast to respect the water. Should you get into difficulty or see someone else in trouble, call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

Arklow RNLI’s volunteers on this call-out were coxswain Ned Dillon, station mechanic James Russell, Craig O’Reilly, John Tyrrell, David Molloy, Cillian Kavanagh and Josh McAnaspie.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Lough Derg RNLI were requested to launch on Saturday (30 March) to assist a lone sailor on a 35ft cruiser with fouled propellers and adrift in Dromineer Bay.

Following the request from Valentia Coast Guard, the inshore lifeboat Jean Spier — with helm Owen Cavanagh and crew Doireann Kennedy, Tom Hayes and Ania Skrzypczynska-Tucker on board — launched at 5.28pm. Winds were with south-easterly Force 3 with good visibility.

At 5.42pm the lifeboat was alongside the casualty vessel, where the skipper was found safe and well and wearing a lifejacket.

The skipper explained that as the wind had dropped he was unable to sail home, and a line overboard had fouled the propellers so the cruiser couldn’t motor back to harbour.

Given the location on the navigation channel, and the hour, the lifeboat helm decided the safest course of action was to assist the casualty vessel back to the nearest safe harbour.

At 6.02pm the casualty vessel was secured alongside in Dromineer Harbour. The lifeboat departed the scene was back at station at 6.10pm.

Peter Kennedy, launching authority at Lough Derg RNLI advises boat users to “stow lines carefully and always make sure someone on the shore knows where you are going and who to call if you don’t return on time”.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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In an Easter sea rescue operation, the Castletownbere RNLI lifeboat 'Annette Hutton' was launched to assist a local fishing vessel that had lost its ability to manoeuvre on the north side of Sheep's Head.

The lifeboat received an alert at 12.29 on Good Friday from Valentia Coastguard Maritime Coordination Rescue Centre requesting assistance for a boat reported to be in difficulty. The Castletownbere RNLI lifeboat, manned by Coxswain Dean Hegarty with crew Marney O’Donoghue, Sean ‘Bawn’ O’Sullivan, Joe Cronin, David O’Donovan, and William Power, was launched within eight minutes.

The weather on-scene was described as Westerly Force 3/4 winds and a one-metre swell. The boat could not manoeuvre as the anchor rope had become entangled in the propellor. Contact was made with the vessel and the decision was made to launch the lifeboat's Y-boat with two crew aboard to cut off the rope from the propellor.

Simultaneously, the lifeboat took the vessel in tow in an effort to take the weight off the rope, and the Y-boat crew successfully removed most of the rope and freed the boat. However, a small amount of rope remained stuck to the rudder, and it was decided, for safety reasons, to continue to tow the boat back to Castletownbere.

The lifeboat, with the boat in tow, left the scene at 14.34 and arrived back to port by 16.07. The three persons onboard were safe and well. The lifeboat was refuelled and ready for service again by 16.28.

The duty Launching Authority, Brendan O’Neill, praised the vessel for seeking assistance at an early stage and complimented the lifeboat crew for their speedy response and successful outcome.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Larne RNLI in Northern Ireland celebrated the RNLI’s 200th anniversary with a gala ball held at Magheramorne Estate raising £4,657.63 to help the station continue to save lives at sea.

The event, organised by the volunteer fundraising crew, was held on Friday 15 March and well attended by supporters and volunteers.

Speeches on the night were given by Alderman Gerardine Mulvenna, Mayor of Mid and East Antrim; and Anna Classon, RNLI head of region for Ireland; while a word of thanks was given by Pamela McAuley, chair of Larne RNLI’s fundraising branch.

Speaking after the event, McAuley said: “It was a great night and everyone in attendance really seemed to be having a good time. A lot of hard work and effort has gone in to making the night a success.

“We would like to thank all of our sponsors for their generosity which has helped us to raise £4,657.63 which will now go towards powering our volunteers lifesaving work at sea.”

Meanwhile, Jonathan Shirley, Larne RNLI lifeboat operations manager said: “It is an honour and a privilege to see the station mark its 30th year milestone and for us all at Larne to be a part of this lifesaving organisation in its bicentenary.

“For a charity to have survived 200 years based on the time and commitment of volunteers, and the sheer generosity of the public donating to fund it, is truly remarkable.

“At Larne RNLI, we are immensely grateful to everyone who is involved with the charity here including all our volunteers and their families and all our supporters, we couldn’t exist as we do today without the selfless work, dedication and kindness of so many.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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As the Easter weekend approaches, the Coast Guard, RNLI, and Water Safety Ireland are urging the public to take precautions to stay safe during water activities. With longer and brighter evenings, more people are expected to visit the coast or engage in water-based activities. Knowing basic water safety advice could help prevent accidents or tragedies.

