Lough Derg RNLI assists 4 people on a 36ft cruiser aground at Gortmore

Earlier today Thursday 18 April, Valentia Coast Guard requested Lough Derg RNLI lifeboat to launch to assist 2 people on a 36ft vessel reported aground inside Navigation Mark H at Gortmore Point.



At 1.03pm Lough Derg RNLI lifeboat Jean Spier launched with helm Eleanor Hooker, crew Steve Smyth, Chris Parker and Joe O’Donoghue on board. The wind was westerly Force 4, gusting Force 5. Visibility was good with frequent squalls.


At 1.15pm the lifeboat located the casualty vessel inside Navigation Mark H and 25ft from shore.  The lifeboat stood off to observe the casualty vessel, which appeared to be raised out of the water and pivoting on a central point.


With a volunteer taking soundings at the bow, and using on board electronic charts, the lifeboat navigated a safe passage to the vessel. At 1.23pm the lifeboat was alongside the starboard, stern side of the casualty vessel. RNLI volunteers noted hazards in the water close by.


An RNLI volunteer boarded the casualty vessel and established that there were 3 people on board, safe and unharmed and all wearing their lifejackets. The RNLI crew enquired if there were any more people on board they were told that a fourth member of their crew had swam to shore.


The skipper of the casualty vessel had deployed the anchor in an attempt to prevent further drift towards shore. They informed the lifeboat that they had damaged their propellers and suffered engine failure after hitting rocks. An RNLI volunteer checked under the floorboards and reported back to the lifeboat that there was no ingress of water or visible damage to the hull,


Given that the vessel was high out of the water and appeared to be pivoting on a rock, and hadn’t changed its aspect to weather with the anchor out, the helm made the decision to take everyone off the cruiser and onto the lifeboat, having first ensured that the casualty vessel was secure with windows closed and gas supply switched off. The lifeboat informed Valentia Coast Guard of this decision and the plan to moor up at the nearby Gortmore Harbour, so that two RNLI volunteers could walk back to locate the person who had swam to shore. Shore crew back at boathouse informed the cruiser company.


Accompanied by one of the casualties, 2 volunteers set out on foot from Gortmore Harbour to search for the fourth casualty. A member of the public who had offered to drive down the road to assist in the search, located the casualty and drove him back.


With the four casualties reunited, the lifeboat took them to Portumna, where their car was located.

The lifeboat departed the scene at 2.39pm and was back at station at 3.03pm. The lifeboat was washed down and refuelled at 3.13pm


Aoife Kennedy, Launching Authority at Lough Derg RNLI advises boat users ‘to stay with your vessel and if in danger call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coast Guard’.

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