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Clifden RNLI launched to three teenage kayakers in difficulty near Letterfrack

Lifeboats News Release

Yesterday, Saturday 19 March at 4.20pm the volunteer crew of Clifden RNLI launched the Shannon class, all-weather lifeboat to reports of three teenage kayakers having drifted from the shore in Ballinakill Bay, near Letterfrack.

Photo of orange and navy lifeboat in the water in Clifden bay, green hills in the background

Michael Harris

Clifden RNLI Shannon class all-weather lifeboat

Weather conditions yesterday were good; clear and sunny but with a strong off-shore wind. While the lifeboat crew were making their way to the scene, local fishermen from Mannin Bay Salmon Farm who operate in the bay came to the assistance of the young kayakers and brought all three safely ashore. The casualties were assessed by paramedics on shore and found to be well.

James Mullen, Clifden RNLI Coxswain said, “It may sound obvious but it’s worth reminding kayakers that a strong off-shore wind can blow you out to sea very quickly. For people using kayaks, paddleboards, basically anything that floats; once you leave the shore and the protection of the bay you can quickly become powerless against a strengthening wind. A strong off-shore wind, coupled with an outgoing tide is always a risk for paddlers.

“We would advise anyone enjoying water sports to always wear a life vest and appropriate clothes for the weather conditions, for example a wetsuit or layered clothing. Carry a mobile phone in a waterproof pouch on your person, check the tides and the weather and tell someone where you are going and when you’ll be back”

The operation was carried out by James Mullen (coxswain), Joe Acton, Daniel Whelan, Aisling Sweeney and Connor Ryan. Shane Conneely was the launch vehicle driver.


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.