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Displaying items by tag: Lough Derg

Two people sleeping on a boat on Lough Derg had a rude awakening this morning (Friday 12 August) when the local lifeboat alerted that their vessel was adrift in Youghal Bay.

Valentia Coast Guard requested Lough Derg RNLI to launch to investigate a report from a member of the public that a 25ft vessel was adrift in Youghal Bay at the southern end of the lake.

At 8.23am the inshore lifeboat Jean Spier launched with helm Steve Smyth, Joe O’Donoghue and Chris Parker on board. The lake was calm with a Force 2 northeasterly breeze and excellent visibility.

Nine minutes later the lifeboat arrived on scene, having located the vessel midway between Garrykennedy Harbour and Ryan’s Point at Youghal Bay.

The two people on board the vessel had been sleeping and unaware that their anchor had dragged their boat from its original location. The skipper weighed anchor and made way for harbour.

Aoife Kennedy, deputy launching authority at Lough Derg RNLI advises boat users to “ensure you have sufficient anchor warp and chain for the area in which you anchor. Remember to carry up-to-date charts of the lake and do not anchor in the main navigation channels.”

Lough Derg RNLI is currently recruiting new volunteers to join the lifesaving team for shore duty in roles as deputy launching authority, additional lifeboat mechanic and tractor driver.

Shore crew have a central role in securing the safety of the lifeboat and the men and women launching their craft to rescue those in peril on the water. They ensure the successful and smooth operations of the RNLI’s lifesaving work within the station. For more details visit the above links.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Waterways Ireland advises masters of vessels on the Shannon Navigation that diving operations will be conducted on the floating breakwaters in four locations between Lough Ree and Limerick from Thursday 11 August until next Friday 19 August.

Masters of vessels are requested to proceed with additional caution in the vicinity of the diving operations taking place at Ballyleague on Lough Ree, Castle Harbour in Portumna and Garrykennedy on Lough Derg, and Limerick city.

Published in Inland Waterways

Seven people were rescued from their 60ft vessel after it took on water and began sinking in Lough Derg yesterday afternoon, Monday 11 July.

Lough Derg RNLI, Killaloe Coast Guard and the Irish Coast Guard’s Shannon-based helicopter Rescue 115 were all tasked to the location south of Mountshannon Harbour on the Co Clare shore around 2.30pm.

While the rescue teams were en route, a passing vessel came alongside the casualty boat to safely evacuate all seven of its occupants and bring them to Mountshannon.

Shortly afterwards Lough Derg RNLI’s inshore lifeboat arrived and found that strong southwesterly gusts had pushed the casualty vessel deep into an area known locally as the Nook of Pages on the County Clare shoreline.

The lifeboat crew assessed the situation and came alongside the vessel using an anchoring and veering technique. A crew member transferred across and confirmed there was significant water ingress and that the electrics are still on but he was unable to access them. There was no evidence of a fuel leak.

The casualty vessel’s anchor was subsequently deployed to prevent it drifting ashore or into the navigation channel and the lifeboat returned to station.

Peter Kennedy, deputy launching authority at Lough Derg RNLI advises boat users: “If in danger on the lake please call 999 or 112 and ask for marine rescue or using your VHF radio request assistance on Channel 16.”

The callout came just hours Lough Derg RNLI’s late-night launch to search for three people and their dog on a white speedboat reported missing on the lake, as previously reported on

Published in Rescue
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Lough Derg RNLI’s volunteers had a late-night callout on Sunday (10 July) to search for three people and their dog on a white speedboat reported missing on the lake.

At midnight, the inshore lifeboat Jean Spier launched 15 minutes after pagers sounded with helm Eleanor Hooker, Doireann Kennedy, Keith Brennan and Owen Cavanagh on board. Conditions had a southerly Force 2/3 wind with a full moon and clear starlit sky.

