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Displaying items by tag: lifeguards

#Portrush - RNLI lifeguards on Northern Ireland's north coast who spotted a suspicious object in the sea on Thursday afternoon (2 July) recovered an old sofa that had been dumped in the water.

Senior lifeguard Bosco McAuley and lifeguards Bruce and Shane Traill were patrolling Whiterocks Beach in Portrush around 2pm on Thursday when they spotted something in the water 150m from the shore.



The lifeguards, who couldn’t tell what was in the water using their binoculars, immediately launched their rescue water craft and made their way to the scene to investigate.

Weather conditions at the time were very good as around 200 people were enjoying the sunshine on the beach.



The lifeguards soon discovered that the object was an old sofa which had been dumped into the sea. On recovering the item out of the water and away from public harm, the lifeguards proceeded to put the sofa on one of their trucks and safely disposed of it.

"While on one hand it might appear quite funny that we launched and recovered an old sofa from the sea, it is important to point out that our lifeguards, who are highly skilled and trained, acted in good faith responding swiftly when they noticed something unusual in the water," said RNLI lifeguard supervisor Tim Doran.



"We would always encourage visitors to the beach to alert us or phone the coastguard should they notice anything suspicious. We would always rather investigate the incident to find it is a sofa and all is well than not know and then discover too late that someone is in difficulty."



Doran added: "Our lifeguards will deal with a variety of incidents over the summer period and while I hope this will be one of the fewer types of instances, it does highlight the vigilance they show to keep our beaches safe."

Published in Coastal Notes

#Benone - The RNLI beach lifeguard unit on Benone Strand on the North coast has been vandalised for a second time in a week.

During what is traditionally one of the RNLI lifeguard’s busiest weeks of the year, the charity’s lifeguards discovered on Wednesday morning (1 July) that vandals had damaged the exterior of the beach lifeguard unit for a second time within a week.



The railings around the exterior of the hut had been badly bent, a ventilation fan on the roof of the unit had been broken off, and fencing leading up to the unit that protects the surrounding dune system had also been broken.



The RNLI are working closely with the PSNI in an attempt to prevent further damage being done to the beach unit throughout the summer.



"It is estimated that repairs to the beach lifeguard unit will run into hundreds of pounds for the charity, as the railings, fencing and ventilation fan will have to replaced and fitted," said RNLI lifeguard supervisor Tim Doran.



"While our lifeguards are on duty many people come up to the units for assistance and advice and they are easily identifiable. We hope that these acts of vandalism will cease and that our lifeguards can continue to operate from them safely when carrying out their lifesaving work."

Published in Coastal Notes

#RNLI - RNLI lifeguards rescued a man who found himself in difficulty on Castlerock Beach in Co Derry yesterday afternoon (Friday 3 July).

Shortly before 12.30pm, senior lifeguard Damian McCauley was assisting two vehicles that had got stuck in soft sand at the entrance to the beach when he heard a man call from one of the cars and wave for help.



The man, who was on his own in the car, was hunched over, struggling to breathe with his arms shaking, while his voice was hoarse and weak.



McCauley immediately ran for the lifeguard’s first aid responder bag and, using his training, began to deliver casualty care.



Meanwhile, lifeguard Beth Montgomery, who was acting as the communications liaison, alerted the coastguard and the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service.

Lifeguard Conor O’Callaghan ensured the beach, which had about 300 people visiting at the time and with 40 people in the water, remained open by patrolling between the red and yellow flags.



On monitoring the casualty’s breathing, McCauley observed that oxygen was required and, using the RNLI apparatus, proceeded to ensure the man got this. He continued to carry out casualty care while talking to the man for 25 minutes until the other emergency services arrived.

By that time the man had begun to respond to the oxygen and was then transferred from his car to an ambulance and brought to the Causeway Hospital in Coleraine.



Speaking following the rescue, RNLI lifeguard supervisor Tim Doran said: "We would like to wish this gentleman well and hope he makes a speedy recovery following his ordeal this afternoon.

"He managed to raise the alarm quickly when he found himself in difficulty today and thankfully our lifeguards were able to respond immediately and give him the medical attention he needed right away.

"This rescue is testament to the first aid training our lifeguards have and to the equipment we carry on the beaches which ensure we can deliver good casualty care." 



