Allianz and Afloat - Supporting Irish Boating

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Displaying items by tag: Lough Derg

Lough Derg RNLI were called to assist two people on a 36ft cruiser aground outside Garrykennedy’s old harbour wall on Saturday evening (4 June).

At 7.15pm the inshore lifeboat Jean Spier was ready to go with helm Eleanor Hooker, Doireann Kennedy, Joe O’Donoghue and Ciara Lynch on board.

As the lifeboat was launching, Valentia Coast Guard informed the volunteers that a person on shore had reported that local boats had taken the cruiser off the rocks.

However, the lifeboat was requested to proceed as as there was no update on the two people on board nor the current whereabouts of the cruiser.

The lifeboat arrived at Garrykennedy within seven minutes and the volunteers crew identified the casualty vessel tied alongside an outside jetty in the new Garrykennedy Harbour.

After the crew established that both people on the cruiser were safe, the vessel was checked for any evidence of water ingress before they updated the coastguard and returned to station.

Jeremy Freeman, deputy launching authority at Lough Derg RNLI advises boat users: “If you find yourself in difficulty on the lake, dial 999 or 112 and ask for marine rescue.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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A volunteer crew member at Lough Derg RNLI has successfully passed out as a helm on the station’s inshore lifeboat.

Following an assessment in theory onshore and an extensive assessment on the water, Steve Smyth was recently passed out as helm with Lough Derg RNLI by Assessor Mark Mitchell. The achievement follows two years of hard work and dedication by Steve.

Steve became a volunteer with Lough Derg RNLI in 2018. He was inspired to join the crew by his own rescue in 2010 by the RNLI which made him want to give something back to the charity. Having friends who were already volunteers with the RNLI including his brother-in-law Owen, a senior helm at Lough Derg RNLI, he had good insight into what was required to train as a crew with the lifeboat.

Steve’s helm training programme began in 2020, just as safeguarding restrictions and lockdowns were being imposed as a consequence of the pandemic. Undaunted, Steve persisted with his programme through the online classes provided by the RNLI, and, in the periods out of lockdown, by training on the water with crew and with Helena Duggan, the station’s Assessor Trainer, something which was a testament to Steve’s commitment and dedication.

An experienced diver, Steve joined the Lough Derg Sub Aqua Club as a trainee diver in 2006 and in 2014 became a Diver Instructor. In 2016 he qualified as a Diver Examiner. Steve also had responsibility as the Regional Dive Officer for the southwest region from 2016 to 2018. He dives mostly in the west and south coasts of Ireland but has also dived with teams in Spain, Malta, France, Mauritius and Florida.

When asked about becoming a RNLI lifeboat helm, Steve said: ‘I do believe it’s not just me who has achieved this but the entire station at Lough Derg RNLI, from the helms, crew, fundraisers, operations team, medical, training, health and safety and mechanic.

It is a team effort. We can’t go afloat without the support, time and effort of each other. We are all one crew. I also want to thank our Assessor Trainer Helena Duggan for all her advice and guidance, Mark Mitchell who carried out the pass out, to Eleanor and Chris, my excellent crew on the day and Cathy, the on-duty Deputy Launching Authority’.

Steve says he will now endeavour to maintain the high standards and professionalism shown by the helms and crew at the station: ‘When the call comes to help, I have faith that my training and experience will enable me to make the correct decisions day or night.

‘As all RNLI volunteers are aware, it is the understanding from our families that enables us to fulfil our roles, and I want to say a huge thanks for the support and encouragement from my wife Clodagh and my two boys Cathal and Darragh.’

Steve has worked hard and consistently to achieve this goal, and all of his fellow volunteers send their heartiest congratulations.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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"Reflections on Lough Derg", presented by the multi-talented Eleanor Hooker who is a poet, writer, and the helm of the RNLI Dromineer-based Lough Derg Lifeboat, is the Lyric Feature on this evening at 6 PM on RTÉ Lyric FM and will be available after broadcast as a Lyric Feature podcast.

She will be joined by many friends including Reggie Goodbody, Teddy Knight and Sandra Lefroy.

More here

Published in Inland Waterways
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On Thursday afternoon (26 May) Valentia Coast Guard requested Lough Derg RNLI to launch to assist a lone skipper on a 30ft cruiser with engine failure.

The vessel was reported to be adrift south of Marker E at the Goat Road and north of Marker D by Illaunmor on the lake’s eastern shore.

Lough Derg’s inshore lifeboat Jean Spier launched at 3.54pm with helm Keith Brennan, Eleanor Hooker, Joe O’Donoghue and Richard Nolan on board. Weather conditions had a westerly Force 4/5 wind, gusting Force 6, with good visibility.

