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Allianz and Afloat - Supporting Irish Boating

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Displaying items by tag: RNLI

Three Donaghadee RNLI Lifeboat volunteer crew members in Northern Ireland have had their long term service to the institution recognised by RNLI headquarters in Poole in the form of long service medals.

The three crew members have together accrued over 80 years in service to the RNLI and in turn to the community in Donaghadee and its lifesaving heritage.

Crew member Michael Field has been awarded his 30-year long service medal and has been involved in many call-outs over the years, all whilst working and raising a family with his wife Dawn. Michael commented ‘Even after so many years, I still very much enjoy the training exercises and the continual learning. Of course, the comradeship with the other crew over the years has been a big part of the satisfaction I get from being a volunteer. After a particularly difficult shout, of which I have seen many, we are all there to support each other and get ourselves prepared for whatever the next shout may bring’. 

Mark Nelson has been awarded his 20-year long service medal as a volunteer crew member, Mark has juggled his career as a chef as well as being a busy family man for many of these years. When asked what he has noticed most about the RNLI in his time he said ‘ The abilities of the boat, technological advances and the equipment we work with has been impressive and continues to change and challenge us all to maintain our training and skills. No two training exercises or call outs are the same, always interesting and keeps us on our toes!’.

Mark Nelson, Crew Member, with long service medalMark Nelson, Crew Member, with his long service medal

Crew member John Petrie has also been awarded his 30-year long service medal and has seen many changes in his time also. John joined at the age of 23 and has volunteered on two of the RNLI lifeboats City of Belfast and the current Saxon, he has also volunteered under three coxswains, Graham McConnell, David Martin and current coxswain Philip McNamara. Reflecting on his time with the lifeboat John commented on his most memorable call out ‘ On the 20th of April 1993, we were called out to the fishing boat Berachah, they had a man overboard 20 miles south of Donaghadee. We searched for 5 hours in atrocious conditions, 10 metre swells and sometimes more. Definitely, a shout that stands out for me‘.

John Petrie, Crew Member, with long service medalJohn Petrie, Crew Member, with his long service medal

Philip McNamara who has been coxswain for 22 years, said of his crew members ‘The dedication shown by all the crew members at Donagahdee station is remarkable, but to be able to be a volunteer and turn up time and again for training and exercises over such a long period of time is a true measure of their character. They drop everything and leave their families and jobs to go to sea to help someone. I am delighted that Michael, John and Mark have received their long service medals, they are well deserved. I am very proud of the team we have at our station and honoured to work with them. I am sure we will have many more long-serving volunteers in the future. A big well done and thank you to Michael, John and Mark and of course all the crew members at the station.’

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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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Yesterday's strong southerly wind resulted in a spate of paddleboarding incidents involving lifeboat call outs at Larne and Bangor.

Larne RNLI launched both of their lifeboats today to reports of a paddleboarder in difficulty at Ballygally, a village and holiday resort on the Antrim coast, about 3 miles north of the ferry port of Larne.

Launching at the request of Belfast Coastguard, both boats were underway when the paddleboarder was reported safe back on the shore. As the boats returned to the station, Belfast Coastguard alerted them to another boarder in difficulty in Brown's Bay, a small sandy bay on the northern tip of the Islandmagee peninsula at Larne.

Whilst making their way towards the area, reports came through that the boarder had managed to make their way ashore.

Brown's Bay, a small sandy bay on the northern tip of the Islandmagee peninsulaBrown's Bay, a small sandy bay on the northern tip of the Islandmagee peninsula

Larne lifeboat operations manager, Allan Dorman, said: 'We would like to remind people of the dangers of offshore winds and crosswinds, which can very quickly pull someone further out to sea".

The weather yesterday prompted Iain McCarthy from Suphubni who runs paddleboarding lessons in Bangor Harbour, to post a Facebook warning of the dangers of offshore winds. Yesterday he saw Bangor RNLI called out twice in the space of an hour to boarders in difficulty. He says, "Just because it looks good, doesn't mean it is good. On our stretch of water between Belfast and round the coast to Millisle and beyond, today should have been an easy day to 1. get up early before the wind picked up, 2. Choose a different location to paddle or 3 Go for a walk".

He continued " Every weather app would have told you that there were strong offshore breezes forecast this afternoon".

RNLI Bangor commented, "Wise words from our friends in Suphubni".

Published in Coastguard

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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Wicklow RNLI volunteers Graham Fitzgerald and Alan Goucher have been passed out as deputy coxswains by an RNLI Trainer Assessor, after undertaking months of training and completing a rigorous exercise on the all-weather lifeboat in Wicklow bay.

Graham Fitzgerald who has been a volunteer crew member for the past eleven years, and Alan Goucher who joined Wicklow RNLI in 2011, launched on an operational exercise with an RNLI Assessor during the week. The exercise involved boat handling tests and various emergency situations to test their skills. Both volunteers successfully carried out the tasks and were passed out as deputy coxswains by RNLI Trainer Assessor Alan Pryce after completing the exercise.

Over the last decade, Alan Goucher and Graham Fitzgerald have been involved in many rescues and in July 2014 they were praised for their bravery when they pulled a woman from the water and saved her life at the Silver Strand Beach. Graham and Alan received letters of commendation from the Operations Director of the RNLI George Rawlinson, for their actions during the rescue in 2014.