Given the serious nature of the callout, the Irish Coast Guard’s Shannon-based helicopter Rescue 115 was also tasked. Meanwhile, Galway-based gardaí responded to the emergency at Portumna Harbour, having been informed that this was the intended destination for the missing people.

Valentia Coast Guard, coordinating the multi-agency response, requested for the lifeboat to go directly to Portumna Castle Harbour at the very northern end of the lake, adding that gardaí had been told that there may be speedboat adrift west of the bay.

Using on-board electronic navigation, radar, searchlights and local knowledge, the lifeboat made way directly to Portumna Castle Harbour.

At 12.26am, as the lifeboat approached Terryglass Bay, Valentia Coast Guard gave the RNLI volunteers a specific location to search.

Very quickly the lifeboat volunteers located three people and a dog on board their 12ft speedboat, all safe and unharmed, and confirmed this was the missing party. It emerged that, having become disorientated and lost, the party found themselves in the reeds out of sight of the harbour and out of fuel.

The lifeboat took the speedboat on an alongside tow to Portumna Castle Harbour, where the casualties were met by gardaí who checked they were not in need of further assistance.

Peter Kennedy, deputy launching authority at Lough Derg RNLI, advises boat users “to plan your passage so that you reach safe harbour before nightfall. Carry a means of communication and let others know when you expect to arrive at your destination. Carry sufficient lifejackets and ensure all on board are wearing theirs.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Lough Derg RNLI assisted seven people on two separate vessels in back-to-back callouts on Sunday afternoon (3 July).

Valentia Coast Guard first requested Lough Derg’s lifeboat volunteers to launch to three people on a 25ft motor cruiser adrift with steering failure near Williamstown on the Co Clare shoreline.

At 2.30pm, the inshore lifeboat Jean Spier launched with helm Owen Cavanagh, Joe O’Donoghue, Chris Parker and Ciara Moylan on board in good visibility and a westerly Force 4 wind.

The lifeboat arrived on scene within five minutes and one of the crew transferred to the casualty vessel, whose occupants were found to be safe and unharmed and wearing their lifejackets.

It emerged that the cruiser had power but its steering had failed, and the skipper had dropped anchor to prevent drift across the navigation channel.

Given the location and weather, the lifeboat helm made the decision to take the vessel under tow. And as there was a fleet of dinghies racing in a regatta in Dromineer Bay, he decided to take the vessel in an alongside tow across the bay to the public harbour at Dromineer.

At 2.50pm, while the RNLI volunteers were securing the casualty vessel alongside in Dromineer Harbour, Valentia Coast Guard requested them to assist four people on a 25ft speedboat in the harbour that was taking on water.

The speedboat came alongside the lifeboat for aid. The skipper had a pump in the stern and an RNLI volunteer brought the lifeboat’s salvage pump from the lifeboat station to pump water from the bow.

Once the speedboat was pumped free of water, the lifeboat helm advised the skipper to have his vessel checked at the nearby marina. However, the skipper decided to return his vessel to his home harbour. Two of his passengers alighted at Dromineer, and the skipper and another of his crew set out.

The lifeboat gave a situation report to Valentia Coast Guard, who requested the lifeboat monitor the casualty vessel’s progress. At 3.50pm, at the Corakeen Islands, the lifeboat reported that the speedboat was making way at speed and now out of sight ahead of the lifeboat. The lifeboat crew were then stood down.

Jeremy Freeman, deputy launching authority at Lough Derg RNLI advises boat users: “Ensure your vessel is serviced and in safe working order and if you find yourself in difficulty on the lake, dial 999 or 112 and ask for marine rescue.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Lough Derg RNLI were called to assist two people on a 36ft cruiser aground outside Garrykennedy’s old harbour wall on Saturday evening (4 June).

At 7.15pm the inshore lifeboat Jean Spier was ready to go with helm Eleanor Hooker, Doireann Kennedy, Joe O’Donoghue and Ciara Lynch on board.