Mixed weather conditions are expected over the weekend, with sunny periods followed by rain and showers. Water temperatures are relatively cold at this time of year, and inexperienced or occasional open water swimmers should take care to acclimatise slowly and manage their time in the water carefully. It is crucial to always be alert to the risk of cold water shock.

The organisations are encouraging people to follow some basic precautions to reduce the risk of accidents when visiting the coast or engaging in water activities. Some of these precautions include wearing a lifejacket, checking weather forecasts, staying away from the edge, and avoiding alcohol before or during water activities.

If sailing or motorboating:

  • Always wear an appropriate lifejacket
  • Always carry a means of calling and signalling for help
  • When engaging on any type of boating activity; Ensure there is an emergency action plan in place, and everybody has an onboard briefing
  • Get the right level of training for your craft
  • Always check the weather and tide times
  • Make sure someone on the shore knows where you are going and who to call if you don’t return on time.
  • Always operate your boat at a speed that is appropriate to the weather conditions and to the environment you are operating in.

Attention is also drawn to the Code of Practice for the Safe Operation of Recreational Craft a valuable source of information, advice and best practice operational guidance for owners, masters, operators and users of a range of pleasure and recreational craft operating in Irish coastal and inland waters. It can be viewed at www.safetyonthewater.gov.ie

Gerard O’Flynn, Coast Guard Operations Manager said: ‘After a protracted period of broken weather and with the advent of longer evening daylight from Sunday, many people are looking forward to getting out and about along the coast or on the water. Always check the weather forecast, ensure that you have a means of communication, plan your activity and ensure that a colleague is aware of your plans and expected return time. Please also be alert to the risk of becoming isolated by incoming tides on beaches or coastal area particularly if setting out during lower tides.’

Roger Sweeney, Water Safety Ireland’s Deputy CEO said: ‘Over the course of five Easter holiday periods, 12 people drowned accidentally, mainly while swimming, angling, or after falling in while walking. To stay safe, keep cold water swims brief and shallow, wear a lifejacket when angling on the shoreline or riverbanks, and stay away from the water's edge when out walking. With nearly one million children on school holidays, and many visiting friends and family living on farms and near lakes, rivers, canals, and beaches, constant adult supervision is essential for their safety.’

Linda-Gene Byrne, RNLI Water Safety Lead added: ‘We are approaching the time of year when we will see boats back on the water and many are now looking forward to a season of sailing. While we want everyone to enjoy themselves, we want them to do so safely. Mechanical failure is the single biggest cause of rescue call outs to sailing and motor cruisers, accounting for nearly 20% of all our lifeboat launches. Knowing your boat, carrying spares and being able to fit them could make the difference between having to call for help and being able to help yourself.’

If you see somebody in trouble on the water or along the coast or think that they are in trouble, use marine VHF radio Ch 16 or dial 112 and ask for the Coast Guard.

Published in Coastguard
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Irish Olympic Sailing Team

Ireland has a proud representation in sailing at the Olympics dating back to 1948. Today there is a modern governing structure surrounding the selection of sailors the Olympic Regatta

Irish Olympic Sailing FAQs

Ireland’s representation in sailing at the Olympics dates back to 1948, when a team consisting of Jimmy Mooney (Firefly), Alf Delany and Hugh Allen (Swallow) competed in that year’s Summer Games in London (sailing off Torquay). Except for the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City, Ireland has sent at least one sailor to every Summer Games since then.

