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Skerries RNLI and Clogherhead RNLI respond to 999 emergency call

Lifeboats News Release

Shortly before 1pm yesterday afternoon (Friday 10 June) Dublin Coast Guard received a 999 call from a member of the public reporting an inflatable being blown out to sea from Bettystown beach with two children on board.

Skerries RNLI recovering the kayak

RNLI/Gerry Canning

Skerries' RNLI recovering the kayak

The volunteers in Skerries were paged, and they immediately launched their Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat “Louis Simson”. As the crew were making their way towards the casualty location they encountered a number of heavy squalls. As there was a potentially large search area if the casualties lost contact with their vessel and with visibility badly affected at intermittent times, Skerries RNLI requested that Dublin Coast Guard task Clogherhead RNLI to assist in the search.


The volunteers in Clogherhead launched their Shannon class All-Weather lifeboat and proceeded to head south towards Bettystown. As they were making their way down the coast, Skerries RNLI located the casualty vessel, which was in fact a yellow kayak. There were no persons on board but there was a number of personal belongings, this coupled with the initial report gave rise to the concern that there may be persons in the water.


Dublin Coast Guard issued a Mayday before tasking Coast Guard Rescue Helicopter R116 and Drogheda Coast Guard land unit. The lifeboat from Skerries immediately began a search pattern in the area, at the same time Clogherhead RNLI commenced a parallel search of the shore from the mouth of the Boyne heading south.


Shortly after the search patterns had begun, R116 requested Clogherhead RNLI to divert from their course to investigate an object in the water near Gormanston beach, however, as they were making their way to the co-ordinates given, Dublin Coast Guard reported that the owners of the kayak had made contact and confirmed that they were ashore in Bettystown and were safe and well.


The Mayday was cancelled, and all units were stood down and returned to their respective bases.


Conditions at the time were force four to five westerly wind with slight swells and good visibility. There were occasional strong squalls with winds increasing to force six and visibility reduced to poor.


Speaking about the call out, volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer for Skerries RNLI, Gerry Canning said: ‘There were two black back supports in the kayak so it’s very easy to see how the person who dialled 999 and asked for the Coast Guard genuinely believed that someone was in difficulty. Thankfully in this case it was a false alarm, but they did exactly what we want people to do when they see someone in trouble.’


RNLI media contacts

For more information please telephone Gerry Canning, Skerries RNLI volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer on 087 988 4965 or email [email protected] or Nuala McAloon, RNLI Ireland Media Officer on 087 648 3547 or email [email protected] or Niamh Stephenson, RNLI Ireland Media Manager on 087 1254 124 or [email protected]


Clogherheads RNLI All-Weather Shannon Class Lifeboat

RNLI/Gerry Canning

Clogherhead's RNLI All-Weather Shannon Class Lifeboat

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.

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Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or by email.