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Displaying items by tag: Bundoran

Bundoran RNLI came to the aid of two people who got trapped at the bottom of a cliff in county Sligo on Wednesday afternoon (14 February).

The inshore lifeboat was requested to launch at 2.41pm following a report from the Irish Coast Guard that two people were trapped at rocks at Mermaid’s Cove.

The lifeboat helmed by Killian O’Kelly and with crew members Rory O’Connor and Fergal Mullen onboard, launched within seven minutes and made its way to the scene six miles away.

Weather conditions at the time were dull and overcast but visibility was good. The sea was calm with a small swell.

Arriving on scene, the crew observed two people at the bottom of the cliff who were unable to move without assistance. A crew member was put ashore to check one walker who had a suspected wrist injury.

Having assessed the situation and given the location was so close to rocks, it was decided that the safest way to extract the casualty was to request the Sligo-based coastguard helicopter Rescue 118.

The helicopter crew arrived swiftly to winch and airlift the casualty to safety. The second person was able to make it back to the top of the cliff with the assistance of a lifeboat crew member and shore crew waiting at the top.

Speaking following the call-out, Bundoran RNLI helm Killian O’Kelly said: “We would like to wish the casualty a speedy recovery and thank our colleagues in Rescue 118 for their help today.

“We would remind anyone planning a walk at or near the coast to be wary of all edges around the sea and waterside as rocks can often be wet and slippy. Check weather and tides before venturing out and always let someone know where you are going and when you expect to be back.

“Always take a means of calling for help and should you get into difficulty or see someone else in trouble, call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

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Four people had to be rescued by the Bundoran RNLI over the weekend after getting caught in rip currents off Main Beach. In two separate incidents, three teenagers and a man were plucked from the water and brought to safety by the volunteer crew. 

The RNLI were alerted to the first incident, involving the three teenagers, when members of the public raised the alarm. The Irish Coast Guard helicopter, Rescue 118 from Sligo, the Gardai and the National Ambulance Service were also tasked. The crew managed to guide the teenagers to nearby rocks and they were later checked over by ambulance paramedics and found to be safe and well. 

As the volunteers were returning to shore, they received a call from the Malin Head Coast Guard alerting them to a second incident. A man had got caught in a rip current off Main Beach and was struggling in the conditions. The crew immediately diverted to the scene and managed to rescue the man from the water. He was given casualty care on the lifeboat and back on the pier until the arrival of an ambulance. The casualty was then transferred to hospital for further treatment.

“This was a challenging service for our crew today responding to back-to-back calls that resulted in a life saved and the rescue of three others,” said Daimon Fergus, Bundoran RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager. “While we are enjoying some beautiful late summer sunshine, we are also experiencing some strong waves at sea. With the warm weather forecast for much of this week, we want to remind everyone to stay safe while visiting the coast and to be aware of the dangers. Main Beach is notorious for rip currents so we would urge people to be mindful of that.”

Fergus also offered advice on what to do if caught in a rip current, stating, “If you do find yourself in a rip current, do not swim against it or you will get exhausted. If you can, stand up and wade, or swim parallel to the shore until you are free of the rip, then head to shore. If you can, raise your hand and call for help – and remember, to Float to Live if you can’t make it back or become too tired. To do this, tilt your head back with ears submerged and try to relax and control your breathing. Use your hands to help you stay afloat and call for help or swim to safety if you can.”

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Bundoran RNLI came to the aid of two swimmers on Sunday evening (20 August) after they were dragged out to sea off the Main Beach in the Co Donegal town.

The volunteer crew were requested to launch their inshore lifeboat at 7.49pm by Malin Head Coast Guard after a member of the public raised the alarm when they saw two people, initially thought to be children, being dragged out to sea.

The Irish Coast Guard’s Sligo-based helicopter Rescue 118 and Killybegs Coast Guard were also tasked.

Weather conditions at the time were described as at high tide with a one-metre sea swell and an offshore wind.

Helmed by Brian Gillespie and with crew members Mark Vaughan, Oisin Cassidy and Richard Gillespie onboard, the Bundoran lifeboat made its way to the scene where the helicopter crew, which had also just arrived, spotted the two people in the water and directed the lifeboat crew to their exact position.

Both the man and woman were found to be safe and well but due to how far offshore they had become, a decision was made by the lifeboat crew to take them onboard and bring them safely back to the Main Beach.

Speaking following the call-out, Bundoran RNLI lifeboat operations manager Daimon Fergus said: “Thankfully, both people were found to be safe and well when we located them yesterday evening and not in need of assistance. However, as they were quite far out, the safest option was to bring them onboard and return them safely to the beach.

