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#InlandWaters - President of Ireland Michael D Higgins has been confirmed as a guest of honour at the World Canals Conference in Athlone this autumn.

“We are honoured that the President who throughout his career has demonstrated his commitment to and love of the inland waterways of Ireland, their history and culture, has agreed to speak at the conference and we look forward to hearing how he perceives the restoration, regeneration and reimagining of the waterways,” organisers said.

There are 53 days and counting till the three-day conference from 10-12 September at the Radisson Blu Hotel Athlone under the theme ‘restoring, regenerating, re-imagining’ — with various tours and sessions designed to inspire and connect delegates coming to the Midlands from all around the world.

These tours include an excursion around Lough Derg, the largest and most southerly lake on the River Shannon, that takes in the 1700s bridge linking Killable and Ballina as well as the Ardnacrusha hydroelectric plant, and will explore the challenges of doubling moorings along an old navigation.

Another technical tour will explore the North Shannon, Lough Allen Canal and the Shannon-Erne Waterway, with a stop at the Acres Lake floating boardwalk and a look at the marriage of modern and traditional locks at Kilclare.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the conference will be preceded by the three-day Shannon Athlone Feastival, highlighting local food producers in an exciting festival atmosphere with rowing, raft racing, a Viking village and demonstrations of flyboarding that wowed the crowds at the recent SeaFest in Galway.

Special rates for accommodation on board luxury cruise liners are still available, as are a range of exhibition opportunities for organisations looking to network with delegates. Details can be found on the World Canals Conference website.

Published in Inland Waterways

#RNLI - Lough Derg RNLI launched to assist two adults on a 30ft cruiser with electrical failure deep in Youghal Bay off Garrykennedy yesterday afternoon, Monday 16 July.

Valentia Coast Guard requested the lifeboat to launch at 2pm to the casualty vessel, which was reported to be on the eastern shore of Lough Derg.

Winds were westerly Force 4 and gusting 5 with frequent heavy squalls, but visibility was good.

The lifeboat launched at 2.10pm with helm Eleanor Hooker, Ger Egan and Edel Knight on board. The casualty vessel was located 10 minutes later and both adults on board were found to be safe and unharmed, wearing their lifejackets, having dropped anchor to prevent drift.

One of RNLI volunteers, a marine engineer, found that the vessel had an electrical fault and prepared the cruiser for tow to Garrykennedy Harbour, where it was safely tied alongside by 3.10pm.

Volunteer helm Ger Egan said: “Given the changeable conditions on the lake today, the skipper did the correct thing to drop anchor and immediately call for help.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - Dun Laoghaire RNLI responded to a yacht with one man onboard on Saturday afternoon (30 June) when the skipper’s engine failed just outside Bray Head.

The volunteer lifeboat crew were called into action at 16.24pm following a report from the Irish Coast Guard.

The yacht was on passage from Arklow when engine trouble flared just outside Bray Head.

As the country is experiencing a heatwave, weather conditions were near perfect with clear blue skies and good visibility.

The lifeboat crew quickly arrived on scene and successfully towed the yacht and skipper, who was uninjured, safely back to Dun Laoghaire Harbour.

Commenting after the callout, Dun Laoghaire RNLI coxswain Kieran Colley said: “The skipper of the vessel indeed made a good decision in calling for assistance. He was also wearing a lifejacket, which I’m always glad to see. I can’t stress enough how important it is to wear one.”

Later that same day, Lough Derg RNLI launched to assist a family of five on a 25ft cruiser with engine failure in Youghal Bay, off Garrykennedy on the eastern shore of Lough Derg.

Winds were northerly Force 1/2 and visibility was very good when the lifeboat launched at 6.47pm, arriving on scene just four minutes later.

The lifeboat crew — helm Eleanor Hooker, Dom Sharkey and Joe O’Donoghue — found the two adults and three children on board to be safe and unharmed, and wearing their lifejackets. The skipper of the cruiser had dropped anchor to prevent drift.

