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This Sunday 11 December, SCUBA divers dressed in Santa suits will once again dive into the sea water at Bulloch Harbour in Dalkey to raise money for the RNLI, the charity that saves lives at sea.

The annual diving event has raised over €20,000 to date since it was started in 2014 by Karen Kenny of Dublin University Sub Aqua Club.

This year divers will assemble at the harbour at 10am with the first subaquatic Santas entering the water at 11am. Dun Laoghaire RNLI’s D-class lifeboat will also be on site, subject to weather and operations, to support the festive dip.

But anyone can take part wherever they may be, the organisers urge, calling on supporters to jump into the sea, a lake, a river or even your bath, all to raise funds for the RNLI.

All you need to do is wear a Santa hat, Santa suit or even just a Christmas bow and make a donation, no matter how small.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Castletownbere RNLI lifeboat was launched today (Monday 5th December 2022) at 12:45 to go to the immediate assistance of a fishing trawler, drifting without power, between Dinish Island and Bere Island in West Cork.

A thirty-metre fishing vessel raised the alarm when it experienced mechanical failure and was drifting without power and requested immediate assistance. Castletownbere RNLI lifeboat, ‘Annette Hutton’, was tasked and launched immediately under the command of Coxswain Dave Fenton with Mechanic Marney O’Donoghue, and crew Sean Bawn O’Sullivan, Seamus Harrington and Carl Cronin.

The lifeboat was on scene within ten minutes, where a local boat had attached a rope to the stricken vessel. In addition, a local tugboat was on standby. There were fresh easterly winds Force 4/5. The lifeboat took the vessel under tow and proceeded towards Catletownbere Harbour. At the entrance of the harbour, a second rope was attached from the stern of the disabled vessel to the tugboat. Once safely within the harbour, the vessel was berthed alongside the quay wall at Dinish Pier. The fishing boat skipper expressed his gratitude for the timely assistance of the lifeboat and local vessels.

Commenting on the callout Castletownbere RNLI Lifeboat Launching Authority, Felix O’Donoghue, stated: ‘Thankfully, there was a swift response from our crew and we were pleased with the outcome and we acknowledge the assistance of other vessels involved in the operation’.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Wicklow RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat assisted fishing vessels during two separate callouts on Friday (2 December).

The first came at 8:15am following a pager alert, with the all-weather lifeboat Joanna and Henry Williams slipping its moorings at the South Quay and proceeding to the casualties’ last reported position some 16 miles offshore near the East Codling buoy.

Weather conditions in the area had a slight sea state with good visibility.

Coxswain Ciaran Doyle carried out an assessment of the vessel which was found to have a damaged gearbox and shaft.

As the vessel had no propulsion and unable to return to port under its own power, it was decided the best course of action was to tow the vessel back to Wicklow.

A towline was established just after 9am and course was set for Wicklow harbour. The fishing vessel was brought alongside the East Pier just before noon and the two fishermen onboard landed safely ashore.

The second callout was just after 3.35pm to a fishing vessel drifting near the entrance of Wicklow Harbour.

Two lifeboat crew were transferred onto the vessel, which was found to be taking on water and in danger of sinking.

Speaking after the callout, coxswain Doyle said: “We deployed our pump to supplement the vessels own pump to clear the hold of water, and once it was up and running, we were able to tow the vessel to the South Quay.”

The fishing vessel was secured alongside the quay just after 4pm and the fishermen landed safely ashore.

Wicklow RNLI press officer Tommy Dover said: “When going afloat we would remind everyone to check their engine and fuel, always wear a lifejacket or buoyancy aid, and carry a means of calling for help.

“If you see someone in difficulty on or near the water, dial 999 and ask for the coastguard.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Dun Laoghaire Harbour RNLI hosted their first annual "Jingle Mingle" in their RNLI shop on Saturday, 26 November and brought in €2,500 for the charity. 

While raising vital funds, this event brought together and celebrated all the volunteers at Dun Laoghaire RNLI who dedicate their time to saving lives at sea.

Held in Dun Laoghaire’s Lifeboat Station and RNLI shop on the East Pier of Dun Laoghaire’s famous 200+-year-old Victorian port, the crew of volunteers invited all locals and visitors to ‘Jingle Mingle’ with them. The station was decorated with Christmas lights, and live music from the Steadfast Brass Band made sure the event was heard loud and clear!

After Christmas shopping in Dun Laoghaire’s RNLI shop, customers were invited down to the waterfront to have a hot chocolate and gingerbread person courtesy of Dun Laoghaire RNLI to say thank you for supporting the charity that saves lives at sea this Christmas. Not one to miss out on the Christmas goodies, Santa traded his sleigh for the Anna Livia, Dun Laoghaire’s all-weather Trent-class lifeboat, and greeted everyone into the station.

