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Displaying items by tag: RNLI

Lough Ree RNLI volunteer lifeboat crew responded to two separate call-outs coming to the assistance of eight people on two different cruisers on Lough Ree on Saturday 22 May.

In the first instance, a boat had become grounded on a rock shelf, west of Inchmore Island on Lough Ree. The Lough Ree RNLI volunteer lifeboat was launched and reached the scene just before midday. The 17ft cruiser was found grounded and on inspection the engine of the boat was in need of repair.

In bright and breezy conditions the Lough Ree RNLI volunteer lifeboat crew took the boat under tow and brought it safely to a berth at Coosan Point marina.

Just before 6pm, the Lough Ree RNLI volunteer lifeboat ‘Tara Scougall’ was back in the water with another volunteer crew coming to the assistance of a 34ft boat which had run aground at Kid Island on Lough Ree. Under RNLI volunteer helm Emmet Devereux the craft was refloated and continued on its way.

Tom Bradbury, one of the helms at Lough Ree RNLI said: ‘Following unusual weather patterns obstacles on the lake can be hidden in rising waters. Boating enthusiasts are reminded of the importance of navigating within the marker buoys on the lake.’

As the new season on the lake begins in earnest Lough Ree RNLI Operations Manager, Jude Kilmartin said: ‘the charity looks forward to working closely with locals and visitors to our inland waterways.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Larne RNLI’s volunteers launched to the aid of three people in difficulty off the Antrim coast between late Monday evening (17 May) and early Tuesday morning (18 May).

Both the all-weather and inshore lifeboats were requested to launch around 11pm following a report that a man had fallen on rocks and sustained possible wrist and head injuries in the Ballygally area of the East Antrim coast.

The all-weather lifeboat Dr John McSparron went alongside providing support and helping to illuminate the area for the Larne Coastguard and Northern Ireland Ambulance Service crews already on scene.

With the location of the casualty presenting access issues, he was moved to the inshore lifeboat in a basket stretcher and ferried to the slipway near Ballygally beach where he was transferred to the waiting ambulance.

Just a couple of hours later, the lifeboat crew were called out again to assist two sailors on a 35ft yacht on passage from Argyll with reported engine failure some 15 nautical miles off Larne Harbour.

After checking both sailors were safe and well, the volunteers set up a tow for the vessel to its destination of Carrickfergus Marina, where it was secured for maintenance.

Larne RNLI’s deputy launching authority Philip Ford-Hutchinson described the night as a busy one “with little rest between callouts”.

He added: “The first call demonstrated great teamwork between the RNLI, Larne Coastguard and the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service.

“Callouts like these are something that our volunteer crew regularly train for and the skill and professionalism was evident last night. We wish the gentleman a speedy recovery.”

Arklow RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat takes a stricken fishing vessel under tow on Friday 14 MayArklow RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat takes a stricken fishing vessel under tow on Friday 14 May | Credit: RNLI/Arklow

Elsewhere, Arklow RNLI and Courtown RNLI launched their respective all-weather and inshore lifeboats to reports of a fishing vessel in danger of sinking near Courtown last Friday morning (14 May).

As the Courtown crew arrived on scene, they found a number of other fishing boats attempting to tow the stricken vessel to safety as its crew managed to stem the flow of water on board.

Arklow RNLI then set up their own tow to bring the casualty vessel into Arklow Harbour amid calm seas.

Mark Corcoran, Arklow RNLI community safety sfficer, said: ”It’s great to see all of the various agencies working together helping to save lives at sea and in our communities.

“Thankfully this callout became lower risk due to the actions of the vessel’s own crew.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Clifden RNLI assisted in the rescue of four sea kayakers who got into difficulty off Inishark Island on Saturday afternoon (15 May).

Both the station’s all-weather Shannon class lifeboat under Coxswain John Mullen and the inshore Atlantic 85 class lifeboat helmed by David Barry, were launched at 3.30 pm after the alarm was raised with the Irish Coast Guard following the activation of an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB). The request was to go the aid of four people on the north side of Inishark, approximately eight nautical miles offshore.

Weather conditions at the time were poor with a 3m swell and a difficult tide.

"All four kayaks had been overturned by a large wave with one completely swamped"

All four kayaks had been overturned by a large wave with one completely swamped leaving a casualty in the water clinging to the bow of another of the kayaks. On arrival, the volunteer lifeboat crew observed that the crew of a local rigid inflatable boat had taken two of the kayakers onboard including the casualty whose kayak was swamped, while the other two were making their way to safety themselves.

The inshore lifeboat proceeded to escort the local vessel with two of the kayakers safely back to Inishbofin while the all-weather lifeboat escorted the other two kayakers safely back to shore.

