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Displaying items by tag: Lough Derg

A fundraising volunteer for Lough Derg RNLI has received an award for her services to the Co Tipperary lifeboat station.

Laura Clarke was presented with the Excellence in Volunteering Award by RNLI community manager Jennifer Grey during the annual Christmas card and gift sale at Lough Derg Yacht Club in Dromineer yesterday (Tuesday 9 November).

Laura has been a volunteer on the Lough Derg RNLI Fundraising Committee for 11 years. She says she became a volunteer because the charity “was one my late father loved and always supported, and it was something I wished to continue”.

She recalled that her father Mr Crawford had donated to Portrush lifeboat station in Northern Ireland for the build of their new lifeboat. In 2019, Laura organised a fundraising swim in memory of her father that raised significant funds for the RNLI.

As well as a long family association with the lifeboats, Laura’s husband Caleb is honorary treasurer for both Lough Derg RNLI’s lifeboat station and fundraising committee, while her brother-in-law Peter Clarke was a volunteer helm with the station for 14 years.

In commending Laura for the award, RNLI director of fundraising Jayne George wrote: “Your productive, innovative and reliable attitude has not only optimised our fundraising opportunities at local events but throughout the pandemic has raised more than £2,000 in Christmas card and gift sales alone.”

Of the volunteer’s hard work throughout these difficult past two years, Jayne added that Laura’s enthusiasm and dedication “embodies the RNLI core values of being courageous, trustworthy, selfless and dependable”.

Laura said it is a “great honour to be a part of an organisation that is such a force for good in the world. I’m thrilled to receive this award.”

Niamh McCutcheon, chair of the Lough Derg RNLI fundraising branch and member of the Irish Council of the RNLI. added that she is “delighted to see Laura’s commitment, dedication and significant efforts acknowledged with this award”.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

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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At their recent ‘Family Day’ on Sunday 3 October, Lough Derg RNLI volunteers took the opportunity to acknowledge the years of dedication of former helm Peter Clarke and lifeboat operations manager Liam Maloney.

The COVID guidelines-compliant luncheon at Larkins Restaurant in Garrykennedy was hosted to thank the lifeboat crew’s families for their unflagging support and understanding of the demands involved in being a lifeboat volunteer.

The team invited former helm Peter Clarke and his family to join the party. After the lunch, and on behalf of all the volunteers, helms Owen Cavanagh and Eleanor Hooker presented Peter with an Kimmeridge RNLI Special Edition watch, in appreciation of his 14 years’ service as helm.

Crew member Chris Parker also presented Peter with a framed Certificate of Service on behalf of the RNLI.

Peter is a busy dairy farmer with a young family. Eleanor spoke of Peter’s dedication, good humour and positive attitude especially on some of the most challenging shouts on Lough Derg. She said the station would love to see him return to the crew when he has more time.

Owen and Eleanor also presented Liam Maloney with a Kimmeridge RNLI Special Edition watch and a Lough Derg RNLI Helly Hansen jacket as a thank-you for the six years he served as the station’s lifeboat operations manager and 19 years volunteering for the RNLI.

A former headmaster at Carrig Primary School, Liam is also a skilled boat builder and one of the most formidable competitive dinghy sailors at Lough Derg Yacht Club.

Liam has been a volunteer with Lough Derg RNLI since preparations for the station began in 2002-03, when he made the assembly hall at his school available for meetings and classroom training for crew.

He says that as he was outside the age to volunteer as crew, he became a deputy launching authority when the station went live for service in 2004.

Christine O’Malley, who took over as lifeboat operations manager on 8 January this year, praised Liam for his hard work in maintaining a high standard of operations at the station, and for his success in involving the local community in the crew and operations team. Liam remains with the station as a deputy launching authority.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Lough Derg RNLI had back-to-back callouts yesterday afternoon (Sunday 19 September) to vessels that had run aground near navigation marks.

At 1.35pm the Lough Derg lifeboat launched to assist seven people on a 45ft cruiser aground at Navigation Mark G.

While en route, Valentia Coast Guard reported a further three people in need of assistance on a 30ft cruiser aground at Navigation Mark E.

At the time the lake had a moderate chop with Force 3-4 variable south-westerly winds and frequent squalls.

At 2.08pm the lifeboat had the first casualty vessel in sight, aground on a shoal near Navigation Mark G on the Tipperary shore.

