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Lough Derg Lifeboat Assists Six People Across Back-to-Back Shouts

27th August 2022
Lough Derg RNLI’s inshore lifeboat approached the cruiser aground on the Goat Road shoal on Friday afternoon 26 August
Lough Derg RNLI’s inshore lifeboat approached the cruiser aground on the Goat Road shoal on Friday afternoon 26 August Credit: RNLI/Eleanor Hooker

Following Thursday evening’s callout, Lough Derg RNLI’s lifeboat volunteers were back at the Goat Road on Friday afternoon (26 August) to assist two people on a 30ft cruiser aground at navigation marker E.

At 4.45pm Lough Derg RNLI lifeboat, Jean Spier, launched into Force 3 northwesterly winds, with helm Eleanor Hooker, Doireann Kennedy, Chris Parker and Richard Nolan on board.

The lifeboat arrived on scene 15 minutes later to find the casualty vessel bow-up on a shoal inside the Goat Road, a location midway up the northeastern shore of the lake.

Both people on board were safe and unharmed and were requested to don their lifejackets.

An RNLI crew member transferred across to the casualty vessel to check that it was not holed and, after being requested to do so by the helm, set up an astern tow.

At 5.15pm the lifeboat had the casualty vessel off the shoal and under tow to safe water, where the drives and propeller were checked and found to be in good working order.

While the RNLI volunteer was providing guidance on lake buoyage before the cruiser continued its passage south under its own power, the Lough Derg RNLI boathouse contacted the lifeboat to report that a 16ft motor boat with four people on board was in difficulty in Scariff Bay at the southwestern end of the lake.

Once the crew member transferred back, the lifeboat made way to Scariff Bay, calling in for an exact location while en route. It was reported that the people on board the casualty vessel could see Rabbit Island.

At 5.40pm the lifeboat located the casualty vessel deep inside Scarriff Bay near Castlebawn Castle on the southwestern shore opposite Rabbit Island. All four people on board were safe and unharmed and wearing their lifejackets.

The lifeboat volunteers set up for an alongside tow and the RNLI helm asked the skipper of the casualty vessel to raise his outboard engine to reduce drag. The lifeboat took the vessel to the safety of Mountshannon Harbour, where volunteers assisted with the recovery of the vessel to a road trailer.

Commenting later, Christine O’Malley, lifeboat operations manager at Lough Derg RNLI gave advice for all boat users to “anticipate each navigation buoy on your route and keep a constant lookout, and especially for the Goat Road navigation mark which is closer to the centre line of the lake than might be expected”.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats Team

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Royal National Lifeboat Institute (RNLI) in Ireland Information

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is a charity to save lives at sea in the waters of UK and Ireland. Funded principally by legacies and donations, the RNLI operates a fleet of lifeboats, crewed by volunteers, based at a range of coastal and inland waters stations. Working closely with UK and Ireland Coastguards, RNLI crews are available to launch at short notice to assist people and vessels in difficulties.

RNLI was founded in 1824 and is based in Poole, Dorset. The organisation raised €210m in funds in 2019, spending €200m on lifesaving activities and water safety education. RNLI also provides a beach lifeguard service in the UK and has recently developed an International drowning prevention strategy, partnering with other organisations and governments to make drowning prevention a global priority.

Irish Lifeboat Stations

There are 46 lifeboat stations on the island of Ireland, with an operational base in Swords, Co Dublin. Irish RNLI crews are tasked through a paging system instigated by the Irish Coast Guard which can task a range of rescue resources depending on the nature of the emergency.

Famous Irish Lifeboat Rescues

Irish Lifeboats have participated in many rescues, perhaps the most famous of which was the rescue of the crew of the Daunt Rock lightship off Cork Harbour by the Ballycotton lifeboat in 1936. Spending almost 50 hours at sea, the lifeboat stood by the drifting lightship until the proximity to the Daunt Rock forced the coxswain to get alongside and successfully rescue the lightship's crew.

32 Irish lifeboat crew have been lost in rescue missions, including the 15 crew of the Kingstown (now Dun Laoghaire) lifeboat which capsized while attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme on Christmas Eve 1895.


While the number of callouts to lifeboat stations varies from year to year, Howth Lifeboat station has aggregated more 'shouts' in recent years than other stations, averaging just over 60 a year.

Stations with an offshore lifeboat have a full-time mechanic, while some have a full-time coxswain. However, most lifeboat crews are volunteers.

There are 46 lifeboat stations on the island of Ireland

32 Irish lifeboat crew have been lost in rescue missions, including the 15 crew of the Kingstown (now Dun Laoghaire) lifeboat which capsized while attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme on Christmas Eve 1895

In 2019, 8,941 lifeboat launches saved 342 lives across the RNLI fleet.

The Irish fleet is a mixture of inshore and all-weather (offshore) craft. The offshore lifeboats, which range from 17m to 12m in length are either moored afloat, launched down a slipway or are towed into the sea on a trailer and launched. The inshore boats are either rigid or non-rigid inflatables.

The Irish Coast Guard in the Republic of Ireland or the UK Coastguard in Northern Ireland task lifeboats when an emergency call is received, through any of the recognised systems. These include 999/112 phone calls, Mayday/PanPan calls on VHF, a signal from an emergency position indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) or distress signals.

The Irish Coast Guard is the government agency responsible for the response to, and co-ordination of, maritime accidents which require search and rescue operations. To carry out their task the Coast Guard calls on their own resources – Coast Guard units manned by volunteers and contracted helicopters, as well as "declared resources" - RNLI lifeboats and crews. While lifeboats conduct the operation, the coordination is provided by the Coast Guard.

A lifeboat coxswain (pronounced cox'n) is the skipper or master of the lifeboat.

RNLI Lifeboat crews are required to follow a particular development plan that covers a pre-agreed range of skills necessary to complete particular tasks. These skills and tasks form part of the competence-based training that is delivered both locally and at the RNLI's Lifeboat College in Poole, Dorset


While the RNLI is dependent on donations and legacies for funding, they also need volunteer crew and fund-raisers.

© Afloat 2020

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