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Portaferry RNLI respond to three call outs in Strangford Lough

Lifeboats News Release

Portaferry RNLI has come to the aid of four people this weekend and responded to a false alarm with good intent following three call outs on Strangford Lough for the station’s volunteer lifeboat crew.


Portaferry RNLI

The first call out came at 1.03am yesterday morning (Saturday 28 May) when a spoken word Mayday was picked up by Belfast Coastguard that there was an incident on Strangford Lough. There were no other details provided.

The inshore lifeboat helmed by Chris Adair and with three crew members onboard, launched and began a search of the Portaferry shoreline. The Coastguard helicopter, Rescue 199 from Prestwick was also tasked.

Weather conditions at the time were described as a Force One north westerly wind with a calm sea state and good visibility.

After three hours of searching and with nothing found, the lifeboat was stood down. The incident was declared a false alarm with good intent.

The second call out came at 4pm yesterday after Belfast Coastguard reported that a person on a small punt had got into difficulty in shallow waters. After emerging from the vessel and attempting to drag it to shore the person had got stuck in mud in Cadew bay, south of Whiterock, on Strangford Lough.

The lifeboat helmed by Chris Adair launched and made its way to the scene.

Weather conditions at the time were described as blowing a Force Three north westerly wind with a calm sea state and good visibility.

Once on scene the crew observed that the closest the lifeboat could get to the casualty was one metre due to the low water conditions. Portaferry and Bangor Coastguard mud rescue teams were also tasked and helped bring the person and their boat ashore. Portaferry RNLI was subsequently stood down.

The lifeboat crew were called out once again this morning (Sunday 29 May) at 5.21am following a report that a 30ft yacht with three people onboard that had run aground outside Portaferry Marina.

The lifeboat helmed by Chris Adair and with three crew members onboard launched the lifeboat and went to the scene. Weather this morning was a Force Two north easterly wind with a calm sea state and good visibility.

Arriving on scene, the lifeboat crew assessed the situation and decided the best course of action was to establish a towline and bring the grounded vessel to the nearest safe port at Portaferry Marina.

Speaking following the three call outs, Portaferry RNLI Lifeboat Press Officer Jordan Conway said: ‘This has been a busy weekend for our volunteer lifeboat crew and we would like to commend them and out colleagues in the Coastguard for their efforts in going to the aid of those in difficulty. We would also like to commend the person who raised the alarm with good intent for the first call out. While nothing was found, we would always much rather launch and find nothing rather than not launch at all.

‘As the summer approaches, we would remind anyone planning a trip to sea to always respect the water. Always check the weather and tides before venturing out, always carry a means of communication and let someone on the shore know where you are going and when you are due back. Always wear a lifejacket or suitable flotation device for your activity and should you get into difficulty dial 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard.’


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