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Latest Environment Stories
A Humpback Whale breaching in Irish waters
Tom MacSweeney
To mariners the sound of the sea is the sound of life and this week I heard some of the most amazing sounds ever recorded underwater. ‘The song of the Humpback Whale,’amazed me. It is the sound the males use,…
Bruce Watchorn while walking along the Great South Wall of Dublin Port happened upon the 'Projection Support Structure' by Fiona McDonald
Dublin Port
#portperspectives - While taking a stroll along the Great South Wall was Bruce Watchorn (pictured above) from Blackrock, Co. Dublin, who happened upon the 'Projection Support Structure' by Fiona McDonald. The structure forms part of the final installation of Dublin…
The rise in common dolphin strandings since 2011 is alarming wildlife enthusiasts
Marine Wildlife
#MarineWildlife - The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) has expressed its dismay at another record year for cetacean standings around the Irish coast. The first eight months of 2017 alone have seen 201 recorded strandings - up 30% compared…
Part of Ballycastle Golf Club was closed to allow for a controlled explosion on the adjacent beach
Coastal Notes
#Alert - Ballycastle was put on alert yesterday afternoon (Saturday 16 September) as a Second World War-era mine washed up on the Co Antrim beach, according to the Belfast Telegraph. British Army technical officers performed a controlled explosion of the…
Harbour porpoise like this one in Denmark have been protected by a Special Area of Conservation across Dublin Bay since 2013
Marine Wildlife
#MarineWildlife - This weekend Dublin Port is deploying data buoys in Dublin Bay to monitor marine wildlife activity during the controversial dredging works at Alexandra Basin. According to The Irish Times, the four boys will provide live data on any…
The new 40–berth Bantry Harbour Marina is among the facilities being marketed to potential visitors at the Southampton Boat Show over the next week
Aquatic Tourism
#Tourism - The Port of Cork, Bantry Bay Port Company and the Royal Cork Yacht Club are joining forces to promote marine leisure in Cork at the Southampton Boat Show. The three organisations are in attendance at Stand J047 from…
Rare Sight Of Large Minke Whale Pod In Irish Sea ‘Feeding Frenzy’
Marine Wildlife
#MarineWildlife - An “extremely rare” pod of minke whales has been sighted in the Irish Sea off the Isle of Man this week. According to BBC News, the pod comprising as many as 20 minke whales was engaged in a…
Marine Notice: Spiddal Wave Energy Test Site Decommissioning Works
Power From the Sea
#MarineNotice - The latest Marine Notice from the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (DTTAS) advises of the decommissioning of the wave energy test site in Galway Bay. The decommissioning of the Marine Institute's wave energy site will involve the removal…
Tenders for an Aran Islands service are sought from Department for Gaaltacht Affairs
Island News
#islandnews - Tenders for the provision of an Aran Islands-Ros a Mhil passenger ferry service are been requested from the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs. The contract according to Galway Bay fm would be for the…
On the left is Dublin Port's Alexandra Basin (under redevelopment to cater for larger and deeper draft cargoships). On the right is the adjacent Alexandra Basin East. It’s estimated there are around 300 porpoises in Dublin Bay.
Marine Wildlife
#marinewildlife - Concerns have been voiced by campaigners about the safety of the Dublin Bay porpoise as Dublin Port commences dredging. The Journai.ie writes that the Dublin Port Company (DPC) plan to remove up to a million tonnes of material…
Marine Biologist Lucy Hunt from County Kerry
Volvo Ocean Race
Kerry will have a dominant presence in this year’s Volvo Round the World Race. Three of the Kingdom’s notable maritime figures are involved and, with Olympian Annalise Murphy also sailing, there will be strong Irish interest, writes Tom MacSweeney. Biologist…
It could be anywhere in the northern Caribbean, but this scene of total harbour devastation is how things look this morning in a sheltered port previously thought to be a reliable “Hurricane Hole”
News Update
The unprecedented damage wreaked by Hurricane Irma in recent days in the Caribbean, and now in Florida, has been a wake-up call for Irish sailors writes W M Nixon. While we may just have experience a breezy early-Autumn weekend here…
Clean Coasts: Big Beach Clean returns this year next weekend (15, 16 & 17 September) So get involved to remove "marine litter" from our seas and beaches (above Whiterock, Co. Dublin) and make a positive difference for marine wildlife.
Marine Wildlife
#BigBeachClean - Clean Coasts Big Beach Clean returns this year when the event takes place next weekend (15-17 September). So there's still time to register your pariticpation to make a positive difference in helping the environment. Clean Coasts engages communities…
UK Heritage excursion vessel, Balmoral began today coastal cruises that include calls to locations along the north Wales coast between Anglesey and Liverpool.
Coastal Notes
#coastalnotes - Coastal excursions off the stunning scenery of north Wales began today and exclusively up to 19 September by one of the most travelled on UK inshore vessels the iconic Balmoral, writes Jehan Ashmore. From various small ports on…
Seabird activity can tell sailors a lot
Tom MacSweeney

