Clifden RNLI answered a number of shouts over the last few weeks, leading the station’s safety officer to reemphasise the importance of taking precautions before heading out on the water.
On Saturday July 6 the crew answered two separate calls. At approximately 1.28pm the all weather lifeboat Fisherman’s Friend was tasked to assist with a medical evacuation from Inishbofin. The lifeboat set off under command of coxswain David Barry with mechanic Andrew Bell and navigator Alan Pryce alongside crew Chris Nee and Alvin Bell.
The Coastguard Helicopter R118 ultimately airlifted the casualty to Castlebar hospital and the lifeboat wasn’t required for the medivac.
Soon after one launch came another. This time, the Coast Guard requested the call out to reports of two persons ‘potentially cut off by the tide’ on Arduillean island, in Mannin Bay.
Clifden Lifeboat Operations Manager John Brittain tasked the station’s Atlantic 85 to respond. The quick response from the Atlantic 85 had the crew on scene within 10 minutes, where they quickly established that this had been a false alarm with good intent. The persons on the island were safe and well, and had a boat to return ashore after their trip.
Assisting at the station for both launches were Neil Gallery, Kenny Flaherty, Ian Shanahan and James Mullen. Speaking after the second launch, volunteer coxswain and helm Alan Pryce said: ‘The dedication and selflessness of the crew is really evident during the busy summer period, where they literally drop everything to respond to the call, to launch the lifeboats, and to assist as best they can.’
This had been in evidence on June 24, when the pagers sounded and the crew launched in response to reports of two broken-down jet skis between Inishbofin and Cleggan with three people on board.
Weather conditions were favourable at the time and the Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat launched at 9.12pm, under helm Daniel Whelan and crew members Chris Nee, Owen Hayes and Ian Shanahan on board.
On arrival at the scene, they found that one jet ski had broken down and when the other one had attempted to tow it, the rope had become tangled in the second jet ski’s impeller, leaving both watercraft disabled.
With darkness falling, the friends alerted the Coast Guard by mobile phone, and once the lifeboat arrived in scene they towed them both safely back to Derryinver Pier (pictured).
Clifden RNLI community safety officer Miryam Harris said after the launch: ‘This shout shows the importance of carrying a means of contacting the rescue services in case of emergencies, in this case a mobile phone.
‘With a busy summer ahead it is worth reminding all water users to wear a personal flotation device, check their equipment, always carry a means of calling for help on your person in a waterproof cover, and let someone know when you expect to return.’