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Displaying items by tag: RNLI

Portrush RNLI was requested to launch by Belfast Coastguard on Saturday afternoon (9 July) to reports of a 35-foot yacht in difficulty between White Park Bay and Rathlin Island, off Northern Ireland’s Causeway Coast.

The all-weather lifeboat launched under coxswain Des Austin at 1.54pm into near perfect conditions with a clear sky, calm sea and excellent visibility.

Arriving on scene at 2.30pm, the lifeboat crew quickly established that the yacht with two persons on board had fouled its prop on a rope.

A crew member was transferred to the yacht to try to release the rope but this was not possible. A further assessment was carried out and it was agreed that the best course of action was to tow the yacht to the nearest safe port which was Ballycastle, where the yacht and lifeboat arrived at 3.55pm.

Lifeboat operations manager Beni McAllister said of the foiled propeller: “Unfortunately, this can be a common occurrence with a yacht, but the couple on board did the right thing by contacting the Coastguard and asking for assistance. Our volunteer crew are trained for this type of incident, so it was all very straightforward.

“We would also like to congratulate our newest volunteer crew member Roo McCrudden on his first shout with Portrush RNLI.”

Roo McCrudden was on the lifeboat in his first shout with the Portrush RNLI crew | Credit: RNLI/Dave RobinsonRoo McCrudden was on the lifeboat in his first shout with the Portrush RNLI crew | Credit: RNLI/Dave Robinson

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Despite a quiet start to 2022 on Midlands waters, Lough Ree RNLI’s volunteer crews responded to their 20th callout of the year on Saturday evening (9 July) after a request to assist a boat with three on board in difficulty near Beam Island.

Launched just after 8pm, the inshore lifeboat Tara Scougall —under helm Stan Bradbury and volunteer crew Liam Sheringham and Paul Kelly — reached the stricken 28ft vessel in under 10 minutes.

The sailing boat was found to be run aground on rocks at Beam Island. All three people on board were found to be well and after an initial inspection, the boat was towed into safe waters and continued under its own power.

Lough Ree RNLI lifeboat operations manager Kevin Ganly said: “As we move into the busiest part of the holiday season, it is important that everybody who uses the lake is well prepared, has informed family and friends of their itinerary and follow the navigation guidance on the lake. As always the charity’s volunteer crew will be on standby to respond whenever necessary.”

So far this year Lough Ree RNLI has assisted more than 50 people on Lough Ree and the River Shannon. As it celebrates its 10th birthday, the lifeboat station has responded to almost 600 calls and assisted upwards of 1,300 people throughout the decade.

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Lough Derg RNLI’s volunteers had a late-night callout on Sunday (10 July) to search for three people and their dog on a white speedboat reported missing on the lake.

At midnight, the inshore lifeboat Jean Spier launched 15 minutes after pagers sounded with helm Eleanor Hooker, Doireann Kennedy, Keith Brennan and Owen Cavanagh on board. Conditions had a southerly Force 2/3 wind with a full moon and clear starlit sky.

Given the serious nature of the callout, the Irish Coast Guard’s Shannon-based helicopter Rescue 115 was also tasked. Meanwhile, Galway-based gardaí responded to the emergency at Portumna Harbour, having been informed that this was the intended destination for the missing people.

Valentia Coast Guard, coordinating the multi-agency response, requested for the lifeboat to go directly to Portumna Castle Harbour at the very northern end of the lake, adding that gardaí had been told that there may be speedboat adrift west of the bay.

Using on-board electronic navigation, radar, searchlights and local knowledge, the lifeboat made way directly to Portumna Castle Harbour.

At 12.26am, as the lifeboat approached Terryglass Bay, Valentia Coast Guard gave the RNLI volunteers a specific location to search.

Very quickly the lifeboat volunteers located three people and a dog on board their 12ft speedboat, all safe and unharmed, and confirmed this was the missing party. It emerged that, having become disorientated and lost, the party found themselves in the reeds out of sight of the harbour and out of fuel.

