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Displaying items by tag: Lough Swilly

#RNLI - Portrush RNLI had a busy 24 hours earlier this week with two early morning callouts on consecutive days.

The volunteer lifeboat crew was alerted at 4.45am on Monday (14 March) to reports of a fishing vessel that had lost power two miles off the coast of Ballycastle.

However, as the all-weather lifeboat approached Ballycastle the crew was stood down as another vessel had responded and assisted the vessel to get underway.

The crew was requested to launch once again went at 12.30am yesterday morning (Tuesday 15 March) to reports of a 23m fishing vessel 12 miles northwest of Portrush that had got nets caught around its propeller.

The weather was cold but calm and the Portrush lifeboat crew were joined by their lifeboat colleagues from Lough Swilly RNLI and their new Shannon class lifeboat, The Derek Bullivant.

The Portrush crew attached a towline to the fishing vessel and towed her into Greencastle Harbour under the guidance of Lough Swilly RNLI

The Portrush crew had last seen the Shannon when she and her crew made Portrush their last call when returning from Poole to Buncrana in April last year.

Speaking following the callout, Portrush RNLI lifeboat operations manager Robin Cardwell said: "This was a tow for which both crews are trained and executed perfectly.

"The Portrush crew towed the vessel into Greencastle and aworked well with our flank station Lough Swilly who helped us into harbour."

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#lifeboat – In the early hours of this morning Lough Swilly RNLI rescued three fishermen who had been reported missing after they failed to return home. It was the first rescue for Lough Swilly RNLI's new Shannon class lifeboat and her volunteer crew.

The callout occurred after the three fishermen from the Malin area took out a small fishing boat to test the engine just after 7.30pm last night. The alarm was raised before midnight when they had not returned and had failed to make contact with anyone on shore.

In a major search operation Malin Head Coast Guard requested Lough Swilly RNLI to launch both the Shannon class lifeboat and the inshore Atlantic lifeboat, along with the Portrush RNLI all-weather lifeboat and the Greencastle Coast Guard shore based unit. The groups were also joined by a large contingent of local fishing vessels from the Malin and Glengad area.

Conditions were described as choppy when at 2.30am the missing fishermen managed to make a call and give an approximate location. Lough Swilly RNLI's Shannon class lifeboat then picked up a small spot on their radar and headed for the area with large searchlights trained on the water. They located the men safe and well and wearing survival suits and lifejackets. The vessel has lost power and had drifted 12 miles.

Commenting on the callout John McCarter Lough Swilly RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager said, 'You fear the worst when you hear fishermen are missing and we have seen too many tragedies in this part of the world. However the men kept their heads and were in proper survival gear which gave them every chance if something happened. The outpouring of support from the local fishing community was wonderful and bringing the vessel home under tow behind the lifeboat, to be greeted by locals lining the pier at that early hour of the morning was an incredible sight.

In this first rescue for our new Shannon class lifeboat, the time it took for us to reach the search area has been reduced on what our previous lifeboat could achieve, which in search and rescue operations can mean the difference between a life saved or a life lost.'

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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#rnli – Lifeboat crew from Lough Swilly RNLI are currently onboard the station's new €2.4 million Shannon class lifeboat and en route to its permanent home in Donegal from the charity's headquarters in Poole. As Afloat reported earlier, he new lifeboat is the first of its class to be put on service in Ireland and the first to be named after an Irish river, the previous classes are all called after UK rivers. 

The lifeboat crew are being accompanied on the journey by RNLI staff coxswain Martin Philips, who is using the long passage home as an opportunity to continue with the training programme for the state of the art lifeboat. On the last leg of the passage the crew will be joined by RNLI Divisional Operations Manager Darren Byers but the honour of taking the lifeboat into Lough Swilly will fall to the station Coxswain, Mark Barnett. The crew got a preview of the boat in build last November.

The station is hoping for a large turnout at the Buncrana pier as the new lifeboat arrives into the harbour at noon on Friday 10 April, to take up residence on the Donegal coastline. The lifeboat is named Derek Bullivant and has been largely funded through a legacy from Mr Bullivant who hailed from Bewdley, Worcestershire, UK and who passed away in September 2011.

The Shannon is the latest class of all-weather lifeboat to join the RNLI fleet and the first to be propelled by waterjets instead of traditional propellers, making it the most agile and manoeuvrable all-weather lifeboat in the fleet. Waterjets allow the vessel to operate in shallow waters and be intentionally beached.

