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Howth RNLI’s volunteer crew launched both their all-weather and inshore lifeboats to two separate incidents on Sunday (7 August).

The larger lifeboat was launched shortly after 3pm to reports of a motorboat with three people on board which had suffered engine failure two miles north of Ireland’s Eye, the uninhabited island off the coast of Howth.

The lifeboat, under the command of second coxswain Ian Sheridan, located the broken-down vessel within 15 minutes of launching.

Once it was established that all on board were well, the crew passed a tow line from the lifeboat and the boat was towed back to Howth Harbour. Weather conditions were good with light southerly winds.

A few hours later, at 7.15pm a call came in from a concerned sailor regarding an inflatable dinghy in Howth Sound with three people on board who were attempting to row back to Burrow Beach.

Due to the southerly winds, the inflatable was being blown offshore.

The volunteer lifeboat crew were paged and the smaller inshore lifeboat was launched shortly after. The lifeboat RIB reached the inflatable in minutes, and it was observed that none of the three on board were wearing lifejackets.

The lifeboat crew took the three individuals onto the lifeboat and returned them to the safety of Howth Harbour.

Speaking following the incident, Howth RNLI inshore lifeboat helm Ian Martin said: “Although the conditions for heading out on the water were good today, things can change very quickly and with inflatables like these, even the slightest wind can take them out to sea. That is why inflatables are not suitable for Irish waters.

“It’s also really important that anyone going out on the water wears a lifejacket that is suitable for the activity they are doing and that it is in good working order and fits well.

“With the good weather forecast for the coming week, we expect a lot of people will be spending time on or near the water. If you do get into trouble, remember to Float to Live: Lean back, using your arms and legs to stay afloat. Control your breathing, then call for help or swim to safety. In a coastal emergency call 999 or 112 for the coastguard.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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The volunteer crew of Howth RNLI launched their all-weather lifeboat Roy Barker III on Sunday afternoon (24 July) to aid a father, son and their dog Billy on a boat drifting towards the cliffs off Howth Head.

The lifeboat, with a crew of seven, launched at 1.40pm following a request from Dublin Coast Guard to assist the boat, which had come across Dublin Bay from Dun Laoghaire and suffered engine failure close to the Baily Lighthouse.

Weather conditions were challenging with fresh southerly winds and, having lost power, the boat was being blown towards the cliffs on the south side of Howth Head.

The lifeboat reached the casualty vessel within 15 minutes of launching. Once it was established that all on board the boat were well, Howth RNLI coxswain Fred Connolly took the decision to take the father, son and their black Labrador on board the lifeboat and to tow their boat back to Howth.

Speaking following the incident, Connolly said: “The owner of the boat in difficulty did the right thing in calling the coastguard for help straight away. When the winds are blowing onshore and a boat is broken down, every minute counts. Our volunteer crew responded quickly once the pager went off and we launched the lifeboat within minutes. 

“Once on scene, we cast a line to the boat and pulled them alongside so that the father, son and their dog could be transferred to the safety of the lifeboat. Our crew then established a tow line and we were able to tow the boat back to Howth Harbour.”

The coxswain added: “This type of call out for the RNLI provides a good opportunity to remind boat owners to have a means of calling for help at all times and if you do get into difficulty that you're prepared. We were delighted to be able to return Billy and his owners safely ashore.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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The volunteer lifeboat crew of Howth RNLI launched both their inshore and all-weather lifeboats to three separate incidents today (Monday 18 July), the hottest day on record in Dublin.

The inshore lifeboat was launched at 2.20pm to reports of a missing child on Portmarnock beach. The Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 116 from Dublin and the Howth Coast Guard unit were also tasked to assist.

As the first incident was unfolding, a ‘Pan-Pan’ or urgent message was broadcast from a yacht with three people onboard that was in difficulty five miles North East of Howth. The Howth all-weather lifeboat which was launching to the missing child at the time was re-directed to this incident.

