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NFU Mutual agents and staff in East Antrim recently nominated Larne RNLI to receive a donation of more than £3,000 from its national £1.92m Agency Giving Fund.

The leading rural insurer has launched this fund, now in its third year, to help local frontline charities across Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

The Agency Giving Fund forms part of NFU Mutual’s £3.25m funding pledge for both local and national charities in 2022, to help tackle the ongoing effects of the pandemic and assist with recovery.

To ensure these donations reach all corners of the UK and are directed where they’re needed most, NFU Mutual’s agents, with over 295 offices nationwide, have been given the opportunity to nominate local charities to receive a share of the fund

Allan Dorman, Larne RNLI lifeboat operations manager said: “As the charity that saves lives at sea, we are very grateful for this generous donation which will help us continue to power our lifesaving work.

“The average annual training cost for each individual crew member is £1,400. The funds raised will enable us to kit out a volunteer crew member with the essential kit they need when they respond to their pager and prepare to go to someone’s need at sea.

“As a charity we are reliant on voluntary donations such as this to do our work, without which we would not be able to provide our 24/7, 365 days a year on call service.'

Richard Lee of NFU Mutual added: “We chose to nominate Larne RNLI as our chosen charity because here in County Antrim we have so much coastline and the RNLI is keeping our waters safe.

“They, like many others, have been hampered with fundraising activity due to the pandemic so to be able to make this donation was a no-brainer for us.

“To visit the station on their weekly training night and have the opportunity to see how our donation will be used was a great, interesting way to spend an evening!”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Following a two-year break due to the pandemic, Galway RNLI’s Sample Our Soup fundraiser will return to the streets of Galway on Saturday 11 February.

The fundraiser — which sees proceeds raised go towards powering the lifesaving work of the volunteer lifeboat crew — has gone from strength to strength over the years and continues to be one of the station’s favourite events enabling the team to get out and about to highlight their work and say thanks to those they meet for their ongoing support. Even Stormy Stan, the RNLI’s mascot, makes an appearance.

The heartwarming soup is prepared by Mark Hopkins, head Chef at The Seafood Bar at Kirwan’s Lane. Volunteers from Galway RNLI will be located outside Taaffes Bar on Shop Street from 11am on Saturday 11 February to serve the soup to Galway shoppers.

Annette Cullen, Galway RNLI volunteer lifeboat press officer said: “Without volunteers like those in our fundraising team and our lifeboat crew who selflessly give of their own time, our lifeboat couldn’t function and continue to be rescue ready.

“As a charity, we are reliant on the generosity of the public in supporting this work through fundraisers such as Sample Our Soup, so in advance of Saturday, we would like to say thank you.

“Thanks too to our sponsors Kirwans Lane, Raftery’s Centra Claregalway and Cater Rent Ballybrit Industrial Estate for their continued support of this event.”

This story has been updated to reflect the change in date for the event.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

On Sunday 5 February, RNLI volunteers past and present will gather at Skerries lifeboat station in north Co Dublin to lay a wreath at sea and remember six of their colleagues who were lost while on a service in 1873.

On 2 February that that year, the lifeboat from Skerries was capsized while proceeding to the assistance of the schooner Sarah of Runcorn which had got into difficulty off Balbriggan.

Six of the men on the lifeboat were drowned: Patrick Reid, James Kelly, William Fitzpatrick, Joseph Halpin, Richard Cochrane, Albert Fanning.

Speaking about the tragedy, Skerries RNLI chair and local historian Sam Shiels said: “At about 8.45pm, in the pitch dark, it was a very stormy night with snow and heavy winds, when the Skerries Lifeboat and coastguard got the call.

“The lifeboat crew went to the aid of Sarah of Runcorn under sail but as they got close to the listing ship, they pulled in their sails and started to row. So rough was it, that the oars of the lifeboat crew were wrenched from their hands.

