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Displaying items by tag: Lifeboat

The community of Clogherhead is set to welcome the latest RNLI lifeboat to be based in Ireland, to their town on Sunday 2 June. This Shannon class lifeboat is unique in the RNLI’s fleet as it has been funded by an Irish legacy, named after an Irish lifeboat volunteer, designed by an Irish engineer and is the first class to be called after an Irish river. The Michael O’Brien Shannon class lifeboat is due to arrive in Clogherhead at exactly 13.31 which is also the operation number of the lifeboat.

Its arrival marks the start of a new chapter in the story of search and rescue in the north-east. The Shannon lifeboat is the latest in a long line of search and rescue boats provided by the RNLI to Clogherhead over the past 120 years. This lifeboat and its launching equipment represents a multi-million euro investment at the station and signals a major change in the level of service provided by the RNLI on the east coast as it moves the station from a 15-knot lifeboat to a 25-knot one, cutting vital minutes off the time it takes for the lifeboat crew to reach a casualty.

A significant proportion of the funding for the Clogherhead lifeboat has been provided through a generous legacy by a Wexford farmer, Mr. Henry Tomkins, who was a lifelong supporter of the RNLI. Henry stipulated that a lifeboat be named for his long-time friend, the former Arklow RNLI Coxswain, Mr. Michael O’Brien. The Shannon was designed by Derry man Peter Eyre who as child was rescued by Lough Swilly RNLI in Donegal.

The arrival of the station’s new Shannon lifeboat will take place in front of the beach beside the lifeboat station in full view of the public. It will be the first time in Ireland that the RNLI will use a SLARS (Shannon Launch and Recovery System) to launch and recover a lifeboat in Ireland. The SLARS acts as a mobile slipway for the lifeboat, which can be driven directly onto the beach for recovery. It has a unique turntable cradle, which can rotate the lifeboat 180º, ready to be launched again within 10 minutes.

Clogherhead RNLI Coxswain Tomás Whelahan said, ‘We want the people of Clogherhead and the surrounding areas to come to welcome the new lifeboat home. The station has been preparing for this day for a long time and there is huge excitement for it. The past few weeks and months have been spent in preparation and training by all the crew and shore crew, to receive this incredible piece of kit from the RNLI. It is the most technologically advanced lifeboat in the fleet, and it will proudly serve the east coast for many years to come.’

‘We are incredibly honoured to receive it and we are grateful to our donor Henry Tomkins and to the local communities, who by their generosity, have made this day possible. We hope to bring many loved ones safely home in this new lifeboat.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Larne RNLI launched to search for a paddleboarder who was reported overdue from Whitehead yesterday afternoon (Sunday 26 May).

Larne RNLI's all-weather and inshore lifeboats launched at 4.55pm following a request from Belfast Coastguard to assist in the search. Donaghadee RNLI's all-weather lifeboat and Bangor RNLI's inshore lifeboat also launched alongside three Coastguard shore teams, Coastguard helicopter and the PSNI to help locate the paddleboarder who had set off from Whitehead earlier in the afternoon.

Weather conditions at the time were breezy, rough seas and good visibility.

Larne inshore lifeboat conducted a shoreline search including local harbours and bays. The all-weather lifeboat conducted a search further south along the Gobbins coastal path. Following speaking to a local tour guide the crew were directed to a paddle boarder who had been spotted further south of the Gobbins.

The paddleboarder was located safe and well and was happy to make his way back to Whitehead harbour. 

Speaking after the call out, Frank Healy, Larne RNLI Coxswain said: ‘Our volunteer crew training kicked in to ensure both our lifeboats were launched quickly to take part in the multi-agency search. Thankfully the casualty was located safe and well.'

‘We would encourage people to enjoy our beautiful coastline but would remind everyone going to sea to always respect the water. Always wear a lifejacket or buoyancy aid, carry a means of communication and let someone know where you are going and when you are expected back and check the weather forecast. Should you get into difficulty or see anyone in distress at sea or on our coastline, call 999 ask for the Coastguard.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Aran Islands RNLI’s volunteer lifeboat crew spent nine hours at sea last night to help bring a sick fisherman to safety. 

The crew were requested to launch their all-weather lifeboat by the Irish Coast Guard at 9.45pm last night (Thursday 23 May) and go to the aid of the sick fisherman on a French vessel approximately 40 miles west of the Aran Islands. The lifeboat under Coxswain Mairtín O'Flaithearta, was requested to assist the crew of the Irish Coast Guard’s helicopter Rescue 115 from Shannon who had been tasked earlier in the night and were already providing casualty care on scene and had attempted to winch the casualty to safety.

