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Displaying items by tag: Arranmore

#RNLI - Arranmore RNLI lifeboat crew had a long callout in the early hours of this morning to a 30ft yacht in trouble off Gola Island.

The pagers went off just before 2am, when the lifeboat crew – along with their Donegal coastal colleagues from Bunbeg Coast Guard – were called out to assist the yacht, with a father and son on board, that had dragged its anchor and got stuck on rocks at Gola Island.

Once on scene a tow was quickly established between the yacht and the Arranmore all-weather lifeboat. But with the tide out it proved too dangerous to try and move the yacht, and both rescue crews waited on scene with the vessel until the water rose and it was safe to try and move the stricken yacht.

At 4:50am a successful attempt was made to move the yacht and the tow to Burtonport commenced. When coming along Owey Sound, however, it was apparent that the rudder on the yacht was broken and great care had to be taken to keep the vessel on course.

Weather conditions were Force 5 to 6 with a north-westerly wind blowing. The shelter of Gola made the tow quite smooth initially, but on leaving the area conditions deteriorated and it was a difficulty passage for the remaining journey.

Commenting on the callout, Arranmore RNLI coxswain Anton Kavanagh said: "Thankfully both father and son [on the yacht] sustained no injuries. Due to the weather conditions the yacht was very lucky to receive only minor damage."

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#RNLI - Following last week's assisting of nine people in two separate yacht breakdown incidents, Arranmore RNLI were out again yesterday (10 July) to rescue a man and a woman from a 14ft punt off the Donegal coast.

The volunteer crew launched their lifeboat at 4.30pm following a report from Malin Head Coast Guard that the fibreglass punt had suffered a broken outboard engine and broken oar in the Crohy Head area.

The all-weather lifeboat, under coxswain Anton Kavanagh and with six crew on board, made its way to the scene at Trawenagh Bay, six miles out of Arranmore.

Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 118 was also tasked to the scene, and spotted the casualty vessel shortly after 5pm at the mouth of Trawenagh Bay.

Weather conditions at the time were good, with a calm sea and clear visibility.

At the scene the lifeboat crew transferred the punt's two passengers onto the safety of the lifeboat before returning them to shore.

Using the station's Y-class lifeboat, the crew towed the stricken punt to safety at Black Point slipway between Trawenagh and Crohy.

Speaking following the callout, Kavanagh said: "This was a joint operation between ourselves and the coastguard and we were happy to be able to return the two people safe and well back to Black Point slipway this evening."

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#RNLI - Arranmore RNLI in Donegal has assisted nine people after two yachts got into difficulty within five hours earlier this week.

At 12.30pm on Wednesday 2 July, the volunteer lifeboat crew responded to a call for assistance from a yacht which had got into difficulty west of Bloody Foreland.

The 37ft yacht, with seven crew members on board, was experiencing problems with its engine and sails.

On arrival, the lifeboat crew stood by. but with deteriorating weather conditions and a 3-4 metre swell, coxswain Anton Kavanagh decided to escort the yacht to safety until it was safe to secure a tow rope.

As both the lifeboat and the yacht reached the lee side of Arranmore at Beal a’ Chreesh, the crew managed to secure a tow and brought the vessel into Burtonport, where two of the yacht’s injured crew were then transferred to Letterkenny General Hospital by ambulance.

Meanwhile, at around 2.15pm another 10m yacht with two crew members on board got into difficulty eight miles northwest of Arranmore when the vessel’s boom broke.

With no immediate danger, the skipper of the yacht began to make his way towards Burtonport until the lifeboat could return from its first call and escort them into harbour as a safety precaution in what were rapidly deteriorating weather conditions.

Speaking after both rescues, Arranmore RNLI mechanic Philip McCauley said: "For four to six weeks we were quiet and now have responded to six calls in just under two weeks, but I suppose that’s the nature of the business we are in and the volunteer lifeboat crew will always be ready to go out whenever we get the call.

