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The volunteer crew of Lough Ree RNLI were involved in the rescue of 133 people in 42 different incidents on the lake and River Shannon so far this year.

The charity’s volunteers embarked on their first callout of 2022 on the afternoon of St Patrick’s Day and have since gone to the assistance of 40 boats in difficulty on the inland waterways.

Fortunately, all 133 people who needed the charity’s assistance were rescued safely and no injuries were reported.

In the most significant incident, 10 people were escorted to safety when a small boat capsized near the N6 motorway bridge in August, while nine people were on board a cruiser which ran aground on the Hexagon Shoal in June.

Groundings of boats on the Hexagon Shoal accounted for a quarter of all callouts this year.

Speaking at the charity’s headquarters at Coosan Point this week, Lough Ree RNLI lifeboat operations manager Kevin Ganly said: “It appears that the provision of additional markers around the Hexagon Shoal in recently by Waterways Ireland has improved safety in that area of the lake. Nonetheless the charity and its volunteers remain always ‘on call’ to respond to any emergencies.”

The new lifeboat station, which was operational for the first time this summer, has proven to be a particular asset, Lough Ree RNLI says.

In recent weeks volunteer crew from across the Midlands and West have used the facility for casualty care training. The station’s designated slipway at Coosan Point has also contributed to more efficient launches of the charity’s lifeboat Tara Scougall.

The lifeboat station is base for more than 40 volunteers who along with their families generously give of their time and expertise to assist the local community.

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Arklow RNLI launched on Sunday evening (11 September) to assist two people on 39ft yacht which had lost propulsion and was adrift off the Co Wexford town.

The volunteer crew made their way to the lifeboat station around 7pm and within minutes of the request were aboard the all-weather lifeboat Ger Tigchlearr and en route to the reported location.

Once afloat, the lifeboat travelled the half mile to the vessel at Arklow’s South Beach.

In wet conditions with light fading and southerly winds with wave heights of around two-and-a-half metres, the vessel had lost propulsion and tried to anchor as it drifted onto a lee shore some 50 yards from the beach.

Following an assessment by the lifeboat crew, it was decided to establish a tow to bring the vessel to safety.

A lifeboat volunteer boarded the casualty vessel to assist with rigging a tow. Once it was established, the casualty vessel was able to have its anchor hauled up and proceed with the tow back to the nearest safe port at Arklow.

Following the callout, volunteer lifeboat press officer Mark Corcoran said: “Our teams dedication and training for these scenarios really paid off this evening. Thankfully the crew on the sailing vessel had done all the right things which allowed us to get there and be able to assist.”

Arklow RNLI’s crew on this callout were coxswain Ned Dillon, John Bermingham, Eddie McElheron, Craig O’Reilly, Sinead Myler, Jimmy Myler and Dave Molloy.

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The volunteer crew from Clogherhead RNLI in Mid Louth were called to rescue a lone fisherman and his boat in calm conditions as the sun went down on Saturday evening (10 September).

The fisherman himself had requested help from the Irish Coast Guard who tasked Clogherhead RNLI to come to his aid as his fishing boat was drifting after the propellor became tangled in some lobster pots.

The all-weather Shannon class lifeboat launched under coxswain Gerard Sharkey at 7.11pm and headed to the fishing boat’s confirmed position two miles north of Dunany Point.

The lifeboat reached the drifting vessel at 7.40pm and the crew found the fisherman to be fine himself but anxious because the boat had continued drifting.

The crew assessed the situation before a decision was made to attach a tow rope to the drifting vessel and make the journey back to the nearest safe port at Clogherhead Harbour. The lifeboat, with fishing boat and the fisherman in tow, arrived safely at 9.30pm.

Speaking after the callout, Sharkey said: “The RNLI always advises anyone who needs help at sea to call 999 and ask for the coastguard which is what this fisherman did. Happily, we reached him before anything happened and we had a positive outcome for the fisherman and his boat.”

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Kilmore Quay RNLI came to the aid of three people this morning (Monday, 12 September) after their becalmed yacht experienced engine failure 30 miles off the Wexford coast

The volunteer crew launched their all-weather Tamar class lifeboat, Killarney, following a request by the Irish Coast Guard shortly after 9:00 am. Weather conditions at the time were fair, with some fog, light winds and calm seas. The conditions prevented the crew of the 10.5m yacht from using sail power. The subsequent engine failure meant the yacht was becalmed and unable to move.

The lifeboat under Coxswain Philip Walsh with five crew members onboard, immediately launched and made its way to the scene 30 miles south of Kilmore Quay, arriving at 11:11 am.

The lifeboat crew checked that all onboard the yacht were safe and well before assessing the situation with the vessel. A decision was made to establish a towline and return to the nearest port, which was Kilmore Quay. The passage back to port with the vessel under tow took just over three and a half hours.

Arriving back in the harbour at 2:50 pm, the casualty vessel was secured alongside the marina, assisted by the Kilmore Quay unit of the Irish Coast Guard. The lifeboat returned to its berth and was made ready for service again by the crew.