Weather conditions were moderate at the time with light westerly winds and a 1.5 to 2m swell.

Once on scene, a lifeboat crew member was transferred on to fishing vessel to assist the helicopter crew. A transfer to the lifeboat was attempted but due to the height of the vessel and the swell this was not possible.

The lifeboat proceeded to escort the vessel north of the Island where there was more shelter and the swell was only 1m. By this time the fisherman was well enough to be winched by the Irish Coast Guard helicopter and airlifted to hospital. 

The Aran Islands RNLI all-weather lifeboat returned home at 6.30am this morning.

Speaking following the call out, Mairtín O'Flaithearta Aran Islands RNLI Coxswain said: 'The conditions out there last night were challenging due to the height of the vessel and sea conditions. The volunteer crew members drew on all their training and their joint exercises with the Coast Guard to aid in a successful rescue. We wish the fisherman a speedy recovery.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Portaferry RNLI rescued a lone sailor last night (Wednesday 22 May) after his 25ft yacht got into difficulty in the Irish Sea.

The volunteer crew were requested to launch their inshore lifeboat at 8.51pm following a request from Belfast Coastguard to go to the aid of an overdue sailing vessel that had sustained engine failure and had one man onboard.

The lifeboat helmed by Paul Mageean and with three crew members onboard launched immediately and made its way to the scene at South Rock close to Cloughey Bay. The Coastguard helicopter Rescue 199 from Prestwick was also tasked.

Weather conditions at the time were good with a Force 2 westerly wind and a calm sea state.

Once on scene, two lifeboat crew members were transferred onto the yacht to assess that the sailor was safe and well before proceeding to set up a tow.

The yacht was then safely towed back to Portavogie Harbour.

Speaking following the call out, Portaferry RNLI Helm Paul Mageean said: ‘We are pleased with the outcome of this call out as it could have been a lot worse for the man onboard as the sailing vessel was close to one of the shipping channels when we arrived on scene. This callout showed good teamwork between ourselves in the RNLI and our colleagues in the Coastguard.

‘As we approach the summer, we would remind anyone planning a trip to sea to always respect the water. Always check your boat and engine ahead of your trip, always let someone ashore know where you are going and when you are due back and always carry a means of communication. Always wear a lifejacket and should you get into difficulty or see someone else in trouble, call 999 or 112 and for the Coastguard.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Arklow and Wicklow RNLI were involved in the rescue of three fishermen yesterday evening after their 14m trawler caught fire and subsequently sank off the Wicklow coast.

Volunteer lifeboat crew at Arklow and Wicklow RNLI were requested to launch their all-weather lifeboats at 3.46pm following a Mayday relay broadcast. The crew of the boat had used an emergency position-indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) to raise the alarm.

Both lifeboats launched immediately while the Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 117 from Waterford was also tasked and multiple vessels in the area responded.

Weather conditions at the time were good with a Force 2-3 westerly wind.

Once on scene 30 miles east of Arklow, the crew onboard Arklow RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat observed that the three casualties had evacuated on to their life raft and had transferred to a nearby vessel. Having assessed the situation, the lifeboat crew proceeded to transfer two of the casualties to the lifeboat and administer casualty care while a third casualty was airlifted by Rescue 117 and later brought to hospital for further observation.

Wicklow and Arklow RNLI then stood by as a tug boat with firefighting capabilities made efforts to put the fire out but the vessel later sank.

Arklow RNLI transferred the two casualties back to the station where they were made comfortable.

Speaking following the rescue, Arklow RNLI Coxswain Ned Dillon said: ‘Thankfully, all three fishermen were rescued this evening and we would like to wish them all a speedy recovery following what must have been a frightening experience for them. We would like to commend the skipper and his crew for doing the right thing and activating the Epirb when they knew they were in difficulty, that was the right thing to do. We would also like to thank and commend the crew of the vessels that were in the area and responded along with ourselves and our colleagues at Wicklow RNLI and in the Irish Coast Guard. It is always sad to see a fishing vessel sink but we are happy that all three fishermen are safe and recovering from their ordeal this evening.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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At 1.14pm on the Saturday 20 April Carrybridge RNLI’s inshore lifeboat, Douglas Euan & Kay Richards and Rescue Water Craft (RWC) were launched to a vessel with two people which had run aground North West of Knockninny.

Winds were Southerly, Force 0. Visibility was excellent with a part cloudy sky.

The lifeboat and RWC arrived with the casualty vessel and after checking the people on the boat where ok the volunteer crew checked the boat for water ingress and found none. With the owner’s permission, the vessel was refloated and towed into deeper water and again the boat was checked for water leaks as well as the steering and propulsion checked and all was found to be ok.

