Menu
Allianz and Afloat - Supporting Irish Boating

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Displaying items by tag: Bangor Marina

The Oysters growing under the pontoons in Bangor Marina are well hidden, but they still need ongoing attention. To this end, Ulster Wildlife is looking for volunteers to help monitor the native oyster nurseries and record their development.

The native oyster has been considered extinct in Belfast Lough since 1903. However, in the summer of 2020, live oysters were discovered for the first time in over 100 years – evidence that the environmental conditions for establishment are right.

A native oyster nursery in Bangor Marina will support the precarious population in Belfast Lough and help create a natural long-term carbon store to tackle climate change.

There will be training for those interested in finding out more about the role of volunteer and how you can sign up.

The Marine Conservation Manager Heidi McIlvenny will introduce the project and talk through the role of the volunteer, as well as show how to survey the nurseries safely and record the results

The training dates are 18th and 26th August at 2 pm and you can register your interest with the Volunteer Coordinator Sheila Lyons at [email protected] or call 07703 673217.

There is more information at www.ulsterwildlife.org/native-oysters and you can read more about the project here 

Published in Aquaculture
Tagged under

Crowds gathered recently at Bangor Marina on Belfast Lough for the second open evening to be held by the charity Safer Waters.

Safer Waters is a unique service in Northern Ireland, established in 2020 to provide a Safety Boat service for water-based community events. The service supports events such as sailing, swimming, paddle boarding and windsurfing that have no safety cover of their own or may need additional resources. It will also supplement sailing clubs in events where multiple safety cover is required, such as the huge Irish Youth Sailing Championships at Ballyholme in April, where Safer Waters provided six safety boats.

Although it is Bangor Marina based, the volunteers will serve all communities by travelling by sea and road to coastal or inland water locations.

Safer Waters Mike Meharg (right) with l to r Robin Gordon Training Officer, Johnathan Mitchell Rostering Officer, George King, Vice Commodore, and Karen Dugan SecretarySafer Waters Mike Meharg (right) with l to r Robin Gordon Training Officer, Johnathan Mitchell Rostering Officer, George King, Vice Commodore, and Karen Dugan Secretary

Using the Open Evening as a recruitment drive was a successful move as from those who attended three have decided to join and two more look possible.

Commodore Mike Meharg, whose day job is a long-haul pilot, explained that there are tasks other than manning the safety boats, such as beachmaster for events, and helping with Risk Assessments and other safety-related issues.

Safer Waters is an RYA Regional Training Centre (RTC) running courses such as Powerboat Level 1 through to Yachtmaster Offshore.

At the moment Safer Waters uses RIBs owned by members as grant aid for new craft is a slow process. One way money can be raised for the charity is through www.smile.amazon.com where a percentage of purchase costs go to Safer Waters.

Mike Meharg was delighted with the response, “This evening’s Safer Waters Open meeting was an opportunity to meet people and raise awareness of who we are and what we do. As well as an introduction to our organisation, our visitors experienced a run to Helen’s Bay along the coast from Bangor in a 300 horsepower RIB and even had a go driving it under an instructor’s supervision. A memorable evening for all concerned and one that hopefully raised our profile and gained us a few new members”.

The next Open Evening will be on Wednesday, 25th May at Bangor Marina, meeting outside the gates.

Published in Rescue

Hundreds of native oysters have returned to Belfast Lough as part of efforts to bring the ‘ocean superheroes’ back from the brink of extinction.

The ambitious aquaculture restoration project, officially launched on Friday (20 May) by Ulster Wildlife to mark Endangered Species Day, sees approximately 700 mature oysters suspended in cages under the pontoons of Bangor Marina.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, this creates the first native oyster (Ostrea edulis) nursery of its kind on the island of Ireland.

As sea temperatures warm over the coming months, the 24 nursery cages will generate millions of oyster larvae which will settle on the seabed, helping the native oyster population recover while also boosting biodiversity and improving water quality in the lough.

Belfast Lough once supported a prolific native oyster fishery. However, overfishing, habitat loss, disease, pollution and invasive introduced species contributed to the population becoming extinct and the fishery closing in 1903.

Since then, 100 years of surveys failed to document one living specimen, until 2020 when researchers from Bangor University and Queen’s University Belfast discovered 42 live oysters at six sites around the lough.

