Portrush Rocket Life Saving Company
Portrush Rocket Life Saving Company, who were volunteers under Coastguard management, used this Wreck Post on Ramore Head for their quarterly practice exercises (one of which was always carried out in darkness). With the post representing a ship’s mast, a Boxer Rocket (named after the military engineer Captain Boxer) could carry a line up to 200 yards from ‘shore’ to the team at the ‘mast’.
A whip and whip block was pulled to the mast, then a hawser, i.e. a heavier rope, was secured to the whip and hauled to the post. This hawser was untied and secured to the mast above the whip block. When secure the Breeches block was hauled out to the ‘mast’. In a real situation the crew would then be pulled ashore, one by one. The exercise would typically last two hours, for which the members were paid.
Founded in 1822 as a branch of the Revenue Service, the coastguard was transferred to the Admiralty around 1856 and soon their 300 teams around the coast, including the one at Portrush, were performing more rescues than the RNLI, and by the end of the nineteenth century had saved 14,000 lives with their rocket, line and Breeches Buoy.
Although this post survived only until the early 1930s, the Breeches buoy was used until 1988 when it was wholly superseded by the Sea King helicopter which is able to fly in bad weather.
Ref; “Old Portrush, Bushmills and the Giant’s Causeway” by Alex F. Young. p.48.