Speaking following the call out, John Brittain, Clifden RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager praised the kayakers for going to sea with the right gear and equipment: ‘The kayakers got caught by a large swell in an inaccessible area, but they had done all the right things which made a huge difference. They were all wearing drysuits and lifejackets. A personal locator beacon also served its purpose in raising the alarm and the kayakers need to be commended for also carrying that.

‘We would remind anyone planning a trip to sea this summer to always respect the water. Always have the correct safety gear and equipment, always check the weather and tide times before venturing out and always let someone on the shore know where you are going and when you are due back. Should you get into difficulty, call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coast Guard.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Union Hall RNLI launched this afternoon (Friday 14 May) to assist an angling vessel with seven people on board that was experiencing mechanical difficulty.

The volunteer lifeboat crew were requested to launch their inshore lifeboat Margaret Bench of Solihull at 3.40pm to the chartered angling vessel one mile south of Adam Island, just outside Glandore Harbour in West Cork.

With Tim Forde at the helm accompanied by crew Paddy Moloney and Cathal Deasy, the lifeboat launched at 3.51pm and made its way to the reported location.

Once on scene, a lifeboat crew member established a towline and the lifeboat towed the stricken angling vessel back to the pier at Union Hall.

Speaking following the callout, Union Hall RNLI deputy launching authority Jim Moloney said: “This was the second lifeboat launch request for Union Hall within 24 hours, and with a busy season ahead we would remind everyone going to sea to always carry a means of communication, wear a lifejacket and respect the water.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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The Courtmacsherry All-Weather Trent Class RNLI Lifeboat was called out this morning Friday at 1.45 am, to go to the immediate aid of a 60-foot fishing vessel that went on fire while fishing 20 miles south-east the Old Head of Kinsale in West Cork.

The Courtmacsherry All-Weather Lifeboat, Frederick Storey Cockburn under Coxswain Sean O Farrell and a crew of 6 were away quickly from their moorings, as a mayday alert was issued by the causality, that their boat had caught fire and they required immediate help. Once the mayday distress was relayed by the Marine Rescue Co-Ordination Centre in Valentia, all available boats that were in the area at the time, raced to assist in the rescue.

Also tasked was the Coast Guard Rescue 117 Helicopter from Waterford.

Within minutes of the mayday alert being issued, the crew of four on the fishing vessel had to abandon to their liferaft as the fire had engulfed their boat. Just after 2.20 am, the Offshore Supply boat “Pathfinder” operating at the Kinsale Gas Field located the bright orange liferaft, after it deployed its own fast rescue boat to the scene. It immediately took all four crew from the liferaft onboard safely and while well shocked, they were all uninjured.

When the Courtmacsherry Lifeboat and the Coastguard Rescue 117 Helicopter arrived on scene, all four casualties were then transferred to the safe surround of the Courtmacsherry Lifeboat. Another Offshore Supply boat operating at the Gas field, used its powerful pumps to get the fire under control while the Courtmacsherry Lifeboat brought the four fishermen back to safe terrain in Courtmacsherry arriving shortly after 5 am.

Also arriving on scene was the Navy Vessel “George Bernard Shaw” who continued to monitor the fire-damaged boat as it sank.

Those rescued were well relieved to be on land again and thanked the many boats and rescue services involved in this morning’s dramatic rescue.

The Courtmacsherry RNLI Lifeboat voluntary Lifeboat Operations Manager Brian O Dwyer said “We are all so relieved that all four crewmen were rescued so quickly in darkness this morning and praised the fast response of the Kinsale Gas Field Supply Boats who were quickly on scene”, he also thanked the 13 crew at the Lifeboat Station who rose from their beds early this morning and rushed to the station, in order to help others in distress at sea.

RNLI Lifeboat crewmembers under Coxswain Sean O Farrell after they arrived back, with the orange liferaft in the backgroundRNLI Lifeboat crewmembers under Coxswain Sean O Farrell after they arrived back, with the orange liferaft in the background

The Courtmacsherry RNLI Lifeboat Crew involved in this morning’s callout were Coxswain Sean O'Farrell, Mechanic Tadgh McCarthy and crewmembers Dara Gannon, Denis Murphy, Evin O Sullivan, Jim O Donnell and Dean Hennessy.

This was the second callout in a week to Fishing vessels off the Courtmacsherry coast as Afloat reported here.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Castletownbere RNLI was launched last night (Monday 10 May 2021) just after 9:00 pm to go to the assistance of a fishing vessel that experienced mechanical failure close to Mizen Head in West Cork.

Castletownbere lifeboat was tasked by Valentia Coastguard Radio last night to go to the assistance of an 18-metre Castletownbere-based fishing trawler whose propellor had become fouled and therefore was unable to move. The vessel had six crew on board.

