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Lough Derg Lifeboat Assists Five on Cruiser in Difficulty in Severe Weather

27th October 2021
File image of Lough Derg RNLI’s inshore lifeboat Jean Spicer
File image of Lough Derg RNLI’s inshore lifeboat Jean Spicer Credit: RNLI/Eleanor Hooker

Lough Derg RNLI were tasked last night (Tuesday 26 October) to assist five people on a 48ft cruiser at anchor near the Benjamin Rocks on the Co Clare shore.

At 11.10pm the inshore lifeboat Jean Spier launched with helm Ger Egan, crew Steve Smyth, Joe O’Donoghue and Doireann Kennedy on board.

Conditions on the lake were very rough with Force 6 southwesterly winds with severe gusts. As it was night, visibility was aided by searchlights, radar and other lifeboat electronic aids.

At 11.24pm the lifeboat had the casualty vessel in sight, it was at anchor just off red marker 1168 which identifies the Benjamin Rocks. The RNLI crew found all five people to be safe and unharmed and wearing their lifejackets.

The skipper explained that the strong winds kept them from making headway, and so at 5.30pm with strengthening winds and failing light, they felt they wouldn’t make harbour and decided to drop anchor and wait out the storm.

However, the cruiser’s location was subjected to the full force of the wind which caused the anchor to drag, taking the vessel close to the rocky shoal.

Given the worsening conditions, the lifeboat helm put a cree member on board the casualty vessel and instructed them to cut the anchor line. But as the anchor warp was all chain and shackled to the cruiser, this was not possible.

With effort, the volunteer weighed anchor and the lifeboat guided the casualty vessel to the shelter and calm of the public harbour at Dromineer. At 12:54am the cruiser was safely secured alongside at Dromineer Harbour and the lifeboat returned to base shortly after 1am.

Liam Maloney, lifeboat operations manager at Lough Derg RNLI, advises water users unfamiliar with Lough Derg to “check the weather for the lakes and plan your course to arrive at safe harbour before nightfall”.

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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