Multiple boats run aground on Lough Ree as levels drop during heatwave

A busy summer for the Lough Ree RNLI lifeboat service got even busier in the last five days with multiple boats running aground as water levels begin to fall during the ongoing hot and dry spell.

In total, 24 people and one dog, on five boats, required the intervention of the volunteer crew of the lifeboat service inside the past week.

During the current warm weather Lough Ree RNLI Operations Manager Jude Kilmartin is advising lake users to "pay particular attention to navigational maps and err on the side of caution due to falling water levels exposing shoals and rocks that would not normally constitute a hazard."

After 9pm yesterday (Monday) evening, Lough Ree RNLI was tasked by the Coast Guard to go to the assistance of a 20-foot sports cruiser with five people on board which had run aground northeast of Hare Island.

In calm waters and fair conditions, the lifeboat crew towed the boat to safe water from where it continued under its own power to Coosan Point.

Over the weekend, on Sunday morning, July 18, the service responded to a Coast Guard call-out. The lifeboat crew launched under helm Emmet Devereux to assist a small cruiser with six people on board which had broken down near Yellow Island. The craft was taken under tow to Hodson Bay marina.

Later on Sunday afternoon, under helm Tom Bradbury, the Lough Ree RNLI lifeboat ‘Tara Scougall’ was back on the water to assist a cruiser with three people on board which had run aground near Quaker Island. Following inspection to boat was towed off the rocks and continued under its own power to Lanesboro.

Seven people and a dog were rescued on Saturday last following a call-out to a cruiser that had run aground on the Hexagon Shoal near Hare Island. In this incident, just as the Lough Ree RNLI crew had launched, they were informed that the people (and the dog) were taken on board a passing cruiser. All were delivered safely to Coosan Point.

On Wednesday of last week, July 14, the service responded to a call just before 6pm to assist a 23-foot cruiser which had run aground at Kings Island. Following safety checks, the vessel was towed off the rocks and headed towards Portrunny.

One local sage, noting the apparent increase in the number of boats grounded on islands in the lake this season, was tempted to paraphrase the W.B. Yeats poem 'Lake Isle of Inishfree' and offer this advice to skippers: "stay off the lake isles and finish free!"