Around 15 minutes later the lifeboat had the casualty vessel in sight at the location given by the coastguard. By this point the westerly wind had pushed the vessel onto the shore.

With the benefit of local knowledge, volunteers were aware there was clear water at the casualty vessel’s location south of the Goat Road. Nevertheless, a crew member took soundings off the bow of the lifeboat while another used the onboard navigation tools to plot a safe route to the casualty vessel.

Once alongside, the lifeboat established that the skipper was safe and unharmed and wearing his lifejacket. An RNLI crew member transferred across to assess the vessel and, having established that it had not suffered damage, was requested by the helm to set up for a tow.

Given the location and the rough conditions, the helm decided that the safest option was to take the vessel into safe water and reassess the engine.

Once towed to safety, the cruiser’s engine started without issue and all drives and rudder were found to be in good working order. The cruiser then made way towards Dromineer under its own power, while the lifeboat headed back towards the station.

Minutes later, the lifeboat was hailed again by the coastguard to report that the cruiser was having further engine problems. This time a tow was set up to bring the vessel to the public harbour in Dromineer, where it was safety tied alongside shortly after 6pm.

Speaking later, Aoife Kennedy, deputy launching authority at Lough Derg RNLI advises boat users “to have your engines serviced before going afloat and ensure you to replace old fuel with fresh fuel. Remember to carry an anchor with sufficient warp.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Lough Derg RNLI has hailed as a great success its first ‘Lap the Lake’ charity cycle.

The local lifesaving charity’s fundraising branch organised the 130km cycle around Lough Derg for last Saturday 8 May, which saw 250 cyclists take part in its most ambitious event to date.

And the day was blessed by good weather and good cheer as it raised significant funds that are essential for the lifeboat station’s lifesaving activities.

The 130km route around Lough Derg — covering counties Tipperary, Clare and Galway — gave participants the opportunity to delight in the outstanding beauty of the lake and the River Shannon.

Their safety and wellbeing were well catered for with first-aid providers, out-riders, marshals and bike maintenance stops along the route, as well as comfort and refreshments stations.

Niamh McCutcheon, chair of the Lough Derg RNLI Fundraising Committee and the ‘Lap the Lake’ Event Committee, said the inaugural event “was enjoyed by cyclists from all over Ireland. The friendly welcome provided by the marshals, RNLI crew and the enthusiastic and well-organised committee was much appreciated by all.”

McCutcheon thanked Lough Derg Yacht Club and all the sponsors of the event, whose generosity also ensured its success. Meanwhile, the fundraiser remains open for donations via its JustGiving page.

Feedback from participants praised the attention to detail, safety and comfort; a compliment to the organisational skills of Niamh McCutcheon, Pat Kelly, Caleb and Laura Clarke, Tom Sanders, Anne Atkinson, Bob O Brien, John MacMahon, Sarah Langham and Ted Knight on the Lough Derg RNLI Fundraising Committee and Veronica Plunkett, Ena Butler, Hilda Hamilton, Joe Hughes, Johnathan Horgan, Laura Clarke and Niamh McCutcheon on the Lap the Lake Event Committee.

RNLI lifeboat helm Owen Cavanagh and crew members Doireann Kennedy, Joe O'Donoghue, Ciara Moylan, Ania Skrzypczynska and Ciara Lynch, who worked in shifts throughout the day, brought the lifeboat Jean Spier to the public harbour in Dromineer and to other harbours around the lake and were pleased to answer questions about the RNLI, its lifesaving work and the lifeboat itself.

The fundraising committee thanks the many other members of the Lough Derg Lifeboat Station who played major roles in the success of this event. In particular, Aoife Kennedy, lifeboat administration officer and deputy launching authority at Lough Derg RNLI Lifeboat Station, who assisted with the registration of participating cyclists and acted as liaison between the fundraising committee and the lifeboat station throughout the event; Chris Parker (Lough Derg RNLI crew member) who acted as safety officer; Peter Kennedy (DLA and station mechanic) and Caleb Clarke (hon treasurer) who dressed the yacht club in RNLI bunting; Christine O’Malley (lifeboat operations manager), Liam Moloney (DLA) and Peter Kennedy who remained on hand to coordinate the lifeboat;s manoeuvres; and Richard Nolan (Lough Derg RNLI crew member) and Peter Harty (RNLI area lifesaving manager) who both cycled in the event.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Valentia Coast Guard requested Lough Derg RNLI lifeboat to launch to assist a lone skipper on a 25ft yacht aground at Ryan’s Point on the eastern shore of Lough Derg on Sunday at 4.47 pm.

The wind was westerly, Force 2/3. Visibility was good.

At 5.06 pm Lough Derg RNLI lifeboat Jean Spier launched with helm Keith Brennan, Steve Smyth, Joe O’Donoghue and Richard Nolan on board. At 5.14 pm the lifeboat had the casualty vessel in sight; it was located at Ryan’s Point, broadside to weather.

