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Displaying items by tag: Lough Derg

Lough Derg RNLI were requested to launch on Monday afternoon (17 June) to assist two people on a 16ft speed boat that ran aground in Youghal Bay after suffering engine failure.

At 1.31pm, the inshore lifeboat Jean Spier launched with helm Eleanor Hooker and crew Chris Parker, James Corballis and Deirdre Gleeson on board. The wind was westerly, Force 2 to 3, and visibility was good.

The lifeboat located the casualty vessel close to the shore deep inside Youghal Bay, in an area known by the RNLI volunteers to be particularly sandy.

As the lifeboat navigated a safe course to the boat, crew noticed that the two casualties were standing among the reeds close to the vessel.

After getting as close to the casualty vessel as was safe, an RNLI volunteer, carrying a handheld VHF radio and a general purpose line, was able to wade to the casualty vessel. The two people were asked to get back on board and the RNLI volunteer then eased the vessel off the sandbank and out into safe water.

Given the isolated location and that the casualties' change of dry clothes, car and trailer were located at the closest safe haven, Garrykennedy Harbour, the helm made the decision to take the vessel under an astern tow to Garrykennedy.

An RNLI volunteer remained on board the casualty vessel for the tow and the casualty vessel was safely tied alongside in Garrykennedy Harbour at 2.15pm.

Jeremy Freeman, launching authority at Lough Derg RNLI, advises boat users to “wear your lifejackets, and always carry a means of communication”.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Lough Derg RNLI were requested to launch by Valentia Coast Guard on Saturday afternoon (8 June) to locate and assist a swimmer reported to be in difficulty by a member of the public on shore.

The bystander could see the swimmer’s yellow buoyancy aid and through binoculars perceived that the swimmer was struggling. The location given was in Youghal Bay, east of Garrykennedy Harbour.

At 12.52pm, Lough Derg RNLI’s inshore lifeboat Jean Spier launched with helm Eleanor Hooker and crew James Corballis, Chris Parker and Joe O’Donoghue on board. Conditions had a north-westerly Force 3-4 wind with good visibility.

The lifeboat carried additional casualty blankets on board, and during the briefing as the lifeboat launched, volunteers prepared their casualty care cards.

At 12.58pm, as the lifeboat rounded the Mountaineer, navigation mark C, Valentia Coast Guard communicated that the swimmer had been located and was back on shore, and the lifeboat could stand down.

Aoife Kennedy, launching authority at Lough Derg RNLI advises swimmers to “swim safe — if you get in trouble in the water, Float to Live. Lean back, extend your arms and legs and control your breathing. Before setting out, make sure someone knows where you are and carry a mobile phone in a waterproof pouch.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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On Saturday afternoon (1 June), Valentia Coast Guard requested Lough Derg RNLI lifeboat to launch to locate, assess and escort to safe harbour a vessel that a member of the public reported had made contact with rocks at Ryan’s Point.

Lough Derg’s inshore lifeboat Jean Spier launched at At 13.41pm with helm Owen Cavanagh, crew Joe O’Donoghue and Deirdre Gleeson on board. Conditions had a north-westerly Force 2 to 3 wind and good visibility.

A description of the craft, which was en route to Dromineer Harbour, was passed to the lifeboat, which made a quick sweep of the public harbour but did not see a vessel that fitted the description given.

The lifeboat made way to Ryan’s Point but there was no vessel at that location. The RNLI volunteers spoke to the skipper of a vessel at anchor in the centre of the bay, but they had not seen a vessel in distress.

After returning to the public harbour, the lifeboat crew located a motor boat that fitted the description supplied to Valentia Coast Guard. The vessel had recently passed Ryan’s Point but, according to the skipper, had not made contact with rocks and was not in need of assistance.

The lifeboat reported its findings to Valentia Coast Guard, departed the scene and was back at station at 2.18pm.

Christine O’Malley, lifeboat operations manager at Lough Derg RNLI advises boat users to “observe the navigation marks and be aware that there are sudden shallows and rocky shoals close to the shore”.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Lough Derg RNLI’s volunteers were requested to launch on Wednesday evening (29 May) to assist three people on a 26ft cruiser with engine failure and at anchor in Youghal Bay, east of Garrykennedy Harbour.

At 5.34pm the inshore lifeboat Jean Spier launched with helm Dom Sharkey and crew Eleanor Hooker, Chris Parker and Joe O’Donoghue on board. Conditions had a north-westerly Force 3 to 4 wind with good visibility.

