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Displaying items by tag: Coastguard

The RNLI and the Irish Coast Guard are issuing a joint call this May Bank Holiday weekend for people to stay safe on and near water as the expected warmer weather and brighter evenings will see more people spending time outdoors. The maritime organisations caution that an improvement in the weather does not mean warmer water temperatures and people should make sure they apply common sense and observe basic safety precautions when engaged in any activity either at sea or along the coast.

While the temperatures increase, Irish waters rarely exceed 15C, making them cold enough year-round to trigger cold water shock, which causes the instinctive reaction to gasp and swim hard, which can quickly lead to drowning. Over half of accidental coast drownings happen to people who never though they would end up in the water and are not prepared for an emergency.

The Irish Coast Guard and the RNLI are asking people to take the time to check that they have all essential safety equipment and that is fully serviced and that anybody who needs to use it knows what to do.

Always wear the correct equipment for your activity and always wear a lifejacket or proper personal floatation equipment

The RNLI and Coast Guard recommend attaching a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) to your Lifejacket or Personal Floatation Device. The small devices are worn on your person and can send a distress message to the Coast Guard from any location.

Always tell another person where you are going and when you will be back

If you see someone get into difficulty dial 112 or 999 and ask for the Coast Guard. If possible look for something that floats or that they can hold on to and throw it out to them.
Check that all your safety equipment is working and fully serviced

Sean Dillon, RNLI Lifesaving Manager said: ‘The May bank holiday is traditionally a time when a lot of people get out and enjoy the coastline and our beautiful loughs and lakes. Last year Irish lifeboat crews launched 1,145 times to all types of incidents. The RNLI’s ‘Respect the Water’ campaign will be running throughout the summer but drowning prevention should be carried out year round.’

Gerard O’Flynn, Irish Coast Guard Operations Manager added: ‘If you are getting into a boat our message is ‘Stay afloat – Stay in contact’. Always wear a PFD or Lifejacket and ensure that you can raise the alarm if you need assistance be that by marine VHF radio, mobile phone or PLB (Personal Locator Beacon), which will enable responders to quickly locate and assist you”

IF YOU SEE SOMEBODY IN DIFFICULTY OR THINK SOMEBODY IS IN DIFFICULTY DIAL 112/999 and ASK FOR THE COAST GUARD

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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The community of Erris and Irish Coast Guard have been jointly honoured at the People of the Year Awards, with special recognition for the crew of Rescue 116 which was lost off the Mayo coast in March of last year.

The honour at the 43rd People of the Year Awards, organised by Rehab, was presented by broadcaster Bryan Dobson in recognition of the heroic work of the men and women of the Irish Coast Guard in risking life to assist maritime and coastal communities, while the people of Erris were recognised for their contribution to the search for the missing crew. The Awards were broadcast live on RTÉ One from Dublin’s Mansion House on Sunday.

Volunteer member Caitríona Lucas, who lost her life off the Clare coast during a separate operation, was also honoured.

It was early on the morning of March 14, 2017, that Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 116 disappeared off the north coast of Mayo. The aircraft had been providing communications support for an offshore medical assistance operation. On board were Capt Dara Fitzpatrick, Capt Mark Duffy and winch team Paul Ormsby and Ciarán Smith.

Hundreds of volunteers, fishermen, and colleagues supported the emergency services in combing the area for the missing crew, going above and beyond in a bid to recover the lost heroes.

The bodies of Dara Fitzpatrick and Mark Duffy were recovered in the subsequent searches. However, tragically and despite intensive efforts, the bodies of Ciarán Smith and Paul Ormsby have yet to be recovered.

Just six months previously, the Irish Coast Guard community had suffered another devastating loss with the passing of their brave colleague, volunteer member Caitríona Lucas, who had been participating in a search operation off the coast of Kilkee, Co. Clare.

Irish Coast Guard Search and Rescue Operations Manager, Gerard O’Flynn, said: “The selfless actions of those who put their lives on the line, for the safety of others, means Caitríona, Dara, Ciáran, Mark and Paul will remain an inspiration to us all. Going above and beyond is the norm for members of the Coast Guard service. The fact that these men and women often put their own lives in danger to carry out their duties makes the search and rescue crews such a remarkable group of people. Our colleagues will always be sadly missed and we remain deeply saddened by the depth of this tragedy.

“I would like to pay tribute to the community of Erris who left no stone unturned in supporting one of the most extensive search and investigation operations ever conducted in the area. Every possible assistance was provided, ranging from the fishing community providing local knowledge and advice, shoreline searching and, in particular, the huge catering operation that was put in place to provide valuable sustenance to all participants. It was indicative of the long-established bond between coastal communities and the Coast Guard services. We are humbled to receive this award which honours the bravery of all of our colleagues and pray that their bereaved families will take courage from this recognition.”

