Belfast Telegraph

Four rescued after cruiser is grounded in Lough Erne

By Louise Small

Four people have been rescued by the RNLI after their motor cruiser ran aground on Lough Erne.

It was the second time the lifeboat crew had been called out to rescue a stranded boat within a week. It is believed the 29ft cruiser was outside the lough’s marked channel.

According to the Northern Ireland Coastguard, the incidents have been caused by low water levels because of a lack of rainfall in Co Fermanagh.

An SOS call was put out to the Coastguard at 11.50am yesterday.

The rescue operation took more than an hour-and-a-half.

A spokesman for the Coastguard said: “A boat ran aground on rocks in Lough Erne yesterday.

“This happens when there is a lack of rainwater in the lake.

“When the lough decreases and water levels drop, boats can run aground easier.

“The Enniskillen lifeboat was sent out to assist the people. There was no damage to the boat.”

Since February floodgates have been kept closed to try to keep as much water as possible in the lough.

A spokeswoman for the Coastguard confirmed all passengers of the cruiser were safe and well.

She said: “No medical assistance was required as all of the occupants of the boat were rescued safely and the cruiser was escorted by the lifeboat and put back onto her moorings.

“It was a routine rescue with nothing untoward. Water levels are quite low at present.”

Recently, Waterways Ireland advised navigation users of the unseasonal dry weather, which is lowering water levels on the lough.

They issued a marine notice on their website, warning about the extended dry season and the risk it poses to boat users.

The statement said: “As the boating season is about to get under way, masters and users are advised of the implications of continuing dry weather on the water levels.

“If water levels fall below normal summer levels, masters should be aware that their vessels may be at risk of grounding, particularly deep drafted vessels.”

A spokeswoman for Waterways Ireland said: “The information that Waterways Ireland has received is that the cruiser which ran aground was outside the marked channel of Lough Erne.

“The incident was reported to the RNLI by either a serving or retired member of the RNLI.”

Water users have been asked to stay away from the sides of the lough and try to stay in the middle of the channel.

On Friday, April 6, a cruiser with three adults and two children on board became stranded in shallow water on the lough.

The occupants also had to be rescued by the RNLI.

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