The Royal National Lifeboat Institute (RNLI) base at Coosan, County Westmeath, has received its first call out just days before going live. The lifeboat, an Atlantic 75, was in the Lough Ree waters for a training exercise when the call came to attend a distressed boat near Lanesboro.
“As part of our training exercise the crew checked in with the Coosan Guard and an emergency call came in at approximately the same time,” said Operations Manager, Damien Delaney.
He added: “A boat was in trouble on the rocks up near Lanesboro (five miles south of Lanesboro). We were there in 25 minutes. We checked for holes. There were none and then we got a tow line onto her. The reason that she got into trouble was that the engine broke down and the wind blew her onto the rocks.”
The three-person RNLI crew towed the troubled vessel to the marina at Ballyleague. The RNLI members consisted of volunteers Róis Ní Dhochartaigh, Jane Walsh and RNLI Deputy Divisional Inspector Tristan Murphy.
Explaining the limited damage to the vessel, Mr Delaney said, “Although there was damage to the rudder, there was little else damaged as it was a fairly strong steel boat.”
He added: “She wasn’t left bouncing around for very long either.”
Aboard the vessel was a male who was travelling from the south end of the Shannon. Speaking about the evident need for the new base at Coosan, Mr Delaney said: “There’s always been a need there and it’s been met by various volunteers and marine operatives. But this (base) gives it a formal structure. Hopefully it will be able to meet the needs of the lake.”
Lough Ree is 18 miles long, and at its widest point is six miles. The RNLI base at Coosan, which went live last Sunday (July 1), is a new venture in lifeboat safety in the area.
Mr Delaney, who has been involved in the RNLI for many years, confirmed that the new base consists of 18 boat crew, nine shore crew and a large team of supporters (100+). The 18 volunteers and the nine shore crew are responsible for the operation of the Atlantic 75 lifeboat and they are on call 24/7, 365 days a year through a pager network.
For further information visit www.rnli.org or call Damien Delaney on 087-2437092.