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Displaying items by tag: Lough Derg

On Saturday evening, 7 August, Valentia Coast Guard requested Lough Derg RNLI lifeboat to launch to assist a family of four on a cruiser reported aground close to Terryglass Harbour.

At 8.44 pm the lifeboat Jean Spier launched with helm Ger Egan, crew Joe O’Donoghue, Chris Parker and Ciara Moylan on board. The lake had a moderate chop with westerly winds Force 4, gusting Force 6. Visibility was poor with frequent squalls

At 9:06 pm the lifeboat had the casualty vessel in sight; it was aground on a rocky shore close to Terryglass Harbour. The lifeboat anchored and veered down to the casualty vessel and transferred an RNLI volunteer across, where he reported back to the lifeboat that there were five people on board; a boat owner in the harbour had been transferred out to the casualty vessel earlier when he had seen them in difficulty. All five people were safe and unharmed and wearing their lifejackets.

The RNLI volunteer on board the casualty vessel checked that the vessel was not holed and given the weather conditions, the RNLI helm decided that the safest course of action was to take the cruiser off the rocks and out into safe water.

At 9.42 pm the lifeboat had the cruiser off the rocks and out into safe water, where the drives and rudder were found to be in good working order. With an RNLI volunteer remaining on board and the lifeboat remaining alongside, the cruiser made its own way to the safety of Terryglass Harbour

At 9.52 pm the lifeboat departed and was back at Station at 10.24 pm

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Lough Derg RNLI’s volunteers were called out twice yesterday afternoon (Friday 23 July) to assist two separate cruisers with engine issues as a thunderstorm brewed.

At 3pm the inshore lifeboat Jean Spier launched with helm Eleanor Hooker and crew Keith Brennan, Steve Smyth and Joe O’Donoghue to assist two people on a 26ft cruiser with engine failure southwest of Illaunmore.

The lake was developing a moderate chop as a thunderstorm gathered force directly above and the wind quickly strengthened from Force 2 to 4 as the lifeboat arrived at the casualty vessel with minutes of launch.

Both people on board were found to be safe and well and wearing their lifejackets. One of the lifeboat crew boarded the cruiser to assess the situation but could not determine a cause for the engine failure.

Given the deteriorating weather conditions, with frequent forked lightning, the RNLI helm decided the safest course of action was to take the cruiser and its passengers to the closest safe harbour at Dromaan.

The crew set up an alongside tow, with a volunteer remaining on the casualty boat, while and the helm warned everyone not to hold on to any metal fittings on either boat in case of a lightning strike. The casualty vessel was safely tied in Dromaan Harbour before 3.45pm.

Less than half an hour later, the lifeboat crew had just completed a wash-down and refuelling at the station when they were called again, this time to a 38ft cruiser with four on board that had engine failure northwest of Illaunmore.

At 4.15pm the lifeboat launched to the reported location at navigation mark D where there were five cruisers in the vicinity, none of which matched the casualty vessel’s description. Valentia Coast Guard then confirmed to the lifeboat crew that the vessel has regained power and was making way north at 20 knots, and the lifeboat was stood down.

Liam Maloney, deputy launching authority at Lough Derg RNLI, advises water users to “check the weather forecast for inland lakes and let others know when you anticipate arriving at your destination”.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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As Afloat reported earlier Valentia Coast Guard requested Lough Derg RNLI lifeboat to launch following a Mayday call to assist five people on board a 38ft cruiser on fire, by Castle Harbour, Portumna, at the most northern end of Lough Derg.

When the lifeboat crew assembled at the station, Valentia Coast Guard was informed that three people had been safely evacuated from the vessel.

At 12.16 pm the lifeboat Jean Spier launched with helm Keith Brennan, crew Eleanor Hooker, Joe O’Donoghue and Doireann Kennedy on board. The lake was calm and visibility was excellent.

Aoife Kennedy, Lough Derg RNLI Deputy Launching Authority relayed information from Valentia Coast Guard that the remaining two people had been safely evacuated from the burning vessel. Valentia Coast Guard contacted the lifeboat to request that volunteers check the wellbeing of the casualties.

Rescue 115, the Irish Coast Guard Search and Rescue Helicopter based at Shannon was also in attendance, as was the Killaloe Coast Guard Search and Rescue Boat, based at Killaloe.

The lifeboat arrived on scene at 12.35 pm. The fire on the casualty vessel had taken hold and fire firefighters from Portumna Fire Service were working to extinguish the fire. All four other casualties were safe and unharmed and were being attended to by ambulance crew at Castle Harbour.

As there was a significant risk to the many boat users close by with fuel onboard the vessel, Valentia Coast Guard requested Lough Derg RNLI lifeboat and the Killaloe Coast Guard boat to monitor the scene and request that all vessels maintain a safe distance.

