Larne RNLI’s volunteer crew were called out four times over the Easter period to assist people in trouble at sea. The four call outs ranged in seriousness from the lifeboat crew standing by, to bringing a vessel clear of rocks and assisting the crew of a fishing boat run aground. All casualties involved in the call outs were safe and well.
Responding to the first call out on Tuesday (4 April), Larne RNLI’s inshore lifeboat, Terry, launched from East Antrim Boat Club to reports of a capsized dinghy in Larne Harbour.
Launching the lifeboat into a slight sea, arescue boat from the Club had recovered one person from the water and was making way to tow the boat back to the shore.
The second call out on Wednesday (5 April) was a request to launch by Belfast Coastguard to reports of a person in difficulty in the water in the Brown’s Bay area of Islandmagee.
Launching the inshore lifeboat at 2.00pm into a calm sea with good visibility, the volunteer crew were quickly updated that the casualty had made their way to shore safely and were stood down.
The third call out which came on Saturday (8 April) was a launch at the request of Belfast Coastguard to reports of a five-metre RIB (rigid inflatable boat) with two adults and a child on board, that had broken down near to the Gobbin’s off Islandmagee.
It was reported that the RIB had an anchor down butwas drifting towards the rocks at the Gobbin’s cliff path.
Launching the all-weather lifeboat, Dr John McSparron, the volunteer crew made their way to the casualty boat.
When the lifeboat reached the casualties, they were 20 metres from the rocks and drifting closer. The volunteer crew quickly established a tow line with the RIB andbrought them further out to sea and safely clear of the rocks.
Once they were safe, one of the adults onboard was able to start their engine and proceed towards their launching point at Bangor Marina. The all-weather lifeboat provided shelter for the journey until the casualties were able to be handed across to the volunteer crew at Bangor RNLI and their inshore lifeboat, Jessie Hillyard, who continued with the RIB to ensure its safe return to the marina.
The fourth call out took place later that same day andinvolved the inshore lifeboat launching at the request of Belfast Coastguard, to reports of a small fishing boat which had broken down on its way out of Larne Harbour with two people onboard.
The volunteer crew launched the lifeboat at 12:53pm and made their way to the casualty’s location, along from the Chaine Tower in Larne, to discover that the boat had run aground.
After checking that both persons onboard were safe and well and after liaising with the Larne Coastguard team on the shore, it was agreed that a tow line would be established to bring the casualty boat back to the safety of Ballylumford Harbour, where they could be passed into the care of the Portmuck Coastguard team.
Speaking after the busy week, Larne RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager, Allan Dorman said:
"It has been a busy few days for our volunteer crews, but I am very pleased that there were successful outcomes for every call out we attended.’
"Our crew trains regularly in a wide variety of exercises and drills to help prepare for any situation that we may come across when at sea. I am glad that we were able to put these skills to good use over this week.
"Please remember, that when you are going to sea, it is essential that you tell someone of your plans, when you are leaving, when you plan to return and what your planned route is. It is also essential that you carry a means to contact the shore in case of an emergency.
"Also, remember that if you see anyone in trouble at sea to call 999 or 112 and to ask for the Coastguard".