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#WaterSafety - The latest Marine Notice from the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (DTTAS) advises everyone on or near the water of the correct use of lifejackets or personal flotation devices (PFDs).

Lifejackets should always be warn over all clothing, so that there is sufficient space for the device to inflate, the wearer’s breathing is not restricted, and there is easy access to activate a manual personal locator beacon.

Marine Notice No 34 of 2017 comes after the recent MCIB report into the death of lobsterman Patsy Kelly in Galway Bay last September, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Kelly, who went overboard from his vessel while retrieving a string of lobster pots, was found to be wearing a PFD but underneath an oilskin smock, significantly limiting his ability to signal for help.

The report also found that Kelly’s lifejacket was five months overdue for service of its active components, such as its gas canister and battery-operated light.

Published in Water Safety

#MCIB - Marine investigators have recommended that fishermen be reminded of best practice for wearing PFDs while on the water.

That’s the main recommendation from the Marine Casualty Investigation Board’s (MCIB) report on an incident in Galway Bay last September that took the life of Patsy Kelly.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the body of the local lobsterman was recovered off Salthill hours after his boat was found empty at Tawin Island on 7 September 2016.

Kelly had set out earlier that morning at 6am from Ballinacourty on his boat Loch Corrib II to retrieve a string of lobster pots.

The boat was noticed stationary in the water around lunchtime by another vessel fishing in the area, which approached to find it unmanned with the engine running.

It’s believed that Kelly suffered some sort of collapse while attempting to untangle his string of pots, which caused him to enter the water.

Kelly’s body was recovered more than four nautical miles from his vessel after 6.30pm that evening. 

He was found to be wearing his PFD but underneath an oilskin smock, which would have meant no access to the switch for the lifejacket’s locator beacon.

The MCIB report also found that the PFD, while it inflated, was five months overdue for a service.

The full report into the Loch Corrib II incident is available to download below.

Published in MCIB

#WaterSafety - The dangers of boating without proper safety equipment have been raised by a report into the death of an angler who went overboard from his vessel off West Cork last summer.

The body of Michael O’Brien was recovered on the morning of 15 August 2016, after he was reported missing the previous evening when he failed to return to Schull from a solo fishing trip.

The Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB) report into the incident found that O’Brien, who regularly went angling around Long Island Bay in the summer months, was not wearing a PFD and had no emergency beacon or VHF radio, with only a mobile phone for communication.

It’s unknown how the 69-year-old came to enter the water, but his reduced mobility due to a hip operation and the fact that his crutches were found stowed suggests he used the boat’s bulwarks for support, which would have put his centre of gravity over the edge of the vessel.

The full MCIB report can be downloaded below.

Published in MCIB

#MCIB - Lack of safety management contributed to an incident in which two people fell into the water while disembarking from a ferry at Inis Oírr Pier last summer.

That’s according to the Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB) report on the event that involved the passenger ferry Rose of Aran on 6 June 2016.

Two passengers disembarking the ferry that morning, a man and a woman, were treated for shock after entering the water when the gangway slipped off the quayside.

It emerged that the stern line holding the Rose of Aran at its berth, fastened by a bystander and not checked by crew at the bow lines, had come loose at some point after passengers began disembarking.

The stern line is not immediately visible from the boat’s wheelhouse — a situation made worse by crowds on the pier at the time blocking the already obscured view.

Upon noticing that the boat was drifting, the master attempted to move it back into position, but it was pushed away by wash from the engines of the boat moored astern, causing the gangway to slip.

In its analysis, the MCIB determined that the Liscannor Ferry Company, which operates the Rose of Arran, operated with a safety management system, or SMS, that “lacked specific risk assessments and standard operating procedures for berthing at the various piers and harbours used” by its vessels.

The SMS also lacked a ‘Man Overboard’ situation among its emergency drills. As a result, the crew “were not trained or prepared for recovery procedures within the confines of the harbour.

“The recovery of the casualties would not have occurred without people on the shore entering the water and assisting them to shore,” it added.

But the MCIB also took Galway County Council to task for the lack of bye-laws, or a harbour master, to govern operations at Inis Oírr Pier, which allows vessels to berth with engines running and regularly experiences overcrowding that “hinders the safe berthing of ferries”.

The full MCIB report can be downloaded below.

Published in MCIB

#MCIB - The Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB) is continuing its inquiry into the death of a fisherman who went overboard from a prawn fishing trawler off Slea Head a year ago.

The interim report released today (Friday 23 June) details the incident on 30 June 2016, in which a crew member on the FV Cu Na Mara went overboard during the process of reattaching the boat’s two nets from their drums to the middle towing winch at its stern.

The skipper and fellow crew responded immediately to assist the casualty, who was wearing a personal flotation device (PFD) that inflated on contact with the water.