At 1.30 pm, firefighters had managed to put out the main fire, however, the vessel was still smouldering and billowing smoke. The anchor line had burned and the vessel was now drifting into the main navigation channel.

At 2.14 pm, the casualty vessel was relocated to Carrigahorig Bay, where firefighters continued to pump water and foam to ensure the fire was fully out.

Aoife Kennedy, Deputy Launching Authority at Lough Derg RNLI, advises water users to ‘always be alert to the dangers of fire on a boat and always carry a means of communication so that you can call the emergency services for help’.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Five people were rescued from a burning boat on Lough Derg this afternoon (Sunday 18 July), as BreakingNews.ie reports.

A multi-agency response was launched just after midday to reports of the vessel blaze off Castle Harbour, south of Portumna at the northern end of the lough.

On arrival at the scene, the search and rescue teams found that all five occupants of the casualty vessel had been safety evaluated to a number private boats in the area, with another attempting to fight the blaze with a hose.

Craft were advised to keep a safe distance from the burning boat as gas cylinders on board posed a serious explosion risk.

BreakingNews.ie has more on the story HERE.

Published in Rescue
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The Inland Waterways Association of Ireland has alerted members over reports of the invasive quagga mussel in the River Shannon.

The bivalve is said to be “abundant in Lough Ree over a wide range of depths” and has also been found in Lough Derg and the stretch of the Shannon between the loughs.

Similar in appearance to another invasive species, the zebra mussel, the quagga mussel (Dreissena rostriformis bugensis) has spread over a number of decades from its native waters in Ukraine as far as Mexico. It was first recorded in the UK in 2014.

According to Dr Jan-Robert Baars of UCD’s Invasive Ecology (InEco) laboratory and Dr Dan Minchin of the Lough Derg Science Group, the quagga mussel “behaves in a similar way [to the zebra mussel] and is also a filter feeder removing planktonic organisms from the water column. It has a high filtration rate likely to result in further changes to water quality and nutrient dynamics of, in particular, lakes.

“The quagga mussel is likely to compete with the zebra mussel and native species. Having a wide ecological tolerance and suited to Irish climatic conditions, it is expected to become widely distributed in time.

“It appears to have a preference for cooler water and can settle on finer sediments than the zebra mussel explaining its greater abundance at depth in some colonised lakes elsewhere.”

The scientists warn that the species “is likely to be spread by boats to the upper Shannon, and through the Shannon-Erne Waterway to the Erne. It is also likely to be spread overland by trailered craft. Owners of boats should be made aware they could spread this species from the Shannon.”

In addition, the presence of the quagga mussel “is likely to lead to a further surge in fouling and may have additional impacts on water quality and the ecological integrity of Irish aquatic ecosystems.”

The species is currently under a rapid assessment field study by the InEco lab.

Published in Inland Waterways

Insurance woes could mean a popular Lough Derg water park may not reopen, as The Irish Times reports.

Aqua Splash owner Stephen Fitzgerald says the withdrawal of his UK-based insurer post-Brexit has forced the closure of the Co Tipperary facility at “peak season”.

It’s the latest in a series of issues Fitzgerald has experienced getting the park insured since it opened in 2016 including the loss of his original Irish insurer after a claim, and skyrocketing premiums.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Inland Waterways
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A family of four were aided by Lough Derg RNLI after their cruiser ran aground on a shoal south of the Corragheen Islands.

The inshore lifeboat Jean Spicer launched shortly after 6pm yesterday (Wednesday 16 July) and was on scene within minutes to assess the situation of the 36ft cruiser.

One of the RNLI volunteers took soundings as the lifeboat made a "cautious approach" to the cruiser, the Lough Derg station reports. Once the RIB was alongside, all on board were confirmed to be safe, unharmed and wearing their lifejackets.

Once the vessel was checked for damage, it was decided the safest course of action would be to take the cruiser off the shoal into clear water.

Following a final check of the vessel’s steering and drives, the cruiser made its way under its own power to the nearest safe harbour at Dromineer.

Speaking later, Lough Derg RNLI deputy launching authority Catherine Gleeson advised water users to “enjoy Lough Derg and remember to stay within the navigation routes as there are sudden shallows and shoals close to islands and unmarked shores”.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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On Wednesday afternoon, June 30, Valentia Coast Guard requested Lough Derg RNLI lifeboat to launch to assist a young person reported to be semi-conscious on a floating pontoon, by Dromineer Harbour.

At 3.43 pm the lifeboat Jean Spier launched with helm Eleanor Hooker, crew Steve Smyth, Doireann Kennedy and Chris Parker on board. The winds were northerly, light airs. Visibility was good.