Marine engineers from the cruise hire company arrived on scene at the same time, and the lifeboat remained on standby until the engineers had the cruiser off the shoal and the scene was safe.

At 2.30pm the lifeboat departed to assist the three people on the second vessel aground, reaching them 15 minutes later.

This 30ft vessel was aground off the Goat Road, a raised shoal for migrating birds. The lifeboat found all three people to be safe and unharmed and wearing their lifejackets.

The lifeboat transferred two RNLI volunteers across to the casualty vessel, which was found to be not holed.

Given the weather conditions, the RNLI helm decided that the safest course of action was to take the cruiser off the rocks and out into safe water.

Once back afloat, the cruiser’s drives and rudder were found to be in good working order and it was able to continue its passage under its own power.

Lifeboat operations manager Christine O’Malley advises water users unfamiliar with Lough Derg to “plan your passage and keep a lookout for the next navigation mark on your route. Plan your course to arrive at safe harbour before nightfall.”

The Lough Derg crew on these callouts was helm Owen Cavanagh, Steve Smyth, Tom Hayes and Michael O’Sullivan.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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A volunteer crew member at Lough Derg RNLI has become a trauma risk management practitioner for the Dromineer station.

Chris Parker graduated from the RNLI’s Trauma Risk Management Programme (TRiM) this past April.

The TRiM programme aims to provide confidential support and assistance for volunteers who may be dealing with the psychological effects of attending traumatic or distressing callouts.

Currently there are 60 TRiM practitioners within the RNLI across the UK and Ireland — including Parker, who joined the Co Tipperary lifeboat crew two-and-a-half years ago, shortly after moving to the area with his family.

Now a qualified lifeboat crew member, Parker is also Lough Derg RNLI’s health, safety and environmental local liaison.

“I am proud to be able to help fellow volunteers,” he says.

“Sometimes we run towards the bad stuff, and it can take its toll. As a crew member, I want to be there for the members of the public when they are in difficulty, but as a practitioner, I want to be there for my fellow volunteer crew members in the RNLI who may be having their worst day, too.”

As the RNLI is a frontline volunteer emergency service, its crews encounter scenarios and casualty injuries they may never confront in their day jobs.

And in spite of rigorous training in casualty care, volunteers respond differently to the reality of what they’ve encountered.

In most instances following traumatic events, crew will resolve any negative feelings over time. “TRiM is there to support our staff and volunteers from an early stage, to offer peer support,” Parker says.

“To those that require professional help, the TRiM practitioners have the knowledge and training to signpost those services and support.”

All training for frontline staff or volunteers is provided by the RNLI through its partner March on Stress. Parker says that to retain practitioner status, he must meet professional standards through continuous training.

He explains that the initial two-day intensive course covered active listening skills, mentoring, education and risk assessment.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Lough Derg RNLI’s lifeboat volunteers were diverted from exercise in Dromineer Bay last night (Thursday 26 August) to assist two people on a 12ft fishing boat with engine failure just off the Goat Road, on the eastern shore of the lough.

The RNLI crew plotted a course to the Goat Road, and as the made their way under nightfall they monitored the fast moving vessels operating in the area on radar.

Arriving on scene within 20 minutes, the lifeboat was directed to the casualty vessel by the people on board using torches.

The fishing boat was floating close to a rocky shore south of the Goat Road, so the lifeboat made a cautious approach.

Once alongside, the lifeboat crew found both people on board safe and unharmed and wearing their lifejackets. The duo reported that their boat had glanced off a rock and suffered engine failure.

Given the hour and the drop in temperature, lifeboat helm Eleanor Hooker decided the safest option was to set up an alongside tow and take the vessel with her passengers to Dromineer, the safest close harbour.

Without sufficient warm clothing, the two people took shelter in the forward cabin of their boat until it was safety tied alongside in Dromineer before 11.20pm.

Peter Kennedy, deputy launching authority at Lough Derg RNLI, advises all water users to “study your charts and be prepared; anticipate a drop in temperature with nightfall”.

The lifeboat crew on this callout were Eleanor Hooker, Doireann Kennedy, Tom Hayes and Ciara Lynch.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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On Monday evening, 23 August, Valentia Coast Guard requested Lough Derg RNLI lifeboat to launch to assess a cruiser reported aground by a concerned member of the public. The cruiser was said to be in Scarriff Bay, north of the entrance to the Scarriff River.

