The quick thinking crew of a pleasure boat used a bucket on a line to prevent their 40ft vessel from drifting onto rocks after its engine failed in severe weather.
The alarm was raised at around 6.15 on Saturday evening when the Irish Coast Guard received a call reporting that the cruise boat had lost its engines and was adrift on Lough Derg.
While there were 9 people on the boat, none of their mobile phones were charged so it was a member of the public noticed they were in difficulty and raised the alarm.
The Lough Derg RNLI Lifeboat, based at Dromineer on the Tipperary shore, was launched to assist the casualty vessel which had travelled the length of the lake from Terryglass before it’s engine failed off Hare Island.
The lifeboat crew assembled and launched within 20 minutes and set out in Force 7/8 south westerly winds which were gusting Force 8. Visibility was described as moderate with frequent line squalls.
The lifeboat reached the drifting vessel 15 minutes later and found that all 9 occupants were wearing their lifejackets. The boat had been adrift without power for almost an hour and despite the crew dropping anchor, their vessel continued to drift.
The quick thinking crew however created a sea anchor using a large bucket on a line. This slowed the drift of the boat and prevented it from being pushed into the shallows.
However as the boat was lying side on to the weather, there was significant yaw and roll and some of the group were described as “quite anxious”. One person on board fell ill but was treated by a doctor who was also part of the group.
A member of RNLI crew boarded the vessel and checked for any other potential problems and when none were found the vessel was taken on tow by the lifeboat to Garrykenndy Harbour.
Conditions worsened during the tow however the lifeboat crew managed to get the cruiser to shelter at Garrykennedy within an hour of the alarm being raised.
Lough Derg RNLI helm Eleanor Hooker said: “Once alongside, one of the people on board showed signs of severe sea sickness. Our crew administered First Aid and when satisfied that he was responding well, left him in the care of his companions, one of whom was a medical doctor.”
“These are the conditions the RNLI volunteer crew train for and we worked as a team to bring these people and their boat safely to shore,” she added.