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Displaying items by tag: Lifeboats

Clifden RNLI were tasked by the Irish Coast Guard on Saturday afternoon (8 June) to a distress signal received from a personal locator beacon (PLB) registered to a 50-foot yacht that had been activated some 13 miles west of Slyne Head.

Clifden’s all-weather and Atlantic 85 lifeboats both launched along with the Aran Islands lifeboat and the Shannon-based coastguard helicopter Rescue 115.

En route the lifeboats received updated information that the lone sailor had become trapped in his generator room. The boat had rolled hard to her beam and the door slammed shut.

He had already spent approximately two hours trying to open it and was very worried as the boat was on autopilot so he activated his PLB to raise the alarm.

Shortly afterwards he managed to free himself and immediately called Clifden Coastguard to inform them that he was okay, and that he had activated his PLB as at the time he had been in grave and imminent danger as he was not in control of his boat.

The lifeboats were requested to proceed to the casualty’s location and make verbal/visual contact with the skipper. He confirmed that he had been in a perilous position when he was trapped and the boat was indeed adrift and heading towards hazardous shoreline.

He was very relieved to learn that the rescue services were coming to his aid and he then made his own way into Clifden Bay.

Coxswain James Mullen said after the launch: “This really showed the value and importance of wearing a PLB as this skipper was totally trapped aboard his own boat and in grave danger.

“Luckily, his decision to carry this vital piece of safety equipment and then to activate his PLB meant that we were able to go to his aid and thankfully a much worse scenario was avoided.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Wicklow RNLI brought three sailors to safety yesterday morning (Sunday 9 June) after their 10-metre yacht got fouled in ropes off Wicklow Head.

The all-weather lifeboat Jock and Annie Slater put to sea shortly before 10am under the command of coxswain Nick Keogh, following a launch request from the Irish Coast Guard.

The yacht, with three people on board, was located at 10.12am about two-and-a-half miles south-east of Wicklow Head. Conditions on scene had a slight sea state and good visibility.

Lifeboat volunteer Alan Goucher was transferred onto the yacht to assess the situation and assist with the towline.

The yacht was taken in tow back to Wicklow Harbour and brought safely alongside the East Pier at 11.10am.

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Baltimore RNLI carried out a medevac last night (Friday 7 June) from Cape Clear Island off the coast of Baltimore in West Cork.

The volunteer crew launched their all-weather lifeboat at 6.20pm, following a request from the Irish Coast Guard to provide medical assistance and evacuation to an islander living on Cape Clear.

The lifeboat arrived at North Harbour in Cape Clear within 20 minutes, and was headed back to the mainland with the casualty on board after just a two-minute turnaround.

By just after 7pm the casualty had been handed over to the care of a HSE ambulance crew in Baltimore.

Conditions at sea during the call out were good, with a north-westerly Force 4-5 wind, a one-metre sea swell and very good visibility.

Speaking following the callout, lifeboat press officer Kate Callanan said: “If you find yourself in a medical emergency whilst on an island call 999 or 112 and explain to the operator what the nature of the call is.

“The operator will then make sure that the call is directed to both the coastguard and the National Ambulance Service. We wish the casualty a full recovery.

“Our thoughts today are also with the family, friends and colleagues of the crew members of the French lifeboat service SNSM who lost their lives yesterday during a rescue.”

There were seven volunteer crew onboard the lifeboat on this callout: coxswain Kieran Cotter, mechanic Cathal Cottrell and crew members Jerry Smith, Kieran Collins, Pat Collins, Colin Rochford and David Ryan. Assisting at the boathouse in Baltimore were Gerald O’Brien, Aidan Bushe and Don O’Donovan.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

New Clifden lifeboat volunteer Ashling Sweeney has her first callout earlier this week to a fisherman whose boat drifted out to sea after engine failure.

At 3.40pm on Tuesday 4 June, Clifden RNLI was requested to launch its all-weather and inshore lifeboats to assist the nine-metre fishing vessel with one onboard just east of Turbot Island in Co Galway.

Clifden’s Atlantic 85 lifeboat Joyce King, helmed by Daniel Whelan and with four volunteer crew onboard, launched first and made good time to the fishing vessel, which was drifting south.

The fishing vessel was quickly taken under tow back to Clifden pier as Clifden RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat launched to provide backup.

Weather conditions on scene had a north-west winds of Force 5-6 with a slight sea.

Speaking following the callout, new volunteer Ashling Sweeney said: “This was my first callout for Clifden RNLI today and I was happy to gain the experience of putting my training into action.”

Around the same time on Tuesday, Youghal RNLI in East Cork were requested to launch to an eight-metre yacht adrift in the harbour with no people onboard.

The volunteer crew launched their inshore lifeboat in a moderate north westerly breeze and were with the yacht within minutes.