The vessel was then able to continue on its planned journey.

Whilst the lifeboat and RWC were returning to the station the crew were alerted by another vessel with two people on board which had broken down. The crew assisted the boat by towing it back to a private marina.

Speaking following the call out, Stephen Scott, Lifeboat Operations Manager at Carrybridge RNLI advised all boat users: ‘to enjoy the fantastic weather over the holiday period, but as it is for many the start of the boating season to carry out regular maintenance checks and to plan their voyage using relevant charts. We would also remind all water users to wear lifejackets and to respect the water. If you see someone in trouble on the water or are in difficulties yourself the number to dial is: 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard.’’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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The Courtmacsherry All-Weather RNLI Lifeboat was called out at 7.40 pm last night (Saturday) to go to the aid of a 40 ft Yacht which sought assistance 34 Miles off Courtmacsherry and due south of the Seven Heads peninsula in West Cork.

Under Coxswain Sean O Farrell and a crew of five, the Lifeboat was quickly away on the Bank Holiday Saturday and immediately made its way at full speed to the yacht.

The yacht had four persons on board and was en route to Spain from Ireland when they lost engine power two days ago.

Yesterday evening, they were losing all battery power as well and sought assistance from The Coastguard.

The Lifeboat reached the causality at 9.30 pm and immediately took the Boat in tow. After a slow tow in good conditions, the Lifeboat and the yacht arrived at the safe surrounds of the CastlePark Marina in Kinsale at 2.45 am this morning. The crew of the yacht were well pleased to be on safe soil early this morning, as they were drifting helplessly over the past few days in calm winds.  

The Crew on this long callout were Coxswain Sean O Farrell, Mechanic Tadgh McCarthy and Crewmembers Ken Cashman, Denis Murphy, Evin O Sullivan and Conor Tyndall.

Having been at sea for over eight hours, The Trent Class Lifeboat “Frederick Story Cockburn” returned to its moorings in Courtmacsherry just after 4 am, after refuelling.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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When Baltimore Lifeboat Station in West Cork was established the First World War was raging in Europe. That was back in 1915 when the original station was built, but due to the War no lifeboat arrived in Baltimore until 1919 …. and there was some feeling about her name…. She had been launched as the ‘Duke of Connacht,’ but because of sentiment in the wake of the Easter Rising of 1916, her name was changed to the ‘Shamrock’ before she arrived in Baltimore.

One of my particular maritime memories is being aboard the Baltimore Lifeboat when it used to be launched down the slipway from inside the old station. There was a steel girder across the roof and, if I remember correctly, it had a warning: “Mind Your Head” which flashed over the top of the lifeboat as it rapidly went down the slipway into the water.

This came to mind when I was given a look through the station’s recorded history, in conjunction with the planned celebration of its centenary this September.

There’s a fine, modern lifeboat station in Baltimore now, with both offshore all-weather and inshore boats. I remember being there the morning of Charlie Haughey’s rescue from the sinking of his yacht, ‘Celtic Mist’ at the Mizen in October of 1985.

"Back in 1979, Baltimore was the first lifeboat to launch to the rescue of sailors in the Fastnet Yacht Race disaster"

Back in 1979, Baltimore was the first lifeboat to launch to the rescue of sailors in the Fastnet Yacht Race disaster. That event got more attention than another unusual service the same year when the West Cork crew assisted in transferring an injured man to Bantry Hospital following a mutiny aboard a Greek container ship!

There will be a lot happening on the lifeboat scene this year, with the last operational Tyne Class all-weather lifeboat on service in Ireland leaving over the next few months from service in Wicklow and new Shannon Class boats going there and Clogherhead.

And in Cork Harbour, Crosshaven lifeboat station is looking for crew for its inshore boat. Like many village communities, they have a large number of crew working outside the village during the day and, therefore, not available for emergencies, which is putting a strain on their ability to respond in working hours. So they are looking for people over 17 who are at home in the village during the day.

Listen to the podcast where Niamh Stephenson of the RNLI describes the changes and when the new Clogherhead boat will be arriving…..

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Rosslare Harbour RNLI rescued a windsurfer who fell off his board and got into difficulty on Sunday afternoon, ending up in the water for an hour and a half.

The volunteer crew was requested to launch their all-weather lifeboat by the Irish Coast Guard at 1.15pm on Sunday (13 January) after a passer-by raised the alarm. 

The man had fallen off his board and despite attempting to get back on, he kept getting blown off by the wind and was being swept out to sea. 

The lifeboat under Coxswain Art Sheil and with six crew members onboard, launched immediately and made their way to the scene.

Weather conditions at the time were described as blowing a Force 4-5 south to southwesterly wind.

