Lough Derg RNLI assists a lone sailor on a 35ft yacht aground at Bonaveen Point
On Tuesday afternoon 11 October, Valentia Coast Guard requested Lough Derg RNLI lifeboat to assist a lone sailor on a 36ft yacht aground at Bonaveen Point at the north western shore of Lough Derg above Cloondavaun Bay.
At 4.45pm Lough Derg RNLI lifeboat Jean Spier launched with helm Steve Smyth, Eleanor Hooker and Richard Nolan on board. Winds were southerly Force 4/5 and gusting, visibility was good. Valentia Coast Guard provided the lifeboat with coordinates for the casualty vessel which the RNLI volunteers used to navigate to its location.
At 5.05pm the lifeboat arrived on scene. The casualty vessel was aground at Fowler Island, north of Bonaveen Point on the County Clare shore. Two local people, in their lake boat standing off in safe water, came alongside the lifeboat. They informed the RNLI volunteers it was they who called for assistance after they were unable to assist the person on board the yacht. They expressed their concern for the skipper on the yacht, who had been aground for the three hours and who they could not safely take off under the conditions due to the casualty’s limited mobility. They had attempted an approach but damaged their propeller on rocks that extend 30 metres from Fowler Island into the lake.
Valentia Coast Guard offered an airlift for the casualty but the RNLI volunteers felt that an airlift would prove difficult due to the location and the height of the mast on the yacht. Studying their lake charts and using their local knowledge, the lifeboat volunteers planned a route to the yacht with the intention to evacuate the casualty. The helm requested crew take up positions in the bow, port and starboard, to take soundings and to report sightings of hazards in the water. The RNLI helm lifted one engine and skilfully navigated a course around rocks to the casualty vessel.
At 5.41pm the lifeboat reached the stern of the casualty vessel. An RNLI volunteer boarded the yacht to assist the skipper, and with an RNLI volunteer in the bow of the lifeboat, they helped the casualty transfer to the lifeboat. Once everyone was recovered to the lifeboat, the helm, with one crew member at the stern on the lookout for hazards, immediately began a reciprocal route back to safe water.
Once in safe water, RNLI volunteers assessed the casualty for any injuries. The casualty was feeling cold but otherwise well.
At 5.59pm the lifeboat arrived at Cloondavaun Harbour and left the casualty in the care of their friend. The two people in their lake boat arrived safely to shore ahead of the lifeboat.
At 6.11pm the lifeboat departed the scene and was back at Station at 6.40pm
Catherine Gleeson, Deputy Launching Authority at Lough Derg RNLI advises boat users to ‘carry a means of communication and let someone know your destination and your planned time of arrival’.
Notes to editors
- Lough Derg RNLI lifeboat station has been operating since 2004. To learn more about the lifeboat station go to: https://rnli.org/find-my-nearest/lifeboat-stations/lough-derg-lifeboat-station
- A photo of Lough Derg RNLI lifeboat can be viewed at: https://www.facebook.com/RNLILoughDerg/
RNLI media contacts
For more information please telephone Eleanor Hooker, Lough Derg RNLI volunteer helm and Lifeboat Press Officer on 0877535207 or [email protected] or Nuala McAloon, Regional Media Officer on 0876483547
[email protected] or Niamh Stephenson, Regional Media Manager on 0871254124 or
For more information on the RNLI please visit rnli.org. News releases and other media
resources, including RSS feeds, downloadable photos and video, are available at the
RNLI News Centre rnli.org/news-and-media.
Key facts about the RNLI
The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around Ireland and the UK. The RNLI operates 46 lifeboat stations in Ireland. The RNLI is independent of government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, the charity has saved over 142,700 lives.
Key facts about the RNLI
The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.
Learn more about the RNLI
For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.
Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries
Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or by email.