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Displaying items by tag: RNLI

During a busy first month at the new RNLI lifeboat station at Coosan Point volunteer crew guided visitors from near and far through the state of the art facility in the first public tours of the base. The panoramic view from the new training room gave a new aspect of Lough Ree to the visitors.

First through the doors ahead of the May Bank Holiday were 18 guests from Moate Mens Shed accompanied by some partners who were greeted by a volunteer crew led by Station Visits Officer Paul Kelly. The group had a first hand experience of the work of the charity when the volunteer crew were called out to assist a stricken cruiser on the lake during the course of the visit.

Early this month a group of 50 secondary school students from northeast France arrived to experience the emergency procedures at first-hand. The group of 15-18-year-olds are part of a second-level French programme at second which prepares them for a career in the emergency services. The visit to Lough Ree RNLI was part of an educational tour to Ireland.

French students in the RNLI lifeboat at Lough ReeFrench students in the RNLI lifeboat at Lough Ree

In recent days a younger generation got their first experience of the charity’s work. Children from Clonbrusk Childcare Centre and first classes from neighbours at Coosan National School enjoyed exploring the lifeboat, trying out some of the gear and even timing themselves in ‘rapid response’!

Station visits officer Paul Kelly said: ‘the charity looks forward to welcoming visitors of all generations to the Lifeboat Station. It is hoped to facilitate a number of visits each month with a waiting list already growing!’

Meanwhile, it has been announced that the official opening of the Lough Ree RNLI Lifeboat Station and the official naming of the charity’s lifeboat ‘Tara Scougall’, had to be postponed due to the pandemic, will take place on Saturday 11 June at 2 pm. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Helvick Head RNLI came to the aid of four sailors on Sunday evening (15 May) after they got into difficulty and needed assistance in the Gold Coast area of Dungarvan.

With mild easterly winds and calm seas, the volunteer crew launched their inshore lifeboat at the request of the Irish Coast Guard at 6.25 pm. It followed a report from a member of the public who spotted the boaters waving from their speedboat which had broken down and was drifting with the tide.

The lifeboat helmed by Joe Foley and with crew members Alan Kelly, Simon O’Hara and Paidi Breathnach onboard, launched at 6.33 pm and made its way to the scene. 

Once on scene, the crew assessed the situation and found the casualties to be safe and well. As the speedboat had sustained engine failure, a decision was made to tow it back to shore. 

After bringing the group to the nearest safe port at Ballinacourty Pier, the lifeboat returned to Helvick Head station at 7.15 pm.

Speaking following the call out, Kieran Rossiter, Helvick Head RNLI Deputy Launching Authority said: ‘We would commend the member of the public who did the right thing by calling for help when they saw the sailors were in difficulty. We would remind anyone planning a trip to sea to always go prepared. Wear a lifejacket and be sure to carry a means of communication. Should you get into trouble or see someone else in difficulty, dial 999 or 112 and ask for the Coast Guard.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Clifden RNLI’s new all-weather Shannon class lifeboat arrived to an emotional welcome from crowds gathered in the Connemara community to see it complete its week-long voyage home from the charity’s All Weather lifeboat centre in Poole.

As Afloat reported earlier, the lifesaving vessel is the first ‘Launch a Memory’ lifeboat to be put on service in Ireland. The St. Christopher carries the names of over 10,000 people on its hull, which were put there by members of the public through a special ‘in memory’ fundraising initiative for the charity.

The lifeboat arrived into the West of Ireland town on Saturday afternoon in a flotilla made up of Achill Island lifeboat, Clifden’s inshore lifeboat and the station’s relief Shannon class lifeboat, along with a group of local vessels. Friends, families and supporters lined the quayside to get a glimpse of the new €2.4 million search and rescue asset which arrived bathed in sunshine.

The main part of the arrival was held today (Sunday 15 May) with the new lifeboat beached at Clifden. The Shannon is the first modern all-weather lifeboat propelled by waterjets which allow it to operate in shallow waters and be intentionally beached. After the tide had receded the 10,000 names on the lifeboat hull were visible and members of the public who had sponsored names were able to view them up close. The names made up the letters RNLI and the number of the new lifeboat, 13-43.