After Christmas shopping in Dun Laoghaire’s RNLI shop, customers were invited down to the waterfront to have a hot chocolate and gingerbread person courtesy of Dun Laoghaire RNLIAfter Christmas shopping in Dun Laoghaire’s RNLI shop, customers were invited down to the waterfront to have a hot chocolate and gingerbread person courtesy of Dun Laoghaire RNLI

The shop made four special Christmas hampers and anyone who bought something from the shop was entered into the lucky draw. The retail hamper is particularly special to the Dun Laoghaire RNLI because it harks back to a tradition between the volunteer lifeboat crew and the Kish lighthouse keepers from over 30 years ago.

Eamon O’Leary, Dun Laoghaire RNLI’s Deputy Launching Authority, remembers:

‘Before Kish Lighthouse went automatic in 1992, we decided that we would deliver the lighthouse keepers a hamper to share some of our Christmas cheer. The last time we set off into Dublin Bay, with Santa on crew, was in December 1991 on our former Waveney-class lifeboat the Lady of Lancashire. We’re delighted to see the festive spirit continue 30 years on through our shop!'

The RNLI’s shops are one way to support the charity this Christmas. Pauline McGann, RNLI Community Manager for Leinster, says:

‘The RNLI shop in Dun Laoghaire is a vital part of the coastal community because it gives us a space to raise funds for the lifeboat in an area where the RNLI has a deep and significant history in the local culture.

Just like the volunteers who have been going out to sea on the Dun Laoghaire lifeboat for 180 years, our shop volunteers are committed to saving lives at sea. They provide exemplar customer service with their extensive knowledge of the RNLI and the products we provide. From our popular charity Christmas cards to hats and clothing to jigsaws and games – we have a huge selection for the family!’

Barbara Taylor, Dun Laoghaire RNLI Shop Manager, thanks everyone who came down to support the event:

‘We are so thankful for everyone who came down to visit this weekend; in the shop we pride ourselves on our engaging interactions with our customers - we get so much from working with the public, and it means a lot to do something that we know is so meaningful for our amazing lifeboat crew.

Christmas is a special time for us here in Dun Laoghaire, and we were pleased to invite the community to come down to the Lifeboat Station to ‘Jingle Mingle’ with our volunteers! This is an event that we look forward to doing again next year.’

Dun Laoghaire RNLI’s shop is in the station on 2 Queens Road next to the East Pier. The shop opening times are: 

  • Monday 1 pm – 5 pm 
  • Tuesday 10 am – 5 pm  
  • Wednesday 10 am – 5 pm 
  • Thursday 10 am – 5 pm 
  • Friday 10 am – 5 pm  
  • Saturday 1 pm – 5 pm 
  • Sunday 1 pm – 5 pm 
Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Lifeboat crews from Lough Swilly and Arranmore in County Donegal, along with Portrush in county Antrim, have received an award from the RNLI for a callout in 2019 as Afloat reported at the time, which saw the rescuers at sea for hours in Force 11 conditions. The actions of the lifeboat crews that night, saved the lives of five people onboard a fishing vessel that was in serious trouble. For their outstanding actions at sea, which were conducted in storm force conditions, the three lifeboat crews have received a Chief Executive’s Commendation from the RNLI.

The lifeboat crews had been requested to launch their all-weather lifeboats by Belfast Coastguard on the afternoon of Saturday, 14 December 2019, following a Mayday alert from a 45ft fishing boat. The five men who had been fishing for crab, got into difficulty 20 miles north of Fanad Head, when their boat lost power and encountered steering difficulties, while powerful waves struck their vessel.

In the middle of a storm, the lifeboat crew worked with the fishermen to establish a tow in conditions which saw the sea swell reach 50 ft. and the tow part three times. Arranmore lifeboat crew undertook the tow and once in calmer waters transferred it to Lough Swilly lifeboat. The lifeboat crew were at sea for fifteen hours, carrying out the rescue in darkness. Despite their ordeal none of the fishing crew were injured.

On a recent visit to their stations, RNLI Chief Executive, Mr. Mark Dowie, presented Arranmore Coxswain Jimmy Early and Lough Swilly Lifeboat Operations Manager John McCarter with the Commendations, while Portrush RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager Beni McAllister presented the Portrush lifeboat crew with their honour.

