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Displaying items by tag: Wicklow

Wicklow Inshore RNLI lifeboat brought two paddle boarders to safety on Sunday evening (7 August) after they got into difficulties near Wicklow Head.

The lifeboat launched at 7.35 pm after members of the public walking on Wicklow Head saw the paddleboarders in difficulty and made a 999 call to the Coast Guard.

The paddle boarders were located five minutes later near Wicklow Head. As the tide had turned, they were unable to paddle against the current and were being pushed further offshore. Conditions at the time were wind south westerly force three with a moderate sea.

The two paddleboarders were transferred onto the lifeboat, where the crew conducted a quick medical assessment. No medical assistance was required, and the two casualties were landed safely ashore at the lifeboat station shortly after 8 pm.

Wicklow RNLI ILB landing the two paddle boarders safely at Wicklow Photo: Wicklow RNLIWicklow RNLI ILB landing the two paddle boarders safely at Wicklow Photo: Wicklow RNLI

Speaking about the call-outs, volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer for Wicklow RNLI, Tommy Dover said: ‘Our advice to paddle boarders is always to wear a lifejacket and make sure you carry a communications device.’

Just as Helm Paul Sillery, Matt Doyle and John Stapleton completed refuelling the inshore lifeboat, pagers activated again to launch the all-weather lifeboat. So, the three volunteers quickly changed into their all-weather lifeboat kit and join Coxswain Nick Keogh, Lisa ‘O Leary and Andrew Carlin on the second callout.

The all-weather Shannon class lifeboat slipped its moorings from the south quay at 8:20 pm and proceeded north, following the Coast Guard pager alert to a report of a yacht with mechanical problems near the Six Mile Point.

The lifeboat was alongside the drifting yacht with two sailors at 8:45 pm and after a quick assessment by the Coxswain, the yacht was found to have engine failure and unable to get into port under its own power. It was taken in tow back to Wicklow Harbour.

The yacht was secured alongside the East pier at Wicklow harbour as darkness fell at 9:30 pm this evening and the two sailors were landed safely ashore.

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Wicklow RNLI brought three sailors to safety after their yacht lost propulsion from a rope-fouled propellor off the Wicklow coast.

The all-weather lifeboat RNLB Joanna and Henry Williams slipped its moorings at the South quay at 10:28 pm on Monday 25 July under the command of Coxswain Nick Keogh and proceeded to the stricken vessel's last reported position.

Thirty minutes later, the lifeboat volunteers located the 14-metre yacht entangled in ropes, seven miles offshore near the South India buoy. Weather conditions at the time were wind north-westerly force five with a moderate sea. The lifeboat crew assisted the sailors and freed the yacht from the obstruction.

Speaking after the callout Coxswain, Nick Keogh said: ‘As rope remained in the propellor and the yacht was unable to make any headway, we decided the best course of action was to tow the boat back to Wicklow harbour.’

A towline was established, and the yacht was brought alongside the East pier shortly before 00:45 am on Tuesday morning, and the three sailors were landed safely ashore.

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Wicklow RNLI were delighted to welcome Jordann Wizowski and his mother Megan to the lifeboat station for a very special presentation recently.

Five-year-old Jordann completed a walk between the present Wicklow RNLI lifeboat station and the former station on the Murrough as part of the RNLI Mayday Mile challenge and raised €250 from family and friends in the process.

Jordann, who is a member of the RNLI Storm Force kids’ club, presented the cheque to Santiago Balbontin from the Wicklow RNLI fundraising branch — and was delighted some of the volunteer crew gathered for a photograph.

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Both Wicklow RNLI lifeboats were launched after 09:45 am this morning (Saturday 4 June), following reports of a missing swimmer at Silver Stand beach.

The alarm was raised after the wife of the swimmer became concerned for his safety and contacted the Coast Guard.

The lifeboats arrived off the Silver Strand beach, south of Wicklow head fifteen minutes later and began a search of the area. Conditions at the scene were wind easterly wind force Six with moderate sea and good visibility.

The Dublin based Coast Guard s92 helicopter ‘Rescue 116’ and a Coast Guard shore unit were also tasked to the incident along with an NAS Ambulance crew and Wicklow Garda Siochana.

Speaking after the callout, Wicklow RNLI Station Coxswain, Nick Keogh said: “During the search we made visual contact with the swimmer who was stranded on rocks near the beach, we stood by as he was winched to safety by Rescue 116.”

The casualty was airlifted to the beach and hand into the care of NAS Paramedics.

The callout comes as the Coast Guard, RNLI and Water Safety Ireland issued a joint water safety appeal over the June bank holiday. As Many people are expected to take advantage of the break and visit the coast and inland waters and the organisations are asking people to check that they have the correct equipment they need to enjoy their activities and that they know what to do in the event of an emergency.