Taking a tow line with him, an RNLI volunteer swam back to the casualty vessel whilst the lifeboat stood by in safe water. The skipper was found to be safe and unharmed and wearing his lifejacket. He had been motoring-sailing when his engine failed. The skipper had dropped anchor, but it dragged, and his yacht had drifted into the rocky shore. As the yacht was not hard aground, an RNLI volunteer was able to ease the vessel into safe water and then receive a tow line from the lifeboat.

At 5.40 pm the lifeboat took the casualty under tow and at 6.59 pm, as the lifeboat approached Dromineer Harbour, the lifeboat changed to an alongside tow. At 7.12 pm the casualty vessel was safely tied alongside in Dromineer Harbour.

The lifeboat departed the scene and was back at Station at 7.20 pm and at 7.40 pm the lifeboat was washed down and refuelled.

Christine O’Malley, Lifeboat Operations Manager at Lough Derg RNLI, advises boat users ‘as the boating season starts in earnest, remember to have your engine serviced and if you are alone on the water, tell someone your plans and what time you expect to arrive at your destination.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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At 7.46 pm, Sunday, April 17, Valentia Coast Guard requested Lough Derg RNLI lifeboat to launch to assist a lone skipper on 30ft cruiser aground, inside Red Island on the south-western County Clare shore. The wind was south-southwest, Force 3/4. Visibility was good initially but dropped at 8.36 pm with the sunset.

At 8.03 pm Lough Derg RNLI lifeboat Jean Spier launched with helm Eleanor Hooker, Owen Cavanagh, Joe O’Donoghue and Ciara Moylan on board. At 8.18 pm the lifeboat had the casualty vessel in sight; it was located inside Red Island, north of Holy Island. Aware of an extended shoal inside Red Island, an RNLI volunteer took soundings off the bow and, using onboard electronic navigation, crew plotted a safe course to the casualty vessel.

At 8.21 pm RNLI crew noted that the skipper on the casualty vessel was signalling with a light, waving and calling to them. Unable to make out what he was saying, the lifeboat asked Valentia Coast Guard for the skipper’s mobile phone number and called him. An RNLI volunteer reassured the skipper that the lifeboat was coming to assist and though it appeared the lifeboat was taking a course away from him, the lifeboat was in fact following a safe route in order to turn to his location without risk of grounding.

"The skipper on the casualty vessel was signalling with a light, waving and calling to the RNLI"

At 8.30 pm the lifeboat was alongside the casualty vessel. The skipper was safe and unharmed and wearing his lifejacket. As it was a cold night, lifeboat crew advised the skipper to put on additional warm clothing. An RNLI volunteer checked that the vessel was not holed and also made a check for any visual hazards bow and stern of the boat. Given the drop in temperature with nightfall and the secluded location, the helm made the decision to take the vessel off the rocks and out into safe water.

At 8.50 pm the lifeboat had the vessel off the shoal and out in safe water. With an RNLI volunteer remaining on the board, the skipper checked forward and astern drives and steering and once satisfied they were in good working order, the casualty made way under its own power to Mountshannon Harbour, with the lifeboat leading.

At 9.20 pm, as the casualty vessel entered Mountshannon Bay, the RNLI volunteer on board hailed the lifeboat to inform crew that the engine on the casualty vessel was overheating. The lifeboat immediately came alongside to assess the situation. The skipper switched to a backup engine and turned off his main engine and continued to Mountshannon Harbour with the lifeboat leading the way. At 9.31 pm the casualty vessel was safely tied alongside in Mountshannon Harbour.

The lifeboat departed the scene and was back at Station at 10 pm and at 10.35 pm the lifeboat was washed down and refuelled.

Christine O’Malley, Lifeboat Operations Manager at Lough Derg RNLI advises boat users ‘if you are alone on the water, tell someone your plans and what time you expect to arrive at your destination. Remember to carry up to date charts of the lake and do not venture off the main navigation channels'.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Dom Sharkey, a helm at Lough Derg RNLI has retired after twelve years dedicated service to the charity. Dom, a carpenter and master craftsman who works in building and renovation is recognized as a valued member of the RNLI team at Lough Derg.

Following his final exercise on Sunday 27 February, volunteers arranged a surprise leaving party for Dom, held with kind permission, at Lough Derg Yacht Club on whose grounds Lough Derg RNLI lifeboat is currently stationed. Dom was presented with a woodcut of Lough Derg made by artist Henri Bocxe. As a mark of appreciation on behalf of the local community, Noreen Cavanagh, Manager at the Thatched Cottage Restaurant in Ballycommon, generously provided sandwiches free of charge for the party. Members of the station also baked cakes and scones.

