Exercise tests man overboard emergency



AN exercise to test the response to a man overboard emergency with Strangford ferry took place at the weekend.

Portaferry lifeboat and the town’s Coastguard team worked with crew from the ferry in an exercise to test the response to two people falling from the ferry during passage between Strangford and Portaferry.

The ferry crew launched their own rescue boat with three crew on board while the lifeboat and Coastguard team were mobilised.

One ‘casualty’ was rescued by the ferry crew while the other was pulled from the water by the lifeboat and taken to shore for casualty care from the Coastguard and RNLI staff. 

The exercise was observed by representatives from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service and senior and principal engineers from the ferry service.


Captain Robert Anderson of Strangford Lough ferry service said the exercise went well and highlighted the difficulty of retrieving a casualty from the water.  

“It was a valuable hour, and good to have co-operation from both the RNLI and HM Coastguard this morning providing a more realistic scenario than our usual drills,” he said. “The ferry crew responded quickly, worked as a team and gained experience.’ 

Heather Kennedy, Portaferry RNLI lifeboat operations manager added it’s important that anyone visiting open water understands the risks of the environment. 

“As we approach the busy summer holidays the RNLI want everyone to enjoy being around the water, but also want to make sure people stay safe and know what to do in an emergency,” she said. 

“Check weather and tide times before venturing out, always wear a lifejacket or suitable flotation device for your activity and always carry a means of communication. Should you get into difficulty or see someone else in trouble, call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard.”