  • 1948 – London (Torquay) — Firefly: Jimmy Mooney; Swallow: Alf Delany, Hugh Allen
  • 1952 – Helsinki — Finn: Alf Delany * 1956 – Melbourne — Finn: J Somers Payne
  • 1960 – Rome — Flying Dutchman: Johnny Hooper, Peter Gray; Dragon: Jimmy Mooney, David Ryder, Robin Benson; Finn: J Somers Payne
  • 1964 – Tokyo — Dragon: Eddie Kelliher, Harry Maguire, Rob Dalton; Finn: Johnny Hooper 
  • 1972 – Munich (Kiel) — Tempest: David Wilkins, Sean Whitaker; Dragon: Robin Hennessy, Harry Byrne, Owen Delany; Finn: Kevin McLaverty; Flying Dutchman: Harold Cudmore, Richard O’Shea
  • 1976 – Montreal (Kingston) — 470: Robert Dix, Peter Dix; Flying Dutchman: Barry O’Neill, Jamie Wilkinson; Tempest: David Wilkins, Derek Jago
  • 1980 – Moscow (Tallinn) — Flying Dutchman: David Wilkins, Jamie Wilkinson (Silver medalists) * 1984 – Los Angeles — Finn: Bill O’Hara
  • 1988 – Seoul (Pusan) — Finn: Bill O’Hara; Flying Dutchman: David Wilkins, Peter Kennedy; 470 (Women): Cathy MacAleavy, Aisling Byrne
  • 1992 – Barcelona — Europe: Denise Lyttle; Flying Dutchman: David Wilkins, Peter Kennedy; Star: Mark Mansfield, Tom McWilliam
  • 1996 – Atlanta (Savannah) — Laser: Mark Lyttle; Europe: Aisling Bowman (Byrne); Finn: John Driscoll; Star: Mark Mansfield, David Burrows; 470 (Women): Denise Lyttle, Louise Cole; Soling: Marshall King, Dan O’Grady, Garrett Connolly
  • 2000 – Sydney — Europe: Maria Coleman; Finn: David Burrows; Star: Mark Mansfield, David O'Brien
  • 2004 – Athens — Europe: Maria Coleman; Finn: David Burrows; Star: Mark Mansfield, Killian Collins; 49er: Tom Fitzpatrick, Fraser Brown; 470: Gerald Owens, Ross Killian; Laser: Rory Fitzpatrick
  • 2008 – Beijing (Qingdao) — Star: Peter O’Leary, Stephen Milne; Finn: Tim Goodbody; Laser Radial: Ciara Peelo; 470: Gerald Owens, Phil Lawton
  • 2012 – London (Weymouth) — Star: Peter O’Leary, David Burrows; 49er: Ryan Seaton, Matt McGovern; Laser Radial: Annalise Murphy; Laser: James Espey; 470: Gerald Owens, Scott Flanigan
  • 2016 – Rio — Laser Radial (Women): Annalise Murphy (Silver medalist); 49er: Ryan Seaton, Matt McGovern; 49erFX: Andrea Brewster, Saskia Tidey; Laser: Finn Lynch; Paralympic Sonar: John Twomey, Ian Costello & Austin O’Carroll

Ireland has won two Olympics medals in sailing events, both silver: David Wilkins, Jamie Wilkinson in the Flying Dutchman at Moscow 1980, and Annalise Murphy in the Laser Radial at Rio 2016.

The current team, as of December 2020, consists of Laser sailors Finn Lynch, Liam Glynn and Ewan McMahon, 49er pairs Ryan Seaton and Seafra Guilfoyle, and Sean Waddilove and Robert Dickson, as well as Laser Radial sailors Annalise Murphy and Aoife Hopkins.

Irish Sailing is the National Governing Body for sailing in Ireland.

Irish Sailing’s Performance division is responsible for selecting and nurturing Olympic contenders as part of its Performance Pathway.

The Performance Pathway is Irish Sailing’s Olympic talent pipeline. The Performance Pathway counts over 70 sailors from 11 years up in its programme.The Performance Pathway is made up of Junior, Youth, Academy, Development and Olympic squads. It provides young, talented and ambitious Irish sailors with opportunities to move up through the ranks from an early age. With up to 100 young athletes training with the Irish Sailing Performance Pathway, every aspect of their performance is planned and closely monitored while strong relationships are simultaneously built with the sailors and their families

Rory Fitzpatrick is the head coach of Irish Sailing Performance. He is a graduate of University College Dublin and was an Athens 2004 Olympian in the Laser class.

The Performance Director of Irish Sailing is James O’Callaghan. Since 2006 James has been responsible for the development and delivery of athlete-focused, coach-led, performance-measured programmes across the Irish Sailing Performance Pathway. A Business & Economics graduate of Trinity College Dublin, he is a Level 3 Qualified Coach and Level 2 Coach Tutor. He has coached at five Olympic Games and numerous European and World Championship events across multiple Olympic classes. He is also a member of the Irish Sailing Foundation board.

Annalise Murphy is by far and away the biggest Irish sailing star. Her fourth in London 2012 when she came so agonisingly close to a bronze medal followed by her superb silver medal performance four years later at Rio won the hearts of Ireland. Murphy is aiming to go one better in Tokyo 2021. 