On arrival, the crew determined that the yacht was dragging its mooring. A crew member boarded the yacht and cut the mooring line before the crew established a tow and bought the yacht safely back to the pontoon were the coastguard were waiting to assist.

Derry Walsh, Youghal RNLI lifeboat operations manager, said: “As we approach the summer season, we would remind sailors and boat owners to ensure the appropriate safety, engine and fuel checks are completed ahead of any trip as well as ensuring vessels are safely secured on their moorings.”

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Larne RNLI has a close-knit group of volunteers, both crew members and fundraisers, with a strong family ethos and team approach to ensure everyone plays their part to help saves lives at sea on the east Co Antrim coast.

Recently, one of these volunteers — Barry Kirkpatrick, a local teacher — completed his assessments to qualify as an RNLI all-weather lifeboat coxswain.

“Being an RNLI volunteer is a big commitment but working alongside like-minded people, to help those in distress at sea, is very rewarding,” Barry said.

“It’s very much a team approach at Larne RNLI with a fantastic camaraderie within the crew.”

The commitment to the lifeboat isn't only measured in the time spent involved in rescues, but also in the essential weekly training scenarios.

The volunteers in Larne RNLI, who come from all walks of life, train six times per month to ensure they are fully trained on all aspects of rescues including keeping up to date with new and evolving equipment.

With only one in 10 lifeboat crew members having professional maritime experience, the charity’s comprehensive competency-based crew training is vital to saving lives at sea.

And when the pagers do go off, volunteers are ready to drop everything as they’re called away from their families, their beds and their work, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

“Our crews train extensively across a broad spectrum to gain the skills and knowledge necessary to be a member of the lifeboat crew,” says Larne RNLI coxswain Frank Healy. “This means giving time and dedication to meet the requirements.

“This was realised recently when Barry, after long, intensive and wide-ranging training, was passed out successfully as an all-weather lifeboat coxswain. A great achievement for Barry who is a very valuable asset to Larne station.”

In 2019 Larne RNLI is celebrating 25 years of local volunteers providing its rescue service to the Larne area. Over the last 25 years, Larne lifeboats have launched 514 times, saving 34 lives and rescuing 454 people, with an average of 21 shouts a year.

To celebrate the work of volunteers and the support the local community have provided, Larne RNLI are holding an open day at the lifeboat station on Olderfleet Road on Saturday 22 June from 12pm-4pm.

Everyone is welcome to come along, meet the volunteers and enjoy a fun-filled day with a BBQ, bouncy castles, our mascot Stormy Stan and lots more.

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This weekend’s Bundoran RNLI Soapbox Race will no longer be going ahead on Sunday 2 June due to poor weather forecast for the region.

In a statement, the organisers said: “It is with regret that we have decided to cancel this Sunday’s soapbox race event.

“Following consultation with weather charts and Met Éireann, the forecast is not favourable to run an event outdoors. For the comfort and safety of our volunteers, participants and spectators the organising committee has made the difficult decision to cancel the event.

“We are sorry to cause any disappointment, particularly to those who have already built soapboxes. We would like to thank those who had volunteered their time to help out at the event.

“Our annual flag day street collection will go ahead on Sunday and we thank you in advance for your generosity and continuing support of Bundoran RNLI Lifeboat.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Final preparations are being made ahead of this weekend’s Bundoran RNLI Soapbox Race which takes place this Sunday 2 June at Astoria Road.

Now in its eighth year, the event is organised and hosted by the volunteer crew of the Bundoran RNLI lifeboat and is a major fundraiser for the charity.

The event is expected to attract as many as 2,000 soapbox enthusiasts and their supporters with race winning between 1pm and 4pm, weather permitting.

The prize up for grabs is the highly coveted Perpetual Cup and 12 months of bragging rights.

And the ever-popular €1,000 ball race will also take place directly after the soapbox final has been run, with balls on sale at just €5 from lunchtime on the day.

Event director Cormac McGurren says that the crew is looking forward to the day.

“The soapbox race is always the talk of the station for the weeks and months before it happens. It’s a fun family day out with lots of thrills and spills expected.

“We would like to thank in advance all of our sponsors, prize donors and local volunteers who are helping to run the event and also to sell the balls.”

Those wishing to race a soapbox on the day are encouraged to register online, though last-minute registrations on the day will be accepted.

There will be a number of traffic restrictions in place this Sunday to facilitate the race. Astoria Road will be closed from 8am till 7pm on Sunday at the junction with Main Street.

Traffic for Waterworld, Bundoran Adventure Park and Ozanam House should use Promenade Road and Atlantic Way. Traffic for Main Beach, Great Northern Hotel and Bundoran Golf Club should use Sea Road. Main beach car park will be open for parking as normal (with access via Sea Road).

