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Seven Callouts In Five Days For Lough Ree Lifeboat

22nd August 2016
Lough Ree RNLI on exercise Lough Ree RNLI on exercise Photo: RNLI/Lough Ree

#RNLI - Lough Ree RNLI's volunteer lifeboat crew had one of their busiest periods ever in the last week, receiving a total of seven callouts over five days to assist people on and around Lough Ree.

The first callout came from the Irish Coast Guard shortly 2pm on Tuesday afternoon (16 August) to reports of a 35ft steel cruiser, with six onboard, aground between Athlone Lock and Clonmacnoise.

Later that afternoon, the crew was again called to assist a man aboard a 25ft sailing yacht aground near Barley Harbour on Lough Ree.

In both cases, the recovery was straightforward and no injury to crew or damage to vessels was incurred.

On Saturday (20 August), the lifeboat crew received three calls to assist vessels in difficulty amid very wet conditions with strong winds.

The first call came shortly before noon to assist three people on board a 33ft motor cruiser that had run aground at Bantry Bay on Lough Ree.

Shortly after 3pm, the lifeboat was again called to assist two people who had rowed a lake boat from Gailey Bay campsite to Quaker Island, but were then unable to row off the island due to the strong onshore breeze.

This was a particularly difficult recovery for the lifeboat crew. After trying several methods to tow the lake boat from the shore, a crew member was put ashore in the difficult conditions to push the lake boat off the shore while the lifeboat at anchor, pulled the tow line.

Eventually, the lake boat and its crew were recovered and the two casualties were brought on board the lifeboat, where they were given life jackets and wrapped in a blanket for warmth.

The lifeboat departed the scene with the lake boat on tow shortly after 5pm and proceeded towards Portrunny, the nearest harbour, where the boat and its rowers were delivered safely ashore.

Also on Saturday afternoon, the coastguard received a call for assistance from a motor cruiser with gear box failure south of Athlone Lock.

As the lifeboat was underway to Quaker Island at the time, Athlone Sub-Aqua Club in Athlone town were requested to assist the motor cruiser south of the lock.

On Sunday evening (21 August), the lifeboat was again requested by the coastguard, this time to assist a boat aground on Lough Ree.

The weather was significantly calmer than on Saturday and the recovery went smoothly, with no damage to the grounded vessel and no injury to its crew.

Commenting on Sunday evening, Lough Ree RNLI lifeboat operations manager Damien Delaney said,

"Our volunteer lifeboat crew have had a very busy few days," said Lough Ree RNLI lifeboat operations manager Damien Delaney after the Sunday evening callout. "We would urge everyone using Lough Ree to ensure they are familiar with the area and to take heed of any weather warnings issued by Met Éireann.

"Grounded vessels are not unusual but with any callout there are a number of factors that should be considered such as the wind direction, the weather conditions and the ability of crew and vessel to navigate these.

"It’s always a good idea for visitors to seek local advice before embarking on a journey on the lake, and to notify someone ashore of the intended departure time, destination and expected return time.

"Make sure you have a suitable means of calling for help and that you have the proper clothing and a lifejacket. You never know when you will need to call for help."

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
MacDara Conroy

About The Author

MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy is a contributor covering all things on the water, from boating and wildlife to science and business

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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.

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