Heidi McIlvenny, marine conservation manager at Ulster Wildlife and who is leading the project, says: “We are still unsure how or why native oysters returned to Belfast Lough, but it indicates that the environmental conditions are right for them to establish here again. But, if they are to bounce back, they need our help.

“The biggest barrier to the recovery of the native oyster is a low number of mature reproducing oysters. The nurseries we have established at Bangor Marina are full of mature oysters that will act as larval pumps, increasing the number of oysters in the Lough and helping to restore this incredible ocean superhero for years to come.”

Boosting the lough’s fragile oyster population will also bring important benefits for other marine life, Heidi says.

“A single oyster can filter up to 200 litres of seawater, equivalent to a bathtub, per day, significantly improving water quality and reducing pollution levels. The larvae once established will also create healthy native oyster reefs in the lough, providing shelter and food for an abundance of marine wildlife, including commercially fished species, along with potential carbon storage.”

Special permissions were granted to relocate the shellfish from Loch Ryan in Scotland. They were screened for disease and cleaned on arrival before being installed in the nurseries. 

Volunteers will conduct ‘health checks’ every week to ensure the oysters are thriving in their new homes. Monthly biodiversity surveys will also track changes in marine life in and around the nurseries, which form their own unique micro-habitat.

Kevin Baird, harbour master at Bangor Marina, says: “We are delighted to be supporting the recovery of our most threatened marine species.

“Housing the oyster nurseries under the pontoons is an innovative use of the space we have available and is a great opportunity for the marina to become an outdoor classroom, where people of all ages can get hands-on with marine conservation in an urban environment.”

The oyster restoration project is funded by the DAERA Challenge Fund. Find out more at ulsterwildlife.org/native-oysters

Published in Aquaculture

In November last year, Bangor Marina in partnership with the Ulster Wildlife Trust made plans to establish the first native oyster nursery in Northern Ireland.

The earliest report of a recognised commercial oyster fishery in Belfast Lough was in the late 18th century and the native oyster has been considered extinct there since 1903.

But in the summer of 2020, live oysters were discovered for the first time in over 100 years – evidence that the environmental conditions for establishment are right.

Now the plans have come to fruition and Ulster Wildlife helped by Marina staff, have hung twenty-six nursery cages underneath F, G and H Pontoons.

Marina manager Kevin Baird said he and the staff are super excited about this project. Similar schemes have been established in other parts of the UK, but this is the first of its kind in Northern Ireland.

Oysters recovered in Bangor MarinaOysters recovered in Bangor Marina

An oyster nursery is a micro-habitat housing about 27 mature oysters that will reproduce and release the next generation of oyster larvae to settle out on the seabed of Bangor Bay and Belfast Lough. An individual oyster can release up to 1 million larvae per year!

Published in Irish Marinas
Tagged under

On a glorious 1st March and after two years of restrictions Bangor Marina on Belfast Lough held their Pancake Tuesday get together again, welcoming a big crowd to a ‘catch up’.

Marina manager Kevin Baird was delighted to see so many berth holders and friends; “ It was wonderful to catch up over a pancake and a cup of tea. Service with a smile - Vickie, Tommy and Davy served up the pancakes. It was a great success”.

The next Marina event will be held on St Patrick's Day - berth holders will be invited to join the staff for Irish Stew and wheaten bread.

Published in Belfast Lough
Tagged under

Did you know that our Native oysters have been an important food source for centuries - the Romans even exported them back to Italy!

The first report of a recognised commercial oyster fishery in Belfast Lough was in 1780 and although the native oyster has been considered extinct there since 1903, in the summer of 2020, live oysters were discovered for the first time in over 100 years – evidence that the environmental conditions for establishment are right.

The charity, Ulster Wildlife Trust, is hoping to establish the first native oyster nursery in Northern Ireland in Bangor Marina on Belfast Lough to support the declining population and to help create a natural long-term carbon store to tackle climate change. So under F, G and H Pontoons, Ulster Wildlife's Heidi McIlvenny with Harbour Master Kevin Baird and his staff will deploy a native oyster nursery.

Highly prized Loch Ryan OystersHighly prized Loch Ryan Oysters

Around 26 cages will be suspended under the pontoon walkways and will be populated with highly prized Loch Ryan Oysters. The Loch Ryan Oyster Bed, one of Scotland’s largest, dates to 1701 when King William 111 granted a Royal Charter to the Wallace family.

