Portaferry launches to three call outs in Strangford Lough over a busy weekend
As the summer season draws to a close, the volunteer crew from Portaferry RNLI has had a busy weekend, with two call outs on Saturday (31 August) and one on Sunday (1 September).
On Saturday (31 August) the lifeboat crew was requested to launch by Belfast Coastguard at 3:35pm to aid two separate incidents within four miles of each other in Strangford Lough.
At the initial call out, the crew launched at 3:47pm in sun and rain with good visibility and a force 4-5 wind from the north west. The Portaferry crew launched to reports of two Flying Fifteen sailing boats that had capsized and were submerged in water. When the lifeboat crew arrived on scene, their crews had righted themselves and were back in the boats, making their way back to shore. The volunteer crew made sure both boats and crews were safe and well enough to make their own way ashore.
While in the middle of the initial call out, the Portaferry crew got another task to aid a 36ft yacht. The yacht had got into difficulty when deploying the anchor and the yacht had run aground on Don O’Neill Island, near Killyleagh in Strangford Lough. When on scene, the lifeboat crew ensured that all crew and their dog were safety aboard the yacht and that there was no water being taken aboard.
Newcastle RNLI all-weather lifeboat was also launched but was stood down en route. The lifeboat crew departed the scene and was ready for service at 4:40pm.
On Sunday (1 September) the lifeboat crew was requested to launch again by Belfast Coastguard at 3:11pm to a motorboat that had got into difficulty with five people on board.
The lifeboat launched in cloudy weather with good visibility, north west force 4-5 winds and a slight sea state. When the crew arrived on scene, the weather conditions were the same. Portaferry RNLI crew received reports of a six metre motorboat with three children and two adults on board. The boat had run aground at Marlfield Bay in the Strangford Narrows. The lifeboat crew arrived on scene to another passing vessel which had taken the casualty vessel under tow. Once the casualty vessel was towed off ashore, it continued the journey whilst being escorted by Portaferry RNLI until it had reached safety at Portaferry Marina.
The lifeboat departed the casualty vessel and returned to the station at 4pm.
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, in a normal year, 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.