Within minutes the lifeboat crew located the casualty vessel at the location given. The casualty vessel’s anchor was holding.

An RNLI volunteer boarded the vessel and determined all on board were safe and unharmed and wearing their lifejackets.

Given the location, the deteriorating weather conditions and the casualty vessel’s proximity to the safest close harbour of Garrykennedy, the helm made the decision to take the casualty vessel under an astern tow to the harbour, where it was safely tied alongside shortly after 6pm.

Aoife Kennedy, launching authority at Lough Derg RNLI advises boat users to “carry sufficient fuel for your journey, and if you find yourself in difficulty, dial 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard”.

This was the second launch in as many days for Lough Derg RNLI, whose volunteers answered the call just before 7pm on Tuesday evening (28 May) to assist six people on a 31ft cruiser with engine failure on the western shore of the lough between Williamstown and Drummaan.

Given the isolated location, the hour and that there were seniors and infants on board, the helm made the decision to take the casualty vessel under tow back to Dromineer, where the casualties had their car and a means to get home.

Aoife Kennedy emphasises to boat users to “ensure your vessel is serviced before undertaking a journey. Always check the weather forecast and carry a means of communication.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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As the RNLI commemorates the charity’s 200 years of lifesaving this year, Lough Derg RNLI celebrates 20 years of service on the lake.

Last Sunday afternoon (12 May), volunteers past and present at the Lough Derg lifeboat station gathered with their families and RNLI staff members at Lough Derg Yacht Club to celebrate the milestone.

Christine O’Malley, lifeboat operations manager at Lough Derg RNLI and MC for the event welcomed everyone, especially those who’d travelled long distances to join the celebration.

Christine, a retired consultant geriatrician, talked about taking on the role of LOM five years earlier, and the “steep learning curve” as she absorbed the responsibilities involved, met the challenges and celebrated the rewards.

She then introduced Niamh McCutcheon, chair of the Lough Derg fundraising committee and an RNLI vice-president.

Niamh — who had been fundraising locally for the RNLI for decades before the lifeboat was stationed on Lough Derg — praised the tireless work of the fundraising committee who, in tandem with the volunteer crews, have raised awareness of and donations to the RNLI, thus facilitating the charity’s goals to save every one.

She also spoke of her pride in the seeing volunteers from Lough Derg RNLI at the Service of Thanksgiving at Westminster Abbey in March.

Christine invited Niamh Stephenson, RNLI communications lead for Ireland, to speak next. Over the years Niamh and her colleague Nuala McAloon, RNLI regional communications manager for Ireland, have made themselves available to offer sage advice and guidance to the station’s lifeboat press officer on all media related matters.

Lough Derg RNLI’s inshore lifeboat Jean Spicer launched from the lifeboat station | Credit: RNLI/Eleanor HookerLough Derg RNLI’s inshore lifeboat Jean Spicer launched from the lifeboat station | Credit: RNLI/Eleanor Hooker

Niamh recalled her first stopover at Lough Derg RNLI — almost 20 year ago — and the warm welcome she received, including the daunting mountain of food volunteers had cooked for her visit.

Niamh spoke about the essential role of media and the bridge it forged between the activities of the lifeboat station and the public. She spoke of how media communications inspired support for the charity and attracted new volunteers to the crew and fundraising, as well as amplifying water safety messages for a new generation.

To thank past volunteers for their continued support, Christine invited area lifesaving manager Lisa Hollingum to speak and to present former crew with RNLI200 badges. Lisa commended the volunteers at Lough Derg RNLI for their dedication and commitment to maintaining the RNLIs high standard in all they do, and she looked forward to visiting the station again soon.

Liam Maloney, launching authority and former LOM at Lough Derg RNLI; Dr Peter Hooker, lifeboat medical advisor; and Eleanor Hooker, volunteer helm and lifeboat press officer had asked that Helena Duggan, RNLI assessor/trainer at Lough Derg RNLI from 2003 until 2022, present them with their 20-year Long Service Medals.

Helena recalled her early visits to the new lifeboat station at Lough Derg with her colleagues, the late Michael Carmody and Derek Potter, and the enthusiasm from volunteers as the station became established.

In a philosophical consideration of time, Helena stressed that the RNLI hugely appreciates the hours volunteers put into training, exercises and shouts, and that “every second you give to the RNLI is precious time, your time, and is never taken for granted”.