"We were pleased to assist both casualty vessels and their crews today; it is all part of the service."

The lifeboat station at Arranmore is experiencing one of its busiest summers with calls for assistance to help locate missing swimmers, rescue injured fishermen and carry out medical evacuations.

Elsewhere, the Clogherhead RNLI volunteer lifeboat crew launched yesterday morning (Friday 4 July) to the aid of a fishing vessel with engine failure located 3 miles north-east of Dunany Point in Co Louth.

The all-weather lifeboat was launched and underway by 7.25am. On arrival at the scene, coxswain Tomas Whelahan and his crew assessed the situation, and together with the skipper of the casualty vessel it was decided to tow the disabled vessel to Port Oriel.

There were no injuries and the boat was safely tied up at 10:24am.

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#RNLI - The crew of the Arranmore RNLI lifeboat were called on Wednesday afternoon 25 June to assist a fisherman involved in an accident on board a 12-meter fishing boat some 12 miles northwest of Tory Island.

Malin Head also dispatched the Irish Coast Guard helicopter from Sligo to assist in the evacuation of the injured fisherman in his mid-40s.

Anton Kavanagh, coxswain of the Arranmore lifeboat, said the transfer of the casualty went smoothly as the weather was good and the lifeboat had no problems manoeuvring alongside the fishing boat.

The casualty was transferred from his boat to the care of the lifeboat crew and taken to Burtonport, where he was transferred to Letterkenny Hospital by ambulance.

This is the fourth time in five days that the Arranmore lifeboat has been called out to render assistance. Two of the calls were medical evacuations from Arranmore who were transferred to Letterkenny Hospital by ambulance.

At the weekend, the lifeboat was called to search for a missing swimmer off Portnoo. Fortunately the swimmer was located by coastguard helicopter and the lifeboat returned to Arranmore.

Elsewhere, Rosslare Harbour's lifeboat and its volunteer crew launched at 7.30pm yesterday evening (26 June) to a reported sighting of two people stranded on a rock surrounded by water.

The alarm was raised by a concerned member of the public. Arriving at the scene within 15 minutes of launch, the lifeboat's daughter craft was deployed and it was soon clear that the two people were fishermen in no immediate danger.

Rosslare Harbour RNLI lifeboat press officer Jamie Ryan said: "The person who raised the alarm did the right thing. It is always better to call out the lifeboat and let them check on a person or situation of concern then to ignore it and risk a serious incident. 

"The lifeboat crew are volunteers and never mind being called out to check on a situation."

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#RNLI - Life for the RNLI’s volunteer lifeboat crews doesn’t stop when they come ashore from a call-out. Once the lifeboat is safely back at anchor, the crew then attend training which ensures that each crew member can carry on saving lives at sea.

The Arranmore RNLI Lifeboat crew are currently attending a first aid course at their lifeboat station on the west Donegal island. Such competence-based training (or CBT) is an integral part of each crew member’s role in their life aving work on the lifeboats.

Each crew member can avail of training in various disciplines including navigation, boat handling, communications and at present first aid.

According the RNLI, the organisation prides itself on providing the best possible training for each crew member and is continually engaged in research to provide best practice for saving lives at sea.

Casualty care is a crucial link in the search and rescue (SAR) chain that allows lifeboat crews to save lives at sea. Having utilised their previously learned skills to save lives and rescue casualties at sea, continued training assists crew members to provide casualties with the best possible chance of survival, often in a hostile, unforgiving environment and many miles from professional hospital-based care.

Maritime SAR medicine is a specialised field, and the RNLI provides a bespoke course that prepares crew to manage any emergency encountered in the operational field of the RNLI.

The first aid course being provided to RNLI crew members throughout Ireland and the UK at the moment is specifically designed to depart as far as practical from the mainstream occupational first aid courses and focus on providing crew members with the maximum amount of knowledge to deal with emergencies at sea.