As the lifeboat was launching, Valentia Coast Guard informed the volunteers that a person on shore had reported that local boats had taken the cruiser off the rocks.

However, the lifeboat was requested to proceed as as there was no update on the two people on board nor the current whereabouts of the cruiser.

The lifeboat arrived at Garrykennedy within seven minutes and the volunteers crew identified the casualty vessel tied alongside an outside jetty in the new Garrykennedy Harbour.

After the crew established that both people on the cruiser were safe, the vessel was checked for any evidence of water ingress before they updated the coastguard and returned to station.

Jeremy Freeman, deputy launching authority at Lough Derg RNLI advises boat users: “If you find yourself in difficulty on the lake, dial 999 or 112 and ask for marine rescue.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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A volunteer crew member at Lough Derg RNLI has successfully passed out as a helm on the station’s inshore lifeboat.

Following an assessment in theory onshore and an extensive assessment on the water, Steve Smyth was recently passed out as helm with Lough Derg RNLI by Assessor Mark Mitchell. The achievement follows two years of hard work and dedication by Steve.

Steve became a volunteer with Lough Derg RNLI in 2018. He was inspired to join the crew by his own rescue in 2010 by the RNLI which made him want to give something back to the charity. Having friends who were already volunteers with the RNLI including his brother-in-law Owen, a senior helm at Lough Derg RNLI, he had good insight into what was required to train as a crew with the lifeboat.

Steve’s helm training programme began in 2020, just as safeguarding restrictions and lockdowns were being imposed as a consequence of the pandemic. Undaunted, Steve persisted with his programme through the online classes provided by the RNLI, and, in the periods out of lockdown, by training on the water with crew and with Helena Duggan, the station’s Assessor Trainer, something which was a testament to Steve’s commitment and dedication.

An experienced diver, Steve joined the Lough Derg Sub Aqua Club as a trainee diver in 2006 and in 2014 became a Diver Instructor. In 2016 he qualified as a Diver Examiner. Steve also had responsibility as the Regional Dive Officer for the southwest region from 2016 to 2018. He dives mostly in the west and south coasts of Ireland but has also dived with teams in Spain, Malta, France, Mauritius and Florida.

When asked about becoming a RNLI lifeboat helm, Steve said: ‘I do believe it’s not just me who has achieved this but the entire station at Lough Derg RNLI, from the helms, crew, fundraisers, operations team, medical, training, health and safety and mechanic.

It is a team effort. We can’t go afloat without the support, time and effort of each other. We are all one crew. I also want to thank our Assessor Trainer Helena Duggan for all her advice and guidance, Mark Mitchell who carried out the pass out, to Eleanor and Chris, my excellent crew on the day and Cathy, the on-duty Deputy Launching Authority’.

Steve says he will now endeavour to maintain the high standards and professionalism shown by the helms and crew at the station: ‘When the call comes to help, I have faith that my training and experience will enable me to make the correct decisions day or night.

‘As all RNLI volunteers are aware, it is the understanding from our families that enables us to fulfil our roles, and I want to say a huge thanks for the support and encouragement from my wife Clodagh and my two boys Cathal and Darragh.’

Steve has worked hard and consistently to achieve this goal, and all of his fellow volunteers send their heartiest congratulations.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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"Reflections on Lough Derg", presented by the multi-talented Eleanor Hooker who is a poet, writer, and the helm of the RNLI Dromineer-based Lough Derg Lifeboat, is the Lyric Feature on this evening at 6 PM on RTÉ Lyric FM and will be available after broadcast as a Lyric Feature podcast.

She will be joined by many friends including Reggie Goodbody, Teddy Knight and Sandra Lefroy.

More here

Published in Inland Waterways
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On Thursday afternoon (26 May) Valentia Coast Guard requested Lough Derg RNLI to launch to assist a lone skipper on a 30ft cruiser with engine failure.

The vessel was 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.

