Portaferry Lifeboat - Rescues
RNLI Lifeboat House, The Strand, Portaferry, Co Down, Northern Ireland

Portaferry lifeboat crew working with coastguard and ambulance personnel

Rescue & Service Records

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2003 2002 2001 2000
2016 Please scroll downwards to find date of Service
2 January @ 21:22

Belfast CGOC requested launch following information from local police that a person had gone missing in the area around Kearney Village.

Portaferry Lifeboat launched on service.

Whilst on way to search the sea area off Kearney Village the missing person was found safe and well.

Portaferry Lifeboat returned to station at 22:10

10 January @ 11:56

Launch request received by the station's LOM from Belfast CGOC who reported that they had received information from police and a member of the public that a dog had been sighted on Rough Island, Strangford Lough, raising some concerns as there had been no sightings of an owner.

Portaferry Lifeboat launched on service and proceeded to Rough Island.

On arrival of the lifeboat at Rough Island it was reported that the dog's owner had been located on the mainland.

Following a search of Rough Island by the lifeboat crew the dog was quickly located but prooved to be somewhat unfriendly.  The lifeboat then proceeded ashore to collect the dog's owner.  

When suitably attired with a life-jacket the dog's owner was transported by the lifeboat to Rough Island when the dog and its owner were reunited and then brought ashore.

Portaferry Lifeboat returned to station at 13:21

23 January @ 21:33

Lifeboat launched on service following reports that several persons on board a 5.5m RhIB might be in difficulty.

Various searches carried out in darkness within Strangford Lough for 2 hours but lifeboat not required as an abandoned RhIB was located ashore at Killyleagh.

Portaferry Lifeboat returned to station at 23:40.

13 February @ 18:41

Immediate launch requested by Belfast CGOC to a 11m sea-angling vessel in a reported position less than 1nm east of Guns Island with engine failure and in on-shore winds.  Four persons on board.

Portaferry Lifeboat launched on service but whilst on passage to the casualty position the position given by the casualty vessel was revised to a new location approximately 10nm southeast of St John's Point, a considerable distance further from the initially advised position.

A request was then made for the assistance of the Newcastle all-weather lifeboat which was immediately launched on service.

Whilst crossing the Strangford Bar in fresh to strong east to north-easterly winds, 8m high and confused seas were experienced by the portaferry lifeboat crew and 6m high seas thereafter, greatly reducing the best service speed of the lifeboat from 35 knots down to 10 to 12 knots.  

Whilst continuing on passage to the casualty there were concerns when the lifeboat's port engine started to show signs of overheating.  With the imminent arrival of the Newcastle all-weather lifeboat with the casualty the Portaferry Lifeboat was stood down when approximately 3nm from the casualty vessel's position.

Newcastle all-weather lifeboat arrived with the casualty vessel and took it under tow to Ardglass harbour where 4 persons were landed to safety ashore.

Portaferry Lifeboat returned to station at 20:45

18 February @ 18:38

Request received from Belfast CGOC to assist a 11m sea-angling vessel somewhere in an area off the entrance to Strangford Lough.  Vessel reported to have lost drive. Two persons on board.

Portaferry Lifeboat launched on service.

Search commenced at the entrance to Strangford Lough..  Location of casualty vessel unclear due to the position initially reported to Belfast Coastguard.

A mobile coastguard search team from Portaferry then proceeded to high ground several miles north of Ballyquinton Point and put up a white illuminating parachute flare.

Sighting of the flare confirmed by the casualty vessel as being south of their location.

Portaferry lifeboat crew commenced a search northwards from the Bar Pladdy Buoy and about ten minutes later spotted navigation lights of a vessel close inshore at South Bay.

Casualty vessel was located in South Bay about three miles south of where the coastguard team had launched their parachute flare.

Casualty vessel then taken under tow to Strangford harbour where two persons were landed to safety ashore.

Portaferry Lifeboat returned to station at 20:35.

8 March @ 12:23

HM Coastguard advised by two persons camping on Boretree Island, Strangford Lough that they were stranded.

Portaferry Lifeboat launched to investigate.

On arrival off Bortree Island it was established that the two male campers had been stranded on the largest island after their kayak had drifted off.

Both males and their equipment were taken on board the lifeboat and landed to safety ashore at Newtownards Sailing Club.

Portaferry Lifeboat returned to station at 14:05

9 April @ 16:14

Lifeboat crew paged by Belfast Coasguard following a 999 call from a dive-master reporting that one diver in the group had failed to surface following a dive in Ringhaddy Sound, Strangford Lough..

Portaferry Lifeboat launched on service and proceeded to Ringhaddy Sound. HM Coastguard teams and the Irish Coast Guard SAR helicopter R116 also tasked to the area.

