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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2012 Please scroll downwards to find date of Service
11 February @ 18:17

Request for assistance withdrawn prior to launch.

Lifeboat crew stood down

14 February @ 20:10

Belfast Coastguard requested the launch of Portaferry Lifeboat to assist two adult males reported to be stranded on Trasnagh Island, Strangford Lough due to problems returning to Whiterock in their dory in the deteriorating weather conditions.

Both casualties were located by the lifeboat crew on the southern end of Trasnagh Island and were requested by the lifeboat helmsman to make their way out in the shallow water in their dory towards the lifeboat which was waiting in safe water just a few metres from the shore.

Both casualties were transferred to the lifeboat and the dory was taken under tow to Whiterock where both casualties were landed to safety ashore.  Portaferry Lifeboat then returned to station

16 February @ 11:52

Mayday distress call heard by Holyhead Coastguard whilst on 24/7 monitoring watch on Ch 16 from a group of four kayakers using their hand-held marine radio to report that one of their group had capsized and they were all experiencing difficulties in reaching safety ashore.

The kayakers had been on passage from Ballyhenry Bay, Strangford Lough, to Port Kelly, Ballyquinton,

Portaferry Lifeboat, Blue Peter V, was launched and proceeded to the Strangford Bar and using the lifeboat's radio direction finding equipment the crew were able to locate the 4 kayakers, in the Irish Sea, 2 miles south-east of the 'Strangford Bar'.

With an ebb tide in the Narrows of several knots and a following fresh to strong north-westerly wind the kayakers had been unable to reach Port Kelly and were quickly swept across the Strangford Bar into the Irish Sea.

Portaferry Lifeboat took all 4 kayakers on board and with one of their kayaks under tow then proceeded to Portaferry were the casualties were landed to safety ashore and given warming refreshments in the lifeboat station.  Portaferry Lifeboat then returned to the casualty area and retrieved the three remaining kayaks that were then taken under tow to Portaferry.

6 March 2012 @ 09:51

Portaferry & Newcastle Lifeboats launched on service in the search for a 22 year old crew member reported as missing from the 89m cargo vessel Fehn Sirius whilst on passage from the port of Belfast, bound Portugal.

The 22 year old engineer was last seen the previous evening at around 21:00 whilst the cargo vessel was on a southerly passage off the County Down coast and was reported as missing at 08:45 the following morning.

Box searches were carried out in the Irish Sea in rapidly deteriorating weather conditions from an area off Portavogie to that south of Dublin Bay, by the Portaferry, Newcastle and Arklow lifeboats.  Extensive air searches also carried out by a Royal Navy SAR helicopter from Prestwick and two Irish Coast Guard SAR helicopters.  The Irish Navy vessel, the LE Ciara and the missing seaman's cargo vessel, the Fehn Sirius, were also involved in the sea searches.

Following several hours of unsuccessful searches over hundreds of square miles the search for the missing crewman was scaled down.

Portaferry Lifeboat released and returned to station

25 April 2012 @ 12:09

Portaferry Lifeboat launched to search for a kayak with 2 persons on board, reported as potentially overdue.

Information received from a concerned member of the public that the kayak had left Kircubbin Bay the previous evening with 2 persons on board and that the occupants had not returned to their parked vehicle in Kircubbin by the morning (25 April).

Following a search by the lifeboat in the southern area of Strangford Lough, both persons were found safe and well with their kayak on Salt Island, off the south-eastern coastline of the Quoile River estuary.

Lifeboat returned to Station.

6 April 2012 @ 17:16 Portaferry Lifeboat crew paged by HM Coastguard but stood down prior to launch.
21 April 2012 @ 17:56

Portaferry Lifeboat crew paged to assist a yacht reported aground on Skate Rock on an ebb tide.

Crew were stood down prior to launch by HM Coastguard.  Skipper on board the yacht did not require the assistance of the lifeboat.

Vessel successfully refloated on the next flood tide.

22 April 2012 @ 12:14

Portaferry Lifeboat launched following reports of a 14ft yacht tender adrift in the Strangford Narrows.