“Over the next few hours the crews of both Skerries Lifeboat and Coastguard fought admirably to save the crew. Unfortunately, such was the storm, the heavy seas, that six souls were lost that night.

“Today we honour those souls and the legacy they left behind; 150 years later, the spirit of the volunteers who put to sea to save others is still strong.”

The ceremony is scheduled to begin at 12.30pm on Sunday 2 February at Skerries lifeboat station.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Lough Derg RNLI’s inshore lifeboat was called out on Thursday evening (19 January) to assist three people on a 16ft speedboat adrift at the most northern part of the lake near Portumna.

Valentia Coast Guard requested the launch following reports that the speedboat had suffered engine failure while towing wakeboarders.

At 6.05pm, the lifeboat Jean Spier launched with helm Eleanor Hooker and crew Doireann Kennedy, Joe O’Donoghue and Oisín Higgins on board.

The lake was flat calm on a clear, dark night with a star-filled sky. The air temperature was below freezing so the lifeboat crew brought a grab-bag with three blankets.

Valentia Coast Guard provided the lifeboat with a contact for the casualties. The lifeboat requested the casualties to use their phone torches when they saw they lifeboat approaching.

At 6.25pm, as the lifeboat passed Terryglass Bay en route to Portumna, the casualties lit their phone torches revealing their location. They had drifted south of their original reported location and were close to Lough Derg navigation mark J.

Five minutes later the lifeboat was alongside the casualty vessel and the volunteers established that all three people on board were unharmed but were feeling cold.

The casualties were provided with blankets and told to wrap up and sit in a huddle at the bow of their boat. The lifeboat crew then set up an alongside tow and made way to Terryglass Harbour, where the speedboat was safely tied by 7pm.

Having ensured the casualties were safe and ashore, the lifeboat departed the scene and was back at station at 8.15pm.

Jeremy Freeman, deputy launching authority at Lough Derg RNLI advises boat users “to dress appropriately for winter weather and water temperatures. Make sure your engines are serviced and always carry sufficient life jackets for everyone on board and ensure that they are worn.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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On Sunday afternoon (15 January) Crosshaven RNLI volunteers were requested to launch and assist the National Ambulance Service and Cobh Fire Brigade to extract a casualty at Cobh.

It emerged that a young man had fallen on cliffs east of the pilot station at Cobh in Cork Harbour and suffered a serious leg injury.

NAS paramedics and fire service personnel were able to access and treat the casualty, but were unable to extract the patient.

Shortly after pagers sounded at 3.35pm, the inshore lifeboat was beached at the cliff base and its volunteers took on board the stretchered patient along with two paramedics for continuation of care.

They were subsequently transferred to Kennedy Quay, where the fire service assisted in extracting the casualty to the awaiting ambulance.

Commenting later, Crosshaven RNLU hailed the “good inter-agency cooperation by NAS, fire service and the pilot launch.”

The lifeboat crew on this callout were Ian Venner, Alan Venner, James Fegan and Caoimhe Foster. Launch crew were Kline Penefather, Conor Barry, Jeff Lacerda, Jennifer Grey, Jonny Bermingham and Kevin McCarthy.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Kinsale RNLI’s volunteer lifeboat crew along with the assistance of four coastguard units rescued two stranded dogs on Bank Holiday Monday (2 January).

The dogs had gotten into difficulty at the bottom of a cliff near Nohoval Cove in West Cork and were last seen by their owners the previous day.

Kinsale RNLI’s lifeboat Miss Sally Ann Baggy II, helmed by Jonathan Connor, was launched just before 10am and reached the bottom of the cliff near New Foundland Bay shortly after in difficult sea conditions.

Irish Coast Guard units from Oysterhaven, Kinsale, Summercove and Crosshaven were also tasked.

Due to a southwesterly surge, it proved challenging to veer the lifeboat in, so a decision was made to hold position and send two crew members into the water and swim to the base of the cliff.

With the help of the coastguard units and a specialist tracking device that was on the dogs’ collars, the two dogs were rescued uninjured and reunited with their owners shortly after midday at Oysterhaven Coast Guard station.

