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Investigators have warned of the dangers of drinking at sea following their investigation into the death of two yachtsmen off Inishboffin in October last year.
Donal McEllin, 63, and Ger Feeney, 56, died while attempting to return to their motor yacht Quo Vadis in the early hours of 10 October.
The inquiry by the Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB) found that the pair had set off for the yacht - which was moored in Inisboffin Harbour - on a motor-driven inflatable tender after several hours socialising in Day's Pub on the island.
The report also found that they had declined an offer to be ferried back to the yacht.
A witness, Ian Day, recounted that he drove his jeep to the end of the pier and used his headlights to assure himself that the tender had reached the vessel. Though it had been agreed with both men that they would turn off the external lights on the vessel when they safely boarded, it was assumed that they had forgotten.
The bodies of both men were discovered the following morning. McEllin’s body was found lying on West Quarter Beach adjacent to where the vessel was moored, while Feeney’s body was found afloat, lying under the upturned tender. McEllin’s lifejacket had inflated but was entangled around his neck, indicating that the groin strap was not properly tied.
Based on the available evidence, the MCIB concluded that the deaths were the result of attemping a night-time transfer from a small inflatable boat to a larger vessel swinging on its mooring, combined with "possible tiredness and diminished human performance resulting from the effects of alcohol".

Investigators have published their investigation report into the death of two yachtsmen off Inishboffin in October last year.

Donal McEllin, 63, and Ger Feeney, 56, died while attempting to return to their motor yacht Quo Vadis in the early hours of 10 October.

The inquiry by the Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB) found that the pair had set off for the yacht - which was moored in Inisboffin Harbour - on a motor-driven inflatable tender after several hours socialising in Day's Pub on the island.

The report also found that they had declined an offer to be ferried back to the yacht.

A witness, Ian Day, recounted that he drove his jeep to the end of the pier and used his headlights to assure himself that the tender had reached the vessel. Though it had been agreed with both men that they would turn off the external lights on the vessel when they safely boarded, it was assumed that they had forgotten.

The bodies of both men were discovered the following morning. Mr. McEllin’s body was found lying on West Quarter Beach adjacent to where the vessel was moored, while Mr. Feeney’s body was found afloat, lying under the upturned tender. Mr. McEllin’s lifejacket had inflated but was entangled around his neck, indicating that the groin strap was not properly tied.

Based on the available evidence, the MCIB concluded that the deaths were the result of attemping a night-time transfer from a small inflatable boat to a larger vessel swinging on its mooring, combined with "possible tiredness and diminished human performance resulting from the effects of alcohol".

The full MCIB report is available for download below.

Published in MCIB

Gardai launched a full investigation into the weekend boating tragedy where two men died in Inishboffin harbour.The men were identified locally as former Mayo footballer, Ger Feeney, and businessman, Donal McEllin, both from Castlebar.

It is understood the pair left the island by small RIB to travel back to their motor cruiser some time after midnight on Saturday and are both thought to have been wearing lifejackets when they set out.

A second investigation is also to be carried out by officers of the Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB).

More here:

Ex-GAA star dies in double drowning tragedy off island

Two men drowned off Inishbofin

Castlebar in shock as Inishbofin victims are named

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Published in RNLI Lifeboats

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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