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Clogherhead locals are set to welcome the latest RNLI lifeboat in Ireland to the Co Louth town this Sunday 2 June.

The Shannon class lifeboat Michael O’Brien lifeboat is due to arrive in Clogherhead at exactly 13.31 which is also its operation number.

This lifeboat is unique in the RNLI’s fleet as it has been funded by an Irish legacy, named after an Irish lifeboat volunteer, designed by an Irish engineer and is of the first class to be called after an Irish river.

Its arrival also marks the start of a new chapter in the story of search and rescue in the North East.

A significant proportion of Clogherhead lifeboat’s funding (apart from local fundraising appeals) has been provided through a generous legacy by a Wexford farmer, Mr Henry Tomkins, who was a lifelong supporter of the RNLI.

Henry stipulated that a lifeboat be named for his longtime friend, former Arklow RNLI coxswain Michael O’Brien.

The arrival of the station’s new Shannon lifeboat will take place in front of the beach beside the lifeboat station in full view of the public.

'It is the most technologically advanced lifeboat in the fleet, and it will proudly serve the east coast for many years to come'

It will also be the first time in Ireland that the RNLI will use a SLARS (Shannon Launch and Recovery System) to launch and recover a lifeboat in Ireland.

The SLARS acts as a mobile slipway for the lifeboat, which can be driven directly onto the beach for recovery. It has a unique turntable cradle, which can rotate the lifeboat 180 degrees, ready to be launched again within 10 minutes.

Clogherhead RNLI coxswain Tomás Whelahan said: “We want the people of Clogherhead and the surrounding areas to come to welcome the new lifeboat home.

“The station has been preparing for this day for a long time and there is huge excitement for it. The past few weeks and months have been spent in preparation and training by all the crew and shore crew, to receive this incredible piece of kit from the RNLI.

“It is the most technologically advanced lifeboat in the fleet, and it will proudly serve the east coast for many years to come.

“We are incredibly honoured to receive it and we are grateful to our donor Henry Tomkins and to the local communities, who by their generosity, have made this day possible. We hope to bring many loved ones safely home in this new lifeboat.”

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Skerries RNLI towed two adults and two teenagers to safety on Saturday afternoon (25 May) after their motorboat broke down east of Rockabill Lighthouse.

Shortly after 5.30pm, Skerries RNLI were tasked by Dublin Coast Guard to assist a 21ft motorboat that had suffered engine failure off the lighthouse.

Visibility was good and conditions were calm, with a Force 2 north-westerly wind, as the volunteer crew launched their Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat Louis Simson to the location.

A tow was quickly established and the casualty boat was brought safely back to the slipway in Skerries. All on board were wearing lifejackets.

Speaking about the callout, volunteer lifeboat press officer Gerry Canning said: “We’ve had a number of calls recently where engine failure has been the cause. However it’s encouraging to see all on board wearing lifejackets once again.

“Lifejackets save lives and the message seems to be getting across.”

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Baltimore RNLI carried out a medical evacuation last night (Wednesday 22 May) from Heir Island off the coast of West Cork.

Baltimore’s volunteer lifeboat crew launched their inshore lifeboat following a request from the Irish Coast Guard at 8.34pm to provide medical assistance and evacuation to a woman on Heir Island who had sustained injuries following a fall.

The inshore lifeboat arrived at the pier on Heir Island at 8.50pm and removed the casualty to the lifeboat station 20 minutes later, where she was handed over to the care of HSE Ambulance crew.

Conditions at sea during the callout were calm with good visibility and no sea swell.

This was the first call for Baltimore’s new Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat, Rita Daphne Smyth, since she arrived on station last September.

Speaking following the callout, Baltimore RNLI volunteer lifeboat press officer Kate Callanan said: “Baltimore lifeboat is often called upon to safely transport casualties between the islands and mainland, and our volunteer crews are trained in casualty care.

“If you find yourself in need of medical assistance, call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard. We wish the casualty a full recovery.”

There were four volunteer crew onboard the lifeboat: helm Jerry Smith and crew members Kieran Collins, Micheal Cottrell and Ian Lynch. Assisting at the boathouse in Baltimore were Rianne Smith, Marty O’Driscoll and Kieran Cotter.

In other lifeboat news, the outgoing chair of Clonallen Bridge Club, Warrenpoint, Maire Murray, chose the RNLI as the charity of choice for the year 2018-19.

At a recent meeting of the Clonallen Bridge Club a cheque for £500 was handed over to John Fisher, Kilkeel RNLI lifeboat operations manager by the club’s incoming president Marius McQue.

Fisher said: “As a charity we are always very thankful for all the money collected and donated to the RNLI. Giving our lifesavers the equipment they need to save lives is very expensive so be assured that the funds raised are used in the best possible way.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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