After the tide had receded the 10,000 names on the lifeboat hull were visible and members of the public who had sponsored names were able to view them up close Photo: Andrew DownesAfter the tide had receded the 10,000 names on the lifeboat hull were visible and members of the public who had sponsored names were able to view them up close Photo: Andrew Downes

The lifeboat was funded through a legacy from the south-east of England and will be officially named in a ceremony to be held at a later date. The ten thousand names were provided by people pledging a minimum donation of €30/£30 to have their loved one’s name recorded onboard a working search and rescue lifeboat off the Irish coast. Hundreds of people made the trip to see the lifeboat up close with some travelling over from the UK. It was an emotional trip for many who brought photographs of their loved ones with them.

Clifden volunteer lifeboat crew collected their new lifeboat in Dorset a week ago and sailed it home to Clifden with stops at Plymouth, Penlee, Ballycotton, Kinsale, Valentia and the Aran Islands. While in Penlee the Clifden lifeboat crew paid their respects to the eight crew who were lost from there on 19 December 1981 while attempting to rescue the crew and passengers onboard a stricken coaster.

Commenting on the arrival, Clifden RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager John Brittain said, ‘This weekend was the culmination of a lot of hard work by the volunteers in Clifden. To receive a new lifeboat is an incredibly exciting time for a station but to receive a launch a memory lifeboat, which carries the names of so many loved ones, is a great privilege and an honour for everyone here in Clifden.’

‘We have been so moved by the stories shared with us in the run up to the arrival and we now take each one of these names out to sea with us every time we launch. We are so grateful of the public’s support of the work we do as we continue to save lives at sea.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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On 13 March 2017, the Rescue 116 crew of Capt. Dara Fitzpatrick, Capt. Mark Duffy, Paul Ormsby and Ciarán Smith took off from Dublin airport just after 11 p.m. for a medical evacuation off the west coast of Ireland. The first indication of disaster came when the crew failed to answer a radio call at 12.46 a.m. Shortly after 2 am on 14 March, sister helicopter Rescue 118 spotted a casualty and debris in the water. There would be no survivors from R116, and extensive searches failed to locate the bodies of two of the four crew.

The crash occurred just six months after the loss of experienced Irish Coast Guard volunteer Caitríona Lucas, from Doolin Coast Guard in Co. Clare, and eighteen years after the loss of four Air Corps crew who were returning from a night rescue in thick fog off the south-east coast.

In Search and Rescue, author Lorna Siggins exposes the shocking systemic flaws that led to these tragic deaths, but also looks at successful rescues where, despite all the odds, the courage and dedication of members of the Irish Coast Guard, Air Corps, RNLI, fishing crew and the volunteers who work with them have saved countless lives.

Paperback • €16.95 | £14.99. 336 pages. Preview here. On Sale Now on this link here

Published in Book Review
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On Saturday afternoon, 14 May, while on exercise in Cork Harbour, Crosshaven RNLI volunteers were tasked by the Coast Guard to a 32’ yacht with suspected electrical fire on board and mechanical difficulties.

The lifeboat with David Venner, Clare Morgan, Warren Forbes and Ian Venner on board made best speed to the casualty which had two people on board and was in a position off the Whitegate oil refinery jetty.

Forbes and Morgan boarded the vessel and checked the fire was extinguished, brought the sails under control and set up a tow to the Royal Cork Yacht Club marina at Crosshaven.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Lough Derg RNLI has hailed as a great success its first ‘Lap the Lake’ charity cycle.

The local lifesaving charity’s fundraising branch organised the 130km cycle around Lough Derg for last Saturday 8 May, which saw 250 cyclists take part in its most ambitious event to date.

And the day was blessed by good weather and good cheer as it raised significant funds that are essential for the lifeboat station’s lifesaving activities.

The 130km route around Lough Derg — covering counties Tipperary, Clare and Galway — gave participants the opportunity to delight in the outstanding beauty of the lake and the River Shannon.