“We would like to commend the member of the public who raised the alarm when they spotted what they thought were two people in potential difficulty; that is always the right thing to do. We would also like to thank our colleagues in the various emergency services who attended including the coastguard, gardaí and ambulance service.

“As we approach the final weeks of the summer holidays, we would encourage anyone planning a trip to the coast to always plan ahead with safety in mind.

“Check weather and tide times before venturing out, always wear a lifejacket or suitable flotation device for your activity, always carry a suitable means of communication such as a mobile phone in a waterproof pouch, let someone on the shore know where you are going and when you are due back and should you get into difficulty or see someone else in trouble, call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

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Bundoran RNLI aided six stand-up paddleboarders who got into difficulty off Rossnowlagh yesterday afternoon (Sunday, 9 July).

Lifeboat crew Rory O’Connor, Shane O’Neill, Finn Mullen and Fergal Muller were carrying out a routine training exercise at approximately 12.30 pm when the Irish Coast Guard requested them to aid six stand-up paddleboarders who were in difficulty. The Irish Coast Guard helicopter, Rescue 118 from Sligo, was also tasked.

Helm Rory O’Connor immediately diverted the lifeboat to the scene where the helicopter crew had located the casualties one nautical mile north-northwest from Carrickfad Rocks.

The crew observed two adults and four children on inflatable paddleboards that had been caught in an easterly offshore wind drifting the group further out to sea. One of the six had managed to raise the alarm using their mobile phone, which they had stored in a waterproof pouch.

"The Irish Coast Guard helicopter, Rescue 118 from Sligo, was also tasked"

The lifeboat crew took all six onboard and brought them to Creevy Pier, where they were checked over as a precautionary measure but found to be safe and well, and no further medical assistance was required.

Speaking following the call out, Bundoran RNLI Helm Rory O’Connor said: ‘This is a great example of where carrying a suitable means of communication for your activity can make a lifesaving difference. One of today’s group had done this by wearing a mobile phone in a waterproof pouch which enabled them to raise the alarm when they knew they were in difficulty.

‘We would encourage anyone planning a trip or activity at sea to always wear a lifejacket or suitable flotation device for their activity. Check the weather conditions before venturing out and carry a means of communication. Should you get into difficulty or see someone else in trouble, call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coast Guard.’

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Final preparations are under way at the three Donegal-based RNLI lifeboat stations at Bundoran and Lough Swilly and Arranmore for the charity’s Mayday Mile challenge which will see six volunteer crew — two from each station — climb Donegal’s highest summit, Errigal, this Saturday 13 May in full RNLI crew kit.

Since the fundraiser was announced a few weeks ago, the six lifeboat crew members — Chris Fox and Brian Fowley (Bundoran), Stephen Quigley and Barry Nixon (Lough Swilly) and Aisling Cox and Brian Proctor (Arranmore) — have been psyching themselves up for the challenge. Gym sessions have been completed and many steps have been climbed in preparation for the event.

Killian O’Kelly, RNLI water safety education manager and organiser of the fundraiser has been encouraging the six crew as they ready for the challenge.

“We’ll be right there with them on the day — we know it’ll be a tough one for them,” he said. “I’d like to thank everyone who has donated so far and remind people who would like to contribute that the JustGiving page remains open and details can be found on each station’s Facebook page.

“A massive thanks also to the crew from each station who have volunteered to complete the challenge. It’s not what the crews are used to, they face challenging conditions at sea when they go and help those in trouble on the water, but this is very different for them. We also want to show people where their funds go and that we are grateful for every cent to give us.”

During the month of May the RNLI is encouraging members of the public to complete their own ‘Mayday Mile’ however they see fit. The money raised could help RNLI lifesavers have everything they need to keep families safe this summer. Warmer weather draws more people to the water and RNLI volunteer lifeboat crews will drop whatever they’re doing when a call for help comes in.

For updates on the Errigal climb on the day, keep an eye on the social media channels of Arranmore RNLI, Bundoran RNLI and Lough Swilly RNLI.

Donations to the Errigal challenge can be made via the JustGiving page and the final sum will be divided equally between the three Donegal stations.

Elsewhere, volunteers with Dunmore East RNLI are preparing for their own vertical Mayday Mile by summiting the highest peaks in both the Comeragh and Knockmealdown mountains, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Volunteers from the three Donegal-based RNLI lifeboat stations at Bundoran, Lough Swilly and Arranmore will climb the highest mountain in the county, Errigal, as part of the charity’s Mayday fundraising campaign.

Six crew — two from each station — will ascend the 751 metres of the Donegal mountain in full lifeboat gear on Saturday 13 May in a combined fundraising effort for the three stations.

