Displaying items by tag: Lifeboats
Dr Wilson has served the RNLI in Oban since 1990, first joining when the station had the Brede class lifeboat Ann Ritchie.
It was a love of the sea that drew Dr Wilson to sign up with the lifesaving charity. “I wanted to help those in distress,” he said.
Since joining, Dr Wilson has become a dedicated crew member and an integral part of the station’s family, contributing to many callouts, training exercises and fundraising events.
Over his 30 years with the volunteer crew, Dr Wilson attended a whopping 660 callouts totalling over 1,100 hours at sea, covering 12,668 miles — half-way around the world — and burning 159,891 litres of fuel. And that’s not including exercises and delivery trips.
His knowledge and expertise in both diving medicine and treating divers with decompression sickness has proved invaluable over the years
Dr Wilson’s 35 years as a local GP and time as a senior partner of the Lorn Medical Centre have seen his voluntary role extend further within the RNLI, as has contributed as a Lifeboat Medical Adviser and Regional Medical Adviser for Scotland as well as serving on the charity’s medical committee.
His knowledge and expertise in both diving medicine and treating divers with decompression sickness has proved invaluable over the years.
Finlo Cottier, a deputy coxswain and crew member of Oban lifeboat who has served alongside Dr Wilson since 2001, said: “It’s always reassuring when you go to sea with Colin amongst the crew. A special blend of knowledge, wisdom and humour.”
Another longtime cremate, Ian Henry, said: “Colin has been an absolute stalwart and aside from being a mentor, font of knowledge, medical advisor both formal and informal, medicinal coffee prescriber, he has first and foremost been a friend. I know I speak for everyone when I say the door is always open.”
Of the hundreds of callouts he attended, the one that sticks out most for Dr Wilson was just two years ago, on the night of 28 July 2018.
“It was a really nasty night with winds gusting 60 knots and we received three separate Mayday calls,” he said. “It was a great crew all working together for good results in adverse weather.”
Another was on 10 January 1998, as documented in Willie Melville’s book The Story of Oban Lifeboat:
One of those services that brings tremendous satisfaction to a coxswain, his crew and the whole station took place on 10 January. Oban Coastguard reported that a canoeist was overdue at Cuil Bay, Duror…
The lifeboat arrived on scene at 1952, first making a counter-clockwise search of the island. As she was veering offshore to avoid the shallows her searchlight picked up the canoeist clinging to the waterlogged canoe some 2 cables offshore.
Crew member Dr Colin Wilson assessed the casualty's condition as being serious enough to have him airlifted by the rescue helicopter, also on scene, to hospital in Oban - meantime he was given oxygen on the lifeboat and made as warm as possible.
Dr Wilson recalled: “This man was extremely hypothermic and was lucky to be found alive. He survived, and was discharged home the next day. A great result.”
When asked what he will miss most, Dr Wilson said: “I will miss working as part of a really great crew and team. I have shared in both the joy of many successes and in the sadness surrounding some less happy events, providing care and support wherever possible.
“I hope to continue my association with Oban Lifeboat by volunteering in a different capacity.”
Dr Wilson also passed on his thanks to fellow crew members, “past and present, for great memories of working in a fantastic team, in training, in fundraising and ultimately, while out at sea on shouts”.
He added: “I also salute all those who support the RNLI throughout the country in the many ways they do, helping those in trouble at sea.”
Anna Carthy and Odharnait Collins are now on day three their ‘Race to Raise’ in aid of Baltimore RNLI, in which they and other participants are getting out and about for a walk, run, swim or cycle and adding up their distances.
At the end of day two yesterday (Monday 13 July), the group has already totalled hundreds of kilometres — the distance from Baltimore to Wicklow anti-clockwise around the coast.
And the organisers have raised more than €600 awards their €1,000 goal for the local lifeboat service.
“Covid-19 restrictions have had a huge impact on our annual fundraising events for Baltimore lifeboat with many events having been cancelled,” said Carthy and Collins.
