Six Wicklow lifeboat volunteers have been honoured with meritorious awards from the RNLI Chief Executive, Mark Dowie for their part in the rescue of three fishermen off the Wicklow coast earlier this year.
On Wednesday evening (1st November) Area Lifeboat Manager, Lisa Hollingum presented the commendations to Coxswain Ciaran Doyle, Peter Byrne (Station Mechanic), Carol Flahive, Paul Sillery and Stephen Kenny. Ian Heffernan was unable to attend due to work commitments.
The call out occurred on Saturday 14 January 2023, when Wicklow all-weather lifeboat RNLB Joanna and Henry Williams slipped its moorings at the south quay at 11.30am, following a Coast Guard launch request to investigate reports of a fishing vessel with engine failure off the Wicklow coast.
At 12:15pm the drifting fishing vessel with three crew was located west of the Codling Bank. Weather conditions at the time were sea state rough with a three-metre swell, wind was strong gusting north easterly force 7- 8 at times.
Coxswain Ciaran Doyle conducted an assessment of the vessel which was found to have engine failure. As the vessel had no propulsion and unable to return to port under its own power and with the deteriorating weather, it was decided the best course of action was to tow the vessel back to Wicklow. A towline was established, and course was set for Wicklow harbour at 12.45pm.
Speaking after the callout Coxswain Ciaran Doyle said “We located the fishing vessel drifting eighteen miles north-east of Wicklow harbour, conditions at the scene were challenging, but the crew worked well and had no difficulties preparing a towline. The tow home was slow due to the weather, and we had to adjust the towline on a couple of occasions to suit the conditions.”
The fishing vessel was brought alongside the east pier at Wicklow harbour at 5.30pm and the three fishermen were landed safely ashore.
Speaking after the presentation, Lifeboat Press Officer, Tommy Dover said: “We are extremely proud of our lifeboat volunteers and the commitment they give to the local community. They demonstrated excellent teamwork and skilled boat handling during a challenging six-hour service in poor weather conditions. This recognition by RNLI Chief Executive Mark Dowie is deeply appreciated by Wicklow