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#RNLI - Lough Ree RNLI was called to assist two sailors when their 17ft Fireball dinghy was holed and began to sink on Lough Ree on Saturday evening (15 July).

The crew of Lough Ree lifeboat The Eric Rowse were alerted by the Irish Coast Guard at 7pm when the sailors called for assistance over their portable VHF radio. 

The Fireball was sinking after the rudder bracket broke away from the hull, causing the buoyancy tanks to fill with water.

Weather conditions at the time was wet and windy, with a Force 4-5 breeze, frequent showers and moderate visibility.

The lifeboat crew were on scene within minutes and recovered the two sailors, who had capsized the boat in order to slow the filling of the buoyancy tanks. 

After establishing that both men were uninjured, the lifeboat crew and the sailors proceeded to turn the dinghy upright and lower the sails, and then towed it to the nearest island.

On reaching Beam Island, the five baled the water out of the dinghy and examined the damage to the hull, before towing the vessel to Lough Ree Yacht Club where it was recovered from the water.

Lough Ree RNLI helm Stan Bradbury said: “We were very happy to assist these experienced sailors when they ran into difficulty on the lake. 

“Equipment failure can, and does, happen at unexpected times; these two had taken the necessary precautions before leaving shore, and followed the correct procedures to achieve a good outcome if anything went wrong.

“Calling for assistance early, before you become excessively cold or tired, is the best course of action if you find yourself in difficulty on the water.”

Saturday’s callout came days after an exceptionally busy week for the Midlands lifeboat crew, in which they assisted 30 people on seven vessels over a five-day period.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - Lough Ree RNLI assisted 30 people aboard seven vessels during an exceptionally busy few days for the volunteers last week.

The crew of inshore lifeboat The Eric Rowse had an early start last on Sunday 2 July when they were dispatched to assist two people on board a motor cruiser aground west of Inch McDermott at 5.40am.

Over the course of the day, the lifeboat crew diverted from the Athlone RNLI River Festival several times to assist a further 16 people and three vessels experiencing various difficulties including running aground, engine failure and running out of fuel.

The lifeboat was called out again on Tuesday 4, Thursday 6 and Friday 7 July to assist a further 12 people aboard three motor cruisers in difficulty.

In all cases, the people on board were uninjured and were brought to safety by the lifeboat volunteers.

Speaking on Friday, Lough Ree RNLI Deputy Launching Authority Billy Henshaw said: “This is the busiest time of year on the lake, and it is great to see so many people enjoying all that Lough Ree has to offer. 

“We would like to remind all users of the lake to ensure they stay SAFE: Spot the dangers, take Advice, inform a Friend of your plans and know what to do in an Emergency.

“It is also important to remain aware of where you are in relation to navigation markers.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - Lough Ree RNLI assisted one man and two women after their boat broke down at the north end of Lough Ree last night (Monday 19 June).

The volunteer lifeboat crew was alerted by the Irish Coast Guard in Malin Head at 11.40pm to assist the speed boat located near Inch McDermott and Ferinch Islands.

Deputy launching authority Matt Harte with shore crew Eamon Flynn and Denis Buckley prepared inshore lifeboat The Eric Rowse for launch with helm Stan Bradbury and crew Kieran Scullion and Tony Diskin on board.

Weather conditions at the time were described as breezy with a Force 2-3 wind with heavy cloud cover, making it challenging for the lifeboat crew to locate the casualty vessel.

Upon arriving near Inch McDermott, the lifeboat crew lit two illumination flares to enable them to locate the speed boat. The three onboard were able to light a small fire to further enable the lifeboat crew to locate them on a rocky outcrop to the western side of Ferinch Island.

Having ensured everyone onboard was uninjured and inspected the boat for damage, a tow line was secured and man joined the crew on the inshore lifeboat to assist with navigation through a small channel to a nearby harbour on the shore.

Speaking following the callout, Stan Bradbury said: “We were delighted to be of assistance last night and would remind anyone planning a trip on the lake to always carry a means of calling or signalling for help. This becomes even more important at night or when visibility is reduced.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#InlandWaters - Waterways Ireland advises masters and users of the Shannon Navigation that a new green conical navigation aid has been placed north of Inch Macdermot Island in Lough Ree between the green perch and the green can buoy, as shown on the guide above.

Published in Inland Waterways

#RNLI - Volunteers from Lough Ree RNLI had a successful training exercise with the Sligo-based Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 118 yesterday (Sunday 11 June).

