Lough Derg RNLI Lifeboat celebrated its 10th birthday

On May 25, 2014, the Lough Derg RNLI Lifeboat Station celebrated its tenth birthday.  In those ten years, the lifeboat has launched 236 times, 60 of those at night. Volunteer crews have rescued 322 people and saved the lives of three people ( the distinction for lives saved versus people rescued, is that for the former, had the lifeboat and her crew not been present to assist, those people would have died).  


We are delighted for Ger Egan, recently promoted to Helm at Lough Derg RNLI.  Lough Derg RNLI volunteers are dedicated and committed, and are always delighted to welcome new recruits.  There is a huge diversity of backgrounds and interests amongst the volunteers, many who have fished and sailed on the lake all their lives, and others for whom the lifeboat is their first experience with water and the lake.  No boating experience is required to join the crew, training to the highest standard is provided at Station and at the Lifeboat College at Poole, should you decide to become a volunteer.  Come to the Station anyThursday night at 7.30pm or contact the lifeboat for more details by dialling (087) 251 4517  

Lough Derg RNLI Lifeboat (1)For many years the RNLI and the lifesaving work of its volunteers, have enjoyed the strong support of the people of Nenagh through the tireless efforts of campaigners in the RNLI’s expanding fund raising committee, chaired locally by Niamh McCutcheon.  The RNLI is a charity that saves lives, it does not receive Governent grants and relies entirely on the contributions and legacies from the public to continue its vital operations.  

Lough Derg RNLI Lifeboat Station is one of forty four RNLI Stations operating in Ireland.  A local application to station an RNLI lifeboat on Lough Derg, led by Charles Stanley Smith and Teddy Knight, became reality, when, on 25 May 2004, the Lough Derg RNLI Lifeboat officially began service. In the preceding year and a half, volunteer crews and members for the Operations Committee were recruited and underwent intensive training on the water and in the classroom, with RNLI Divisional Trainer Assessor Helena Duggan – our Trainer Assessor to this day. Two recently departed colleagues, friends and dedicated RNLI volunteers, involved with the station since its inception, Desmond Fitzgerald and Nick Theato, are greatly missed.

The Lough Derg Lifeboat Station, began operations from the premises of Lough Derg Yacht Club at Dromineer, halfway down the east shore of the lake in County Tipperary. Liam Maloney, Lough Derg Lifeboat Operations Manager, says that plans for our new permanent Station in the village are well underway, and managed by Owen Medland, RNLI Divisional Operations Manager. 

Lough Derg is one of three RNLI inland Stations in Ireland, the other two are located at Lough Erne Yacht Club, Enniskillen, County Fermanagh in Northern Ireland and our sister Station on the river Shannon, at Lough Ree. 

Lough Derg is the lowest, and at twenty-seven miles long, the largest of the series of lakes on the river Shannon, the longest river in the Republic of Ireland.  The shores of Lough Derg are bordered by three counties with the most outstanding countryside. It has secluded lagoons that can be accessed by narrow rivulets and many public and private harbours.  

It is a beautiful, serene and charming freshwater lake.  However, it can be provoked by high winds that funnel between the hills that border its southern narrower stretches of water.  With little warning Lough Derg suddenly becomes an unforgiving sweep of water.  At Parker’s Point, where two stretches of the lake meet from the west and from the south, the water depth decreases sharply from one hundred and twenty feet to less than twenty feet.  In a south westerly these factors combine to produce extremely confusing seas, with waves that come from the two directions at once to produce treacherous steep ‘pyramid’ waves.  It is at this point on the lake that vessels frequently get into difficulties.

In the past Lough Derg was a major conduit for the passage of people and trade goods along the river Shannon.  Nowadays the lake is used for pleasure by fishing and sailing boats, cruisers and barges.  By necessity the rescue services must be present and ready to deal with increasing traffic and any possible difficulties that might ensue.  Lough Derg is ready to do that, with volunteers on call twenty fours hours a day, every day of the year.


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