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Lifeboat crews from Lough Swilly and Arranmore in County Donegal, along with Portrush in county Antrim, have received an award from the RNLI for a callout in 2019 as Afloat reported at the time, which saw the rescuers at sea for hours in Force 11 conditions. The actions of the lifeboat crews that night, saved the lives of five people onboard a fishing vessel that was in serious trouble. For their outstanding actions at sea, which were conducted in storm force conditions, the three lifeboat crews have received a Chief Executive’s Commendation from the RNLI.

The lifeboat crews had been requested to launch their all-weather lifeboats by Belfast Coastguard on the afternoon of Saturday, 14 December 2019, following a Mayday alert from a 45ft fishing boat. The five men who had been fishing for crab, got into difficulty 20 miles north of Fanad Head, when their boat lost power and encountered steering difficulties, while powerful waves struck their vessel.

In the middle of a storm, the lifeboat crew worked with the fishermen to establish a tow in conditions which saw the sea swell reach 50 ft. and the tow part three times. Arranmore lifeboat crew undertook the tow and once in calmer waters transferred it to Lough Swilly lifeboat. The lifeboat crew were at sea for fifteen hours, carrying out the rescue in darkness. Despite their ordeal none of the fishing crew were injured.

On a recent visit to their stations, RNLI Chief Executive, Mr. Mark Dowie, presented Arranmore Coxswain Jimmy Early and Lough Swilly Lifeboat Operations Manager John McCarter with the Commendations, while Portrush RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager Beni McAllister presented the Portrush lifeboat crew with their honour.

Arranmore CE Commendation: RNLI Chief Executive Mark Dowie presents a Commendation to Arranmore RNLI Coxswain Jimmy Early and Arranmore lifeboat crew on a recent visit to the stationArranmore CE Commendation: RNLI Chief Executive Mark Dowie presents a Commendation to Arranmore RNLI Coxswain Jimmy Early and Arranmore lifeboat crew on a recent visit to the station

Speaking about the lifesaving service, Mark Dowie RNLI Chief Executive said, ‘The joint actions of all three lifeboats undoubtedly saved the crew and casualty vessel, with exemplary decision making displayed by the Coxswains. I would like to express my sincere thanks on behalf of the RNLI for the dedicated service of all involved.’

Arranmore RNLI Coxswain, Jimmy Early said, ‘It is indeed a great honour to be recognised by the RNLI for the work that we do. All of our volunteer crew are delighted with this award and the rescue was a really well coordinated service with the Coast Guard and our flanking stations in Lough Swilly and Portrush.’

Lough Swilly CE Commendation: Lough Swilly RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager John McCarter accepts a Commendation on behalf of the lifeboat station from RNLI Chief Executive Mark Dowie, during his recent visit to the stationLough Swilly CE Commendation: Lough Swilly RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager John McCarter accepts a Commendation on behalf of the lifeboat station from RNLI Chief Executive Mark Dowie, during his recent visit to the station

Lough Swilly RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager John McCarter, who accepted the award on behalf of the lifeboat crew said, ‘I am always proud of our crew but their actions that night were nothing short of incredible. To be at sea for such a long period is one thing but to do it in incredibly challenging seas and alongside our colleagues, was a lifesaving mission like no other. I am grateful to the RNLI for recognising the commitment and dedication shown by the three lifeboat crews involved.’

Portrush RNLI Coxswain Des Austin Cox added, ‘It was a challenging service for all the lifeboat crews and to be at sea with both Lough Swilly and Arranmore, showed the incredible working relationship between our stations. We train for every type of callout but when you are in those conditions, it is great to be alongside your neighbouring lifeboat colleagues. My thanks to the crews who answered the call that night and I am incredibly grateful everyone came home.’

The framed Commendations will be put on display in the three lifeboat stations.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Dublin Bay Sailing Club (DBSC) is one of Europe's biggest yacht racing clubs. It has almost sixteen hundred elected members. It presents more than 100 perpetual trophies each season some dating back to 1884. It provides weekly racing for upwards of 360 yachts, ranging from ocean-going forty footers to small dinghies for juniors.

Undaunted by austerity and encircling gloom, Dublin Bay Sailing Club (DBSC), supported by an institutional memory of one hundred and twenty-nine years of racing and having survived two world wars, a civil war and not to mention the nineteen-thirties depression, it continues to present its racing programme year after year as a cherished Dublin sporting institution.

The DBSC formula that, over the years, has worked very well for Dun Laoghaire sailors. As ever DBSC start racing at the end of April and finish at the end of September. The current commodore is Jonathan Nicholson of the Royal St. George Yacht Club.

The character of racing remains broadly the same in recent times, with starts and finishes at Club's two committee boats, one of them DBSC's new flagship, the Freebird. The latter will also service dinghy racing on Tuesdays and Saturdays. Having more in the way of creature comfort than the John T. Biggs, it has enabled the dinghy sub-committee to attract a regular team to manage its races, very much as happened in the case of MacLir and more recently with the Spirit of the Irish. The expectation is that this will raise the quality of dinghy race management, which, operating as it did on a class quota system, had tended to suffer from a lack of continuity.