Lough Ree RNLI were called to assist five people aboard a 20-ft motor cruiser which had lost power and was drifting towards Nun’s Island on Lough Ree yesterday.
The Irish Coast Guard received the distress call from a third party and alerted the volunteer lifeboat crew at 1.27pm yesterday afternoon (Saturday, September 9).
Conditions at the time were reported as mainly dry, with a fresh force 5 north-westerly wind and waves over a metre high.
The crew of The Eric Rowse were launched and underway within ten minutes and made their way quickly to the scene, by which time the vessel had been blown very near the north shore of Nun’s Island and was at imminent risk of serious damage.
The crew went alongside the casualty vessel and found that the occupants were uninjured but distressed, while one person on board was suffering from motion sickness due to the heavy swell.
Lifeboat volunteer Emmet Devereaux remained on board the casualty vessel to reassure those on board and to assist with steering, while the other two lifeboat crew members quickly set up a tow line and towed the cruiser out of immediate danger.
The lifeboat then proceeded to tow the cruiser to safe harbour at Coosan Point. Lifeboat helm Stan Bradbury opted for a relatively fast tow, both to maintain directional control of the towed vessel and to shorten as much as possible the distress of its crew.
Speaking after the lifeboat returned to the station yesterday, Lough Ree Lifeboat Operations Manager, Tony McCarth, said: "Lough Ree is 29 kilometres long and 12 km wide, so a sizeable swell can develop quickly, especially in a northerly or southerly breeze. We recommend that all lake users check the weather forecast, and the wind direction, when planning their journeys – fresh to strong wind conditions are forecast to continue for the next several days."