Their safety and wellbeing were well catered for with first-aid providers, out-riders, marshals and bike maintenance stops along the route, as well as comfort and refreshments stations.


Niamh McCutcheon, chair of the Lough Derg RNLI Fundraising Committee and the ‘Lap the Lake’ Event Committee, said the inaugural event “was enjoyed by cyclists from all over Ireland. The friendly welcome provided by the marshals, RNLI crew and the enthusiastic and well-organised committee was much appreciated by all.”

McCutcheon thanked Lough Derg Yacht Club and all the sponsors of the event, whose generosity also ensured its success. Meanwhile, the fundraiser remains open for donations via its JustGiving page.


Feedback from participants praised the attention to detail, safety and comfort; a compliment to the organisational skills of Niamh McCutcheon, Pat Kelly, Caleb and Laura Clarke, Tom Sanders, Anne Atkinson, Bob O Brien, John MacMahon, Sarah Langham and Ted Knight on the Lough Derg RNLI Fundraising Committee and Veronica Plunkett, Ena Butler, Hilda Hamilton, Joe Hughes, Johnathan Horgan, Laura Clarke and Niamh McCutcheon on the Lap the Lake Event Committee.

RNLI lifeboat helm Owen Cavanagh and crew members Doireann Kennedy, Joe O'Donoghue, Ciara Moylan, Ania Skrzypczynska and Ciara Lynch, who worked in shifts throughout the day, brought the lifeboat Jean Spier to the public harbour in Dromineer and to other harbours around the lake and were pleased to answer questions about the RNLI, its lifesaving work and the lifeboat itself.

The fundraising committee thanks the many other members of the Lough Derg Lifeboat Station who played major roles in the success of this event. In particular, Aoife Kennedy, lifeboat administration officer and deputy launching authority at Lough Derg RNLI Lifeboat Station, who assisted with the registration of participating cyclists and acted as liaison between the fundraising committee and the lifeboat station throughout the event; Chris Parker (Lough Derg RNLI crew member) who acted as safety officer; Peter Kennedy (DLA and station mechanic) and Caleb Clarke (hon treasurer) who dressed the yacht club in RNLI bunting; Christine O’Malley (lifeboat operations manager), Liam Moloney (DLA) and Peter Kennedy who remained on hand to coordinate the lifeboat;s manoeuvres; and Richard Nolan (Lough Derg RNLI crew member) and Peter Harty (RNLI area lifesaving manager) who both cycled in the event.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

The volunteer crew of the Bundoran RNLI Lifeboat was called into action on Friday afternoon 13th May to assist two male surfers in difficulty at Rossnowlagh Beach in County Donegal.

Just after 3:35 pm a number of 999 emergency calls were made to Malin Head Coast Guard from passers-by on Rossnowlagh Beach who had heard calls for help coming from the water.

The Bundoran RNLI crew, aboard the “William Henry Liddington” inshore lifeboat, launched minutes later and made their way to the scene.

Amid choppy conditions and a force 5 westerly wind, the lifeboat arrived at Rossnowlagh Beach around 4 pm. On arrival, the men had already been lifted from the water by the Sligo based Rescue 118 helicopter which had also been tasked to help. They were brought back to land where they were attended to by members of the National Ambulance Service.

Helm of the Bundoran RNLI Lifeboat Elliot Kearns, speaking on returning to the station, emphasised the importance of being aware of the surf and potential hazards ‘we would like to commend the Rescue 118 crew for their swift action in bringing the two men to safety. We would always advise water users to be aware of the sea conditions, particularly rip currents. If you find yourself caught in a rip, don’t try to swim against it, instead swim to the left or the right to get free of it.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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A newly built all-weather lifeboat with over 10,000 names on its hull which is due to arrive at the RNLI’s Clifden station in Connemara on Saturday has already recorded its first rescue mission.

The Shannon-class lifeboat named St Christopher escorted a small fishing vessel into Newlyn in Cornwall earlier this week while on its way from the south English coast to Ireland.