She made special mention too of the sacrifices and allowances families make so that volunteers may volunteer. Helena described the vast network of people, volunteers and staff, who work as a team to make the RNLI the organisation it is today.

The crew were honoured that current assessor/trainer Seán Ginnelly would travel all the way from Achill to join the celebrations.

Cutting the cake at last Sunday’s celebration at Lough Derg Yacht Club | Credit: RNLICutting the cake at last Sunday’s celebration at Lough Derg Yacht Club | Credit: RNLI

After receiving his medal from Helena, Liam Maloney gave a moving history of the origins of the RNLI lifeboat station on the lake. He acknowledged the successful proposal made to the RNLI by Teddy Knight and Charles Stanley Smith.

Carrig Primary School, where Liam was headmaster, provided a venue for new volunteers to have shore training in the year before the lifeboat went live for service on 24 April 2004. He smiled as he told us he taught many of past and current volunteers in the room. Liam recollected previous callouts, his anxiety for crew out in testing conditions and one in particular on a St Stephen’s Day morning that thankfully had a positive outcome.

Eleanor Hooker thanked Aoife Kennedy, lifeboat station administrator and launching authority and her sister Doireann Kennedy, volunteer crew, for organising the entire event, including having volunteers bake and cook for the reception to follow the speeches.

Eleanor recollected earlier times with former volunteers and the collegiate spirit among all at the station. She spoke of the mutual trust and teamwork — essential ingredients at a lifeboat station.

Eleanor welcomed James Corballis, an RNLI volunteer who has moved to the area from Galway RNLI, to the station. She congratulated Laura Clarke, chair of the Lap the Lake fundraising Committee on the incredible success of the RNLI charity cycle the previous day.

On receiving his Long Service Medal, consultant anaesthesist Dr Peter Hooker joked that “normally people fell asleep after a few minutes of my talking to them”, and so promised he would keep his words brief. He said it was an honour to be a part of the Lough Derg RNLI team and wanted, especially to thank Helena for her years of teaching and care and friendship at the station.

Christine thanked all present and invited the assembly to move upstairs to enjoy an afternoon tea.

“It was lovely to see so many people who have supported the lifeboat station over the years, whether on the water, off the water, through fundraising or the RNLI support team,” she said. “These are the people who helped make the Lifeboat Station into the excellent service we have today.

“It was great to acknowledge the remarkable 20 years of commitment to the station from Liam Maloney, Eleanor Hooker and Peter Hooker with Long Service Awards from the RNLI. A huge thank you to all our volunteers, past and present, and to their families, who have all given so much to create and sustain this lifesaving service on Lough Derg.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Racing on Lough Derg is well underway already this season, with growing numbers appearing at Garykennedy Sailing Club's activities on Saturdays since April. Some 150 sailors turned out last Saturday for "The Visitors' Cup" which was part of a day event with 26 yachts entering the race with the proceeds in aid of RNLI. This coming Saturday sees The Commodore's Cup being raced by Iniscealtra S.C. at Mountshannon who will be out to match the numbers.

The Visitors’ Cup has been raced for in Garrykennedy Sailing Club since shortly after it was founded in 1985. All keelboats on Lough Derg are invited to participate in an open race. For many years a fundraiser for the RNLI has been incorporated into the event. This year saw a record 26 entries and 25 finishers. The club raised a record €2,500.00 for the RNLI. The GSC Commodore, Brendan O’Connor, drove the fund-raising effort and Larkin’s Restaurant and Pub of Garrykennedy sponsoring a free BBQ for all contributors to the fund.

Time and time again smaller clubs show the community spirit on this part of the Shannon. With a few generous volunteers on the committee and a hostess such as Maura Boyle of Larkin's Pub welcoming and feeding such a hungry bunch of sailors coming off the lake, this was the makings of one memorable event. It was T Shirt Sailing in a lovely breeze all afternoon. There was not a spider left on the twenty or so spinnakers flying full in tight proximity as this writer arrived on a Broom 37 towards the leeward mark off Williamstown.

A perfect day on Derg. Sophie and Lucy Keogh aboard Kieran Ruanes Christina with the girls grandad Barney Power  skippering Zombie in the backgroundA perfect day on Derg. Sophie and Lucy Keogh aboard Kieran Ruanes Christina with the girls grandad Barney Power  skippering Zombie in the background

Racing in GSC is highly eclectic and inclusive. The Visitors' Cup fleet included an X-332, a Rassy 36, Squibs, a Platu 25 and all specimens in between. The race was held in perfect conditions, 10 to 12 knots gusting to 20 plus, 20 plus degrees and wall to wall sunshine. The winner was Philip Despard, Commodore of Iniscealtra Sailing Club, sailing Maybee a Sigma 33, Celtic Carisma of GSC was second, sailed by the two-handed team of Nigel and Sue Smithwick. Rayon de Lune, First 31.7 helmed by Dan O'Connell GSC finished third.

