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A boat on Lough Derg. Photograph by John Kelly

‘Prepare for your time on the water’

BOAT users are being advised to carry sufficient fuel, ensure their vessel is serviced, carry means of communication and check the weather forecasts as volunteers with Lough Derg RNLI carried out a number of rescues last week.
On Wednesday, May 29, Valentia Coast Guard requested Lough Derg RNLI lifeboat to launch to assist three people on a 26ft cruiser with engine failure and at anchor in Youghal Bay, east of Garrykennedy Harbour.
 At 5.34pm Lough Derg RNLI lifeboat Jean Spier launched with helm Dom Sharkey, crew Eleanor Hooker, Chris Parker and Joe O’Donoghue on board.
At 5.41pm the lifeboat located the casualty vessel at the location given. The casualty vessel’s anchor was holding. An RNLI volunteer boarded the vessel and determined all on board were safe and unharmed and wearing their lifejackets.
Given the location, the deteriorating weather conditions and the casualty vessel’s proximity to Garrykennedy, the safest close harbour, the helm made the decision to take the casualty vessel under an astern tow to the harbour. The lifeboat helm informed Valentia Coast Guard of this decision. 
The casualty vessel was safely tied alongside at 6.08pm. The lifeboat departed the scene and was back at station at 6.31pm.
Aoife Kennedy, Launching Authority at Lough Derg RNLI, advised boat users to “carry sufficient fuel for your journey, and if you find yourself in difficulty, dial 999 or 112 and ask for the Coast Guard.”
The previous Tuesday evening Valentia Coast Guard requested Lough Derg RNLI lifeboat to launch to assist six people on a 31ft cruiser with engine failure and at anchor on the west shore of Lough Derg between Williamstown and Drummaan.
At 6.54pm Lough Derg RNLI lifeboat Jean Spier launched with helm Dom Sharkey, crew Chris Parker, Tom Hayes and Oisín Higgins on board.
At 7.06pm the lifeboat came alongside the casualty vessel. All six people on board were safe and unharmed and wearing their lifejackets.
Given the isolated location, the hour and that there were seniors and infants on board, the helm made the decision to take the casualty vessel under tow back to Dromineer, where the casualties had their car and a means to get home. The helm informed Valentia Coast Guard of this decision.
The casualty vessel was safely tied alongside in Dromineer Harbour at 7.38pm. The lifeboat was back at station at 7.56pm.
Ms Kennedy urged boat users to “ensure your vessel is serviced before undertaking a journey. Always check the weather forecast and carry a means of communication.”
Meanwhile, Valentia Coast Guard requested Lough Derg RNLI lifeboat to launch to locate, assess and escort a vessel to safe harbour that a member of the public reported had made contact with rocks at Ryan’s Point last Saturday.
At 1.41pm Lough Derg RNLI lifeboat Jean Spier launched with helm Owen Cavanagh, crew Joe O’Donoghue and Deirdre Gleeson on board.
The lifeboat made a quick sweep of the public harbour but did not see a vessel that fitted the description given.  The lifeboat made way to Ryan’s Point but there was no vessel at that location. The RNLI volunteers spoke to the skipper of a vessel at anchor in the centre of the bay, but they had not seen a vessel in distress.
The lifeboat returned to the public harbour and located a motor boat that fitted the description supplied to Valentia Coast Guard. The vessel had recently passed Ryan’s Point but, according to the skipper, had not made contact with rocks and was not in need of assistance.
The lifeboat reported its findings to Valentia Coast Guard, it departed the scene and was back at station at 2.18pm.
Christine O’Malley, Lifeboat Operations Manager at Lough Derg RNLI, advises boat users to, “observe the navigation marks and be aware that there are sudden shallows and rocky shoals close to the shore.”

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