Portaferry RNLI Rescues Four Ocean-Going Rowers

Four ocean-going rowers rescued by Portaferry RNLI after rudder broke

The Portaferry RNLI has gone to the aid of four people after an ocean-going rowing boat developed steering problems at night off the County Down coast.

Portaferry RNLI came to the aid of four people on St. Patrick’s Day (Sunday 17 March) after their ocean-going rowing boat sustained a broken rudder and developed steering problems.

Belfast Coastguard requested the launch of Portaferry RNLI’s inshore lifeboat at 6.01pm to assist the crew of a rowing boat who had reported steering problems north of the South Rock Buoy off the east Down coast.

The lifeboat, Blue Peter V, helmed by Chris Adair and with volunteer crew members Paul Mageean, Patrick Lowry and Molly Crowe onboard, launched shortly after and immediately made its way to the scene.

The Portaferry lifeboat Blue Peter V returns to base after assisting 4 international rowers whose rudder and steering broke in choppy sea conditions.

Weather conditions at the time were overcast and choppy with a west-south-westerly Force 4 breeze.

Once on scene, the volunteer crew observed that all the rowers were safe and well before further assessing the situation.

Given that the crew were unable to make safe progress without their rudder, a decision was made to establish a 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.

Speaking following the call out, Heather Kennedy, Portaferry RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager said: ‘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.”

‘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.”