Speaking following the call out, Kilmore Quay RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager John Grace, said: ‘Even the best-maintained equipment can have unexpected problems, which is why it is so important to carry a means of communication when heading out to sea. If you find yourself in difficulty, or you see someone in trouble, on or near the water, call the Coast Guard on 112 or 999.’

The Kilmore Quay RNLI lifeboat crew involved in the call out were Coxswain Philip Walsh, crew members Sam Nunn, Tom Lambert, Robbie Connolly, Michelle Hinchy and Jack Devereux.

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Three people had an unexpected night ashore when their 35ft cruiser ran aground at Illaunmor, requiring the assistance of Lough Derg RNLI’s volunteers on Sunday afternoon (11 September).

At 3.25pm, Lough Derg’s inshore lifeboat Jean Spier launched with helm Eleanor Hooker, Doireann Kennedy, Joe O’Donoghue and Tom Hayes on board. Conditions had southerly Force 3-4 winds with good visibility.

Initial reports from the casualty vessel indicated that it was aground by the entrance to Dromineer Bay. With no evidence of a vessel in difficulty in the bay, the lifeboat asked Valentia Coast Guard if they could make contact with the casualties to determine their exact location or identify nearby landmarks.

At 3.33pm, with additional information from the coastguard, the lifeboat located the casualty vessel at the southern end of Illaunmor.

Using onboard electronic navigation equipment and taking soundings off the bow, the lifeboat made a cautious approach to the casualty vessel.

As the lifeboat neared the cruiser, it was evident from the diving platform that someone on the casualty vessel had suffered an injury. The helm asked two crew members to put on gloves and to ready the first aid kit. The lifeboat was alongside at 3.41pm.



It emerged that one person on board had been in the water in bare feet to assess their situation and had suffered lacerations to their foot. The other two people were safe and unharmed. All were asked to don their lifejackets.

Two RNLI volunteers transferred to the casualty vessel and attended to the injured person. Once the RNLI volunteers were satisfied that the person had no other injuries, he was instructed to remain seated with his foot elevated.

The lifeboat crew also ascertained that the casualty vessel had grounded bow-up on a rocky shoal.

An RNLI volunteer checked under the floorboards and in the engine housing to make certain that the vessel was not holed, then set up an astern tow after being requested to do so by the helm. The second RNLI volunteer on board the casualty vessel returned to the lifeboat to assist with tow lines.

At 4.10pm the lifeboat attempted to take the casualty vessel off the shoal but it was stuck fast. The helm made the decision to take all people off the boat and to the safety of Dromineer.

Volunteers also made contact with RNLI shore crew back at station and asked that they book accommodation for the three people at Lough Derg House in Dromineer.

An RNLI volunteer secured the vessel and deployed the anchor. All three people were assisted on to the lifeboat and taken to Dromineer where, at 5pm, they were met by the proprietor of Lough Derg House. Shore crew also made contact with the cruiser company to arrange for the recovery of the casualty vessel.

Peter Kennedy, deputy launching authority at Lough Derg RNLI advises boat users to “keep to the navigation route on your charts and keep a constant lookout”.

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Skerries RNLI were tasked on Thursday morning (8 September) following emergency calls to Dublin Coast Guard reporting a small RIB with a person on board in difficulty off Rush beach.

Pagers were sounded shortly after 11.30am and the volunteers quickly launched the Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat Louis Simson.

The lifeboat navigated around the headland at Red Island and through the islands before proceeding towards Rush, around 6km south of Skerries in north Co Dublin.

As they were approaching the area indicated by the concerned caller, the crew obtained a visual on the boat immediately. The lifeboat was positioned alongside the vessel and it was quickly determined that there was nobody on board and that the vessel was securely tied to a mooring.

Dublin Coast Guard on radio were satisfied that it was a false alarm with good intent. The lifeboat was stood down and returned to station in Skerries. Conditions at the time had a fForce 4-5 northeasterly wind with a moderately choppy sea.

Speaking about the callout, volunteer lifeboat press officer Gerry Canning said: “Thankfully in this instance it was a false alarm with good intent. The member of the public was genuinely concerned that someone was in trouble on the water and did the right thing in dialling 999 and asking for the coastguard.”

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Courtmacsherry RNLI’s volunteers were called out at 11.33am this morning (Monday 5 September) to go to the immediate aid of a surfer in difficulty amid strong winds off Garrylucas Beach.

Under coxswain Mark Gannon and a crew of six, the all-weather lifeboat was quickly under way and proceeded in very rough seas towards the coastline off Garrylucas.

The 999 call had been made by the partner of the person in trouble as she saw that he had lost control in windy conditions and was in immediate danger.

The Old Head/Seven Heads Coast Guard unit was also tasked and maintained cover on the shoreline and the nearby rocks.

Just after 11.55am the lifeboat arrived off Garrylucas and found that the surfer had managed to swim to the safety of rocks between Garrylucas and Garretstown Strand and reach the shore in very poor and gusty conditions.

