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Displaying items by tag: Bangor

#RNLI - Lifeboats in Northern Ireland launched 255 times to a variety of call-outs in 2012 in a year that saw the institution's lifeboats and lifeguards answer 413 calls for help.

RNLI search and rescue operations saw 236 people brought safely to shore throughout the year by the nine volunteer lifeboat crews located across the region.



The annual statistics released by the charity today (22 January) show that of the figures, 111 services took place in darkness while crews collectively spent 2,193 service hours at sea.



Bangor was the busiest lifeboat station in Northern Ireland last year, launching to 53 requests for help with the crew rescuing 53 people off the Co Down coast.

Enniskillen, which operates two bases on Upper and Lower Lough Erne in Co Fermanagh and which is the North’s only inland RNLI station, launched 46 times and brought 50 people to safety. 

Meanwhile, Portrush RNLI in Co Antrim launched 33 times and rescued 33 people.



It was also a busy year for the 10 RNLI lifeguard units located on beaches in Co Down and along the Causeway Coast, where lifeguards responded to 158 incidents and assisted 176 people who found themselves in difficulty.



The Causeway Coast, where there are seven units located, was the busiest area, with Portrush East lifeguards responding to 31 incidents and assisting 35 people. The Benone unit attended 30 incidents and assisted 30 people while the Portrush West unit responded to 25 incidents and assisted 32 people.

Overall in Ireland, RNLI lifeboats launched 939 times with the volunteer crews across the 44 stations rescuing 1,041 people. Dun Laoghaire was the busiest lifeboat station in the Republic in 2012, responding to 46 call-outs throughout the year and rescuing 76 people.

Commenting on the 2012 statistics for Northern Ireland, RNLI operations manager Martyn Smith said: "The RNLI lifeguard service has expanded to 10 beaches in Northern Ireland and with the support of the local authorities they have an active and welcome presence on many beaches. 

"They do not just saves lives and assist those in trouble in the sea, but also provide information, advice and first aid when needed, ensuring many potential incidents are prevented.

"I would like to say a huge thank-you to all those who support the RNLI, a charity dependent on the generosity of the public, whether by giving up their time or by making a donation."

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#COASTGUARD - Campaigners for the Clyde coastguard station in western Scotland have suffered a blow with the news that all calls are now being routed to Stornoway and Belfast as of last night.

BBC News reports on a document leaked to the Coastguard SOS Campaign, which outlines that while the Clyde station itself is scheduled to close on 18 December, control of aerials (ie helicopter dispatches) to the stations at Stornoway and Belfast was on schedule to be completed by yesterday evening (Friday 16 November).

Campaigner Dennis O'Connor said this move meant that "Clyde will cease to exist operationally" from last night.

He also described it as a "direct challenge" to concerns from the Transport Select Committee in Westminster that the closure programme had started early with the closure of Forth coastguard in September "despite assurances that the replacement system of operation would be fully tested before any closures took place".

However, a spokesperson for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency said that the handover period "has been planned for some time. All the staff have been informed well in advance."

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the scrapping of the Clyde control centre at Greenock will see the loss of 31 jobs, with much of its role being taken up by the Belfast coastguard at Bangor across the North Channel - a change to the original plan for Scottish stations to share the load till 2015.

Published in Coastguard

#rnli – At lunchtime today Bangor lifeboat crew received a urgent request from Belfast Coastguard to launch the lifeboat and rescue 3 people onboard a 15ft speed boat. The dory type vessel had experience 'catastrophic' engine failure close to Black Head which is on northern shores of Belfast Lough.

Within minutes of the rescue pagers being activated, volunteer crews had launched and Bangor Lifeboat and were proceeding at full speed towards the stricken vessel.

Upon arrival volunteer crew found that the dory had beached on rocks beneath the Lighthouse and the 3 occupants had scrambled safely ashore. A very lucky escape for those onboard.

With weather conditions deteriorating lifeboat crew were able to get a tow line aboard the grounded dory and tow it to the safety of Whitehead Harbour.

When leaving Whitehead Harbour to return to Bangor, lifeboat crew noticed that another 15ft speed boat with 4 people onboard was in difficulty and needing assistance.

A tow line was quickly rigged and she was then taken under tow to the safety of Whitehead Harbour.

RNLI volunteer helmsman Ewan Scott used these rescues to highlight a RNLI safety message when he said. We always urge everyone going afloat to make sure their engine and fuel systems and are well maintained and in good working order. Engine failure close to shore and commercial shipping routes could lead to a life threatening situation'. He added 'We're happy that everyone onboard both vessels are now safely ashore'.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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#RNLI –  On Sunday afternoon, Bangor lifeboat received a request from Belfast Coastguard to launch and rescue a canoeist who was in difficulty off Groomsport.

