Lough Derg RNLI requested to assist a lone skipper on a 30ft cruiser with engine failure

On Thursday afternoon May 26, Valentia Coast Guard requested Lough Derg RNLI lifeboat to launch to assist a lone skipper on 30ft cruiser with engine failure, 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. The wind was westerly, Force 4/5, gusting 6. Visibility was good.


At 3.54pm Lough Derg RNLI lifeboat Jean Spier launched with helm Keith Brennan, Eleanor Hooker, Joe O’Donoghue and Richard Nolan on board. At 4.11pm the lifeboat had the casualty vessel in sight at the location given to the volunteers by Valentia Coast Guard. The westerly wind had pushed the vessel on to the shore.

Lough Derg RNLI requested to assist a lone skipper on a 30ft cruiser with engine failure

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 Valentia Coast Guard 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.


The lifeboat departed the scene and was back at Station at 6.10 pm and by 6.45pm the lifeboat was washed down and refueled.



Aoife Kennedy, Deputy Launching Authority at Lough Derg RNLI, advises boat users ‘to have your engines serviced before going afloat and ensure you to replace old fuel with fresh fuel. Remember to carry an anchor with sufficient warp’.

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