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Displaying items by tag: Lough Ree

The volunteer crew of Lough Ree RNLI were involved in the rescue of 133 people in 42 different incidents on the lake and River Shannon so far this year.

The charity’s volunteers embarked on their first callout of 2022 on the afternoon of St Patrick’s Day and have since gone to the assistance of 40 boats in difficulty on the inland waterways.

Fortunately, all 133 people who needed the charity’s assistance were rescued safely and no injuries were reported.

In the most significant incident, 10 people were escorted to safety when a small boat capsized near the N6 motorway bridge in August, while nine people were on board a cruiser which ran aground on the Hexagon Shoal in June.

Groundings of boats on the Hexagon Shoal accounted for a quarter of all callouts this year.

Speaking at the charity’s headquarters at Coosan Point this week, Lough Ree RNLI lifeboat operations manager Kevin Ganly said: “It appears that the provision of additional markers around the Hexagon Shoal in recently by Waterways Ireland has improved safety in that area of the lake. Nonetheless the charity and its volunteers remain always ‘on call’ to respond to any emergencies.”

The new lifeboat station, which was operational for the first time this summer, has proven to be a particular asset, Lough Ree RNLI says.

In recent weeks volunteer crew from across the Midlands and West have used the facility for casualty care training. The station’s designated slipway at Coosan Point has also contributed to more efficient launches of the charity’s lifeboat Tara Scougall.

The lifeboat station is base for more than 40 volunteers who along with their families generously give of their time and expertise to assist the local community.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

At 9.44 pm (Saturday 13 August) Lough Ree RNLI was tasked by the Irish Coast Guard to assist 10 people on board a speedboat in danger of sinking on the River Shannon near the M6 Bridge in Athlone, Co. Westmeath.

Launched at 9.58 pm under helm Kieran Sloyan the charity’s lifeboat with volunteer crew of Kieran Scullion, Patrick Walsh and Stewart McMickan reached the scene in six minutes.

On arrival at the scene the crew found that the ten people on board had been transferred to another vessel while the speedboat had capsized and sunk.

Lough Ree RNLI lifeboat escorted the vessel with the ten casualties to Athlone Marina, where all were found to be well.

This was the second ‘shout’ of the weekend for Lough Ree RNLI. On Friday last (12 August), the volunteer crew responded to a ‘Mayday’ call from a 50ft. cruiser with three people on board which was experiencing engine difficulties on the northern end of the lake. On arrival at the scene, the stricken vessel was inspected and taken under tow to Lanesboro, Co. Longford.

The rescues this weekend brings to 29 the number of people assisted by Lough Ree RNLI this month.

Lough Ree RNLILough Ree RNLI return to base

Last weekend (Sunday 7 August) the volunteer crew responded to three separate incidents in the afternoon. Cruisers stranded on the Hexagon Shoal and Kings Island, with a total of five people on board, were towed to safe water. In a separate incident a boat with three people on board was towed to Lecarrow, Co. Roscommon having had engine difficulty.

Earlier this month the charity's volunteer crews went to the assistance of boats in difficulty at the Hexagon Shoal, Bantry Bay and Inchmore Island which were escorted to safety.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Waterways Ireland advises masters of vessels on the Shannon Navigation that diving operations will be conducted on the floating breakwaters in four locations between Lough Ree and Limerick from Thursday 11 August until next Friday 19 August.

Masters of vessels are requested to proceed with additional caution in the vicinity of the diving operations taking place at Ballyleague on Lough Ree, Castle Harbour in Portumna and Garrykennedy on Lough Derg, and Limerick city.

Published in Inland Waterways

Waterways Ireland advises masters of vessels on the Shannon Navigation that eight small green navigation markers will be installed at the Hexagon Shoal in Lough Ree from Monday 1 August for a trial period.

Four of these markers will be installed on the north side of Marker 615, with the rest installed on the east side of that marker.

Waterways Ireland also advises boaters to always use an up-to-date navigation guide when boating on the Shannon Navigation.

Published in Inland Waterways

Just after 8am on Monday morning (18 July), Lough Ree RNLI was requested to go to the aid of four people on board a stranded cruiser near Clawinch Island.

It brought to 19 the total number of people assisted across six incidents this week for the Co Westmeath lifeboat station.

The lifeboat crew located the 32ft cruiser which had run aground on rocks south of the island. After confirming that all four people on board were well and following a hull inspection, the stricken vessel was towed to safe water and continued under its own power.

