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#RNLI - Following a pager alert by the Irish Coast Guard at 7.28am yesterday morning (Monday 27 August) Arklow RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat was launched to reports of a fishing vessel in difficulty.

Within a few minutes, the Ger Tigchelarr and her volunteer crew were en route to the casualty vessel some four miles south of Arklow.

Once on scene, the volunteer lifeboat crew were able to ascertain that the vessel had suffered machinery failure and needed assistance.

A tow line was set up and the vessel and its crew of three was towed back to Arklow where all hands came ashore safely.

Following the callout, Arklow RNLI community safety officer Mark Corcoran said: “Following these incidents, it’s important to stress to all who go on or in the water the importance of having a means of calling for help. The earlier our crews can get to the casualty, the better the outcome.”

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#RNLI - With the sun shining down on the assembled crowd, the new Atlantic 85 B class lifeboat for Kinsale RNLI was officially named ‘Miss Sally Anne Baggy II - Never Fear, Baggy’s Here’ during a ceremony at the Kinsale lifeboat station on Saturday (25 August).

The lifeboat, which only went on service last month, was funded by Miss Sally Anne Odell, who has been a close friend of the station and a generous benefactor until her death last year.

The full name of the new lifeboat was the choice of the donor and reflects her sense of humour. It is to be a reminder to the lifeboat crew that their ‘godmother’ is always with them.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the Atlantic 85 class lifeboat replaces the Miss Sally Anne Baggy, which has been retired after 15 years of dedicated service that have seen her involved in countless high-profile incidents including the rescue of 30 young people from the training ship Astrid in 2013, and rescuing three fishermen from treacherous seas as their trawler Sean Anthony sank in 2016.

Opening the ceremony, Kinsale RNLI lifeboat operations manager Kevin Gould said: “This is a very special occasion for our lifeboat station and although it is tinged with sadness as Sally Anne is no longer with us, we want to give her lifeboat the naming ceremony befitting its status.

“SallySally Anne Baggy II - Never Fear, Baggy’s Here on the water off Kinsale | Photo: RNLI/Nicholas Leach

“Sally Anne was a lifelong supporter of the RNLI and was affectionately known to the crew as ‘The Godmother’. She will always be remembered by our community and we will forever be grateful for her care and affection. She funded the original Kinsale lifeboat and part of the station, and kept in close contact with the crew throughout the years.”

Robert Acton took the part of Miss Odell and gifted the lifeboat into the care of the RNLI. Accepting the lifeboat on behalf of theiInstitution, RNLI area lifesaving manager Brian O’Driscoll — who is a former lifeboat station coxswain with Castletownbere RNLI — spoke of how inshore lifeboats have been keeping people safe in this part of the world since 2003.

He praised the volunteers with Kinsale RNLI who, he said, “give up their time and are the embodiment of willingness and selflessness in helping others in need.”

Kinsale RNLI helm James Grennan was chosen to accept the lifeboat on behalf of the station and the vessel was named by Valerie Good, chair of the fundraising team who poured champagne over the bow of the lifeboat, a tradition that has been undertaken at every naming ceremony for many years.

The vote of thanks was given by Tricia Tyson, volunteer lifeboat press officer for the station, and the music was provided by a choir representing all Kinsale churches. Rev Peter Rutherford and Fr Peter Keogh delivered the service of dedication.

Many RNLI lifeboat stations were in attendance, including fellow Cork crews from Courtmacsherry, Crosshaven, Union Hall and Youghal, as well as Dunmore East in Waterford.

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#RNLI - Courtmacsherry RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat was called out at 5.20pm on Friday evening (24 August) when a dog was reported to be stranded on remote rocks at the base of a steep cliff, near the Fuschia Walk in Courtmacsherry Bay.

Frederick Storey Cockburn — under coxswain Sean O’Farrell, with mechanic Colin Bateman and crew members Donal Young, Conor Dullea, Paul McCarthy and Enda Boyle — was launched immediately and reached the cliff face in 15 minutes.

The potential danger was that people would attempt to climb down the steep cliff in an attempt to get to the dog. There were also reasonable gusty winds at sea that evening, which made conditions tricky for working near the cliff face.

Two lifeboat volunteers manoeuvred into the rocky creek on an inflatable rescue dinghy and were able to persuade the black and white setter to get on board.

Once safely on board the lifeboat, the dog was given a prime seat as the lifeboat prepared to head for home.

Minutes later, a pleasure boat that was nearby had experienced engine failure and requested assistance.

The lifeboat immediately went to the aid of the 21ft pleasure boat — plus its skipper and his own dog — and took it in tow back to the safe surrounds of Courtmacsherry Pontoon by 6.45pm, where there was an emotional reunion with the owner of the stranded setter.