Arranmore CE Commendation: RNLI Chief Executive Mark Dowie presents a Commendation to Arranmore RNLI Coxswain Jimmy Early and Arranmore lifeboat crew on a recent visit to the stationArranmore CE Commendation: RNLI Chief Executive Mark Dowie presents a Commendation to Arranmore RNLI Coxswain Jimmy Early and Arranmore lifeboat crew on a recent visit to the station

Speaking about the lifesaving service, Mark Dowie RNLI Chief Executive said, ‘The joint actions of all three lifeboats undoubtedly saved the crew and casualty vessel, with exemplary decision making displayed by the Coxswains. I would like to express my sincere thanks on behalf of the RNLI for the dedicated service of all involved.’

Arranmore RNLI Coxswain, Jimmy Early said, ‘It is indeed a great honour to be recognised by the RNLI for the work that we do. All of our volunteer crew are delighted with this award and the rescue was a really well coordinated service with the Coast Guard and our flanking stations in Lough Swilly and Portrush.’

Lough Swilly CE Commendation: Lough Swilly RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager John McCarter accepts a Commendation on behalf of the lifeboat station from RNLI Chief Executive Mark Dowie, during his recent visit to the stationLough Swilly CE Commendation: Lough Swilly RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager John McCarter accepts a Commendation on behalf of the lifeboat station from RNLI Chief Executive Mark Dowie, during his recent visit to the station

Lough Swilly RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager John McCarter, who accepted the award on behalf of the lifeboat crew said, ‘I am always proud of our crew but their actions that night were nothing short of incredible. To be at sea for such a long period is one thing but to do it in incredibly challenging seas and alongside our colleagues, was a lifesaving mission like no other. I am grateful to the RNLI for recognising the commitment and dedication shown by the three lifeboat crews involved.’

Portrush RNLI Coxswain Des Austin Cox added, ‘It was a challenging service for all the lifeboat crews and to be at sea with both Lough Swilly and Arranmore, showed the incredible working relationship between our stations. We train for every type of callout but when you are in those conditions, it is great to be alongside your neighbouring lifeboat colleagues. My thanks to the crews who answered the call that night and I am incredibly grateful everyone came home.’

The framed Commendations will be put on display in the three lifeboat stations.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Fethard RNLI’s fundraising branch has begun to distribute RNLI Christmas cards to local shops and businesses, while local swimming group Hooked on Swimming have begun their 12 swims of Christmas fundraiser which will see proceeds raised to power the lifesaving work of the volunteer lifeboat crew.

In the past week, local shops and businesses throughout the Hook Peninsula have been stocked up with beautiful Christmas cards for locals and visitors to purchase.

Hooked on Swimming

Meanwhile, the local sea swimming group Hooked on Swimming, began their 12 swims of Christmas. From now, until their final swim on New Year's Day, the swimmers will brave the elements and swim 12 times for the RNLI. The 12 Swims group began last year and has grown from strength to strength, now comprising of 140 swimmers. This group have also arranged a coffee morning on Sunday 11 December, at St Marys Community Hall, Fethard. Everyone in the community is invited to come down and join them for light refreshments, raffle prizes and festive treats.

Speaking about the fundraising activities this Christmas, Sarah Bates from Fethard RNLI Fundraising Branch said: ‘We are very lucky to have fantastic people in our community who are so willing to support the lifesaving work of their local lifeboat crew. We hope our Christmas cards sell out and that the whole community will show their support for our local swimmers and their 12 swims of Christmas.

‘RNLI volunteers will be on call this festive season and ready to leave their loves ones to save others this Christmas. They really appreciate the generous fundraising efforts and the donations raised that helps them to continue their work in saving lives at sea.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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The RNLI’s new inland lifeboat station on Lower Lough Erne is complete and fully operational.

The station team at Enniskillen RNLI are now looking for new volunteers to join the crew in several roles including lifeboat crew, shore crew, deputy launching authorities and fundraisers.

After being housed in temporary accommodation for 21 years, volunteers at Enniskillen were handed the keys to their new state-of-the-art building on the Killadeas Road at Gublusk earlier this month.

The modern purpose-built lifeboat station is located close to the lough to allow for an efficient launch of its inshore lifeboat.

And the station — which also houses the associated launching tractor and equipment, full crew changing facilities, a workshop, office and training room — will be officially opened at a special ceremony next year.

The build, which took little over a year to complete, was carried out by Omagh-based company Woodvale Construction and handed over to the RNLI on Friday 4 November.

A generous contribution towards the cost of the build was made by the daughter of the late Alfred Russell Wallace Weir from Bangor in Co Down, in his memory.

