Displaying items by tag: Lough Ree
The Shannon has long been the base for festivals in the midlands centre, from the original Athlone People’s Regatta in the 1920s to the Athlone River Festival in the 1990s that was revived in recent years.
And this year, over the weekend of 30 June and 1 July, festival fever will be hitting Athlone once again thanks to Waterways Ireland and with the support of Westmeath County Council and Lough Ree RNLI lifeboat volunteers.
“Lough Ree RNLI has received huge support from the communities around Lough Ree and we would like to repay the community with a fun-filled water-based weekend for all to enjoy,” said lifeboat volunteer Damien Delaney.
Saturday 30 June will see the IWAI motor cruiser flotilla sail-past and arrival into the town, prior to the start of the TriAthlone.
On Sunday 1 July, activities start at 10.00 am with the very popular junior fishing competition organised by Athlone anglers, followed by a variety of activities including a sailing demonstration, rowing races, sub-aqua demonstration, flyboarding and the main event, the RNLI raft races — which this year come with a new junior category.
A full timetable and further information, including entry details for the raft race and contacts for interested sponsors, can be found on the Athlone RNLI River Festival Facebook page.
#RNLI - Lough Ree RNLI was requested to launch its inshore lifeboat at 6.56pm yesterday evening (Wednesday 23 May) following reports of a swimmer in difficulty at the Golden Mile south of the motorway bridge in Athlone.
Inshore lifeboat The Eric Rowse, helmed by Stan Bradbury and with crew members Tom Bradbury and Kieran Scullion, launched and was on scene at 7.18pm to search for the swimmer, assisted by members of the public nearby.
Weather conditions were clear and bright with a slight breeze.
The lifeboat crew quickly located the swimmer and with the assistance of Athlone Sub-Aqua Club, she was brought onboard the lifeboat for casualty care at the clubhouse until an ambulance crew arrived to take over.
“All at Lough Ree RNLI would like to extend their best wishes to the swimmer for a speedy recovery,” said Sarah Bradbury, Lough Ree RNLI volunteer lifeboat press officer.
“While we may be experiencing some warmer weather at the moment, we would remind everyone planning on enjoying the River Shannon and Lough Ree that the water temperature is still very cold.”
The volunteer crew of lifeboat The Eric Rowse were quick to respond and were soon conducting a search above and below the weir in the centre of Athlone town. Conditions were very calm as dawn turned into a clear bright morning.
After searching a large area of the river and with regular communication with the Irish Coast Guard at Malin Head, the decision was made to stand down the search at 6.54am and the crew returned to station.
Speaking after the callout, Lough Ree RNLI lifeboat operations manager Tony McCarth said: “If you suspect you have seen someone fall into the river, throw one of the many life rings that are along the river banks to them with the end of the safety rope secured so doesn’t end up in the river too, then pull them back to the shore and call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”
While visibility was good, conditions on the lake were quite rough with a swell of 1-2 metres and strong winds measuring Force 6 coming from south-southwest.
The fishermen had got into difficulty when their 17ft aluminium boat began taking on water due to the size of the waves on the lake.
They made their way to the nearest island, Ilanfan, to bring the boat ashore before it could sink. From there they made contact with the coastguard to request assistance.
Lough Ree RNLI helm Tom Bradbury and crew Liam Sherringham and Shane McCormack arrived on scene at 4.10pm. Having ensured the two fishermen were uninjured and the casualty boat hadn’t been damaged by rocks on the island, they proceeded to bail the water out of it.
The lifeboat crew then towed the fishing boat alongside their vessel The Eric Rowse to bring it to deeper waters, where conditions were assessed to be severe enough to prompt a continued tow back to Coosan Point.
“Conditions on Lough Ree can vary greatly depending on the wind direction and speed,” Bradbury sail after the callout.
“We would advise all users of the lake to always ensure they carry a means of communication such as a mobile phone or VHF radio with them, like these two gentlemen did.”
The 85km cycle will go anti-clockwise around Lough Ree, starting and finishing at The Bounty at Buccaneers Rugby Club, with a pit-stop in Lanesborough at the north of Lough Ree.
Speaking at the launch yesterday (Monday 12 March), Lough Ree RNLI volunteer lifeboat press officer Sarah Bradbury said: “We are delighted with the support that the cycle has received each year and that it’s becoming a favourite in the cycling calendar.
“This is a relatively relaxed route for cyclists to ease themselves back into the saddle while taking in the stunning views of Lough Ree.
“Those who participate in the cycle do so knowing they are raising vital funds for Lough Ree RNLI and we would like to thank them in advance for that.”
