RNLI lifeboat crew come to aid of rowers

RNLI lifeboat crew come to aid of rowers

27 March 2024

PORTAFERRY lifeboat went to the rescue of four people who were in a rowing boat which got difficulties off the Co Down coast on St Patrick’s Day.

The boat suffered steering problems after its rudder broke north of the South Rock Buoy, a few miles from the entrance to Strangford Lough.

An RNLI spokesperson said that shortly after 6pm Belfast Coastguard requested the launch of Portaferry RNLI’s inshore lifeboat to assist the crew of the rowing boat. 

After the report had been received, the Blue Peter V was sent out helmed by Chris Adair and with crew members Paul Mageean, Patrick Lowry and Molly Crowe.

The lifeboat immediately made its way to the scene, overcoming choppy weather conditions with a west-south Force 4 breeze. 

“Once the lifeboat was on the scene, the volunteering crew carefully observed that all the civilians on board the rowing boat were safe before assessing the situation further,” the spokesperson said.

“Considering that the crew of the rowing boat were unable to make any progress without their rudder, a decision was made to establish a makeshift tow.

“The rowing boat was towed to the nearest safe port at Portavogie harbour and the lifeboat departed at 7.30pm, returning to the station by 8.15pm.

Heather Kennedy, Portaferry RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager, said afterwards: “We would like to commend the crew of the rowing boat for raising the alarm when they got into difficulty, that is always the right thing to do. We were glad to be of assistance and wish the crew well.

She continued” “We would remind boat owners ahead of the Easter period to check their vessel and engine to ensure they are ready for the season ahead.

“Always check the weather before venturing out. Always wear a lifejacket or suitable personal flotation device for your activity and always carry a means of calling for help.

“Should you get into difficulty or see someone else in trouble, call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard.”