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Bundoran RNLI volunteers launched their inshore lifeboat this afternoon after a concerned crew member spotted an upturned kayak just off the shore at Nuns Pool.

Crew member Fergal Muller was at the cliffs on Bundoran’s West End when he raised the alarm at 2.50 pm.

The lifeboat was launched five minutes later with helm Brian Gillespie and three crew members on board.

Weather conditions at the time were described as fair with a northerly Force 4-5 wind and a slight 2-3m sea swell.

Once on scene, the crew recovered the kayak and began a 25-minute search for any occupants.

During the search, word came to Bundoran Lifeboat Station that the occupant had been brought to shore by fellow kayakers while the kayak had been carried out to sea in a rip current. The lifeboat was subsequently stood down.

Speaking following the call out, Captain Tony McGowan, Bundoran RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager said: ‘We are delighted that no one was in any immediate danger this afternoon and that the group of kayakers had made their way safely to shore. I would like to commend Fergal for his quick thinking in raising the alarm when he observed the capsized kayak and praise the crew for what was a swift response.

‘We would remind anyone planning a trip to sea regardless of their activity, to always respect the water. Always wear a lifejacket, always carry a means of communication and should you get into difficulty call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coast Guard. We would also appeal to everyone to remember that should you for any reason need to leave or abandon your vessel, to please report it as missing to the Coast Guard once you have safely made it to shore.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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14th November 2019

A 'Perfect Storm' Hits the RNLI

As a new lifeboat arrived in Lough Ree on Tuesday an envelope arrived on my desk from the RNLI, painting a perspective of the lifeboat service from a different viewpoint.

As Afloat reported earlier, the new Atlantic 85 on Athlone’s famous lake, based at Coosan Point, is a positive statement about the future of the service, which is vital because all of us mariners have a safety valve available to be opened by the RNLI on request for assistance, anywhere along the coast and on the inland waters and that is an assurance of help that is always there and a source of ever-present comfort.

The communication inside that RNLI envelope however, contained a message that the RNLI needs a bit of comfort itself – because it is facing into a ‘Perfect Storm’ – reflective to a certain degree of modern life.

Bluntly put – fundraising has dipped and the RNLI needs funds.

It isn’t a terminal crisis, but it is wise to prepare for the future and so the lifeboat service is looking for 12.000 new supporters.

"Bluntly put – fundraising has dipped and the RNLI needs funds"

Niamh Stephenson, Public Affairs Manager for the RNLI in Ireland outlined the situation to me on my radio programme this week – The public continues to be extremely generous but, while the lifesavers are busier than ever, fundraising has dropped and the Perfect Storm is at hand – the biggest appeal ever undertaken by the RNLI, to counter the evolving situation.

Listen to Niamh Stephenson on the Podcast below

The new lifeboat on Lough Ree, named Tara Scougall, has gone into service, with the crew training on her this week. The Eric Rowse which she replaces launched 292 times in five years of service and assisted 716 people.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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A group of seven men from the North Coast hatched a novel way to carry out some fundraising for the Portrush and Islay RNLI volunteer lifeboat crews recently.

As a group of keen sailors and avid supporters of the RNLI and the Scottish islands, they wanted to marry the two passions together and have some fun along the way.

The team decided to row to Islay to recreate a journey made over the generations using only manpower to raise money for the lifeboats.

The team was fortunate to be able to borrow ‘Home to Portrush’, the famous local boat that had crossed the Atlantic in record time in February 2018. Their challenge was to visit all the coastal distilleries on Islay and collect some whiskey from each one.

Ashley Moore, one of the crew, said: “We left from Ballintoy at 3am in idyllic conditions in order to reach Port Ellen and not be swept around the headland as the tide turned.

“Thankfully we made it in nine-and-a-half hours and over the next three days went on to visit Laphroaig, Lagavulin, Ardbeg, Coal Ila, Bunnahabhain, Bowmore and Bruichladdich, collecting whisky bottles along the way.

“We were blown away by the warmth of the welcome across Islay and the distilleries — we were given many offers of food and accommodation and each distillery presented us with a bottle of whisky and a stave from one of their barrels to allow us to create the Islay Sea Collection.”

On returning home, team member and local architect Graeme Montgomery set out to design and create a unique cask to display the bottles of whisky, with the source of each stave marked.