Sailors & Seabirds

6th September 2017
Seabirds and sailors have a long history together. They are reputed to have guided lost sailors to land, led fishermen to catch fish and the sight of them has encouraged many a despairing sailor to realise that land is nearby.…
Well steered, sir! A traditional Achill yawl negotiates the narrow passage through Achill’s seldom-opened bridge at the special opening on Sunday
Island News
The Michael Davitt Bridge that connects Achill Island to the mainland was officially opened by leading Irish land reformer Michael Davitt on 31st August 1887, making 2017 its 130th anniversary. Construction began on a replacement Michael Davitt Bridge in 1948,…

For all you need on the Marine Environment - covering the latest news and updates on marine science and wildlife, weather and climate, power from the sea and Ireland's coastal regions and communities - the place to be is Afloat.ie.

Coastal Notes

The Coastal Notes category covers a broad range of stories, events and developments that have an impact on Ireland's coastal regions and communities, whose lives and livelihoods are directly linked with the sea and Ireland's coastal waters.

Topics covered in Coastal Notes can be as varied as the rare finding of sea-life creatures, an historic shipwreck with secrets to tell, or even a trawler's net caught hauling much more than just fish.

Other angles focusing the attention of Coastal Notes are Ireland's maritime museums, which are of national importance to maintaining access and knowledge of our nautical heritage, and those who harvest the sea using small boats based in harbours where infrastructure and safety pose an issue, plying their trade along the rugged wild western seaboard.

Coastal Notes tells the stories that are arguably as varied as the environment they come from, and which shape people's interaction with the natural world and our relationship with the sea.

Marine Wildlife

One of the greatest memories of any day spent boating around the Irish coast is an encounter with Marine Wildlife. It's a thrill for young and old to witness seabirds, seals, dolphins and whales right there in their own habitat. And as boaters fortunate enough to have experienced it will testify, even spotting a distant dorsal fin can be the highlight of any day afloat. Was that a porpoise? Was it a whale? No matter how brief the glimpse, it's a privilege to share the seas with Irish marine wildlife.

Thanks to our location in the North Atlantic, there appears to be no shortage of marine life to observe. From whales to dolphins, seals, sharks and other ocean animals, the Marine Wildlife category documents the most interesting accounts around our shores. And we're keen to receive your observations, your photos, links and video clips, too!

Also valuable is the unique perspective of all those who go afloat, from coastal sailing to sea angling to inshore kayaking to offshore yacht racing, as what they encounter can be of great importance to organisations such as the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG). Thanks to their work we now know we share the seas with dozens of species who also call Ireland home. But as impressive as the list is, the experts believe there are still gaps in our knowledge. Next time you are out on the ocean waves, keep a sharp look out!

Weather

As an island in the North Atlantic, Ireland's fate is decided by Weather more so than many other European countries. When storm-force winds race across the Irish Sea, ferry and shipping services are cut off, disrupting our economy. When swollen waves crash on our shores, communities are flooded and fishermen brace for impact - both to their vessels and to their livelihoods.

Keeping abreast of the weather, therefore, is as important to leisure cruisers and fishing crews alike - for whom a small craft warning can mean the difference between life and death - as it is to the communities lining the coast, where timely weather alerts can help protect homes and lives.

Weather affects us all, and Afloat.ie will keep you informed on the hows and the whys.

Marine Science

Perhaps it's the work of the Irish research vessels RV Celtic Explorer and RV Celtic Voyager out in the Atlantic Ocean that best highlights the essential nature of Marine Science for the future growth of Ireland's emerging 'blue economy'.

From marine research to development and sustainable management, Ireland is developing a strong and well-deserved reputation as an emerging centre of excellence. Whether it's Wavebob ocean energy technology to aquaculture to weather buoys and oil exploration, the Marine Science category documents the work of Irish marine scientists and researchers and how they have secured prominent roles in many European and international marine science bodies.

Power From The Sea

The message from the experts is clear: offshore wind and wave energy is the future. And as Ireland looks towards the potential of the renewable energy sector, generating Power From The Sea will become a greater priority in the State's 'blue growth' strategy.

Developments and activities in existing and planned projects in the pipeline from the wind and wave renewables sector, and those of the energy exploration industry, point to the future of energy requirements for the whole world, not just in Ireland. And that's not to mention the supplementary industries that sea power projects can support in coastal communities.

Irish ports are already in a good position to capitalise on investments in offshore renewable energy services. And Power From The Sea can even be good for marine wildlife if done properly.

Aside from the green sector, our coastal waters also hold a wealth of oil and gas resources that numerous prospectors are hoping to exploit, even if people in coastal and island areas are as yet unsure of the potential benefits or pitfalls for their communities.

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