Ireland’s longest-running and most prestigious awards event, the People of the Year Awards are widely recognised as one of Ireland’s highest accolades. Nominated by members of the public, and finalised by a panel of adjudicators, a total of ten awards were presented at the ceremony which was hosted by Gráinne Seoige and Aidan Power.

Published in Coastguard
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In the aftermath of storm Emma and the heavy snowfalls around the country the Irish Coast Guard and the RNLI have issued a joint call for people to exercise caution and remain vigilant around the coast and near rivers. High tides, onshore easterly winds and a sharp rise in river levels could pose a significant risk to public safety. 

Although river levels have been relatively low, a quick thaw coupled with heavy rainfall could result in a surge in water levels without warning. High tides assisted by non-prevailing winds as forecasted for the East coast may result in flooding and extreme danger on exposed piers and coastlines. The public should exercise caution and stay away from piers, harbours, seawalls and riverbanks.

Up to date weather event information can be viewed on www.gov.ie

Owen Medland, RNLI Area Lifesaving Manager said, ‘ It’s been a tough few days for the country and people will want to get out and about as soon as the weather moderates. ‘Many people rescued by RNLI lifeboat crews had no intention of entering the water in the first place. All too often, people’s first instinct when they see someone in trouble in the water is to go in after them. If you see someone in danger, dial 112 and ask for the Coast Guard straight away. Look for a ring buoy or something that floats that they can hold on to and throw it out to them.’

Irish Coast Guard Search and Rescue Operations Manager Gerard O’Flynn added, “The advice of the Coast Guard is simple, Stay Back, Stay High Stay Dry. Coast Guard teams around the country have been very busy providing support to the emergency services over the past few days. Please heed the warnings and be mindful of the risk posed by a surge in river levels following the expected thaw and be mindful of the risks on exposed coastal areas”.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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The 50th anniversary of the St.Phelim Aer Lingus tragedy in which the 4 crew and 57 passengers all died is to be commemorated at Rosslare on Saturday, March 24 next. There will be a wreath laying ceremony at the crash site with a Naval Vessel, the RNLI, Irish Lights, Irish Coastguard and other agencies present. A number of relatives will be taken to the site by the Navy for the ceremony. This will be followed by a Memorial Ceremony at Rosslare Harbour Memorial Park, writes Tom MacSweeney.

The tragedy occurred on March 24, 1968.

Aer Lingus flight EI 712 had left from Cork Airport at 10:32 a.m. on a direct service to Heathrow Airport, London and was cleared to fly at to FL170 (17,000 feet). The crew sent out a radio message at the Bannow reporting point at 10:57 local time stating they were at FL170.. They were instructed to change frequency to London Airways. Just eight seconds after first reporting to London Air Traffic Control a broken message was received which was later interpreted as ”Twelve thousand feet descending spinning rapidly. “The Viscount plane descended and struck the sea 1.7 nautical miles from Tuskar Rock. After the loss of contact, Air Traffic Control requested that Aer Lingus flight EI 362 which was heading to Bristol from Dublin to divert to an area west of the Strumble to see if they could spot anything on the water. They descended to 500 feet but nothing was seen.

ROSSLARE MEMORIAL STONERosslare memorial stone

At 11:25 a.m. a full alert was sounded. HMS Hardy, a Royal Navy Type 14 Frigate was the first ship to reach the possible crash area but found nothing.

It wasn’t until the search resumed on the following day that floating debris was sighted and over the next few days a total of fourteen bodies were recovered. The main wreckage was detected on the seabed by a trawler at a depth of 39 fathoms (234 feet/71.3 metres), 1.7 miles from Tuskar Rock.

Sean Boyce of the Rosslare Maritime Museum and the organising committee said:
“It is our hope to have as many of the relatives as possible in attendance. There will be a commemorative display which we are happy to open to the families.”

