WITH the number of people needing rescued from Lough Erne jumping dramatically over the past number of years, those planning on getting out on the lough this summer season have been urged to “respect the water.”
A total of 90 people were rescued from Lough Erne last year, with the RNLI at Enniskillen and Carrybridge launching their volunteer crew 76 times. This was slightly up on 2015, when 89 people were rescued and the RNLI launched 74 times.
However it would appear the growing numbers of both locals and visitors taking to the lake on boats and cruisers in recent years has been keeping the lifeboat crew busy in Fermanagh. In 2014 57 people were rescued, in 2013 it was 82, and in 2012 a total of 50 people were rescued from the lough.
The RNLI’s Neil Ireland had the following advice for boat users this summer: “My number one tip is wear a life jacket.
“Number two would probably be to closely supervise your children. Three would be to keep your speed down.
“And finally, for private owners, this wouldn’t apply to professional renters, service your vehicle. The number of mechanical breakdowns that take place because people haven’t serviced and checked their vehicle.”
Overall, Mr Ireland said to use “common sense.”
“When you break down, throw your anchor out. Call for help and sit there and you’ll be safe.”
This advice is backed by seasoned Enniskillen boatsman Pat Lunny, who said while it was always recommended to use a buoyancy aid as well, a life jacket was a must.
“You can still drown with a buoyancy aid, if you happen to hit your head and are face down, where as a life jacket will turn you around the right way,” he said.
Mr Lunny, who added it was important to know how to use your anchor, said he had for many years not worn a life jacket but the tragic deaths of his friends Declan Swift and Martin Steele, who drowned in a freak accident on the Lough Erne a several years ago.
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