The native or flat oyster stays fixed in one place and is a filter feeder meaning it uses its valves to pump water filtering out microscopic algae and small organic particles from the surrounding water. A single oyster can filter up to 200 litres of seawater per day, which can significantly improve water quality and clarity.

Already thriving in another Marina in Conwy Wales, over time the oysters will start releasing oyster larvae into the harbour which will be carried out to settle on the seabed, ultimately resulting in cleaner waters and better marine biodiversity.

Classified as a Priority Species under the UK Post-2010 Biodiversity Framework and a Feature of Conservation Importance for which Marine Conservation Zones can be designated, the oyster has a lifespan of six years.

Harbour Master Kevin Baird would like to get local schools involved after the oysters are in place. “It’s a great environmental project with many very positive benefits”. He added “There will be no disruption to marine traffic”.

Published in Belfast Lough

Megayacht, superyacht – certainly bigger than any craft in Bangor Marina. Lying alongside the Eisenhower Pier in Bangor Harbour on the North Down coast on a recent visit, after a passage from the Clyde, the 39.62 m motor yacht, Liquid Rehab arrived in Bangor for a brief stopover but stayed longer.

Built in 2004 by Westport Yachts, USA, whose sales office is in Fort Lauderdale in Florida and has two yards in Washington State, this huge three-decked craft cruises at 24 knots and has a top speed of 28 knots. She sleeps 10 and has a crew of seven.

Liquid Rehab is owned by Kevin Martyn, who is in the pharmaceuticals business and has an interest in the USA National Football League. Captain is Jameson Cooper, from North Palm Beach in Florida.

Vice Commodore Alan Espey, (third right) welcomes Liquid Rehab owner Kevin Martyn (second right) and Captain Jameson Cooper (right) and friends to RUYCVice Commodore Alan Espey, (third right) welcomes Liquid Rehab owner Kevin Martyn (second right) and Captain Jameson Cooper (right) and friends to RUYC

Kevin Martyn, Jameson Cooper, members and friends were welcomed to Royal Ulster Yacht Club by Vice Commodore Alan Espey, where they enjoyed lunch in the famous Lipton Room.
Harbour Master Kevin Baird was delighted to welcome Liquid Rehab to Bangor and said on its arrival, " We wish all onboard an enjoyable visit and we trust you will enjoy your stay in Bangor".
Liquid Rehab is currently in Leith near Edinburgh and plans to return to the North Coast of Northern Ireland before calling in Belfast.

Published in Superyachts
Tagged under

The British Government has announced a three-month delay in the implementation of the red diesel ban for private pleasure craft in Northern Ireland.

The move follows lobbying by Bangor Marina and others in the NI leisure boating industry who emphasised the dearth of white diesel options in the region.

Originally set to come into effect on 30 June, the red diesel ban is intended to meet the UK’s obligations under the Northern Ireland Protocol and bring the region in line with the 2018 judgment by the Court of Justice of the European Union.

This is the same ruling which prompted the Republic of Ireland’s ban on green-dyed diesel for leisure craft propulsion last year.

In March, British Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced in his first post-Brexit Budget that boaters in England, Scotland and Wales would continue to use red-dyed diesel for pleasure boating without penalty in domestic waters — leaving NI boaters in limbo.

Bangor Marina says it met earlier this year with officials from HM Revenue & Customs, HM Treasury and RYANI “to discuss the difficulties we would face if we had to switch to white diesel in June.

“During that meeting, we did put forward a compelling proposal that the switch to white diesel should take place after the summer holidays.

“Today [Friday 21 May] we have been advised by HM Revenue & Customs that the UK government has decided to delay the implementation of the prohibition on red diesel used for propulsion of private pleasure boats in NI until 1 October 2021.

“More detailed guidance is expected to be produced in July.”

The decision will come as a relief for cruisers and leisure boaters across Northern Ireland as it emerges from lockdown into the summer boating season.

But with freedom of movement on the cross-border Shannon-Erne Waterway, the extension poses a “customs headache” for Irish authorities, a source close to Afloat.ie suggests.

