Portrush lifeboat launched twice in one day

Portrush lifeboat was launched twice yesterday (Thursday).

Friday, 4th June 2021, 10:36 am

Portrush RNLI launched first by Belfast Coastguard at 2.50pm to reports of five paddleboarders in difficulty off Ramore Head.

The ALB was launched at 2.58pm, and due to the fact that the crew had already assembled for some training, they able to launch immediately. The visibility was excellent, with a smooth sea but a strong off shore wind, which made it difficult for the paddleboarders to return to shore.

When the ALB arrived on scene three of the boarders were alongside a local fishing vessel and the crew picked the remaining two.

All five paddleboarders were transferred to the ALB and brought back to Portrush Harbour at 3.28pm

Beni McAllister Lifeboat Operations Manager at Portrush RNLI said: “These paddle boarders were lucky, in that the off shore winds were quite strong and the five paddleboarders were exhausted trying to get back to shore.

“The local fishing boat was on scene and assisted until The ALB reached the scene and that fact we had a crew ready to go, meant we could respond very quickly.

“We would ask anyone going out to check the weather conditions, especially tides and winds to make sure it is safe to go out. Always have a means of communication with you and make sure someone knows when you will be expected back. There is further information on the RNLI website www.rnli.org/safety.”

The paddleboarders are exhausted but well.

The All-weather Lifeboat was then requested to launch again by Belfast Coastguard at 4.25pm to reports of a yacht in difficulty off Benbane Head.

The 28 foot yacht with 1 person on board had sustained a broken mast. The fishery protection vessel arrived on scene ahead of the ALB assisted until the volunteer crew arrived.

Again, as with the previous shout, visibility was excellent, a smooth sea, with a Force 4 South Easterly wind.

Once on scene a RNLI crew member was transferred to the vessel to try to assist the yachtsman to secure his mast.

A towline was then attached, and the ALB towed the yacht back to Portrush. The tow was a slow steady process as the crews were against the tide.

Judy Nelson Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer at Portrush RNLI said: “This has been a busy few days for our volunteers, but members of the public are doing the right thing and ringing the Coastguard so we can be alerted and get out there to do what we are trained to do.

“We are expecting a busy summer and we would ask everyone to observe basic safety instructions when visiting and enjoying our beaches and coastlines.

“Check the weather forecast, tides and the winds, always take a means of communication in a waterproof pouch.

“The RNLI have great information on their web site and we post safety information on our social media pages on a regular basis.

“If you see someone in difficulty please dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard- ‘Better safe than sorry’

“The ALB and her crew arrived back at Portrush harbour with the yacht at 7pm.”