Drama on our seas: Wicklow lifeboat heroes pull off four rescue missions in 24 hours
Heroic Wicklow lifeboat volunteers responded to no fewer than four separate incidents during an action packed 24-hour period over the weekend.
The first callout on Saturday afternoon saw the inshore and all-weather lifeboat diverted from a crew exercise after they were alerted by the Coast Guard that a jet ski was in difficulty off Brittas Bay.
When they arrived at the scene they found two men on a drifting jet ski with engine failure one mile out to sea from the beach. They men were transferred onto the all-weather lifeboat and landed safely at Potter’s Point while the inshore lifeboat towed the jet ski ashore.
At around 3.25am on Sunday morning the all-weather lifeboat joined Arklow lifeboat in a combined operation to assist a solo sailor on a yacht.
Initial reports indicated the yacht’s position was a few miles north of Arklow port, but it was actually located by about two miles south of the Horseshoe Buoy near Wicklow head.
An RNLI spokesperson said: “The eight-metre yacht was fouled in ropes and unable to make any headway. Conditions on scene were sea state slight with wind north west force three. Arklow lifeboat transferred a crew member onto the yacht to assist the sailor and free the obstruction from the prop. A towline was established with Wicklow Lifeboat before 4am and the stricken yacht was towed back towards Wicklow harbour. The vessel alongside the South Quay shortly before 6am and landed the solo sailor safely ashore.”
The third callout came two and a half hours later on Sunday morning. The all-weather lifeboat was launched at 8:39am after the RNLI received reports that an 11-metre fishing vessel had gotten into difficulty near the Six Mile Point.
The lifeboat found the fishing vessel 20 minutes after launching seven miles north of Wicklow harbour.
The RNLI spokesperson said: “The vessel with three fishermen had developed mechanical problems and was unable to return to the harbour under power. Conditions in the area were visibility fair with moderate sea and wind north east force three. The trawler was taken in tow back to Wicklow harbour and the lifeboat crew brought it alongside the South Quay just after 10am.”
The fourth and final callout came after 2pm on Sunday afternoon when the all-weather lifeboat had to divert from another crew exercise to help a yacht difficulty four miles off the harbour. The yacht was brought safely alongside the East pier a short time later.
Wicklow Lifeboat press officer Tommy Dover said: “It was an extremely busy weekend for Wicklow RNLI as we also resumed crew training this weekend since the Covid-19 restrictions curtailed all training earlier this year. Between the crew exercises and callouts nearly all of our volunteers were involved over the weekend and it was a milestone for trainee Ger Kennedy, who completed his first ‘shout’ on the all-weather lifeboat.”