Lough Derg’s inshore lifeboat Jean Spier launched at 3.54pm with helm Keith Brennan, Eleanor Hooker, Joe O’Donoghue and Richard Nolan on board. Weather conditions had a westerly Force 4/5 wind, gusting Force 6, with good visibility.

Around 15 minutes later the lifeboat had the casualty vessel in sight at the location given by the coastguard. By this point the westerly wind had pushed the vessel onto the shore.

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 while another used the onboard 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 crew member transferred across to assess the vessel and, having established that it 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.

Once towed to safety, the cruiser’s engine started without issue and all drives and rudder were found to be in good working order. The cruiser then made way towards Dromineer under its own power, while the lifeboat headed back towards the station.

Minutes later, the lifeboat was hailed again by the coastguard to report that the cruiser was having further engine problems. This time a tow was set up to bring the vessel to the public harbour in Dromineer, where it was safety tied alongside shortly after 6pm.

Speaking later, 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.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Lough Derg RNLI has hailed as a great success its first ‘Lap the Lake’ charity cycle.

The local lifesaving charity’s fundraising branch organised the 130km cycle around Lough Derg for last Saturday 8 May, which saw 250 cyclists take part in its most ambitious event to date.

And the day was blessed by good weather and good cheer as it raised significant funds that are essential for the lifeboat station’s lifesaving activities.

The 130km route around Lough Derg — covering counties Tipperary, Clare and Galway — gave participants the opportunity to delight in the outstanding beauty of the lake and the River Shannon.

Their safety and wellbeing were well catered for with first-aid providers, out-riders, marshals and bike maintenance stops along the route, as well as comfort and refreshments stations.

Niamh McCutcheon, chair of the Lough Derg RNLI Fundraising Committee and the ‘Lap the Lake’ Event Committee, said the inaugural event “was enjoyed by cyclists from all over Ireland. The friendly welcome provided by the marshals, RNLI crew and the enthusiastic and well-organised committee was much appreciated by all.”

McCutcheon thanked Lough Derg Yacht Club and all the sponsors of the event, whose generosity also ensured its success. Meanwhile, the fundraiser remains open for donations via its JustGiving page.

Feedback from participants praised the attention to detail, safety and comfort; a compliment to the organisational skills of Niamh McCutcheon, Pat Kelly, Caleb and Laura Clarke, Tom Sanders, Anne Atkinson, Bob O Brien, John MacMahon, Sarah Langham and Ted Knight on the Lough Derg RNLI Fundraising Committee and Veronica Plunkett, Ena Butler, Hilda Hamilton, Joe Hughes, Johnathan Horgan, Laura Clarke and Niamh McCutcheon on the Lap the Lake Event Committee.

RNLI lifeboat helm Owen Cavanagh and crew members Doireann Kennedy, Joe O'Donoghue, Ciara Moylan, Ania Skrzypczynska and Ciara Lynch, who worked in shifts throughout the day, brought the lifeboat Jean Spier to the public harbour in Dromineer and to other harbours around the lake and were pleased to answer questions about the RNLI, its lifesaving work and the lifeboat itself.

The fundraising committee thanks the many other members of the Lough Derg Lifeboat Station who played major roles in the success of this event. In particular, Aoife Kennedy, lifeboat administration officer and deputy launching authority at Lough Derg RNLI Lifeboat Station, who assisted with the registration of participating cyclists and acted as liaison between the fundraising committee and the lifeboat station throughout the event; Chris Parker (Lough Derg RNLI crew member) who acted as safety officer; Peter Kennedy (DLA and station mechanic) and Caleb Clarke (hon treasurer) who dressed the yacht club in RNLI bunting; Christine O’Malley (lifeboat operations manager), Liam Moloney (DLA) and Peter Kennedy who remained on hand to coordinate the lifeboat;s manoeuvres; and Richard Nolan (Lough Derg RNLI crew member) and Peter Harty (RNLI area lifesaving manager) who both cycled in the event.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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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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