Irish Coast Guard Operations Manager Micheál O’Toole said, ”We want everybody to enjoy our waters but please pay attention to your own safety. Never ever swim alone and if you are using a boat or kayak, please ensure that if an emergency arises and you need assistance, that you are capable of contacting the Coast Guard with a marine VHF radio, PLB or EPIRB. Never rely on a mobile phone alone.”

RNLI Water Safety Delivery Support Lisa Hollingum added: “It’s great to see people getting out and taking part in water based activities this summer but it’s important to know what to do if something unexpected happens. There are so many great products on the market for water safety and something as simple as a water proof pouch to hold a means of communication for when you go out on a paddle board or kayak, can make all the difference.”

If you see somebody in trouble on the water or along the coast, or think they are in trouble; Dial 999 or 112 or use VHF radio CH 16 and ask for the Coast Guard.

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This week marks the end of an era at Wicklow RNLI as long-serving crew member and station mechanic Brendan Copeland officially retires from saving lives at sea.

Brendan’s last day started with a trip to Dun Laoghaire Harbour to bring Wicklow RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat back to station after a lift-out and hull clean.

While the lifeboat was departing Dun Laoghaire for Wicklow, a call came in regarding a motor cruiser that had suffered engine failure in Dublin Bay.

As Wicklow RNLI’s lifeboat was close by and the motor cruiser was drifting in busy shipping lanes and a danger to traffic at Dublin Port, the lifeboat diverted to assist and was on scene in minutes.

A tow line was quickly established and the cruiser was towed to the nearest safe port of Dun Laoghaire, where its occupants were safely landed ashore.

The crew then returned to Wicklow and Brendan quietly retired after 31 years with the RNLI, helping to save 23 lives and assisting over 334 people.

Brendan, a former lighthouse keeper with The Commissioners of Irish Lights, joined Wicklow RNLI as a volunteer in 1991. In the early years he served on both the all-weather and inshore lifeboats as a crew member and emergency mechanic. In 2007, Brendan was appointed Wicklow RNLI’s full-time station mechanic, a position he held for the last 15 years.

His role involved a wide range of duties that included maintaining the Tyne class lifeboat, Annie Blaker, a labour of love he continued up to 5 April 2019 when she was officially retired as the last operating Tyne class lifeboat in the RNLI fleet.

At the time, former lifeboat operations manager Des Davitt said: “I want to pay a special thanks to our station mechanic Brendan Copeland who looked after Annie so well for all these years. Her incredible life-saving record is a measure of how well she was maintained.”

When asked in April 2019 how he felt prior to Annie Blaker launching for the final time at Wicklow, Brendan replied: “You’re asking me if I’m sad or emotional today? I’m more than that, I’m heartbroken, to borrow a quote used for the Blasket Islanders, ‘the likes will never be seen again’.”

While the Tyne lifeboat had twin propellors with a top speed of 18 knots, the new modern Shannon class lifeboat which was to follow is capable of 25 knots and considered the fastest and most technologically advanced in the RNLI fleet.

To prepare for the arrival of the Shannon class, Brendan and a panel of mechanics travelled to Poole for training on the new jet-propelled lifeboat powered by two Scania engines. The training paid off and with great determination and huge commitment from Brendan and the crew, the Shannon went on service much quicker than anticipated.

Brendan has gone to sea on countless callouts during his time with the lifeboat and one shout that stands out to him occurred in the early hours of 22 March 2013 after a fishing vessel with three crew lost power and was in danger of being washed ashore east of Wicklow Head.

He recalled: “Annie was launched, and I can honestly say as we went around the pier the sea was boiling. We managed to get a line to the boat which was larger than Annie and towed it back to Wicklow; it felt like we were in a teapot that was being shook to make the tea stronger.”

For their actions in bringing the vessel and three crew to safety, Brendan and the crew received a letter of commendation from RNLI operations director Michael Vlasto.

Brendan took part in his last afloat exercise on the lifeboat last Saturday 28 May with his volunteer team deciding to mark this milestone for their much-loved mechanic, who has been a mentor, friend and the backbone of Wicklow RNLI for many years.

As the Wicklow lifeboat returned to station, a flotilla of local boats and Arklow RNLI’s lifeboat accompanied Brendan into Wicklow Harbour.

From the east pier the arrival was witnessed by a large turnout made up of Brendan’s family, friends and his lifeboat family, while a lone piper played as the boat passed and the Dublin based Coast Guard helicopter made a flypast.