The casualty was met and assessed on the shoreline by members of the Old Head/Seven Heads Coast Guard team. Once it was confirmed there was nobody else in trouble, the lifeboat was stood down and returned to base.

Conditions at sea today off West Cork were extremely difficult, with a very strong southeast Force 7-8 blowing and a huge sea swell.

Speaking following the callout, Courtmacsherry’s lifeboat press officer Vincent O’Donovan said: “It was great to see 15 crew members assemble quickly on a Monday morning to help others in danger on the sea which was raging today.

“This is our 21st callout in what has been a very busy year so far for our station in Courtmacsherry.”

The crew on board the lifeboat this morning were coxswain Mark Gannon, mechanic Stuart Russell, Dave Philips, Tadgh McCarthy, Enda Boyle, Evin O’Sullivan and Conor Tyndall.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Larne RNLI’s volunteers were requested to launch on Friday evening (2 September) to reports of a kayaker in the water in Brown’s Bay at Islandmagee, on Northern Ireland’s East Antrim coast.

The volunteer crew launched both of their lifeboats into slight seas at 8.53pm at the request of Belfast Coastguard, then made their way to the casualty’s last given location at Brown’s Bay.

Upon reaching the location, both lifeboats conducted a thorough search of the area, using white flares to help illuminate the search area.

Portmuck Coastguard, along with some members of the public, had heard someone shouting for help in the bay and so the smaller inshore lifeboat, Terry, asked to be pointed in the direction of the shouting.

Heading towards the area indicated, the lifeboat found the casualty in the middle of the bay floating on his back. By this stage it was estimated that he had been in the water for up to one hour and was very cold.

The volunteer crew members recovered the casualty into the lifeboat and made their way back to the beach as quickly as possible while beginning first aid to try and warm the casualty back up. They were concerned about signs of hypothermia.

Upon reaching the beach, the lifeboat crew were met by members of the Portmuck and Larne mobile coastguard team who provided blankets and assistance.

Due to the severity of the casualty's condition, the Irish Coast Guard’s Dublin-based helicopter Rescue 116 was requested and arrived on scene to allow a paramedic to evaluate the casualty’s condition while awaiting the arrival of the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service.

The casualty was kept warm and dry until the ambulance arrived and he was taken to hospital.

Larne RNLI’s inshore lifeboat helm Barry Kirkpatrick said: “The casualty’s wife did the right thing by calling 999 and asking for the coastguard when she realised, he was in difficulty in the water.

“The kayaker also did the right thing by floating on his back with his arms stretched out. He was floating to live.

“All of the emergency services worked together so well to achieve a positive outcome. It was great teamwork from everyone involved.”

The RNLI’s advice if you find yourself in trouble in the water is to Float to Live: lean back spreading your arms and legs like a starfish to stay afloat, control your breathing, then call for help or swim to safety. For more visit RNLI.org/FloatUK2022.

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Youghal RNLI volunteer crew were tasked to launch following a report of a 12ft sailing dinghy that had capsized with a casualty in the water, south of the ferry point in Youghal harbour, in County Cork.

Youghal RNLI Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat launched at 3.40 pm on Friday (2 September) under Helm Liam Keogh, reaching the vessel within minutes. Weather conditions were calm with a mild south-westerly wind and a falling tide.

Once arriving on scene, lifeboat crew observed that the boat was capsized, and the sailor was trying to self-right the vessel but was unsuccessful.

The lifeboat crew then entered the water and righted the boat. They helped the man onboard the lifeboat where he was checked for any need of medical assistance but did not require any. A towline was then established between the lifeboat and the vessel and it was towed back to Ferry point. On arrival at the shore, the man was handed into the care of Youghal Coast Guard, who were awaiting his arrival.

Youghal RNLI Deputy Launching Authority John Herne said, “The water is terribly cold at this time of year, so be prepared if you are engaging in water-related activity and wear the appropriate clothing and a personal floatation device. Also, it is vital to have a means of communion for calling for help should something go wrong.’’

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The volunteer crew at Union Hall RNLI Lifeboat were requested to launch their inshore Atlantic 85 class lifeboat Christine and Raymond Fielding, by Valentia Coast Guard at 9.52 pm on Friday, 2nd September to a 35ft yacht with two people onboard, that had got into difficulty three-quarters of a mile west of Galley Head, in West Cork.

This is the second call out in three days for the volunteers at Union Hall.

The lifeboat under helm Aodh O’Donnell with crew Chris Collins, Sean Walsh and Ríona Casey launched at 10.00 pm, in a westerly force 4 wind.

Crew and shore crew from left to right - John O'Donovan, Chris Collins, Ríona Casey, Aodh O'Donnell, Sean Walsh, Niamh Collins and John Kelleher.Crew and shore crew from left to right - John O'Donovan, Chris Collins, Ríona Casey, Aodh O'Donnell, Sean Walsh, Niamh Collins and John Kelleher

The two onboard had called for assistance due to engine failure and freshening weather conditions. A line was attached and the lifeboat towed the yacht to the nearest safe and suitable port of Union Hall, arriving back to the lifeboat Station at 00.05 am (Saturday morning).

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