The Lough Derg RNLI lifeboat was tasked to two separate incidents back-to-back after two cruise boats were reported to have gotten into difficulty on the lake.
Watch officers at the Irish Coast Guard’s marine rescue sub centre (MRSC) on Valentia Island in Kerry requested the Dromineer-based lifeboat to launch at around 1.35pm following a report that a 45ft cruiser with 7 people on board had run aground at Navigations Marker G on Lough Derg.
The lifeboat launched quickly and whilst en route to the incident, Valentia MRSC reported that a further 3 people were in need of assistance on a 30ft cruiser aground at Navigation Marker E.
The lake had a moderate chop with south-westerly winds, Force 3-4, variable however visibility was good with frequent squalls.
At 2.08pm the lifeboat had the first casualty vessel in sight. It was aground on a rocky shoal near Navigation Mark G on the Tipperary shore. Marine engineers from the cruise hire company arrived on scene at the same time. The lifeboat remained on standby until the engineers had successfully taken the cruiser off the shoal and the scene was declared safe.
At 2.30pm the lifeboat departed that scene to assist the three people on the second vessel aground. About 15 minutes later, the lifeboat arrived on scene.
The 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, who reported back that the vessel was 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.
At 2.52pm the lifeboat had the cruiser off the shoal and out into safe water, where the drives and rudder were found to be in good working order. The RNLI volunteers transferred back to the lifeboat and the cruiser continued its passage under its own power.
Lough Derg RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager Christine O’Malley said: “We advise water users unfamiliar with Lough Derg to plan their passage and keep a lookout for the next navigation mark on their route. Plan your course to arrive at safe harbour before nightfall.”