Lough Ree RNLI received two calls for assistance over the Easter weekend, as improving weather and brighter evenings herald the start of the boating season.
On Friday evening, March 25, at 8.15pm the Coast Guard received an alert from a member of the public who had noticed a light on the east shore of Quaker Island. The lifeboat was launched at 8.27pm and the volunteer crew made their way north in dark, windy conditions.
Upon arrival at Quaker Island, two lake-boats were found on the east shore, one of which had a light aboard. Two RNLI crew went ashore, while the helm remained with the lifeboat. Five people were located, alive and well, and intending to camp on the island for the weekend. They were requested by RNLI crew to notify the Coast Guard upon their safe return to the mainland. The crew returned to the lifeboat and made their way back to the station. The lifeboat was again ready for service shortly before 10pm.
On Sunday afternoon, March 27, at 3.27pm the Coast Guard again paged the lifeboat crew. A hire craft with three people on board had run aground along the river near Wren’s Island, south of Athlone Lock. Upon arrival, the crew checked the boat for damage and found none; however, the engine would not start. The lifeboat crew set up a tow line and towed the 30-foot cruiser upriver. They secured the vessel to the quay wall north of Athlone Lock and returned to the station.
Lough Ree RNLI lifeboat operations manager, Damien Delaney, said: ‘We were relieved to find that campers were the source of the light on the island. Residents around the lake tend to notice anything unusual and are more alert to the local dangers than visitors are. Their vigilance is much appreciated and we are happy to be called upon when any such safety concerns arise.”
Earlier on Sunday, in Dublin, Lough Ree RNLI deputy launching authority, Tony McCarth, represented the station in the RNLI section of the Easter 1916 centenary commemoration parade. Speaking after the event, he said: “The whole event was very well organised and the weather was beautiful as well, which added to the celebratory atmosphere. It was a huge honour to parade with other RNLI volunteers from all over Ireland, and to represent Lough Ree RNLI in this historic event.”