“We have been thinking how we could run these events virtually, whilst obeying these restrictions, and so have moved our annual lifeboat walk online this year.
“Please help us walk the distance around Ireland from station to station to create awareness and raise money for this vital service.”
The inshore lifeboat Miss Sally Anne Baggy II was requested to launch shortly after 11.30am on Wednesday (8 July) to assist the 16ft motor boat off Barry’s Head, near Nohoval.
All four on board the vessel were found to be unharmed, and their boat was taken under tow to the safety of Kinsale Marina.
This marked the first rescue for the Kinsale lifeboat crew under the new RNLI coronavirus protocol, with the crew wearing protective masks and gloves in addition to the standard PPE.
Lifeboat helm Jonathan Connor said: “The RNLI remains on call throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. When we go on a callout, we don’t know the level of assistance required, or the proximity we will have to the people we are going to help.
“Safety is always paramount in our minds and wearing the full PPE and following strict RNLI guidelines minimises the risk of exposure for both our volunteer crew and those we rescue.
“The people onboard this boat did exactly the right thing by calling for assistance. If any member of the public gets into difficulty on the water or spots someone else in difficulty, they should call 112 or 999 immediately and ask for the coastguard.”
Shortly after their return to station, the crew were requested to launch for a second time to assist a 30ft vessel that had lost steerage at the mouth of the harbour.
But the lifeboat was stood down en route when the crew onboard managed to right the craft and make their own way to safety.
The volunteer crew had launched at 3.40pm to reports of a 24ft angling boat in difficulty at the entrance to the Foyle Estuary.
Weather conditions at the time were near gale-force with winds gusting from the west, which made the rescue challenging.
On arriving at the scene, the lifeboat crew established a tow line with the fishing vessel at around 4.27pm and proceeded at a slow speed back to Portrush Harbour in Co Antrim where it arrived about an hour later.
In the extreme weather conditions, the lifeboat temporarily went aground while assisting the casualty vessel to reach the pontoon.
As a safety precaution, the all-weather lifeboat was taken off service to allow a full inspection take place today. Portrush RNLI’s inshore lifeboat remains on service.
The volunteer lifeboat crew acknowledged the help given by local fisherman Richard Connor and the local coastguard team in assisting the lifeboat to get onto the pontoon.
Both the lifeboat crew and the crew of the angling boat were unharmed.
However, it’s understood that a member of the coastguard sustained a hand injury in helping at the scene. Portrush RNLI sends him their best wishes for a full recovery.
Portaferry’s volunteer crew launched initially on Thursday evening (25 June) at 9.50pm to assist a five-metre cabin cruiser at the entrance to Strangford Lough which had suffered engine failure after a fishing trip.
The inshore lifeboat towed the vessel to Portaferry Marina, handed the vessel to the local coastguard and assisted with berthing.
Portaferry’s lifeboat volunteers launched again yesterday afternoon (Saturday 27 June) at 5.07pm to tow to safety a seven-metre RIB which had suffered engine failure at the south end of Rock Angus, at the beginning of Strangford Lough.
Commenting on the callouts, lifeboat helm Colin Conway said: “As this is a busy period for Portaferry RNLI, we ask you to remember to have all your communication devices in good working order, to follow safety advice to stay as safe as you can, and always to respect the water.”
Shortly after 5pm yesterday evening (Friday 26 June), the volunteers launched the Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat following a 999 call to Dublin Coast Guard from a jet ski that had broken down.
They located the casualty in shallow water near a large rocky outcrop between Barnageerah and Balbriggan.
The man and woman were taken on board the lifeboat while the jet ski was taken under tow, and they were returned safely to the slipway at the lifeboat station in Skerries.
Speaking about the callout, volunteer lifeboat press officer Gerry Canning said: “You never know when something is going to go wrong, so we’d like to remind anyone going to sea to carry a means of contacting the shore to call for help.”
Elsewhere, Wicklow RNLI brought three fishermen to safety on Thursday afternoon (25 June) after their 12-metre vessel developed mechanical problems off the Wicklow coast.
