The two fishermen were found in their life raft following the sinking of their vessel off the Beara Peninsula, southern Ireland.

The fishermen, who are both in their 40s, were rescued from the Atlantic off County Cork, Republic of Ireland about an hour after raising the alarm.

They were forced to abandon their fishing boat after it began sinking.

Castletownbere RNLI were called out at 4.45am on 9 June to go to the assistance of the vessel which was reported sinking 11 miles south west of Dursey Island on the Beara Peninsula.

The naval vessel LE Orla and the Irish Coast Guard’s Rescue 115 helicopter were also tasked.

On arrival, the RNLI crew found the two fishermen in a life raft. They were brought safely on board the lifeboat and were reported to be safe and well.

At the time of the rescue, weather conditions were described as good with a force three to four wind and good visibility.

The lifeboat arrived back to Castletownbere at approximately 8am.

Speaking following the call out, the Castletownbere RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer, Paul Stevens, said: “Fortunately the weather conditions were favourable early this morning and we were able to quickly transfer the two fishermen into the safety of the lifeboat. Both are safe and well. They did the right thing this morning and raised the alarm when they got into difficulty.”

He said the station’s early morning call out came as the RNLI prepared to launch its Respect the Water campaign today.

“The sea is wonderful but it is also powerful and unpredictable and people need to treat it with respect,” stressed Stevens.

“Each year RNLI lifeboat crews rescue hundreds of people around Ireland but sadly, not everyone can be saved. The real tragedy is that many of these deaths could have been prevented,” he said.

Respect the Water aims to highlight the risk of accidental drowning when people are near the coastline by encouraging safer behaviour both in and around the water.

The campaign is primarily aimed at males aged between 16 and 39 but the same advice is relevant for anyone visiting the coast.

Coastal fatality figures released by the RNLI show that 168 people died through accidental drowning around the coast of the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland in 2015.

The charity is asking people to visit where they will find information on coastal hazards, how to keep themselves safe, and what to do should they someone else end up in trouble in the water.