In the letter to Alan, Mr Rawlinson wrote: 'Your willingness to swim into the cave and use of your local knowledge to extricate the casualty safely ensured a good outcome on this rescue. I commend your commitment and professionalism.'Mr Rawlinson commended Graham Fitzgerald on his quick decision making, saying: 'During the rescue, you demonstrated calm and sound command of the incident, quickly gaining the required information and assessing the risks involved in committing your crew to enter the water.'

Wicklow RNLI Operations Manager, Mary Aldridge said: ‘Alan and Graham have over 22 years’ service between them as volunteers at RNLI Wicklow, and we are delighted with their achievement this week. Both have grained a lot of experience and have been involved in numerous rescues resulting in the saving of many lives. They have both worked extremely hard during the assessment to become deputy coxswains. This was made more difficult in recent times with Covid-19 and the suspension of training for a time. Great credit for Alan and Graham’s achievement is also due to the support from their families, trainers, assessors, and the crew who generously shared their knowledge and experience to prepare Alan and Graham as deputy coxswains.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Clifden RNLI came to the aid of two walkers who got cut off by the tide yesterday evening (Sunday 11 April).

The volunteer crew were requested to launch the lifeboat by the Irish Coast Guard at 5.50 pm following a report that two people were stranded on Omey Island.

The inshore Atlantic 85 class lifeboat helmed by Kenny Flaherty and with three crew members onboard, launched immediately and made its way to the scene.

Weather conditions at the time were good with a northerly Force 5 wind.

Once on scene, the lifeboat crew checked that the two people were safe and well before proceeding to transfer them on to the lifeboat and bring them back to shore at Claddaghduff.

Speaking following the call out, John Brittain, Clifden RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager said: ‘The two walkers were not in any immediate danger and we were happy to help and bring them safely back to shore.

‘We would remind locals and visitors to always check tide times and heights before venturing out and to always make sure you have enough time to return safely.

‘If you do get cut off by the tide, it is important to stay where you are and not attempt a return to shore on your own as that may be when the danger presents and you get into difficulty. Always carry a means of communication and should you get into difficulty or see someone else in trouble, dial 999 or 112 and ask for the Coast Guard.’

Published in Island News
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Volunteer lifeboat crew with Youghal RNLI rescued five people from the water off Capel Island near Knockadoon in the Youghal Bay area this afternoon (Monday 5 April) when the two GP14 sailing dinghies they were in capsized leaving one adult and four teenagers in the water. The launch request for the lifeboat was made by the Irish Coast Guard and the lifeboat crew were joined in the rescue by Ballycotton RNLI, Youghal Coast Guard Unit, Rescue 117 and the Irish Lights Vessel, the Granuaile, along with local Gardaí and paramedics in a multi-agency response.

Launching at 3.23 pm in cold, choppy conditions, the inshore lifeboat arrived at the location within 15 minutes to discover three people holding onto an upturned boat. The volunteer lifeboat crew quickly brought all three people on board the lifeboat. As they were carrying out the rescue they learned of a second sailing boat having capsized approximately half a mile away. The second boat, which had been out on the water with the first one, was quickly located and two people were rescued from the water by Youghal lifeboat crew.

As the RNLI were carrying out the rescue they learned of a second GP14 having capsized approximately half a mile awayAs the RNLI were carrying out the rescue they learned of a second GP14 having capsized approximately half a mile away

All five people were taken to Knockadoon pier after being in the water for approximately 30 minutes and handed over to the care of the Youghal Coast Guard unit and Ambulance service. Rescue Helicopter 117 and the Gardaí were also on scene.

Youghal RNLI then returned to the capsized vessels and with the assistance of Ballycotton RNLI and the Granuaile, both boats were righted and towed back to Knockadoon pier.

The five GP14 sailors involved were all wearing lifejackets, they had a personal locator beacon, which activated when they entered the water and they also had a mobile phone, which they used to call the emergency servicesThe five GP14 sailors involved were all wearing lifejackets, they had a personal locator beacon, which activated when they entered the water and they also had a mobile phone, which they used to call the emergency services

Speaking after the call out Mark Nolan, Youghal RNLI Deputy Launching Authority said: ‘The successful outcome to today’s incident is largely due to the safety measures taken by the five people involved. All were wearing lifejackets, they had a personal locator beacon, which activated when they entered the water and they also had a mobile phone, which they used to call the emergency services. All three things enabled a swift response and a successful rescue from all the agencies involved.’

‘I would also praise the actions of our volunteer lifeboat crew here in Youghal who took the five casualties from the cold water. We wish the five people who were rescued a speedy recovery.’

Barry MacDonald, Ballycotton RNLI Coxswain also added his praise to the volunteers involved for their timely response.

Published in Rescue
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Portaferry Coastguard Rescue Team was paged on Saturday along with Newcastle Coastguard after a report that seven people were stranded by the tide on Guns Island, off the southeastern County Down coast near Ballyhornan.

Two Coastguard Rescue officers in water rescue equipment made their way out to the island to reassure the four adults and two children, but the incoming tide made it impossible to walk ashore, so Portaferry Lifeboat was called, and all seven were taken to safety.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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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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