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Arklow RNLI launched yesterday morning (9 June) at around 6.30am to a request to assist two people on a fishing vessel which had lost propulsion north of the Co Wicklow town.

The volunteer crew made their way to the lifeboat station and within minutes of the request were aboard the all-weather lifeboat Ger Tigchlearr and en route to the reported location.

In a fresh southerly breeze with moderate seas, the lifeboat made its way to the reported position five miles north of Arklow. Once on scene, the casualty vessel was quickly located and it was confirmed that it had lost propulsion.

A tow line was established and the casualty vessel was towed back to the nearest safe port at Arklow, where all hands came ashore at approximately 8am.

Following the callout, Mark Corcoran, Arklow RNLI press officer said: “Thanks to our volunteer crew who at a moment’s notice go to sea to assist others. Please remember to respect the water.”

Arklow RNLI’s crew on this callout were coxswain Ned Dillon, John Tyrrell, Jimmy Myler, Sinead Myler, Craig O’Reilly and station mechanic James Russell.

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Portaferry and Peel RNLI came to the aid of a kayaker who got into difficulty in the Irish Sea earlier this week.

The man, who had been kayaking from the Isle of Man to Northern Ireland from early morning on Wednesday (8 June) became fatigued and, when he couldn’t see land, raised the alarm for help.

Both the inshore lifeboat from Portaferry RNLI and the all-weather lifeboat from Peel RNLI on Mann were requested to launch.

The pagers at Portaferry RNLI sounded shortly after 5pm as the station’s operational and fundraising volunteers were enjoying a visit by the RNLI’s chief executive Mark Dowie.

The inshore lifeboat, helmed by Chris Adair and with three crew onboard, launched immediately and made its way to the scene some 14 miles out from the Strangford Narrows. The Irish Coast Guard’s Dublin-based helicopter Rescue 116 was also tasked.

Weather conditions at the time were drizzly but there was good visibility. The sea was calm and there was a Force 3 easterly wind blowing. Once on scene at 5.58pm, the crew faced a Force 4 wind, fair visibility and a rough sea state.

The volunteer crew assessed the situation before helping the casualty out of his kayak and bringing him onboard the lifeboat.

He was then transferred to Peel RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat where he was brought inside the wheelhouse to be warmed up.

Both Portaferry and Peel lifeboat crews made their way to Portaferry with the casualty, who was checked over to ensure he was safe and well before he got warmed up with pizza and tea at the station.

Speaking following the callout, Philip Johnston, Portaferry RNLI lifeboat operations manager said: “The casualty was wearing the appropriate gear for kayaking and made the right decision to call the coastguard for help once he found the conditions too much.

“We would like to wish him well and thank our fellow volunteers from Peel and our colleagues in the coastguard who were also on scene.

“The pagers went off as our volunteers were having a meeting with Mark Dowie, our chief executive who was visiting from England. We were delighted to update him on our lifesaving work at Portaferry RNLI and were equally delighted to be brought up to speed from him on the various work that is happening across our charity that we are all so passionate about.

“As the pagers went off, Mark commented that out of the 124 stations that he has visited so far, we were the fourth station to have a call out during his visit.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Donaghadee RNLI Lifeboat was launched yesterday, Thursday 09 June, to assist a French yacht which had run aground at Ballyferris Point, in County Down.

The volunteer crew of Donaghadee Lifeboat were requested to launch by Belfast Coastguard yesterday at 11.56 am to reports of a 9-metre yacht which had run aground on rocks just off Ballyferris Point, roughly 6 miles South of Donaghadee.

The yacht, with a French lone sailor onboard was en route from Arklow to Bangor when he ran aground on rocks and used his VHF radio to contact the Coastguard for help.

The lifeboat made full speed in a moderate sea, fair visibility and with a fresh south-easterly wind were on scene at 12.24 pm. The crew assessed the situation and with the aid of a local rib passed a 150 metre towline to the yacht. A tow was attempted but due to a rapidly falling tide and the yacht being well stuck, but with no danger to the yacht or sailor, the decision was made for the lifeboat to return to Donaghadee and allow the tide to rise.