PLANNED PROGRAMME OF COMMEMORATION

10:40 a.m. Boarding the Naval Vessel
11:00 a.m. Naval vessel/Flotilla departs to the Tuskar site.
11:45 a.m. Wreath Laying Ceremony on Site.
12:45 a.m. Arrive back at Rosslare Harbour – Bus back to Hotel Rosslare.
13:00 a.m. Lunch – Hotel Rosslare
2:30 a.m. Flag ceremony –Raising of flags/half-mast/Irish/ Belgian/Swiss /UK/US
2:40 p.m. Ecumenical Service
3:00 p.m. Wreath laying ceremony / unveiling.
3:20 p.m. Speeches.
3:45 p.m. Raising of the flags, Reveille. National Anthem.
4:00 p.m. End of cermonies

For more information the Facebook St.Phelim Air Crash 50th Commemoration Page here

Published in Rescue
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The AAIU Investigation into the accident involving the loss of R116 and its four crew members at Blackrock, Co. Mayo on 14 March 2017 is still in the process of gathering factual and background information and is making steady progress. The AAIU again extends its condolences to the families and friends of those who lost their lives in this accident. International Convention, and associated National and European legislation, require that, if a final report cannot be made publicly available within 12 months of the date of the accident, an interim statement detailing the progress of the investigation and any safety issues raised, will be made publicly available.

The AAIU wishes to advise that due to the depth and breadth of this Investigation, it will not be possible to issue a final report within 12 months of the date of the accident and therefore an interim statement will be published. The Investigation is endeavouring to issue this interim statement before the anniversary; however, it is not possible to say at this time when the interim statement will be published.

Published in Coastguard
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In this digital age, with so many available resources providing sea area weather forecasts, is there still a need for national radio to broadcast these forecasts?

I heard an RTE Radio Presenter asking a Met Eireann meteorologist on-air whether there was any point in broadcasting weather forecasts for the marine sector any more, because there was so much detailed weather information available online.

It reminded me of the battles I had with RTE Radio managers and schedulers when they came up with their idea of ending such weather forecasts altogether, because they took up broadcast time which could better used.

I was Marine Correspondent with RTE then so the conversation a few weeks ago between the RTE Presenter and Met Eireann reawakened my memories of those internal RTE disagreements and underlined for me how badly served the maritime sector is by the national media, both broadcast and print.

It also underlines why the BBC Radio Shipping Forecasts are popular amongst Irish fishermen, mariners, professional, commercial and leisure – because it’s a specialised service to the marine sector that RTE doesn’t provide in the same way.

The coastal radio stations of the Coast Guard give weather forecasts which are available at sea, thankfully, but the mindset of the RTE Presenter showed it was closed to around Dublin and Montrose and unaware of the reality of life, particularly in the maritime sector and the coastal communities, outside of urbanisation.

The Met Eireann Meteorologist told the RTE Presenter that there are coastal areas around the Irish shorelines and at sea where there is no internet access and not even a reliable mobile phone signal and that there is still dependence on the State broadcaster for the forecast.

That is a viewpoint I agree with, but one could add that the ‘independent broadcasters,’ those who are also described as national ‘commercial stations’ should also consider.

There has been a demand from the non-State public service broadcaster for a share of the licence fee, but that should also bring responsibilities, such as a sea area forecast for mariners.

Listen to the Podcast below: 

Published in Tom MacSweeney

Is it good enough that surfers, sailboarders, swimmers and yachtsmen put to sea, quite literally in the eye of a hurricane? 

The overwhelming response online seems to be a resounding 'No'. There are now calls for legislation to penalise people who disobey advice from the Coastguard.

Despite warnings telling people to stay inside and avoid going near the sea, there have been numerous reports of people not paying any heed to this safety advice.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said he will consider making it a criminal offence to ignore severe weather warnings as some people did during Storm Ophelia.

'People who disobeyed the red alert and travel warnings yesterday didn’t just put themselves at risk they also put at risk the lives of other people, particularly our emergency services. But I would never rush into creating a new crime. I think it is something that we will have to consider' “It was suggested today in the Dail that we would look at it on an all party basis and that’s what I’d like to do.”

Sinn Fein Transport Spokesperson Imelda Munster said: “It’s not just foolishness it’s recklessness.

“They are not only putting their own lives at risk they are also endangering the lives of all the voluntary bodies, who give up their own free time to save lives.

“They need to learn to have respect for them.”

The most serious, status red, weather warning was in place on Monday, meaning no boats should have been at sea.

Currently, Irish boaters enjoy a regulation free life afloat without the need for licences, insurance and few regulations. But is the foolhardiness of a few going to ruin it for the rest of the sailing and boating population? 

A quarter of all RNLI call-outs in Ireland are to pleasure craft. Is there any excuse to put the lives of rescue service personnel at risk for something as basic as heeding warnings? 

In the age of the smartphone, are sailors, clubs and organisations doing enough to kerb call outs of rescue services? Is boating a bad name with the Coastguard? Is all this leading to inevitable government control, when one of the reasons we go afloat in the first place is to escape the shackles of all the land-based regulations of the nanny state.

Is boat registration, as already indicated by Vardakar, during his time as Minister for Transport in 2013, an inevitable consequence of all this?

