The crews of Lough Ree RNLI lifeboat and Irish Coast Guard helicopter participated in a joint training exercise on Lough Ree yesterday (10 April).
The helicopter was flown in from Sligo, landing near the lake, by kind permission of Lough Ree Yacht Club, at 2:30pm. Lough Ree RNLI volunteers were instructed in the proper deployment of helicopter rescue equipment by Irish Coast Guard personnel, and were briefed on managing the down-draught effects of an overhead helicopter, before launching the lifeboat for on-the-water training at 4pm.
For the following two hours, the lifeboat’s three-person crews were rotated from shore to lifeboat so that every crew member had a chance to experience the down-draught effect and to correctly apply the helicopter’s high-line strop to a ‘casualty’ (one member of the lifeboat crew) for safe lifting from the lifeboat to the helicopter.
Lough Ree RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager, Damien Delaney, said ‘This is the second time we have trained with an Irish Coast Guard helicopter crew. The first time, we trained with their smaller helicopter, which required a slightly different approach from the lifeboat. The new helicopter is bigger and requires lifeboat crew to position the lifeboat differently, to enable the smooth transfer of a casualty. It was a very useful exercise for our volunteers and we are grateful to the Irish Coast Guard for giving so generously of their time and expertise.’