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Displaying items by tag: Lifeboats

The RNLI has issued a plea for the public to take heed of important water safety advice as schools begin the mid-term break and the Government has introduced Level 5 restrictions to deal with Covid-19.

With the Government restriction on exercise to within 5 kilometres of home, the lifesaving charity is reminding the public that water temperatures can be very cold and to be aware of the dangers if they are within the limit and able to exercise near the coast or inland waters.

RNLI Water Safety Lead Kevin Rahill said: ‘With the mid-term break and the increased restrictions it is understandable that people may wish to try and get outdoors to enjoy the coast or our inland waters. However, the water can be cold and there are no lifeguards on the beaches.

‘We would ask those planning to use the water or exercise near the coast to continue to be aware of the dangers and to avoid taking risks. By being aware of some key safety advice we can keep safe.’

The RNLI’s key water safety messages are:

  • If you are heading to the water always check weather and tides or currents
  • Have a plan and let someone know where you are going and when you will be back
  • If swimming, check for rip currents and strong tides and always be accompanied
  • If you are walking along the coast be aware that rocks and paths may be slippery
  • If you are going on the water, wear a lifejacket or buoyancy aid
  • Always carry a reliable means of raising the alarm
  • If you see someone in trouble dial 999 or 112 and ask for the Coast Guard
Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Like most other charities, the volunteers of Kinsale RNLI have had their fundraising activities curtailed due to Covid-19 restrictions.

So it came as a welcome surprise to learn that local steam engine enthusiast Rory Nagle had launched a special mission to help replenish the lifeboat station coffers.

Accompanied by two young assistants, Frank Sullivan and Billy Twomey, Rory embarked on a tour of the town aboard Old Mac, Ireland’s oldest surviving steam engine, which was built by McLaren in Leeds and lovingly restored by Rory.

Despite the inclement weather over the weekend (Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 October), they raised donations of €440 from members of the public eager to have their photographs taken alongside the historic engine.

Rory said: “The RNLI have been on duty throughout lockdown and are there day and night when we need them. It’s a pleasure to be able to do something for people that really deserve support, especially at this difficult time. I believe that we all need to remember the people that look after us.”

Old Mac on the pier in Kinsale (Photo: RNLI/Nuala McAloon)Old Mac on the pier in Kinsale | Photo: RNLI/Nuala McAloon

Photographs of Rory’s expedition were widely shared on social media, with Niamh Henderson of the Kinsale Advertiser cheekily suggesting that some generous benefactor might round up the sum to €500.

Her appeal was immediately answered by John Farley, a Kinsale man who has been living in San Francisco for the past 30 years.

John said: “I always hit the lifeboat boxes when I’m home, but I didn’t make it back this year, so this makes up for it. The lifeboat lads rescued my sister, my niece Rachel and me off the Old Head about eight or nine years ago when our engine died. I also know Rory well and he’s a great guy, so this is a good opportunity to show my support.”

Kinsale RNLI’s press officer Tricia Tyson added: “This is not the first time Rory has raised funds for us. Last year he took part in the Celtic Steamers run from Baltimore to Kinsale, a spectacular cavalcade of vintage engines that raised over €5,000 for the RNLI, the charity that saves lives at sea.

“We also appreciate all the hard work of Billy and Frank who helped him both days, and the generosity of the public who filled the buckets. The RNLI relies on the support of the public, and that is one thing that is never lacking in Kinsale.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Aran Islands RNLI’s volunteers were called twice in succession to aid two people in need of medical attention in the Galway Bay islands yesterday morning, Monday 19 October.

The lifeboat crew were tasked to launch their all-weather vessel David Kirkaldy from Kilronan on Inis Mór at 11.31am, to assist an elderly man on the neighbouring island of Inis Meáin.

A second call came in quick succession when a woman on Inis Mór also required medical evacuation.

This second patient was attended to first and safely secured on board before the lifeboat launched for Inis Meáin under coxswain John O’Donnell and a full crew.

Weather conditions at the time of launching were moderate with poor visibility, but with calm seas and a south-east wind blowing Force 4–5.

