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Ballyholme Rescue Convenor

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Ballyholme Rescue Convenor

On Friday 14th July 2018 a new Rescue Convenor at Ballyholme Yacht Club took command of the club’s famous Rescue Team.

Acting Rescue Convenor, Rory Flannigan officially handed over to the new Rescue Convenor, Oliver Milligan, at a short meeting at the club. Rory had kindly stepped in to fill the gap after the previous Rescue Convenor, Nick Scott, stood down. With thirteen years on the Rescue Team at Ballyholme Yacht Club we asked Rory what the Rescue Team actually does at Ballyholme Yacht Club.

‘The Rescue Team is the back bone of sailing here at Ballyholme Yacht Club. We provide two crucial roles. Firstly, we provide a presence at sea during events so that we can save those who come into difficulties during our sailing, swimming and kayaking events. Secondly, we provide the race management role of Marklaying. It is our job to lay and adjust the racing marks during the sailing, swimming and kayaking events. We achieve this by deploying a type of boats known as a RIB (Rigid Inflatable Boat) onto the race course with sailors on board who are trained in first aid, race management and close quarter driving. As per Royal Yachting Association rules and indeed our own club rules this racing would NOT take place without these volunteers giving up their time. In 2016 the group of ten volunteers spent a combined 23 days at sea providing this service to our fellow members. It is exceptionally good fun and rewarding but also very demanding. The close knit teamwork is what makes it happen! If you are interested in volunteering or knowing more then please speak to our new Rescue Convenor.’

To volunteer and to help out you do need to be a member of Ballyholme Yacht Club and hold a RYA Powerboat Level 2 certificate.

Oliver, aged 19, has been a member of Ballyholme Yacht Club since he was a child and is now following in the footsteps of his father, Robert Milligan, in this role. Rory Flannigan was able to sit down with Oliver after their handover meeting and asked him the following questions:

How long have you been involved in the Rescue Team?

I started as soon as I got my powerboat level 2 at age 12 ( 6 years ago)

What does the Rescue Team do?

The rescue team provides cover for anything from normal club sailing to world championship events. This involves helping sailors with anything from a capsized boat to a medical emergency

What are your plans for the Rescue Team now that you are in charge?

To help the rescue team grow by getting new members into the team, improve communication within the team and to continue the club’s strong reputation within the national and international sailing.

What is the best part of the rescue team? 

The social aspect of the team is strong and we regularly meet outside of just normal sailing times. My most rewarding experience is rescuing a person tangled in ropes from the water who could’ve drowned had their not been a rescue boat there.

Has the rescue team helped you grow as a person?

It has definitely helped my confidence as both part and leader of a team, my confidence, given me useful qualifications and helped me meet new people through the club and events.

What would you say or advise to people who want to get involved?

Don’t be afraid to contact me ( or Ballyholme Yacht Club ( to start getting involved. No previous experience is required as the Club has a host of qualified RYA Powerboat instructors who can get you through the relevant qualifications to start helping out, (for young people this will look great on a CV).

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