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Displaying items by tag: Portaferry

#RNLI - Enniskillen RNLI today (10 June) brought four people to safety in two separate incidents on Lough Erne in Co Fermanagh.

In the first call-out of the day, the volunteer lifeboat crew retrieved a man and women from their stranded cruiser which had developed engine problems and run aground on Lower Lough Erne.

The inshore lifeboat Joseph and Mary Hiley and the Rescue Water Craft (RWC) were launched just before 10am at the request of Belfast Coastguard and made the 25-minute, six-mile journey to the casualty's last known position at Crunnish Island. The wind was coming from the south east, force five with good visibility.

On arrival at the scene, the crew noted the casualties had deployed their anchor and there were strong waves hitting the starboard side of the vessel.

The RWC crew member was transferred to the casualty vessel to reassure the crew and to check for any leakage. Another crew member from the lifeboat was transferred to assist with the tow and to lift the anchor.

The lifeboat established a tow and the vessel was refloated and brought to safety at Tudor Farm jetty, close to the initial location.

Less than three hours later, the inshore lifeboat Jason Logg was launched by request of Belfast Coastguard to rescue two people on a broken-down personal water craft on Upper Lough Erne.

The crew proceeded to the casualty's last known whereabouts at the mouth of Tamlagh Bay, four miles downstream from the station towards Enniskillen.

On arrival, the crew found the troubled vessel in the reeds with two people sitting on it. The crew transferred both passengers onto the lifeboat before setting up a tow and bringing the water craft back to Bellanaleck Marina.

Elsewhere in Northern Ireland, Portaferry RNLI brought three men and a teenage boy to safety yesterday afternoon after their yacht got into difficulty off Portaferry in Co Down.

The volunteer lifeboat crew was alerted just after noon following a mayday call that there was a demasted yacht in trouble on Strangford Lough.

The lifeboat was launched minutes later and was alongside the stricken vessel, a 37ft yacht located in the narrows of Strangford Lough, at 12.10pm. Weather at the time was good with clear visibility and a flat calm sea.

One of the four casualties, who had been thrown from the vessel, had been recovered by a fellow crew member and all four were on board the yacht when the lifeboat crew arrived on scene.

Alongside, there was difficulty recovering the vessel so the mast and sail were cut away. Once cut, the lifeboat proceeded to tow the yacht with it crew on board safely back to Strangford where it was tied to a mooring.

Two of the crew were conveyed to hospital while the other two were made comfortable on the shore.

Portaferry RNLI was requested to launch for a second time later this afternoon following a report that a swimmer had gone missing in Newtownards. The lifeboat having launched was subsequently stood down after the missing person was found safe and well.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - Portaferry RNLI is looking for new volunteer crew members to join its search and rescue service in Co Down.

The station currently has 17 lifeboat and two shore crew to cover its inshore service on Strangford Lough but is now calling on new volunteers to come forward and find out how they can get involved in helping the charity continue to save lives at sea.

To that end, the station will be hosting two open days early next month for all interested candidates to learn more.

"We are looking for anyone aged 17 years and over who is willing to offer some of their free time to join what I believe to be, one of the most exhilarating and rewarding voluntary services that is out there," said lifeboat operations manager Brian Bailie.

"Every volunteer receives first class training from the RNLI and learns new skills which can benefit them in many walks of life. Lifeboat crew members need to have a reasonable level of fitness, have good eyesight and not be colour-blind."

He added: "Anyone who would like to volunteer but feels they would not meet the requirements for lifeboat crew should in no way be put off, as shore crew also play an essential role in the launch and recovery of the lifeboat when it goes on service."

For anyone who feels they have the time and commitment to volunteer for the charity which is on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, is asked to email Brian at [email protected].

Alternatively, prospective volunteers can come along to the station’s open days from 7-9pm next Tuesday 7 May or from 2-4pm next Saturday 11 May.

Elsewhere in Northern Ireland, primary school children will have the opportunity to hit the surf with RNLI lifeguards over the next month.