The lifeboat was launched within minutes under the command of Coxswain Dean Hegarty with crew Marney O’Donogue, Sean ‘Bawn’ O’Sullivan, Kyle Cronin, Aaron O’Boyle, John William O’Donoghue and Donagh Murphy. At 9:46 pm the lifeboat located the stricken vessel one mile south-west of Mizen Head. Conditions on-scene were described as a 2-3 metre swell and with Force 5 south-westerly winds. Lifeboat crew secured a tow to the fishing vessel and proceeded to tow the vessel towards Castletownbere without incident. The stricken vessel was safely berthed at Castletownbere Pier just before 1:00 am this morning and the lifeboat was refuelled and made ready for service.

Commenting on the callout Castletownbere RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager, Paul Stevens, stated: ‘The fishing vessel made the right call in seeking assistance – given the boat’s proximity to the shore and the prevailing wind conditions, the lifeboat ensured that a potential critical incident was averted. He also complimented the crew on its rapid response, maintaining strict COVID-19 protocols and the successful outcome of the call-out.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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RNLI lifeboat volunteers come from a multiplicity of backgrounds. And though some may have no previous maritime experience before they enrol, this is not an issue as the RNLI provide a comprehensive and rigorous programme that equips trainees to meet all necessary requirements to be crew on a lifeboat. Being an RNLI lifeboat crew is one of the most exciting and fulfilling roles a person can perform; it offers volunteers the opportunity to make a difference in their local community, to save lives, and to be part of an inclusive and diverse organisation.

Stephen Seymour is a dairy farmer who lives and farms close to Dromineer. He says, having a greater amount of free time, he decided to find out more about joining the lifeboat crew. Stephen says that a strong impetus for him to volunteer with the RNLI, was the ‘opportunity it would provide to save lives on the lake’.

Ania Skrzypczynska, a graphic designer, moved to Dromineer a year ago. She says following encouragement from her neighbour, Eleanor Hooker, a volunteer helm at the station, she decided to visit the station and to find out what volunteering with the lifeboat would entail. Ania says ‘boating is very new to me and lifeboating is certainly not something I was familiar with, however, it sounded like an exciting adventure’ with the chance to learn new skills. Even though initially she says she was a ‘bit apprehensive about this big commitment’, she’s glad she’s joined the crew and hopes to be able to ‘make a positive impact in someone’s life’.

Ciara Moylan, a Rooms Division Manager at the Abbey Court Hotel in Nenagh, lives in Dromineer village. She says ‘living so close to a lifeboat station and growing up on the lake, it's always something I've wanted to be a part of’. Of her experience as an RNLI volunteer thus far, Ciara says it’s ‘extremely rewarding and I am very grateful to be part of this organization and having access to all of the knowledge I've already received and will continue to receive’.

Richard Nolan runs a Consulting Business. He says after ‘moving home from London, I was excited to get involved in various local causes’ to help where he could and to get to know local people having been away for so long. Richard says that living by the lake, he was ‘particularly excited to see positions advertised with the RNLI’ as it presented him with the opportunity to support his community and also to get to know the lake. Of his initial training over the past few months, Richard says he recognised ‘this wasn’t going to be an average volunteering opportunity’ but says that the ‘team have all been phenomenally supportive’.

Dom Sharkey, a senior helm at the station says it’s ‘great to see local men and women volunteer for the lifeboat, I’m delighted to welcome our four enthusiastic new recruits to the Lough Derg RNLI crew’.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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The Courtmacsherry All Weather Trent Class RNLI Lifeboat was called out this morning Sunday at 11 am, to go to the aid of a 75-foot fishing vessel that had got into difficulties 27 miles off the Old Head of Kinsale in West Cork.

The lifeboat under Coxswain Mark Gannon and a crew of 6 were underway from their moorings in the harbour within minutes of being alerted by the Marine Rescue Co-Ordination Centre in Valentia and proceeded at full speed to the area of the causality.

Conditions at sea today were very difficult with Force 7/8 winds and high sea swells. The fishing vessel with five crewmembers on board had put out a distress signal when its hull was breached in difficult sea conditions and was taking in water.

Also launched was the Coast Guard Rescue 117 Helicopter from Waterford. Just after 12 noon, the Coast Guard Helicopter dropped an emergency salvage pump and winchman on to the fishing vessel deck and the Courtmacsherry Lifeboat readied their emergency salvage pump, and plans were finalised to pump the water from the stricken vessel in order for it to continue being operational.

