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The RNLI is on the lookout for budding lifeguards to launch their lifesaving careers on some of the most popular beaches in Scotland, Northern Ireland and elsewhere in the UK.

Recruitment for this season’s lifeguard team has started nationally in preparation for providing local authorities and landowners with the service they request to keep the nation’s beachgoers safe this summer.

The charity’s lifeguards not only rescue those in difficulty in the water, they also provide vital beach first-aid and safety advice to ensure visitors can return home safely.

In 2022, RNLI lifeguards provided patrols and responded to more than 18,000 incidents, helping more than 24,000 people in need and saving 117 lives.

Last summer, lifeguards plucked stricken swimmers from powerful rip currents, saved children being blown offshore in inflatables, came to the aid of paddle-boarders and gave lifesaving CPR on beaches among the thousands of incidents they attended.

Successful applicants will receive world-class lifesaving training, enjoy good rates of pay, the possibility of flexible working patterns and develop valuable skills for a future career.

Lachlan Edwards, lead lifeguard supervisor for Scotland said: “To anyone thinking of becoming a lifeguard, just do it. It’s the best job, it’s so rewarding, and it keeps getting better – there’s so much opportunity for growth in the role.

“I love being outside on the beach all summer and sharing my knowledge with people. It often doesn’t feel like a job because I enjoy it so much, which is something a lot of lifeguards say.”

Lee Fisher, lifeguard experience manager said: “Beach lifeguarding is a great opportunity and a very rewarding role that changes lives — including your own — all whilst enjoying the beach as your office.

“Our lifeguards range from teenagers all the way up to lifesavers in their 70s, as long as you meet the fitness requirements and you are over 16 years old, there could be a role for you.

“The job also has great paths for progression — we have lifeguards who have been working for the RNLI for years, both on the beach and as part of our support teams, and the skills you gain can make an ideal first step towards many careers. It’s a great opportunity whether you want a rewarding summer job or to pursue a career in lifesaving.”

Find out more about becoming a lifeguard at rnli.org/BeALifeguard.

Published in Water Safety

Three days after the rescue of three fishermen last Saturday afternoon, Wicklow RNLI launched lunchtime on Tuesday (13 February) to assist three more fishermen after their vessel experienced mechanical problems.

Under the command of coxswain Ciaran Doyle, the all-weather lifeboat Bridie O’Shea slipped its moorings from the south quay shortly before 9am and proceeded north to the casualty vessel’s last reported position.

The 11-metre fishing vessel was located at 9.35am drifting some eight miles off Bray Harbour, with three fishermen onboard were found to be safe and well.

Their fishing boat was found to have suffered engine failure and was unable to return to port under its own power, so the decision was made to tow the vessel to safety.

A towline was quickly established, and the lifeboat began to tow the stricken vessel back to Wicklow harbour, where it was secured alongside the south quay at 12.40pm and the fishermen were landed safely ashore.

Weather conditions at the time were favourable with calm sea and good visibility.

Speaking after the call-out, lifeboat press officer Tommy Dover said: “The fishermen did the right thing this morning by calling the coastguard for assistance. Our volunteer crew were happy to help.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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On Thursday, the 15th of February, Union Hall RNLI in West Cork responded to a report of a swimmer in trouble at The Warren Beach, Rosscarbery, in West Cork. The call was made to Valentia Coast Guard at 2.44 pm.

The lifeboat, Christine and Raymond Fielding, helmed by Michael Limrick and manned by Charlie Deasy and Cathal Deasy, left the station at 2.53 pm and headed for the Warren strand. They were assisted ashore by Peter Deasy, Niamh Collins, and Anthony Walsh.

Conditions at sea were favourable, with moderate swell and wind in a southwesterly direction. On arriving on the scene, Valentia Coast Guard informed the volunteer lifeboat crew that the search was for a paddle boarder.

The Irish Coast Guard helicopter crew from Rescue 115 at Shannon, Castlefreke Coast Guard ground unit, and the crew of a fishing trawler that was also on the scene were already carrying out a search pattern.

The crew of Rescue 115 located the casualty and notified the lifeboat crew, who picked up the paddle boarder and headed to the Warren strand. An HSE ambulance was waiting there with a family member to take care of the casualty.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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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.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Rosslare Harbour RNLI’s volunteer crew were requested by the Irish Coast Guard on Sunday evening (11 February) to assist five crew on board a stricken fishing vessel.

The all-weather lifeboat was launched shortly after the shout at 5.26pm and quickly reached the scene two miles north of Rosslare Harbour, in clear weather with slight seas and good visibility.