The charity’s ‘Hit the Surf’ programme runs from 7 May to 7 June on the East Strand Beach in Portrush.

Aimed at primary five to seven pupils aged eight to 11, the programme - which is expanding to accommodate more schools this year - gives children a unique opportunity to gain practical lessons in lifesaving and beach safety. All equipment is provided free of charge.

Each session lasts two-and-a half-hours and includes a theory lesson on staying safe at the beach, the role of beach lifeguards and the RNLI, and detailed information on flags and rip currents.

There are practical lessons in lifesaving and surf based skills, while lifeguards aim to build pupils confidence in the sea. Children also learn about the local hazards and the beach environment.

Sessions are still available for schools who want to book pupils in. For more information contact Jessica on 0777 441 4208 or email [email protected]

Last year RNLI lifeguards located on beaches in Co Down and along the Causeway Coast responded to 158 incidents and assisted 176 people who found themselves in difficulty.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - Portaferry RNLI rescued a windsurfer who got into difficulty off the Co Down coast yesterday (16 April).

The volunteer crew launched their inshore lifeboat before 5pm yesterday evening to go the aid of the injured windsurfer reported to be in the area of Pig Island, a small island in Strangford Lough close to Newtownards Sailing Club.

The weather at the time was described as blowing slight to moderate winds with good visibility.

The crew was on scene at 5.15pm where they found the man on Pig Island accompanied by two other men. The windsurfer, who was suffering from a shoulder injury, was transferred to the lifeboat and made comfortable before being taken to the sailing club, where he was then transferred into the care of the coastguard and passed to the ambulance service to be taken to hospital.

Speaking after the rescue, Portaferry RNLI lifeboat operations manager Brian Bailie said: "As the charity that saves lives at sea, we will always respond to any call for help where someone is in danger.

"Strangford Lough is a popular destination for a wide range of water sport enthusiasts and it is important that they take all necessary precautions when using the lough.

"As we are all aware, accidents can and do happen and it is at such times that the work carried out by the volunteer crews of the RNLI is so important."

Elsewhere in Co Down yesterday, Bangor and Donaghadee RNLI assisted a fisherman whose 28ft commercial fishing boat experienced engine failure.

The crew quickly located the disabled boat one mile west of the Copeland Islands at the mouth of Belfast Lough yesterday morning after 11.15am.

With the vessel drifting closer to the island shores and the wind gusting gale force eight, a tow line was quickly rigged and passed to the fishing boat. Bangor RNLI was escorted by Donaghadee RNLI's all-weather lifeboat as it towed the fishing vessel to the safety of Bangor Harbour.

Bangor RNLI volunteer helm Peter Scott, who was involved in this rescue, said: "Engine failure close to shore could lead to a life threatening situation. We always urge everyone going to sea to make sure their electrical systems and engine are well maintained and in good working order. A good anchor and chain should always be carried as part of essential safety equipment.

"We are glad the skipper of this vessel is now safely ashore," he added.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - Newcastle RNLI’s always-on-call lifeboat crew had to abandon their buckets and sponges during a fundraising car wash at the weekend to respond to an emergency at the Co Down town’s harbour.

The RNLI volunteers were busily soaping and rinsing cars for their annual Easter fundraiser on Saturday when they were alerted to a woman in trouble in the freezing water a few yards from one of the piers.

The car wash was immediately abandoned and within minutes the inshore lifeboat Aldergrove II was launched and rushed to the woman’s aid.

At the same time, crew member Shane Rice grabbed a lifebelt from the pier and jumped into the water to assist the woman. He kept her afloat while the Aldergrove II came alongside.

The woman was helped into the rescue inflatable, wrapped in blankets to prevent hypothermia, and taken back to shore where an ambulance was waiting to take her to hospital.

Newcastle RNLI’s deputy launching authority Clifford Moorehead said afterwards: "The lifeboat crew are always ready to respond in an instant to any emergency. It is fortunate that the car wash was in progress at the time and the crew members were on hand to swiftly deal with this case.


"After the rescue the crew members came back to the harbour and resumed their car wash. It’s just all in a day’s work for the RNLI."

