New lifeboat gets first shout - after just seven minutes

The new RNLI lifeboat for Lough Ree was called out on its first rescue mission just seven minutes after being put on station at the Coosan slip.

The new boat - the Eric Rowse - was delivered on Tuesday morning before being put through her paces with retiring boat Dorothy Mary at the lakeside marina for the benefit of the Shannon Boat Rally.

She was trailered and returned to station at 12.40pm, only to be called out at 12.47 to assist with a grounded cruiser at marker No 2.

There were no injuries, and the undamaged vessel was able to proceed under its own power to Lecarrow.

Dorothy Mary - an 18-year-old Atlantic 75 RIB - has been Lough Ree’s lifeboat for the last two years and has now reached her retirement age.

Her replacement is the Eric Rowse, which was commissioned in 2000, and served at the St Catherine station in Jersey from 2001 to 2010, when she joined the reserve fleet.

She is the same class of lifeboat as Dorothy Mary, who had a very busy few days in the run-up to her retirement with four call-outs in a 24-hour period over last weekend.

Between 6.30pm on Friday, and 6.50pm on Saturday, she had to deal with three groundings, and a blown engine.

“The recent spell of good weather has brought large numbers of people to the water, many for the first time in years, and this, coupled with the low levels in the river and lake, makes extra attention to the markers and navigation channels necessary,” said Lough Ree RNLI lifeboat operations manager Damien Delaney.

Then on Sunday the lifeboat was due to give a training demonstration to the Shannon Boat Rally at Lough Ree Yacht Club, but this had to be postponed twice as real life emergencies took precedence, resulting in the evacuation of a cruiser passenger to an ambulance at Hodson Bay.

The eventual exercise involved a mock casualty proceeding north past the yacht club on a cruiser was provided by Hanleys Marina, Ballyleague.

The vessel went through all the indignities, including an explosion and fire onboard, a man overboard, an injury, the deployment and rescue of the inflatable life-raft, and finally salvation with the arrival of the lifeboat to rescue all and take the casualty to the Yacht Club.

All the radio communications were relayed by loudspeaker to the spectators at the LRYC clubhouse.

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