Though the casualty was quickly recovered from the sea and administered first aid by his crew mates, he did not survive.

The MCIB’s full report into the FV Cu Na Mara incident is forthcoming.

Published in MCIB

#MarineNotice - The latest Marine Notice from the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (DTTAS) details the proper hi-line protocols when receiving assistance from a search and rescue helicopter.

The notice follows the findings of last year’s MCIB report into the sinking of the fishing trawler Iúda Naofa off Scotland in January 2015.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, it was determined that the crew of the trawler lacked knowhow regarding the use of hi-line, which meant they were unable to release an emergency pump dropped to the vessel on a standard clasp from a UK coastguard helicopter.

Full details are included of Marine Notice No 3 of 2017, a PDF of which is available to read or download HERE.

Published in Rescue

#MCIB - Basic water safety precautions were not taken before a canoe capsize incident that led to the drowning of a man off Kenmare almost a year ago.

That’s the main conclusion of the official report into the tragedy in Kenmare Bay in which local man Bill Topham died, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Topham had been canoeing to islands in Kenmare Bay with a friend for a duck shoot when their two-man vessel overturned in high winds on the afternoon of 31 January 2016.

The Marine Casualty Investigation Board report identified that neither passenger on the canoe was wearing a personal flotation device.

It also concluded that their decision to undertake their trip amid adverse weather conditions with a fully laden canoe, including two boisterous dogs, greatly increased the “inevitable element of natural risk” involved.

The full MCIB report into the incident is available to download below.

Published in MCIB

#MCIB - A loose gas hose is the most likely cause of an explosion that sank a restored classic yacht in Galway Bay earlier this year, according to the official investigation into the incident.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, an attempt to boil a kettle almost ended in tragedy with the blast on board the 26ft sloop Pegasus on Saturday 9 April, just months after her first full season following relaunch.

Both sailors on board — the owner and a colleague — survived the incident, with the former treated for burns to his hands, though the boat itself was destroyed.

Investigators from the Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB) determined that the explosion was most likely caused by a build-up of gas in the bilges of the boat over a number of minutes after the cockpit valve was turned on, which ignited when the owner struck a match to light the newly installed stove.

While the MCIB report was not able to determine the exact layout of the gas cylinder, regulator and hose connected to the cooker prior to the incident, it was found that the hose itself was too large for its connections despite being clamped, and had likely loosened some time before, allowing gas to leak.

The investigation also noted that the vessel had no gas alarm, which would have given ample warning of a leak to those on board.

The full MCIB report is available to download below.

Published in MCIB

#MCIB - The dangers of boating while under the influence have been highlighted in the official report into an incident on the Shannon near Limerick city earlier this year.

One man died and three others were hospitalised after their boat capsized north-east of Limerick city in the early hours of Thursday 4 February, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

The official report into the incident by the Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB) has found that the four men, none of whom had any boating experience, were under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs when they took the boat from Castleconnell Boat Club shortly before 4am.

The small aluminium boat had its drain plug removed, as is standard when storing such boats ashore, and quickly began taking on water as the four men paddled to an area known as the Gap of the Dam, where the river narrows, and into a torrent fed by heavy rainfall in the previous fortnight.

Losing control of the boat as they guided it to trees on a spit of land in the river, it grounded on submerged rocks and capsized, throwing all four men into the water. None were wearing lifejackets.

One man caught his leg under the capsized boat, another was swept away while attempting to lift the boat off his friend, and a third became entangled in undergrowth after losing his footing, while the fourth managed to contact emergency services with his mobile phone after several attempts.

Gardaí and teams from the Limerick Fire Service and Killaloe Coast Guard arrived between 4:35am and 4:45am but faced great difficulty mounting a rescue attempt due to the fast-flowing water and low light conditions, though all four were recovered by 7am.

Two firemen were commended by the MCIB for their courage in staying in the water for over two hours to assist the man trapped in undergrowth, though he was unresponsive when finally recovered from the water and later pronounced dead due to drowning at Limerick University Hospital.

Impaired judgement due to drugs and/or drink taken over a number of hours was cited as the main factor in the tragedy by the MCIB, explaining the men’s recklessness in taking out a boat in darkness with no experience and lacking safety gear.

The board recommends the issue of a Marine Notice reminding the public of the dangers of operating any water craft under the influence.

The full report from the MCIB is available to download below.

Published in MCIB

#Fishing - Authorities are investigating the circumstances surrounding the death of an Egyptian crewman on a fishing trawler off the Co Clare coast on Tuesday night (8 November).

According to The Irish Times, the 53-year-old deckhand was injured in an incident on the trawler Endurance while hauling prawn nets off the Porcupine Bank.

Guard are treating the death as an accident, and an investigator from the Marine Casualty and Investigation Board has been assigned to the inquiry.

Published in Fishing
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