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Displaying items by tag: Donaghadee

#RNLI - Two RNLI lifeboats were launched on Friday (31 August) at the request of Belfast Coastguard to assist a pleasure fishing boat with four people onboard off Carrickfergus.

Bangor RNLI was first to launch at 3.15pm to reports that a fishing boat had a fouled propeller and was taking on water while drifting ashore onto rocks near Carrickfergus.

Once on scene, the Bangor lifeboat crew established a towline and were able to pull the sinking boat off the rocks, as well as transfer two of its crew to the safety of the inshore lifeboat Jessie Hillyard, where they were given casualty care.

The remaining two fishermen were recovered on the shoreline by coastguard members.

Due to the vessel taking on too much water, the decision was taken to request the assistance of Donaghadee RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat and use its salvage pump to try and save the vessel.

Bangor cut their towline and proceeded to take the two casualties, who were wet and cold, to Carrickfergus and the care of the waiting coastguard crew.

Donaghadee’s volunteers were paged at 4.12pm and proceeded on their lifeboat Saxon at full speed to the last reported location of the sinking vessel.

Upon arrival, the fishing boat was already semi submerged and in the shipping lane, posing a danger to shipping traffic and local boats.

The crew were able to secure a line and tow the boat to shallow waters just north-east of Carrickfergus and prevent it becoming a danger to other boats. Unfortunately, the boat was unable to be recovered.

Speaking after the dual operation, Donaghadee RNLI coxswain Philip McNamara said: “Although unable to make it on time to save the fishing boat, the main concern is the safety of the crew members onboard. Thankfully the speedy response of our colleagues in Bangor ensured the people were brought to safety before the situation deteriorated any further.

“The crew member that requested assistance as soon as they realised they were in trouble did the right thing; the two crew members that made it ashore were very lucky to do so. If in difficulties it can be best to stay with your vessel as long as possible and avoid entering the water if you can.”

In other RNLI news from Northern Ireland, young members of Lough Erne Yacht Club went the extra mile for the lifesaving charity when they held a mini triathlon that raised £310 for Enniskillen Lifeboat Station, based at their club.

five children go the extra mile for enniskillen rnli

Emma Brines and Emily Torrens along with Peter Brines, Charlie Valentine and Adam Torrens presented the cheque to Lifeboat crew members Olivia Crosgrove, Padraig Lunny and helm Brian McAleer (photo by Bob Torrens). The young sailors thanked club members, family and friends for their support.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - Donaghdee RNLI has put together a packed itinerary for their forthcoming Lifeboat Festival this coming Saturday 28 July.

The popular maritime festival has gone from strength to strength each year, with locals and visitors exploring the maritime heritage of the beautiful Co Down town and availing of a range of fun activities.

The highlight of the festival will be the raft race, sponsored by Maxol Hightrees, which departs from the slipway opposite the sailing club at 11.45am.

Rafts can be hired for a four- or a six-person team but most groups prefer to construct their own.

Application forms can be obtained from the Lifeboat Shop, Dunn’s Footwear or on the Donaghadee RNLI website at donaghadeelifeboat.co.uk.

Other activities include a lifeboat exercise in the harbour (1pm), an open viewing of Donaghadee Lighthouse* (from noon to 4pm) and plenty of stalls for shopping (11am to 4pm). The lifeboat itself will also be open from 2pm to 4pm.

Commenting on the festival, Donaghadee RNLI lifeboat operations manager Peter Irwin said: “This day has become one of the key events in the Donaghadee social calendar and we are delighted to welcome so many visitors to our town.

“The Donaghadee lifeboat community has a rich history and was founded in 1910. This year the station marked the 65th anniversary of the Princess Victoria ferry disaster, following which a Bronze Medal for Gallantry was presented to the station’s coxswain for their role in the rescue of thirty-one people.

“We would love to welcome as many visitors as possible to the station and the surrounding harbour to let us show them what we do and express our gratitude for their support.”

* The viewing of the lighthouse is with kind permission of the Commissioner of Irish Lights, and visitors are advised that no children under 10 years of age can be admitted.

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Donaghadee RNLI volunteer crew were paged three times over the weekend to assist a 24m fishing vessel which had run aground, a 31–ft yacht with three people onboard which had broken down and a small speedboat on the rocks at Millisle.

The first launch was requested by Belfast Coastguard on Saturday last (23 June) at 7.32pm following a 999 call by a member of the public reporting that a fishing vessel had run ashore on the north side of the ‘Perch’, located just of the Warren Road in Donaghadee.

Donaghadee RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat Saxon was on scene to the fishing vessel within five minutes. After consultation with the crew of the fishing vessel, which had five people onboard, and establishing that the boat had no damage, the crew of the 14m Trent class lifeboat attached a towline to the stern of the fishing boat to attempt to pull it off the rocks. The towline was then moved to the bow of the boat in another attempt to remove her from the rocks. With the assistance of the casualty vessel dropping its trawl doors to the seabed to jettison some weight, using both their bow thrusters and main propulsion to assist, the vessel came free and the lifeboat was able to tow it to deep water. 