Speaking following the callout, Kinsale RNLI helm Jonathan Connor said: “This was a multi-agency response from our volunteers and our colleagues in the coastguard. Unfortunately, one of the three dogs involved died but we were glad to be able to reunite the two others with their owners.

“We would remind dog owners to ensure to look after their own personal safety and don’t get into danger trying to attempt a rescue themselves. We would advise keeping dogs on a lead if close to cliff edges.

“If your dog does go over a cliff and into the water or gets stuck in mud, don't go in after them. Instead move to a place your dog can get to safely and call their name and they may get out by themselves.

“If you're worried about your dog, call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

It was a swift start to the New Year this afternoon (Sunday 1 January) for the team at Howth’s Irish Coast Guard unit as they were tasked to a kitesurfer who was blown offshore after the wind dropped near Dollymount Strand.

Dun Laoghaire RNLI’s inshore lifeboat was also called to the scene from across Dublin Bay and brought the kitesurfer ashore to the Howth coastguard team, who assessed the casualty and found they needed no further assistance.

Howth Coast Guard Unit said: “The kitesurfer was well prepared. They had a shore contact who was keeping an eye on them (who ultimately called the coastguard); a heavyweight winter weight wet suit [and] a buoyancy aid.

“Remember if you see someone in difficulty on or near the coast, dial 112/999 and ask for Irish Coast Guard.”

Published in Rescue

Baltimore RNLI will host a proper send-off for its retired former coxswain Kieran Cotter this Tuesday evening 27 December from 8pm at Jacob’s Bar in the West Cork village.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, Cotter retired at the end of 2020 after 45 years of service with the Baltimore lifeboat, 31 of them as coxswain.

Not only an experienced lifesaver, Cotter is also a pillar of the local sailing community and was recognised as Afloat’s Sailor of the Month for January 2021.

As COVID restrictions meant the lifeboat station couldn’t mark the event at the time of his retirement, fellow crew and friends look to make up for it with Tuesday’s knees-up and all are welcome to attend.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Dun Laoghaire Harbour RNLI lifeboat crew gathered today (Christmas Eve) to lay wreaths on Dublin Bay and remember 15 of their lifeboat colleagues who were lost while on service in gale force conditions to the SS Palme that had run aground off Blackrock, back in 1895.

The event has become a Christmas Eve tradition for the station, who now remember all those who have drowned around the coast, on inland waters and abroad.

t crew who lost their lives in the 1895 Palme tragedy. The event also remembers all those who have lost their lives through drowning.The RNLI's annual Christmas Eve ceremony, held at the end of the East Pier in Dun Laoghaire, honours the 15 lifeboat crew who lost their lives in the 1895 Palme tragedy. Joe O’Donnell of ‘Wedding Pipers’ played a lament from the Lighthouse Battery and musician, William Byrne, performed the ‘Ballad of the Palme.’The event also remembers all those who have lost their lives through drowning

The ceremony saw lifeboat crew joined by members of the Dun Laoghaire Coast Guard and Civil Defence, who formed an honour guard. Both Dun Laoghaire RNLI’s inshore and all-weather lifeboats launched, and the volunteer crew laid wreaths from the lifeboat in view of the watching public. Broadcaster, PJ Gallagher, a volunteer at Dun Laoghaire RNLI, read an account of the disaster, published at the time of the tragedy.

The short ceremony takes place under the lighthouse at the end of the East Pier and involved both of Dun Laoghaire's RNLI lifeboatsThe short wreath laying ceremony takes place under the lighthouse at the end of Dun Laoghaire's East Pier and involved both of Dun Laoghaire's RNLI lifeboats
During the service, Irish UN peacekeeper Private Seán Rooney, was remembered.

The short ceremony took place under the lighthouse at the end of the East Pier and included an ecumenical blessing and music. Joe O’Donnell of ‘Wedding Pipers’ played a lament from the Lighthouse Battery and musician, William Byrne, performed the ‘Ballad of the Palme.’