Saxon was relaunched again and back on scene at approximately 3 pm, where the tide had come in enough to allow the yacht to begin to float. Crew members launched the smaller daughter boat with Chris Stewart and David Cull aboard and re-attached a new towline. A fresh attempt was made to tow the yacht off the rocks again but was unsuccessful. Eventually, the yacht did float free itself and Chris Stewart boarded the yacht. An experienced sailor himself, Chris was able to sail the yacht and allow the gentleman to assess the damage, of which there didn’t appear to be anything major.

After discussion with the yachtsman, it was agreed that he would be towed to the safety of Bangor Marina where he could fully assess for damage before attempting to continue his journey toward Scotland and on to Norway.

The yacht was assisted with its berthing in Bangor Marina by the Bangor Coastguard Rescue team.

As the lifeboat was leaving Bangor Harbour at 5.53 pm to return to Donaghadee they were requested again by Belfast Coastguard to attend to a second yacht that needed assistance.

The 11-metre German yacht with a couple onboard was struggling to make headway through Donaghadee Sound. They were sailing toward Bangor and due to a strong tide, a drop in the wind and the loss of their main engine, they were not making any headway.

They contacted the Coastguard via their VHF radio and asked for assistance as they were beginning to suffer from exhaustion.

Saxon arrived on the scene to the yacht which was at the north end of Big Copeland Island, less than 10 minutes later and a crew member proceeded to pass a tow rope to the struggling vessel.

At this stage the conditions had improved slightly compared to earlier in the day, visibility was excellent and the sea state was slight.

After a 40-minute tow, the yacht and its tired crew were delivered to the safety of Bangor Marina and once again were assisted with berthing by four of the Coastguard Rescue Team.

The lifeboat and the crew returned to the station and made the boat ready for its next service.

Philip McNamara, Donaghadee Lifeboat Coxswain commented ‘A busy week for our crew members as we did in fact have three callouts this week and also had a visit from our Chief Executive. As always, I commend the crew as they are a credit to the station with their dedication and ability to turn up and get the boat to sea at the drop of a hat.

We would like to extend our gratitude to the owner of the local rib who assisted us with the French yacht, it is much appreciated.

Even the most experienced sailors can run into difficulty or suffer from fatigue, and it is a positive thing to recognise when you need assistance and ask for it as early as possible – so well done to both yacht owners in their professionalism. We do always recommend that before going to sea you have a working means of communicating with the Coastguard, carry lifejackets and safety equipment, lots of advice can be found on the RNLI website.’

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The teams at Portrush RNLI were delighted to hear that one of their fundraisers, John Martin, has been chosen as one of the 490 Platinum Champions due to his outstanding commitment to volunteering.

The Platinum Champion Awards were launched by the Royal Voluntary Service, of whom The Duchess of Cornwall is the president, to celebrate extraordinary volunteers Individuals and organisations were asked to nominated people who go the extra mile and deserved to be recognised in Queen Elizabeth II’s Jubilee year.

John was nominated by Nuala Muldoon, RNLI community manager for Northern Ireland.

John had been a frequent visitor to Portrush on the North Coast on holiday for many years, and when he moved to the area 10 years ago, he called into the lifeboat station to see if he could contribute in any way, which is where his fundraising story began.

Since then, John has been an integral part of the Portrush RNLI fundraising team, even going so far to having his head shaved in public to raise funds.

At that stage and during the early days of the pandemic, John was chair of the fundraising team, and in April 2022 he took over as the lifeboat shop manager, bringing energy and innovation to the outlet.

During the first months of COVID-19, the public could not come into the shop so John and his team took the shop outside the lifeboat station with a gazebo — operating in all weathers.

The ‘Pop-Up Shop’ became a fixture in the town as well as a real focal point for people walking to and from the harbour. As well as raising much-needed funds for the station, the gazebo also helped raised awareness of the RNLI.

Beni McAllister, Portrush’s lifeboat operations manager said: “The team at Portrush RNLI are delighted that John has been recognised in this way. He has been a real powerhouse in terms of keeping the shop going during the pandemic and exploring other ways of raising funds for the station during a very difficult time.