On arrival, the lifeboat crew located the casualty 1.1 nautical miles offshore. The windsurfer was cold and in shock but otherwise safe and well.

He was subsequently transported onto the lifeboat where he was first assessed and then brought back to the comfort of Rosslare Harbour’s lifeboat station. 

Speaking following the call out, Dave Maloney, Rosslare Harbour RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager said: ‘We would like to commend the member of the public who spotted the windsurfer in difficulty and raised the alarm, that was an important factor in this call out as the man was in the water for an hour and a half. Thankfully, despite being cold and shook up, he was otherwise ok. 

‘It is important to always respect the water and to be mindful that conditions at sea can change and cause problems. We would encourage people to always carry a means for calling for help such as a personal locator beacon, especially if windsurfing alone - it could be a lifesaver. Always tell someone you are going out and when you will be back. Make sure they know where you are sailing and who to call if you are not back in time.’

Published in Surfing
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Volunteers from Ballyglass RNLI spent 11 and half hours at sea today to bring three fishermen to safety off the Donegal coast.

The lifeboat crew were requested to launch their all-weather lifeboat at 4 am yesterday morning  following a request from the Irish Coast Guard to go to the aid of three fishermen onboard a 10m vessel that had got into difficulty 38 miles from Ballyglass. 

The lifeboat under Coxswain James Mangan and with four crew members onboard launched immediately into the darkness and made its way to the scene and into Donegal Bay.

The fishing boat had got into difficulty when it fouled its propeller.

Weather conditions at the time were good and when the lifeboat crew arrived on scene they assessed that all on board were safe and well before working with the fishermen to establish a towline and then begin the slow journey to Killybegs where they arrived at 10.30am.

Following a short break for breakfast, the lifeboat crew then began the return journey back to Ballyglass, arriving at the lifeboat station and preparing the lifeboat for service again at 3.30pm.

Speaking following the call out, Padraic Sheeran, Ballyglass RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager said: ‘The fishermen did the right thing this morning raising the alarm when they got into trouble and we were delighted to be able to help them return to shore safely.

‘This was an early morning call out for our volunteers who got out of their beds to respond to their pagers and make their way to the scene. Given where the boat had got into difficulty into Donegal Bay, by the time we reached the scene and towed the vessel safely into Killybegs and made the passage back, our crew had spent 11 and a half hours at sea. This is what they are trained for and prepared to do but their efforts today are commendable, and I would like to thank our volunteer team for their willingness, time and dedication.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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The Half Ton Class was created by the Offshore Racing Council for boats within the racing band not exceeding 22'-0". The ORC decided that the rule should "....permit the development of seaworthy offshore racing yachts...The Council will endeavour to protect the majority of the existing IOR fleet from rapid obsolescence caused by ....developments which produce increased performance without corresponding changes in ratings..."

When first introduced the IOR rule was perfectly adequate for rating boats in existence at that time. However yacht designers naturally examined the rule to seize upon any advantage they could find, the most noticeable of which has been a reduction in displacement and a return to fractional rigs.

After 1993, when the IOR Mk.III rule reached it termination due to lack of people building new boats, the rule was replaced by the CHS (Channel) Handicap system which in turn developed into the IRC system now used.

The IRC handicap system operates by a secret formula which tries to develop boats which are 'Cruising type' of relatively heavy boats with good internal accommodation. It tends to penalise boats with excessive stability or excessive sail area.

Competitions

The most significant events for the Half Ton Class has been the annual Half Ton Cup which was sailed under the IOR rules until 1993. More recently this has been replaced with the Half Ton Classics Cup. The venue of the event moved from continent to continent with over-representation on French or British ports. In later years the event is held biennially. Initially, it was proposed to hold events in Ireland, Britain and France by rotation. However, it was the Belgians who took the ball and ran with it. The Class is now managed from Belgium. 

At A Glance – Half Ton Classics Cup Winners

  • 2017 – Kinsale – Swuzzlebubble – Phil Plumtree – Farr 1977
  • 2016 – Falmouth – Swuzzlebubble – Greg Peck – Farr 1977
  • 2015 – Nieuwport – Checkmate XV – David Cullen – Humphreys 1985
  • 2014 – St Quay Portrieux – Swuzzlebubble – Peter Morton – Farr 1977
  • 2013 – Boulogne – Checkmate XV – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1985
  • 2011 – Cowes – Chimp – Michael Kershaw – Berret 1978
  • 2009 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978
  • 2007 – Dun Laoghaire – Henri-Lloyd Harmony – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1980~
  • 2005 – Dinard – Gingko – Patrick Lobrichon – Mauric 1968
  • 2003 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978

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