‘This is a really exciting and novel way to raise funds for the two stations’

Bids are now being accepted until Sunday 17 November at just-whisky.co.uk for this ‘one of a kind’ whisky collection — and sponsors, including Coleraine software company Spatialest, have already pledged £2,000.

To register to bid you will have to pay £5 but this will be donated to RNLI. During registration, under box number 2 will see a box asking you to leave a message — in this box you must type in RNLI BID to ensure that the £5 registration fee comes to Portrush and Islay RNLI.

Portrush lifeboat operations manager Keith Gilmore said: “This is a really exciting and novel way to raise funds for the two stations. We often have to work with Islay, and this is a great way to work with one of our neighbours and local supporters to raise funds for the RNLI.”

Ashley Moore added: “This was a really fun way to see the Scottish islands in a different way while helping to raise funds to support the work of the RNLI – and to enjoy some exceptional whisky!

“As sea lovers each one of our team never takes for granted the exceptional and brave work of the lifeboat crews and we are so grateful to know they are there whenever needed.”

Published in Scottish Waters

Carrybridge RNLI’s inshore lifeboat launched yesterday afternoon (Tuesday 12 November) to a vessel adrift close to an island in Upper Lough Erne north-east of Knockninny Marina.

Winds were north-westerly Force 2 when the lifeboat Douglas Euan & Kay Richards arrived on the scene and slowly proceeded to the location of the vessel, with one man on board.

With the owner’s permission, and due to weather conditions pushing the boat onto the island, the lifeboat crew set up a tow line to being the casualty vessel into deeper water and then onwards to the safety of the marina.

Speaking following the callout, lifeboat operations manager Stephen Scott advised all boat users: “Before setting out on your journey, please plan your route and carry out regular checks of their vessels.

“With the constantly changing water levels at this time of year, please be vigilant for floating debris in the water. Also have a means of calling for assistance if you find yourself in trouble.

“If you see someone in trouble on the water or are in difficulties yourself the number to dial is: 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

Carrybridge RNLI is currently seeking new crew members to join its search and rescue service in Co Fermanagh, and will be hosting an open evening for all interested candidates at the lifeboat station next Thursday 21 November from 7pm.

A new Atlantic 85 class lifeboat, Tara Scougall, has gone on service at Lough Ree RNLI. The lifeboat which arrived at the Coosan Point lifeboat station today, Tuesday 12 November 2019, replaces The Eric Rowse which has been used for rescues and to save lives on Lough Ree since August 2014.

Volunteers have been completing familiarisation training on another Atlantic 85 ahead of Tara Scougall’s arrival and started their training on Tara Scougall this evening.

The new lifeboat has been funded through the fundraising efforts of James Scougall in memory of his late wife Tara Scougall. James and his family wanted a lifeboat station with a strong sense of community and felt that Lough Ree was the perfect choice.

The Tara Scougall will be officially named at a special naming ceremony and service of dedication at Lough Ree Lifeboat station next year.

In her 5 years of service on Lough Ree, The Eric Rowse was launched on service 292 times, with its volunteer lifeboat crew assisting a total of 716 people.

The new lifeboat, an Atlantic 85 design, allows room for four crew members, and it has additional equipment and more advanced features than it’s predecessor, the Atlantic 75 class lifeboat, which it replaces.

The lifeboat is powered by two 115 horse power engines and has a stronger hull and greater top speed of 35 knots. The added radar allows the crew to operate more effectively in poor visibility and there is also VHF direction-finding equipment.

The vessel also has a manually operated self-righting mechanism which combined with inversion-proofed engines keeps the lifeboat operational even after capsize. The lifeboat can also be beached in an emergency without causing damage to its engines or steering gear.

The Atlantic 85 which was introduced to the RNLI fleet in 2005 also carries a full suite of communication and electronic navigation aids, as well as a searchlight, night-vision equipment and flares for night-time operations.

Speaking following the arrival of the new lifeboat, Tony McCarth, Lough Ree RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager said: ‘We are extremely grateful to James Scougall and his incredible fundraising efforts which have funded our new lifeboat. This is a very exciting time for all our volunteers as we enter a new chapter for the RNLI on Lough Ree. We will be building a new permanent Boat House (Lifeboat Station) for the Tara Scougall to call home in the near future.