Doran added: "Our lifeguards worked well together today to deal with the emergency, liaise with the other emergency services and keep patrol of the remainder of the beach.

"This incident is another example of how our lifeguards' vigilance is as important on the beach dealing with land-based incidents as it is when patrolling incidents that unfold in the water."

Published in Rescue

#WaterSafety - RNLI lifeguards commenced full-time summer patrol on 10 beaches in Northern Ireland at the weekend.

Following weeks of intensive training in preparation for the new season, the lifeguards will be keeping visitors safe on seven beaches along the Causeway Coast and three in Co Down.



The beaches include Benone, Downhill, Castlerock, Portstewart Strand, Portrush West, Portrush East, Whiterocks, Tyrella, Murlough and Cranfield. 



Five of the busier beaches had lifeguard cover during the Easter period which was followed by a weekend patrol on six beaches throughout April, May and June. 



During weekend patrol on Sunday 14 June, RNLI lifeguards on Portstewart Strand dealt with their first major first aid incident of the summer.



At around 4.30pm, lifeguard Mairead McKeague was on duty at the water’s edge and patrolling the area between the red and yellow flags when she spotted a teenage boy at the east of the beach who had slipped on rocks and hit his head.



McKeague alerted senior lifeguard Damian McCauley and lifeguard Clara Doran, who responded immediately while she maintained patrol of the beach.



Lifeguard James Shannon, meanwhile, acted as the communications liaison between the RNLI and their colleagues in the coastguard and Northern Ireland Ambulance Service who also responded.



On scene within five minutes, McCauley and Doran proceeded to carry out first aid and treat the casualty for a head wound. They were joined five minutes later by a NIAS Rapid Response Paramedic and the Coleraine Coastguard Rescue Team, who proceeded to transport the casualty to their vehicle.



Speaking following the incident, RNLI lifeguard supervisor Tim Doran said: "Our lifeguards worked well together, spotting the incident quickly, communicating with each other and reacting swiftly to administer first aid to the casualty.

"They used their lifeguard training and skills to good effect with this incident serving as an example of the vigilant work our lifeguards do in responding to events that happen on the beach as well as those that occur in the water." 



From Saturday 20 June, the RNLI took up full-time daily duty on all 10 beaches continuing to Sunday 6 September, when weekend duty will then resume on selected beaches throughout September.



Lifeguards will be on the beach daily between 11am and 7pm on the Causeway Coast and between 10am and 6pm in Co Down. 



Ahead of the new season, the RNLI has reminded visitors to the beach to ask the lifeguards for water safety advice, and to call on a lifeguard if they see anyone in difficulty.



RNLI lifeguard manager Mike Grocott also encouraged visitors to bear in mind some key safety messages.

"The RNLI’s advice for anyone planning a trip to the beach is to check weather and tide times before you go and if planning to go into the water, swim at a lifeguarded beach, between the red and yellow flags.

"Avoid using inflatables in strong winds or rough seas. If you get into trouble, stick your hand in the air and shout for help and if you see someone else in trouble, tell a lifeguard. If you can’t see a lifeguard, call 909 or 112 and ask for the coastguard."



Throughout the summer, the lifeguards will deal with a range of incidents.

"While the same safety advice applies to all our beaches, we do tend to see patterns of activity that are more specific to some beaches than others," said Grocott.

"Whiterocks, for example, is most affected by last winter’s storm damage and there is a lot of coastal erosion there. It is also a beach known for its waves and swells so it is popular with surfers and body boarders.

"Benone, Portstewart and Portrush East, meanwhile, are large beaches which we know will attract a lot of people throughout the summer. We can also expect to be exceptionally busy on vank holiday weekends, during the fortnight holiday period in July and if and when the weather peaks.



"Having a good knowledge of the profile of our beaches and the types of activities that are popular on each of them helps to guide how we carry out our lifeguard training before the season begins so our lifeguards can be prepared for all the incidents they will encounter."

Published in Water Safety

#RNLI - RNLI lifeguards on the Causeway Coast helped to bring a sand dune fire under control at the weekend.

Lifeguards Jenny Thompson, Liam Mullan, James Walton and Jordan Burns were patrolling Benone Strand near Coleraine on Saturday afternoon (16 May) when, shortly after 3pm, they spotted smoke emerging from the sand dunes as they were preparing to enter the water to do some training.