At the end of the day common sense and good seamanship from boaters would prevent a lot of call outs.

The price of freedom afloat is eternal vigilance.

Have your say in the Afloat.ie poll below and please feel free to leave your comment via Facebook below

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Published in News Update
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The Coast Guard advises caution to public as Met Éireann warns of heavy swell on Atlantic Coast later on Sunday.

Members of the public have been urged to heed the advice of the Coast Guard as Met Éireann has issued a status yellow wind warning with some very strong west, veering northwest winds expected to affect western and south western coastal counties later Sunday, overnight and into Monday morning with very high seas along the coasts during this period.

The Coast Guard advises the public to be careful on exposed coasts, cliffs and piers, harbour walls and promenades along the Atlantic seaboard particularly at high tide.
Remember to Stay Back, Stay High and Stay Dry.

If you see someone in difficulty in the sea, on the shore dial 999/112 and ask for the Coast Guard.

Published in Coastguard

Dunmore East in County Waterford was a hive of Search and Rescue activity this weekend, as the Irish Coast Guard co-ordinated a very successful day of Marine Search and Rescue demonstrations.

The exercise involved Ireland’s principal Search and Rescue (SAR) resources and assets and was a huge success as they tested themselves in a range of realistic scenarios with a particular focus on the interoperability of marine SAR resources.

Utilised Assets included the Waterford based Coast Guard Helicopter R117, Naval ship LÉ Eithne, the Air Corps Casa, Commission for Irish Light (CIL) Ship Granuaile and the Revenue Customs Cutter Faire.

Response teams were made up of:
The Dublin Fire Brigade Marine Emergency Response Team, Volunteer Coast Guard units, the RNLI, HSE’s Marine Ambulance Response Team, Irish Underwater Council (dive teams), Irish Water Safety, South East Mountain Rescue including rescue dogs and the Civil Defence.

Speaking after the event Gerard O’Flynn, the Coast Guard’s Search and Rescue Operations Manager said: “This exercise afforded the public a wonderful opportunity to see Ireland’s primary search and rescue resources conducting a series of realistic but challenging tasks, more importantly it enabled the Coast Guard to exercise interoperability between the different assets and agencies.”

The event included a series of water based safety demonstrations.
“Prevention and adherence to basic safety is the key element in minimising loss of life at sea and on our waterways,” explained SARs Manager Gerard O’Flynn.
Test scenarios included:

Offshore Search and Top Cover Exercise – with the MRCC in Dublin co-ordinating a Search by R117, the RNLI, Le Eithne with the Air Corps Casa providing ‘Top Cover’
On board Fire Emergency – LÉ Eithne acted as a Merchant Vessel (M/V) in distress with an on board fire, Rescue 117 transported the Dublin Fire Brigade Marine Emergency Response team.

Later R117 also transported the HSE Marine Response team to the LÉ Eithne.

Shoreline searches were initiated between Hook Head and Brownstown Head with Coast Guard Units, Naval Service reserves, Civil Defence personnel, divers from the Irish

Underwater Council and South East Mountain Rescue volunteers with SAR dogs tasked.

“The exercises and demonstrations were a success and I want to thank all the agencies and volunteer units who took part, and I want to particularly thank the Port of Waterford Harbour Master Capt. Darren Doyle and Dunmore East Harbour Master Capt. Harold McLoughlin for their assistance and co-operation in preparation for and the successful execution of the weekend activities, “ concluded Gerard O’Flynn.

Published in Coastguard
Tagged under

The public are encouraged to come and watch as Dunmore East is set to host some of Irelands principal Search and Rescue assets on Saturday the 2nd of September 2017. The event known as IMSARC Demo (Irish Marine Search and Rescue Demo) is co-ordinated by the Coast Guard and will feature a Coast Guard Helicopter, Naval ship LÉ Eithne, Air Corps Casa, Dublin Fire Brigade Marine Emergency Response Team, Volunteer Coast Guard units, CIL Ship Granuaile, the RNLI, HSE’s Marine Ambulance Response Team, Irish Underwater Council, Irish Water Safety, South East Mountain Rescue, Revenue Customs Cutter, and the Civil Defence.

The main event will commence at 10:30 with an off shore search demonstration, followed by an on-board emergency with the LÉ Eithne acting as a M/V in distress.

Demonstrations such as Cliff rescues, marine ambulance exercises and Casa Operations are at approx. 13.30 and will be visible from Dunmore East. A parade of all participating ships and boats supported by a Helicopter Fly past at 16;15 will present an interesting photo opportunity.

Published in Coastguard
Page 5 of 49

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

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