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New RIB used for 20 call-outs at Killaloe Coast Guard since January

KILLALOE Coast Guard has used its new state-of-the-art rigid inflatable boat (RIB) for about 20 call-outs to assist people experiencing difficulty on Lough Derg, it emerged this week.
The new Dalton 8.4m RIB, which was officially launched by Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Alan Kelly in Killaloe recently, was used in an important rescue mission when three people found themselves thrown overboard into the lake at Hair Island opposite Garrykennedy, on September 10 last.
The three people suffered from hypothermia when their sailing craft overturned in bad weather in the peninsula above Mountshannon.
All emergency services including Killaloe Coast Guard and the Shannon-based rescue helicopter were involved in the rescue.
Obtained by Killaloe Coast Guard last January, the new vessel had to undergo a few sea trials and part replacement to ensure it was suitable for the River Shannon.
Officer in charge, Michael Quigley confirmed their new boat had already been used to assist people who were experiencing difficulty on the lake and to save lives.
Mr Quigley said any day a rescue service launched a new asset was a good day for the twin communities and lake users.
Irish Coast Guard spokesman Ray Malanphy explained the new vessel was part of the Coast Guard unit’s programme of boat replacement, which included improved safety and navigational equipment.
Mr Malanphy stated the new RIB is capable of reaching speeds of up to 40 knots and is equipped with AIS, GPS and modern communications equipment as well as shock wave seats for extra comfort for volunteers.
Considering the old boat could only reach a maximum of 30 knots, he added the new RIB would also reduce response times.
“Any mission where all the crew return safely is a successful mission. The new equipment will reduce the risk to our crews and reduce the response times to call outs, which makes a big difference in rescue operations,” he said.
Killaloe Coast Guard Unit is one of 51 volunteer Coast Guard units, (CGUs) strategically located in Irish waters located all the way from Greencastle  in North Donegal to Greenore in County Louth. All of these volunteer units are primarily trained to act as shoreline search units with some in addition trained to conduct cliff rescue and boat operations.
Killaloe, designated as a search and boat unit, is the only Coast Guard unit with responsibility for an inland waterway and that brings its own unique demands. The combination of a strong river and quickly changing winds out on Lough Derg can challenge the most experienced of mariners.
Minister Kelly said the Shannon offers one of the country’s most desirable tourism packages, while cruising attracts boat enthusiasts of varying degrees of experience.
“We are fortunate that we can count on the excellent Killaloe Volunteer Coast Guard Unit,  ably led by it officer in charge Michael Quigley, to provide an excellent  response service to anybody getting into difficulty in these parts, coupled with support and encouragement.
“It is indicative of both the demands placed on our coast guard volunteers and indeed a tribute to the professionalism of the Killaloe unit that they are able to operate a boat of this type.
“The Killaloe unit’s area of responsibility is focused on the southern half of Lough Derg. These are difficult and challenging waters where a perfectly calm day can quickly change to stormy and very choppy conditions. We are fortunate that we can count on the Killaoe unit to provide such a valuable service with around the clock availability.
The minister also praised the extraordinary dedication of the team, all volunteers, whose only motivation is to serve their community. This unit meets on a weekly basis to train and rehearse for a whole range of maritime emergencies.

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