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Major Lough Derg Search & Rescue When 18 Rowing Boats Get into Difficulty

21st June 2013
Major Lough Derg Search & Rescue When 18 Rowing Boats Get into Difficulty

#lifeboat – Lifeboat crew with Lough Derg RNLI launched this evening after eighteen rowing boats got into difficulty at Parker's Point. The rowers, who had set out from Terryglass, at the northern end of the lake, at 2pm, were en route to Killaloe when the weather deteriorated.

One rowing boat with five crew onboard remained unaccounted for and a major search and rescue operation was launched.

The lifeboat crew were stood down after the boat was found on Crow Island, and contact was made with the missing five rowers who had reached safety.

At 18.10hrs on Friday June 21 Valentia Coast Guard requested Lough Derg RNLI Lifeboat to launch to search for five people reported unaccounted for, after an international flotilla of eighteen rowing boats, many with a crew of five, got into difficulties in worsening weather near Parkers Point, at the southern end of Lough Derg.

The lifeboat launched at 18.20hrs with Helm Peter Clarke, Ger Egan and David Moore on board. Winds were westerly, Force 4, gusting 5, with poor visibility with rain and low cloud.

The lifeboat crew began search patterns alongside the Shannon based Coast Guard Helicopter, Killaloe Coast Guard, Limerick Rescue and Mount Shannon rescue and with three local boats. Lifeboat Medical Advisor Peter Hooker and RNLI crew member Dom Sharkey launched in another vessel to help with the search. It was known that of the five crew on the missing vessel, only the coxswain was wearing a lifejacket.

Information was hard to verify as rescuers worked to search the area. As boats were located, their crews were confirmed safe. It transpired that four boats had decided not to continue the journey and had returned to Terryglass, soon after they had set out earlier in the day.

At 21.40hrs, the remaining boat outstanding was eventually located, safely recovered on Crow's Island, north of Killaloe, however there was no sign of the missing crew. Shortly afterwards Gardai confirmed that the five rowers had made it to safety, and the search operation was stood down.

Commenting on the callout Eleanor Hooker Lough Derg RNLI Lifeboat Press Officer said, "This was an extremely challenging callout for all the search and rescue crews. With so many people to account for and so many vessels on the water it was quite a job to establish who was missing. The weather worsened on the lake quite rapidly, and the rowers rushed to get themselves to safety. In this instance the lifeboat crew joined with other agencies and local boats in a five hour search to locate the missing vessel. We are extremely relieved that there were no serious injuries."

Helm Peter Clarke advises boat users 'to check the weather forecast before setting out, to let others know where you are going and when you anticipate arriving, to always wear a lifejacket and to carry some means of communication in case of difficulties'.

The lifeboat returned to station and was ready for service again at 23.15hrs

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Royal National Lifeboat Institute (RNLI) in Ireland Information

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is a charity to save lives at sea in the waters of UK and Ireland. Funded principally by legacies and donations, the RNLI operates a fleet of lifeboats, crewed by volunteers, based at a range of coastal and inland waters stations. Working closely with UK and Ireland Coastguards, RNLI crews are available to launch at short notice to assist people and vessels in difficulties.

RNLI was founded in 1824 and is based in Poole, Dorset. The organisation raised €210m in funds in 2019, spending €200m on lifesaving activities and water safety education. RNLI also provides a beach lifeguard service in the UK and has recently developed an International drowning prevention strategy, partnering with other organisations and governments to make drowning prevention a global priority.

Irish Lifeboat Stations

There are 46 lifeboat stations on the island of Ireland, with an operational base in Swords, Co Dublin. Irish RNLI crews are tasked through a paging system instigated by the Irish Coast Guard which can task a range of rescue resources depending on the nature of the emergency.

Famous Irish Lifeboat Rescues

Irish Lifeboats have participated in many rescues, perhaps the most famous of which was the rescue of the crew of the Daunt Rock lightship off Cork Harbour by the Ballycotton lifeboat in 1936. Spending almost 50 hours at sea, the lifeboat stood by the drifting lightship until the proximity to the Daunt Rock forced the coxswain to get alongside and successfully rescue the lightship's crew.

32 Irish lifeboat crew have been lost in rescue missions, including the 15 crew of the Kingstown (now Dun Laoghaire) lifeboat which capsized while attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme on Christmas Eve 1895.

FAQs

While the number of callouts to lifeboat stations varies from year to year, Howth Lifeboat station has aggregated more 'shouts' in recent years than other stations, averaging just over 60 a year.

Stations with an offshore lifeboat have a full-time mechanic, while some have a full-time coxswain. However, most lifeboat crews are volunteers.

There are 46 lifeboat stations on the island of Ireland

32 Irish lifeboat crew have been lost in rescue missions, including the 15 crew of the Kingstown (now Dun Laoghaire) lifeboat which capsized while attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme on Christmas Eve 1895

In 2019, 8,941 lifeboat launches saved 342 lives across the RNLI fleet.

The Irish fleet is a mixture of inshore and all-weather (offshore) craft. The offshore lifeboats, which range from 17m to 12m in length are either moored afloat, launched down a slipway or are towed into the sea on a trailer and launched. The inshore boats are either rigid or non-rigid inflatables.

The Irish Coast Guard in the Republic of Ireland or the UK Coastguard in Northern Ireland task lifeboats when an emergency call is received, through any of the recognised systems. These include 999/112 phone calls, Mayday/PanPan calls on VHF, a signal from an emergency position indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) or distress signals.

The Irish Coast Guard is the government agency responsible for the response to, and co-ordination of, maritime accidents which require search and rescue operations. To carry out their task the Coast Guard calls on their own resources – Coast Guard units manned by volunteers and contracted helicopters, as well as "declared resources" - RNLI lifeboats and crews. While lifeboats conduct the operation, the coordination is provided by the Coast Guard.

A lifeboat coxswain (pronounced cox'n) is the skipper or master of the lifeboat.

RNLI Lifeboat crews are required to follow a particular development plan that covers a pre-agreed range of skills necessary to complete particular tasks. These skills and tasks form part of the competence-based training that is delivered both locally and at the RNLI's Lifeboat College in Poole, Dorset

 

While the RNLI is dependent on donations and legacies for funding, they also need volunteer crew and fund-raisers.

© Afloat 2020

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