On the arrival of Portaferry Lifeboat in Ringhaddy Sound the crew were alerted by a member of the public who advised that the missing diver had surfaced and had been assisted ashore by a small craft.

The casualty diver advised the lifeboat crew that he did not feel unwell but following advice received from the duty hyperbaric doctor of Aberdeen Royal Infirmary it was decided that the Irish Coast Guard SAR helicopter should continue on its flight path towards Ringhaddy where the casualty could be assessed by the on-board paramedic for any signs of decompression illness..

A landing site was secured by coastguards and after the SAR helicopter had landed the casualty diver was assessed by the helicopter's paramedic.

After discussions with the casualty diver it was decided to stand down all the emergency response services.

Portaferry Lifeboat returned to station at 17:25

17 April @ 12:19

Belfast CGOC received a request for assistance on VHF Ch16 from a 36ft angling vessel in a position south east of the South Rock with engine problems. 3 persons on board.

Portaferry Lifeboat launched on service and after locating the casualty vessel it was ascertained that following a changeover of fuel tanks that the vsssel's batteries had become discharged during attempts to restart the engine.

The casualty vessel was then taken under tow to Portavogie Harbour where 3 persons were landed to safety ashore with the assistance of local coastguards .

Portaferry Lifeboat returned to station 14:30

30 April @ 09:14

9m yacht reported to Belfast CGOC that they were aground on the Long Rock, Strangford Lough.  2 persons on board.

Belfast CGOC requested immediate launch.

Portaferry lifeboat launched on service and proceeded to the casualty vessel's position off the Long Rock.

Tow line attached by the lifeboat crew and the casualty vessel was then towed into safe water.   

Casualty vessel escorted to a pontoon at East Down Yacht Club where 2 adult males landed safely ashore.

Portaferry Lifeboat returned to station at 10:20.

6 May @ 1859

Belfast CGOC received a 999 call from a member of the public reporting that that they had heard shouts for help coming from the water off Killyleagh, Strangford Lough.

Portaferry Lifeboat crew paged and Portaferry Lifeboat launched on service.

Portaferry Coastguard rescue team also tasked to Killyleagh.  Rescue boat from Killyleagh Yacht Club launched by club members..

Photo: Portaferry RNLI
The recovered inflatable with electric outboard motor                               

Portaferry Lifeboat proceeded at full speed to Killyleagh where shortly before arrival two males had been rescued by the Killyleagh Yacht Club rescue boat.   

One person had been found clinging to the stern of a moored boat whilst the other was holding on to their inflatable dinghy (photo above) that was drifting.

Both persons had been taken ashore to safety at the pontoon at Killyleagh Yacht Club where one was being treated for hypothermia by paramedics. Portaferry Lifeboat remained on scene until services no longer required.

Portaferry Lifeboat returned to station at 20:30.

5 June @ 18:56

Belfast CGOC requested launch following receipt a of a call from a small 5m vessel off Ballyhornan Beach reporting engine problems. Three persons on board.

Portaferry Lifeboat launched on service and proceeded to casualty vessel's position off Guns Island.

On arrival the owner had been able to clean a fuel filter and restart the engine.

Portaferry Lifeboat then escorted the casualty vessel to Ardglass where three persons landed safely ashore.

Portaferry Lifeboat returned to station at 20:00

9 June @ 16:38

Belfast CGOC requested launch of Portaferry Lifeboat following a 999 call requesting assistance to a 13ft dory lost in dense sea-fog in the Ballyhornan Bay area off the County Down coas.

Portaferry Lifeboat launched on service and proceeded towards the search area of the casualty vessel's reported position.

On arrival of the Portaferry Lifeboat in the search area the lifeboat crew began a search around Gunns Island. Search carried out in visibility conditions of only a few meters.

HM Coastguard relayed information from the casualty vessel that those on board had heard the lifeboats's engines passing their position.

Utalising a fog horn and listening for a response the casualty vessel was located on the west side of Gunns Island.

Casualty vessel taken under tow to Ballyhornan Bay where 3 persons were landed to safety ashore.

Portaferry Lifeboat reurned to station at 18:14

3 July @ 21:39

Belfast CGOC requested launch after persons on board a 5m boat with a cuddy had reported that they were out of fuel near Ringhaddy, Strangford Lough..

Portaferry Lifeboat launched on service and proceeded to the search area.

Vessel with 3 persons on board located west of the Limestone Rock.

Vessel taken under tow to the slipway at Ringhaddy where 3 persons were landed to safety ashore.

Portaferry Lifeboat returned to station at 22:35

10 July @ 13:15

Belfast CGOC requested launch following a 999 report of a small boat adrift off Greyabbey and concern that someone might have fallen overboard.