It emerged that the 15m-long fishing vessel had an entangled propeller.

Having assessed the situation and consulted with the five crew onboard, it was decided to tow the vessel to Rosslare Harbour. A tow line was secured and the vessel was safely towed to the harbour.

Jamie Ryan, Rosslare Harbour RNLI lifeboat operations manager said: “I would like to commend the crew of the fishing vessel for wearing their flotation safety devices and for carrying communication equipment.

“It is essential that sailors and fishers contact the coastguard when in difficulty. To do this, call 999 or 112.”

The lifeboat volunteer crew on this call-out were coxswain Mick Nicholas, mechanic Keith Miller, navigator Andrew Ironside and crew Paul McCormack, Eoghan Quirke, Ronan Hill, Seán Cullen and Stephen Breen.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Three fishermen were rescued by the Wicklow RNLI on Saturday afternoon (10th February) after their 12-metre vessel developed mechanical problems off the Wicklow coast.

The Coast Guard requested the RNLI relief fleet all-weather Shannon lifeboat RNLB Bridie O’Shea at 12.50pm, and a volunteer crew led by Coxswain Tommy McAulay responded immediately. The skipper of the fishing vessel had reported that it was fouled in ropes and drifting south, prompting the rescue mission.

The Wicklow lifeboat reached the fishing vessel just ten minutes after launching. An assessment was carried out, and as the vessel had no propulsion due to the fouled propeller, the only option was to tow it back to Wicklow port.

The Wicklow RNLI crew after returning to port after the incident Photo: Tommy DoverThe Wicklow RNLI crew after returning to port after the incident Photo: Tommy Dover

Coxswain Tommy McAulay said, “We located the vessel about a half mile south of Wicklow Head, conditions in the area were lumpy, with a three-metre swell at times. The tow was slow at first due to the strong tidal flow at Wicklow Head, but we adjusted the course to take the boat further offshore where the tide was not as strong.”

The fishing vessel was secured alongside the South quay at 2.40pm, and the three fishermen were landed safely ashore. This was the first callout of 2024 for the Wicklow lifeboat volunteers, and it comes in the run-up to the RNLI’s 200th birthday on 4 March 2024.

The RNLI reminds everyone to check their engine and fuel before going afloat, always wear a lifejacket or buoyancy aid, and carry a means of calling for help. If you see someone in difficulty on or near the water, dial 999 and ask for the Coast Guard

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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As the RNLI prepares to celebrate its 200th anniversary on 4 March, the charity has brought some of its rich history to life with the release of a stunning collection of colourised images.

From community events to candid snapshots, 11 black-and-white images have been painstakingly cleaned and colourised with folds, scratches and dust removed using digital technology to shine new light on 200 years of saving lives at sea.

The striking images from across Ireland and the UK include courageous lifeboat crews, early fundraising street collections and iconic scenes of close-knit communities coming together to launch and recover lifeboats.

Part of the new collection is a photograph taken of Ballycotton coxswain Patrick Sliney, his wife and their son William at an annual meeting in 1936.

Full-length photograph of Ballycotton coxswain Patrick Sliney, Mrs Sliney and son William at an annual meeting in 1936 | Credit: RNLIFull-length photograph of Ballycotton coxswain Patrick Sliney, Mrs Sliney and son William at an annual meeting in 1936 | Credit: RNLI

In that same year, the Daunt Rock Lightship came adrift off Ballycotton in horrendous conditions with 12 people onboard. The lifeboat crew spent 49 hours at sea and eventually rescued all those onboard.

Patrick Sliney was awarded the RNLI Gold Medal for Gallantry and the rest of his crew, including his son William, received Bronze Medals.

Also featured in the collection is the most decorated RNLI lifesaver, Henry Blogg, who was born on 6 February 1876. Blogg served for 53 years on Cromer’s lifeboats in Norfolk, England before retiring in 1947, having saved 873 lives and been awarded many honours including three Gold and four Silver RNLI Medals for Gallantry.

The image of Henry, which first appeared in the Lifeboat Journal in 1916, shows him wearing black oilskins and a sou’wester, which preceded the instantly recognisable yellow waterproofs now associated with the RNLI.

Before and after: A portrait of Henry Blogg, the most decorated RNLI lifesaver, who in his 53 years of service helped save 873 people | Credit: RNLIBefore and after: A portrait of Henry Blogg, the most decorated RNLI lifesaver, who in his 53 years of service helped save 873 people | Credit: RNLI

RNLI heritage and archive research manager Hayley Whiting said: “The carefully coloured images illustrate just a few highlights of the incredible history of lifesaving over the previous two centuries, where over 144,000 lives have been saved to date.

