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Displaying items by tag: irish sea

#RNLI - The Irish Sea will soon have one of the most advanced lifeboats in service as Douglas RNLI in the Isle of Man has been earmarked to receive one of the new Shannon class.

The new design is 50% faster than the lifeboat it will replace, ensuring that those in need are reached even faster.

The RNLI plans to replace the Tyne class lifeboat at Douglas in 2016, which is reaching the end of its planned 25-year life span. The new lifeboat will cost £2 million (€2.32 million) and the RNLI is currently working to identify whether the funding for the new lifeboat can be raised from legacy gifts or whether fundraising activity is needed. The RNLI will announce this once the funding strategy has been identified.

The Shannon is the first modern RNLI all-weather lifeboat to operate with water jets, not propellers. Capable of 25 knots, the Shannon is 50% faster than the classes it has been designed to replace, which have a lower maximum speed of 17 knots.

The Shannon class will also improve safety for the charity’s volunteer crews, thanks to its shock absorbing seats and on-board computer system, which allows the crews to operate and monitor the lifeboat from the safety of their seats.

Michael Vlasto, RNLI operations director said of the new vessel: "I have had the privilege of being involved with the RNLI for over 38 years. In that time I have witnessed great advances in the charity’s lifeboats and seen many new vessels arrive on station. However, I have never seen our volunteer crews quite as excited as they are about the Shannon.

"This all-weather lifeboat is half as fast again as the lifeboats it has been designed to replace and using water jet propulsion, the manoeuvrability is exceptional. Most importantly though, the Shannon has been carefully developed with the safety of the volunteer crews at the very heart of the design, allowing them to shave life-saving moments off the time it takes to reach those in trouble at sea."

Some of the RNLI Douglas volunteer crew were given the opportunity to experience the Shannon first-hand with a trip around Douglas Bay last weekend as the prototype lifeboat visited the island as part of sea trials that began in January, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Afterwards, Douglas coxswain Neal Corran was asked for his immediate thoughts on the new lifeboat. "I was impressed with the boat’s speed and manoeuvrability and look forward to Douglas receiving theirs when it becomes available," he said.

The Shannon has been developed by the RNLI’s in-house team of naval architects, marine engineers and operators - including Irish naval architect Peter Eyre – to replace the majority of Mersey and some remaining Tyne class lifeboats as they reach the end of their operational life (subject to the RNLI’s five-year rolling review of lifesaving assets).

Once the Shannon is rolled out across the UK and Ireland, this class of lifeboat will make up a third of the RNLI all-weather lifeboat fleet, at which point the RNLI will have reached its aim of a 25 knot all-weather lifeboat fleet.

The majority of the 50-plus Shannon class lifeboats to be stationed throughout the UK and Ireland will be built at the RNLI’s new all-weather Lifeboat Centre in Poole, which is currently under construction. Bringing all-weather lifeboat production in-house will save the charity £3.7m annually – the equivalent of 2.5 Shannon class lifeboats.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#SeaKayaking - A Portrush teen is preparing to cross the Irish Sea by kayak for charity this summer.

Top surf kayaker Andy McClelland aims to raise funds for the Alzheimer's Society, Kidney Research and the Regional Respiratory Centre with his One Man One Boat campaign, which will see him kayak 22 miles across the open water from Donaghadee in Co Down to Portpatrick in Scotland.

The current Surf Kayak Junior World Champion will embark on his challenge in a high-performance sea kayak on loan from Rockpool Sea Kayaks and is presently planning his trip with fellow physiotherapy students at Ulster University Jordanstown as well as the Causeway Coast Kayaking Club.

McClelland has yet to set a date for the solo crossing, awaiting word on the best possible weather and sea conditions in May.

The Alzheimer's Society has more on the story HERE.

Published in Kayaking

#VOR - The Volvo Ocean Race will come to the Irish Sea for its 13th edition as Cardiff has been announced as a host port for the 2017-18 race.