The alarm was raised after the vessel which was fishing for whelk broke down and lost all propulsion.
Crew on the all-weather lifeboat Jock & Annie Slater located the stricken vessel about nine miles north of Wicklow Harbour, and towed it back to the harbour where it was brought safely alongside the South Quay.
The crew launched promptly at 9.17pm in cloudy but good visibility conditions and swiftly made their way to Ardglass.
Arriving on scene around half an hour later, the crew began searching the area for the upturned boat — but soon discovered that the sighting was in fact of a dead whale that was floating on the surface of the Irish Sea.
Commenting on the callout, deputy launching authority Graham Edgar said: “This was an unfortunate conclusion of the search. However we are glad that no lives were in danger.
“Belfast Coastguard will report the whale as a hazard to navigation to ensure all other vessels in the area will be aware of the remains.”
Both Portrush RNLI lifeboats were requested to launch by HM Coastguard yesterday afternoon (Saturday 20 June) to reports of person on an inflatable paddleboard in difficulty in the sea just off Portstewart on Northern Ireland’s North Coast.
The inshore lifeboat was launched at 1.23pm initially into a slight sea swell with an offshore wind and made their way to Portstewart, followed by the all-weather lifeboat 10 minutes later.
The inshore crew arrived on scene at 1.35pm and successfully recovered the casualty who was 200 metres from shore. The crew found that the casualty had been blown out to sea, had fallen off their board and been unable to get back on.
Both casualty and their board were swiftly returned to shore where they were handed over to the care of the coastguard and NI Ambulance Service who had been called as a precaution. The all-weather lifeboat was stood down.
Ivor Paul, deputy launching authority at Portrush RNLI, said: “We would urge people not to bring inflatables to the coast as it is so easy to get caught by the wind and within seconds you can suddenly be in danger. If in doubt talk, to the lifeguards and check out the RNLI and coastguard websites for guidance and advice.”
Courtmacsherry RNLI’s lifeboat volunteers were called out at 3.50pm yesterday afternoon (Saturday 20 June) to go to the aid of a lone windsurfer who had got into difficulty just offshore of Harbour View in Courtmacsherry Bay.
The alarm was raised by concerned persons on shore that the surfer was unable to return to his base as the winds were escalating.
While the winds were beginning to blow a gale off the South West Coast, both the Trent class lifeboat and the station’s inshore lifeboat were launched under coxswain Mark Gannon and a combined crew of nine volunteers.
After conducting a thorough search of the coastline from Burren Pier to Coolmain Strand, the windsurfer was finally located as he got ashore by himself downstream of Harbour View. The crew of the inshore lifeboat approached to confrm his status and found he was tired but uninjured.
Lifeboat operations manager Brian O’Dwyer thanked all the lifeboat crew members for the quick response and carrying out the search operation in a very professional fashion.
He reiterated that it is always best to raise the alarm quickly in the event of a difficulty being spotted from shore by dialling 999 or 112 and asking specifically for the coastguard.
The four teenagers and an adult had managed to get on top of a nearby pontoon on the River Slaney between Ferrycarrig Bridge and Killurin Bridge, where they then raised the alarm with the Irish Coast Guard.
Wexford RNLI volunteers were paged just before 3pm and launched the inshore lifeboat with three crew on board within 12 minutes.
Once on scene before 3.30pm, the crew took the four teenagers on board the lifeboat and brought them safely ashore at Killurin.
The lifeboat then returned to the scene for the adult and jet ski. Conditions at the time were good with no swell and a falling tide.
Speaking following the callout, Wexford RNLI helm Damien Foley said: “Everyone was wearing lifejackets and did the right thing by calling for help to the coastguard when they could.”
The volunteer crew of Damien Foley, Ger Doran and David Marskell, all of who were working at the time, were back at Wexford Lifeboat Station at 4.30pm. It was also the first rescue for volunteer crew member David Marskell.
Aran Islands lifeboat coxswain Declan Brannigan said: “Our volunteers didn't hesitate to answer both calls today and we would like to wish both women a speedy recovery.”