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Displaying items by tag: Portrush

Portrush RNLI has had a busy Sunday launching to separate reports of kayakers and paddle boarders in difficulty yesterday (10 October).

In the first callout, the all-weather lifeboat crew were paged just after 10am to reports of kayakers in difficulty at Portballintrae, on Northern Ireland’s Causeway Coast.

However, the kayakers were able to make their way back to harbour and the lifeboat returned to station.

In the afternoon, the lifeboat was requested to launch at 3.24pm to reports of stand-up paddle boarders in difficulty off Ballintoy. Visibility was good with partial cloud but sea conditions were choppy.

The volunteer crew launched at 3.40pm and arrived on scene at 4.08pm along with both Red Bay RNLI lifeboats. By the time all lifeboats arrived on scene, the paddle boarders had been able to get onto Sheep Island.

Sea and weather conditions prevented the Portrush crew from launching the Y boat to assist the stranded paddle boarders.

By this time an SAR helicopter from HM Coastguard was on the way and both Portrush and Red Bay RNLI were asked to stand by until the casualties were recovered successfully off the island and handed over to coastguard shore crew.

Beni McAllister, Portrush lifeboat operations manager, said: “This was a busy day for our volunteer crew and our flank station Red Bay RNLI, and we commend members of the public who alerted the emergency services very quickly as these two incidences could have had very different outcomes.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Skerries RNLI rescued two adults and two children on Sunday afternoon (25 July) after their inflatable kayak had been pulled out to sea by strong currents.

Just before 2pm, Dublin Coast Guard requested Skerries RNLI to launch their Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat to respond to a Pan-Pan VHF call.

A group of experienced sea kayakers raised the alarm after they encountered an inflatable kayak with two adults and two children on board struggling to make way against the wind and the tide.

The lifeboat was launched and proceeded immediately to the area where the kayak had been spotted, east of Colt Island in Skerries. The crew soon spotted the inflatable, which had been towed by the other kayakers into the shelter of the island.

All four casualties were taken on board the lifeboat and found to be unharmed. To avoid any hazards to navigation or further callouts, their kayak was also taken on board and the group were returned to the shore at Skerries.

Speaking later, lifeboat press officer Gerry Canning said: “It was encouraging to see all four wearing lifejackets and they had a mobile phone in a waterproof pouch. However, no matter how prepared you are, sometimes you can get caught out.

“We’d like to say a big thank you to the other kayakers who recognised the danger of what was happening, made the call for help, and stayed with the casualty until that help arrived. They played a huge part in ensuring a good outcome.”

Portrush RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat approached the motorboat with steering failure | Credit: RNLI/Daniel ThornePortrush RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat approached the motorboat with steering failure | Credit: RNLI/Daniel Thorne

Elsewhere, Portrush RNLI launched on Saturday afternoon (24th July) to a report of a 34ft motorboat with steering failure just off Portballintrae on Northern Ireland’s Causeway Coast.

Once on scene, the volunteer crew performed a dynamic risk assessment and decided to tow the boat and its three crew to the nearest safe, suitable port which in this case was Portrush Harbour.

“This is a classic tow manoeuvre which our crew train are trained to do,” said lifeboat operations manager Beni McAllister.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Portrush RNLI on Northern Ireland’s Causeway Coast was requested to launch by Belfast Coastguard yesterday morning (Saturday 19 June) at 11.52am to reports of an injured teenager near Ballintoy.

Both the inshore and all-weather lifeboats were requested to launch as the initial report stated that the 19-year-old woman had dislocated her shoulder while out with a coasteering group and needed assistance to get out of the water.

Visibility was good, with a light breeze so both boats made good time and were on scene at 12.25pm

When the volunteer RNLI crew arrived on scene, the casualty had been recovered onto the rocks and was being assisted by the coastguard.

The crew delivered nitrous oxide to the casualty for pain management, after which she was carefully transferred onto the inshore lifeboat and taken to Portballintrae Harbour where she was handed over to the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service.

Beni McAllister, lifeboat operations manager at Portrush Lifeboat Station, said: “Our volunteer lifeboat crew are trained in casualty care and have been able to maintain this training during lockdown as it is a key part of our operation.

“This was a classic transfer for our ILB crew from rocks to the lifeboat, working closely with our coastguard colleagues.

“This was also Ben Durrant’s first shout after being successfully passed out as ILB helm recently, so well done to him and the other crew members.

“We would also recommend as in this instance that people who are planning to go coasteering that they do so with an official group, as they know how to manage incidents such as this and will call us immediately if required.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Portrush RNLI on Northern Ireland’s Causeway Coast was requested to launch twice this weekend to reports of people in difficulty.

The first request by HM Coastguard was on Saturday evening (5 June) when the inshore lifeboat was launched to reports of a kayaker in difficulty at the Skerries.