The lifeboat and helicopter crews came together for a joint training exercise at Lough Ree Yacht Club amid changeable weather conditions, with winds Force 4-6 and frequent rain showers blowing through.

On arrival, Rescue 118 landed at the yacht club grounds where the pilot and crew briefed the Lough Ree RNLI volunteers, after which they invited the RNLI crew, family members and yacht club members to have a tour of the helicopter.

The exercise got underway with the lifeboat crew members being winched between their inshore lifeboat The Eric Rowse and the helicopter. The strong winds enabled easier hovering for the helicopter, and provided the lifeboat crew with an invaluable experience.

Speaking following the exercise, Lough Ree RNLI volunteer deputy press officer Sarah Bradbury said: “Joint training exercises such as today’s allows our crews to develop their skills, work with and share learning experiences with our colleagues in the Irish Coast Guard and most importantly prepare for working effectively with each other when the time comes and we need to help someone in need.”

The exercise came days after a busy bank holiday weekend for the Lough Ree lifeboat, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - A busy June bank holiday weekend for Lough Ree RNLI continued yesterday (Monday 5 June) with the rescue of six people across two grounded cruisers in a single callout.

The lifeboat crew were first alerted by the Irish Coast Guard after 10.20am to two people on board a 25ft motor cruiser that ran hard aground on rocks south of Bantry Bay near the eastern shore of the lake.

Lifeboat operations manager Tony McCarth, assisted by shore crew Denis Buckley and Eamon Flynn, had the inshore lifeboat The Eric Rowse launched and underway in less than 15 minutes, with crew members Kieron Sloyan, Emmet Devereaux and Kieran Scullion onboard.

Weather conditions at the time were calm and dry with spells of sunshine and a light Force 2 breeze.

The lifeboat crew were on scene near the casualty vessel at 11.01am. Due to the numerous rocks in the vicinity of the cruiser, crew member Emmet Devereaux left the lifeboat and waded to the cruiser to check that all onboard were uninjured and that the boat was not taking on water.

After walking the area around the boat, a deeper channel was located to safely tow the vessel to navigable water. The vessel was undamaged and the two men aboard were able to continue their journey north to Lanesborough under their own power.

As the lifeboat departed the scene, the crew noticed a 34ft motor cruiser aground a short distance away and approached the vessel to offer assistance to the two men and two women on board.

The cruiser in this case was not very hard aground and, after performing the usual checks, the vessel was towed to safe water and the four aboard continued their journey north to Lanesborough.

Speaking after the callout, Tony McCarth said: “We were happy to be able to assist both vessels today and to help these six people continue to enjoy their weekend on Lough Ree.

“Navigation markers on the lake are located so that each one can be seen from the one before. If you cannot see the next marker, slow down, check your location on your navigation chart and proceed with caution in its approximate direction until you see it.”

Yesterday’s callout was the third in as many days for the Lough Ree lifeboat, following an assist for a grounded cruiser on Sunday afternoon and a medevac for an island resident on Saturday.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - Lough Ree RNLI assisted two people aboard a grounded motor cruiser yesterday afternoon (Sunday 4 June) on the eastern shore of Lough Ree.

The alarm was raised at 12.19pm when two people on board the 34ft cruiser went aground in St Mark’s Bay.

Lough Ree lifeboat volunteers were quick to respond, with launching authority Billy Henshaw and shore crew launching The Eric Rowse in under 10 minutes with helm Kieran Sloyan and crew onboard.

Weather conditions at the time were breezy with a south-westerly Force 2-3 and occasional heavy downpours.

Upon arrival on scene, the lifeboat crew ensured that the two people on board were uninjured before assessing the boat which was hard aground on some rocks.

A tow line was established and the vessel was towed into deeper waters where the crew once again assessed the boat.

Although the hull appeared undamaged, there were some vibrations on driving which suggested possible damage to the propeller or rudder. A member of the lifeboat crew remained on board with the two people and the lifeboat escorted them to Quigley’s Marina.

The callout came less than 24 hours after the Lough Ree lifeboat assisted in the medevac of an island resident in need of emergency medical care, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - The volunteer crew of Lough Ree RNLI were alerted by the Irish Coast Guard yesterday afternoon (Saturday 3 June) to attend a medical emergency on an island in Lough Ree.

The alarm was raised shortly after 1pm on behalf of an island resident suspected to have suffered a stroke.