Lifeboat crew recovered an empty punt off Ballyhenry Point and towed it back to the owner's yacht.

24 April 2012 @ 22:10

HM Coastguard received reports from a concerned member of the public that an adult male was attempting to leave Cloughey Bay in a 8ft punt, bound for Portavogie.

Portaferry Lifeboat launched and HM Coastguard team from Portaferry were dispatched by road to the area.

Coastguards located the adult male and were fortunately successful in persuading him to return home by road, rather than by sea

Portaferry Lifeboat, on passgage to the area, was stood down and returned to station

27 April 2012 @ 23:05

Lifeboat launched on request of Belfast Coastguard following a 999 call from a member of the public reporting the sighting of red flares between Ringhaddy and Whiterock, Strangford Lough.

Lifeboat crew carried out a thorough search of the sea area whilst a Coastguard team carried out a shore search assisted by the informant.

Nothing found and lifeboat returned to station.

29 April 2012 @ 13:06

The Lifeboat Operations Manager was in the Lifeboat Station when he received a call from a lifeboat crew member reporting that a yacht appeared to be in difficulty off Chapel Island, Strangford Lough.

The LOM immediately paged the lifeboat crew and the lifeboat, Blue Peter V, arrived off the casualty vessel within 10 minutes.

HM Coastguard teams from Portaferry and South Down were tasked to the area and an Irish Coast Guard SAR helicopter was initially requested to standby but was later stood down as not required to assist.

Shortly before the arrival of the lifeboat, the 36ft yacht, with 9 persons on board, had gone aground just before low water off Chapel Island in strong to gale force northerly winds with a headsail and spinnaker flying, resulting in the vessel being driven further and further ashore in the surf.  The crew of the yacht were eventually successful in releasing the headsail and spinnaker but not before the hull had been breached. They decided to abandon the grounded vessel and were able to make their way to safety ashore in the shallow water onto Chapel Island.

On the arrival of Portaferry Lifeboat off Chapel Island, one of the lifeboat crew entered the water and made her way ashore where she was able to establish that all 9 of those on-board the stricken vessel were safely ashore and un-injured.

Earlier attempts by coastguards and lifeboat crew to communicate with the striken vessel by marine VHF radio during the incident had been unsuccessful.  Communications were later established via mobile telephone.

A coastguard team then escorted the survivors off Chapel Island to the mainland prior to them being cut-off by the rising tide.

Portaferry Lifeboat then returned to station.

16 May 2012 @ 19:36

Belfast Coastguard received a report from a member of the public that a yacht was adrift in the Narrows off Ballyhenry Bay, Strangford Lough.

Portaferry Lifeboat launched and recovered a 35ft yacht.

Yacht taken under tow and secured to moorings in Ballyhenry Bay and owner notified by HM Coastguard.

Portaferry Lifeboat returned to station

29 May 2012 @ 13:21

Belfast Coastguard received a report from a member of the public that a visiting yacht had been anchored for several days between Conly and Darragh Island, Strangford Lough, without any signs of life onboard except for a cabin light being visible at night.

Portaferry Lifeboat launched to check out the safety of any persons on board the 30ft ketch.  Two persons were found on board and both were safe and well.

Lifeboat returned to station..

7 July 2012 @ 15:08

Lifeboat launched at the request of Belfast Coastguard following an ambulance control report that a man had been injured after falling on rocks in a remote area 1.3 NM North of Ardglass, close to Sheepland Harbour, County Down.

The man was reported to have fallen into the sea during the accident but he had been retrieved by others on the shore.  

On the arrival of the 'Blue Peter V' lifeboat it was decided that the evacuation of the casualty by sea was inadvisable due to the severity of the man's injuries and an Irish Coast Guard SAR helicopter from Dublin was tasked to the area.  Additional oxygen required and a cylinder was suppiled to paramedics from the lifeboat.  On arrival in the area of the ICG SAR helicopter an orange smoke flare was used to guide the helicopter to a safe landing area.

