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Three call outs in two days for Portaferry RNLI

Lifeboats News Release

Portaferry RNLI has urged people to be vigilant and to take care near or on water this Summer. It follows three call outs in two days for the County Down lifeboat station.

The volunteer lifeboat crew was first put into action on Friday afternoon (29 July) when during a routine exercise the inshore lifeboat observed three people on a small inflatable boat that had broken down and was on a rock off Killyleagh.

Weather conditions at the time were described as good with the sun shining and a slight breeze.

Following unsuccessful attempts to restart the engine, the lifeboat crew offered their assistance and proceeded to take the three onboard and bring them safely back to shore in Killyleagh.

The lifeboat launched for a second time on Friday evening following a 999 call from a member of the public on the shore at the northern end of Strangford Lough.

The lifeboat launched at 7.45pm and made its way to the scene where a man was using a small tender boat to get out to his yacht which was on a mooring between the islands. However, with the tide rushing between the islands at six to seven knots, it was making conditions difficult.

The lifeboat went alongside the boat and ensured the man made his way safely to the yacht.

The lifeboat crew was called on for a third time shortly after 6pm on Saturday when a 10m yacht with one onboard broke down and was becalmed off the north rock in Cloughey, Portavogie.

Weather conditions at the time were good with an easterly Force 2 wind blowing, some cloud and a calm sea.

Once on scene, the lifeboat crew observed that the engine had lost power and proceeded to work with the yachtsman to establish a towline before bringing the vessel safely into Portavogie.

Speaking following what has been a busy period for the station, Brian Bailie, Portaferry RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager said: ‘We would encourage everyone visiting the coastline this Summer to enjoy themselves but to remember to respect the water. Always wear a lifejacket and always have a means for calling and signalling for help and ensure everyone know how to use it. Always check the weather forecast and tide times. Make sure someone ashore knows where you are going and who to call if you don’t return on time. Learn how to start, run and maintain your engine and always carry tools and spares.’

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Key facts about the RNLI

The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.

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