A COXSWAIN from Castletownbere RNLI has been presented with a gallantry award by His Royal Highness (HRH) Prince Edward, the Duke of Kent, in recognition of his lifesaving role in a rescue.
Dean Hegarty was presented with a bronze medal for gallantry for his part in the dramatic rescue of a fishing crew in October 2018.
In the very challenging conditions, the Castletownbere crew saved the lives of six fishermen who were in grave and imminent danger due to their vessel having lost all power after their propeller became fouled on their fishing gear.
Arriving on scene, the lifeboat crew saw that the fishing vessel was located in a precarious position and coxswain Hegarty made the decision not to take the crew off the boat but instead established a towline in breaking 4-5m swells.
With the weather deteriorating, there was only a short window of opportunity to save the men before the vessel would hit the rocks or cliff face and be lost.
With the coxswain skilfully manoeuvring the lifeboat into position and holding it steady in mountainous seas, the lifeboat crew on deck established a tow on first attempt, and they were steered to safety.
Meanwhile, winchman Sarah Courtney was honoured for her role in rescuing seven crew members from the Ellie Ádhamh after it lost power and was in grave danger of sinking, 70 nautical miles west off Bantry Bay near the Bull Rock.
The Bishopstown woman was presented with the CHC Excellence Service Award by the Coast Guard.
The act of bravery occurred on March 27th, 2021.