“We look forward to presenting him with his badge and certificate at a ceremony at the station.”

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Skerries RNLI were tasked on Bank Holiday Monday evening (6 June) by Dublin Coast Guard following 999 calls reporting an injured swimmer in Rush Harbour who was unable to get out of the water.

Pagers sounded shortly before 5.30pm and the volunteer crew quickly assembled to launch their Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat Louis Simson, setting a course for Rush.

When the lifeboat arrived on scene, there were already two Dublin Fire Brigade personnel in the water stabilising the injured man, who had jumped into the sea from the harbour and struck submerged rocks below.

Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 116 was also on scene, however given the nature of the man’s injuries, winching him directly out of the water risked causing further discomfort or injury.

The helicopter proceeded instead to land in a nearby field which Skerries Coast Guard had secured as a landing zone.

Three crew members from Skerries RNLI entered the water and assisted the fire brigade in placing the man on a spinal board. They then carefully floated him around the harbour wall, into the harbour and ashore.

From there he was transferred by Skerries Coast Guard unit to an awaiting ambulance, which in turn brought him to the helicopter for onwards transport to hospital. Members of An Garda Síochána were also assisting on scene.

Speaking about the callout, Skerries RNLI press officer Gerry Canning said: “All of the emergency services really pulled together to ensure this man got the help he needed.

“We would advise anyone jumping the into the water to look for obstructions and check the depth of the water, every time, even if you know the area. Tides can vary and underwater objects can move. We wish the man a full and speedy recovery.”

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Arklow RNLI’s volunteer lifeboat crew were paged by the Irish Coast Guard on Bank Holiday Monday afternoon (4 June) following a report of person in the water.

The all-weather lifeboat, under coxswain Ned Dillon with crew Geoff Kearnes, James Russell, Craig O’Reilly, Austin Gaffney, Jimmy Myler and Eddie McElheron, launched shortly after 2.20pm and made their way to the scene.

Weather conditions at the time were described as good with a calm sea, light wind and good visibility.

Upon arrival at the nearby Roadstone jetty south of the Co Wicklow town, the lifeboat crew spotted two kayaks in the water, almost under the jetty.

One of the casualties had slipped from their kayak into the water and was not able to recover back onto the craft, while the second person had stayed on the kayak alongside the casualty but was unable to assist.

The casualty was recovered from the water to the lifeboat and once they were safely aboard, the second person was recovered along with both of the kayaks. The casualty was given first aid and was cold and fatigued but uninjured.

The lifeboat returned to station and both kayakers were given refreshments and warmed up before they left.

Speaking following the callout, Mark Corcoran, Arklow RNLI community safety officer said: “Thankfully we were able to assist these kayakers safely back to shore.

“Given the good weather there are a lot more people around and on the water, we would like to share the message that if you are going on or in the water: always carry a means of calling for help, always wear a lifejacket and other appropriate protection, always check the weather and tides before going to sea and please respect the water.”

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In the first of two callouts on Saturday (4 June), Newcastle RNLI’s volunteer crew came to the aid of two people on a RIB some 12 miles offshore.

Pagers sounded just after 7.10am on Saturday morning following a report that two of the six people on the RIB, which was on passage to the Isle of Man from Ardglass, were suffering with severe seasickness.

Weather conditions at the time were challenging, with a four-metre sea swell and an east-northeasterly Force 5 wind.

The all-weather lifeboat, under coxswain Niall McMurray, immediately made its way to the scene off the Co Down coast in Northern Ireland to meet the RIB.

On arrival, the lifeboat crew assessed the situation before taking the two sick passengers onboard. The crew then checked them over and reassured them as they were then brought back to Ardglass Harbour, where they were handed into the care of Newcastle Coastguard.

Later that day a second call came shortly after 6pm when concerns were raised for a pleasure craft close to Maggies Leap. However, this turned out to be a false alarm and the volunteer crew were stood down shortly after arriving at the station.

Speaking following the callouts, McMurray said: “Conditions at sea were challenging on Saturday morning but we were glad to be able to bring the casualties safely ashore when they were unwell.

“The second call transpired to be a false alarm, but I would like to commend my fellow crew members who responded so quickly again, ready to respond and go to the aid of others.

