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On Saturday night, 29 January, a retirement party was held for Michael Lane Walsh in the Schooner Bar, Ballycotton. Michael was a member of the Ballycotton RNLI lifeboat for 37 years, joining when his father, Mikey Lane Walsh, was Coxswain. In 1977 Michael became second mechanic of the RNLI all weather lifeboat and in 1978 he took up the full time position of station mechanic. This is a role he carried out with exceptional diligence until his retirement on Tuesday last, 25 January 2011.

Michael has become well known throughout the RNLI community over the years and the 29 January was marked on several calendars for quite some time as the date they would be travelling to Ballycotton to help celebrate the retirement of an exceptional, modest man.

Lifeboat personnel travelled from RNLI lifeboat stations in Ballyglass Co. Mayo, Achill Island, Courtmacsherry, Rosslare, Helvic and Youghal joining with Ballycotton lifeboat members, family and friends to help celebrate a man's commitment to a job he treated more as a vocation than a job. The Training Divisional Inspector, Owen Medland and Divisional Base Manager, Derek Potter from the RNLI head quarters in Dublin attended and spoke of their long association with Michael Lane Walsh. Several presentations were made with the good wishes from everyone present, along with those from lifeboat crewmembers who were unable to leave their stations. Derek Potter told those present that normally they would be presenting a long service vellum to the retiree but in Michael's case he is not finished yet. For the time being he will not be hanging up his life jacket but will keep it in readiness for the next time someone calls for help from the Ballycotton RNLI lifeboat.

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Published in RNLI Lifeboats

RNLI lifeboats from Ballycotton and Youghal responded to reports of white flare seen south of Ballycotton in East Cork tonight. The LE Emer was off Power Head, east of Cork Harbour, when the report was received and proceeded to the area also. Having spoken with a fishing vessel in the area they were satisfied there were no problems and the two Lifeboats were stood down.

Unconfirmed reports on Twitter said that the suspected flare sighting was in fact a streaming white light on a vessel.

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Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Last year RNLI lifeboats rescued 1,094 people in Ireland, launching 1,002 times. Figures released today (Tuesday 25 January 2010) by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) show an increase of 8 per cent in the number of people brought to safety by Irish lifeboat crews compared to 2009 figures.

The busiest RNLI lifeboat station in Ireland last year was Enniskillen, where the crews on Lough Erne launched 64 times and rescued 82 people last year. The next busiest station was Crosshaven in Cork where volunteer lifeboat crew launched 54 times and brought 67 people to safety. RNLI Dun Laoghaire's lifeboats launched 50 times and the Aran Islands all-weather lifeboat launched 49 times bringing between them 107 people to safety. Kilmore Quay lifeboat station in Wexford, which last year received a new Tamar class lifeboat worth €3 million, rescued 85 people during 43 callouts.

In a breakdown of the causes of services for the RNLI last year 130 callouts were to persons in the sea, 329 launches were to power pleasure craft and 109 were to fishing vessels.

RNLI Divisional Inspector for Ireland Martyn Smith said: 'It's been another busy year for Ireland's 55 RNLI lifeboats with lifeboat launches topping one thousand for the first time last year.  Every one of the rescues carried out by the RNLI in 2010 was only made possible due to the incredible generosity of the public, even in these difficult times.

'We are absolutely determined to make the best possible use of the funds that the public entrust to us – and we regularly re-examine everything we do. This ensures that we give the best possible support to our volunteers who may face the worst the sea can throw at them. These new figures show just how much time our crews sacrifice to help those in trouble at sea – but in addition, they spend even more time training, which is a further measure of their dedication and commitment.'

The RNLI, a charity that is independent of Government and reliant on donations, is urging the public to respond to its own call for help by supporting RNLI SOS Day this year on Friday, 28 January.  To find out more log on to www.rnli.ie or call 1800 789 589

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Published in RNLI Lifeboats
Tagged under

A Sealine motor cruiser that hit rocks in Tralee Bay early on Sunday morning on a run back from Ballydavid is due to be lifted on to Fenit pier this week. Eight people were rescued by Fenit lifeboat and the boat was towed into Fenit harbour where it is now lying on the bottom. Photos: Paul Dolan.

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Published in RNLI Lifeboats
At around 11.30 this morning Belfast Coastguard were alerted to two people in distress after one of them was pitched into the water from his capsized canoe and had been struggling, without success to get back into the craft. The call came from his colleague.

The emergency call stated that the two men, both in their early 50s, were off Copeland Sound between the coast and Donaghadee. Both men were wearing lifejackets. The man in difficulty was exhausted and needed assistance. The seas on scene were described as having a heavy swell.