It will be the first time the UK has hosted the round-the-world yachting challenge since the 2005-06 edition, and the first time ever that Wales has welcomed the race.

"Cardiff made a particularly impressive bid to win one of the coveted European slots and with such outstanding facilities and great enthusiasm I'm convinced that we will have a stopover to remember," said VOR COO Tom Touber at the announcement in Cardiff Bay.

"The fact that we are making this announcement five years in advance is a very strong signal about the future of the race and the commitment to it from the Volvo companies."

Cardiff Council Leader Cllr Heather Joyce said the event "will bring hundreds of thousands of visitors to the city, and be hugely beneficial to the local economy."

She added: “Being awarded the successful bid for one of the most important sailing events in the world once again demonstrates Cardiff’s ability to deliver major international sporting events on the world stage.

"It proves our reputation as an event city as well as providing an opportunity for many non sailors to try the sport through a co-ordinated programme of sailing activities before, during and following the event.”

The good news for Cardiff comes just says after Lisbon was announced as the latest host port for the 2014-15 edition of the Volvo Ocean Race. Ireland will sadly have no host port in the next running of the VOR despite the success of Galway's race finale last summer.

Published in Volvo Ocean Race

#IrishSea - A new observation tower on the Lancashire coastline with views over the Irish Sea has opened a year after construction began.

BBC News reports that the Rossall Point Observation Tower, which reaches a height of 14 metres (46ft), will act as a base for the UK's National Coastwatch Institution.

As reported last year on Afloat.ie, a viewing platform at the top will be open to the public providing ample vistas of the Irish Sea's marine wildlife for birdwatchers and more.

The view from the top will also be projected on a screen in the education centre to be located in the tower's ground floor for those whose mobility prevents them from accessing the top level.

Published in Coastal Notes

#Missing - A body recovered from the sea off north Co Dublin yesterday may be that of a man who went missing from Rush at Christmas.

The Irish Independent reports that a post-mortem is being carried out on the body to confirm if it is that of 24-year-old Paul Byrne, who was last seen in the early hours of Christmas Day.

Fishermen in the Irish Sea made the grim discovery in their nets yesterday and brought the body to Skerries harbour after 8pm.

The Irish Independent has more on the story HERE.

Published in News Update

#Weather - Met Éireann has issued a 'yellow' weather alert for coastal areas around Ireland today (4 February) as winds are expected to reach speeds of up to 110km/h.

Westerly winds will continue to reach gale force or strong gale force this evening and tonight on all Irish coastal waters and on the Irish Sea.

Severe gusts of 90 to 110 km/h are predicted for Connacht, Donegal and in coastal areas of Munster. Elsewhere winds will gust between 80 and 90 km/hr.

After dark, showers will become increasingly wintry with the possibility of snow and even blizzard-like conditions, especially in the north and west on high ground.

But meteorologists say that any lying snow will melt during the course of tomorrow morning and afternoon as temperatures rise.

Published in Weather

#MarineWildlife - BBC News has some incredible footage of a 'superpod' comprising hundreds of dolphins in the Irish Sea captured this week.

The video was shot by surprised researchers with the Wales-based Sea Trust on one of the groups routine survey expeditions between Fishguard and Rosslare on board the Stena Europe ferry.

Cliff Benson of the marine wildlife charity described the sea as "boiling" with dolphins just 10 miles off the Irish coast yesterday morning.

"They were just coming and coming. It was the last thing on earth I was expecting in the winter," he said. "We had at least 250 and that's a conservative estimate. I'm guessing there was as many as 500."

The incredible sight comes just a month after the researchers recorded what they called a "dolphin-fest" along the same route west of Tusker Rock, numbering more than a 100 dolphins and 26 porpoises.

BBC News has more on the story HERE - and more footage is available HERE via RTÉ News.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#Lifeboats - The video above shows off a prototype of the RNLI's new lifeboat class, the Shannon, as it undergoes sea trials to determine how it handles the rough weather all too common to the seas around the UK and Ireland.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, Irish naval architect Peter Eyre has been instrumental in the new lifeboat design, which is nearly 50% faster than the vessels currently in service.