The cruiser had engine failure that required specialist attention and so the lifeboat volunteer took the casualty vessel under tow to Garrykennedy Harbour, where it was safely tied alongside at 7.13pm.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#LoughDerg - Two men are dead after getting into difficulty swimming in two separate incidents on Lough Derg yesterday (Wednesday 6 June), as the Irish Examiner reports.

Emergency services recovered a man in his 50s from the water near Terryglass, Co Tipperary following the callout at around 6.30pm. The casualty, an experienced swimmer who used the lake daily, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Meanwhile, the alarm was raised over a separate incident several miles north in Ballymacegan, where a man in his 40s failed to surface after diving from a river platform with friends.

The Irish Examiner has more on the story HERE.

Published in News Update

#RNLI - A busy Bank Holiday Sunday (3 June) for RNLI lifeboat callouts began just after 9am, when Baltimore RNLI was tasked to a yacht that ran aground upriver from the West Cork village.

The vessel, with two on board, got into difficulty while trying to navigate the River Ilen near Old Court. Conditions at the time were described as good but the tide was falling.

Baltimore’s inshore lifeboat, with helm John Kearney and crew members Ian Lynch and David Ryan, arrived on scene at 9.27am.

After assessing the situation and checking the area around the vessel for any further navigational hazards, a tow was established and the yacht was pulled clear.

There was no apparent damage to the yacht and no injuries to anyone on board, so they continued on their journey down the river and the lifeboat returned to station.

Later in the morning, Wicklow RNLI launched to a 13m fishing vessel that suffered engine failure off the Wicklow coast.

The all-weather lifeboat Annie Blaker, under the command of coxswain, Nick Keogh launched shortly before 11am and was alongside the stricken vessel 50 minutes later, near Bray Head.

Conditions on scene had a sea state slight, with a south-westerly Force 3 wind and poor visibility due to fog.

Two lifeboat crew members were transferred onto the fishing vessel to assist with establishing a towline and assess one of the three fishermen on board, who was found to have sustained an arm injury. He received first aid and casualty care from Carol Flahive and Alan Goucher as the vessel was towed back to Wicklow harbour.

The fishing vessel was brought safely alongside the South Quay in Wicklow at 2pm and the injured fisherman was handed into the care of an ambulance crew.

A third callout was at Lough Derg on the Shannon, where a cruiser with two on board had run aground at Tullabeg over lunchtime.

The Lough Derg lifeboat was on scene within minutes as the crew were already in the area on exercise.

Once established that the boat had no structural damage and the two people on board were fine, the vessel was towed into deeper water to allow its journey to continue.

“With the good weather continuing there are a lot more people on the water,” Lough Derg RNLI helm Owen Cavanagh said. “We would always advise to plan any water-based activity well in advance and if out on a boat to make proper preparations for the trip, including taking the correct equipment and keeping a close eye on the surroundings.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#InlandWaters - A Taste of Lough Derg, now in its fifth successive year, will return this summer to feature over 30 food events taking place in villages and towns along the shores of Lough Derg.

The initiative is co-ordinated and supported by the Lough Derg Marketing Group and sees businesses from Clare, Galway and Tipperary coming together to host food events to promote the Lough Derg Lakelands.

The calendar of events was officially launched in the stunning surrounds of Portumna Castle and newly opened tea rooms by Sinead Hennessy, Fáilte Ireland’s food tourism officer, earlier this week.

The series is as a key guide in bringing visitors to the best destinations along the lake where an array of activities are on offer coupled with high quality food experiences and something to suit everyone’s taste buds.

The offerings will entice visitors domestic and international to linger and enjoy the unique and vibrant setting of Lough Derg with events like paddle picnics, ‘taste and make’ chocolate sessions, yoga in nature, ‘meet the cheesemaker’, guided foraging, mindful bread-making, barbecues, garden tours, afternoon tea, tapas nights and much more.

Find out more from the official website for A Taste of Lough Derg.