At 6.51 pm the lifeboat Jean Spier launched with helm crew Owen Cavanagh, crew Eleanor Hooker, Joe O’Donoghue and Doireann Kennedy on board. The lake was calm. Visibility was good.

At 7:08 pm the lifeboat arrived on scene. The cruiser was aground on a rocky shore, north of the entrance to the Scarriff River. The lifeboat stood off to inspect the aspect of the cruiser, which appeared to be pivoting on the edge of the shoal.

Taking a transit off their stern, and with a volunteer RNLI crew taking soundings off the bow, and another using the onboard electronic charts, the lifeboat made a cautious approach to the casualty vessel. There was a family of three onboard, all safe and unharmed and wearing their lifejackets. An RNLI crew member transferred across to the casualty vessel and established that the vessel was not holed.

The crew took soundings around the casualty vessel, and given the isolated location, the helm decided that the safest option was to set up an astern tow and take the vessel of the rocks and out into safe water.

At 7.20 pm the lifeboat had the vessel off the rocks and out into safe water, where drives and rudder were found to be in good working order. The RNLI volunteer was transferred back to the lifeboat, and the cruiser and her passengers continued their onward journey to Scarriff Harbour.

The lifeboat departed the scene at 7.48 pm and was back at Station at 8.06 pm.

Jeremy Freeman, Deputy Launching Authority at Lough Derg RNLI, advises water users to ‘keep a lookout and anticipate each navigation mark on your route and always carry a means of communication’.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Sailed over four days, the Irish Optimist Nationals 2021 for youth sailors had a fleet of 133 boats representing over 13 different clubs, competing across the Regatta Fleet and Main, Senior and Junior fleets on Lough Derg Yacht Club.

The host club provided an outdoor venue for the travelling families with many having more than one sailor in the various fleets. 

PRO John Leech delivered 11 races, south of the Corrakeens Islands throughout the championships in typically shifting winds.

With the Regatta fleet sailing close to shore in Dromineer Bay, with Liam Maloney as Race Officer, which for many was their first regatta experience.

The organisers introduced a new format to the regatta fleet with 50% of their time provided as coaching, fun and games. 

Prize giving led by Joe Gilmartin, LDYC Commodore, outside in beautiful sunshine, crowned a new national champion in each fleet,

Caoilinn Geraghty McDonnell of RStGYC first in the Senior Fleet, Andrew O’Neill of RCYC first in the Junior Fleet and Patrick Fegan of MYC first Regatta.

Optimists go afloat at Lough Derg for the 2021 National ChampionshipsOptimists go afloat at Lough Derg for the 2021 National Championships

Racing was very tight over the 4 days with the leading changing each day. Two points separated first from second-placed Des Turvey, HYC in the Senior fleet, and Two points in the Junior fleet from Conor Cronin of MYC.

Royal Cork YC were the team prize winners in both Senior and Junior fleets.

Full results can be found here 

IODAI President Alexander Walsh said, "feedback from both competitors and parents was very positive and look forward to returning to Lough Derg Yacht Club for great racing afloat, great hospitality ashore and lots of activities for the children to enjoy ashore". 

Published in Optimist
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Lough Derg RNLI assisted five people on vessels in difficulty across two back-to-back shouts on the lough today, Monday 16 August.

In the first callout, the lifeboat was alerted by Valentia Coast Guard to a 30ft cruiser reported aground close to Mountshannon Harbour in the southwestern part of Lough Derg.

With Eleanor Hooker at the helm and crew Owen Cavanagh, Joe O’Donoghue and Chris Parker on board, the inshore lifeboat Jean Spicer launched at 11.40am in moderate conditions with Force 4 north-westerly winds blowing.

Within 15 minutes the lifeboat had sighted the casualty vessel, which was aground on a sandbar in the bay east of Mountshannon Harbour. The lifeboat took frequent soundings on a cautious approach to the casualty vessel, located in an area known for its sudden shallows.

The cruiser’s skipper was found to be safe and unharmed and wearing his lifejacket.

Given the vessel’s location close to a navigation channel to a small marina, it was decided the safest plan was to take the cruiser off the sandbar and out into safe water. The skipper was asked to drain his water tanks to lighten the vessel.

Soon the lifeboat had the cruiser off the sandbar and under tow to safe water, where drives and rudder were found to be undamaged and in good working order. The cruiser made way under its own power to Mountshannon Harbour.

