Lough Derg RNLI Lifeboat launched in winds gusting F8, to assist 9 people on board a 40ft cruiser, suffering engine failure

At 6.15pm on Saturday evening, May 10, Valentia Coast Guard requested Lough Derg RNLI Lifeboat to launch to assist a vessel reported adrift in severe weather conditions, close to Hare Island.


The lifeboat launched at 6.35pm with Helm Eleanor Hooker, Ger Egan and Lian Knight on board.  Winds were south westerly, Force 7/8, gusting F8, visibility was moderate, with frequent line squalls. The RNLI lifeboat came alongside the cruiser at6.50pm.

There were nine people on board the casualty vessel, all wearing lifejackets.  Some of the group quite anxious given the weather conditions.  They had travelled the length of the lake from Terryglass and suffered engine failure at Hare Island.  All their mobile telephones were out of charge.  A member of the public, who had observed their plight from the shore, alerted the emergency services.

Lough Derg RNLI LifeboatCrew on the casualty vessel, which had been adrift for 45 minutes, had dropped anchor, but as it was not holding, had created a sea anchor with a large bucket on a line.  This slowed the drift of the boat and prevented it from being pushed into the shallows, but, as they were lying side on to the weather, there was significant yaw and roll.

An RNLI crewmember boarded the vessel and checked for any other potential problems. None were found. Once a tow was set up, they weighed anchor and took in the sea drogue and the casualty vessel was towed to Garrykenndy Harbour.  Conditions were worsening during the tow, but at 7.16pm the cruiser was tied safely alongside in Garrykennedy.

Once alongside, one of the people on board showed signs of severe sea sickness.  The RNLI crew administered First Aid and when satisfied that he was responding well, left him in the care of his companions, one of whom was a medical doctor.

Lough Derg RNLI helm Eleanor Hooker said ‘these are the conditions the RNLI volunteer crew train for’.  She praised her fellow crew for their professionalism and efficiency under such extreme weather, saying ‘we worked as a team to bring these people and their boat safely to shore’.

The Lifeboat returned to station and was ready for service again at 8.30pm.

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