When the skipper of the fishing boat was satisfied that there was no obvious damage to the hull or propeller the towline was removed and retrieved and the vessel continued her passage south while the lifeboat returned to station. 

The second launch of the weekend for the volunteer crew was when their pagers were alerted at 3.02pm at the request of Belfast Coastguard to assist 30ft yacht which had broken down approximately four nautical miles east of Donaghadee Harbour with three men onboard. The inboard auxiliary engine had failed so the crew established a towline and a course was set for Donaghadee were the yacht was secured at the visitors' berth by 4pm. 

Five hours later at 8.03pm, the crew were paged again and requested to launch to assist a small speedboat with two people onboard on the rocks at Millisle. Launching the lifeboat at 8.10pm, Saxon proceeded at full speed to the scene as crew members readied the Trent class’s daughter boat to prepare to the need to get close to the shallow area where the casualty boat was stranded. As the lifeboat reached the area the Coastguard rescue team advised that a canoe in the vicinity had managed to tow the boat ashore and both the vessel and its crew were safe and well. 

Speaking following what was a busy weekend for Donaghadee RNLI, Peter Irwin, Lifeboat Operations Manager said: ‘In the first call out of the weekend, our Coxswain and crew managed to refloat the fishing vessel just before high tide in difficult circumstances due to the restricted location of the grounding, size of the vessel and the direction the vessel was pointing. We were delighted to get her refloated relatively quickly and the intense training which the volunteer crew undertake regularly was of no doubt put into full practice. The further two calls on Sunday were more straightforward thankfully.

‘We would remind everyone going to sea and particularly as we approach the summer holidays and enjoy this good weather, to respect the water. Always wear a lifejacket, always carry a means of communication and tell someone ashore where you are going and when you are due back. Should you get into trouble dial 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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#RNLI - Ramsey RNLI on the Isle of Man launched its all-weather lifeboat Ann & James Ritchie yesterday afternoon (Wednesday 23 May) to render assistance to a day angling vessel with three people on board.

The 21ft vessel had broken down seven miles south-west of Burrow Head in the Irish Sea. In fair weather conditions and a slight sea, the Ramsey lifeboat with acting coxswain Ali Clague at the helm located the stricken vessel at 1.20pm, 70 minutes after launch.

A tow was safely established, and it was advised by Belfast Coastguard that the lifeboat should bring the vessel towards Donaghadee on the Ards Peninsula.

Donaghadee’s all-weather lifeboat Saxon was tasked to rendezvous with the Ramsey crew and the two lifeboats met approximately one mile to the west of Mull of Galloway lighthouse at 3.25pm where the tow was passed.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#Missing - RNLI lifeboats from Bangor and Donaghadee have joined the search for a speedboat with two men missing off the Scottish coast, as BBC News reports.

Coastguard volunteers from Bangor are also part of the emergency operation launched last night (Saturday 6 May) when the two men failed to return to Port Logan in Dumfries and Galloway.

Searches for the missing vessel, thought to be an 18ft black Fletcher speedboat, are concentrated off the Mull of Galloway for the time being.

BBC News has more on the story HERE.

Published in News Update

#Hoax - The UK coastguard has decried an “elaborate hoax” after lifeboats and a coastguard helicopter were launched after several calls from someone claiming to be a kayaker in difficulty off the Co Down coast.

As BBC News reports, lifeboats from Bangor and Donaghadee RNLI respectively joined a rescue helicopter from HM Coastguard in Scotland in the search off the Copeland Islands yesterday (Sunday 2 April) that was declared a hoax after a thorough search of the area.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - Donaghadee RNLI was called upon three times in the last week to assist vessels which got into difficulties off the coast of North Down.

The first callout was on Thursday 25 August after a yacht with five people aboard struck rocks at the South Briggs buoy in the Copeland Sound.

At the scene, the crew of the all-weather lifeboat Saxon established that no one was injured and the yacht was still seaworthy.

The volunteers and the lifeboat escorted the vessel to a safe harbour for full inspection of the damage to the hull. Conditions were calm.

Saturday 27 August also saw a fine and calm summer’s evening when a RIB with five aboard set off from Scotland for Bangor, but encountered engine failure in the middle of the North Channel as night began to fall.

An emergency call was made to Belfast Coastguard and the lifeboat was requested to respond. The drifting RIB was quickly located eight miles from the Scottish coast. A tow-line was secured and the helpless boat and passengers were in Bangor before last light.

Saxon and crew were called out again on Bank Holiday Monday yesterday to come to the rescue of a small fishing boat with one person aboard.

The eight-metre vessel suffered engine failure and began dragging its anchor in choppy conditions near rocks at Burial Island off Ballyhalbert.