It's also the second RNLI boat to be designed by an Irishman, after the Atlantic 21 developed in the 1970s by Cork-born Rear Admiral Desmond Hoare at the Atlantic College in Wales.

In other RNLI news, tributes were paid in the Isle of Man this week to the founder of the lifeboat institution in an annual ceremony on the Irish Sea island.

As BBC News reports, Sir William Hillary launched an appeal in 1824 that let to the formation of the RNLI, and he went on to serve as a member of the lifeboat crew at Douglas.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#MarineWildlife - Fears among conservation groups that the UK would enact just a quarter of the proposed Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) in British waters have been realised with the news that just 31 out of a potential 127 sites will be designated as protected by the end of 2013.

The original proposals, as reported last year on Afloat.ie, cover the waters around the English and Welsh coastlines - of which only 1% is currently protected - recommending a variety of zones that offer different levels of protection for marine wildlife and plantlife, allowing flexibility for fishing and other activities.

A government decision on the conservation areas was already postponed in November last year after pressure from coastlines users.

But as the Guardian reports, Westminster has now been accused of a "lack of ambition" by the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) over the announcement on Thursday 13 December, which the charity says flies in the face of the government's own advisers who have recommended a 'coherent network' of sites around Britain, including the immediate designation for 59 sites regarded as 'highly threatened'.

"We cannot delay protection," said Jean-Luc Solandt of MCS. "We wouldn't stand by and let wildflower meadows and ancient forests be dug up and cleared, and yet heavy fishing gear is dragged across all kinds of habitats, destroying large swaths of the seabed with very little control."

The World Wide Find for Nature (WWF) added to the chorus of disapproval, saying the decision by the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) "falls woefully short of what is needed to protect the marine environment".

Ali Champion of WWF UK said: “It’s disappointing and shows a complete lack of commitment to the protection of our seas in a coherent way."

Of the four zones recommended for the Irish Sea area, only one - at Fylde Offshore, off Lancashire - has been chosen by Defra for protection. But as the Blackpool Gazette reports, local campaigners say they will vow to continue the fight to 'save our seas'.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#MARINE WILDLIFE - Large numbers of dolphins have been filmed in the Irish Sea off the Welsh coast by wildlife volunteers, as WalesOnline reports.

The conservationists with the Sea Trust charity, based in Pembrokeshire, recorded the "dolphin-fest" from the deck of the Stena Europe ferry en route from Fishguard to Rosslare.

Sea Trust director Cliff Benson confirmed the sighting of "a pod of eight Risso's dolphins, 40-plus common dolphins [and] four porpoises" among others as soon as the ferry headed west of Tusker Rock.

Altogether in the three-hour passage across the Irish Sea, the volunteer surveyors recorded a total of 99 common dolphins, 10 Risso's dolphins and 26 harbour porpoises. "That's not bad for a winter trip," said Benson.

He added that while there are threats to the Irish Sea's cetaceans from scallop dredging and the like, "to date our surveys show this area is teeming with life.

“This is Wales and Ireland we are talking about not Bermuda so get this amount of dolphin and porpoise activity with whales thrown in as well is incredible."

Stena has welcomed Sea Trust volunteers on board its vessels since 2004 to check on cetaceans and other marine wildlife in the waters between Ireland and the UK on a monthly basis.

And as reported previously on Afloat.ie, Seatruck Ferries has also been providing free passage to UK marine wildlife researchers to discover how many dolphins and seabirds make their home in the Irish Sea.

Meanwhile, BBC News reports that a pod of more than 100 bottlenose dolphins was recently spotted off the Isle of Man.

The Manx Whale and Dolphin Watch said it received a number of sightings from the east and west coasts of the island in the northern half of the Irish Sea, reporting a hive of activity.

"The group sizes tend to be relatively ginormous," said Tom Felce of the group. "So if they are here you can't miss them."

Published in Marine Wildlife
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