Twelve passengers and the boat’s master were tipped into the water when the PV Mary Ann of Dunloe, a traditional Irish open clinker, listed to port after being swamped amid heavy waves at Foilcoille Point, en route from Ross Castle to the Gap of Dunloe, on the morning of 1 September 2016.
All involved were rescued by three other vessels and safely retuned to Ross Castle in Killarney.
In its investigations, the Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB) found that the master, who was operating without the requisite Passenger Vessel Commercial Endorsement, had set out in calm conditions but continued to motor the heavily laden boat in weather contrary to its P2 licence.
Rather than being flooded by a single ‘rogue wave’ as the master suggests, the available evidence points to “green seas” on the lake flooding the bilge beyond the capabilities of its pump, says the MCIB report.
“The combination of the prevailing lake conditions, the large amount of water already in the vessel, the speed of the vessel and the turning manoeuvre all contributed to the vessel becoming swamped.”
The passengers’ predicament continued during their rescue, it emerged, with the first vessel to reach them unable to deploy its lifebuoys as they were fastened too tightly.
The second vessel to assist also had difficulties, getting its propeller caught in a rope from and colliding with the casualty boat, holing its own hull. A third vessel, alerted by a passing waterbus, picked up all passengers.
But the MCIB also noted the absence of accurate weather information for Lough Leane, which is subject to very localised conditions but has not had an operational weather buoy for some time.
The full report from the MCIB is available to download below.