The idea for the challenge came about after three members of the Bundoran crew walked the Bundoran 10-mile event last year in their full kit, raising over €6,000 for the charity.

This year they wanted to do something different, while involving their fellow lifeboat crew mates from Lough Swilly and Arranmore.

Barry Nixon and Stephen Quigley of Lough Swilly RNLI | Credit: RNLI/Lough SwillyBarry Nixon and Stephen Quigley of Lough Swilly RNLI | Credit: RNLI/Lough Swilly

Aisling Cox and Brian Proctor from Arranmore RNLI, Chris Fox and Brian Fowley from Bundoran RNLI and Stephen Quigley and Barry Nixon from Lough Swilly RNLI have all volunteered to complete the climb on 13 May.

Chris Fox was one of those who took part in last year’s Bundoran 10-mile event. He said: “While the blisters didn’t settle for a few days, it was still a great experience and a really great fundraising event for Bundoran lifeboat station.

“We wanted to change it up this year and put the challenge out to our two other stations in Donegal to see if they would help us complete the Mayday Mile on Errigal.”

Stephen Quigley added: “We jumped at the chance for this challenge with our fellow crew members from around the county. There is nowhere more iconic in Donegal than Errigal; walking up it in full kit will be quite the challenge. But it will be a great to come together as one crew with this fundraiser for the three stations here in Donegal: Bundoran, Lough Swilly and Arranmore.”

Brian Proctor and Aisling Cox of Arranmore RNLI | Credit: RNLI/John McCaffertyBrian Proctor and Aisling Cox of Arranmore RNLI | Credit: RNLI/John McCafferty

Aisling Cox is hopeful that the climb will help to raise the funds needed to keep all three stations running. “Mayday is our own call for help, as we rely on the generosity of the public to take part in events like the Mayday Mile and raise the funds that allow us to be there when we’re needed most,” she said.

“But we need to be ready. Training, kit, stations and fuel — these are just some of the things we need to save lives and that people fundraising can help provide.”

With the three stations in Co Donegal expected to be busy this summer, the RNLI is asking people to support the Mayday Mile throughout the month of May by covering the distance in any way they choose and raising vital funds to keep people safe.

Donations to the Errigal challenge can be made via the JustGiving page and the final sum will be divided equally between the three Donegal stations.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

An Omagh man who was rescued by the Irish Coast Guard after he was caught in a rip current off a Donegal beach in July has completed the Dublin Marathon in his bare feet to raise awareness of water safety and to raise funds for the RNLI.

A seasoned open water swimmer, Chris Gallagher was visiting Murder Hole Beach when he got caught in a rip current.

“I am an experienced swimmer, having previously been a lifeguard and a world record swimmer as well as swimming all over the world including in Australia but I have never been caught like this before,” he said of his ordeal.

“I wasn’t even 10 metres out into the water when the ferocious rip caught me and threw me about like what I can only describe as being in an industrial washing machine and a racing car at the same time, it was powerful, and I had absolutely no control.

“I felt calm initially as I know how to work my way out of a rip curl as I was caught in Australian waters 22 years ago but nothing I tried worked.

“By the grace of God, a rock was in my grasp as I was being pulled into the rip roaring waters and I managed to get my body out of the water onto that wee rock but I was fighting the waves to stay on as they threw me on and off like a rag doll. I was clinging to the rock for dear life for two hours.”

Given the conditions, the Sligo-based coastguard helicopter Rescue 118 was tasked to the scene and rescued Gallagher from the water.

‘I am an experienced swimmer…but I have never been caught like this before’

Since he was rescued, Gallagher has signed up to be a water safety volunteer with the RNLI with a particular interest in highlighting the dangers of open water swimming.

He has also taken part in a series of inspiring fundraising events with his most recent venture to not only undertake the Dublin Marathon but to do it in his bare feet, which he completed successfully last Sunday (30 October). He also completed the Kerry Hardman Ironman triathlon on his birthday in August and in September a 5k swim of Glencar Lough in Sligo.

To round off his series of events, he is running an Eighties-themed night this Saturday 5 November in the Village Inn in Killyclogher. Proceeds from all events will go to Bundoran RNLI and Lough Erne’s two RNLI lifeboat stations, at Enniskillen and Carrybridge in Northern Ireland.

Speaking of Gallagher’s efforts to raise both funds and water safety awareness, RNLI community manager Nuala Muldoon said: “Chris really is an inspiration and his own rescue story highlights how even the most experienced water users can still find themselves in difficulty.

“We are delighted that he is now promoting water safety and are in awe at how adventurous he has been in setting himself courageous challenges in his pursuit to raise funds.