The new lifeboat was developed to operate in the worst of sea conditions and is self-righting, automatically turning the right side up in the event of a capsize. Its unique hull is designed to minimise slamming of the boat in heavy seas and the shock-absorbing seats further protect the crew from impact when powering through the waves. The lifeboat has a top speed of 25 knots and a range of 250 nautical miles, which makes it ideal for offshore searches and rescues in calm and rough seas.

Commenting from onboard the Shannon lifeboat, Lough Swilly RNLI Coxswain Mark Barnett said, 'This day has been a long time coming for our lifeboat station and it is one that is very emotional for all of us. The arrival of a new lifeboat is a huge investment in the community by the RNLI. It's not just a financial investment but it is also an investment in our lifeboat crew, the people who live here and the people who use the waters around our station, whether locally based or just passing through.

This will be its home for many years to come and it will be launched on countless rescues and save many lives. We would also like to express our gratitude to the late Mr Derek Bullivant, whose name is proudly displayed on our lifeboat and whose generosity made this possible.'

Once the lifeboat is on station, training will continue for the remaining volunteer lifeboat crew at Lough Swilly RNLI before the lifeboat is officially put on service and the previous one is retired into the relief fleet.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#rnli – Final preparations are being put in place for 'the Homecoming', which will see Lough Swilly RNLI receive the first Shannon class lifeboat in Ireland. The station is planning a special celebration, as the €2.4 million lifeboat arrives into Lough Swilly harbour at 12 noon on Friday 10 April, to take up residence on the Donegal coastline. The Shannon class is the first lifeboat in the history of the 191 year old lifesaving charity that has been named after an Irish river, in recognition of the service and dedication of Irish lifeboat crews.

The new lifeboat will be named Derek Bullivant and has been largely funded through a legacy from Mr Derek Jim Bullivant who hailed from Bewdley, Worcestershire, UK and who passed away in September 2011.

The coxswains and mechanics from Lough Swilly RNLI have been busy training on the new lifeboat and have travelled over to Poole to familiarise themselves on it. When it arrives to its new home and before it is put on service the volunteer lifeboat crew will be receiving intensive training on site before it is declared operational and put on service.

The Shannon is the latest class of all-weather lifeboat to join the RNLI fleet and the first to be propelled by waterjets instead of traditional propellers, making it the most agile and manoeuvrable all-weather lifeboat in the fleet. Waterjets allow the vessel to operate in shallow waters and be intentionally beached.

The new lifeboat was developed to operate in the worst of sea conditions and is self-righting, automatically turning the right side up in the event of a capsize. Its unique hull is designed to minimise slamming of the boat in heavy seas and the shock-absorbing seats further protect the crew from impact when powering through the waves. The lifeboat has a top speed of 25 knots and a range of 250 nautical miles, which makes it ideal for offshore searches and rescues in calm and rough seas.

The Shannon lifeboat also has another strong Irish connection. Peter Eyre, an RNLI Engineer from Derry who works at the charity's headquarters in Poole, was instrumental in the development of the new lifeboat, designing the hull form at the age of 24. He studied at Foyle College before studying Ship Science at the University of Southampton and undertaking a work placement with the RNLI.

Peter will be travelling over to Inishowen for the homecoming with his new wife Alice and hopes to be onboard the Shannon as it powers into Lough Swilly on the 10 April. Speaking about the new lifeboat Peter said, 'It's fair to say that of all the Shannon lifeboats, Lough Swilly's station boat has a special place in my heart. It was during my youth, which I spent messing around on all types of boats on the Swilly, that I learned one of the most valuable lessons regarding the power of the sea and how quickly conditions can change.

When I was designing the Shannon I had the vast range of conditions found in and around Lough Swilly at the forefront of my mind. If the Shannon could perform in those conditions I would be happy; today as we roll out the Shannon class lifeboats, I'm more than happy.'

Speaking ahead of the event Lough Swilly RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager John McCarter added, 'Everyone is welcome to come along and see our new lifeboat coming home. We are very proud of the honour that has been bestowed on us and we have been preparing the homecoming for quite some time. Everything that we do is made possible through the great support we receive around the coast and we are very grateful for it.