The lifeboat took the speedboat on an alongside tow to Portumna Castle Harbour, where the casualties were met by gardaí who checked they were not in need of further assistance.

Peter Kennedy, deputy launching authority at Lough Derg RNLI, advises boat users “to plan your passage so that you reach safe harbour before nightfall. Carry a means of communication and let others know when you expect to arrive at your destination. Carry sufficient lifejackets and ensure all on board are wearing theirs.”

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The volunteer lifeboat crew of Howth RNLI launched both their Inshore and All-Weather lifeboats on Saturday (9 July) to reports of a yacht with a family of four on board who had ran aground at the entrance to Malahide harbour.

The pagers went off at 11:45 while the crew of Howth Inshore Lifeboat were preparing to launch on a training exercise and responded immediately.

Howth All-Weather Lifeboat launched shortly after with five crew on board. Weather conditions were good with light easterly winds.

Both Lifeboats made their way to Malahide to assess the condition of the yacht and its crew.

Once on scene, the crew of Howth Inshore Lifeboat established that the yacht was aground but otherwise undamaged. The inshore lifeboat crew assisted the skipper of the yacht in deploying its anchor and a decision was taken to transfer three of the yacht’s crew onto the All-Weather lifeboat to return them to Howth.

The skipper of the yacht remained on board awaiting the rising tide to free the yacht.

Speaking following the call-out, Howth RNLI inshore lifeboat helm, Fin Goggin said, ‘Although the weather is perfect for enjoying time on the water this weekend, it’s important to be aware of the weather forecast and the tide times and ensure it's suitable for your activity.

The yacht's skipper was well prepared but unfortunately, incidents like this can happen. The skipper did the right thing in calling the Coast Guard for help.

As we were preparing for our weekly training exercise at the time, the inshore lifeboat crew were able to quickly respond. Our fellow crew from the All-Weather lifeboat launched minutes later to assist us. Once the pagers go off our volunteer crew drop what they’re doing and make their way to the lifeboat station to help save lives at sea.”

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As the summer season begins, Fethard RNLI’s new volunteer water safety officer Rebecca Doyle commenced her role by organising a swim safely clinic.

Local swim group Hooked on Swimming and the local triathlon club attended the clinic, which was provided by the RNLI water safety team on Baginbun Beach near the Co Wexford village.

Killian O’Kelly, RNLI water safety education manager joined Rebecca and fellow water safety officers Declan Roche and Debbie Newport from Kilmore Quay RNLI to offer valuable advice and discuss water safety tips relating to open water swimming.

Speaking at the event, Killian offered the following main points to the swimmers: “Be prepared. Check the weather and tides, choose your spot, go with a buddy or group and have the right equipment with you.

“Make sure you acclimatise to avoid cold water shock. Be seen by wearing a bright coloured swim hat and take a tow float. Rotate members of the group on shore to act as a shore safety person.”

Killian went on to advise about “the importance always having a means to call 999 or 112 for help, in the form of a dry pouch to hold your mobile phone or a pea-less whistle if you have someone listening out on shore.”

As the event was attended by two local swimming groups, the water safety team also discussed the huge benefits of the clubs having their own incident action plan, in case a member gets into trouble in the water.

The information offered on the evening was well received by all who attended, and they all received RNLI waterproof mobile phone holders.

Speaking after the event, Rebecca said: “It was fantastic to see all the swimmers on Baginbun listening attentively to the Water Safety Team and taking on board our advice.

“We spoke about the benefits of having a whistle tied to your tow float while out swimming and I am delighted to say there were quite a few ordered online in the days following our clinic.”

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An intrepid duo intend to cross the Irish Sea from Wales to Wicklow this weekend in an unusual fashion — paddling on their bellies.