The injured man was then airlifted by the SAR helicopter and flown to a landing area at Musgrave Park Hospital, Belfast from where the casualty was transferred by ambulance to the Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast.

Portaferry Lifeboat was then stood down and returned to station at 17:39

8 July 2012 @ 15:10

Portaferry Lifeboat crew had just completed an exercise and were in the lifeboat station when they were paged by Belfast Coastguard to assist a becalmed 10.5M yacht with engine difficulties, reported to be 8.5NM south-east of Ardglass, County Down with three persons on board.

Portaferry Lifeboat was launched on service and proceeded towards the reported position. Whilst on passage to the casualty, communications were lost with Belfast Coastguard south of Strangford Lough and were then re-established through Liverpool Coastguard.  Visibility in the area was deteriorating.  

Communications with the casualty and Belfast Coastguard remained difficult and with the assistance of Liverpool Coastguard and on-board radio direction finding equipment it was established that the yacht's position was significantly different from that first reported and was 10NM west of the lifeboat's position at that time.

The casualty vessel was quickly located in the new position when a tow line was established and the yacht was taken to Ardglass Marina where 3 persons were landed to safety ashore.

The lifeboat was refuelled at Ardglass Marina when an awaiting relief crew from Portaferry took command and the initial lifeboat crew returned to Portaferry by road and the Strangford Ferry.

The lifeboat then returned to the station, arriving at 18:45

13 July 2012 @ 01:59

Portaferry Lifeboat, Blue Peter V, launched on service following reports from Belfast Coastguard that a rigid hulled inflatable boat (RhIB) had been in collision with a yacht off Killyleagh, County Down.  Both vessels reported to be in danger of sinking due to the impact.

On arrival of the Portaferry Lifeboat, two men were found to be aboard the RhIB, one of who had appeared to have sustained a minor head injury.  No one was found to be aboard the moored yacht.

The injured male was then taken by lifeboat to safety at a quay at Killyleagh from where he was to be transported by a friend to hospital for observation.

The lifeboat crew then returned to the casualty area and checked that both vessels were afloat and secured to moorings before returning to the lifeboat station, arriving at 03:30.

14 July 2012 @ 10:09

Portaferry Lifeboat, Blue Peter V, launched to assist a yacht off Killard Point with two persons on board. 

Yacht had lost engine power at the entrance to Strangford Lough prior to high-water Strangford and the skipper was able to anchor, approx 0.5NM North of Killard Point. to avoid being carried into danger by the strengthening current of the ebb tide.

Coastguards on the shore maintained a watch on the anchored vessel until the arrival of the lifeboat when the yacht was taken under tow to Portaferry Marina where two persons were landed to safety ashore.

23 July 2012 @ 20:00

Lifeboat crew were on exercise off Ballyhenry Bay, Strangford Lough, when they were approached by a 5.5m RhIB with 2 persons on board requesting assistance in returning to Kircubbin due to the foggy conditions.

Lifeboat escorted the RhIB to Kircubbin Bay and returned to station at 20:40

27 July 2012 @ 11:16

Portaferry Lifeboat, Blue Peter V, launched on service following a 999 call received by HM Coastguard requesting immediate assistance, from a 38ft yacht, aground on the Skate Rock, Strangford Lough, with 2 adults and 1 child on board.

Portaferry Lifeboat arrived with the casualty vessel 10 minutes later. Winds in the area were NW - F5 to F6

Attempts to pull the yacht off the Skate Rock were unsuccessful and the vessel's anchor was then taken into deep water and deployed to secure the yacht when refloating on the following flood tide.  A child was then transferred to the lifeboat from the yacht and taken to the Killyleagh Yacht Club where she was landed to safety ashore into the care of a relative.

The lifeboat then returned to the grounded yacht to confirm that the two men aboard were happy to remain with the vessel until it refloated on the flood tide.

Portaferry Lifeboat returned to Station, arriving at 13:00

7 August 2012 @ 18:50

999 call received by Belfast Coastguard from a person reporting a yacht aground southwest of Kircubbin, Strangford Lough.