“BundoranBundoran RNLI responds to what was ultimately a false alarm in poor conditions | Photo: RNLI/Bundoran

More recently, Bundoran RNLI in Co Donegal responded yesterday evening (Sunday 26 August) to a false alarm with good intent after three stand-up paddle boarders were reported to be in difficulty near Mullaghmore, Co Sligo.

The lifeboat, helmed by Killian O’Kelly was launched around 5.20pm minutes and immediately made its way to the scene amid difficult weather conditions, with heavy rain and reduced visibility.

Once on scene, the crew observed that the experienced trio, who had been competing in a downwind race from Mullaghmore to Bundoran, were not in any difficulty.

“They were all wearing lifejackets and carrying a method of communication,” O’Kelly said. “While this was a false alarm with good intent, we would like to commend the member of the public who raised the alarm as conditions at sea were not good at the time. We would always much rather launch to find all is well than not launch at all.

“With a lot of visitors enjoying the long Northern Bank Holiday weekend here in Bundoran, we would remind everyone planning a visit to the beach or the sea, to always respect the water.

“Plan your activity in advance, always wear a lifejacket and always carry a means of communication. Should you get into difficulty, call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - A one-day cycling fundraiser for the RNLI is set to take place on Sunday 16 September when four cycling friends will ride 310km from Dublin to Clifden in Co Galway while wearing lifejackets for the entire trip.

Clifden RNLI’s station mechanic Robert King will cycle along with John James Flaherty, Daniel King and Ciaran Hickey of the Twelve Bens and Western Lakes Cycling Clubs.

The quartet will set off from the RNLI Regional Office in Swords on the morning of Sunday 16 September and make their way west across the Shannon to Clifden lifeboat station.

Organiser Rob King said: “Since we all share a common interest in cycling with our local clubs, we thought it would be a good idea to undertake a trip like this raising funds but also to raise awareness around water safety at the same time.

“We feel that since lifejackets are so compact nowadays that this exercise will highlight how easy it is to wear one. Our basic message is ‘If we can wear one, so can you’.”

The Lifejacket Cycling Challenge has an online donation page and you can also follow the group and see more photos and updates on Facebook.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - A Co Tyrone family rescued by Bundoran RNLI this summer has returned to the lifeboat station to present the volunteer crew with a cheque for €5,000, proceeds of a successful fundraising event.

Ryan, Fianche, Cahir, Beth and Marc McCallion from Drumquin held a coffee morning at their home following the rescue in May, which saw three members of the family get caught in a rip current off the main beach in Bundoran.

Bundoran RNLI’s inshore lifeboat responded and the crew administered casualty care while the Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 118 from Sligo was also tasked.

Some 300 people visited the McCallions’ coffee morning and €5,000 was raised.

Speaking after the presentation, Bundoran RNLI lifeboat operations manager Tony McGowan said: “We are overwhelmed by this generous donation from the McCallion family and we want to sincerely thank them and everyone who supported their coffee morning.

“We were happy to be of assistance to the family when they got into difficulty earlier this year and we were delighted that the rescue resulted in a good outcome for everybody.”

Bundoran RNLI received another substantial donation for €6,000 from Avolon Aerospace Leasing Co Ltd in Dublin to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the drowning of brothers Brendan and Thomas Patton and their cousin Eddie Donagher in a fishing tragedy in Donegal Bay.

The cheque was presented to the station by Brendan’s daughter Brenda, an employee of the company.

“This was an awful tragedy and we are grateful to Brenda and Avolon for thinking of the station in this way to mark the 30th anniversary of the drowning of Brendan, Thomas and Eddie,” McGowan said.

“This is a huge sum of money which will now go towards equipping our lifeboat and station and enabling our volunteers to continue their work in saving lives at sea.”

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#RNLI - Courtown’s RNLI lifeboat volunteers feature in the new series of Saving Lives at Sea on BBC Two this week.

Now on its third year, Saving Lives at Sea puts the spotlight on the RNLI’s army of unpaid volunteers around the UK and Ireland who out their lives on the line to save others.

Using footage shot on the crews’ own cameras, the maritime TV series takes viewers into the heart of the action, capturing the unpredictable work of the RNLI in unique detail.

The 10-part third season begins tonight (Tuesday 21 August) at 8pm, following the crew of Salcombe lifeboat station in Devon on two vital callouts — to a fisherman pulled to the bottom of the sea in his own fishing gear, and a devastating fire on a boat 15 miles out in the English Channel.

Over 200 miles away in the waters off Anglesey, meanwhile, the crew of Moelfre station uncover a story of survival and heroism as they go to the rescue of a father and his 13-year-old son missing at sea.

Courtown RNLI in Co Wexford will be a part of episode two this Thursday evening (23 August) at 8pm on BBC Two, as they face one of their most challenging missions — keeping a teenage girl with suspected spinal injuries immobile and afloat until she can be airlifted for treatment.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - Hours after rescuing a family of five from their grounded yacht, Skerries RNLI launched to the aid of a teenager blown out to sea on a stand-up paddle board yesterday evening (Tuesday 14 August).