Both the Bangor and Donaghadee RNLI inshore lifeboats were asked to launch and a fisheries patrol vessel, the 'Queen of Ulster' also offered assistance after hearing the radio exchanges.

During the incident, Belfast Coastguard kept in contact with the canoeist who had remained in his craft to ensure that both men were aware of the situation and that help was proceeding.

Louis McGookin, Duty Watch Manager at Belfast Coastguard said

"It was clear that the man in the water was absolutely exhausted and simply was unable to get back into his craft. Sea temperatures are at around 8 degrees Celsius at present and hypothermia is an ever present danger in prolonged immersion. Fortunately they were able to contact the Coastguard and using our knowledge of the tides in the area we were able to pinpoint his location. Both men were given a medical check when they arrived back at the shoreline and neither required any treatment."

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UPDATE: Ballycotton RNLI lifeboat has launched this morning to help search for a missing person off Ringabella Bay in Cork Harbour. The alarm was raised when one fisherman managed to swim ashore shortly before 11am and alert the emergency services that another man was still in the water. A major air and sea search is currently taking place in the area for the missing fisherman. Ballycotton RNLI lifeboat, Crosshaven RNLI lifeboat, Coastguard helicopter Rescue 117 and the naval service have gathered in the area and a coordinated search is taking place.

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Ballycotton RNLI lifeboat, Austin Lidbury, has launched to assist in a search for a missing person off Ringabella Bay, near Cork harbour. The alarm was raised when a companion swam ashore and alerted the emergency services. Ballycotton RNLI lifeboat's eta is 11:40.

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RNLI Bangor Lifeboat launched at 1:20 pm on Monday 17th January to assist 1 person aboard a 21ft crab fishing boat which had experienced gearbox mechanical failure close to shore.

Within minutes of the rescue pagers being activated, volunteer crew had launched RNLI Bangor Lifeboat and quickly located the crab fishing boat close to shore near Ballymacormick Point which is 1 ½ nautical miles north east of Bangor Harbour.

Calm weather conditions had allowed the skipper of the fishing vessel to make emergency repairs to the gearbox.

RNLI Bangor Lifeboat escorted the fishing vessel to the safety of Bangor Harbour and assisted the skipper with docking manoeuvres.

This is the first rescue call for RNLI Bangor Lifeboat in 2011.

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Published in RNLI Lifeboats
Four fishermen have been rescued last night from a 58 foot wooden Fishing Vessel 'Karen', after hitting rocks near the entrance to Ardglass Harbour and taking on water. The crew of the Fishing vessel had prepared their liferaft, as the vessel was in danger of sinking.

Belfast Coastguard received a Mayday call at 5:54pm from the Newry registered vessel, which operates out of Ardglass, and immediately sent the Southdown and Portaferry Coastguard Rescue Teams to the scene. The launch was requested of the RNLI Portaferry inshore lifeboat.  The Irish Coastguard Rescue Helicopter was tasked but was later stood down.

Steve Carson, Watch Manager, Belfast Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre, said:

"The crew aboard the fishing vessel were rescued by the inshore lifeboat and then taken to Ardglass Harbour where they received medical attention; one of the crew has since been taken to Downpatrick Hospital.

It is imperative to always ensure you are carrying the correct safety equipment and have it serviced regularly. Due to the prompt and appropriate action of the crew I am pleased to say they are all safe but shaken by their traumatic experience.

The rescue was successfully coordinated by Belfast Coastguard with assistance from their colleagues at Dublin, Liverpool and Holyhead Coastguard Stations.

The vessel has now been successfully refloated and is now alongside in Ardglass Harbour."

Published in Coastguard
Concern about an overdue small boat with two persons on board led to a call for Baltimore lifeboat to carry out a search and rescue operation in Dunmanus Bay, West Cork on December 30th.

Two men in a small dinghy had earlier put to sea in poor weather conditions on Wednesday 29 December. Visibility was restricted due to sea fog. When the dinghy did not return the Coast Guard were alerted. At 17:20, both the Baltimore lifeboat and the Castletownbere lifeboat were requested to provide support.

Coxswain Kieran Cotter was proceeding to Dunmanus Bay on the Tyne class all-weather lifeboat Hilda Jarrett, when the Coast Guard indicated that the two men had been observed coming ashore safe and well. The search and rescue operation was stood down.

This incident echoes a similar one earlier this year. On the 5th January 2010 almost certain tragedy was averted when the inshore lifeboat rescued two men in a 7ft dinghy, which was drifting out to open sea when their outboard failed.

Lifeboat crew on this service ; Kieran Cotter, Micheal Cottrell, Ronnie Carty, Brian McSweeney, Diarmuid Collins.

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Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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