Portaferry Lifeboat launched on service and located a 35ft yacht aground on the South Rock, Strangford Lough, with 2 personsl on board.  The owner of the yacht indicated that he was happy to remain with the yacht until it refloated on the following flood tide.  

The lifeboat crew deployed the vessel's anchor in deep water prior to returning to the lifeboat station at 20:10.

8 August 2012 @ 03:06

Portaferry Lifeboat crew paged by Belfast Coastguard following a report from the skipper of the yacht that had gone aground the previous evening on the South Rock, Strangford Lough, that his yacht was taking in water.

On the arrival of the lifeboat with the casualty it was ascertained that the ingress of water had become less serious.

Portaferry Lifeboat remained with the grounded yacht until it had refloated off the South Rock and then escorted the vessel and the two persons on board to safety at the quay at Portaferry, arriving at 06:00.

18 August 2012 @ 14:35

Belfast Coastguard contacted the lifeboat station's LOM following a request by police for assistance in recovering the body of an adult male.  The man's body had been found earlier by persons who were on board a RhIB off Sheepland Harbour, near Ardglass, County Down.

Lifeboat crew paged and Portaferry Lifeboat was launched on service.

The man's body was recovered from the sea by the lifeboat crew and taken ashore at Ardglass where the remains were transferred into the care of police.

Portaferry Lifeboat returned to station at 16:25.

13 September 2013 - Following an inquest held at Belfast Coronor's Court the deceased was named as Fergal Kavanagh, a 54 year old man from Dublin.  

13 September 2012 @ 20:59

HM Coastguard received 999 call reporting a group of 5 kayakers were overdue at Whiterock, Strangford Lough.  

Portaferry Lifeboat launched in fresh to strong westerly winds and proceeded to search from Pawle Island, heading North through Ringhaddy Sound towards Whiterock Bay.

Coastguard shore team reported that kayakers had returned safely to Whiterock at 21:40 and Portaferry Lifeboat stood down and returned to station at 22:20.

30 September 2012 @ 17:21

Three crew members were at the Lifeboat Station when one of them noticed a 30ft motor boat aground at Church Point, on the southern side of the Strangford Narrows, opposite the Lifeboat Station.

Following discussions between the Station LOM and Belfast Coastguard it was agreed to launch the lifeboat immediately and to alert the local coastguard unit.

On the arrival of the Lifeboat with the casualty vessel within five minutes, it was found to be aground and surrounded by rocks with a strong 3-4 knot current running through. (The vessel had suffered engine problems earlier that may have led to its grounding) Two of the lifeboat crew then entered the water to assist in bringing the lifeboat alongside the casualty vessel.

The three men aboard the casualty vessel were then taken on board the lifeboat and transferred to safety ashore at Portaferry.

The lifeboat returned to station at 18:00

17 Dec 2012 @ 00:24

Portaferry and Newcastle lifeboats launched to go to the assistance of a 54ft fishing vessel, the Supreme, with engine problems, located 1 nautical mile southeast of Ballyquinton Point with 4 persons on board. Vessel on passage from Ardglass to the Clyde.

Portaferry Lifeboat, 'Blue Peter V', was launched at 00:32am and the Newcastle Lifeboat shortly afterwards.

The crew of the fishing vessel attempted to anchor after the engine failure but on the arrival of the Portaferry Lifeboat it was found that the vessel was drifting. A line was then secured between the casualty vessel and the Portaferry Lifeboat to prevent the fishing vessel being carried towards the shore or into the Strangford Narrows on the flood tide. Shortly afterwards all electrical power was lost by the fishing vessel.

The Newcastle Lifeboat arrived on scene shortly before 2:00am when a tow line was established and the fishing vessel was then taken towards Ardglass accompanied by the Portaferry Lifeboat.

On arrival off Ardglass the Portaferry Lifeboat secured a stern line to the fishing vessel to assist the Newcastle Lifeboat in taking the casualty safely into Ardglass Harbour.

4 persons were landed to safety ashore.

Both lifeboats were released from service and returned to their stations.


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