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Displaying items by tag: RNLI

When it retired from active service at Margate on England’s southeast coast in April last year, the Mersey class all-weather lifeboat faced an uncertain future but RNLB Leonard Kent has now arrived at its new home at Newcastle in County Down where it will continue its lifesaving work.

Leonard Kent initially spent some time at the RNLI Support Centre at Poole but was considered worthy of further service and subsequently earmarked to replace Newcastle’s existing Mersey class lifeboat from where it will operate until building work at the station has been completed and their new Shannon class all-weather lifeboat arrives.

Leonard Kent was moved to a boatyard at West Cowes on the Isle of Wight and treated to a life-extension programme including upgrading the electronics to the latest Systems and Information Management System (SIMS). Leonard Kent would have been familiar with its surroundings having been built at the then FBM Marine shipyard at Cowes in1992.

Training on the new upgraded Systems and Information Management System was carried out while the lifeboat was on passage from Dun Laoghaire to Newcastle this weekTraining on the new upgraded Systems and Information Management System was carried out while the lifeboat was on passage from Dun Laoghaire to Newcastle this week

On receiving the new lifeboat to Newcastle RNLI this week, Lifeboat Operations Manager Lisa Ramsden said: ‘It is with a sense of nostalgia that we bid farewell to our outgoing all-weather lifeboat, the Eleanor and Bryant Girling, which served the Newcastle community and all those whose aid she went to, for almost 30 years. As we begin a new chapter, we are looking forward to being the custodians of the Leonard Kent and the volunteer crew are excited to now have an upgraded Mersey.

‘Training on the new upgraded Systems and Information Management System was carried out while the lifeboat was on passage from Dun Laoghaire to Newcastle this week. The removal of the original radar and navigation system from the Mersey helps to reduce weight and create more space in the wheelhouse while an additional benefit for us here in Newcastle RNLI is that the new system will ensure the volunteer crew are prepared and proficient in the radar and navigation systems that will come with our future Shannon class lifeboat.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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The RNLI is urging anyone taking part in open water swims and dips to be aware of the risks after revealing five people are alive today after being rescued in swimming-related incidents last winter*.

Cold water shock is a very real danger for anyone entering water that is 15°C or below while swim failure and hypothermia can also pose a risk, especially at this time of year when the average sea temperature around Ireland and the UK is just 6 to10°C.

Last winter, the RNLI saved the lives of five swimmers and helped a further 12 back to safety.

In Sligo, four swimmers found themselves in trouble in large swells. One person was recovered by the RNLI, one made it ashore independently and two others were airlifted to safety by the Coast Guard helicopter.

Stay in your depth - know your limits including how long to stay in the water and swim parallel to the shoreStay in your depth - know your limits including how long to stay in the water and swim parallel to the shore

In the UK, one of those saved was a sea swimmer who was struggling to get back ashore as the tide had turned. The alarm was raised by other swimmers and as the lifeboat arrived the swimmer was struggling to stay afloat, drifting in and out of consciousness and extremely cold.

Volunteers also saved two swimmers who were spotted clinging to a buoy, while a group of swimmers called 999 after losing sight of one of their friends who was then saved by the RNLI.

Kevin Rahill, RNLI Water Safety Lead said: ‘We’ve seen a big increase in the number of people taking up dipping and open water swimming, and it’s amazing so many people are feeling the benefits of a new activity. However for many, this is their first experience of the sea in the colder winter months, so we’re asking everyone to be aware of risks before they enter the water, know how to keep themselves and others safe, and to Respect the Water.

‘With the sea temperatures still dropping and reaching their coldest around March, the effects of cold water, combined with weather conditions and any personal health issues should be taken seriously before venturing in. If it’s your first time in open water, we’d recommend you speak to your GP first, particularly for those with cardiac or underlying health conditions.

‘There are a number of precautions you can take to help ensure you have an enjoyable and safe time. Avoid swimming alone, consider going with others or joining a group so you can look out for each other. Think about the depth of water and if you can, stay in your depth.

‘Also taking the right kit is essential. We’d recommend wearing a wetsuit to keep you warm and increase your buoyancy, together with a bright swim cap and tow float to make yourself visible to others and use in an emergency.

‘The most important thing to remember is if you are in any doubt, stay out of the water and if you or anyone else does get into trouble in or on the water please call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard.

‘Even the well prepared can find themselves in difficultly but having the correct knowledge and equipment can save lives. Taking a means of calling for help with you, such as a mobile phone in a waterproof pouch with a whistle, really could be a lifesaver.’