Published in Inland Waterways

#RNLI - Lough Derg RNLI launched yesterday evening (Thursday 10 May) following a request by Valentia Coast Guard to assist a person on a 23ft speed boat broken down by The Goat Road on the eastern shore of the River Shannon lough.

The lifeboat, with helm Dom Sharkey, Eleanor Hooker and Ger Egan onboard, arrived on scene at 6.28pm where a passenger vessel, the Shannon Princess, was waiting by the speedboat.

Weather conditions had south-easterly Force 3/4 winds, with very good visibility.

The skipper of the speedboat had dropped anchor, but it was dragging and bringing the vessel close to rocks on the Clare shore.

An RNLI volunteer was transferred across to the casualty vessel, where the person on board were found to be safe and unharmed and wearing their lifejacket.

After a thorough check of the cruiser, it was determined that the issue was most likely an electrical failure.

The lifeboat volunteer got the casualty vessel ready for tow, lifeboat brought it to Portumna Harbour, where it was safely tied up by 6.50pm.

Dom Sharkey, volunteer helm on the Lough Derg lifeboat, said: “The skipper did the correct thing to drop anchor and to call for help immediately.

“We would like to thank the skipper of the Shannon Princess for standing by in safe water until we arrived on scene.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

At 4.25pm on Sunday May 6, Lough Derg RNLI launched following a request by Valentia Coast Guard to assist three people, two adults and a child, aboard a 27ft cruiser reported to be aground near Kilgarvan on the eastern shore of Lough Derg.

Winds were south-westerly, Force 1. Visibility was very good.

The Lifeboat, with helm Owen Cavanagh, Keith Brennan and Joe O'Donoghue on board, arrived on scene at 4.38pm. An RNLI volunteer was transferred across to the casualty vessel, where all on board were found to be safe and unharmed and wearing their lifejackets. The RNLI crew member made a thorough check of the cruiser and found that it was not holed, but had suffered damage to its propellers.

The lifeboat took the cruiser off the rocks and towed it to Dromineer Harbour, where, at 6.15pm, it was safely tied alongside.

The lifeboat returned to station and was ready for service again at 6.30pm

Owen Cavanagh, helm on the Lifeboat, advises boat users to ‘plan your passage before setting out, and take particular care to navigate the correct side of the navigation marks to avoid running aground.'

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#Angling - RTÉ News reports on concerns among anglers on Lough Derg over Irish Water’s plans to pump water from the River Shannon to supply Dublin and the Midlands.

The utility has proposed a pipeline from Parteen Basin, south of Lough Derg, to the capital in order to deal with water shortages due to leaks in the ageing infrastructure.

But the plan has come under fire from campaign groups, who claim the case for such a project is backed by “false statements and mathematical errors”.

And anglers are also fearing the worst over the scheme that would see 330 million litres pumped each day from the Shannon.

Citing difficulties experienced last summer when levels dropped by as much as two feet after a water release by the ESB at Ardnacrusha, Lough Derg anglers’ representative Joe O’Donoghue says the potential harm to boating and the Shannon ecosystem have not been taken into consideration.

Published in Angling

#Rescue - A lone sailor whose yacht ran aground on Scariff Bay over the weekend had difficulties again just hours after his rescue.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, Lough Derg  RNLI launched its lifeboat on Saturday evening (14 April) to assist the 30ft yacht after it had left its mooring at Mountshannon Harbour.

The Killaloe unit of the Irish Coast Guard was also on scene, helping to remove the yacht from a sandy bank and returning it to Mountshannon.

But the evening did not end there, as BreakingNews.ie reports, as the same yacht required coastguard assistance just a few hours later.

It emerged that the sailor was attempting to tie up his vessel at an anchor point in deeper water when it grounded in the shallows once more, and the coastguard was alerted by a concerned onlooker around 11.30pm.

The yacht was once again towed to Mountshannon Harbour and the coastguard unit returned to base at 1.30am.

Published in Rescue
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