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Motor Cruise Blaze on Lough Derg: Five Rescued

18th July 2021
Fire on a vessel on Lough Derg was brought under control by Portumna Fire Service
Fire on a vessel on Lough Derg was brought under control by Portumna Fire Service

As Afloat reported earlier Valentia Coast Guard requested Lough Derg RNLI lifeboat to launch following a Mayday call to assist five people on board a 38ft cruiser on fire, by Castle Harbour, Portumna, at the most northern end of Lough Derg.

When the lifeboat crew assembled at the station, Valentia Coast Guard was informed that three people had been safely evacuated from the vessel.

At 12.16 pm the lifeboat Jean Spier launched with helm Keith Brennan, crew Eleanor Hooker, Joe O’Donoghue and Doireann Kennedy on board. The lake was calm and visibility was excellent.

Aoife Kennedy, Lough Derg RNLI Deputy Launching Authority relayed information from Valentia Coast Guard that the remaining two people had been safely evacuated from the burning vessel. Valentia Coast Guard contacted the lifeboat to request that volunteers check the wellbeing of the casualties.

Rescue 115, the Irish Coast Guard Search and Rescue Helicopter based at Shannon was also in attendance, as was the Killaloe Coast Guard Search and Rescue Boat, based at Killaloe.

The lifeboat arrived on scene at 12.35 pm. The fire on the casualty vessel had taken hold and fire firefighters from Portumna Fire Service were working to extinguish the fire. All four other casualties were safe and unharmed and were being attended to by ambulance crew at Castle Harbour.

As there was a significant risk to the many boat users close by with fuel onboard the vessel, Valentia Coast Guard requested Lough Derg RNLI lifeboat and the Killaloe Coast Guard boat to monitor the scene and request that all vessels maintain a safe distance.

At 1.30 pm, firefighters had managed to put out the main fire, however, the vessel was still smouldering and billowing smoke. The anchor line had burned and the vessel was now drifting into the main navigation channel.

At 2.14 pm, the casualty vessel was relocated to Carrigahorig Bay, where firefighters continued to pump water and foam to ensure the fire was fully out.

Aoife Kennedy, Deputy Launching Authority at Lough Derg RNLI, advises water users to ‘always be alert to the dangers of fire on a boat and always carry a means of communication so that you can call the emergency services for help’.

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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