Bradbury said funds raised will maintain and equip our inshore lifeboat and will allow the volunteer crew to continue to train and develop their lifesaving skills.
The crew of inshore lifeboat The Eric Rowse were alerted at 1.27pm and were in the water within 10 minutes, quickly making their way to the scene — by which time the vessel had been blown very near the north shore of Nun’s Island and was at imminent risk of serious damage.
Weather conditions at the time were reported as mainly dry, with a fresh Force 5 north-westerly wind and waves over a metre high.
The lifeboat crew went alongside the casualty vessel and found that the occupants were uninjured but distressed, while one person on board was suffering from motion sickness due to the heavy swell.
Lifeboat volunteer Emmet Devereaux remained with the casualty vessel to reassure those on board and to assist with steering, while the others set up a tow line and pulled the cruiser out of immediate danger.
The lifeboat then proceeded to tow the cruiser to safe harbour at Coosan Point. Lifeboat helm Stan Bradbury opted for a relatively fast tow, both to maintain directional control of the towed vessel and to shorten as much as possible the distress of its crew.
Lough Ree lifeboat operations manager Tony McCarth said later: “Lough Ree is 29 km long and 12km wide, so a sizeable swell can develop quickly, especially in a northerly or southerly breeze.
“We recommend that all lake users check the weather forecast, and the wind direction, when planning their journeys – fresh to strong wind conditions are forecast to continue for the next several days.”
The Fireball was sinking after the rudder bracket broke away from the hull, causing the buoyancy tanks to fill with water.
Weather conditions at the time was wet and windy, with a Force 4-5 breeze, frequent showers and moderate visibility.
The lifeboat crew were on scene within minutes and recovered the two sailors, who had capsized the boat in order to slow the filling of the buoyancy tanks.
After establishing that both men were uninjured, the lifeboat crew and the sailors proceeded to turn the dinghy upright and lower the sails, and then towed it to the nearest island.
On reaching Beam Island, the five baled the water out of the dinghy and examined the damage to the hull, before towing the vessel to Lough Ree Yacht Club where it was recovered from the water.
Lough Ree RNLI helm Stan Bradbury said: “We were very happy to assist these experienced sailors when they ran into difficulty on the lake.
“Equipment failure can, and does, happen at unexpected times; these two had taken the necessary precautions before leaving shore, and followed the correct procedures to achieve a good outcome if anything went wrong.
“Calling for assistance early, before you become excessively cold or tired, is the best course of action if you find yourself in difficulty on the water.”
Saturday’s callout came days after an exceptionally busy week for the Midlands lifeboat crew, in which they assisted 30 people on seven vessels over a five-day period.
The crew of inshore lifeboat The Eric Rowse had an early start last on Sunday 2 July when they were dispatched to assist two people on board a motor cruiser aground west of Inch McDermott at 5.40am.
Over the course of the day, the lifeboat crew diverted from the Athlone RNLI River Festival several times to assist a further 16 people and three vessels experiencing various difficulties including running aground, engine failure and running out of fuel.
The lifeboat was called out again on Tuesday 4, Thursday 6 and Friday 7 July to assist a further 12 people aboard three motor cruisers in difficulty.
In all cases, the people on board were uninjured and were brought to safety by the lifeboat volunteers.
Speaking on Friday, Lough Ree RNLI Deputy Launching Authority Billy Henshaw said: “This is the busiest time of year on the lake, and it is great to see so many people enjoying all that Lough Ree has to offer.
“We would like to remind all users of the lake to ensure they stay SAFE: Spot the dangers, take Advice, inform a Friend of your plans and know what to do in an Emergency.
“It is also important to remain aware of where you are in relation to navigation markers.”
Deputy launching authority Matt Harte with shore crew Eamon Flynn and Denis Buckley prepared inshore lifeboat The Eric Rowse for launch with helm Stan Bradbury and crew Kieran Scullion and Tony Diskin on board.
Weather conditions at the time were described as breezy with a Force 2-3 wind with heavy cloud cover, making it challenging for the lifeboat crew to locate the casualty vessel.
Upon arriving near Inch McDermott, the lifeboat crew lit two illumination flares to enable them to locate the speed boat. The three onboard were able to light a small fire to further enable the lifeboat crew to locate them on a rocky outcrop to the western side of Ferinch Island.
Having ensured everyone onboard was uninjured and inspected the boat for damage, a tow line was secured and man joined the crew on the inshore lifeboat to assist with navigation through a small channel to a nearby harbour on the shore.
Speaking following the callout, Stan Bradbury said: “We were delighted to be of assistance last night and would remind anyone planning a trip on the lake to always carry a means of calling or signalling for help. This becomes even more important at night or when visibility is reduced.”