On 24 December 1895 the 'Civil Service No. 1' Dun Laoghaire lifeboat was wrecked while proceeding to the assistance of the SS Palme of Finland. The entire crew, 15 in total, were drowned. The lifeboat capsized 600 yards from the distressed vessel and, although every effort was made to send help to the lifeboat and to the Palme, nothing could be done.

The second Dun Laoghaire lifeboat 'Hannah Pickard' also launched but it too capsized under sail, fortunately all crew returned safely. The Captain, his wife, child and 17 crew were eventually rescued on the 26th December by the SS Tearaght.

Broadcaster, PJ Gallagher, a volunteer at Dun Laoghaire RNLI, read an account of the disaster, published at the time of the tragedy. Broadcaster, PJ Gallagher, a volunteer at Dun Laoghaire RNLI, read an account of the Dun Laoghaire Lifeboat disaster, published at the time of the tragedy

Broadcaster, PJ Gallagher, a volunteer at Dun Laoghaire RNLI, read an account of the disaster, published at the time of the tragedy. 

Commenting on the event Dun Laoghaire RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager Ed Totterdell said, ‘The loss of fifteen lifeboat volunteers devastated the local community at the time but the RNLI here kept going. Volunteer lifeboat crew came forward then, as they still do, to help those in trouble at sea and on inland waters. We hold this ceremony to honour their memory and also to remember all those we have lost to drowning.’

During the RNLI Service at Dun Laoghaire's East Pier, Irish UN peacekeeper Private Seán Rooney, was rememberedDuring the RNLI Service at Dun Laoghaire's East Pier, Irish UN peacekeeper Private Seán Rooney, was remembered

‘Our lifeboat crew is on call this Christmas as they are every day of the year, and we hope everyone has a safe and peaceful time. It has been a very busy year for callouts for the lifeboat crew. This ceremony is our Christmas tradition and one that is very special to us. I hope that people enjoy the water safely over the festive period and I wish our lifeboat crew and their families and safe and peaceful Christmas.’

On 24th December 1895 the number two lifeboat was wrecked while proceeding to the assistance of the SS Palme of Finland, the whole of her crew, 15 in number, drowned. Their names were John Baker, John Bartley, Edward Crowe, Thomas Dunphy, William Dunphy, Francis McDonald, Edward Murphy, Patrick Power, James Ryan, Francis Saunders, George Saunders, Edward Shannon, Henry Underhill, Alexander Williams and Henry Williams.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Following a two-year break, Arklow RNLI’s Hurry to the Curry fundraiser returns on Friday 27 January at the Arklow Bay Hotel from 8pm.

Also known as Dan’s Lifeboat Special, the event has gone from strength to strength and continues to be one of the most enjoyable and well supported nights out in the events calendar, the lifeboat station says.

Culinary masterpieces prepared by Anne and her team of volunteers range from hot curry dishes and a wonderful array of fresh sea food — prawns, lobster, crab, monkfish and salmon— to cold-meat platters, vegetarian dishes and salads of all kinds.

Advice is to come to the bash good and hungry: “It’s the best value meal you’ll have had since [the last] event and quite simply the best craic to be had on the east coast.”

There are spot prizes galore and some lovely raffle and auction items. Music will be provided by the Joe Dolan Experience followed by a DJ till late. There might even be some special guests.

Arklow RNLI’s crew are pulling out all the stops to ensure a magical night is had by all. Lifeboat press officer Mark Corcoran says: “Without volunteers like our fundraising team and our lifeboat crew who still to this day give of their own time, our lifeboat couldn’t function and continue to be rescue ready. We would love to see everybody at the Arklow Bay Hotel on Friday 27 January.”

Tickets are €20 and are available from the Arklow Bay Hotel and Arklow RNLI Fundraising committee members, or you can email [email protected]

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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