‘We are looking forward to being the custodians of this new lifeboat which will allow our volunteers to go on to rescue and to save many more lives in the years to come.’

The RNLI is a charity which relies on voluntary contributions and legacies.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
Tagged under

Members of the Connemara/Clifden RNLI Lifeboats Fundraising Branch gathered at the Station House Hotel in Clifden recently to acknowledge the contributions and retirements of some longstanding members.

Area fundraising manager Tony Hiney, who is himself set to retire this year, joined with Clifden RNLI fundraising manager AnnMarie Bennett and chairman Pearse Hyland to present the awards.

Geraldine Heanue of Letterfrack received an award in recognition of her retirement after more than 20 years service as a fundraising officer.

Stuart Freeman of Ballynahinch was presented with an award for long service on his retirement, having volunteered as an RNLI box collector and fundraiser for over 40 years.

A posthumous award was presented to Ann and Catherine Coyne in recognition of Clifden man Owen Coyne’s longstanding support of the lifeboats during Flag Day and church gate collections.

Margaret Wallace was also recognised for her volunteering for collections and retirement from the fundraising team.

Bernie Davis received an award for excellence in volunteering for her long-running annual participation in the Dublin Women’s Mini Marathon in support of Clifden RNLI.

Although unable to attend on the day, Michael Mullen also received an award for excellence in fundraising for his annual darts competition in memory of his son Mikey Mullen, who was tragically lost at sea.

Mikey’s mother Laurence Inglebach also received an award for excellence for her annual fundraising Clifden Lifeboat 10k Run earlier this year.

‘Without the time and energy of our fundraising volunteers, the crew would simply not be able to carry out the lifesaving work that they do’

Speaking at the gathering, AnnMarie Bennett thanked everyone in attendance for their consistent and long standing support of the lifeboats in Connemara.

“The Clifden RNLI has grown and developed hugely over the years and the generosity and dedication of all our fundraising volunteers is what helps this to happen,” she said.

“Without the time and energy of our fundraising volunteers, the crew would simply not be able to carry out the lifesaving work that they do, and we are all extremely grateful for everything you have done in support of the lifeboats.

“Your generosity and time has saved lives and helped families and our community in so many different ways over the years.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Youghal RNLI was tasked at 11.58 am on Friday 8 November by the Coast Guard to help assist them in recovering a yacht that had gone aground at Harvey’s Dock after becoming loose from its moorings.

In calm and clear conditions, the volunteer crew of, Helm Liam Keogh, Alan Revins, Ivan Bryan and Noel Joyce launched the Atlantic 85, Inshore Lifeboat on the rising tide and reached the yacht within 2 minutes.

A tow line was established and as the yacht moved back onto the water it became submerged. The Lifeboat continued to tow the vessel until they reached a place where it could be secured. With the help of Youghal Coast Guard Unit the yacht was tied to the end of the pier. The lifeboat was then stood down and asked by the Coast Guard to return at low tide.

"The lifeboat was then stood down and asked by the Coast Guard to return at low tide"

Launching again at 9 pm in dark and cold conditions, the inshore lifeboat under the Helm of John Griffin Jr, Joe O’Connor, James Hanna and Thomas Brooks returned to the yacht to assist the Coast Guard in the water. Two volunteer crew members entered the water where they secured numerous buoys and barrels to the yacht to help to re-float it on the rising tide.

Mark Nolan, Youghal RNLI Deputy Launching Authority said: ‘The success of the call outs today was due to the teamwork with our colleagues in the Youghal Coast Guard unit. Thankfully the yacht is now secure and drying out to relief of the owner. I would also like to thank all the volunteer shore and boat crew who assisted today’.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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The popular Cork RNLI fundraising lunch and auction, which took place at the Maryborough Hotel last week (Friday, 1 November), proved a huge success, raising €15,100 for the life-saving charity. The event was attended by two hundred guests who came to support Baltimore, Crosshaven and Kinsale RNLI in their work, saving lives at sea.

The room was full of many familiar faces with 210 people dining to raise funds for the lifeboats. RNLI Council member, Ian Venner, opened proceedings and spoke about the work of the RNLI and where the funds raised will be spent.