At 3.45 pm, when the lifeboat arrived on scene, two Advanced Paramedics from the Ambulance Service, transferred from shore, were also in attendance and had the person in the recovery position. The casualty’s level on consciousness had improved and he was speaking. The RNLI volunteers took a history from the ambulance crew and decided to transfer the casualty to shore immediately, where Dr. Peter Hooker, Lifeboat Medical Advisor, another Ambulance Crew member, and Claire Toohey, Lifeboat Training Co-ordinator, were waiting to receive the casualty.

Once the casualty was handed over to the care of the medical, ambulance and shore crew, the lifeboat returned to Station.

Peter Hooker, Lifeboat Medical Advisor at Lough Derg RNLI, advises water users to ‘ensure you keep sufficiently hydrated and wearing sunblock when out enjoying the water’.

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Lough Derg RNLI launched yesterday afternoon (Thursday 24 June) to assist a family of five on a 30ft cruiser in difficulty by navigation mark G on the eastern shore of the lough.

At 2.20pm the inshore lifeboat Jean Spier launched with helm Eleanor Hooker, Steve Smyth and Chris Parker on board. Weather conditions had a westerly Force 4/5 wind and poor visibility with rain, mist and frequent squalls.

The lifeboat arrived on scene 11 minutes later and found the family on board — two adults, two teenagers and a child — were safe and unharmed and wearing their lifejackets.

An RNLI volunteer was transferred across to the casualty vessel to reassure everyone on board. They also established that the boat’s anchor was holding and evidently stuck fast.

With the weather continuing to deteriorate, the RNLI helm made the decision to take the family onto the lifeboat and transfer them to the safety of the nearest safe harbour at Terryglass.

Christine O’Malley, lifeboat operations manager at Lough Derg RNLI, advises boat users to “ensure your boats and engines are checked and fuelled ahead of your journey”.

The incident was the latest in a busy week for Lough Derg RNLI, with three separate callouts since last Wednesday 16 June for cruisers run aground on the lough.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Lough Derg RNLI launched to assist 12 people on a 52ft cruiser aground inside the Goat Road at navigation mark E on the eastern shore of Lough Derg.

At 6.15pm on Tuesday evening (22 June), Valentia Coast Guard called on Lough Derg’s lifeboat volunteers and the inshore lifeboat Jean Spier launched 15 minutes later with helm Keith Brennan, Eleanor Hooker, Dom Sharkey and Owen Cavanagh on board.

As the lifeboat arrived on scene, at a raised shoal for migrating birds, the crew found the cruise hire company were already present and setting up to refloat the cruiser and stood by.

When the tug had the cruiser off the shoal and in safe water where it was able to make way safety, the lifeboat crew informed the coastguard and were stood down.

The callout was just the latest in a number of incidents involving grounded cruisers on Lough Derg within the last seven days.

Christine O’Malley, lifeboat operations manager at Lough Derg RNLI, advises boat users to “plan your passage, study your charts and don’t stray off the charted navigation routes”.

Skerries RNLI searching the shoreline from Loughshinny to Rush | Credit: RNLI/Gerry CanningSkerries RNLI searching the shoreline from Loughshinny to Rush | Credit: RNLI/Gerry Canning

Elsewhere, Skerries RNLI in north Co Dublin launched on Monday evening (21 June) following reported sightings of red distress flares near Loughshinny.

With nothing found in a search of the shoreline from Rush to Loughshinny, the inshore lifeboat was proceeding towards Lambay Island to search further out to sea when they received an update that Skerries Coast Guard were speaking to a person who was flying a drone in the area.

The drone operator confirmed that he was operating in the area where the flares were reported, and the lifeboat was stood down satisfied that the incident was a false alarm with good intent.

Lifeboat press officer Gerry Canning added: “The crew did get to enjoy a magnificent summer solstice sunset on the way home.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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William M Nixon has been writing about sailing in Ireland and internationally for many years, with his work appearing in leading sailing publications on both sides of the Atlantic. He has been a regular sailing columnist for four decades with national newspapers in Dublin, and has had several sailing books published in Ireland, the UK, and the US. An active sailor, he has owned a number of boats ranging from a Mirror dinghy to a Contessa 35 cruiser-racer, and has been directly involved in building and campaigning two offshore racers. His cruising experience ranges from Iceland to Spain as well as the Caribbean and the Mediterranean, and he has raced three times in both the Fastnet and Round Ireland Races, in addition to sailing on two round Ireland records. A member for ten years of the Council of the Irish Yachting Association (now the Irish Sailing Association), he has been writing for, and at times editing, Ireland's national sailing magazine since its earliest version more than forty years ago

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