The building is designed with a heating system which allows the heat to be drawn from the ground, keeping the temperature at an ambient 16C inside. The excess is used to heat the water for showering, washing up and cleaning the vessels. The building is also fitted with solar panels on the roof to generate electricity.

In 2001, Enniskillen became home to the RNLI’s first inland lifeboat station based on Lower Lough Erne.

Due to the overall size and complexity of the lough and its high leisure usage, the decision was taken by the RNLI in 2002 to base a second lifeboat on the upper lough at Carrybridge that would work in conjunction with the original lifeboat station on the lower lough at Killadeas.

Last year Enniskillen RNLI launched 33 times, bringing 73 people to safety.

Enniskillen RNLI’s inshore lifeboat in its new boat shed | Credit: RNLI/Rogan WheeldonEnniskillen RNLI’s inshore lifeboat in its new boat shed | Credit: RNLI/Rogan Wheeldon

Speaking following the handover of the new building to the RNLI, area lifesaving manager Rogan Wheeldon said he was delighted that the station was now complete.

“From the outset, we wanted to build a modern station with full crew facilities with areas for the crew to change and train and space to keep their lifeboat and lifesaving kit safe,” he said. “We now have those facilities and are very happy to be in a position to take over the new lifeboat station and are delighted with both the design and quality of the building.”

Gary Jones, Enniskillen RNLI lifeboat operations manager said the new station was what the crew deserved and is “a testament of the RNLI’s commitment and dedication to the community here locally and a credit to the efforts of our crew in continuing to bring people to safety on Lough Erne”.

He added: “Our volunteers had an opportunity to be shown around their new station and they are overwhelmed with the structure and facilities that they now have when they come together for call outs and training. We would like to thank everyone who has helped us to get to this stage.

“Now that we have our new building, we are keen to have new volunteers join our team. If you are interested in becoming lifeboat crew, shore crew, deputy launching authority or helping in another officer capacity or with fundraising, please contact us to find out more about how you can be involved and help us to continue to save lives on Lough Erne.”

To find out more about how you can volunteer at Enniskillen RNLI, get in touch with Gary at [email protected]

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

The RNLI’s new inland lifeboat station on Lower Lough Erne is complete and fully operational.

The station team is now looking for new volunteers to join the crew in several roles, including lifeboat crew, shore crew, deputy launching authorities and fundraisers.

After been housed in temporary accommodation for 21 years, volunteers at Enniskillen RNLI were handed the keys to their new state-of-the-art building on the Killadeas Road at Gublusk earlier this month.

The modern purpose-built lifeboat station is close to the lough to allow for an efficient launch of its inshore lifeboat. The station, which also houses the associated launching tractor and equipment, full crew changing facilities, a workshop, office, and training room, will officially open at a special ceremony next year.

The build, which took little over a year to complete, was carried out by the Omagh-based company, Woodvale Construction, and handed over to the RNLI on Friday, 4 November.

Inside Enniskillen RNLI's new lifeboat stationInside Enniskillen RNLI's new lifeboat station

In his memory, the daughter of the late Alfred Russell Wallace Weir from Bangor in county Down made a generous contribution towards the cost of the build.

The building is designed with a heating system which allows the heat to be drawn from the ground and produced inside keeping the temperature at an ambient 16 degrees Celsius. The excess is used to heat the water for showering, washing up and cleaning the vessels. The building is also fitted with solar panels on the roof to generate electricity.

In 2001, Enniskillen became home to the RNLI’s first inland lifeboat station based on Lower Lough Erne.

Due to the overall size and complexity of the lough and its high leisure usage, the decision was taken by the RNLI in 2002 to base a second lifeboat on the upper lough at Carrybridge that would work in conjunction with the original lifeboat station on the lower lough at Killadeas.

Last year, Enniskillen RNLI launched 33 times, bringing 73 people to safety.

Speaking following the handover of the new building to the RNLI, Rogan Wheeldon, RNLI Area Lifesaving Manager, said he was delighted that the station was now complete: ‘From the outset, we wanted to build a modern station with full crew facilities with areas for the crew to change and train and space to keep their lifeboat and lifesaving kit safe. We now have those facilities and are very happy to be in a position to take over the new lifeboat station and are delighted with both the design and quality of the building.’

Enniskillen RNLI's new lifeboat stationEnniskillen RNLI's new lifeboat station

Gary Jones, Enniskillen RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager, said the new station was what the crew deserved: ‘The new station is a testament of the RNLI’s commitment and dedication to the community here locally and a credit to the efforts of our crew in continuing to bring people to safety on Lough Erne. Our volunteers had an opportunity to be shown around their new station, and they are overwhelmed with the structure and facilities they now have when they come together for call-outs and training. We would like to thank everyone who helped us get to this stage.

