Portrush RNLI launches to assist jet skier broken at Benone Beach
Portrush RNLI's volunteer crew launched tonight (Monday) to reports of a jet skier in difficulty at Benone beach at 8.17 pm approximately.
The crew who had just finished an exercise and had been stood down but were then requested to launch the all-weather lifeboat by the Coastguard. The lifeboat launched in record time in warm summer conditions, but with a strong off shore breeze. Three persons had also entered the water to assist the jet skier but had to get back to shore and received medical attention form the Coastguard.
The crew reached the jet skier at 8.35pm. The sea was smooth but there was strong off shore breeze which had hindered the three people attempting to assist.
When the crew arrived on scene, they secured the jet ski alongside the lifeboat and the casualty was taken on board, assessed and deemed to be medically fit. It was then decided that the jet skier and jet ski should be taken back to the beach. The volunteer crew deployed the Y boat which is the small boat carried on the all-weather lifeboat for situations just like this as the lifeboat cannot get close to shore, whereas the Y boat is designed to do just that. The Y boat crew, (Debs Smyth and Davy Shields) got the jet ski under tow and were able to transport the jet skier and the jet ski back to the shore were the Coastguard were waiting. Greencastle Coastguard were also in attendance and escorted the Y boat part of the way back to the beach.
Des Austin Coxswain of Portrush RNLI stated
‘We had just finished the debrief from our exercise earlier when the call to come in, so we were able to launch very quickly. The jet skier had no wetsuit on and even in a balmy summer evening the water is still very cold, so it was important that we reached him as soon as we could. There was also a strong off shore wind which made it difficult for the other swimmers to assist, so the members of the public did exacty the right thing by calling for help. It’s also key for us to make sure that the jet ski is recovered also as it could pose a hazard if not taken out of commission.
Crew tonight were David Shields, Davy Conley, Perry Walton; Tim Nelson, Debs Smyth, Raymond Fletcher, Christy Bradley
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 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.