Lough Derg RNLI assist 6 people on a 40ft cruiser aground inside Rabbit Island on the Galway shore

On Sunday evening, 30 April 2023, Valentia Coast Guard requested Lough Derg RNLI to launch following a report from a member of the public that a 40ft cruiser was aground inside Rabbit Island and the Split Rock navigation mark near Rossmore Quay on the Galway shore.

Lough Derg RNLI assist 6 people on a 40ft cruiser aground inside Rabbit Island on the Galway shore

At 6.13pm Lough Derg RNLI lifeboat Jean Spier launched with helm Owen Cavanagh, Eleanor Hooker and Joe O’Donoghue on board. Winds were westerly, F3/4. Visibility was good.

At 6.25pm the RNLI lifeboat volunteers could see the casualty vessel inside Rabbit Island close to Rossmore Quay. The lifeboat crew navigated through safe water to the casualty vessel and was alongside at 6.35pm. There were 6 people on board, all safe and unharmed. They were requested to put on their lifejackets. A RNLI lifeboat crew member transferred across to the casualty vessel and checked under the floorboards to confirm that the vessel was not holed.

Given the location and the weather, the helm made the decision to take the vessel off the shoal and asked crew to set up for a tow. He informed Valentia Coast Guard of this decision. The skipper of the casualty vessel was requested to empty their water tanks to lighten the boat.

Having established that it was not possible to take the vessel off the shoal from the bow of the casualty vessel, it was decided that four of the passengers would use their tender to take them to Rossmore Quay close by, their intended destination. A passing fishing vessel took the remaining two passengers. Two experienced mariners offered support in their RIB and were asked to accompany the fishing vessel and the tender to shore.


With a RNLI lifeboat crew member remaining on the casualty vessel, the lifeboat took back in all lines and established the bridle and tow on the stern of the cruiser which was then freed from the shoal and towed out in to safe water.

All drives, forward and astern, and the rudder were found to be in good working order. A second RNLI volunteer boarded the casualty vessel to prepare mooring lines while it made way under its own power to Rossmore Quay.


By 7.42pm the cruiser was safely tied alongside at Rossmore Quay and the lifeboat departed the scene.

Christine O’Malley, Lifeboat Operations Manager at Lough Derg RNLI advises boat owners to ‘plot your course and remain within the navigation channel. Always carry a means of communication so that if you find yourself in difficulty you can call 112 or 999 and ask for marine rescue’.

Comments are closed.