The rocks around the Hexagon Shoal claimed another casualty when on Sunday (17 July) the inshore lifeboat Tara Scougall with her volunteer crew was called to the assist five people on board a speedboat on the rocks.

Launched at 2.42pm under helm Kieran Sloyan, the lifeboat reached the scene in minutes and found that three people had been taken on board a passing vessel while the remaining two were rescued by the lifeboat crew.

The speedboat, which was holed and taking water, was towed to Coosan Point where it was beached.

While this callout was continuing, the lifeboat station was alerted to an incident at Coosan Point where a member of the public had been injured while jumping into the lake. The casualty was assisted by Shane McCormack, a volunteer helm and casualty care specialist.

In a double callout last Thursday (14 July), Lough Ree RNLI responded to a call for assistance at midday to five people on board a stranded cruiser on the Hexagon Shoal. The cruiser was towed to safe water and headed north towards Lanesboro.

While returning from this call, the volunteer crew were diverted to another incident near Inchclearaun where a 27ft cruiser with one person on board was stranded on rocks. Following inspection, the boat was towed off the rocks and continued north.

Last Monday (11 July) Lough Ree RNLI’s volunteer crew were called to assist a 40ft cruiser with five people on board which was stranded on rocks at Kids Island. After safety checks, the boat was towed to safe water.

Following this busy week and weekend on and off the water, Lough Ree RNLI lifeboat operations manager Kevin Ganly appealed for anyone using amenities around Coosan Point to “stay well away from the slipway and launch area for the charity’s lifeboat. At busy times congestion in the area can hamper the launch of the lifeboat responding to an emergency call.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Despite a quiet start to 2022 on Midlands waters, Lough Ree RNLI’s volunteer crews responded to their 20th callout of the year on Saturday evening (9 July) after a request to assist a boat with three on board in difficulty near Beam Island.

Launched just after 8pm, the inshore lifeboat Tara Scougall —under helm Stan Bradbury and volunteer crew Liam Sheringham and Paul Kelly — reached the stricken 28ft vessel in under 10 minutes.

The sailing boat was found to be run aground on rocks at Beam Island. All three people on board were found to be well and after an initial inspection, the boat was towed into safe waters and continued under its own power.

Lough Ree RNLI lifeboat operations manager Kevin Ganly said: “As we move into the busiest part of the holiday season, it is important that everybody who uses the lake is well prepared, has informed family and friends of their itinerary and follow the navigation guidance on the lake. As always the charity’s volunteer crew will be on standby to respond whenever necessary.”

So far this year Lough Ree RNLI has assisted more than 50 people on Lough Ree and the River Shannon. As it celebrates its 10th birthday, the lifeboat station has responded to almost 600 calls and assisted upwards of 1,300 people throughout the decade.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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At a special naming ceremony and service of dedication held today (Saturday 11 June), Lough Ree RNLI officially opened its new state-of-the-art lifeboat station and named its inshore Atlantic 85 class lifeboat, Tara Scougall, in memory of a beloved, daughter, wife and mother. The event coincided with Lough Ree RNLI’s tenth anniversary on the lake.

The honour of officially opening the station went to the RNLI’s Chief Executive Mark Dowie who was visiting from England, while the privilege of naming the lifeboat went to Eleanor and Edward, children of the late Tara Scougall, who the lifeboat is named after.

The privilege of naming the lifeboat went to Eleanor and Edward, children of the late Tara Scougall, who the lifeboat is named after Photo: Tom CunninghamThe privilege of naming the lifeboat went to Eleanor and Edward, children of the late Tara Scougall, who the lifeboat is named after Photo: Tom Cunningham

Tara, daughter of John and Diana, and wife to James, was only 43 when she died prematurely from cancer. She had lived an active life on the water having been introduced to it as a child by her late father John. Tara shared her father’s passion for sailing and for a period, she also ran an online yachting and boating magazine. An avid traveller and explorer in her professional life, Tara was one of a Microsoft team which was responsible for the creation of Expedia. Tara’s father John, meanwhile, received a lifetime achievement award from the RNLI for his work in supporting the charity.

The new lifeboat station at Lough Ree was built at a cost of €1.2m on a site kindly donated by the Inland Waterways Association of Ireland. It has taken just over two years to complete construction. The state-of-the-art facility provides an ideal training base for the volunteer crew and immediate access to the lake for the lifeboat. It replaces the temporary accommodation at Coosan Point where the volunteer crew first launched their lifeboat from 10 years ago on the 28 June. During the last decade, Lough Ree RNLI has responded to over 460 calls for help and brought more than 1,400 people to safety.