The boat was towed to Portavogie for repairs by another vessel and the lifeboat escorted the pair safely to harbour.

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#RNLI - Donaghadee’s RNLI lifeboat Saxon put to sea three times in 24 hours during a busy weekend keeping aircraft passengers and pleasure sailors safe around the North Down coast.

The first call came at 5.30pm on Friday (19 August) when an inbound aircraft heading for George Best Airport reported technical problems and HM Coastguard requested a launch in keeping with established air emergency procedures. These ensure a swift response from lifeboats should an aircraft be forced to ditch at sea.

The Donaghadee lifeboat made its way at top speed of 25 knots to a designated location along the flight path. However, the aircraft was able to land without incident and the lifeboat returned to station. The operation also involved Bangor and Larne RNLI crews.

On Saturday morning (20 August), the Donaghadee crew launched around 11am after a report that a 20ft yacht had run aground on rocks at Craigbrain, near Ballyferris caravan park.

At the scene, the crew launched the smaller inflatable lifeboat in difficult conditions with a 1.5m swell, but established that no one was aboard the grounded catamaran.

Safety advice was given from coastguard officers on the shore and it was decided to let the incoming tide lift the yacht off the rocks to allow for a safer retrieval by the owner.



The crew had just returned to the boathouse at 12.30pm when the coastguard requested another launch. This time a 31ft yacht, with three people aboard, had reported an engine fire east off Burr Point near Ballyhalbert.

On the way, the lifeboat crew encountered treacherous seas with 5m waves, making for an uncomfortable passage.

Once on scene, the crew of the yacht confirmed they heard automatic fire extinguishers firing in the engine room. The lifeboat approached, secured a towline and set course for the difficult passage back to Donaghadee.

The stricken yacht was brought alongside and berthed in the harbour, where two appliances from the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Services attended as a precaution.

The lifeboat and her crew were back at sea on Sunday morning to conduct a regular training exercise.

Donaghadee RNLI deputy coxswain John Ashwood said: ”It has been a quiet summer for the crew so far but this weekend was one of the busiest 24-hour periods we have experienced in quite some time. We are always ready to respond if lives are in danger at sea.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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#RNLI - Donaghadee RNLI's lifeboat crew saved a stricken yacht with one person onboard after it was left helpless in poor weather off the coast of Millisle, Co Down.

Donaghadee lifeboat Saxon and her volunteer crew sped to the last reported position of the vessel at top speed of 25 knots after a launch request from the coastguard at 9.30pm on Friday evening (15 July).

A strong south-westerly wind was blowing with rain forecast, and night was falling as the lifeboat crew searched before locating the yacht two miles offshore. No radio contact was possible.

A towline was quickly attached and the yacht brought to Donaghadee Harbour for inspection and repairs.

It was the lifeboat’s second launch of the week. Last Sunday evening (10 July) Saxon and crew put to sea in response to a man overboard alert in Ballyhalbert after a pleasure sailor fell from his boat and was unable to get back aboard.

However, the casualty was assisted by another vessel and was able to make his way ashore uninjured.

Donaghadee RNLI coxswain Philip McNamara said: "We are always happy to launch if there is a chance we can prevent an emergency or save a life at sea. But everyone enjoying the coast this summer should respect the water and wear lifejackets when around deep water.

"If you are boating make sure you have a reliable means of contacting the shore and of calling for help."

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#RNLI - On Sunday 6 March 2016, Donaghadee RNLI coxswain Philip McNamara and the volunteer lifeboat crew mustered for the latest in a series of vital fortnightly sea training exercises to ensure they are prepared for the challenges of the year ahead.

The Trent Class lifeboat Saxon was also hauled up a slipway in Carrickfergus last week to have its hull power-washed and a fresh coat of antifouling paint applied. The task is undertaken every six months to ensure the £2 million vessel is always at peak performance and can reach the scene of an emergency at 25 knots.

Last year Donaghadee’s RNLI volunteers responded to 23 calls for help starting in January when they battled "atrocious" seas to bring an injured workman from the Copeland Islands where he has working on the lighthouse.

The lifeboat crew rescued stranded kayakers and their dogs. They came to the rescue of a member of the crew on a cross channel ferry who had taken seriously ill during a night crossing.

“It has been a relatively quiet winter for us but the number of rescue requests usually picks up around Easter and reaches a peak in summer," said McNamara.

"The crew is ready and the lifeboat is ready too. Every time we put to sea volunteers risk their lives to save others but we are trained and experienced, to deal with emergencies and are part of a dedicated team which includes the Coastguard, Police Service of Northern Ireland, Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service and Air Sea Rescue.”

The Donaghadee crew is at full strength, but lifeboat operations manager Peter Irwin says there is still room for more.

“We would like two more trainees to join us and I would be happy to hear from suitable people in the town who feel they can give their time to the charity that saves lives at sea.”

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