Once on scene at Portmarnock beach, the crew of the inshore lifeboat were informed the missing child was located on the beach and was placed into the care of the Howth Coast Guard team. The inshore lifeboat was then requested to accompany the all-weather lifeboat to the yacht in difficulty.

The yacht was located five miles offshore with rigging problems and unable to make way due to the moderate winds . The crew of the yacht were directed to hold the boat steady on a particular compass heading while the Coxswain of the all-weather lifeboat manoeuvred the lifeboat alongside to transfer a crew member on board.

The RNLI crew member worked with the yacht’s crew to secure the rigging. Once safe, the all-weather lifeboat escorted the yacht to Howth harbour.

While on its way to the yacht in difficulty, the inshore lifeboat was again requested by Dublin Coast Guard to another incident. A powerboat with a family of four onboard had suffered engine failure and was being blown ashore off Portrane. Once on scene a passing boat had come to the family’s assistance and secured a tow. The crew of the inshore lifeboat then escorted the boat to the safety of Malahide marina.

Speaking following the three incidents, Howth RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager, Colm Newport said: 'Thankfully the outcome of all of these incidents was positive with the missing child located safe and well and the crews of both the yacht and powerboat returned safely ashore.

Our volunteer crew train regularly to deal with all types of incidents on the water. As the sun shines and more people spend time on the water it’s the charity's busiest time for its lifeboat crews.

When going to the beach, it’s important to swim where lifeguards are present and to swim between the red and yellow flags.

For boat owners, it’s important to ensure you have undergone the right training so that you can develop your skills to be prepared for when things go wrong. Your engine should be well maintained and if you do get into difficulty, make sure you have an anchor on board and a means of calling for help.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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The volunteer lifeboat crew of Howth RNLI launched both their Inshore and All-Weather lifeboats on Saturday (9 July) to reports of a yacht with a family of four on board who had ran aground at the entrance to Malahide harbour.

The pagers went off at 11:45 while the crew of Howth Inshore Lifeboat were preparing to launch on a training exercise and responded immediately.

Howth All-Weather Lifeboat launched shortly after with five crew on board. Weather conditions were good with light easterly winds.

Both Lifeboats made their way to Malahide to assess the condition of the yacht and its crew.

Once on scene, the crew of Howth Inshore Lifeboat established that the yacht was aground but otherwise undamaged. The inshore lifeboat crew assisted the skipper of the yacht in deploying its anchor and a decision was taken to transfer three of the yacht’s crew onto the All-Weather lifeboat to return them to Howth.

The skipper of the yacht remained on board awaiting the rising tide to free the yacht.

Speaking following the call-out, Howth RNLI inshore lifeboat helm, Fin Goggin said, ‘Although the weather is perfect for enjoying time on the water this weekend, it’s important to be aware of the weather forecast and the tide times and ensure it's suitable for your activity.

The yacht's skipper was well prepared but unfortunately, incidents like this can happen. The skipper did the right thing in calling the Coast Guard for help.

As we were preparing for our weekly training exercise at the time, the inshore lifeboat crew were able to quickly respond. Our fellow crew from the All-Weather lifeboat launched minutes later to assist us. Once the pagers go off our volunteer crew drop what they’re doing and make their way to the lifeboat station to help save lives at sea.”

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The lifeboat crew at Howth RNLI are joining the circus for one night only to kick start their Mayday campaign to raise funds for the RNLI. Circus Gerbola, which is running at Howth Castle until 2 May is holding a special Gala performance this Friday, 29 April where 50% of the ticket sales will be donated to the RNLI.

The circus will feature a very special guest, Howth RNLI’s very own Ian Sheridan who will be the Circus Ringmaster on the night.

Speaking today, Second Coxswain of Howth Lifeboat (and trainee Ringmaster) Ian Sheridan said: ‘Friday night is going to be one to remember, as the RNLI take you ringside for a night of great family fun and entertainment!

