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Skerries RNLI rescue four people after personal watercraft breaks down

Lifeboats News Release

Skerries RNLI rescued two men and two women yesterday evening (Monday 4 September) after their personal watercraft broke down off Portrane beach.

Skerries RNLI returning the casualties to shore

RNLI/Gerry Canning

Skerries RNLI returning the casualties to shore

Shortly before 6pm, Dublin Coast Guard tasked the volunteers at Skerries RNLI following receipt of a radio transmission that indicated there may be people in difficulty off Portrane beach. The radio transmissions had been weak and were over spoken by other transmissions, however, the watch officers in Dublin Coast Guard accessed their recording system and were able to isolate certain words, including the type of craft and approximate location.

The volunteers Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat “Louis Simson” was launched, and the crew plotted a course for the approximate position provided. Arriving on scene, the crew contacted the Coast Guard and were informed that no further information had been received. They had just begun to search the area when one of the volunteers spotted the casualty a good distance further out to sea.

As they approached the casualty, they discovered that it was a personal watercraft and an inflatable towing ring, with two men and two women on board. All four were taken on board the lifeboat and assessed. Despite being adrift for almost an hour, they were all well, albeit beginning to feel cold. It was confirmed that the craft had suffered a mechanical failure having sucked a foreign object into the propulsion system. The Helm decided to tow the vessel to the nearest safe harbour at the slipway by Rush Sailing Club to prevent it becoming a hazard to navigation.

All four casualties and the personal watercraft were brought safely ashore, and the lifeboat made its way back to Skerries where it was recovered to the boathouse and made ready for the next service.

Conditions at the time were force one to two northerly wind with calm seas and good visibility.

Speaking about the call out, volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer for Skerries RNLI, Gerry Canning said: ‘This was one of those call outs that highlights that no matter how prepared you are, things can and do go wrong at sea. All four were wearing good lifejackets and despite drifting quite a long way out, did the right thing in remaining calm, staying with the vessel and raising the alarm on their VHF. There was some really great work here by our colleagues in Dublin Coast Guard in recognising that the initial VHF call was unusual and following it up to get vital information. It was also great work by the crew on the lifeboat in finding a very small target in quite a large sea area.’

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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