Lough Ree RNLI said the 20-foot motor cruiser lost power and was drifting toward's Nun's Island in heavy swells

Five people on board a motor cruiser had to be rescued from Lough Ree in Ireland after the vessel began drifting towards rocks when it lost power.

The Irish Coast Guard received a call from a member of the public, who spotted the 20-foot boat drifting towards the rocks on the north shores of Nun’s Island.

The volunteer RNLI crew at Lough Ree launched the all-weather Eric Rowse just after 1.30pm on Saturday (9 September).

A spokesman for Lough Ree RNLI said: “The crew of The Eric Rowse were launched and underway within ten minutes and made their way quickly to the scene, by which time the vessel had been blown very near the north shore of Nun’s Island and was at imminent risk of serious damage.”

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“The crew went alongside the casualty vessel and found that the occupants were uninjured but distressed, while one person on board was suffering from motion sickness due to the heavy swell,” he added.

Conditions at the time were reported as mainly dry, with a fresh force 5 north-westerly wind and waves over a metre high.

Lifeboat volunteer, Emmet Devereaux, remained on board the motor cruiser to reassure those on board and to assist with steering, while the other two lifeboat crew members quickly set up a tow line and towed the cruiser out of immediate danger.

An RNLI orange all-weather lifeboat tows a motor cruiser in rough swells off Lough Ree

The motor cruiser under tow. Credit: RNLI/Lough Ree

The lifeboat then proceeded to tow the cruiser to safe harbour at Coosan Point.

Lifeboat helm, Stan Bradbury, opted for a relatively fast tow, both to maintain directional control of the towed vessel and to shorten as much as possible the distress of its crew.

Speaking after the lifeboat returned to the station, Lough Ree Lifeboat operations manager, Tony McCarth, said: “Lough Ree is 29 kilometres long and 12 km wide, so a sizeable swell can develop quickly, especially in a northerly or southerly breeze.”

“We recommend that all lake users check the weather forecast, and the wind direction, when planning their journeys – fresh to strong wind conditions are forecast to continue for the next several days,” he added.