At 1.40pm today (Saturday 31 December) Newcastle RNLI was requested by Belfast Coastgaurd to launch to the aid of what was believed to be a dinghy in trouble a half mile south of Newcastle harbour. However when the inshore lifeboat arrived on scene the crew discovered that the callout was to three kayakers in trouble, with one man found clinging to a kayak in the freezing water and unable to get to safety.
Lifeboats have been stationed in Dundrum bay for over 180 years and the crews have been honoured with 36 awards for gallantry. The RNLI's Newcastle Lifeboat Station was opened in 1854 following numerous wrecks (including the stranding of the Great Britian in 1846). The Earl of Annesley MP paid for the boathouse. The station operates two lifeboats – an inshore D class lifeboat and an all-weather Mersey class lifeboat.