Upon departing the scene at 12.32pm, the lifeboat crew were requested by Valentia Coast Guard to attend a family of four on a 40ft cruiser broken down by Navigation Mark E at the Goat Road at the lough’s north-eastern shore.

The cruiser had suffered an electrical failure, and the skipper had dropped anchor to prevent being pushed onto a rocky shore.

The lifeboat was alongside within half an hour, finding all on board safe and unharmed and wearing lifejackets.

One of the lifeboat crew transferred across and confirmed that none of the systems on board were working. Given the location and weather conditions, the helm decided to take the cruiser under tow to Kilgarvan Harbour, the safest close harbour.

Liam Maloney, deputy launching authority at Lough Derg RNLI, advises water users to “check the weather forecast for inland lakes and always carry a means of communication. Dial 999 or 112 and ask for marine rescue if you find yourself in difficulty on the water.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Wildlife service staff released 21 white-tailed sea eagle chicks to the wild over the weekend at four sites in Munster, including Lough Derg and the Shannon estuary.

Chicks were also released in Waterford and Killarney National Park as part of the second phase of the State’s re-introduction programme.

The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) said the chicks had been kept in purpose-built enclosures at the four locations while they “grew, matured, and developed the feathers and muscles necessary for flight”.

“They were carefully monitored and tagged by NPWS staff leading the collaborative reintroduction programme, which began in 2007,” the NPWS said.

Satellite tagging facilitates monitoring of their progress and their integration into the existing Irish breeding population, it said.

The chicks were collected under licence in June of this year from nests throughout the Trondheim area of west-central Norway by the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research.

The white-tailed sea eagle once bred on the Irish coastline and near large freshwater lakes, living on fish, waterbirds and dead animals, until driven to extinction in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Twenty-one Norwegian-born White Tailed Eagle chicks were released into the wild at the four Munster sites - on the Shannon Estuary, Lough Derg, Waterford and in Killarney National Park (pictured). It is hoped they will bolster Ireland’s existing White-Tailed Eagle population. Overseeing the Release in Killarney National Park, from left, Regional Manager National Parks and Wildlife Service, Dr Allan Mee, Advisor, White Tailed Eagle Project Phase 1, Danny O'Keeffe, National Parks and Wildlife Service district conservation officer, Philip Buckley, Project Site Manager, Shannon Esturary. The chicks have been kept in purpose-built enclosures at the four locations while they grew, matured, and developed the feathers and muscles necessary for flight. They will continue to be carefully monitored and by NPWS staff leading the collaborative reintroduction programme, which began in 2007. The satellite tags will allow the project to monitor their progress and their integration into the existing Irish breeding population. Photo: Valerie O’SullivanOverseeing the Release of the chicks in Killarney National Park, from left, Regional Manager National Parks and Wildlife Service, Dr Allan Mee, Advisor, White Tailed Eagle Project Phase 1, Danny O'Keeffe, National Parks and Wildlife Service district conservation officer, Philip Buckley, Project Site Manager, Shannon Esturary. The chicks have been kept in purpose-built enclosures at the four locations while they grew, matured, and developed the feathers and muscles necessary for flight. They will continue to be carefully monitored and by NPWS staff leading the collaborative reintroduction programme, which began in 2007. Photo: Valerie O’Sullivan

The birds are particularly vulnerable to illness and poison in winter when they rely more heavily on carrion.

Most of the birds re-introduced to Ireland over the past 13 years – in a programme pioneered by the Golden Eagle Trust - have remained, while some were reported in Northern Ireland and at least seven birds were identified in Britain.

At least ten white-tailed eagle pairs held territory across four counties last year - in Kerry (7 pairs), Galway (1), Tipperary (1) and Cork (1).

A white tailed sea eagle chick Photo: Valerie O'SullivanA white tailed sea eagle chick Photo: Valerie O'Sullivan

The NPWS says at least nine pairs laid eggs in Kerry (6 pairs), Cork (1), Tipperary (1) and Galway (1).

The NPWS says that “restoring this lost flagship species to Irish skies will be a significant step in restoring Ireland’s natural heritage and will bring great benefit to Irish biodiversity”.

It says the project “underlines in practical terms Ireland’s commitment to implementing the UN Convention on Biological Diversity”.

Published in Marine Wildlife
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