A new lifeboat at a station is an occasion for celebration and joy but we never forget that during its lifetime it will bring home many loved ones and launch countless times to search, rescue and train. We hope that before that happens that people will come and see the new arrival.'

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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#RNLI - Three members of Lough Swilly RNLI recently made a very special trip to check on the progress of the station’s new state-of-the-art Shannon-class lifeboat.

The group visited Lymington in England, where the finishing touches are being put to their new €2.4 million lifeboat in time for its arrival into Inishowen next year.

Lough Swilly lifeboat operations manager John McCarter, coxswain Mark Barnett and mechanic Gregory McDaid were invited by the RNLI to see their new Shannon under construction via a full guided tour by RNLI fleet staff coxswain Martin Phillips.  

The new all-weather lifeboat was at the ‘topping out’ stage, where the superstructure was about to be joined with the hull and the lifeboat would then take on the shape that the public recognise today.

All systems in the hull were fitted out and the lifeboat had just received its first distinctive coat of the orange paint that is present on all lifeboats.

Commenting on the visit, McCarter said: "It was incredible to see our lifeboat taking shape in the boatyard. It was completely exposed and you could see up close the minute detail that goes into every single part of the lifeboat.

"In just a few short months that lifeboat will be steaming into the Inishowen peninsula to take up residence here and give support and assistance to many people over its lifetime."

Barnett added: "This is a very special occasion in the life of our station and I am delighted with how our new lifeboat is coming along. We were shown around the boatyard and saw the Shannon-class lifeboats that were being built for other stations in the RNLI. 

"However, ours will be the first to go on service in Ireland and for that reason it is extra special. 

"I was standing in the bare wheelhouse of our new lifeboat, knowing that soon it would be fitted out with the equipment and seats that will give our volunteer lifeboat crew the tools they need to carry out their roles in all weathers off our coastline." 

Adding to the praise for the new lifeboat, Gregory McDaid said: "I have a different view point from the other crew. My role is to make sure that the lifeboat can safely bring the lifeboat crew out in all weathers at any hour, handle anything that is thrown at it and of course bring everyone home safely. With this in mind I was very keen to see the engines on the other Shannons that were in their final stages of construction.

"This lifeboat is the first modern generation all weather lifeboat to run on water jets rather than propellers. This allows the vessel to operate in shallow waters and to be intentionally beached. The two 650hp engines help the lifeboat achieve 25 knots and each one has its own 1,370 litre fuel tank. That engine room will be my new home soon."

Excitement has been mounting locally since the RNLI announced in September that the Lough Swilly lifeboat station in Buncrana, Co Donegal was to be the first in Ireland to receive the new Shannon class lifeboat.

The Shannon is the first class of lifeboat to be named after an Irish river, recognition by the charity of the role of Irish lifeboat crews and volunteers throughout the 190 year history of the RNLI.

The new lifeboat is on course to arrive into Buncrana next April with a vigorous training schedule for the lifeboat crew to commence in January.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
Tagged under

#rnli – Lough Swilly RNLI has rescued six men from a sinking fishing vessel off the Donegal coast in the early hours of this morning (Monday 8 September).

The volunteer lifeboat crew was requested to launch both their inshore and all-weather lifeboats at 3.15am at the request of Malin Head Coast Guard.

It followed a report that a fishing vessel with six men on board was taking on water two miles north of Dunree Head. The Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 118 from Sligo was also requested. A local fishing boat which was in the area was also ready to offer assistance.

Weather conditions at the time were described as good with a flat calm sea.

Both lifeboats proceeded in the darkness to the scene where upon arrival they spotted a fishing vessel which was lifting badly and rapidly taking on water.

All six crew on the stricken vessel were wearing lifejackets and survival suits and they had prepared their life raft for deployment.

Three RNLI crew from the all-weather lifeboat were transferred to the vessel. Using a salvage pump they started to pump water from the boat and continued for over an hour.

Once the boat was stabilised, the lifeboat escorted the vessel safely back to shore at Rathmullun where it arrived at seven o'clock this morning.

Following the four hour operation, Mark Barnett, Lough Swilly RNLI Coxswain said: 'The six fishermen deserve to be commended for their quick actions in the early hours of this morning. They called for help once they got into difficultly and had their life raft ready if needed in an emergency. The boat had taken on a considerable amount of water but thankfully our crew was able to assist and avoid the vessel from sinking and assist the men safely back to shore.'