Visibility was excellent, with a calm sea and a light wind, and the lifeboat volunteers quickly located the kayaker.

It was soon established that the kayaker was very experienced and had taken all precautions, so all was well. The call was deemed a false alarm with good intent.

The second shout was on Sunday afternoon (6 June) at 12.50pm when the all-weather lifeboat was called to assist with a potential medevac after reports of two people caught on a ledge at the Giant’s Causeway.

Again, weather conditions were good, with excellent visibility and a light north-easterly wind.

Before the lifeboat reached the scene, the local coastguard team had located the two people and were able to carry out the rescue without assistance.

Beni McAllister, lifeboat operations manager at Portrush RNLI, said: “This is our fourth launch since Thursday for our volunteer crews and we have no doubt that this will be the pattern for the summer.

“However, it seems that people are heeding the safety message in terms of dialling 999 and alerting the coastguard if they see something that doesn’t look right.

“We would rather be safe than sorry, especially as more and more people are enjoying our beautiful beaches.”

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Portrush RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat was launched this afternoon (Thursday 3 June) to reports of stand-up paddle boarders in difficulty off Ramore Head.

Due to the fact that the crew had already assembled for some training, they were able to launch immediately just before 3pm.

Conditions were optimal on Northern Ireland’s North Coast today, with excellent visibility and a smooth sea but a strong offshore wind which made it difficult for the five paddle boarders to return to shore.

When the lifeboat arrived on scene, three of the boarders were alongside a local fishing vessel and the lifeboat crew picked the remaining two up.

All five paddle boarders were transferred to the lifeboat and brought back to Portrush Harbour before 3.30pm, where they disembarked exhausted but otherwise well.

Beni McAllister, lifeboat operations manager at Portrush RNLI, said: “These paddle boarders were lucky, in that the offshore winds were quite strong and the five were exhausted trying to get back to shore.

“The local fishing boat was on scene and assisted until the lifeboat arrived. The fact that we had a crew ready to go meant we could respond very quickly.

“We would ask anyone planning a trip to sea to check the weather conditions, especially tides and winds to make sure it is safe to go out. Always have a means of communication with you and make sure someone knows when you will be expected back.”

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Portrush RNLI on Northern Ireland’s North Coast launched to two shouts yesterday (Sunday 30 May) in a busy start to the spring bank holiday weekend.

The inshore lifeboat was first requested to launch by Belfast Coastguard at 5.33pm yesterday evening to reports of a male entering the water at the East Strand.

Despite the heavy traffic and bank holiday crowds in the town, the volunteer lifeboat crew was able to launch at 5.40pm and was on scene four minutes later. Weather conditions were perfect with clear skies and excellent visibility.

The lifeboat arrived to assist the coastguard at East Strand, and the male was subsequently taken into the care of the PSNI.

While on this call, the lifeboat volunteers were alerted to a missing child also on the East Strand. The child was located very quickly and the inshore lifeboat returned to station at 6.10pm.

Beni McAllister, lifeboat operations manager at Portrush RNLI, said: “We are delighted to see visitors back on our beaches after the periods of lockdown, but we would ask members of the public to be careful when at the beach and observe safety precautions.

“Our RNLI Lifeguards are on duty and are only too happy to give advice about enjoying the beach safely.

“Also, children can wander off very quickly and can get lost on a busy beach, so we would ask parents to keep a close eye on their children, as we can appreciate the panic this can generate when a child goes missing.”

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Portrush athlete David McGaffin is taking the RNLI Mayday Mile challenge to a whole new level to raise funds for his local lifeboat station.

The McGaffin family has a long association with Portrush RNLI on Northern Ireland’s North Coast. David’s late father Tom was an integral part of the fabric and was one of the crew on the famous shout in 1989 when the lifeboat was launched to reports of two Spanish trawlers in difficulty.

David, a Springwell Running Club member and long-time supporter of Portrush RNLI, shared his story and why he is setting himself this gruelling challenge.

“The first marathon I took part in was Belfast on 6 May 1985 and was in aid of the RNLI. There was a lot of blistering, some bleeding and an amount of distress so the fact that the race is always held on May Day, which is also an international distress signal, is not lost on me.

”Growing up in Portrush, especially if you fish and mess about in boats, you are very aware of the work that the RNLI does and the amount of money that it takes to keep the service operating.

“My father Tom, who was a RNLI member for many years, initially as a shoreline member, then lifeboat crew and latterly as the deputy launch authority, spent many years fundraising for the RNLI and was one of the founder members of the Portrush Raft Race.

”The RNLI, especially the boat crews, can be a self-deprecating bunch and do not take praise well. To them it’s just a job they do, and once a mission is over, they get ready for the next one.