“As we head into the summer months, we want to remind everyone to enjoy themselves, but to also make sure you stay safe and know what to do in an emergency. It is important that anyone visiting the coast understands the risks of the environment. It can be very unpredictable, particularly during early summer when the risk of cold water shock significantly increases, as air temperatures warm but water temperatures remain dangerously cold.

“If you get into trouble in the water, Float to Live: lean back, using your arms and legs to stay afloat, control your breathing, then call for help or swim to safety. In a coastal emergency, call 999 or 112 for the coastguard.”

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Portrush RNLI was requested to launch by Belfast Coastguard at 11.10pm last night (Sunday 5 June) to reports of a 31ft yacht without power at the Barmouth near Coleraine.

The all-weather lifeboat under coxswain Des Austin launched at 11.35pm into near perfect conditions, with a clear sky, excellent visibility and a calm sea.

The volunteer lifeboat crew arrived on scene 10 minute later and escorted the yacht with two persons on board back to Portrush Harbour on Northern Ireland’s Causeway Coast and towed her alongside.

Carl Kennedy, deputy launching authority at Portrush said: “Unfortunately, this can happen with a yacht, but the couple on board did the right thing by contacting us.

“If you are taking part in any activities at sea, make sure you have a means of contacting the coastguard in case you do encounter difficulties. It’s better to be safe than sorry.”

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Baltimore RNLI was called out to provide assistance to a yacht with four people on board that got into difficulty 52 miles off the coast of Baltimore, West Cork, yesterday (Sunday 5 June).

The volunteer lifeboat crew launched their all-weather lifeboat just before 1 pm, following requests from the Irish Coast Guard and the UK Coastguard to go to the assistance of a 36-foot motor yacht, with four people on board, which had encountered difficulties and was 52 miles south of Baltimore.

The Baltimore all-weather lifeboat crew arrived at the casualty vessel at 3.22 pm. After making sure all four people on board were okay, Coxswain Aidan Bushe assessed the situation and decided that undertaking a tow was necessary and the safest way to assist the casualties.

Crew members from the lifeboat passed a tow to the yacht and the lifeboat and casualty vessel were underway by 3.30 pm. The lifeboat then proceeded to Baltimore Harbour, the nearest safe and suitable port, and secured the casualty vessel at the pontoon at 10.14pm. The lifeboat then returned to the station, arriving at 10.25 pm.

There were six volunteer crew onboard the lifeboat, Coxswain Aidan Bushe, Mechanic Micheal Cottrell and crew members Pat Collins, David Ryan, Colin Whooley and Jim Griffiths. Conditions at sea during the call were choppy with an easterly force 3-4 wind, a 1.1m sea swell and good visibility.

Speaking following the call out, Kate Callanan, Baltimore RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer said: ‘It was a long callout for our volunteer lifeboat crew who spent over 9 hours at sea, but the occupants of the yacht did the right thing in requesting assistance. We wish them well with the rest of their journey. If you get into difficulty at sea or on the coast, call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coast Guard.’

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Lough Derg RNLI were called to assist two people on a 36ft cruiser aground outside Garrykennedy’s old harbour wall on Saturday evening (4 June).

At 7.15pm the inshore lifeboat Jean Spier was ready to go with helm Eleanor Hooker, Doireann Kennedy, Joe O’Donoghue and Ciara Lynch on board.

As the lifeboat was launching, Valentia Coast Guard informed the volunteers that a person on shore had reported that local boats had taken the cruiser off the rocks.

However, the lifeboat was requested to proceed as as there was no update on the two people on board nor the current whereabouts of the cruiser.

The lifeboat arrived at Garrykennedy within seven minutes and the volunteers crew identified the casualty vessel tied alongside an outside jetty in the new Garrykennedy Harbour.

After the crew established that both people on the cruiser were safe, the vessel was checked for any evidence of water ingress before they updated the coastguard and returned to station.

Jeremy Freeman, deputy launching authority at Lough Derg RNLI advises boat users: “If you find yourself in difficulty on the lake, dial 999 or 112 and ask for marine rescue.”

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