It wasn't the only callout of the weekend for the RNLI in Co Down, as Bangor RNLI assisted a lone sailor who got into difficulty on a sailing dinghy Easter Sunday.

At 1.10pm the volunteer lifeboat crew received an urgent request from Belfast Coastguard to launch the lifeboat and rescue one person from a 17ft dinghy. 

The sailing dinghy had reportedly gone aground on ‘Cockle Island’ off Groomsport Harbour on the southern shores of Belfast Lough.  
  


Upon arrival at the scene, the volunteer crew found that the occupant onboard the dinghy had been assisted by another boat owner and the vessel had been safely tied to a mooring buoy.  
 

Meanwhile, last Wednesday evening Portaferry RNLI was launched to reports that red flares has been sighted on Strangford Lough off Kircubbin in Co Down.

They were joined by a coastguard team that searched the shoreline and after some time recovered a spent flare casing. The inshore lifeboat and its volunteer crew were stood down after a number of hours with the callout proving to be a false alarm.

Portaferry RNLI lifeboat operations manager Brian Bailie said: "A member of the public acted in good faith ... alerting the emergency services to what they understood to be a distress flare on the lough."

He reiterated that flares "should only be used in emergency situations".

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#rnli – Portaferry RNLI in County Down rescued two men in the early hours of this morning (Friday, 13 July) after a report that a rigid inflatable boat had collided with a yacht in Strangford Lough just off Killyleagh.

The lifeboat crew received a call from Coastguard at 2am following a report that a rib and a yacht had crashed and that both boats were sinking.

Crew launched its inshore Atlantic 85 lifeboat with four on board at 2.07am and made their way to the scene half a mile from land.

Weather conditions at the time were described as calm with no wind and with good visibility.

When the crew arrived on the scene they found two men in the rib but no one on board the yacht.

One man had sustained a minor head injury and both were taken by the lifeboat to a slipway at Killyleagh yacht club. The injured man was then taken to hospital by a friend who was waiting at the quay side.

Portaferry lifeboat crew then returned to the scene of the accident and secured both boats to a mooring before returning to base at 3.30am.

Deputy Launching Authority Lennie Lawson said the rescue was a credit to the volunteer crew who responded quickly and in numbers in the early hours of the morning: 'It was amazing how quickly our crew turned out and got to the scene launching within six minutes. Thankfully, weather conditions were favourable which assisted the crew in returning the casualty safely to shore'.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
Tagged under

#RESCUE - BBC News reports that the search for a cargo ship crewman missing in the Irish Sea has been scaled down.

The 22-year-old from Slovakia was reported missing yesterday morning from the Fehn Sirius, which was en route from Belfast to Portugal, as it headed past Arklow, Co Wicklow.

According to The Irish Times, he was last seen on the cargo ship around 10pm on Monday night as it headed south of the entrance to Strangford Lough.

Lifeboats from Portaferry and Newcastle in Northern Ireland and Arklow joined the search and rescue operation, which was assisted by the RAF helicopter based at Prestwick in Scotland and an Irish Coast Guard helicopter.

However, most rescue services have now been stood down as the Fehn Sirius continues to backtrack in the Irish Sea, with assistance from the Naval Service vessel LE Ciara.

Only three days ago the body of another mariner was recovered from the Irish Sea off the north Dublin coast, more than a month after he went missing.

Published in Rescue

#COASTAL NOTES - Northern Ireland's only aquarium could be privatised, according to the News Letter.

Ards Borough Council is reportedly considering its options for the future of Exploris, the aquarium and seal sanctuary in Portaferry that celebrates its 25th anniversary this year.

Plans were made four years ago to transfer ownership to English aquarium group Blue Reef Leisure, but the deal fell through when that firm was aquired by Spain's Aspro.

Now the council has announced it is calling for proposals for private investment in the Exploris facility - which costs around £500,000 (€600,000) a year to run - following "renewed interest from the public sector".

The move aims to "establish a clear direction for the future of Exploris", which houses one of Northern Ireland's top 10 visitor attractions in its popular seal sanctuary.

