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Skerries Lifeboat Crew Rescue Young Paddleboarder Blown Out to Sea

2nd August 2022
Skerries RNLI look on from the inshore lifeboat as the paddleboarder is reunited with her parents on the shoreline
Skerries RNLI look on from the inshore lifeboat as the paddleboarder is reunited with her parents on the shoreline Credit: RNLI/Gerry Canning

Skerries RNLI were tasked on Bank Holiday Monday afternoon (1 August) by Dublin Coast Guard following 999 calls reporting a girl being blown out to sea on her paddleboard.

The volunteers in Skerries launched their Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat Louis Simson shortly after 2pm within minutes of pagers sounding set a direct course for the reported location off Balbriggan Harbour.

The Irish Coast Guard’s Dublin-based helicopter Rescue 116 and Skerries Coast Guard unit were also tasked.

As the lifeboat was arriving on scene, they received a message from the helicopter that girl had been separated from her board and was in the water. The helicopter maintained a visual on the casualty and guided the lifeboat to her position.

As the lifeboat approached it became obvious that the girl was starting to tire and struggling to reach for the boat. One of the volunteer crew entered the water and swam to her to keep her afloat and assist her towards the lifeboat.

Once on board, a first aid assessment was carried out. She was tired and cold but did not appear to need any medical assistance.

The lifeboat was positioned into shallow water before one of the crew helped the girl to the shore where she was handed into the care of her parents and the Skerries Coast Guard unit.

The lifeboat then retrieved the paddleboard and the leash, which had become separated from the board, before returning to the station in Skerries.

Conditions at the time had a Force 3 southwesterly wind with slight seas and good visibility.

Speaking about the callout, volunteer lifeboat press officer Gerry Canning said: “Unfortunately we are seeing a rise in calls to paddleboards and kayaks. The breeze can take a person away from the shore quite quickly.

“Our advice is to always wear a lifejacket and carry a means of contacting the shore, even if you don’t intend on going far from the shore.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Royal National Lifeboat Institute (RNLI) in Ireland Information

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is a charity to save lives at sea in the waters of UK and Ireland. Funded principally by legacies and donations, the RNLI operates a fleet of lifeboats, crewed by volunteers, based at a range of coastal and inland waters stations. Working closely with UK and Ireland Coastguards, RNLI crews are available to launch at short notice to assist people and vessels in difficulties.

RNLI was founded in 1824 and is based in Poole, Dorset. The organisation raised €210m in funds in 2019, spending €200m on lifesaving activities and water safety education. RNLI also provides a beach lifeguard service in the UK and has recently developed an International drowning prevention strategy, partnering with other organisations and governments to make drowning prevention a global priority.

Irish Lifeboat Stations

There are 46 lifeboat stations on the island of Ireland, with an operational base in Swords, Co Dublin. Irish RNLI crews are tasked through a paging system instigated by the Irish Coast Guard which can task a range of rescue resources depending on the nature of the emergency.

Famous Irish Lifeboat Rescues

Irish Lifeboats have participated in many rescues, perhaps the most famous of which was the rescue of the crew of the Daunt Rock lightship off Cork Harbour by the Ballycotton lifeboat in 1936. Spending almost 50 hours at sea, the lifeboat stood by the drifting lightship until the proximity to the Daunt Rock forced the coxswain to get alongside and successfully rescue the lightship's crew.

32 Irish lifeboat crew have been lost in rescue missions, including the 15 crew of the Kingstown (now Dun Laoghaire) lifeboat which capsized while attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme on Christmas Eve 1895.

FAQs

While the number of callouts to lifeboat stations varies from year to year, Howth Lifeboat station has aggregated more 'shouts' in recent years than other stations, averaging just over 60 a year.

Stations with an offshore lifeboat have a full-time mechanic, while some have a full-time coxswain. However, most lifeboat crews are volunteers.

There are 46 lifeboat stations on the island of Ireland

32 Irish lifeboat crew have been lost in rescue missions, including the 15 crew of the Kingstown (now Dun Laoghaire) lifeboat which capsized while attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme on Christmas Eve 1895

In 2019, 8,941 lifeboat launches saved 342 lives across the RNLI fleet.

The Irish fleet is a mixture of inshore and all-weather (offshore) craft. The offshore lifeboats, which range from 17m to 12m in length are either moored afloat, launched down a slipway or are towed into the sea on a trailer and launched. The inshore boats are either rigid or non-rigid inflatables.

The Irish Coast Guard in the Republic of Ireland or the UK Coastguard in Northern Ireland task lifeboats when an emergency call is received, through any of the recognised systems. These include 999/112 phone calls, Mayday/PanPan calls on VHF, a signal from an emergency position indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) or distress signals.

The Irish Coast Guard is the government agency responsible for the response to, and co-ordination of, maritime accidents which require search and rescue operations. To carry out their task the Coast Guard calls on their own resources – Coast Guard units manned by volunteers and contracted helicopters, as well as "declared resources" - RNLI lifeboats and crews. While lifeboats conduct the operation, the coordination is provided by the Coast Guard.

A lifeboat coxswain (pronounced cox'n) is the skipper or master of the lifeboat.

RNLI Lifeboat crews are required to follow a particular development plan that covers a pre-agreed range of skills necessary to complete particular tasks. These skills and tasks form part of the competence-based training that is delivered both locally and at the RNLI's Lifeboat College in Poole, Dorset

 

While the RNLI is dependent on donations and legacies for funding, they also need volunteer crew and fund-raisers.

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