Clifden RNLI operations manager John Brittain said that the lifeboat was en route to Newlyn in Cornwall as one of its stopovers on the way to Clifden when it received the call from Falmouth Coastguard.

It was asked to provide an escort to a small fishing vessel with two people on board.

Speaking to Wavelengths, Mr Brittain described how a very special welcome has been planned for it on Saturday, as it carries the names of over 10,000 people on its hull.

These were nominated by members of the public through a special fundraising initiative, known as “Launch a Memory”, which was run by the search and rescue charity back in 2020.

The RNLI says people will have an opportunity to “get up close” to the lifeboat on Sunday morning at low tide when the vessel crew will be beached at the back of the lifeboat station on Clifden beach from 9.30 am till about 12.30 pm.

“We have been working towards this day for a long time. It is an honour for us to carry these 10,000 names onboard our new lifeboat the St Christopher,” Mr Brittain said.

“ Every time we launch, they will accompany the lifeboat crew on its lifesaving mission,” he said.

“ I know there are many incredibly moving stories behind each name and we hope to do them all proud,” he said.

He advises members of the public to park in Clifden and walk down to the beach or take one of two shuttle buses which will be running from the town centre to the lifeboat station.

Information on the campaign including a search tool to find where a particular name is placed on the lifeboat, is available on the RNLI website here

You can hear John Brittain on Wavelengths below

Published in Wavelength Podcast
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Bangor RNLI’s volunteers came to the rescue of six women on a yacht after its engine failed during a passage to Glenarm in Co Antrim.

The inshore lifeboat Jessie Hillyard was launched on Monday morning (9 May) from Belfast Lough to the yacht’s location just off Donaghadee Sound, in choppy seas and a strong breeze.

One of the women on the yacht reported being seasick but she did not require a medical evacuation.

With the yacht under good control with just a headsail, the lifeboat kept a safe distance until the vessel entered the calmer waters of Ballyholme Bay.

There, volunteer crew member John Bell transferred to the yacht and attached a tow line, staying with the vessel until it was safe in Bangor Marina.

The women later showed their appreciation by presenting the crew with a bag of chocolate cookies, which went down well after the lifeboat had been refuelled, washed down and readied for its next service.

Speaking following the callout, Bangor RNLI helm Jack Irwin said: “On arrival at the scene, we were happy that our assistance was not required immediately, and we shadowed the vessel until we were in calmer waters, where we initiated our tow.

“We were delighted to deliver those onboard to the safety of Bangor Marina, where the staff were waiting to assist with mooring.

“As we head into the summer months, now is a timely time to remind anyone planning a trip to sea to check your vessel's engine and ensure it is well maintained before setting off on a passage.

“Always carry a means of calling for help and let someone on the shore know where you are going and when you are due back.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Larne RNLI in Northern Ireland launched to the aid of a group of paddle boarders who were caught in an offshore breeze at the weekend.

The volunteer crew were requested to launch their inshore lifeboat by Belfast Coastguard at 2.09pm on Sunday (8 May) following a report that five people on two paddle boards were struggling to get back to shore.

The lifeboat was launched from East Antrim Boat Club into a moderate sea with an offshore breeze and made its way to the last reported location of the group at the entrance of Brown’s Bay off Islandmagee.

Having located the casualties and their paddle boards towards the middle of Brown’s Bay, the lifeboat crew observed that the offshore breeze was blowing both boards out to sea and that the group were having difficulty trying to return to safety.

Two of the group managed to make their own way back to the beach unaided, while the remaining three were transferred into the lifeboat.

Upon returning the casualties and their paddle boards to Brown’s Bay beach, they were handed into the care of Portmuck’s coastguard team.

Speaking following the callout, Larne RNLI helm Scott Leitch said: “We are very grateful to the member of the public who realised that something was wrong and called 999 and asked for the coastguard and we were delighted to help.

“As the weather gets warmer and more people travel to the coast, we would remind everyone planning a trip to sea or an activity on the water, to always carry a means of communication so they have a way of contacting the shore and to always wear a lifejacket or flotation device.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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