The training has a hands-on approach rather than complex theory or diagnosis, and empowers crew members to confidently and competently treat casualties. This approach is reinforced by a unique treatment check card, which takes the guesswork out of treating casualties.

The type of emergencies lifeboat crews deal with are, at a basic level, similar to emergencies one encounters on shore, and can involve loss of limbs, burns, breathing difficulties and heart problems - but are sometimes many miles from a mainland hospital, and only the expertise of the lifeboat crew (without having to rely on memory, because of the card reference system operated by the RNLI) can mean the difference between life and death.

The course is accredited by the RNLI Medical and Survival Committee and the Trauma and Critical Care Group, and is approved by the Royal College of Surgeons and the paramedic department. The system itself is highly regarded by many other emergency services as it is being continually reassessed and upgraded.

The course is delivered at a time and place, usually at the local lifeboat station, that’s convenient to crew members and is the last of this course to be delivered prior to the next upgrade in January 2014. The new changes will include a portable stretcher that can be accommodated in the smaller class inshore lifeboats; the introduction of the use of drugs to alleviate breathing difficulties; the use of more user-friendly check cards; and the reassessment of the treatment of head injuries at sea.

RNLI trainer Trevor Stevens said: “The training which crew members receive is specially designed so that each crew member is guided by the same protocols no matter where, within the spectrum of the RNLI, they operate.

“We are confident that our voluntary crew can competently deal with any emergency, large or small to a high standard and it is the aim of the RNLI to provide the best possible training to our voluntary crew.”

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#RNLI - Two men who embarked on the first RNLI Station to Station challenge between Bundoran and Arranmore last Saturday (6 April) completed the job in just under 12 hours - raising over €2,000 for both lifeboat stations in the process.

As per their plan reported previously on, Niall Clancy and James McIntyre both set off from Bundoran Lifeboat Station just after 6am on Saturday morning – Clancy running and McIntyre cycling.

Clancy's route took him through Bundoran, Ballyshannon, Donegal town, Mountcharles, Frosses, Glenties, Gweebarra Bridge, Lettermacaward, Dungloe, Burtonport and finally Arranmore Island via a treadmill on the ferry!

He was joined on various legs of the journey by members of the Tir Chonaill Athletic Club who kept his spirits up on the 100km journey from station to station.

Meanwhile, McIntyre and his team from Mullaghmore Triathlon Club and Donegal Bay Cycling Club took off at the same time cycling as far as Lough Eske, where James then made the lonesome journey himself across the Bluestack Mountains, constantly keeping organisers informed of his progress via text message.

Down into Glenties and from there by bike to Portnoo where, with Bundoran RNLI crewman Killian O’Kelly, he kayaked the remaining 22km to Arranmore Island, where both he and Clancy were greeted by the lifeboat crew and the Arranmore Pipe Band.

Speaking on completion of the challenge at Arranmore RNLI Lifeboat Station, Clancy said: "It’s been a long but great day. The weather conditions couldn’t have been any better for both myself and James – though it was very cold this morning leaving Bundoran!

"I’m looking forward to a few weeks off training before I get back into it for the Athlone Half Ironman in August."

McIntyre added: "We’d both like to express our gratitude to everyone who supported us ahead of the challenge and today – particularly those who sponsored us and those who ran and cycled with us today, our support teams, our chefs, the RNLI crews and sponsors Ormston’s Mace Ballyshannon and All Sports Donegal Town."

Shane Smith, volunteer lifeboat press officer for Bundoran RNLI, said: "We are thrilled at the success of the challenge and delighted that over €2,000 has been raised for both stations.

"We are indebted to James and Niall for their selfless support of our charity and would like to thank them sincerely on behalf of both crews."

Elsewhere, a Wexford family who organised a sponsored swim in memory of a loved one and former volunteer have raised a whopping €5,000 for Kilmore Quay RNLI.