It will be a great start to the May Bank Holiday weekend, and we hope a great start to the RNLI’s Mayday national fundraiser which runs for the entire month of May. Summer is our busiest time of the year, as people who spend more time by the coast and on the water can sometimes get into trouble and need our help. Mayday is our own call for help, as we rely on the generosity of the public to support events like the Circus fundraiser that raise funds to allow us to be there when we’re needed most.

‘We’d like to thank Circus Gerbola for their support of Howth RNLI in holding this special performance. I’m learning my lines and getting ready to entertain – let’s hope the pagers don’t go off mid-performance!’

Jane Murray, Event Producer of Circus Gerbola said: ‘The RNLI is an amazing charity with amazing volunteers who drop everything at a moment’s notice to save lives at sea. While in the beautiful coastal town of Howth, we at Circus Gerbola wanted to use our platform to help fundraise for a local charity – what better than Howth RNLI. The volunteer crew have been such great sports, especially Ian Sheridan who will join us as the Circus Ringmaster at this special gala performance on Friday, for great fun and entertainment, and some surprises thrown in as well!

We are donating 50% of our ticket sales from the show on Friday to Howth RNLI and the RNLI fundraisers will be on site shaking their buckets for any further donations that the public wish to make.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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The King Sitric Seafood Bar raised €35,634 over the past four years for the RNLI as part of the charity’s Fish Supper campaign.

Head of Engagement for the RNLI, Pete Emmett visited Howth to present a plaque and a letter of thanks signed by Mark Dowie, the Chief Executive of the RNLI to the owners of the King Sitric in recognition of their outstanding contribution to the fundraising efforts of the RNLI.

Speaking following the presentation, Pete Emmett said: “I am delighted to be in Howth to visit The King Sitric alongside my colleague Danny Curran and the local fundraising branch of Howth RNLI. It is important to be here today to make this presentation to Joan, Aidan and Dec and thank them personally for the amazing contribution they have made to the RNLI.

The funds raised by supporters like The King Sitric equip our lifeboats with the best kit and train our crews to the highest standards so that they can save lives at sea.”

Joan Mac Manus of The King Sitric said: “The RNLI is such an important part of the community here in Howth and provides an invaluable service to all who take to the sea whether it’s our suppliers catching us the freshest fish, or our customers who enjoy a sail or a swim nearby.

We are delighted to be able to support the Howth RNLI fundraising branch and host such fantastic Lifeboat Dinners at the restaurant. Over fine food, wine and a lively auction, we’ve managed to raise over €35,000 in the past four years. The dinners have been great fun and we look forward to hosting more in the future!”

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Volunteer lifeboat crew from Howth RNLI visited a farm on Howth Head this week to meet and officially name a newborn kid goat as part of the conservation grazing project in the local area. The invitation was made by the Old Irish Goat Society.

The project has reintroduced Old Irish Goats to Howth after almost a century, to manage the growth of gorse in the local area resulting in reduced fire risk while also enhancing the biodiversity in the Dublin Bay UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.

The Howth herd recently concluded its first breeding season, with fifteen kid goats born in March increasing the herd size to forty one. In recognition of the role the crew of Howth RNLI plays in the local community, the project coordinators invited the crew to name one of the new born kid goats.

Volunteer lifeboat crew Fin Goggin with Beaufort the goatVolunteer lifeboat crew Fin Goggin with Beaufort the goat

Three volunteer crew members and the Howth Lifeboat Operations Manager visited the farm this week to meet the kid goat who has been named ‘Beaufort’.

Speaking following the visit to the farm, Howth RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager, Colm Newport said: “The station was delighted to be asked by the project coordinators to name a goat in honour of the crew of Howth RNLI. This project, just like Howth RNLI plays a vital role in the local community to protect people. It aims to reduce the potential damage caused by gorse fires in the local area and enhance the biodiversity of the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in Howth.

“The crew chose the name ‘Beaufort’ for the kid goat as it represents an area within our patch in Dublin Bay – the Beaufort bank, and also the Beaufort scale, the standard scale for describing wind strength. Our crews train in all weather conditions so that once the pager sounds the crew can respond to save lives at sea.”