Portaferry Lifeboat launched on service and proceeded to Greyabbey Bay.

On arrival the casualty vessel was well ashore and the lifeboat crew were unable to get close. Portaferry Coastguard shore rescue team attended and reported that the vessel had been anchored and no one was in danger.

Portaferry Lifeboat returned to station at 14:26

29 July @ 14:05

Portaferry Lifeboat crew on a training exercise off Killyleagh when a small inflatable with 3 POB was observed to be aground on the Tower Rock. Person aboard observed to be attempting to start the outboard engine without success.

The helmsman had a discussion with those on board the inflatable and it was agreed that the vessel and occupants be taken to safety at Killyleagh.

Lifeboat crew resumed their training exercise at 14:46

29 July @ 19:45

Lifeboat crew paged by Belfast CGOC following receipt of a 999 call reporting a small boat with one person on board attempting to make headway in strong currents between two islands at the northern part of Strangford Lough Report.

Portaferry Lifeboat launched on service to a position between Mahee and Rainey Island.

Elderly male located by lifeboat crew standing on gabians and holding on to a small dinghy.  He was informed by the lifeboat helmsman that a member of the public had expressed concerns over his safety whilst attempling to reach his yacht in the strong currents.

Following the helmsman being advised that no assistance was required from the lifeboat crew it was decided to standby whilst the gentleman made a further attempt to reach his moored yacht.

With a strong current still running the gentleman's attempt to row to his yacht was again unsuccessful and the lifeboat crew then gave assistance in taking him alongside his yacht.

Portaferry Lifeboat returned to station at 20:45

30 July @ 18:09

Crew paged by Belfast CGOC after receiving a report from the owner of a 10m yacht off the North Rock that he was becalmed and without engine power.

Portaferry Lifeboat launched on service and proceeded to the casualty's location 0.7 miles south east of the North Rock.

On arrival one of the lifeboat crew went aboard the casualty vessel to establish a tow line.

Casualty vessel taken under tow to safety at Portavogie harbour where on person was landed to safety ashore into the care of awaiting coastguards.

Portaferry Lifeboat returned to station at 20:00

2 August @ 21:30

Portaferry Lifeboat crew were returning to the lifeboat station after an exercise when the station's LOM (Lifeboat Operations Manager) noticed a yacht with 5 persons on board struggling to make way against the flood tide after leaving the Portaferry marina and requested the lifeboat crew to investigate.

The skipper of the 9m yacht confirmed that they were having difficulties making way and requested a short tow back to the marina entrance where they were then able to make their own way back to a berth.

Portaferry Lifeboat returned to station at 21:45

6 August @ 19:41

Launch requested by Belfast CGOC following receipt of a 999 call reporting a person falling on rocks and sustaining a head injury at Audley's Point, Strangford Narrows.

Portaferry Lifeboat launched on service and after arriving two minutes later 3 crew went ashore to assist the female casualty.

After assessing the casualty, who had sustained some visible head injuries after a chair had collapsed and who appeared confused with slurred speech, the lifeboat crew dressed the head injury and then fitted a head restraint collar.

Following consultations with Belfast CGOC it was decided it would ne necessary to transfer the casualty to hospital by ambulance or helicopter. As no ambulance was immediately available a helicopter transfer to hospital was arranged and a suitable landing site was then secured by local coastguards.

Some minor delay in landing was experienced owing to sea fog in the area and low cloud conditions over the landing site but the casualty was airlifted to Belfast City Airport where an ambulance was standing by to transport the lady to hospital.

Portaferry Lifeboat returned to station at 21:35

8 August @ 20:38

Portaferry Lifeboat crew on routine training exercise when contacted by Belfast CGOC requesting assistance after a report of a micro-lite aircraft ditching off Killyleagh.

Portaferry Lifeboat crew and a police helicopter began an immediate search off Killyleagh.  Portaferry Lifeboat crew located a weather station type balloon in the water which was then taken ashore to coastguards at Killyleagh..

Nothing else found and Portaferry Lifeboat returned to station at 21:55

20 August @ 13:22

Crew paged by Belfast CGOC following report of orange coloured object floating in the Narrows on the flood tide two of the station's DLA's.

Lifeboat launched and search of the Strangford Narrows carried out.

Orange football found and brought ashore at the ferry slipway in Portaferry.

After discussions with the DLA's it was not the object seen by them and the lifeboat proceeded to continue a search with one of the DLA's on board.

Nothing else found and lifeboat returned to station at 14:50.

Note: Three hours later two crew members of the lifeboat who were returning to Portaferry on board a yacht located a high visibility jacket from the same area that matched the description reported earlier.

