The volunteer crew of the Lough Derg RNLI lifeboat was tasked to assist a lone skipper on 30ft cruiser got into difficulty twice on the lake this afternoon.
The vessel was reported to be adrift south of Marker E at the Goat Road and north of Marker D by Illaunmor on the lake’s eastern shore.
After being requested to assist by the Irish Coast Guard, the Lough Derg RNLI lifeboat launched from the RNLI based at Dromineer at 3.54pm. At 4.11pm the lifeboat had the casualty vessel in sight at the location given to the volunteers by Valentia Coast Guard.
The wind was westerly, Force 4/5, gusting 6 while visibility was good. The westerly wind however had pushed the casualty vessel on to the shore.
With the benefit of local knowledge volunteers were aware there was clear water at the casualty vessel’s location south of the Goat Road. Nevertheless, a crew member took soundings off the bow of the lifeboat whilst another used the on-board navigation tools to plot a safe route to the casualty vessel.
Once alongside, the lifeboat established that the skipper was safe and unharmed and wearing his lifejacket. An RNLI crewmember transferred across to the casualty vessel and having established that the vessel had not suffered damage, was requested by the helm to set up for a tow. Given the location and the rough conditions, the helm decided that the safest option was to take the vessel into safe water and reassess the engine.
At 4.31pm the lifeboat had taken the vessel out into safe water. The cruiser’s engine started without issue and all drives and rudder were found to be in good working order. The lifeboat reported their findings to Valentia Coast Guard. At 4.36pm the RNLI volunteer returned to the lifeboat and the cruiser made way towards Dromineer under its own power, while the lifeboat headed back towards the station.
At 4.43pm watch officers at the Irish Coast Guard’s marine rescue sub centre on Valentia Island hailed the lifeboat to say the cruiser was having further engine problems and requested the lifeboat return to assist.
At 4.50pm the lifeboat returned to alongside the casualty and transferred two RNLI volunteers across to reassess the vessel and to establish a tow. At 6.07pm the casualty vessel was safely tied alongside in the public harbour in Dromineer.
Aoife Kennedy, Deputy Launching Authority at Lough Derg RNLI said: “We advise boat users to have their engines serviced before going afloat and ensure to replace old fuel with fresh fuel. Remember to carry an anchor with sufficient warp’.