Volunteer lifeboat crew Killian O'Reilly with Beaufort the goatVolunteer lifeboat crew Killian O'Reilly with Beaufort the goat

Melissa Jeuken, goat herder for the project said: “This project has reintroduced the Old Irish Goat to a habitat they inhabited nearly a century ago. The methods we are using help control the accumulation of gorse in the local area and is a more sustainable solution to managing this beautiful landscape. The fifteen recent additions to the herd, including ‘Beaufort’ brings the total herd size now to forty one. We hope to settle a group of goats on the east mountain in Howth this summer, and a further group on Ireland’s Eye, the island just north of Howth harbour at a later stage.

“The volunteer crew of Howth RNLI play a vital role for the local community and we wanted to recognise their dedication by inviting the crew to name one of the newborn kid goats who will hopefully go on to play a vital role for the sustainability of the local area for years to come.

“Beaufort is the son of the matriarch of the Howth Herd – Cailín. As such, he will take on a protective role for the herd as he grows up, just like Howth RNLI fulfils a protective role for the local community.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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The volunteer lifeboat crew of Howth RNLI had their first launch of 2022 yesterday (Sunday 2 January) to paddleboarders in difficulty off the coast of Portmarnock Beach. Immediately after that, they were tasked to rescue a group of kayakers who could not make it back to Howth Harbour due to the strong off-shore winds.

The inshore lifeboat was launched at 2.05 pm and made way towards Portmarnock Beach. Weather conditions were poor with strong winds and one-metre-high seas. Once on scene at Portmarnock, Howth Lifeboat crew located the paddleboarders who had made their way ashore with their punctured paddleboard. A crew member was sent ashore to assess the paddleboarders before they were handed into the care of a Coast Guard crew on Portmarnock beach.

As the lifeboat crew made their way back to Howth, they were alerted to another situation involving five kayakers who were in difficulty as they made their way back to Howth Harbour, due to the strong off-shore winds. The volunteer lifeboat crew located three of the kayakers who had taken shelter on Ireland’s Eye, an island just North of Howth Harbour. The crew took the kayakers on board the lifeboat and brought them back to Howth. The lifeboat then escorted the remaining two kayakers back to the safety of the harbour.

Speaking following the call-out, Howth RNLI inshore lifeboat helm, Lorcan Dignam said, ‘When going on the water it’s really important that you always check the weather and tides and be mindful that conditions can change quickly. You should always carry a means of calling for help and keep it within reach. Although the weather has been quite mild recently, sea temperatures are very cold at this time of year and people taking to the water should be dressed for the conditions and always wear a lifejacket. Thankfully the outcome today, our first launch of 2022, was a successful one with the paddleboarders and kayakers all returned safely to shore.’

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A father and daughter who volunteer to save lives at sea with Howth RNLI and who will be on call over Christmas have asked the public to support the charity’s Christmas appeal. Stephen Harris has been a Deputy Launching Authority at the station since 2014 while his daughter Jen joined a month before the first lockdown. The busy lifeboat station has remained on call throughout the pandemic and the lifeboat crew will be ready to launch the lifeboats, as always, if they are needed.

With over 1,500 lifeboat volunteers around Ireland, each RNLI crew member signs up to save everyone from drowning – the charity’s mission since 1824. This Christmas many will leave loved ones behind to answer the call, each time hoping to reunite another family, and see those in trouble at sea safely returned.

Having returned from 6 months studying abroad in New Zealand Jen Harris joined the lifeboat crew in February 2020 only to see her training halted as the country went into lockdown. However, she stayed involved doing what training she could on land while the experienced lifeboat crew continued to respond to emergencies. When training restarted, she continued with her training plan and is now well on the way to being a fully-fledged lifeboat volunteer. No stranger to the water, Jen was a sailing and powerboat instructor when she was younger. On her return home to Ireland, she approached her dad about volunteering with the RNLI and had a chat to the lifeboat crew. She is currently trainee crew on Howth inshore lifeboat and is looking to be lifeboat crew on the All-Weather Lifeboat too. She is proudly following in her father Stephen’s footsteps as he was lifeboat crew in Dun Laoghaire from 1985 to 1987.