Master of Ceremonies and well-known comedian, Barry Murphy, kept the crowd entertained throughout their lunch and during the auction. Generous sponsors, many of them local Cork businesses, provided a raft of incredible raffle prizes while some of those in attendance displayed immense generosity by providing fantastic impromptu prizes on the day for the auction. These included a signed Munster rugby jersey, premium-level tickets to see Ireland take on Denmark at the Aviva Stadium later this month in the final UEFA Euro 2020 qualifier, and a week’s free accommodation at a private luxury apartment in the Mediterranean. The auction got the guests bidding against each in good-natured fashion for the exciting lots.

Maryborough RNLI 2Claire Morgan, Gillian O'Sullivan, Ruth Cudmore McSweeney & Avril O'Brien: RNLI Fundraising Lunch Committee, alongside Mary Creedon, RNLI Committee Fundraiser Manager at the RNLI Fundraising Lunch 2019, Maryborough Hotel & Spa, Douglas, 1st November 2019

A popular part of the event was the interview with Crosshaven RNLI crewmember and also uncle and niece; James Fegan and Molly Murphy. The pair spoke about how lifeboats is a family affair for them and how they became involved in the life-saving charity. James has been lifeboat crew for fifteen years while Molly who joined when she turned seventeen and studying for her Leaving Certificate, is now over two years on the crew. The pair offered a unique insight into what it takes to run a high performing team of lifesaving volunteers and the many sacrifices each volunteer and their loved ones endure to ensure lives are saved at sea.

RNLI Community Fundraising Manager Mary Creedon said, ‘Once again the generous people of Cork have come out in support of their local lifeboat stations. We had a wonderful afternoon in the company of great people, and I hope everyone who attended got an idea of the work of the charity and of the type of incredible people who volunteer for our lifeboats.’

‘The RNLI is about to embark on a major fundraising initiative called ‘Perfect Storm’ to meet the challenges of keeping our crews trained and equipped so they can face the elements and rescue those in trouble at sea. Anyone looking to support the RNLI can do so by visiting rnli.org/support-us and donating.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Aran Islands RNLI has responded to consecutive calls for help today to carry out two medical evacuations.

The volunteer crew were first asked to launch their all-weather lifeboat David Kirkaldy, at 11.25 am by the Irish Coast Guard.

An elderly man required medical attention on the Island of Inis Meáin.

The lifeboat launched under Coxswain Pete Hanscombe and a full crew.

Weather conditions were moderate at the time with a force 3 light South-East wind.

Once alongside the pier in Inis Meain, the patient was transferred safely aboard the lifeboat and brought under the supervision of the volunteer crew members. While preparing to leave the pier in Inis Meain, the lifeboat received another call, this time to go to the aid of a woman on Inis Mór who was also in need of further medical attention.

The lifeboat headed straight for Inis Mór and once alongside the pontoon, the patient was transferred safely aboard and put under the supervision of the lifeboat crew. The lifeboat then proceeded on to Rossaveal harbour where the crew transferred the patients on to a waiting ambulance.

Speaking after the call out, Aran Islands RNLI Coxswain Pete Hanscombe said: ‘This was a busy morning for the volunteer crew members, but they responded quickly and both patients were transferred safely and quickly to the Ambulance in Rossaveal. We would like to wish both patients a speedy recovery.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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At 3.40 pm yesterday Lough Derg RNLI was requested by Valentia Coast Guard to go to the assistance of two people whose vessel had run aground near Pike Island, north of Kilgarvan Quay on the Tipperary shore.

Volunteer crew with helm, Owen Cavanagh, Eleanor Hooker and Keith Brennan launched the inshore lifeboat Jean Spier in mild weather conditions with Force 3 winds.

Upon arriving on the scene a crew member transferred to the casualty vessel and established that both people on board were wearing their lifejackets and were in no immediate danger. However, the boat had suffered damage to the rudder and the steering was not working.

"The lifeboat crew set up an astern tow and took the boat from the rocks and into safe waters"

The lifeboat crew set up an astern tow and took the boat from the rocks and into safe waters. They then proceeded to Kilgarvan Quay where an alongside tow was used to safely bring the casualty vessel into the harbour and it was tied alongside at 4.50 pm.

Owen Cavanagh, volunteer helm at Lough Derg RNLI said: ‘Before heading out on the lake, we advise people to familiarize themselves with the correct charts and pay close attention to the markers. Ensure everyone on board knows how to call for help. If you find yourself in trouble, call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard

Published in Inland Waterways
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