Skerries RNLI was tasked along with the Dublin-based Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 116 after a 999 call from a member of the public reporting a person in the water off Gormanston beach who appeared unable to get back to shore.

The volunteer crew in Skerries launched their Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat Louis Simson and proceeded directly to the Gormanston area. The rescue helicopter arrived on scene just before the lifeboat and was able to pinpoint the casualty’s location.

There were two people clinging to the paddle board when the lifeboat arrived: a teenage male who was in difficulty, and an experienced sea swimmer who swam out to the teenager in order to assist him and keep him calm.

The crew helped both people on board and then took the paddle board into the lifeboat. The swimmer was insistent that he was okay and asked to be dropped to shore. However, he had been in the water for a considerable amount of time and was very cold.

It was decided that the best course of action would be to bring him back to the lifeboat station, where the lifeboat was greeted by Skerries RNLI honorary medical Officer Dr Seamus Mullholland and an awaiting ambulance, both of whom had been called as a precaution.

The teenager was treated for symptoms of mild hypothermia and monitored closely for a period of time before he was reunited with his mother by the Skerries Coast Guard unit.

Speaking about the callout, Skerries RNLI volunteer lifeboat press officer Gerry Canning said: “The young man in this case was caught out by a sudden change in the conditions. Thankfully he was wearing a lifejacket and someone on shore knew to dial 999 and ask for the coastguard.

“And while we would recommend that you never enter the water to help someone, we would like to thank the swimmer who assisted the boy for keeping him calm and encouraging him to stay with his board until help arrived.”

The incident came hours after the Skerries lifeboat rescued a French family of five from their yacht that ran aground at the town’s harbour, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

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#RNLI - Clifden RNLI’s D class lifeboat Celia Mary was on exercise at Glassilaun Beach for the annual sports day on Sunday (12 August) when it was alerted to a group of people cut off by the tide.

The inshore lifeboat proceeded to Illamore Island after the alert at 3.50pm. On approaching the island, they saw a woman up to her chest in the water holding onto a child who was visibly in distress.

The six-year-old child was immediately brought onboard the lifeboat followed by her mother. Both were wet, cold, frightened and extremely happy to finally be in safe hands.

Both casualties were given survivors lifejackets and a crew member gave the child his warm helmet. Her mother had a jacket which she wrapped around her to keep the wind off.

The lifeboat crew spotted one more adult and four children stranded on top of some rocks. They were also cut off by the rising tide, but not in immediate danger.

The woman recovered to the lifeboat indicated that she was the mother of two of the children still on the rocks. The crew brought another child on board the lifeboat, placing a lifejacket and helmet on her.

After that the lifeboat proceeded to the beach where the crew collected the casualties’ belongings, leaving crew member David O’Reilly with the four still cut off by the tide.

The casualties on board the lifeboat were then returned to the safety of the shore, and went back for the remaining four. The callout was complete at 5pm and the lifeboat was ready for service from Clifden at 7pm.

Elsewhere, Arklow RNLI’s lifeboat was launched at 2.04pm yesterday (Monday 13 August) following a pager alert to a kitesurfer and windsurfer both reported to be in difficulty south of Mizen Head.

With strong tides in the area, Arklow RNLI proceeded to the scene. Upon arrival, the lifeboat crew were made aware that the casualties had made it ashore safely and the lifeboat was stood down.

Following the callout, Mark Corcoran, Arklow RNLI’s volunteer press officer and community safety officer, said: “Thanks to the quick thinking of the local beach lifeguard, our lifeboat was launched early enough to be on scene to assist if necessary.

“People should never hesitate in calling us out. Before going out people need to check the tides and weather and make themselves aware of local hazards and always carry a mean of calling for help.”

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#RNLI - Last Wednesday evening (8 August), two men enjoying an evening’s fishing on their speedboat near Groomsport in Co Down hit rocks and lost their propeller.

Bangor RNLI were quickly called to the scene for what was described as “a textbook tow-in” on the part of the volunteer lifeboat crew helmed by John Bell.

Thanks to their skill, it wasn’t long until they were able to hand the rescued vessel over to the Bangor Coastguard Rescue Team and make their way back to Bangor to enjoy what remained of their evening.

More recently, volunteer crew from Bangor launched to a report of a person in the water on the Carrickfergus side of Belfast Lough yesterday, Monday 13 August.

On arrival, however, the crew determined that it was just a cluster of helium-filled balloons, and returned to base.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - A family of five were rescued by Skerries RNLI in the early hours of this morning (Tuesday 14 August) after their yacht ran aground at the North Co Dublin town’s harbour.

As RTÉ News reports, the family, who are understood to be French nationals, sent a Mayday after their vessel broke its moorings.

The Skerries lifeboat crew were quickly on scene and retrieved the family — two adults and three children aged 12 to 16 — in a dinghy.

RTÉ News has more on the story HERE.

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