Relatively calm sea conditions allowed for the Lifeboat to proceed at full speed to the scene which was close to the entrance of Groomsport Harbour

Upon arrival, lifeboat crew spotted a young man standing on an isolated outcrop of rocks with his canoeing companion paddling close by. With tides rising, the young man was plucked to safety by Lifeboat crew.

The young man was taken to the safety of Groomsport Harbour where he was attended to by paramedics.

RNLI volunteer crew man Tim Lee who was involved in this rescue took the opportunity to stress four very important sea safety tips for canoeist going afloat this summer.. He said. 'Always wear a lifejacket, secondly tell others where you are going, thirdly carry some means of calling for help and finally always check the weather and tides' He added 'We are glad that this young man is now safely ashore'.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
Tagged under

#JUBILEE FLOTILLA - A couple from Bangor in Co Down will cruise their boat among the hundreds of vessels packed in the River Thames today for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee flotilla.

As BBC News reports, Robin and Evelyn Clark believe they are the only couple from Bangor who will be cruising in the British capital along with more than 1,000 other boats of all shapes and sizes.

But they will be joined by friends and family as they motor along the Thames from Putney in Southwest London to Tower Bridge.

It will mark the end of an epic adventure from the couple, who cruised all the way from Lough Neagh via Belfast and Portrush, across the Irish Sea by way of the Isle of Man, along the coast of Wales and around Land's End to the South Coast of England.

Speaking of memorable sights along their journey, Robin Clark said: "The wildlife, the seals, porpoises off the coast of the Northern Ireland coast and the dolphins have to be the highlight."

The Clarks will have something else to remember later today, as the flotilla pageant promises a carnival atmosphere not seen in London for decades.

BBC News has more on the story HERE.

Published in News Update
Tagged under

#RNLI – Within the past seven days crew from RNLI Bangor Lifeboat have launched twice to assist crews aboard two stricken vessels.

On Thursday 3rd May at 10.40pm Belfast Coastguard received information from a concerned member of the public that a red flare had been observed north of Groomsport. Volunteer crew quickly assembled and launched RNLI Bangor Lifeboat which proceeded at full speed to the Groomsport area. A search pattern was quickly established, thankfully nothing was found. It was reported that a number of unused sky lanterns had been found and it's believed that one of these lanterns could have raised the alarm. While completing the search crew onboard Bangor Lifeboat received a radio call from Belfast Coastguard. A 35ft commercial fishing vessel with 2 people onboard had experienced engine failure 1½ mile south of Blackhead Lighthouse. Relatively calm sea conditions allowed Bangor Lifeboat to proceed at full speed to the stricken vessel. Volunteer lifeboat crew rigged a tow line and towed the fishing boat to the safety of Bangor Harbour.

On Monday 7th May at 11.30am volunteer RNLI crew were alerted by rescue pager that a 29ft yacht with 1 person onboard had difficulty in 'making way' and required assistance. Belfast Coastguard gave the vessels location as 1 nautical miles north of Helens Bay. Bangor Lifeboat was launched and proceeded at full speed to the stricken vessel. Volunteer lifeboat crew rigged a tow line and towed the yacht to the safety of Bangor Marina

Peter Scott, RNLI volunteer helmsman at Bangor Lifeboat Station took this opportunity to stress five very important sea safety tips for anyone going afloat. He said. 'Always wear a lifejacket, secondly check your engine and fuel, thirdly tell others where you are going, fourthly carry some means of calling for help and finally always check the weather and tides' He added 'We're happy that the crews aboard both vessels are now safely ashore'.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
Tagged under

#RACING UPDATE - This summer the Royal Ulster Yacht Club will stage the 50th anniversary edition of the Ailsa Craig Race, one of the classics of the Northern Ireland offshore yacht racing calendar.

Many of the competitors from the inaugural race in 1962 - several of whom are now in their 80s - are expected to compete in the overnight challenge, which takes the fleet from Bangor to the rock at the mouth of the Clyde in Scotland.

The 2012 Ailsa Craig Race, sponsored by Hamilton Shipping, takes place on 15 June.

Published in Racing
Northern Ireland's First Minister has highlighted the need for local knowledge in light of the threatened closure of the Clyde coastguard station in Scotland.
As previously reported by Afloat.ie, the control centre at Greenock is set to be scrapped under the UK government's plans to streamline Britain's coastguard network.
Some 31 jobs will be lost in the closure, while rescues on the River Clyde and western Scotland will in future be handled from Northern Ireland's Bangor station on Belfast Lough - which itself was saved from the chop following a review over the summer.
In a latter to MSP for West of Scotland, Stuart McMillan, First Minister Peter Robinson said that his and his government's concerns "centre on the safety of the people using our coasts and seaways, which could be jeopardised by the loss of local knowledge and experience."
McMillan welcomed his support, adding that "despite the consultation period being over, it is not too late for the UK Government listen to the growing number of voices saying that this must be reversed.
“Closing coastguard stations down including Clyde is a short-sighted and dangerous move which puts saving money over saving lives.”