RNLI safety tips for taking a winter swim or dip:

  • Be prepared – Check the weather forecast, including tide information and wave height. Take plenty of warm clothes for before and after your dip, along with a hot drink for when you come out of the water. Take a mobile phone in a waterproof pouch. Wearing a wetsuit will help increase your buoyancy and reduce the chances of suffering cold water shock
  • Never swim alone – always go with a buddy, if possible, to a familiar spot and tell someone when you plan to be back
  • Acclimatise slowly – never jump straight in as this can lead to cold water shock, walk-in slowly and wait until your breathing is under control before swimming
  • Be seen – wear a brightly coloured swim cap and consider using a tow float
  • Stay in your depth - know your limits including how long to stay in the water and swim parallel to the shore
  • Float to live - If you get into trouble lean back in the water, extending your arms and legs, and resisting the urge to thrash around to gain control of your breathing
  • Call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard - if you get into difficulty or see someone else in trouble call for help immediately
  • If in doubt, stay out – there is always another day to go for a swim
Published in Sea Swim
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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.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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The RNLI has launched its search for budding new lifeguards to start their career on some of Northern Ireland’s most popular beaches, as applications open for 2022.

Recruitment for this season’s team of RNLI beach lifesavers on the Causeway Coast and in County Down has opened, ready for the summer season. As well as rescuing those in difficulty, the RNLI’s beach lifeguards promote safe behaviour so visitors can return home safely.

Lifeguards are needed for beaches at Benone, Downhill, Castlerock, Portstewart, Portrush West, Portrush East, Whiterocks and Ballycastle on the Causeway Coast and at Tyrella, Murlough and Cranfield in county Down.

Successful applicants will receive world-class lifesaving training, enjoy good rates of pay and develop valuable skills for a future career.

Karl O’Neill, RNLI Lead Lifeguard Supervisor said: ‘Lifeguarding is a really unique and rewarding role and if you’re thinking about applying, I would really recommend you go for it. You can gain some invaluable skills and training whilst working on the beach and being part of an incredible team.

‘If you enjoy working in a challenging environment, have the ability to work under pressure and you like helping others, it really is a job you will love.’

Conard McCullagh, RNLI Lead Lifeguard Supervisor added: ‘The skills our lifeguards gain can be an ideal first step towards many career paths or offer invaluable experience for those studying or training in a similar field.

‘Beach lifeguarding can be a great opportunity and a very rewarding role. You could change lives – including your own – all whilst enjoying the beach as your office. As long as you can meet the fitness requirements, pass the interview and you are over school leaving age, there can be a role for you as a lifesaver.

‘We have lifeguards who have been working for the RNLI for years, both on the beach and as part of our support teams. It really is a great opportunity.’

Find out more about how you can help to improve the safety of a community and apply to be part of our amazing lifesaving team at rnli.org/BeALifeguard.

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The Irish Coast Guard at Dun Laoghaire Harbour along with the RNLI Inshore boat was tasked to a yacht on rocks just off Sandycove at the Forty Foot Bathing Pace on the south shore of Dublin Bay on Monday afternoon.

The Coastguard reported on social media that with low tide fast approaching, the Inshore Lifeboat Crew (ILB) successfully got the yacht off the rocks in time, along with assistance from other boats, with little or no damage to the yacht".

The yacht then returned to Dun Laoghaire Harbour in the company of the RNLI Inshore boat.

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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.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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The RNLI has awarded volunteer lifeboat crewmember Rory Bolton with a medal recognising his twenty years’ service to the charity at Dun Laoghaire Harbour. Over the course of two decades, Rory has been a volunteer crew member on both the inshore and all-weather lifeboats based at Dun Laoghaire lifeboat station and been passed out as a mechanic for both lifeboats.

Rory was presented with his medal recently by Dun Laoghaire RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager Edward Totterdell and RNLI Area Lifesaving Manager Peter Harty. Joining the RNLI back in 2001, Rory came on board after a friend who was already on the lifeboat crew, invited him to come to the station and see if he’d like to join. Already an outboard engine mechanic, Rory had seen the lifeboat in the harbour but didn’t know how to join the lifeboat crew. He was welcomed with opened arms and started his lifeboat journey on the smaller inshore lifeboat before moving onto the All-Weather lifeboat as well. He became a Helm and then the Senior Helm on the inshore lifeboat and has since passed out as a mechanic on both lifeboats and is currently third mechanic on the All-Weather lifeboat. On the personal life front, Rory also met his wife, Dr. Sarah Brookes, through the lifeboat, as she volunteers as the station’s medical advisor.