‘Now that we have our new building, we are keen to have new volunteers join our team. If you are interested in becoming lifeboat crew, shore crew, deputy launching authority or helping in another officer capacity or with fundraising, please contact us to learn more about how you can be involved and help us continue to save lives on Lough Erne.’

To find out more about how you can volunteer at Enniskillen RNLI, please email [email protected]

Published in Inland Waterways
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As the festive season draws near, the volunteers at Lough Ree RNLI are throwing open the doors of the lifeboat station at Coosan Point for a special Christmas sale next Saturday afternoon (26 November).

RNLI Christmas cards are central to the charity’s fundraising drive at this time of year. Always high on the shopping list of supporters, the Christmas cards and other RNLI merchandise will be on sale at the new lifeboat station on Saturday afternoon next from 1pm.

Lough Ree RNLI treasurer Vincent Rafter said: “The public support of the charity and its volunteers are crucial for the organisation. So far this year Lough Ree RNLI volunteer crew has responded to 47 call outs on the lake.

“Over the past two years RNLI fundraising in the Midlands has been focussed on the provision of the new lifeboat station which opened in June. The facility itself is fast becoming a major attraction in the area with volunteers hosting planned visits every month.”

Recently the volunteer crew were pleased to receive an encouraging note of thanks, following a visit from a young girl in Athlone.

Eliza Crosbie (9) from Retreat Heights was part of a group from St Ciaran’s NS, Baylin who visited the lifeboat station recently. In her letter she expressed an interest in helping the charity in any way and perhaps making use of her life saving skills. The letter was accompanied by a colourful drawing of the lifeboat on the water.

Station visits officer at Lough Ree RNLI, Paul Kelly said: “The visits are a new initiative for us and this is one of the first responses we have received. The future of the RNLI is assured with the enthusiasm Eliza and her friends have expressed for the organisation.“”

So impressed were the Lough Ree RNLI volunteer crew with the letter that they invited Eliza to the station this week for a personal tour. Paul and Lough Ree RNLI operations manager Kevin Ganly made a small presentation to Eliza to mark the occasion.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Newcastle RNLI has launched a festive 10K, 5K and one-mile fun run to help save lives at sea.

Appealing to the seasoned athlete as well as families and fun runners wanting to get some exercise while getting into the Christmas spirit, the event will take place on Sunday 11 December around the Castlewellan Lake on a mainly flat terrain.

The 10K and 5K events will be chip-timed with prizes for the winners and an iconic RNLI all-weather lifeboat medal for all participants.

The one-mile Christmas dash, meanwhile, is open to everyone and suitable for those bringing families and those with prams and/or pets.

While fun runners won’t be timed, they too will receive a Christmas medal for their efforts. There will also be prizes for the most festive costumes.

For those who can’t do the run on the day but would still like to take part, there will be a virtual option. Simply do the 10K in your own time, send Strava/Garmin or equivalent evidence of completion to RNLI community manager Nuala Muldoon at [email protected] and you will receive a medal in the post.

All participants, whether running on the day or putting in the steps at home, will receive a medal for their efforts | Credit: RNLI/NewcastleAll participants, whether running on the day or putting in the steps at home, will receive a medal for their efforts | Credit: RNLI/Newcastle

Speaking ahead of the event, Muldoon said: “This is a wonderful Christmas event with options to be competitive in either the 10K or 5K, to enjoy the fun run with family or friends, or do it in your own spare time virtually.

“We want people to really get into the Christmas spirit by dressing up, soaking up the atmosphere and enjoying a well-deserved mince pie and some Christmas fun at the finish line.

“All proceeds raised from the Castlewellan event will go to Newcastle RNLI. Every time a RNLI crew launches, they are determined to save every one. But they can’t do that without the generosity of the public who support events such as these and raise vital funds.

“By taking on the Castlewellan 10K/5K or one mile fun run, participants are helping to keep our volunteers safe. Every penny they raise makes a difference. It helps the charity to recruit and train volunteers and could fund the kit they need to protect themselves. It helps ensure a lifeboat is ready when the call comes and it enables our safety advice to reach as many people as possible so they can stay safe by the water.”

In 2021, lifeboats at Northern Ireland’s 10 stations launched 297 times bringing 370 people to safety, seven of whom were lives saved.

During the lifeguard season, RNLI teams located on 11 beaches along the Causeway Coast and in Co Down responded to 330 incidents, coming to the aid of 384 people, one of whom was a life saved.

To register for the Castlewellan 10K/5K and one-mile festive fun run on Sunday 11 December, click HERE.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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