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Allianz and Afloat - Supporting Irish Boating

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Displaying items by tag: Lifeboats

Skerries RNLI launched Saturday evening (17 April) following reports of two windsurfers struggling to return to shore near Gormanstown Beach.

Shortly before 6.30pm, Dublin Coast Guard tasked Skerries RNLI following a call from a concerned member of the public.

They had reported that two windsurfers were around a mile offshore at Gormanstown and were struggling to make their way back to the beach.

The volunteer crew launched the Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat Louis Simson and navigated to the position indicated by the caller.

Arriving on scene, they quickly spotted the windsurfers and approached them to speak to them. The windsurfers confirmed that they were not in any difficulty but were planning on returning to shore anyway.

The lifeboat stood by while they made their way back to the beach safely. Conditions had a Force 1 southerly wind blowing and a smooth sea.

Speaking about the callout, volunteer lifeboat press officer Gerry Canning said: “Thankfully on this occasion there was no assistance required and it was a false alarm with good intent.

“The member of the public was genuinely concerned for their safety and did the right thing in dialling 999 and asking for the coastguard.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Kilkeel RNLI came to the aid of five people on Saturday (17 April) when their 10m yacht became stranded at Narrow Water Castle on the Northern Ireland side of Carlingford Lough.

The volunteer crew launched their inshore lifeboat at 4.05pm on Saturday to assist the yacht which had lost power and was at anchor at high tide.

The five people on board the yacht, all of whom were wearing lifejackets, were in no immediate danger.

On their way to the stricken yacht, with good visibility in a Force 4 south easterly wind, the Kilkeel RNLI crew were asked to attend to a separate report of one person in the water at Ross’s Monument Corner.

The person in the water had become separated from his catamaran board but by the time the lifeboat had reached the scene he had made his way ashore and Kilkeel Coastguard were attending to him.

Having ascertained that all was well, Kilkeel RNLI continued on their way to the yacht.

Arriving on scene, Kilkeel RNLI confirmed that the yacht crew was safe. A tow line was passed and secured to the vessel and on an ebb tide, the lifeboat then proceeded to Carlingford Marina with the vessel under tow.

Speaking afterwards, the skipper of the yacht said: “After a brilliant sail from Carlingford, up past Narrow Water, we had an engine failure at the worst possible moment. On a lee shore, we dropped anchor, but with a falling tide we were getting perilously close to going aground.

“We were very, very glad to see the boys in orange heaving into view.”

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Craig Boucher of Hybrid Health and Performance in Kilkeel recently completed a 4x4x48 challenge to raise funds for his local RNLI lifeboat station in the Co Down town.

Craig ran four miles every four hours for 48 hours and was generously supported by friends who donated a total of £800.

Speaking after his effort, Craig said that he had to walk the last eight miles because his knees were in “complete agony’” with every step and he didn’t want to force an injury.

John Fisher, lifeboat operations manager with Kilkeel RNLI, was delighted to receive the cheque and said: “It was a fantastic effort by Craig. That was almost two marathons in 48 hours, an unbelievable achievement from only three weeks of training.

“The donation is very welcome and the £800 will be put to good use in saving lives at sea.”

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In Co Mayo, Ballyglass RNLI’s inshore lifeboat launched to assist a fishing vessel in Broadhaven Bay in the station’s first callout of 2021.

At 12.30pm yesterday (Friday 2 April) the Irish Coast Guard requested the volunteer crew to assist a 35ft fishing vessel that had ran aground in the channel close to Belmullet docks and had sent a Mayday emergency distress signal.

Adhering to all COVID-19 procedures and guidelines, the inshore lifeboat — with Frankie Geraghty at the helm — launched immediately and was on scene within minutes, securing the casualty vessel and transferring its sole occupant safely ashore.

Pádraig Sheeran, volunteer lifeboat operations manager at Ballyglass RNLI, commended all involved on the expediency of the response.

“The RNLI and and the coastguard are always ready to assist but we ask the public to always put safety first, to always have a means of communication when on or near the water, and to always respect the water,” he said.

