The Lough Derg RNLI lifeboat was tasked to two back-to-back shouts on the lake today.
At 11.40am, watch officers at the Irish Coast Guard’s marine rescue sub centre on Valentia Island in Kerry requested the Dromineer-based volunteer to launch to assist a person on a 30ft cruiser reported aground close to Mountshannon Harbour on the Clare side of the lake.
At 11.53am the lifeboat had the casualty vessel in sight and found it 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. At 12.11pm the lifeboat was alongside the casualty vessel.
The skipper was found to be safe and unharmed and wearing his lifejacket. An RNLI volunteer was transferred across to the cruiser. Given the location of the boat close to a navigation channel to a small marina, the lifeboat helm decided that 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.
At 12.29pm the lifeboat had the vessel off the sandbar and under tow to safe water, where drives and rudder were found to be undamaged and in good working order. The lifeboat took their crew member back onto the lifeboat and the cruiser made way under its own power to Mountshannon Harbour.
At 12.32pm, when the lifeboat reported to Valentia Coast Guard and to inform them that they were departing the scene, they were requested to respond to another callout.
A 40ft cruiser with a family of four on board was reported to be broken down by Navigation Mark E at the Goat Road at the north-eastern shore of the lake. The cruiser had suffered an electrical failure and, to prevent being pushed onto a rocky shore, the skipper had dropped anchor.
At 12.57pm the lifeboat was alongside the casualty vessel. All people on board were safe and unharmed and wearing their lifejackets. An RNLI volunteer transferred across to the cruiser 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 an astern tow to Kilgarvan Harbour, the safest close harbour.
Once the lifeboat approached the channel entrance to Kilgarvan Harbour, the astern tow was changed to an alongside tow, and at 1.49pm the cruiser was safely tied alongside at Kilgarvan.
Lough Derg RNLI Deputy Launching Authority Liam Maloney said: :We would,advise 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.”