Damien Wildes and Charlie Fleetwood will assume the prone position on their stand-up paddleboards from Holyhead in the early hours of this Saturday 9 July for the crossing to Greystones, which they expect to take somewhere between 14 and 20 hours.

Each will be assisted by their own volunteer-operated support boat for the endurance feat in which they hope to raise at least €15,000 for three local charities: Purple House Cancer Support, Wicklow SPCA and Wicklow RNLI.

“Completing the prone crossing will be a world’s first,” Damien told Greystones Guide, “and I know not many people have actually made it across by SUP, so Charlie will make it onto a very short and very illustrious list.”

The pair’s iDonate page has more on their plans HERE.

Published in Offshore

Enniskillen RNLI came to the aid of two people on Sunday (3 July) after their boat ran aground on Lower Lough Erne.

The lifeboat volunteers were paged by Belfast Coastguard shortly before 1.45pm to rescue the duo at Gull Rock, close to Castle Archdale in Co Fermanagh.

At the time of launch, there was a lot of cloud cover and there was a Force 5 wind blowing from the northwest. It was this wind that had pushed the casualty’s boat onto Gull Rock after developing engine problems.

The inshore lifeboat, helmed by Stevie Ingram and with three crew members onboard, launched immediately. On reaching the reported location, the crew discovered that the casualty vessel had suffered from engine difficulties on the shore of Gull Rock and as a result was taking on water and starting to lean on its side.

Due to the shallow waters, the lifeboat could not get alongside the casualty vessel. The crew assessed the situation and a decision was made for a crew member to swim to the shoreline to reach the boat. The man and woman onboard were safe and well with words of reassurance from the RNLI crew member.

Due to the water intake, a tow line could not be established. The Irish Coast Guard’s Sligo-based helicopter Rescue 118 was tasked to airlift the two people and the crew member to the nearby St Angelo Airport in Enniskillen.

The casualty vessel was left in position at Gull Rock with its anchor deployed to ensure it did not become a navigation hazard.

Speaking after the callout, Enniskillen RNLI helm Stevie Ingram said: “We want to commend the people on the vessel for doing the right thing and calling the coastguard. Sunday’s callout highlights the importance of inter-agency working and we would like to thank our colleagues in Rescue 118.

“The summer holidays got under way this week and we would remind everyone to enjoy their activities on the lough but to always think safety first. Bring a means of communication with you when you go out on, or near, the water. Even if you’re onshore, and you spot something happening on the water the best thing to do is dial 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

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Lough Derg RNLI assisted seven people on two separate vessels in back-to-back callouts on Sunday afternoon (3 July).

Valentia Coast Guard first requested Lough Derg’s lifeboat volunteers to launch to three people on a 25ft motor cruiser adrift with steering failure near Williamstown on the Co Clare shoreline.

At 2.30pm, the inshore lifeboat Jean Spier launched with helm Owen Cavanagh, Joe O’Donoghue, Chris Parker and Ciara Moylan on board in good visibility and a westerly Force 4 wind.

The lifeboat arrived on scene within five minutes and one of the crew transferred to the casualty vessel, whose occupants were found to be safe and unharmed and wearing their lifejackets.

It emerged that the cruiser had power but its steering had failed, and the skipper had dropped anchor to prevent drift across the navigation channel.

Given the location and weather, the lifeboat helm made the decision to take the vessel under tow. And as there was a fleet of dinghies racing in a regatta in Dromineer Bay, he decided to take the vessel in an alongside tow across the bay to the public harbour at Dromineer.

At 2.50pm, while the RNLI volunteers were securing the casualty vessel alongside in Dromineer Harbour, Valentia Coast Guard requested them to assist four people on a 25ft speedboat in the harbour that was taking on water.

The speedboat came alongside the lifeboat for aid. The skipper had a pump in the stern and an RNLI volunteer brought the lifeboat’s salvage pump from the lifeboat station to pump water from the bow.