Every club should have a professional singer on board and the Commodore's talented daughter Sarah O'Connor Ryan held the attention of the sailors enjoying the evening sun after the fine BBQ . If there was an Afloat prize for M C Entertainer of the month Sarah would be a worthy recipient. Sailing skills are expected in such a vibrant active club as GSC, but the singing skills and social life sets this club above the rest. Sarah's amazing voice and charming presence pulled out other members such as Paul O'callaghan from Zombie, Declan Moore, Joe Byrne, Mary Hurley, Shirley O'Neill and Mary Keenan, not to mention Tadg Murphy who were only some of the crew belting out tunes to the delight of the crowd all evening and competiting with Eurovision in the background.

The activities of the Squib class is certainly getting recognition on Derg with growing numbers at Dromineer and now Mountshannon. Iniscealtra Commodore Philip despard is keen to grow the fleet. He believes with this season's plans, they will increase the fleet, promoting evenings of "Try Sailing" to attract interest from Limerick, Ennis and Shannon. Class sailing has been the backbone of Irish sailing down through the years and its great to see the fleet now mustering such numbers on the Shannon.

Published in Inland Waterways
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Lough Derg RNLI launched on Sunday afternoon (5 May) to assist a family of four on board a 28ft cruiser reported to be on fire.

Following the request by Valentia Coast Guard just before noon, the inshore lifeboat Jean Spier was under way by 12.16pm with helm Eleanor Hooke and crew Doireann Kennedy, Joe O’Donoghue and Tom Hayes on board. The wind was westerly Force 2 and visibility was very good.

As the lifeboat was launching, the coastguard informed the volunteers that the family — two adults and two infants — had been taken off the casualty vessel and that Killaloe Coast Guard had also launched to assist.

At 12.26am the lifeboat crew could see the casualty vessel just south of Lough Derg Navigation Mark E. The family had transferred onto a 18ft fishing boat which was standing off close by.

A few minutes later the lifeboat came alongside the fishing vessel and found the casualties to be safe, unharmed and wearing their lifejackets.

The skipper of the casualty vessel informed the lifeboat crew that when he noticed smoke and an acrid smell coming from the engine housing, he immediately shut down the engine and with that, the smoke ceased. They were unable to deploy their anchor as it required the engine to be running to operate.

Once satisfied that sufficient time had elapsed and the engine had cooled, the RNLI helm permitted the skipper and an RNLI volunteer to board the casualty vessel.

The skipper found that a piece of cloth was in contact with the engine’s exhaust system, and identified it as the source of the smoke and smell. The cloth was removed and the casualty vessel’s engine started immediately when tried.

The lifeboat informed the coastguard of their findings and of the decision to take one adult and the children onto the lifeboat from the fishing vessel, and to accompany the casualty vessel to Dromineer Harbour with the skipper and an RNLI volunteer on board.

However, at 12.45pm the engine on the casualty vessel failed. As Killaloe Coast Guard were now on scene, the RNLI helm requested that the mother and two infants be transferred to the coastguard lifeboat and be taken ahead to Dromineer.

Given the remote location and the inability to secure the cruiser, the helm made the decision to take the casualty vessel under tow to the closest safe harbour in Dromineer, where it was safely tied alongside at 1.44pm.

Christine O’Malley, lifeboat operations Manager at Lough Derg RNLI, advises boat users: “As we are now heading into the summer season, remember to have your vessel fully serviced before embarking on your journey. If you find yourself in difficulty, call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Lough Derg RNLI were requested to launch on Thursday afternoon (18 April) by Valentia Coast Guard to assist two people on a 36ft cruiser reported aground inside Navigation Mark H at Gortmore Point.

The inshore lifeboat Jean Spier launched at 1.03pm with helm Eleanor Hooker and crew Steve Smyth, Chris Parker and Joe O’Donoghue on board. The wind was westerly Force 4, gusting Force 5, and visibility was good with frequent squalls.