Mark Dowie officially opened the lifeboat station before handing it into the care of Damien Delaney, founding member of Lough Ree RNLI who received the keys to the stationMark Dowie officially opened the lifeboat station before handing it into the care of Damien Delaney, founding member of Lough Ree RNLI who received the keys to the station Photo: Tom Cunningham

During today’s naming ceremony, Mark Dowie officially opened the lifeboat station before handing it into the care of Damien Delaney, founding member of Lough Ree RNLI who received the keys to the station.

James Scougall, husband of the late Tara, then handed the lifeboat into the care of the RNLI and having accepted the lifeboat on behalf of the charity, Mr Dowie then handed her into the care of the station where it was accepted by Kevin Ganly, Lough Ree RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager.

During his address, Mr Ganly said the event was a special occasion for the lifeboat station adding that the crew were most grateful to the Scougall family for their generous gift in memory of their daughter, wife and mother:

‘As Lifeboat Operations Manager along with the deputy launching authorities, part of my job is to authorise her launch when requested. It’s my job to send a message to the volunteers, asking them to get down to the station as quick as possible.

‘When the crew arrive here and get kitted up and head out on the lake, we’ll have peace of mind because this lifeboat will help to keep them safe as they save others. On behalf of all the station volunteers, I would like to thank Diana, James, Eleanor and Edward and the late John and Tara. Your generosity has given Lough Ree a lifesaver.’

The Tara Scougall replaces the first lifeboat in service at Lough Ree, the Dorothy May.

‘As Lough Ree RNLI embarks on its latest phase,’ Mr Ganly continued, ‘it’s apt that the volunteer crew on the Lake of Kings will use a lifeboat named after a woman whose first name invokes Tara – the seat of the High Kings of Ireland.’

Father Patrick Murphy and Reverend William Steacy led the congregation in a Service of Dedication before Eleanor and Edward were invited forward to do the naming.

A crowd of well-wishers turned up to see the lifeboat officially named with a bottle of champagne poured over the side before it launched at the end of the ceremony.

Throughout the event, guests were treated to music and song performed by Dermod Foy and P.J Stacey, who together delivered the lifeboat anthem, Home from the Sea and Where the Three Counties Meet. The national anthem was led by the Band 2 Brigade who also led the lifeboat launch at the end of the ceremony with a performance of Zadok the Priest by George Frideric Handel.

Among the guests on the platform party were Mary Hearty, Lough Ree RNLI Lifeboat Administrative Officer, who welcomed guests and opened proceedings, RNLI Chief Executive Mark Dowie who officially opened the lifeboat station and accepted the lifeboat on behalf of the RNLI, Damien Delaney, founding member of Lough Ree RNLI, James Scougall who handed the lifeboat into the care of the RNLI and his children Eleanor and Edward who named the lifeboat, Kevin Ganly, Lough Ree RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager, and Lough Ree RNLI Helm Shane McCormack who gave a vote of thanks and closed proceedings.

The Atlantic 85 class lifeboat was introduced into the RNLI fleet in 2005. The lifeboat is 8.4m in length and weighs 1.8 tonnes. Improvements on its predecessor include a faster top speed of 35 knots, radar, provision for a fourth crew member and more space for survivors.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Waterways Ireland advises masters of vessels on the Shannon Navigation that an Inland Fisheries Ireland fish stock survey will take place on Lough Ree from Tuesday 7 to Saturday 25 June.

Survey nets will be set in up to 100 locations on Lough Ree depending on weather and other factors. All nets will be marked with orange buoys and identified with “IFI Survey” markings.

IFI vessels will be operating by day and night on the inland waterway during the survey.

Masters of vessels are requested to maintain a sharp lookout while underway on Lough Ree and to give all marked buoys a wide berth.

Published in Inland Waterways

During a busy first month at the new RNLI lifeboat station at Coosan Point volunteer crew guided visitors from near and far through the state of the art facility in the first public tours of the base. The panoramic view from the new training room gave a new aspect of Lough Ree to the visitors.

First through the doors ahead of the May Bank Holiday were 18 guests from Moate Mens Shed accompanied by some partners who were greeted by a volunteer crew led by Station Visits Officer Paul Kelly. The group had a first hand experience of the work of the charity when the volunteer crew were called out to assist a stricken cruiser on the lake during the course of the visit.