One lifeguard went to investigate the incident some 400m from the rear of the lifeguard hut and observed a large fire which was spreading fast due to a strong easterly wind.

The lifeguards contacted the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service before going to the scene themselves and bringing the fire under control within 10 minutes using fire extinguishers and shovels.

While continuing to maintain an operational and safe beach, the lifeguards ensured that no one was in any danger.

The lifeguards were assisted by staff from the nearby Benone tourist complex who provided the extinguishers, the beach rangers and some members of the Order of Malta who had been providing medical cover for a half marathon which had just finished on the beach.

RNLI senior lifeguard Liam Mullan explained: "The strong easterly wind was a big factor on how fast the fire was growing and how hot it was burning. Thankfully once on scene, we were able to bring the fire under control in about 10 minutes.

"Everyone reacted quickly and worked together using the water to contain the fire to stop it traveling with the wind. We then worked from behind the blaze using the wind to keep the smoke away from us. Using shovels, we brought the flames under control."

Speaking following the incident, Tim Doran, RNLI lifeguard supervisor, said: "While the primary role of a lifeguard is ensuring people’s safety in the water, they also have a duty of care for all members of the public when on land too.

"RNLI lifeguards have a good knowledge of beach access and the surrounding areas and we would encourage any concerned member of the public who comes across such fires to raise the alarm with the lifeguards on patrol who can respond and alert their colleagues in the fire service."

Published in Coastal Notes

#WaterSafety - RNLI lifeguards will be making a welcome return to a number of selected beaches on the Causeway Coast and in Co Down next weekend ahead of the Easter holidays.

After undergoing intensive training in preparation, the charity’s lifeguards will be keeping visitors safe on Tyrella Beach in Co Down and on Benone Strand, Portstewart Strand, East and West Strands in Portrush and Whiterocks on the Causeway Coast.



Lifeguards will begin their patrols on Good Friday (3 April) between 11am and 7pm on the Causeway Coast and between 10am and 6pm in Co Down and continue daily to Sunday 12 April.



Cover will be provided every weekend until the end of June ahead of the summer season, when a daily duty will get underway on all 10 RNLI lifeguarded beaches in Northern Ireland.

"Our lifeguards are looking forward to going on patrol and meeting people who come to the beach," said RNLi lifeguard manager Mick Grocott. "We would encourage visitors to speak to our lifeguards, ask for safety advice, and most importantly call on them should they find themselves in difficulty." 



Ahead of Easter, the RNLI has reiterated its advice to people planning a beach trip to stay well away from dangerous cliff edges which have been impacted by recent weather conditions.



Winter storms changed the profile of all the beaches with extensive damage at Whiterocks, Portrush East and Portstewart where there are high and unstable sand cliffs.



The RNLI’s advice for anyone planning a trip to the beach is to: check weather and tide times before you go and if planning to go into the water; only go swimming at a lifeguarded beach, between the red and yellow flags; and avoid using inflatables in strong winds or rough seas.

If you get into trouble, stick your hand in the air and shout for help and if you see someone else in trouble, tell a lifeguard. If you can’t see a lifeguard, call 909 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.



For more safety information on the beach you plan to visit, you can download the RNLI’s Beachfinder app to find lifeguarded beaches and more information.

Published in Inland Waterways

#WaterSafety - Tomorrow (Monday 9 March) sees the opening of the new National Lifeguard Training Centre in Tramore, Co Waterford, as The Irish Times reports.

The €500,000 inter-agency initiative will have a focus on training people for the growing discipline of surf lifesaving both around Ireland and abroad.

But the three-storey facility on Tramore's Lower Promenade has practical water safety implications for beachgoers over the summer months, as the town's duty lifeguards will have a panoramic view of the strand and shore from the observation deck.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Water Safety

#WaterSafety - The RNLI is advising anyone planning on visiting its lifeguarded beaches on the North Coast to stay well away from dangerous cliff edges that have been impacted by recent weather conditions.

Winter storms have dramatically changed the profile of beaches at Whiterocks, Portrush East and Portstewart, creating high sand cliffs that are unstable.

RNLI lifeguard manager Mike Grocott is asking the public to be mindful of the changes ahead of making a visit.

"Winter storms have taken their toll on the make-up of some of the beaches this year, particularly at Whiterocks, Portrush East and Portstewart, and many people returning to these favourite spots may be surprised at how different everything looks.