Under head coach Rory Fitzpatrick, the coaching staff consists of Laser Radial Academy coach Sean Evans, Olympic Laser coach Vasilij Zbogar and 49er team coach Matt McGovern.

The Irish Government provides funding to Irish Sailing. These funds are exclusively for the benefit of the Performance Pathway. However, this falls short of the amount required to fund the Performance Pathway in order to allow Ireland compete at the highest level. As a result the Performance Pathway programme currently receives around €850,000 per annum from Sport Ireland and €150,000 from sponsorship. A further €2 million per annum is needed to have a major impact at the highest level. The Irish Sailing Foundation was established to bridge the financial gap through securing philanthropic donations, corporate giving and sponsorship.

The vision of the Irish Sailing Foundation is to generate the required financial resources for Ireland to scale-up and execute its world-class sailing programme. Irish Sailing works tirelessly to promote sailing in Ireland and abroad and has been successful in securing funding of 1 million euro from Sport Ireland. However, to compete on a par with other nations, a further €2 million is required annually to realise the ambitions of our talented sailors. For this reason, the Irish Sailing Foundation was formed to seek philanthropic donations. Led by a Board of Directors and Head of Development Kathryn Grace, the foundation lads a campaign to bridge the financial gap to provide the Performance Pathway with the funds necessary to increase coaching hours, upgrade equipment and provide world class sport science support to a greater number of high-potential Irish sailors.

The Senior and Academy teams of the Performance Pathway are supported with the provision of a coach, vehicle, coach boat and boats. Even with this level of subsidy there is still a large financial burden on individual families due to travel costs, entry fees and accommodation. There are often compromises made on the amount of days a coach can be hired for and on many occasions it is necessary to opt out of major competitions outside Europe due to cost. Money raised by the Irish Sailing Foundation will go towards increased quality coaching time, world-class equipment, and subsiding entry fees and travel-related costs. It also goes towards broadening the base of talented sailors that can consider campaigning by removing financial hurdles, and the Performance HQ in Dublin to increase efficiency and reduce logistical issues.

The ethos of the Performance Pathway is progression. At each stage international performance benchmarks are utilised to ensure the sailors are meeting expectations set. The size of a sailor will generally dictate which boat they sail. The classes selected on the pathway have been identified as the best feeder classes for progression. Currently the Irish Sailing Performance Pathway consists of the following groups: * Pathway (U15) Optimist and Topper * Youth Academy (U19) Laser 4.7, Laser Radial and 420 * Development Academy (U23) Laser, Laser Radial, 49er, 49erFX * Team IRL (direct-funded athletes) Laser, Laser Radial, 49er, 49erFX

The Irish Sailing performance director produces a detailed annual budget for the programme which is presented to Sport Ireland, Irish Sailing and the Foundation for detailed discussion and analysis of the programme, where each item of expenditure is reviewed and approved. Each year, the performance director drafts a Performance Plan and Budget designed to meet the objectives of Irish Performance Sailing based on an annual review of the Pathway Programmes from Junior to Olympic level. The plan is then presented to the Olympic Steering Group (OSG) where it is independently assessed and the budget is agreed. The OSG closely monitors the delivery of the plan ensuring it meets the agreed strategy, is within budget and in line with operational plans. The performance director communicates on an ongoing basis with the OSG throughout the year, reporting formally on a quarterly basis.

Due to the specialised nature of Performance Sport, Irish Sailing established an expert sub-committee which is referred to as the Olympic Steering Group (OSG). The OSG is chaired by Patrick Coveney and its objective is centred around winning Olympic medals so it oversees the delivery of the Irish Sailing’s Performance plan.

At Junior level (U15) sailors learn not only to be a sailor but also an athlete. They develop the discipline required to keep a training log while undertaking fitness programmes, attending coaching sessions and travelling to competitions. During the winter Regional Squads take place and then in spring the National Squads are selected for Summer Competitions. As sailors move into Youth level (U19) there is an exhaustive selection matrix used when considering a sailor for entry into the Performance Academy. Completion of club training programmes, attendance at the performance seminars, physical suitability and also progress at Junior and Youth competitions are assessed and reviewed. Once invited in to the Performance Academy, sailors are given a six-month trial before a final decision is made on their selection. Sailors in the Academy are very closely monitored and engage in a very well planned out sailing, training and competition programme. There are also defined international benchmarks which these sailors are required to meet by a certain age. Biannual reviews are conducted transparently with the sailors so they know exactly where they are performing well and they are made aware of where they may need to improve before the next review.

©Afloat 2020