It has been a busy weekend for everyone involved with Lough Ree RNLI following a second call-out in two days.
Yesterday they were called out when a 56-foot barge with three people on board ran hard aground on rocks close to Blackwood Point at the northern end of Lough Ree.
This morning (Sunday 30 April), the Irish Coast Guard alerted the Lough Ree RNLI when a 37ft motor cruiser with seven people on board was blown onto a mud bank in the Shannon river channel north of the M6 Motorway Bridge at Athlone.
Lough Ree’s inshore Lifeboat The Eric Rowse, crewed by Rachel McHugh, Stan Bradbury and Robert West, launched quickly and was alongside the casualty vessel within 20 minutes of receiving the 8.26 am alert.
The weather at the time was dry, with a strong south-easterly Force 6 breeze. Waves on the lake were up to a metre high; however there was less wave along the river channel. The lifeboat crew checked that all on board were uninjured and wearing lifejackets, and that the vessel was not taking on water. They then established a tow line and pulled the vessel off the mud bank.
During the operation, communications support was provided between the lifeboat, the station and the Coast Guard by Lifeboat Operations Manager Tony McCarth and Liam Sherringham on shore at Lough Ree Lifeboat Station.
After re-floating the cruiser, the lifeboat crew checked that the vessel’s equipment was functioning normally before departing the scene. The casualty vessel proceeded under its own power towards Athlone, while the lifeboat crew returned to the station.
Shore crew members Bernard Larkin, Billy Henshaw, Kieran Scullion and Dennis Buckley recovered the lifeboat from the water at 9.20am.
Speaking after the call out, Lough Ree RNLI lifeboat crew member, Rachel McHugh, said:
‘We advise anyone enjoying the waterways to always check the weather forecast before departing on any journey, long or short. And, of course, always wear a lifejacket.’