An archive photo from Dun Laoghaire RNLI featuring Stephen as volunteer lifeboat crew at the stationAn archive photo from Dun Laoghaire RNLI featuring Stephen as volunteer lifeboat crew at the station

Talking about her reason for volunteering with the RNLI Jen said, ‘I had been thinking about joining the lifeboat crew for a while. I’ve grown up around boats and I know how important the service the RNLI provides is to the community. The training I am undergoing is intense and it should be. It’s a massive commitment and one I’m happy to give and of course dad loves that I’m involved. The kit that we have and the level of training we receive is so impressive and it’s funded by generous donations. People can see where the money they give goes. There is a big orange boat sitting in the harbour and that’s our office. Everything we have is thanks to people supporting the charity.’

Dad Stephen is rightly proud of his daughter but it’s not surprising as they are two of a total of eight family members involved in the RNLI, with cousins at Dunmore East in County Waterford and Kilkeel in County Down. Stephen was lifeboat crew at Dun Laoghaire RNLI for three years before he moved away to Clontarf. Now living in Howth he was approached to join the station by the former Lifeboat Operations Manager Rupert Jeffares and joined as a Deputy Launching Authority.

Commenting on the Christmas appeal Stephen said, ‘The rescues we do would not be possible without donations from the RNLI’s generous supporters, helping to fund the essential kit, training and equipment needed by lifeboat crews all year round. This year my daughter is on the crew and will be out on rescues soon. Since I was a lifeboat volunteer, I’ve seen the RNLI’s equipment and lifeboat technology advance and evolve, keeping the lifesavers safe and helping them reach the casualties quickly. I’m proud to be involved and now a proud father of a lifesaver too.’

To donate to the RNLI’s Christmas Appeal, visit: RNLI.org/Xmas

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Marine Minister Charlie McConalogue TD has welcomed the publication of today's revised National Development Plan.

The NDP will set the Department’s new five-year rolling capital allocations. It will support economic, social and environmental development across the country.

‘As we emerge from the pandemic and continue to deal with the challenges posed by Brexit, the NDP Review allows us to map out the development of the agri-food sector’ said McConalogue.

The strategic investment priorities for the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine are:

Major development projects in Castletownbere, Howth and Killybegs have commenced and while all have been delayed somewhat due to Covid 19 restrictions they are expected to be completed in early 2022.

Preparatory work is ongoing for other projects including a major dredging project in Howth which is currently at the planning stage.

Marine Minister Charlie McConalogue TDMarine Minister Charlie McConalogue TD

‘Overall, a capital investment programme of up to €180 million across all six Fishery Harbour Centres, at Howth, Dunmore East, Castletownbere, Dingle, Ros an Mhíl and Killybegs, encompassing ongoing safety and maintenance and necessary new developments is envisaged for commencement up to 2025. Ongoing improvements will be required thereafter.’

Ireland’s European Maritime and Fisheries Fund Programme 2014-20 will award the last of its €240 million budget in 2021. The new Seafood Development Programme 2021-27 will be launched in 2022 with €142 million EU funds from the European Maritime Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund (EMFAF) and matching funds from Government. The Seafood Development Programme will:

  • Assist seafood enterprises in the fisheries, aquaculture and seafood processing sectors to adapt to the impacts of Brexit and Covid, grow seafood output, add value to seafood products, enhance the competitiveness of seafood enterprises and develop their markets.
  • Support the conservation of fish stocks, the protection and restoration of marine habitats and biodiversity and climate change mitigation and adaptation in the seafood sector.
  • Fund the development and dissemination of knowledge and technology in the seafood sector to address challenges and avail of opportunities for the sustainable growth of the seafood sector.
  • Assist coastal communities in diversifying and growing their economies.
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