Skerries RNLI and Howth RNLI respond to distress call from sinking vessel

Lifeboats News Release

Skerries RNLI and Howth RNLI were tasked by Dublin Coast Guard yesterday afternoon (Wednesday 4 August) following a Pan-Pan VHF call reporting that a small fishing boat with two persons on board was taking on water near the entrance to Rogerstown estuary in Rush.

Skerries RNLI taking the vessel under tow

RNLI/Gerry Canning

Skerries RNLI taking the vessel under tow

Shortly after 16.30pm, the volunteer crew at Skerries RNLI launched their Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat, while the volunteers in Howth launched their Trent class all weather lifeboat. With the possibility of persons entering the water, both lifeboats headed for Rogerstown at the maximum possible safe speed.

As the lifeboat from Skerries arrived on scene, they could see that the casualty vessel had sunk on the bar at the entrance to Rogerstown estuary. There were people in the water in the vicinity of the boat, however the water was shallow enough for them to stand. The lifeboat was maneuvered as close as possible before two of the crew entered the water and proceeded on foot to assess the situation further. Howth RNLI arrived on scene shortly after and stood by in case any further assistance was needed or if any of the casualties would need to be transferred for further treatment. A ground unit from Skerries Coast Guard were also on scene to assist.

It was quickly established that the casualties had initially made it to safety on the beach, however, one of them was now being assisted by another person in trying to lay out an anchor to secure the boat. With the aid of the volunteers from Skerries RNLI, they managed to turn the boat to bring the bow into the waves, this enabled them to bail the boat out and re-float it. With a large number of windsurfers and kite surfers in the area, the Helm decided that the boat presented a hazard and could potentially lead to a further call out if left where it was. It was decided to take the boat under tow to the nearest safe harbour at the slipway in Rogerstown. The casualty returned to shore and with the immediate danger passed, Howth RNLI were stood down and returned to station.

Once the tow was complete and the boat was safely returned at the slipway in Rogerstown, the lifeboat returned to Skerries where the boat and station were both sanitised and made ready for the next service.

Conditions at the time were Moderate with a force four southerly wind.

Speaking about the call out, volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer for Skerries RNLI, Gerry Canning said: ‘There is always a great deal of concern when there is the possibility of someone ending up in the water. Thankfully on this occasion the boat grounded on a sand bar and they were able to make their way to safety. But it highlights that things can and do go wrong at sea and shows the value of carrying a means to call for help if needed’

RNLI media contacts

For more information please telephone Gerry Canning, Skerries RNLI volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer on 087 988 4965 or email gerryjcanning@gmail.com or Nuala McAloon, RNLI Ireland Media Officer on 087 648 3547 or email Nuala_McAloon@rnli.org.uk or Niamh Stephenson, RNLI Ireland Media Manager on 087 1254 124 or Niamh_Stephenson@rnli.org.uk


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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.

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