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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#RNLI - Lough Swilly RNLI came to the aid of two fishermen yesterday (22 August) after their open boat was grounded on rocks near Malin Head, as the Irish Independent reports.

The Lough Swilly lifeboat was joined by the volunteer crew from Greencastle and the Sligo-based Irish Coast Guard rescue helicopter to attend the 22ft fishing boat. Both fishermen on board were recovered and are well.

It is not yet clear how the vessel came to crash on the rocks off Trawbrega Bay, with conditions in the area said to be "not bad". The Irish Independent has more on the story HERE.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Rathmullan marina is a small marina pontoon at Rathmullan, a village in County Donegal is located on the western shore of Lough Swilly and is part of the Fanad Peninsula, situated roughly 12.5 miles from the Lough's entrance and 34 miles northwest of Londonderry/Derry.

The pontoon is suitable for small vessels to berth alongside at a reasonable fee and where fresh water is laid on.  There is a concrete slipway suitable for dinghy landing. The Lough Swilly ferry also operates from the pier between Rathmullan and Buncrana, a journey of 45 minutes.

Published in Irish Marinas

#RNLI - RTÉ’s popular agricultural programme Ear to the Ground paid a visit to Lough Swilly RNLI recently which will feature on this week's episode on Thursday evening.

Set to feature is local man Francis Burns, who along with running a successful farm hoof care business also volunteers with Lough Swilly RNLI’s lifeboat crew.

The programme, which looks at issues concerning agriculture and the rural community, had planned to spend a day with Burns carrying out his job – but when producers heard about his role as a volunteer lifeboat crew member, they decided to include his role with the RNLI too.

Burns and fellow Lough Swilly lifeboat volunteers Eamonn Mahon, Michael Doherty, Tommy Cooper and Francis Bourne showed their guests around the station and demonstrated a lifeboat launch for them. 

While most visitors to the station are particularly interested in the RNLI’s Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat, the Ear to the Ground crew were particularly impressed with the RNLI’s huge custom-built tractor, which the lifeboat crew uses to launch and recover the lifeboat.

The massive tyres are filled with water and antifreeze to make sure it stays on the ground when it enters the water.

Speaking about the filming, Burns said: “I’ve wanted to be a member of Lough Swilly RNLI ever since we got a day off school to come down and see the new all-weather lifeboat arriving at the station.

"Lifeboats are in my family as my cousin George O’Hagan is also the second coxswain on the lifeboat.

"It will be great to be able to show people how lifeboat volunteers can work in the agricultural sector and still be able to train and go out on the lifeboats to help rescue people.”

Programme director Liam Lavelle added: “We are delighted to be able to include the RNLI on Ear to the Ground. It’s a great story about people who volunteer to save lives. 

"In our programme we try and reflect what people are doing in rural communities. Many of these communities touch the sea and this work is an important part of Francis’s story."

The programme is due to air on RTÉ One this Thursday evening 31 January at 8.30pm.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#FishFarm - Two Irish fish farms were found to have consistently high levels of sea lice over the past six months, according to new figures.

Undercurrent News reports on findings by the Marine Institute which show that a farm owned by Marine Harvest Ireland at Lough Swilly and one operated by the Mannin Bay Salmon Company in Corhounagh were "found to have levels of sea lice which exceed the Marine Institute's protocol level of two pregnant female lice per fish."

Sea lice levels at the Lough Swilly site in particular climbed from an average of 4.35 per fish to a high of 71.72 in September before dropping to a still-high 44.88 last month.

A statement issued by Marine Harvest played down concerns over the new figures, noting that "treatment trigger levels are set a low level" in Ireland compared to other countries, and that it uses "tried and tested procedures" to deal with such infestations.

It added that lice numbers can rise and fall in tandem with changes in climate, as experienced in the latter months of 2012.

As reported on last month, a new international study says some 39% of salmon mortalities can be attributed to the impact of sea lice - predominantly from fish farms - on wild salmon fisheries.

In a press release, Don Staniford of lobby group the Global Alliance Against Industrial Aquaculture (GAAIA) said: “The Irish Government should be controlling sea lice infestation on salmon farms not promoting even bigger feedlots such as the proposed 15,000-metric-ton farm in Galway Bay.”

Undercurrent News has more on the story HERE.

Published in Fishing
Page 2 of 3

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.


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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