Man reluctant to ring Coast Guard after getting stranded for 13 hours on vessel

A man spent the night alone on his cruise boat after running aground on Lough Derg, writes Patrick Flynn.

The man spent 13 hours on board the stranded vessel because he was reluctant to inconvenience the rescue services by calling them.

The alarm was raised at around 8.45am today after the crew of another cruiser who reported seeing a vessel aground near Hare Island on the Clare side of Lough Derg.

Staff at the Irish Coast Guard marine rescue sub centre on Valentia Island alerted the Lough Derg RNLI lifeboat and requested them to investigate the report.

The volunteer lifeboat crew located a 16ft cruiser on rocks in Church Bay which is known for its hazards including sudden shallows and rocks.

An RNLI volunteer waded across the rocks and boarded the casualty vessel and found one person sleeping below. The man was unharmed and wearing his lifejacket.

He told his rescuers that he had been on his boat since 8pm the pervious evening, but had been reluctant to call the rescue services, anxious not to put anyone out.

Winds overnight on Lough Derg last night were westerly, Force 5, gusting 7 at times.

The lifeboat managed to get the vessel safely off the rocks and took it under tow to Garrykennedy harbour.

The vessel was then safely tied up alongside while boat owners in Garrykennedy provided breakfast for the skipper and helped arrange to have his boat lifted from the water.

Lough Derg RNLI helm Eleanor Hooker said: “No callout is routine. Our training and experience tells us to expect the unexpected, and that is how we approached this apparently empty vessel thought to have slipped its moorings".

Lifeboat station Deputy Launching Authority Pat Garland said: “We would entreat all boat users, when is difficulty (or members of the public, if they witness someone in danger), to call 999 or 112 and ask for the Irish Coast Guard. The RNLI and rescue services are on call 24/7, every day of the year to assist those in difficulty on the water".

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