28 August @ 01:21

Crew paged by Belfast CGOC following receipt of a call from local police following reports of a young woman in the water at Portaferry.

Portaferry Lifeboat station's LOM arrived at the station to find two lifeboat crew members in 3-4 ft of water and in their Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) dry suits trying to prevent the woman from going out into deeper water.  An off-duty coastguard was also in the water in his clothes trying to assist.

A third crew member was instructed to get into his PPE suit and assist the other two crew members in persuading the woman to get back to dry land and also relieve the clothed off-duty coastguard.

It became clear that the casualty would not leave the water on her own accord and she was taken out of the water by the lifeboat crew into the lifeboat station where she was given blankets and a thermal suit to keep her warm.

Following the unavailability of an ambulance community first responders were tasked to the lifeboat station and following their arrival it was found that the casualty's blood pressure was rising and a transfer to hospital was recommended.

Over the following 90 minutes the casualty became increasingly distressed and she had to be restrained by police on several occasions.

Following the arrival of a family member the casualty eventually agreed to be taken to hospital in a police vehicle at 03:00..

Lifeboat crew who had remained in their PPE suits in case the casualty tried to re-enter the water were then stood down.

11 September @ 18:31

Belfast CGOC advised that a 7m motor boat with one adult male on board had reported difficulties in reaching its mooring and had requested assistance.

Portaferry Lifeboat launched on service in strong and gusty F6+ winds.

On arrival with the casualty vessel off Strangford the lifeboat crew found that the motor boat's propellor had become entangled in another vessel's moorings. The adult male was requested to put on a lifejacket.

Whilst the lifeboat crew were attempting to free the propellor it was discovered that the casualty vessel was taking on water. The casualty vessel was then secured alongside the lifeboat.

In addition, the vessel's skipper started to exhibit the early signs of hypothermia and it was decided, after consultations with HM Coastguard, to request the attendance of an ambulance at Strangford.

Due to the prevailing weather conditions and the strong currents experienced in the Strangford Narrows it was not safe to proceed with the casualty vessel to Strangford harbour and it was decided to go to the ferry slip at Portaferry where some of the Portaferry Lifeboat shore crew were waiting to assist.

On handing over the casualty vessel to the shore crew the lifeboat then made haste to Strangford Harbour where the adult male was handed over to the safety of an awaiting ambulance crew.

Shortly afterwards the casualty vessel sank alongside the eastern side of the Portaferry ferry slip and local coastguards carried out checks for any enviromental damage.

Portaferry Lifeboat returned to station at 20:15

24 September @ 13:29

Portaferry Lifeboat crew paged by Belfast CGOC following reports of a 6m motor boat adrift from its moorings in F7 SSW winds in the Strangford Narrows.

Following reports by the Portaferry Lifeboat shore crew that the vessel had beached and that no-one had been on board the lifeboat launch was cancelled.

The casualty vessel was subsequently recovered by a local vessel and taken under tow to Strangford harbour.

6 October @ 23:58

Belfast CGOC requested the launch of Portaferry Lifeboat following reports from club members at East Down Yacht Club that white flashing lights had been observed in the vicinity of Jackdaw & Chapel islands.

On arrival of the LOM at the lifeboat station he met two persons from the QUB Marine Biology Station who were in the process of recovering their RhIB.  It was ascertained that they had been working in The Narrows area and had been using LED torches. It was thought that this might have been the flashing lights observed by the yacht club members and this was relayed by the LOM to Belfast CGOC.

After discussion with the first informant Belfast CGOC contacted the LOM to advise that the flashing lights that had been observed were in a different direction to that reported to the LOM by the crew of the RhIB.  Belfast CGOC confirmed that their request to launch should proceed.

Portaferry Lifeboat launched and carried out a full search of the area around Jackdaw and Chapel islands.

Nothing was found and the lifeboat was stood down at 01:02 and returned to station.

6 November @ 10:22

Lifeboat crew paged by Belfast CGOC. Person reported in the water at Killyleagh.

Portaferry Lifeboat launched on service and proceeded towards Killyleagh..

Whilst on passage Portaferry Lifeboat advised that one adult male was out of the water and in the care of local police and the Ambulance Service.

Portaferry Lifeboat stood down and returned to station at 10:50

12 November @ 15:21

Portaferry Lifeboat crew were having a training assessment on Strangford Lough when they were contacted by Belfast CGOC reporting a yacht that had sunk between Mahee and Rainey islands.

Portaferry Lifeboat proceeded to the reported position and located a sunken bilge-keeled yacht with only the mast and boom visible above the water.

Further enquiries revealed that the yacht had sunk a few days earlier and this information had not been passed on the HM Coastguard.

After ascertaining that no persons were at risk Portaferry Lifeboat returned to station at 16:30

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