“Thanks to Chris, the proceeds raised will now power our lifesaving volunteer crews to continue their good work in saving lives both at sea and on inland waters.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

The volunteer crew of Bundoran RNLI Lifeboat in County Donegal will host an open day at the lifeboat station, which will also incorporate an Emergency Services Open Day.

On the day, subject to operational requirements, the volunteer crew of the lifeboat as well as representatives from locally based emergency services, including the National Ambulance Service, An Garda Siochana, Bundoran Fire & Rescue and Donegal Bay Community First Responders will be on hand to talk to members of the public about the service that they provide and display some of the lifesaving equipment that they use during a callout.

Organiser of the event, volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer Shane Smyth said ‘we first did this in 2019 and had hoped to make it an annual event. We hope that this year will be the start of that! I’d like to thank all of our emergency service colleagues who have agreed to come on board on the day and are taking the time to talk about their particular role or show their piece of lifesaving equipment. If you’re interested in any aspect of our local emergency services then this is an event not to miss.’

The event is free of charge to attend and will take place on the pier at West End, Bundoran from 1-4 pm on Sunday 21st August.

Also present on the day will be the RNLI’s education team who will conduct a lifejacket clinic as well as providing a kid’s educational Water Safety talk and a demonstration of “throw bags”. A popup RNLI shop will also be on hand so that attendees can purchase RNLI souvenirs while supporting the charity.

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A surfer who got into difficulty at Rossnowlagh Beach yesterday afternoon (Sunday 8 May) was brought to safety by the volunteer crew of Bundoran RNLI.

The alarm was raised by a passer-by on the beach shortly after 3 pm. The member of the public who had spotted the surfer in difficulty, alerted the Irish Coast Guard who in turn requested that Bundoran RNLI’s inshore lifeboat be launched. The Irish Coast Guard’s Sligo based Rescue 118 helicopter was also tasked.

The surfer who had entered the water at the Smugglers Creek side of the beach was spotted being blown offshore by a surf instructor who also went to the casualty’s aid.

Weather conditions at the time were described as fair with good visibility.

Arriving on scene at 3.30 pm, the lifeboat with four volunteer crew members onboard, began a search of the area and soon found both the surfer and the surf instructor near Carrickfad rocks, almost 2km from where the surfer had originally entered the water. Both men, who were assessed and found to be safe and well, were brought back to shore by the lifeboat.

Speaking on the lifeboat’s return to the station, Bundoran RNLI Helm Richard Gillespie said: ‘The sea can be very unforgiving and with the wind at a Force 5 at the time, it was fortunate that the surfer was spotted from the shore and that the alarm was raised. We would like to commend the member of the public who did that along with the surf instructor who also went to help.

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Tributes were paid last Saturday night (2 April) to five retirees and seven long-service recipients for their commitment and dedication to Bundoran RNLI, which amounts to over 250 years of saving lives at sea at the charity.

The event at the Great Northern Hotel was the first major gathering for the crew since 2019 and marked the retirement of five personnel, including Captain Hugh Anthony ‘Tony’ McGowan as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Other retirements marked on the night included those of Hugh John Patton as deputy launching authority (28 years), Michael Goodwin also as DLA (5 years), fundraiser Frank Bourke (25 years) and DLA Patrick McMorrow.

Seven volunteers received recognition for anywhere between 20 and 25 years of service | Credit: RNLI/BundoranSeven volunteers received recognition for anywhere between 20 and 25 years of service | Credit: RNLI/Bundoran

The long service of seven volunteer lifeboat crew members was also marked, with medals presented by the RNLI’s lifesaving lead for Ireland, Owen Medland.

Recipients of long-service medals were Elliot Kearns (20 years), James Cassidy (21 years), Michael Patton (22 years), Geraldine Patton (23 years), Dr Philip Murphy (23 years), Brian Gillespie (23 years) and Shane O’Neill (25 years).

Reminiscing over his time, Tony McGowan thanked his colleagues from the past 28 years, adding that all times the station was a team effort — and remarked on all the positive changes he has seen over the years, including children of crew members now grown up and becoming crew members themselves.

Medland added: “While one era is ending, a new one is beginning at the station and I wish the management team and volunteer crew well into the future.”

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About the Class 40

The Class40 is a kind of monohull sailboat primarily used for short-handed offshore and coastal racing. It is dedicated to offshore racing and has been around since 2004, serving as an intermediate oceanic boat between the Mini 650 (6.50m) and the 60-foot IMOCA (18.24m). The boat is strictly regulated, with a maximum length of 12.19 m. These boats are designed to sail in all weather conditions, and their performance has recently improved significantly. It is not uncommon to reach speeds of up to 26 knots (according to GPS), and planing up to 15 knots is normal.