‘To complete this challenge I will have to run more miles in a month than I have ever done before and week four will be the most miles I will have ever run in a week’

“I have been fortunate to know many crew members, including some who served on the Portrush lifeboat in the 1960s. I have been on boats running for the cover of the harbour in bad weather as the lifeboat launches to someone in distress, and have stood safely on the harbour wall watching the lifeboat head out into the worst weather that the North Atlantic can deliver.

”What I do know about the RNLI is that they are ordinary people doing extraordinary things and deserving of all the medals, commendations and plaudits they receive.“

David added: ”In the absence of the Raft Race I will be taking part in the RNLI May Day Mile challenge, but taking it just a bit further.

“The challenge is simple: set an exercise goal, raise some sponsorship and then complete it. Those of you that know me will know that it’s not going to be that straightforward, there’s no point doing easy if you’re asking for money. I know that you expect some degree of pain, suffering and sacrifice to part you from your hard earned cash, and to that end I will be running the date each day. That’s one mile on the first, two on the second, three on the third and so on.

”To save you from doing the maths the first week is handy enough, week two is alright, it’s tougher going in week three, week four is insane and the last three days just mad. To complete this challenge I will have to run more miles in a month than I have ever done before and week four will be the most miles I will have ever run in a week.“

Portush RNLI press officer Judy Nelson praised David’s dedication to the lifeboat station, especially at a time when the station’s fundraising activities have been severely curtailed by the pandemic while crews have been busier than ever.

”To have someone like David who is not only running to raise funds but also raising awareness of the work our volunteers do is fantastic — we wish him all the best."

If you want to donate to David and the station you can do so via the JustGiving link HERE.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Portrush RNLI’s volunteer crew launched their inshore lifeboat to reports of a fishing vessel in difficulty just outside the Northern Ireland harbour yesterday evening, Wednesday 31 March.

The 26-foot vessel with three on board lost power just outside the North Coast harbour’s wall at 5.25pm. Within minutes the lifeboat crew arrived in scene and set up a successful tow to the harbour pontoon.

Beni McAllister, lifeboat operations manager at Portrush RNLI, said: “With the season starting and all boats being allowed back in the harbour, we would ask that boat owners make sure that their boats are ready to go to sea and that all checks have been made.

“We are expecting a busy holiday season and look forward to welcoming our RNLI lifeguard colleagues back on the beaches this weekend.”

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Both Portrush RNLI lifeboats were launched within an hour of each other to separate incidents on Northern Ireland’s North Coast this afternoon (Wednesday 24 February).

Initially, the volunteer crew were requested to launch the all-weather lifeboat by Belfast Coastguard at 12.36pm in response to reports of a surfer in difficulty at Castlerock.

While en-route, the crew received notification that the surfer had made it back to the beach unaided and all was well.

When they were returning to station, they were re-tasked to reports of two persons who had been swept off the rocks just between Portrush and Portstewart.

The all-weather crew requested that the inshore lifeboat was also launched as the casualties were reported to be close to the rocks.

Conditions and visibility today were good which helped both boats to make good time.

However again, before the ILB arrived on scene, the two persons had been able to get back onto the rocks without assistance from the volunteer lifeboat crews.

Beni McAllister, lifeboat operations manager at Portrush RNLI, said: “Although both boats were launched today and were stood down on both shouts, we would ask that if people feel that there is someone in difficulty in the sea, that they dial 999 and ask for the coastguard.

“We have said this before, but our crews would rather be safe than sorry.”

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Portrush RNLI’s volunteers rescued two surfers who got into difficulty while surfing at Co Antrim’s East Strand earlier today (Monday 1 February).

The inshore lifeboat launched before 1.30pm following a number of 999 calls to both the coastguard and the lifeboat station, and arrived on scene within four minutes amid fair weather conditions.

It emerged that the two surfers had got caught in a rip current and despite repeated attempts to get back to shore, they realised they couldn’t as they were becoming very tired. They attracted the attention of a number of onlookers who dialled 999.

Once on scene, the RNLI crew quickly recovered the two surfers into the lifeboat and returned with them to Portrush Harbour, where they were handed off to the care of the waiting coastguard team.

Beni McAllister, lifeboat operations manager at Portrush RNLI, said: “Surfing during lockdown has become extremely popular on both our beaches here in Portrush and it is a great pastime both mentally and physically.

“However, rip tides can be treacherous, and we would ask people to take care and check on conditions before entering the water.

“These two surfers did the right thing in alerting onlookers and we are relieved that people reacted very quickly and dialled 999, which allowed us to get onto scene very quickly.

“Remember if you see someone in trouble, dial 999 and ask for the coastguard.”

The crew on this callout were helm Ben Wilson and volunteers Christy Bradley and Daniel Thorne.

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