And if the delay is any indication of a proclivity to continue moving the deadline back, the situation would deal a heavy blow to Irish suppliers, particularly in border areas — while also encouraging boats “to spend more time in NI and less [in the Republic]”, the source added.

 It isn't an April Fool! Thursday will be to Bangor Marina berth holders the end of a long-awaited return to their craft after a roller coaster of lockdown, opening up and lockdown again over the past year.

In Harbour Master Kevin Baird's welcome email to berth holders yesterday he said "We have spoken with and taken advice from the British Marine Federation, the RYA NI, the UK Harbour Masters Association, as well as consulting with healthcare professionals in order to try and navigate through these extraordinary times". And added, " Last week, Boris Johnson added 'fresh air' to the Coronavirus slogan, as sea-loving folk, we already know that sailing and boating provides that clean, fresh sea air which at this time of the year can blow with considerable strength".

There has been an update to the Regulations (Amendment 6) that outlines aspects from 1st April 2021 - up to 10 people (including children of all ages) from a maximum of two households can take part in outdoor sports activities. He added, "In the reading of these, it would be our understanding that restricted access to the Marina may be permitted".

But the reception, washrooms and laundry will remain closed and overnighting on board is strictly prohibited. The Marina is also closed to visiting craft.

Although reception is closed, staff can be reached by telephone; +44 (0) 28 9145 3297; email [email protected]uk or VHF Ch 80 or Ch11

Kevin sought to reassure boat owners, "These strange times will not last forever, and the sea will still offer solace when we all need it, and when the time is right".

Published in Belfast Lough

Bangor Marina on Belfast Lough is switching its electricity to a renewable source with immediate effect. 

Marina Manager Kevin Baird said the marina takes its responsibility to the environment seriously and is constantly looking at ways in which it can reduce its impact on the planet.

"We estimate this fully renewable supply reduces our carbon emissions by up to 1000 tonnes a year compared with traditional carbon led electricity supplies, which is a massive positive impact", Baird said.

Northern Ireland's biggest marina is part of a network of 11 'boatfolk' operated marinas around the UK all now sourcing fully renewable electricity, and with minimal impact to the price.

The facility at Bangor is a multiple winner of the Blue Flag Award and a Five Gold Anchor Marina. There are facilities for 550 berths with berthing for 50 visiting craft. Laundry, showers, trolleys and local advise provided for sailors. 

Baird told Afloat  "We're on a journey to reduce our carbon footprint and this is a crucial next step on that journey. 2021 is an important year for the world's efforts to tackle climate change and choosing 100% renewable electricity isn't just a 'feel good' thing to do, it's something that has a very real impact."

Published in Belfast Lough
Page 1 of 4

William M Nixon has been writing about sailing in Ireland and internationally for many years, with his work appearing in leading sailing publications on both sides of the Atlantic. He has been a regular sailing columnist for four decades with national newspapers in Dublin, and has had several sailing books published in Ireland, the UK, and the US. An active sailor, he has owned a number of boats ranging from a Mirror dinghy to a Contessa 35 cruiser-racer, and has been directly involved in building and campaigning two offshore racers. His cruising experience ranges from Iceland to Spain as well as the Caribbean and the Mediterranean, and he has raced three times in both the Fastnet and Round Ireland Races, in addition to sailing on two round Ireland records. A member for ten years of the Council of the Irish Yachting Association (now the Irish Sailing Association), he has been writing for, and at times editing, Ireland's national sailing magazine since its earliest version more than forty years ago

Featured Sailing School

INSS sidebutton

Featured Clubs

dbsc mainbutton
Howth Yacht Club
Kinsale Yacht Club
National Yacht Club
Royal Cork Yacht Club
Royal Irish Yacht club
Royal Saint George Yacht Club

Featured Brokers

leinster sidebutton

Featured Associations

ICRA
isora sidebutton

Featured Webcams

Featured Events 2022

Featured Marinas

dlmarina sidebutton

Featured Chandleries

CHMarine Afloat logo
osm sidebutton
https://afloat.ie/resources/marine-industry-news/viking-marine

Featured Sailmakers

northsails sidebutton
uksails sidebutton
quantum sidebutton
watson sidebutton

Featured Blogs

W M Nixon - Sailing on Saturday
podcast sidebutton
mansfield sidebutton
BSB sidebutton
wavelengths sidebutton
 

Please show your support for Afloat by donating