As the lifeboat reached the south quay berth, local emergency services lined up in a guard of honour and sounded their sirens as the lifeboat passed. Brendan was overwhelmed and thanked everyone.

Commenting on Brendan’s retirement, Mary Aldridge, Wicklow RNLI lifeboat operations manager said: “The crew and I wish you and Betty all the happiness in the world on your well-deserved retirement. You have provided excellent service as a community lifesaver with the RNLI since 1991; you will be severely missed at the station.”

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Wicklow RNLI’s inshore lifeboat launched just after 9.55am on Sunday morning (29 May) to reports of a motorboat with two onboard that was in difficulties south of Wicklow Harbour.

Three minutes later the lifeboat was on scene, where the motorboat’s owner could be seen using a boat hook to keep it from being washed up onto the rocks under the Black Castle amid challenging conditions, with a northeasterly Force 3-4 wind.

The inshore lifeboat got close enough to transfer a line to the motorboat, and it was quickly hauled out to sea and away from danger.

A towline was then established and the motorboat was towed the short distance back to Wicklow Harbour. The two men were landed safely ashore on the south quay at 10.22pm, none the worse after their ordeal.



Speaking after the callout, Wicklow RNLI lifeboat press officer Tommy Dover said: “A speedy response by the inshore lifeboat crew in challenging conditions resulted in a good outcome today.”

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Wicklow RNLI Inshore lifeboat launched just after 09:55 am this morning (Sunday 29 May) to reports of a motorboat in difficulties south of Wicklow harbour. The lifeboat proceeded south and was on scene three minutes later.

The owner could be seen using a boat hook to keep the motorboat from being washed up onto the rocks in challenging conditions under the Black Castle. Weather at the time was wind north-easterly force 3/4 with slight seas and good visibility.

The inshore lifeboat got close enough to transfer a line to the motorboat, and it was quickly hauled out to sea and away from danger. A towline was established, and the motorboat was towed the short distance back to Wicklow harbour.

The two men were landed safely ashore on the south quay at 10:22 pm, none the worst after their ordeal.

Speaking after the callout Wicklow RNLI Press Officer, Tommy Dover said: ‘A speedy response by the Inshore lifeboat crew in challenging conditions resulted in a good outcome today.’

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Wicklow RNLI all-weather lifeboat Johanna and Henry Williams under the command of Alan Goucher on his first ‘Shout’ as Coxswain, towed an eight-metre motor cruiser with three people on board to safety this afternoon (Sunday, 23 January) after the vessel developed mechanical problems.

The volunteer crew were paged just before 3 pm after the Coast Guard received a call from the owner of the motor cruiser, to say their vessel had suffered mechanical failure and they were drifting north of Brittas Bay.

Wicklow lifeboat slipped its moorings at the South quay shortly after 3 pm and proceeded south to the vessel's last reported position.

The lifeboat was alongside the motor cruiser at 3:30 pm about four miles off Jack’s Hole near Brittas Bay. Conditions on scene were wind south-easterly force three with good visibility. Coxswain Goucher carried out a risk assessment and a towline was quickly established with the motor cruiser.

Coxswain Alan GoucherCoxswain Alan Goucher

Speaking after the callout, Coxswain Goucher said: ‘For the first hour the tow was slow due to the tide and swell, but as we got closer to Wicklow head, conditions improved, and we were able to increase the speed.’

The motor cruiser and its three occupants were landed safely ashore at the East pier as darkness fell shortly before 5:30 pm this evening.

Alan Goucher joined Wicklow RNLI in 2011 and was appointed a Coxswain in April 2021 after completing rigorous training. Today was his first callout as Coxswain on the all-weather lifeboat, we are all very proud of his commitment to saving lives at sea.

The crew on the callout were Coxswain Alan Goucher, Mechanic Brendan Copeland, Lisa O’ Leary, Dean Mulvihill, John Stapleton and Stephen Kenny.

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Wicklow RNLI Inshore RNLI lifeboat was launched at 10:30 am this morning (Sunday 16 January) after a concerned member of the public contacted the Coast Guard to report a lone kayaker in difficulties south of Wicklow harbour.

The Inshore lifeboat crew proceeded south towards Wicklow Head and began an immediate search of the area. Weather conditions at the scene were sea state moderate with wind north-easterly force four with good visibility.

At 10:55 am the crew located a kayaker about two miles off the Silver Strand beach. He was not in any difficulty and required no further assistance.

"A lone kayaker was in difficulties south of Wicklow harbour"

Speaking after his first callout as a Helm, Paul Sillery said: ‘We were alongside the kayaker just before 11 am and carried out a quick assessment. The kayak was well kitted out with safety equipment including a marine VHF radio. The man said he was on a training exercise and did not require any assistance, so we contacted the Coast Guard to say he was ok and wished to continue his passage south.’