Once alongside the pier at Inis Meáin, the male patient was transferred safely aboard and under the supervision of the volunteer crew, observing all coronavirus safety guidelines.

The lifeboat then headed straight for Rossaveal Harbour on the mainland and an awaiting ambulance.

Speaking later, O’Donnell said: “A double callout to start the week — the volunteer crew members train regularly to make the minutes count and get to the incident and patient as fast as possible.

“We would like to wish both patients a speedy recovery.

“Never hesitate to call 999 or 112 if you see someone in trouble and ask for the coastguard.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

The RNLI recorded one of their more unusual launches yesterday evening (Saturday 17 October) after a World War II-era seaplane made a distress call from Loch Ness.

It emerged that the aircraft, the PBY Catalina, had experienced engine issues while attempting to take off from the loch in the Scottish Highlands.

With the plane sitting exposed in the middle of the water, not far from Loch Ness RNLI’s lifeboat station, it was decided the safest way to assist would be to establish a tow with the inshore lifeboat RIB to the shelter of Urquhart Bay close by.

Typing up at a harbour or pontoon was ruled out, however, due to the flying boat’s massive 32-metre wingspan — so a mooring buoy was decided as the best option.

Lifeboat crew member David Ferguson later spoke of the challenges involved in towing a craft as big and unusual as this.

“Towing the Catalina would prove to be no easy feat,” he said. “Fixing points are few and far between on such an aircraft, and the best option was underneath the tail, which barely cleared the bow of the lifeboat.

“Nevertheless, with some care, we managed to establish a towline.”

Elsewhere in Scotland this weekend, Oban RNLI in Western Scotland launched on Friday evening (16 October) after a small boat was reported drifting through the Falls of Lora.

With a flooding tide and strong currents from the falls, it was believed the boat had been carried into Loch Etive, which is where Oban’s all-weather lifeboat Mora Edith MacDonald headed to conduct the search.

The lifeboat searched the area the boat was seen drifting towards, but with nothing found they continued further into the loch where they spotted the boat adrift to the west of Ardchattan church.

The unoccupied boat was then taken under tow to a nearby nearby pier where it was recovered by Oban’s HM Coastguard team.

Published in Scottish Waters
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Skerries RNLI recently launched to the rescue of a yacht with one person aboard that was adrift in the Skerries Islands.

The incident occurred on Thursday morning 15 October, when the yacht made a VHF distress call that was relayed to the local lifeboat by the Irish Coast Guard in Dublin.

Lifeboat volunteers launched the Atlantic 85 inshore vessel Louis Simson shortly before 10am and headed to the reported location, some two miles east of the islands.

As they rounded the headland at Red Island, however, they spotted an eight-metre yacht between Colt Island and Shenick Island that did not seem to be making way.

The crew checked on this yacht in case the initial information given to the coastguard had not been accurate, and it was quickly determined to be the same vessel.

It emerged that the yacht’s engine had suffered a “sudden and complete” loss of oil pressure, so a tow was established and the vessel was bright to the safety of Rogerstown harbour — where it has already been schedueld for lift-out for the winter months.

Speaking after the callout, Skerries RNLI press officer Gerry Canning said: “Things can go wrong at sea no matter how prepared you are. Always carry a means of contacting the shore to raise the alarm, like this gentleman did.

“Our volunteers are always ready to respond to that call.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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The team at Newcastle RNLI in Northern Ireland is calling for a new volunteer lifeboat press officer to help them to save lives at sea.

This role will help raise awareness of the RNLI through the promotion of the lifeboat station’s vital work, including newsworthy rescues carried out by the crew.

Newcastle RNLI is seeking someone who can produce and distribute regular new releases, be available to answer media enquiries, work to support media opportunities and facilitate interview requests.

The role is best suited to someone with good writing and communication skills, who lives locally and can be flexible with their time.

Lisa Ramsden, Newcastle RNLI’s lifeboat operations manager, said: “Volunteering with us gives people the opportunity to make a real difference in their local community, to save lives and become part of the larger RNLI family.