The Hayes family presented the cheque to the RNLI at Kilmore Quay lifeboat station recently, funded by a sponsored swim on St Stephen’s Day organised by the family in memory of the late Paddy Hayes, who was a volunteer with the lifeboat.

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#RNLI - Arranmore RNLI was involved in an epic 12-hour rescue in difficult weather of five fishermen on board a crabber which got into difficulty on St Patrick’s Day.

The station’s all-weather lifeboat was launched at 1.45pm to go to the assistance of the 15-metre fishing vessel which had lost power some 40 miles north west of Arranmore due to a rope getting tangled in the propellers. The five crew members on board the boat were not in immediate danger.

Arriving on scene at 4.30pm, the lifeboat crew, under second coxswain Jimmy Early, established a tow line and proceeded to escort the stricken vessel into Burtonport. However, due to a heavy five-metre swell, the journey was slowed down by the tow line breaking. 

Arranmore RNLI volunteer lifeboat press officer Nora Flanagan said: "This was a long callout for all concerned, but our lifeboat crew was delighted that they were able to assist the five crew members and bring them and their fishing vessel safely to shore which they did shortly before 2am this morning (Monday 18 March)."

This was the first long-haul callout for Arranmore’s newest and youngest crew member, 17-year-old Dominic Boyle. The second youngest crew member - Leigh Early, son of coxswain Jimmy - was also on the call.

Meanwhile, three crew members from Courtown RNLI have been presented with animal welfare awards for their bravery in rescuing a woman and her dog from Courtown Harbour last December.

As previously reported on, the 29-year-old woman got into difficulty when she attempted to rescue her Jack Russell, Holly, from the freezing water off Courtown pier.

The North Wexford Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) awarded David Switzer, Aine Stafford and Fintan O’Donoghue for their efforts in rescuing the woman and her dog.

Colin Webb, chairman of the animal welfare group, said the society took strength from seeing examples of great compassion towards animals in the community.

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#RNLI - Two men are in training to complete the first RNLI Station to Station challenge on Saturday 6 April travelling from Bundoran Lifeboat Station to Arranmore Island Lifeboat Station in 10 hours – by foot, bicycle and kayak.

Leaving Bundoran lifeboat station at 6am on Saturday 6 April, Niall Clancy and James McIntyre will take two different routes and two different means to complete their challenge.

Clancy is set to run the entire distance of 100km door to door, including using a treadmill on the final leg from Burtonport Ferry Port via ferry to Arranmore Island, while McIntyre will cycle to Barnesmore Gap, run across the Blue Stacks down to Glenties, cycle to Portnoo and then kayak the remainder of the journey to Arranmore Island.

Clancy, a HSE advance paramedic, has already completed three marathons including Belfast and Dublin and also a half Ironman triathlon in Galway. He decided to do the challenge following a conversation with the Arranmore lifeboat crew during a recent visit.

He said: "The RNLI is a fantastic charity and as it is voluntary I wanted to do my bit to help raise funds for both Bundoran and Arranmore so, with James, we’re aiming to do that on 6 April."

Initially the plan had been to run 36 miles but when the idea was put to him to run from Bundoran to Arranmore, which is a further marathon distance of 26 miles, Clancy thought it was a great idea.

"Running 100km is something different and definitely a challenge – I definitely believe we can do it."

Meanwhile, McIntyre is no stranger to such challenges having completed a Coast to Coast challenge for Parkinson's last year, again using the combination of mountain running, cycling and kayaking to traverse Northern Ireland and end up at Creevy Pier.

McIntyre is always looking for the next idea to top his last one and is always happy to do it for charity.

On the day the two boys and their entourages will have support from the Bundoran and Arranmore lifeboat crews as well as runners, cyclists and members of the Tir Chonaill Athletic Club. Donations can be made in advance via the RNLI Station to Station website. The boys’ progress on the day can be followed on the Bundoran RNLI Facebook page, on Twitter @atlantic85 and also on the website.

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