Volunteer launch authority Billy Henshaw got Lough Ree lifeboat The Eric Rowse launched and underway within nine minutes. The lifeboat, helmed by volunteer Tom Bradbury, reached the island less than 15 minutes later.

Conditions at the time were mostly dry with occasional heavy showers of rain and a strong south-westerly Force 5 wind with a moderate swell on the lake.

Upon reaching the island, the lifeboat crew assessed the casualty’s condition as not immediately life-threatening, but prepared to administer emergency aid should the casualty’s condition deteriorate.

The crew continued to monitor the casualty until the medevac helicopter Rescue 112 landed on the island a short time later.

The lifeboat crew transferred the casualty to the care of the paramedics, and remained on scene to assist with moving the casualty to the helicopter for airlift to hospital for further assessment and treatment.

Speaking after the callout, Lough Ree RNLI lifeboat press officer Sarah Groarke said: “Our volunteer crew members are trained to assess and monitor casualties and to administer emergency care, such as CPR and oxygen, if necessary.

“We were happy to assist the Rescue 112 paramedics in this case and hope that the casualty will make a full recovery.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - Lough Ree RNLI’s lifeboat crew were alerted by the Irish Coast Guard to two separate incidents on Saturday 27 May.

The first alarm was raised at 11.04am when two people on board a 32ft motor cruiser ran aground north-west of Inchbofin Island, near the eastern shore of the lake.

Lifeboat operations manager Tony McCarth, assisted by shore crew Bernard Larkin and Denis Begley, had Lough Ree lifeboat The Eric Rowse launched and underway in less than 15 minutes with crew members Stan Bradbury, Kieran Scullion and Stewart McMickan on board.

Weather conditions at the time were difficult, with heavy rain and a strong Force 4 breeze from the north-west. Visibility was poor and there was a moderate swell on the lake.

The Eric Rowse was alongside the casualty vessel at 11.31am, with the lifeboat crew checking that all on board were uninjured and wearing life jackets. Once established that the vessel was not taking on water, the lifeboat towed it off the sandy shoal to safe navigable water.

All equipment on the boat was confirmed to be in good working order, and the people on board were able to continue their journey to Lanesboro at the north end of Lough Ree.

The lifeboat crew returned to station at Coosan Point, where the shore crew prepared The Eric Rowse for service once again by 12.30pm.

Less than three hours later, 3.15pm, the volunteers were alerted again – this time to assist eight people aboard a hire cruiser aground north of the Black Islands, at the north-east shore of Lough Ree.

Launch authority Billy Henshaw and shore crew member Bernie Larkin launched the lifeboat at 3.26pm, crewed again by volunteers Bradbury, Scullion and McMickan.

The lifeboat crew reached the cruiser at 3.49pm and proceeded to conduct the usual checks before towing the cruiser to safety. The eight people on board then continued their journey south to Athlone, and the lifeboat crew returned to the station, where The Eric Rowse was reported ready for service again at 4.50pm.

Speaking later on the day, Tony McCarth said: “We were happy to be able to assist in both callouts today and to help these 10 people continue to enjoy their weekend on Lough Ree.

“Heavy rain leads to poor visibility on the lake, which can make locating navigation markers difficult, even in calm conditions. We remind all users of the lake to ensure they check the weather forecast and seek local advice on likely conditions on the lake before leaving harbour.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - Lough Ree RNLI’s lifeboat crew were alerted by the Irish Coast Guard on Monday morning (8 May) when four people and their dog on board a 40ft motor cruiser ran aground on the Long Shoal near the eastern shore of Lough Ree.

The alarm was raised just after 10.30am and shore crew Tony Diskin, Matt Harte, Billy Henshaw and Denis Buckley responded quickly, reading The Eric Rowse for launch in less than 15 minutes with first responders Denis Begley, Stan Bradbury and Emmet Devereaux on board.

A short time later, the lifeboat crew was alongside the casualty vessel, checking that all on board were uninjured and wearing lifejackets.

Weather conditions the time were dry and sunny, with a Force 3 easterly breeze and a slight swell on the lake.

After checking that the motor cruiser was not taking on water, a tow line was established and the vessel was safely towed to deeper navigable water, from where its proceeded under its own power north towards Lanesboro.

Speaking after the callout, Lough Ree RNLI volunteer Denis Begley reminded cruisers on Lough Ree and other inland navigations to consult their charts regularly for rocky places like the Long Shoal in otherwise deep navigable areas.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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