Early this month a group of 50 secondary school students from northeast France arrived to experience the emergency procedures at first-hand. The group of 15-18-year-olds are part of a second-level French programme at second which prepares them for a career in the emergency services. The visit to Lough Ree RNLI was part of an educational tour to Ireland.

French students in the RNLI lifeboat at Lough ReeFrench students in the RNLI lifeboat at Lough Ree

In recent days a younger generation got their first experience of the charity’s work. Children from Clonbrusk Childcare Centre and first classes from neighbours at Coosan National School enjoyed exploring the lifeboat, trying out some of the gear and even timing themselves in ‘rapid response’!

Station visits officer Paul Kelly said: ‘the charity looks forward to welcoming visitors of all generations to the Lifeboat Station. It is hoped to facilitate a number of visits each month with a waiting list already growing!’

Meanwhile, it has been announced that the official opening of the Lough Ree RNLI Lifeboat Station and the official naming of the charity’s lifeboat ‘Tara Scougall’, had to be postponed due to the pandemic, will take place on Saturday 11 June at 2 pm. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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From Good Friday (15 April) until the weekend just passed the volunteer crew at Lough Ree RNLI came to the assistance of 17 people who encountered difficulties on and around the lake.

Four of the call-outs were to cruisers which had run aground on shoals and rocks in lower Lough Ree.

On the afternoon of Good Friday, the RNLI lifeboat was tasked to the assistance of a cruiser with five people on board which had run aground at the Hexagon Shoal near Hare Island. On Easter Monday (18 April) just after midday the Irish Coast Guard requested the charity’s volunteer crew to assist a 40ft cruiser with five people on board who had run aground in the same area. Easter Tuesday evening (19 April) just before 9 pm saw the RNLI lifeboat ‘Tara Scougall’ and her crew back north of Hare Island to rescue two people on board a stranded 30ft cruiser.

After inspection, all three vessels were towed to safety at Coosan Point.

On Saturday last (23 April) at 11.35 am under helm Liam Sheringham the Lough Ree RNLI volunteer crew were called to assist a cruiser with four people on board who had run aground north of Yew Point. When the lifeboat reached the scene at Hodson Bay one crew member was put on board the stricken vessel to conduct an examination. Following inspection, the vessel was taken under tow to Coosan Point.

As the Lough Ree RNLI shore crew were on their way to assist the recovered vessel moor at Coosan jetty they were called to assist a member of the public who had taken a fall in the Coosan Point amenity area. The casualty recovered following first aid treatment by the volunteer shore crew at the scene and follow-up care at the lifeboat station.

In recent days the Lough Ree RNLI lifeboat crew has been engaged in recovery and towing training, the charity’s volunteer Operations Manager said: ‘While Lough Ree RNLI is always trained, prepared and ready to respond to any emergency at any time I would encourage those using cruisers on the lake to adhere to all navigation guidelines and be aware of hazards that may lie just beneath to surface of the water.’

Ahead of the May Bank Holiday weekend all who use the lake are encouraged to be mindful of taking all the relevant safety precautions.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Coastal Notes Coastal Notes covers a broad spectrum of stories, events and developments in which some can be quirky and local in nature, while other stories are of national importance and are on-going, but whatever they are about, they need to be told.

Stories can be diverse and they can be influential, albeit some are more subtle than others in nature, while other events can be immediately felt. No more so felt, is firstly to those living along the coastal rim and rural isolated communities. Here the impact poses is increased to those directly linked with the sea, where daily lives are made from earning an income ashore and within coastal waters.

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Also focusing the attention of Coastal Notes, are the maritime museums which are of national importance to maintaining access and knowledge of historical exhibits for future generations.

Equally to keep an eye on the present day, with activities of existing and planned projects in the pipeline from the wind and wave renewables sector and those of the energy exploration industry.

In addition Coastal Notes has many more angles to cover, be it the weekend boat leisure user taking a sedate cruise off a long straight beach on the coast beach and making a friend with a feathered companion along the way.

In complete contrast is to those who harvest the sea, using small boats based in harbours where infrastructure and safety poses an issue, before they set off to ply their trade at the foot of our highest sea cliffs along the rugged wild western seaboard.

It's all there, as Coastal Notes tells the stories that are arguably as varied to the environment from which they came from and indeed which shape people's interaction with the surrounding environment that is the natural world and our relationship with the sea.

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