Paul SilleryPaul Sillery

The lifeboat crew were stood down and returned to the station.

While the kayaker was well equipped for the journey today. It is essential to carry a communications device, such as a VHF radio, Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) or a mobile phone every time you go out on the water. Carry it on your person and in a waterproof pouch on a lanyard, so you can’t drop it if your hands get cold. Always tell someone where you are going and when you will return.

The crew on the callout were: Helm Paul Sillery, Alan Goucher, Peter Byrne, and Stephen Kenny.

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A busy mother of one is among five new volunteer crew members who will be on call for the first time this Christmas at Lough Derg RNLI.

Polish native Ania Skrzypczynska is preparing to swap traditional festivities for the cold waters of the December lake, should the call for help come in.

And as the RNLI continues its Christmas Appeal, Ania is urging the public to help her crew, and the thousands of other volunteer crews on call over the Christmas period, to continue their lifesaving work.

Ania says she joined the RNLI “because I wanted to become part of the community after moving to Dromineer. After the first few training sessions on the lifeboat, I had got to meet really nice, friendly people and found it to be a great experience.

“Then after passing my first assessment and being allowed to go on the lifeboat, it was like the beginning of an adventure for me.

“Being a mum of a small and very busy boy, I am restricted with the amount of time I have to spare between my full-time job and family life. However, I know that in the future I will be able to get more involved in the life of the station.

“I am looking forward to becoming a fully qualified crew member. I like new challenges and I want to channel it towards learning how to help others. And by living so close to Lough Derg, I want to learn more about the lake, its beauty and, its dangers.”

Among the other new crew members at Lough Derg RNLI are Richard Nolan, Ciara Lynch, Eimear Kelly and Ciara Moylan.

For Richard, his knowledge from youth of the work the RNLI did on the lake was a major influence in his decision to join the crew, but he also found that having lived away from home in London for almost 10 years, it was a good opportunity to reintegrate into his community.

Richard says: ‘This is my first Christmas on call, and I know even over the festive period, our lifesavers are ready to drop everything at a moment’s notice and rush to the aid of someone in trouble on the water.”

From left: Paul Sillery, Graham Fitzgerald and John Stapleton have taken up new roles at Wicklow RNLIFrom left: Paul Sillery, Graham Fitzgerald and John Stapleton have taken up new roles at Wicklow RNLI

Elsewhere, Wicklow RNLI have passed out three volunteer lifeboat crew into new lifesaving roles at the station.

Graham Fitzgerald is a new station coxswain, Paul Sillery is a new helm on the station’s inshore lifeboat and John Stapleton is a new mechanic on the all-weather Shannon class lifeboat.

Graham has been a volunteer lifeboat crewmember since 2009, becoming a helm on the inshore lifeboat back in 2013. He has a strong family connection to the station, with his grandfather Billy Kilbride a former lifeboat volunteer.

From a strong seafaring background and working in Dublin Port, the sea is in his veins, and he was involved in the rescue of two children who were blown out to sea on an inflatable earlier this year.

“I like the challenge of going out on a rescue and not knowing what we may face; I’ve been on a few challenging ones and it’s so rewarding to bring people home safe, something that sadly not every family have experienced,” he says.

“As a helm and now a coxswain, I feel a huge responsibility to the crew and the station, thanks to the support of the public we have the kit and the equipment to ensure we can save lives at sea whenever and wherever we are needed.”

Paul Sillery joined the lifeboat crew back in 2009 and has recently passed out as a helm on the station’s D class lifeboat. Like Graham, Paul has a strong lifeboating tradition in his family: his great uncle Parker Keogh was coxswain and his uncle David Sillery was a crew member.

“I knew I was always going to join the lifeboat crew and the minute I turned 17 I was at the door of the station,” Paul says. “People recognise the crew in the street as they see us going out to train and see us leaving for a shout. It’s so humbling to have that kind of community support behind us.

John Stapleton has been recently passed out as a mechanic on the all-weather lifeboat. Born and raised in Dublin, John moved to Wicklow 11 years ago and joined the lifeboat crew in 2015.

“There is a role for everyone in the RNLI and if you have an interest in something you can develop it and train up,” John says. “We have navigators, launching authorities and shore crew — everyone does the role that suits them, and it all works together. The resources the RNLI puts into the training and the kit is incredible.:

John adds: “Through people supporting this year’s Christmas appeal, with their help we can get so much closer to our goal of saving every one.”

To make a donation to the RNLI’s Christmas Appeal, visit RNLI.org/Xmas

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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