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Busy Weekend With Four Callouts for Skerries Lifeboat Crew

16th August 2022
Skerries RNLI towing the broken-down RIB from the waters off Lambay Island on Sunday afternoon 14 August
Skerries RNLI towing the broken-down RIB from the waters off Lambay Island on Sunday afternoon 14 August Credit: RNLI/Gerry Canning

Following a busy lead-in to the weekend with three callouts in 24 hours, the volunteers at Skerries RNLI in north Co Dublin were kept on their toes by four calls between Saturday and Sunday.

Shortly before 1pm on Saturday afternoon (13 August), Dublin Coast Guard tasked Skerries RNLI following a 999 call from the public reporting that a child had been cut off by the tide and was stranded on the rocks near Balbriggan Harbour.

As they were arriving on scene, the crew received an update that some swimmers had assisted the person safely to the shore. The lifeboat was stood down and returned to the station in Skerries to be washed down and made ready for service.

Pagers sounded again for the volunteers shortly after 5pm on Saturday following reports of a missing person. However, they were located almost immediately and the volunteers were stood down before the lifeboat was launched.

Shortly before 3pm on Sunday afternoon (14 August) the volunteers launched the lifeboat having been tasked by Dublin Coast Guard to respond to reports of a kayaker missing off Balbriggan.

As they were approaching Balbriggan Harbour, the lifeboat received an update from the coastguard that the person had been located safe and well. Both Skerries RNLI and Clogherhead RNLI, who were also responding as they were on the water when the alarm was raised, were stood down.

The lifeboat had just been recovered to the apron at the boathouse when the volunteers were requested to launch again immediately, following a distress call from a RIB that had suffered engine failure near Lambay Island.

As they were navigating toward Lambay, the crew received an update that another vessel, a tender to a local yacht, was standing by the boat until the lifeboat arrived, and had provided updated GPS coordinates of their position.

The lifeboat navigated to the position given and was on scene in minutes. There were five adults on board the casualty vessel and after a quick check that everyone was safe and well, the vessel was taken under tow.

While the tow was under way, another local yacht, this time with a member of Howth RNLI on board, contacted the lifeboat and offered to take over the tow as they were headed for Howth, the home port of the stricken vessel.

The lifeboat was carefully positioned alongside the yacht and the tow was passed over. The volunteer crew then headed for home to make the lifeboat ready for the next service.

Speaking about the callouts, volunteer lifeboat press officer for Skerries RNLI, Gerry Canning said: “We’ve had an incredibly busy couple of weeks now, responding to calls at all hours of the day. It really highlights the dedication and commitment of all the volunteers at the station.”

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.

© Afloat 2020

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