Commenting on the honour Rory said, ‘Dun Laoghaire RNLI is an amazing team to be a part of and the last twenty years have flown. We all come from different backgrounds but when we are out on a callout, we work as a team and there is nothing like it. Being a volunteer with the RNLI has been a huge part of my life, I met my wife Sarah through it, and we now have two beautiful children, Alice (7) and James (3). Alice already wants to join the lifeboat when she’s old enough. It’s been a wonderful twenty years.’

Reflecting on his most memorable callout Rory remembers a New Year’s Day callout around eight years ago to a kitesurfer who had lost the kite and was left in the water. ‘Conditions on the day were very challenging and right on the edge of what the inshore lifeboat can launch in. We went to Sandymount and there was no way he was able to get in to the shore by himself. With waves breaking over the lifeboat and the casualty struggling in the water, we pulled him to safety in the most difficult conditions. I’ll never forget it.’

Dun Laoghaire RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager Edward Totterdell added his congratulations to Rory, ‘This recognition, by the RNLI, of twenty years of dedicated service and volunteering by Rory, is one he thoroughly deserves. Those two decades have seen countless rescues and launches and he has helped so many people, along with his colleagues on the crew. Our grateful thanks to Rory for all his tireless work and for his continued service to the lifeboat crew and hopefully we will have a few more years yet.’

RNLI Area Lifesaving Manager Peter Harty presented Rory with his medal on behalf of the RNLI. Peter said, ‘It’s an honour to work with a group of incredible men and women who give so much to their community. In being part of a lifeboat crew, they carry a pager day and night, ready to launch at a moment’s notice when people get into trouble on the water. Twenty years’ service is an incredible record. My thanks to Rory and also to his family, who support him and help our lifeboat crews saves lives at sea.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Helvick Head RNLI of County Waterford came to the aid of two fishermen yesterday (Wednesday 12 January) after their 29ft fishing boat broke down at Ballyvoyle.

On what was described as a sunny and calm day on the water, the volunteer crew were requested to launch their inshore lifeboat by the Irish Coast Guard at 12.50 pm following a report that the vessel needed assistance at Ballyvoyle, close to Clonea beach.

Launching at 1.03 pm, the lifeboat helmed by Joe Foley and with crew members Alan Kelly, Shane Walsh and Liam Harty onboard, made its way to the scene arriving at 1.12 pm. 

Helvick Head RNLI with the fishing boat under towHelvick Head RNLI with the fishing boat under tow

The lifeboat crew assessed the situation and found the fishermen to be safe and well. As the boat had sustained engine failure, a decision was made to tow the vessel back to Helvick Head Pier where they arrived at 1.50 pm.

Speaking following the call out, Sean Walsh, Helvick Head RNLI Deputy Launching Authority said: ‘The casualties did the right thing by calling for help when they realised they were in difficulty.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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A Lough Derg “Lap the lake” 130 km cycle is raising funds for RNLI Lough Derg this May 

Starting and finishing at the well-known harbour of Dromineer, parking and showers will be available at nearby Lough Derg Yacht Club. 

Lough Derg is the third-biggest on the island of Ireland. It is a long, narrow lake, with shore roads in counties Clare, Galway, and Tipperary for the cyclists to navigate.

Event tickets are €65 per person and will include a t-shirt and goody bag. We would love participants to raise another €65 or more and donate a total of €130 for 130km. All funds raised go to Lough Derg RNLI. 

Bookings are now open for places here and download the poster below.

Lap the Lake” Cycle Will Raise Funds for RNLI

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Youghal RNLI’s volunteer lifeboat launched yesterday morning (Tuesday 4 January) to a report from a member of the public who saw a boat drifting out to sea.

The lifeboat crew located the 12ft punt at 10.15am drifting from Youghal Bridge out the harbour on a strong falling tide. The vessel was then towed to Ferry Point where the local coastguard were waiting.

Youghal RNLI deputy launching authority Mark Nolan said: “Thanks to the member of public that reported this, as any vessel like this on a strong falling tide could be a navigational hazard to other marine traffic in the area.

“If you see someone in trouble or notices anything suspicious in the water dial 999 or 122 and ask for the coastguard.”

The volunteer lifeboat crew on the callout were helm Erik Brooks with crew Kevin Daly and Ivan Bryan.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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