Dom was moved by everyone’s efforts on his behalf. He reflected on how much it meant to him to be a part of such an important and vital rescue service on the lake and how he has made such great new friends through being on the crew at Lough Derg RNLI. Dom did not rule out the possibility that he would return to the Station when his professional life was less busy.

Dom’s calm and considered approach to the challenges faced by crew when out on a Shout earned the deep respect of his fellow volunteers. Many new crew have benefited from his in-depth knowledge of both the theoretical and practical essentials in being a lifeboat volunteer as well as his understanding of the delights and vagaries of the lake.

Ger Egan, senior helm at Lough Derg RNLI said of Dom that he was a “committed and dependable volunteer, humble and selfless. Totally focused on whatever challenges a rescue threw at him, he was a huge asset to have at Lough Derg RNLI and will be greatly missed”.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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On Friday afternoon, 8 April, Valentia Coast Guard requested Lough Derg RNLI lifeboat to launch to assist six people on a 37ft cruiser that ran aground north of Hare Island on the Co. Clare shore.

At 3.02 pm the lifeboat Jean Spier launched with helm Keith Brennan, crew Eleanor Hooker, Steve Smyth and Doireann Kennedy on board. Winds were northerly, Force 3/4 gusting 6. Visibility was good, decreasing to moderate in frequent squalls.

At 3.31 pm the lifeboat had the casualty vessel in sight. The cruiser was inside the navigation mark with its bow up on the rocky shoal. Standing off, the lifeboat observed that the casualty boat was rocking from side to side. Using charts and electronic navigation, and with an RNLI crew member taking sounds from the bow, the lifeboat plotted a safe approach to the stern of the casualty vessel.

Once alongside and having established that everyone on board was safe and unharmed and wearing their lifejackets, an RNLI crew member checked beneath the floorboards and in the engine housing to ensure there was no water coming in. Given the conditions, location and circumstances, the helm made the decision to set up a tow and to take the casualty astern off the rocks.

At 3.59 pm the lifeboat had the cruiser off the rocks and out in safe water. The RNLI crew member on the casualty vessel again checked that there was no ingress of water and that the drives forward and astern, and the rudder were working. With an RNLI volunteer remaining on board, and the lifeboat in company, the cruiser made way under its own power to Garrykennedy Harbour. It was safely tied alongside at 4.35 pm. 

The lifeboat departed the scene and was back at station at 4.45 pm.

Aoife Kennedy, Deputy Launching Authority at Lough Derg RNLI, advises boat users to ‘study your charts when planning your passage, anticipate each navigation mark along your route and keep a constant lookout’.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Three “blueways” developed across four Irish counties are “the first in the world” to be accredited as such, Fáilte Ireland says.

“Blueways” encourage the use of lakes, canals, rivers and coastal environments for walking, cycling, swimming, kayaking, stand up paddleboarding while engaging with nature and heritage.

The Boyne Blueway, Suir Blueway Tipperary and Lough Derg Blueway have been opened this week, following their accreditation.

Fáilte Ireland says its research shows that 73%* of domestic tourists engaged in outdoor activities on their most recent overnight trip, ranging from walking and hiking, to swimming, kayaking and canoeing.

It says official accreditation of “blueways” responds to this growing public demand for quality outdoor infrastructure close to water and nature.

The “blueway” accreditation has been developed by Fáilte Ireland, Sport Ireland, Waterways Ireland, Sport Northern Ireland and Tourism Northern Ireland. The aim is to “ensure a consistent high standard from a technical and safety perspective” and to “deliver best in class sustainable visitor experiences”, the tourism body says.

“Under the Programme for Government, we committed to investing in and promoting “blueways” and recreational trails for the benefit of local communities and tourists alike,” Minister for Tourism Catherine Martin said.

She said they would open up counties Meath, Tipperary, Clare and Galway to water-based and water-side activities.

“The “blueways” partnership is an important cross-border initiative that will .... help position the island of Ireland as a world-class activities tourism destination for visitors,” she said.

Published in Aquatic Tourism
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At A Glance – J80 Keelboat Specs

Dimensions (Metres/Kg)

LOA 8.00
LWL 6.71
Beam 2.51
Standard Draft 1.49
Standard Ballast 635
Displacement 1,315
Engine outboard

At A Glance – Fireball Dinghy Specs

Crew 2 (single trapeze)
LOA 16 ft 2 in (4.93 m)
Beam 4 ft 6 in (1.37 m)
Hull weight 175 lb (79 kg)
Mast height 22.3 ft (6.8 m)
Mainsail area 108 sq ft (10.0 m2).
Jib / Genoa area 35 sq ft (3.3 m2).
Spinnaker area 140 sq ft (13 m2).

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