At 1.15pm the lifeboat located the casualty vessel inside Navigation Mark H and 25 feet from shore. The lifeboat stood off to observe the casualty vessel, which appeared to be raised out of the water and pivoting on a central point.

With a volunteer taking soundings at the bow, and using on board electronic charts, the lifeboat navigated a safe passage to the starboard stern side of the casualty vessel. RNLI volunteers noted hazards in the water close by.

An RNLI volunteer boarded the casualty vessel and established that there were actually three people on board, safe and unharmed and all wearing their lifejackets. A fourth person had left the cruiser to swim to shore.

The skipper of the casualty vessel had deployed the anchor in an attempt to prevent further drift towards shore. They informed the lifeboat crew that they had damaged their propellers and suffered engine failure after hitting rocks.

An RNLI volunteer checked under the floorboards and reported back to the lifeboat that there was no ingress of water or visible damage to the hull.

Given that the vessel was high out of the water and appeared to be pivoting on a rock, and hadn’t changed its aspect to weather with the anchor out, the lifeboat helm made the decision to take everyone off the cruiser and onto the lifeboat, having first ensured that the casualty vessel was secure with windows closed and gas supply switched off.

The lifeboat informed Valentia Coast Guard of this decision and the plan to moor up at the nearby Gortmore Harbour, so that two RNLI volunteers could walk back to locate the person who swam to shore. Shore crew back at boathouse informed the cruiser company.

Accompanied by one of the people from the cruiser, two volunteers set out on foot from Gortmore Harbour to search for the fourth of their group.

A member of the public who had offered to drive down the road to assist in the search located the individual and drove him back. With the four reunited, the lifeboat took them to Portumna where their car was located.

The lifeboat departed the scene at 2.39pm and was back at station at 3.03pm.

Aoife Kennedy, launching authority at Lough Derg RNLI advises boat users “to stay with your vessel and if in danger call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard”.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Lough Derg RNLI were requested to launch on Saturday (30 March) to assist a lone sailor on a 35ft cruiser with fouled propellers and adrift in Dromineer Bay.

Following the request from Valentia Coast Guard, the inshore lifeboat Jean Spier — with helm Owen Cavanagh and crew Doireann Kennedy, Tom Hayes and Ania Skrzypczynska-Tucker on board — launched at 5.28pm. Winds were with south-easterly Force 3 with good visibility.

At 5.42pm the lifeboat was alongside the casualty vessel, where the skipper was found safe and well and wearing a lifejacket.

The skipper explained that as the wind had dropped he was unable to sail home, and a line overboard had fouled the propellers so the cruiser couldn’t motor back to harbour.

Given the location on the navigation channel, and the hour, the lifeboat helm decided the safest course of action was to assist the casualty vessel back to the nearest safe harbour.

At 6.02pm the casualty vessel was secured alongside in Dromineer Harbour. The lifeboat departed the scene was back at station at 6.10pm.

Peter Kennedy, launching authority at Lough Derg RNLI advises boat users to “stow lines carefully and always make sure someone on the shore knows where you are going and who to call if you don’t return on time”.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Following an emergency call from a member of the public on shore on Sunday morning (24 March), Lough Derg RNLI’s inshore lifeboat Jean Spier was requested by Valentia Coast Guard to assist a family of four on a 34ft cruiser reported aground near Portumna, at the northern end of Lough Derg.

Already afloat on exercise with helm Dom Sharkey and crew Joe O’Donoghue, Tom Hayes and Ciara Lynch on board, the lifeboat headed immediately to the scene. The lake was calm with good visibility; winds were with south-westerly Force 1-2.

The lifeboat had the casualty vessel in sight at 11.24am. Using local knowledge and on-board navigation charts, the lifeboat made a safe approach to the casualty vessel.

An RNLI volunteer transferred across to ensure the passengers were safe and unharmed and wearing their lifejackets. The volunteer made a thorough inspection of the casualty vessel and, once satisfied it was not holed, reported back to the lifeboat.

Given the remote location and that there were children on board the cruiser, the lifeboat helm decided to assist the casualty vessel back out into safe water.

The lifeboat crew checked the drives and propeller on the cruiser and found them to be in good working order. With an RNLI volunteer remaining on board, the cruiser then made way under its own power to the closest safe harbour.

The lifeboat departed the scene at 11.52am and was back at station at 12.21pm

Christine O’Malley, lifeboat operations manager at Lough Derg RNLI, advises boat users to “plan your passage noting the navigation buoys along the route. Always carry a means of communication.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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