“We can’t keep people safe without the support of our wonderful volunteers, who truly make a difference every day no matter which role they are fulfilling.

“Becoming a volunteer lifeboat press officer is a great chance to play a crucial part in helping to save lives.

“We’re looking for an enthusiastic person with good writing and interpersonal skills and who enjoys working with people and at times under pressure to inform the media and update our community on the various lifesaving activities that are happening at the station from rescues to fundraising, community safety to events.”

Anyone interested in finding out more or wants to apply should follow the link to the RNLI website HERE.

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Aran Islands RNLI’s volunteer crew launched their all-weather lifeboat at 4.43pm yesterday (Thursday 8 October) to assist a 38ft fishing vessel that was drifting “dangerously close” to Eagle Rock, just off Golam Head in Co Galway.

Under coxswain John O'Donnell and with a full crew, the lifeboat headed straight for the fishing vessel amid moderate conditions, with a two-metre sea swell.

Once on scene, lifeboat crew found that both people aboard the fishing vessel were in good health and observing coronavirus guidelines.

A tow line was set up and the lifeboat brought the casualty vessel to the safety of Rossaveal Harbour in Connemara.

Speaking after the callout, O’Donnell said: “This was a good outcome as the vessel was drifting dangerously close to Eagle Rock after losing the use of their engines.

“Our volunteer crew members never hesitate to get to the call as quickly as possible. If you see someone in trouble, call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Aran Islands RNLI has encouraged the public to always call for help when they believe they’ve seen someone in distress at sea.

The message follows a callout across Galway Bay to Rossaveal in Connemara last night (Monday 5 October) that turned out to be a false alarm with good intent.

The volunteer crew launched their all-weather lifeboat at 7.45pm to reports of a flare sighting near Great Mans’ Bay, amid choppy seas with a two-metre swell and 22-knot northwesterly winds.

The crew were joined in the search by Costello Bay Coast Guard and the Shannon-based Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 115.

But after an extensive search of the area by all three rescue services working together, the operation was stood down.

“Thankfully the call out was a false alarm with good intent,” said Aran Islands RNLI press officer Lena O’Connell.

“It is always better to be safe than sorry. The volunteer crew members didn't hesitate to get the lifeboat to the search area as quickly as possible.

“We would remind everyone if you see someone in trouble or see a distress signal, don’t hesitate to call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Kayakers have been urged to always carry some means of attracting attention in an emergency, such as flares or a torch.

The call from the RNLI came after an incident off Somerset in the UK last month in which two kayakers were swept out into the Bristol Channel by strong currents in choppy waters.

Lifeboat volunteers from Minehead RNLI, joined by a rescue helicopter from HM Coastguard, had difficulty determining the kayakers’ location as darkness fell fast on the evening of Wednesday 2 September.

“Even when the helicopter found them and illuminated the area we couldn’t see them until we were about 30 yards away,” said lifeboat helm Phil Sanderson.

The two casualties, clad in T-shirts, were found cold but unharmed by their ordeal amid “nasty” conditions.

Minehead RNLI’s Chris Rundle added: “We would stress the importance of kayakers preparing for all eventualities by wearing proper clothing and buoyancy aids.

“And above all they should always carry some means of attracting attention, such as a flare pack or a good waterproof torch.

“It’s only a small investment but one which could make all the difference between life and death.”

Published in Rescue
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Portrush RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat launched to reports of a yacht in difficulty off Rathlin Island in Northern Ireland last night (Friday 2 October).

The volunteer crew were in the water just before 9pm, half an hour after paging, and headed to the location of the single-handed yachtsman four miles north-west of Rathlin in moderate to rough seas.

Cox Dave Robinson and his crew arrived on scene at 10pm and established that the yachtsman was able to manoeuvre himself into Rathlin Harbour, on the island off mainland Co Antrim, but requested their guidance.

“The yachtsman did the right thing in contacting the coastguard as he was experiencing some difficulties getting into harbour, and we were glad to provide the support,” said Portrush’s new lifeboat operations manager Beni McAllister.

“We would prefer that people were safe than sorry and would ask that they dial 999 and ask for the coastguard if help is required.”

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