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New safety measures in place as report says Corrib rowing collision ‘posed a threat of death’


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

New safety measures in place as report says Corrib rowing collision ‘posed a threat of death’ New safety measures in place as report says Corrib rowing collision ‘posed a threat of death’

Several safety measures have been put in place on the River Corrib to avoid a repetition of a near-disastrous collision of rowing boats on the river last year.

Details of a dramatic rescue are recounted in an official report into the potentially calamitous incident in which multiple boats capsized and several rowers were plunged into the cold water.

The Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCBI) probe into the incident involving multiple rowing vessels in or around Salmon Weir on January 14 last year, said the river event caused the loss of two rowing boats and “posed a threat of death or serious injury” to 10 crew on the recreational vessels.

Several safety changes have already been enacted since the incident, according to the report, and the MCBI made a series of other safety recommendations to University of Galway Boat Club including changes to procedure, changes to training, and changes to equipment. It also made recommendations to Rowing Ireland and Sport Ireland, the governing bodies.

Lough Corrib Navigation Trustees were also told to, “complete a risk assessment of the Salmon Weir and its safety booms to identify methods to eliminate, reduce and/or manage risks associated with recreational activities on the river and navigation by recreational vessels”.

Though there was no loss of life, MCBI described it as a ‘marine casualty’ as two University of Galway Boat Club vessels – Olympic-style rowing boats – were destroyed when they hit against weir safety booms and capsized during a recreational training session.

Each boat had five members onboard, who ended up in the freezing winter water, without lifejackets, which was not required by regulation, when their boats capsized upon impact.

Nine pupils of Coláiste Iognaid, who were rowing on the river at the same time, and also capsized, were brought safely to shore by a powerboat operated by their coach.

MCBI said there was a “combination of causal factors” that contributed to University of Galway experiencing this marine casualty.

These included: unsuitable weather conditions; unsuitable river conditions; inadequate trip planning; inadequate safety systems; unsuitable rules of the river; unsuitable weir safety booms; and an unsuitable coach’s boat.

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