Once the speedboat was pumped free of water, the lifeboat helm advised the skipper to have his vessel checked at the nearby marina. However, the skipper decided to return his vessel to his home harbour. Two of his passengers alighted at Dromineer, and the skipper and another of his crew set out.

The lifeboat gave a situation report to Valentia Coast Guard, who requested the lifeboat monitor the casualty vessel’s progress. At 3.50pm, at the Corakeen Islands, the lifeboat reported that the speedboat was making way at speed and now out of sight ahead of the lifeboat. The lifeboat crew were then stood down.

Jeremy Freeman, deputy launching authority at Lough Derg RNLI advises boat users: “Ensure your vessel is serviced and in safe working order and if you find yourself in difficulty on the lake, dial 999 or 112 and ask for marine rescue.”

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Dun Laoghaire Harbour RNLI rescued a kayaker who was in the water for over 20 minutes on Saturday (2 July) after he got into difficulty off Dalkey Island.

The volunteer crew were alerted shortly after 4 pm by the Irish Coast Guard after a member of the public spotted the kayaker in difficulty half a mile off Sorrento Point and immediately raised the alarm. The crew launched the inshore lifeboat at 4.10 pm and arrived at the scene at 4.20 pm.

The lifeboat helmed by Laura Jackson and with two crew members onboard, immediately made its way to the scene.

While weather conditions at the time appeared calm closer to shore, the sea was choppy on scene and water temperatures were low.

The kayaker had come off his kayak and was unable to get back into it. Arriving on scene, the crew observed the casualty who was wearing a lifejacket, floating close to his kayak. They rescued the kayaker and brought him safely aboard the lifeboat before returning to Coliemore Harbour. He was then transferred into the care of the Coast Guard team for medical assessment but did not require hospital treatment.

Speaking following the call out, Dun Laoghaire RNLI Helm Laura Jackson said: ‘We would like to commend the member of the public who spotted the kayaker and did the right thing by raising the alarm immediately. Time is always of the essence in these situations.

‘We encourage anyone setting out in a kayak or craft of any size to carry a means of calling for help in a waterproof pouch and wearing a suitable floatation device as the casualty did today.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Volunteers at Sligo Bay RNLI are reminding visitors planning a trip to Coney Island to take advantage of the free Text Coney service to help prevent them getting cut off by the tide.

The RNLI text messaging service was introduced by the charity seven years ago in a direct response to a coastal safety risk identified by the local community in Sligo.

The Coney Island causeway and its flooding tidal waters present a risk to people who are unsure of the tide times and the best times to cross from the mainland.

In the past, Sligo Bay RNLI has responded to numerous call outs around Coney Island that relate to tidal cut off and activities around the sandbanks and tidal channels. The lifeboat crews can be restricted by water depth when attending these incidents especially during the crucial early phase of the flooding tide where people are starting to cut off or are bogged in.

The text messaging system accompanied by signage directs people to the numbers to text, encourages safer crossing and decision making.

Anyone planning to visit the island by car, bike or foot is encouraged to Text the word Coney to 51155 (from Republic of Ireland mobiles) or 81400 (from Northern Ireland/UK mobiles) to find out the safe crossing times for that day.

The RNLI will reply with information on the best times subject to good weather conditions along with key safety messages reminding users to always leave extra time to return safely, to never attempt to cross if the strand is covered with water and in the event of an emergency to dial 999 or 112 and ask for the Coast Guard.

Now, as the summer holidays get underway, Willie Murphy, Sligo Bay RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager is urging people to save the numbers and use them ahead of any planned trip: ‘This is a wonderful free service and I would encourage people to save the numbers 51155 or 81400 to their phones under Text Coney and that way they have the relevant information to hand and know what to do if planning a trip to the island. Simply texting the word Coney means we can help people get the best advice on the day and help them to make safer choices when accessing the coast, reducing their risk of getting into difficulty.’

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