The seven Courtmacsherry RNLI Lifeboat crew members under Coxswain Mark Gannon after they arrived into Kinsale Harbour with the fishing vesselThe seven Courtmacsherry RNLI Lifeboat crew members under Coxswain Mark Gannon after they arrived into Kinsale Harbour with the fishing vessel

As the water was pumped from the casualty, the Lifeboat stood by alongside in readiness for evacuation of the crew or any other assistance if required. With the pumping of the water being successful, and the seas very difficult, the Lifeboat escorted the causality at a safe speed back into the safe surrounds of Kinsale Harbour, arriving just after 4 pm.

A relieved fishing vessel Skipper thanked all the rescue services for their help in today’s rescue.

The Courtmacsherry RNLI Lifeboat Deputy Launch Authority and LPO Vincent O Donovan said “Great credit is due to all our volunteer crew members who rushed to answer the callout this morning and headed into very rough seas to help others in distress. Vincent praised both the Coastguard Rescue 117 helicopter crew and the crew of the Lifeboat in carrying out a very professional rescue involving salvage pumps in rough seas and strong winds.

The Courtmacsherry RNLI Lifeboat volunteer Crew involved in today’s callout were Coxswain Mark Gannon, Mechanic Chris Guy and crewmembers Mark John Gannon, Dara Gannon, Denis Murphy, Ciaran Hurley and Evin O Sullivan.

The Lifeboat returned to its base in Courtmacsherry just after 5 pm and has refuelled and restocked, in readiness of whenever the next call to action may occur. This is the 13th callout of 2021 for the Courtmacsherry RNLI Lifeboat station.

The Gannon family, Coxswain Mark, his son Mark John and brother Dara, all part of the Lifeboat crew today.The Gannon family, Coxswain Mark, his son Mark John and brother Dara, all part of the Lifeboat crew today.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

 Howth RNLI in County Dublin rescued four people in an inflatable dinghy who were struggling to make it back to shore against strong winds and tides on Saturday, May 9th.

Howth RNLI was requested to launch the inshore lifeboat at 6.50 pm on Saturday 8th May 2021 to reports an inflatable dinghy with four people aboard struggling to return from Ireland's Eye to Howth harbour.

Weather conditions at the time gave good visibility but there was a strong southerly wind and a powerful tide at the location.

The volunteer lifeboat crew quickly located the dinghy which was struggling to make progress back to Howth Harbour. The 4 people aboard were all wearing lifejackets and were in good spirits.

The volunteer lifeboat crew took the dinghy in tow and returned safely to Howth Harbour.

Speaking following the callout, Stephen Harris, Howth RNLI Deputy Launch Authority said: ‘When the call was raised by a concerned member of the public we were delighted to help the 4 people this evening, they all had their lifejackets and safety gear but were just not aware that they were not making any headway trying to return to harbour, we were happy to assist and they were extremely grateful’.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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I've never given much thought to why lifeboats are orange. It just seemed to me to be the right colour to be seen easily at sea.

Now I know that it's also a colour that provides reassurance and relief - so the RNLI has told me.

Their boats weren't always the shade of orange that now designates them.

In the 1800s they were painted ultramarine blue until artists from the UK Royal Academy complained in the 20s that the colour was "too French" and it was changed to a darker royal blue in 1923 - with the oars on the rowing lifeboats of the time painted blue and white – different colours for the different sides of the boats which helped Coxswain's instructions as "pull away blues…or whites" for whichever side he needed power from.

Last year 53 per cent of the 945 calls for help which led to lifeboat launches happened in June, July and AugustLast year 53 per cent of the 945 calls for help which led to lifeboat launches happened in June, July and August

In the 1950s red, white and blue, - a touch of French again – was the colour, and there was a grey on superstructures, which was changed to orange on the advice of best visibility at sea. Boats had a blue hull and a red boot top stripe… and later crew gear became yellow, again, easy to see…

The hulls of the offshore boats are still blue… but the superstructure orange is what grabs attention and the inshore boats are also orange.

What brought my thoughts to this is the increased number of emergency call-outs to the RNLI and where they are coming from - kayakers, swimmers, canoeists, paddleboarders, anglers, jet-skis and walkers near the coast, being cut off by tides, feature regularly.

Last year 53 per cent of the 945 calls for help which led to lifeboat launches happened in June, July and August and, with the 'holiday at home' emphasis this year, it could be a busy Summer for lifeboat stations and crews.

There is an increase of interest in marine leisure – good to see – but safety must be paramount, and in this regard, I got a lot of response to my last Podcast, about the use of flares in emergencies. … Are flares or electronics best for emergencies? That seems an open debate, about which more will be heard, and there does seem increasing dependence on mobile phones – not the best option, but better than nothing.

The sight of an orange lifeboat heading to the rescue will always be a relief. This month is the RNLI's Mayday campaign and, with restrictions limiting public collections, do connect with that orange colour and help ensure that it can be seen, when needed, at sea.

Podcast below

Published in Tom MacSweeney
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