"This includes significant erosion of the sand dunes where gentle slopes have washed away leaving sheer sand cliffs, some of which are up to 18 feet high.

"Access points have been altered and on some beaches the shifting sand has left deep channels that in turn create strong rip currents.



"We would encourage anyone planning a trip to one of these beaches to put safety first and be mindful that these sand cliffs are falling away and may be unstable. The best advice is to stay away from the sand cliff edges and bases."



Meanwhile, RNLI lifeguards are busy preparing for a new season where they will be patrolling 10 beaches in Northern Ireland during the summer. Last year RNLI lifeguards responded to 251 incidents, assisting 284 people

Published in Water Safety

#WaterSafety - The RNLI is encouraging primary schools in Northern Ireland to sign up for two of its beach safety education programmes when they get under way next month.

Running from March to June, Meet the Lifeguards and Hit the Surf aim to educate pupils in P5-P7 on the importance of beach safety in a fun and practical way.

Meet the Lifeguards gives pupils the opportunity to participate in an informative and interactive session when RNLI lifeguards visit their school. The 45-minute presentation focuses on equipping pupils with key safety advice that they can put to use when they visit a beach with family and friends.

Pupils will learn more about the RNLI, the charity that saves lives at sea and the role of the RNLI lifeguard on the beach. They will be educated on what the different beach safety flags and signs mean; the safety of using inflatables while swimming; and how to identify natural and man-made hazards. They will also learn about body boarding and surfing safety, rip currents and how to escape them and safety information on tides and waves.  



Hit the Surf, meanwhile, offers a unique opportunity for school children to get practical lessons in lifesaving and beach safety at one of the 10 RNLI lifeguarded beaches located on the north coast and in Co Down.



The session, which lasts two-and-a-half hours, includes a theory lesson on staying safe at the beach and the role of the RNLI and its lifeguards. It's followed by practical lessons in lifesaving and surf-based skills while building pupils confidence in the sea. The pupils will also learn about local hazards and the beach environment.

RNLI lifeguard supervisor Tim Doran is encouraging schools to get involved. "Education and prevention are an important part of the RNLI’s work and programmes such as Meet the Lifeguards and Hit the Surf enable us as lifeguards to deliver important beach safety advice in a way that is both informative and engaging," he says.

"We hope that pupils can then take what they learn, share it with family and friends and use it to have fun in a safe way when they visit a beach."

Last year, RNLI lifeguards in Northern Ireland responded to 251 incidents, assisting 284 people.

"With the profile of the beaches changing after winter storms, the RNLI lifeguards were kept busy in 2014," says Doran. "With rip currents and changing landscapes, the lifeguards engaged in a large amount of preventative work, speaking to beach users and advising of the safest places to swim."

For more information on how to book your school onto an RNLI education programme, please contact 028 7087 8492 or email [email protected]

Published in Water Safety

#watersafety – After a busy Summer season, Ireland's top Lifeguards will compete in the IWS National Beach Rescue Championships at Brittas Bay, Wicklow tomorrow. (9am-5pm, Saturday 6th Sept.)

Competitors will gather from counties nationwide and will include lifeguards from Ireland's International Lifesaving Team who will compete in the World Lifesaving Championships in France on September 16th.

Competitors at the National Championships will have their skills tested in events that simulate emergency rescue scenarios.

Teams will fend off strong competition from the fittest Lifeguards nationwide - the most significant and breathtaking life saving competition in Ireland. Ireland's best Lifesavers will contend with the open water conditions at Brittas Bay coast to rescue potential "casualties" in testing swim races, rescue board races and other competitive events.

On average, 135 people drown in Ireland every year yet this figure would be far higher but for the actions of trained Lifesavers. Last summer for example, Lifeguards rescued nearly 900 people from drowning and reunited almost 1,000 children found wandering near water.

Commenting on the additional challenges of open water competitions, the Chairman of Irish Water Safety's Sports Commission, Seamus O'Neill is confident of each team's readiness for the challenge. "Athletes will not only compete with each other while using their life saving equipment but also with the open water conditions of Brittas Bay Beach as they vie for National Championship medals."

The Sport of Lifesaving has been developed to improve the standard of life guarding in Ireland. The skills they have honed will demonstrate that lifesaving skills are an important lifeline in an emergency.

Published in Water Safety
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