Earlier this week the RNLI and Irish Coast Guard issued a joint appeal to the public to heed safety advice when on or near the water over the Easter weekend and beyond, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Portrush RNLI’s volunteer crew launched their inshore lifeboat to reports of a fishing vessel in difficulty just outside the Northern Ireland harbour yesterday evening, Wednesday 31 March.

The 26-foot vessel with three on board lost power just outside the North Coast harbour’s wall at 5.25pm. Within minutes the lifeboat crew arrived in scene and set up a successful tow to the harbour pontoon.

Beni McAllister, lifeboat operations manager at Portrush RNLI, said: “With the season starting and all boats being allowed back in the harbour, we would ask that boat owners make sure that their boats are ready to go to sea and that all checks have been made.

“We are expecting a busy holiday season and look forward to welcoming our RNLI lifeguard colleagues back on the beaches this weekend.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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With the Easter holidays now begun in Northern Ireland, Larne RNLI is encouraging anyone planning to visit the coast to know the risks to protect themselves and their families and to heed key sea safety advice.

Larne RNLI’s volunteer lifeboat crew have returned to training in the last month with Covid-19 protocols in place and have already seen an increase in the number of people using the coastline for exercise and using beaches and bays for open-water swimming.

The station has remained operational throughout the pandemic and will continue to launch around the clock where there is a risk to life.

Ahead of the Easter break, Allan Dorman, Larne RNLI lifeboat operations manager, reminded people who are planning to be by the sea to always respect the water.

“Coastal areas provide a great opportunity to enjoy fresh air and open space but it is important to remember it can be an unpredictable and dangerous environment, particularly during spring and early summer when air temperatures may be warm but water temperatures remain dangerously cold, increasing the risk of cold water shock,” he said.

“We are reminding anyone planning to enter the water to follow the latest government guidelines on what you are allowed to do and where and to take extra care and avoid unnecessary risks as early season conditions are more challenging.

“Basic precautions can greatly reduce the risk of getting into difficulty whatever your activity and improve your chance of being found quickly should you find yourself in trouble.”

For activities like kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding, the RNLI recommends you carry a means of calling for help, such as a mobile phone in a waterproof pouch, and that you ensure you are wearing the right kit for the water temperature.

“A wetsuit will keep you warm and help you float in an emergency although wearing an appropriate buoyancy aid or lifejacket is still vital,” Dorman said. “For open-water swimmers and dippers, please also remember to acclimatise slowly and be visible with a brightly coloured hat.

“When you are going to visit a beach or are going near the water, we recommend that you go with a friend who can call for help should the need arise. If you plan on going into the water, we advise that you go as a pair with someone on the shore who can act as a spotter to call for assistance if needed.

“Always make sure that you have a means to contact someone on the shore if you are going out on a boat or kayak and ensure that your equipment is fully operational especially if it is the first time for it to be used this year after winter and the lockdown period.

“Should you get into difficulty or see someone in trouble, dial 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

The RNLI’s key safety advice is:

  • Check weather forecasts, tide times and any local hazard signage to understand local risks
  • Take care if walking or running near cliffs — know your route and keep dogs on a lead.
  • Carry a fully charged phone
  • If you get into trouble in the water, float to live: fight your instinct to thrash around, lean back, extend your arms and legs and float.
  • In an emergency, call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard

For further information on how to keep safe by the sea, visit rnli.org/safety

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Lough Ree RNLI is urging the public using the River Shannon and Lough Ree to be safety conscious as they make the seasonal return to the waterway this weekend.

The volunteer lifeboat crew at Lough Ree RNLI have, in line with Covid-19 protocols, returned to the water for training this month and are ready for the new season on the water.

With the combination of Easter holidays, an upcoming extension in travel limits and the hope for better weather over the next few weeks, it’s expected that Lough Ree and the River Shannon will attract large numbers of local visitors.

Jude Kilmartin, Lough Ree RNLI lifeboat operations manager, said: “We are asking everyone planning on taking to the water over the holiday period to refresh their safety procedures, check that all safety equipment is in working order and remember never to go on the lake or river without lifejackets.”