The News Letter has more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastal Notes
#WATERFRONT PROPERTY - A 14-bedroom hotel overlooking Strangford Lough has been purchased by the owners of the five-star Merchant Hotel in Belfast.
Caterer and Hotelkeeper reports that the Portaferry Hotel will undergo a £100,000 (€116,700) refurbishment under its new ownership by the Beannchor Group, which is expected to help create 10 new jobs.
Bill Wolsey of the Beannchor Group said he was excited about the prospects for the "iconic" 18-century landmark.
"The restaurant has one of the finest food offerings in the area and I am confident it will be quickly established as a firm favourite with food lovers in the Ards Peninsula and further afield," he said.

#WATERFRONT PROPERTY - A 14-bedroom hotel overlooking Strangford Lough has been purchased by the owners of the five-star Merchant Hotel in Belfast.

Caterer and Hotelkeeper reports that the Portaferry Hotel will undergo a £100,000 (€116,700) refurbishment under its new ownership by the Beannchor Group, which is expected to help create 10 new jobs.

Bill Wolsey of the Beannchor Group said he was excited about the prospects for the "iconic" 18-century landmark. 

"The restaurant has one of the finest food offerings in the area and I am confident it will be quickly established as a firm favourite with food lovers in the Ards Peninsula and further afield," he said.

Published in Waterfront Property
#FISHING – The skipper of Grimsby based fishing vessel 'Karen', that grounded on rocks at Ardglass in Northern Ireland, has pleaded guilty to the charge of endangering his ship and crew.

On 3rd January 2011 the UK registered fishing vessel 'Karen' was returning from a day's fishing in the Irish Sea when it grounded on the rocks at the North entrance to the port of Ardglass.

The vessel asked for urgent assistance from the Coastguard and the lifeboat from Portaferry was requested to launch to their aid. Because the weather was fair they were able to bring the crew ashore to Ardglass and to put pumps aboard the stricken vessel. The boat was later re-floated as the tide rose, however it sustained serious damage to the bow and keel.

At the Magistrate's Court in Downpatrick on 7th November 2011, skipper Simon Wills pleaded guilty of failing to properly navigate his vessel and to employing crew who were not qualified and did not meet the requirements of the fishing vessel safety training regulations

Mr Wills was fined a total of £600 and ordered to pay £1,250 to the RNLI.

On summing up the Magistrate Brian Archer said,
"It was fortunate that no one was injured."

Captain Bill Bennett, Area Operations Manager (Survey and Inspection) Belfast, for the MCA stated that

"This was a serious breach of the fishing vessel safety training regulations and once again reminds all fishermen of the need to ensure everyone onboard is properly qualified and to safely navigate his vessel and to maintain a lookout at all times.  All breaches of the Maritime Regulations are taken seriously by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency."

Published in Fishing
The brigantine-rigged tall-ship Antigua sailed into Dublin Port this morning in advance of next weekend's Strangford Lough Festival, writes Jehan Ashmore.
The vessel had sailed from France and entered Dublin Bay from the Kish Lighthouse before setting a course for the South Burford Bank bouy. From there she entered the port and is now moored alongside Ocean Pier.
As part of the festival in Strangford Lough, trips by sea-safari ribs will be running out to the vessel to provide close broadside views. In addition two-hour trips onboard the three-masted Antigua which is to run out of Portferry. For information on prices, times and further festival events click here.

Antigua was originally a fishing boat built in 1957 at Thorne, Yorkshire but her appearance is completely different today. Gone are the fish as the vessel spent four years undergoing reconstruction for the purposes of accommodating paying-passengers. The work was completed in 1997 and this has included the provision of sixteen double cabins in luxurious surroundings.

Individual booking cruises can be made on the brigantine and her fleet-mates which are owned by the Tall Ships Company which take passengers on destinations not just in European waters but also to the Arctic.

The company also operate another brigantine the Artemis, the barque Artemis, the schooner Mare Frisium and the clipper Elizabeth. For further information about the company click here.

Published in Tall Ships
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