#COASTGUARD - Northern Ireland's First Minister has highlighted the need for local knowledge in light of the threatened closure of the Clyde coastguard station in Scotland.

As previously reported by Afloat.ie, the control centre at Greenock is set to be scrapped under the UK government's plans to streamline Britain's coastguard network. 

Some 31 jobs will be lost in the closure, while rescues on the River Clyde and western Scotland will in future be handled from Northern Ireland's Bangor station on Belfast Lough - which itself was saved from the chop following a review over the summer.

In a letter to MSP for West of Scotland, Stuart McMillan, First Minister Peter Robinson said that his and his government's concerns "centre on the safety of the people using our coasts and seaways, which could be jeopardised by the loss of local knowledge and experience."

McMillan welcomed his support, adding that "despite the consultation period being over, it is not too late for the UK Government listen to the growing number of voices saying that this must be reversed.

“Closing coastguard stations down including Clyde is a short-sighted and dangerous move which puts saving money over saving lives.”

Published in Coastguard
Scottish campaigners have made their final pleas to save the Clyde coastguard station from closure, the Greenock Telegraph reports.
Under the UK government's plans to streamline Britain's coastguard network, the control centre at Greenock is set to be scrapped with the loss of 31 jobs, while River Clyde rescues will in future be handled from Northern Ireland.
As previously reported on Afloat.ie, Northern Ireland's only dedicated search and rescue centre was saved from the chop following a review of plans to reform the Maritime and Coastguard Agency's nationwide network.
A consultation on the propose closure concluded yesterday, and locals join staff, union leaders and politicians in hoping they can persuade the government to give Clyde a reprieve.
"Local knowledge and understanding are vital when dealing with emergency situations." said local MSP Stuart McMillan.
"To remove a committed and fully functioning coastguard service with expert local knowledge would leave a void that could not be filled by an over stretched centre in Belfast."
The Greenock Telegraph has more on the story HERE (registration required).

Scottish campaigners have made their final pleas to save the Clyde coastguard station from closure, the Greenock Telegraph reports.

Under the UK government's plans to streamline Britain's coastguard network, the control centre at Greenock is set to be scrapped with the loss of 31 jobs, while River Clyde rescues will in future be handled from Northern Ireland.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, Northern Ireland's only dedicated search and rescue centre on Belfast Lough was saved from the chop following a review of plans to reform the Maritime and Coastguard Agency's nationwide network.

A consultation on the propose closure concluded yesterday, and locals join staff, union leaders and politicians in hoping they can persuade the government to give Clyde a reprieve.

"Local knowledge and understanding are vital when dealing with emergency situations." said local MSP Stuart McMillan.

"To remove a committed and fully functioning coastguard service with expert local knowledge would leave a void that could not be filled by an over stretched centre in Belfast."

The Greenock Telegraph has more on the story HERE (registration required).

Published in Coastguard

Newly married couple Jackie and Peter Gracey have presented RNLI Bangor Branch with a cheque for £1403.86. Three weeks ago Mr and Mrs Gracey held a wedding party at the Ballholme Yacht Club and in lieu of wedding presents they had requested that a donation be made to Bangor RNLI.

The presentation was made during the RNLI Bangor Lifeboat BBQ held at Ballyholme Yacht Club.

Jackie_and_Peter_Gracey

Jackie and Peter (centre) present their cheque

During the evening crew members and guests raised over £1500.00 for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution Bangor Branch.

RNLI senior helmsman Kyle Marshall said 'We would like to thank everyone who attended the crew BBQ and helped raise this fantastic sum of money.' He added 'Special thanks must go to Jackie and Peter; their very special wedding gift will save lives at sea, on behalf of the crew at Bangor Station I would like to wish them a very happy future together.'

Lifeboat volunteer crew at Bangor have launched on service numerous times this year, in all weather conditions and on many occasions during the hours of darkness.

The majority of call outs have been to leisure craft including canoes, powerboat, yachts and speedboats. Difficulties have been caused in the most part by mechanical failure of one kind or another. The rescues have been diverse, taking RNLI's Bangor Lifeboat right across Belfast Lough to Black Head and up towards Belfast as far as the M3 bridge over the River Lagan. Rescues are not always confined to boats in distress. A number this year have been related to suspected attempted suicides and missing persons, others have been to people stranded on rocks caught by the rising tide.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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