The volunteer crew of Lough Ree RNLI looks forward to working with the local community and serving those in Longford, Westmeath and Roscommon who avail of the local amenities over Easter.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, Waterways Ireland has appealed for all users of Ireland’s inland waterways not to take part in any activity on the water under the prevailing pandemic restrictions.

Published in Inland Waterways
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Skerries RNLI rescued two stand-up paddle boarders after strong currents and Force 6 offshore winds prevented them from making their way back to shore.

Shortly before 2.30pm yesterday afternoon (Sunday 28 March), a retired Skerries RNLI volunteer noticed a man and woman struggling to make their way ashore on their paddle boards near Red Island in Skerries.

He alerted the lifeboat operations manager and following a brief discussion it was decided that the pair were not making any progress.

Dublin Coast Guard were contacted and the decision was taken to page the volunteer crew and launch the Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat Louis Simson.

The crew rounded the headland at Red Island and arrived on scene in a matter of minutes, funding the man and woman both extremely tired from fighting against the wind and tide.

They were taken on board the lifeboat along with their paddle boards. A first-aid assessment was carried out but aside from being exhausted they did not require any further medical assistance, and the pair were returned safely to the beach at the lifeboat station.

Speaking about the callout, volunteer lifeboat press officer Gerry Canning said: “It doesn’t matter how good your equipment is, or how prepared you are, things can still go wrong at sea.

“We would remind anyone going to sea to carry a means of contacting the shore for help, even if you do not intend to go far. Something as simple as a phone in a waterproof pouch can make all the difference.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Aran Islands RNLI’s volunteer crew were asked to launch their all-weather lifeboat from Inis Mór last night (Sunday 21 March) for a local man on the neighbouring island of Inis Meáin who sustained a facial injury and was in need of further medical attention.

The lifeboat launched under coxswain John O'Donnell and a full crew and headed straight for Inis Meáin. Conditions at the time of launching were good, with calm seas, a slight breeze and clear visibility.

Once at the pier in Inis Meáin, the patient was transferred safely aboard the lifeboat by the volunteer crew.

Following all strict Covid-19 health and safety guidelines, the lifeboat then processed straight for Rossaveal Harbour on the mainland and the waiting ambulance.

Speaking after the callout, O’Donnell said: “There was a quick response time by the volunteer crew to get the patient to the medical attention needed. The crew never hesitate to answer their pagers when they go off.

“We would like to wish the patient a speedy recovery.”

The callout came just days after the lifeboat crew were tasked with a double medevac amid poor visibility last Monday, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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The volunteer crew at Newcastle RNLI in Co Down returned to sea recently after normal training exercises had to be curtailed due to Covid-19.

While the station has remained fully operational throughout the pandemic and volunteers have remained on call 24/7, training has been limited for Northern Ireland’s RNLI crews.

The crew took their first training session in daylight hours in Dundrum Bay while the second exercise was at night. The volunteers all wore the necessary COVID-19 PPE as well as their usual seagoing suits and lifejackets during the training.

The Mersey class all-weather lifeboat Eleanor and Bryant Girling was given a timely workout on both occasions, which provided an opportunity for the crew members to put their training and lifesaving skills into practice.

Speaking following the exercises, Newcastle RNLI coxswain Nathan Leneghan said: “Maintaining our lifesaving service while keeping our people safe continues to be the RNLI’s main priority.

Newcastle RNLI volunteers on their recent night-time exercise

“Exercises form an important part of our work, allowing our lifeboat crews to maintain their skills and ensure they are always prepared for what they face out at sea.

“In the daylight exercise, we went on a local area knowledge exercise and mechanical shakedown to trial all the systems, ensuring they are ready when required. It was a glorious morning and a great opportunity to return to exercise.”

Newcastle RNLI’s second coxswain Niall McMurray added: “During the night-time exercise, the crew covered some mechanical engine tests after which we went on to focus on emergency procedures.

“We ran through all the alarms on the lifeboat to reacquaint ourselves with the different sounds and how to react if they were activated in a real-life situation. We practised a fire drill and how to deal with a fire in each area of the lifeboat.

“We then went on to test our flares which are primarily used to light up an area at night before concluding the evening learning how to rig and operate the emergency steering.”

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