“To see the crew of St Davids lifeboat walking up from the boathouse wearing their traditional red hats, the yellow sou’westers of the children fundraising or the vibrant blue sea off the Isle of Man, the reworked images really do bring a different perspective on some of our archived pictures.

“Each image has been brought to life by our own in-house creative team with hours spent on attention to detail, along with research being undertaken to ensure each one gave a true, lifelike representation.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Tributes have been paid to Red Bay RNLI helm Gary Fyfe after his sudden death on Thursday night (8 February).

As the Belfast Telegraph reports, the 46-year-old died at the scene of a single-vehicle crash in Cushendall, Co Antrim.

His funeral will take place on Sunday (11 February) with Requiem Mass in St Patrick’s and St Brigid’s Church, Glenariffe at 10am.

Red Bay RNLI said Fyfe was “a giant in our lifeboat station, a natural leader who everyone turned to for advice and guidance”.

It added that this year would have seen Fyfe receive his 30-year service medal, having signed up for the RNLI as a lifeboat volunteer at the age of 17.

Gary Fyfe, as the Operations Manager of Red Bay Boats Ltd, one of the leading boat builders in Northern Ireland, had a keen interest in marine affairs across Ireland. This included Afloat.ie. He is pictured standing on the bow area of the magazine's Red Bay 7.4m cabin RIB during a recent Afloat trip on a fine day to his beloved Cushendall Harbour Photo: AfloatGary Fyfe, as the Operations Manager of Red Bay Boats Ltd, a leading boat builder in Northern Ireland, had a keen interest in marine affairs across Ireland. This included Afloat.ie. He is pictured standing in the bow area of the magazine's Red Bay 7.4m cabin RIB during a recent Afloat trip on a fine day to his beloved Cushendall Harbour Photo: Afloat

His lifeboat colleagues added: “Gary was responsible for saving many lives during his years on the Red Bay lifeboat. He never sought recognition or praise for his rescues but rather carried his achievements lightly and thought only of others.

“In our small but close community in Cushendall, Gary was an anchor for us all and his loss will be felt far and wide. His life and the selfless way he lived it, touched so many people.”

Gary Fyfe is survived by his wife Clare and children Eleanor and Alexander.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Just days after the Arranmore RNLI volunteer crew carried out a marathon rescue of a fishing crew in challenging weather conditions, they were again called out to assist with a medical evacuation from the island at 7pm on Thursday evening (8 February).

Following the third call-out for the crew in as many days, lifeboat coxswain Seán O'Donnell said: “This was a quick call which we were pleased to respond to following our long service on Sunday. We are always ready to answer the call no matter what it is.”

The crew on board on Thursday alongside O’Donnell were mechanic Philip McCauley, Brian Proctor, Seamus Bonner, Sharon O’Donnell, Mickey Dubh McHugh and Seán Sammy Gallagher.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Lifeboat crew from Arranmore RNLI finally got to their beds at 1.20 am this morning (Tuesday, 6 February) after spending over 26 hours at sea to bring a fishing vessel, with five people onboard, to safety.

The Coast Guard requested the Donegal lifeboat to launch on Sunday evening at 10.50pm, after the vessel, which was 48 miles north of Arranmore, reported being in difficulty.

The crew successfully towed a fishing vessel to safety in harsh weather conditions. The vessel was facing swells of up to 5.5 metres and winds of 60kph, making the operation particularly challenging. 

After an initial attempt to tow the vessel failed, the lifeboat crew decided to establish a tow themselves. Despite the difficult conditions, a crew member managed to successfully throw a rope onto the deck of the fishing vessel and establish a line. 

The Arranmore RNLI crew then towed the fishing vessel back to Rathmullen pier in Donegal, at a speed of 1.2 to 3 knots. Upon arrival, they were met by their colleagues from Lough Swilly RNLI, who provided them with warm food before they continued their journey home. 

This was the second callout for the Arranmore RNLI crew over the St. Bridget’s bank holiday weekend. They had earlier launched to carry out a medical evacuation from the island, bringing a casualty to Burtonport where an ambulance met them. 

Reflecting on the operation, Arranmore RNLI Coxswain Jimmy Early expressed his gratitude to the crew members who left their homes to help those in need. He highlighted that the conditions were far from ideal, but the crew members' dedication and expertise ensured a successful outcome. 

The crew members' commitment to their work is commendable, and their bravery in the face of challenging circumstances is truly inspiring.

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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