Man spent night on grounded cruise boat

Man spent night on grounded cruise boat

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Photo: © Pat Flynn 2016

A man spent the night alone on his cruise boat after running aground on Lough Derg.

The man spent 13 hours on board the stranded vessel because he was reluctant to inconvenience the rescue services by calling them.

The alarm was raised at around 8.45am today after the crew of another cruiser who reported seeing a vessel aground near Hare Island on the Clare side of Lough Derg.

Staff at the Irish Coast Guard marine rescue sub centre on Valentia Island alerted the Lough Derg RNLI lifeboat and requested them to investigate the report.

The volunteer lifeboat crew located a 16ft cruiser on rocks in Church Bay which is known for its hazards including sudden shallows and rocks.

An RNLI volunteer waded across the rocks and boarded the casualty vessel and found one person sleeping below. The man was unharmed and wearing his lifejacket.

He told his rescuers that he had been on his boat since 8pm the pervious evening, but had been reluctant to call the rescue services, anxious not to put anyone out. Winds overnight on Lough Derg last night were westerly, Force 5, gusting 7 at times.

The lifeboat managed to get the vessel safely off the rocks and took it under tow to Garrykennedy harbour. The vessel was then safely tied up alongside while boat owners in Garrykennedy provided breakfast for the skipper and helped arrange to have his boat lifted from the water.

Lough Derg RNLI helm Eleanor Hooker said: “No callout is routine. Our training and experience tells us to expect the unexpected, and that is how we approached this apparently empty vessel thought to have slipped its moorings”.

Lifeboat station Deputy Launching Authority Pat Garland said: “We would entreat all boat users, when is difficulty (or members of the public, if they witness someone in danger), to call 999 or 112 and ask for the Irish Coast Guard. The RNLI and rescue services are on call 24/7, every day of the year to assist those in difficulty on the water”.

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Chief Reporter Pat Flynn has worked as a journalist for almost 30 years. His career began during the late 1980s when, like many aspiring radio presenters of the time, he worked for local pirate radio stations in Clare and Limerick. Pat joined Clare FM in 1990 where he worked as researcher initially and later presented several different programmes including the station's flagship current affairs programme. He was also the station's News Editor and Deputy Controller of Programmes. Despite leaving in 2003 to pursue a career as a freelance journalist, he continues to work with the station to this day. As well as being the Clare Herald’s Chief Reporter Pat is also freelance journalist and broadcaster, contributing to Ireland’s national newspapers and is a regular contributor to national broadcasters.

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