The Lough Derg RNLI lifeboat was called out last night to assist a lone boater who got into difficulty on the lake.
At 7.46pm, the Lough Derg RNLI lifeboat was tasked by watch officers at the Irish Coast Guard’s marine rescue sub centre at Velantia in Kerry and requested to launch. The volunteer team was asked to assist a lone skipper on 30ft cruiser aground, inside Red Island on the south-western County Clare shore. The lifeboat launched at 8.03pm in good visibility which deteriorated at the sun set.
At 8.18pm the lifeboat had the casualty vessel in sight. It was located inside Red Island, north of Holy Island. Aware of an extended shoal inside Red Island, an RNLI volunteer took soundings off the bow and, using on board electronic navigation, crew plotted a safe course to the casualty vessel.
The RNLI crew noted that the skipper on the casualty vessel was signalling with a light, waving and calling to them. Unable to make out what he was saying, the lifeboat asked Valentia Coast Guard for the skipper’s mobile phone number and called him.
An RNLI volunteer reassured the skipper that the lifeboat was coming to assist and though it appeared the lifeboat was taking a course away from him, the lifeboat was in fact following a safe route in order to turn to his location without risk of grounding.
At 8.30pm the lifeboat was alongside the casualty vessel. The skipper was safe and unharmed and wearing his lifejacket. As it was a cold night, lifeboat crew advised the skipper put on additional warm clothing. An RNLI volunteer checked that the vessel was not holed and also made a check for any visual hazards bow and stern of the boat. Given the drop in temperature with nightfall and the secluded location, the helm made the decision to take the vessel off the rocks and out into safe water.
At 8.50pm the lifeboat had the vessel off the shoal and out in safe water. With an RNLI volunteer remaining on the board, the skipper checked forward and astern drives and steering and once satisfied they were in good working order, the casualty made way under its own power to Mountshannon Harbour, with the lifeboat leading.
At 9.20pm, as the casualty vessel entered Mountshannon Bay, the RNLI volunteer on board hailed the lifeboat to inform crew that the engine on the casualty vessel was overheating. The lifeboat immediately came alongside to assess the situation. The skipper switched to a backup engine and turned off his main engine and continued to Mountshannon Harbour with the lifeboat leading the way. At 9.31pm the casualty vessel was safely tied alongside in Mountshannon Harbour.
The lifeboat departed the scene and was back at Station at 10pm and readied the boat for the next callout.
Christine O’Malley, Lifeboat Operations Manager at Lough Derg RNLI said: “We would advise boat users, if you are alone on the water, tell someone your plans and what time you expect to arrive at your destination. Remember to carry up to date charts of the lake and do not venture off the main navigation channels.”