Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

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Latest Environment Stories
World's most powerful wind turbine blades continue to arrive to Dong Energy's Offshore Wind Turbine Terminal D1 assembly facility at Belfast Harbour
Power From the Sea
#MostPowerful - The world’s most powerful wind turbine blades continue to ‘breeze’ into Belfast Harbour, as part of a project to develop the Burbo 2 offshore wind farm on the Irish Sea as previously reported on Afloat. The blades – plus…
A white tailed sea eagle in Norway
Marine Wildlife
#SeaEagle - West Cork was witnessed its first sea eagle fledging in more than 125 years, as The Irish Times reports. Local birdwatchers have been observing the young white tailed eagle since it left its nest on Garnish Island in…
One of the minke whale carcasses found off the Dingle Peninsula recently
Marine Wildlife
#MarineWildlife - A number of dead minke whales found off the Dingle Peninsula in recent months have puzzled locals and experts alike, as TheJournal.ie reports. The carcasses of three juvenile minkes have been spotted in the region since April, comprising…
The science team on the current Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance transatlantic seabed mapping survey
Marine Science
#SeabedMapping - The Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance's fifth transatlantic seabed mapping survey launched last Friday 22 July from eastern Canada. Sailing on the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Louis S St-Laurent, the team will map the seafloor across the North Atlantic…
Omey Strand
Island News
#Archaeology - It was quite a turn-up for the books on Omey Island recently as a US student found a 12th-century brooch in the sand on the Connemara tidal island. As The Irish Times reports, the rare kite brooch was…
Dong Energy facility (on left) with backdrop of H&W's famous Samson & Goliath cranes and oil platforms at the marine engineering facility on Belfast Lough
Power From the Sea
#WindFarm - Blades for a wind-farm in the Irish Sea have begun to arrive in Belfast Harbour reports ReNews. The blades are for the MHI Vestas V164 8MW turbines destined for Dong Energy’s 256MW Burbo 2 offshore wind-farm in the…
SmartBay Shares In Euro Funding For Ocean Energy
Power From the Sea
#SmartBay - Galway's new SmartBay ocean observatory will share in a €11m European funding boost for ocean energy testing, as Silicon Republic reports. The subsea observatory in Galway Bay – launched earlier this month in tandem with SeaFest and the…
Fahy Lake on Omey Island in Connemara
Island News
#OmeyIsland - Omey Island in Connemara is the subject of a new book by a local woman charting its remarkable history. Strands of Omey's Story by Bernadette Conroy shows there's much more to the lands off Claddaghduff than the annual…
Common dolphins
Marine Wildlife
#MarineWildlife - Three dead dolphins have washed up on Kerry's shores in recent days – and one Irish fishery expert believes so-called 'supertrawlers' in the area might be responsible. According to The Irish Times, former Sea Fisheries Protection Authority inspector…
Whale watchers at Galley Head in West Cork
Marine Wildlife
#WhaleWatchDay - The 2016 All Island Whale Watch Day takes place on Saturday 27 August as part of Heritage Week. All are invited to join the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) at any of 20 land-based whale watches on…
Great Blasket Island as seen from the Dingle Peninsula
Aquatic Tourism
#WildAtlanticWay - Minister of State for Tourism Patrick O’Donovan has announced almost €1.125 million in funding from Fáilte Ireland’s Capital Grants Allocation for two key projects along the Wild Atlantic Way. A grant of is being made available to Galway…
The 'public visitor moorings' installed in Youghal are for the overnight use of visiting boats only
Coastal Notes
Youghal harbour is open for visiting boats following the installation of eight visitor moorings in the Cork town this week. The moorings, first proposed by the community action group 'Build a Marina in Youghal' have been installed by Cork County…
Slieve League on the Donegal coast
Coastal Notes
#CoastalNotes - Donegal's history and relationship with the coastline are celebrated by a new coastal trail launched earlier this month. As the Donegal Democrat reports, a special training programme has been developed for business owners and others along the new…
A Common dolphin pod breaching off the west coast of Ireland. A public talk on Noise in the Ocean and its impact will be given tonight in Dublin
Marine Wildlife
Over 300 scientists are meeting in Dublin this week discussing the effects of noise on aquatic life. A public talk on Noise and its impact in the Ocean will be given tonight (Tuesday 12th July) 8 – 9:30pm at the…
Lawrence Cove and the new nav buoys installed
Coastal Notes
New navigation buoys have been installed at the entrance to Lawrence Cove, near the village of Rerrin on Bere Island, one of the most sheltered harbours in Bantry Bay on Ireland's South–West coast.  A marina at Lawrence Cove is located opposite…
A Mediterranean gull much like this one has been spotted from Belfast's Window on Wildlife
Marine Wildlife
#MarineWildlife - A seabird usually found in the eastern Mediterranean has not only taken up residence in Belfast – she's successfully hatched her first chick. The Belfast Telegraph reports on the Mediterranean gull that's been attracting bird watchers from all…

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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