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Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

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Marine Environment, Science, wildlife, weather & Ocean energy
The ship which sent an iceberg warning to the RMS Titanic, before the ocean liner sank, has been identified lying in the Irish Sea by researchers from Bangor University in Wales. In 1912 the merchant steamship SS Mesaba was crossing…
Marie Gleeson has been appointed as External Affairs & Stakeholder Liaison lead for Simply Blue Group’s Western Star project
Simply Blue Group in Cork has announced the appointments of Jeremy Gault as Project Manager for the company’s Emerald and Western Star floating offshore wind projects and Marie Gleeson as External Affairs & Stakeholder Liaison lead for Simply Blue Group’s…
Línte na Farraige aims to provoke a dialogue around rising sea levels - the installations comprise illuminated horizontal lines, based on predictions of future sea level rise from international benchmarks that represent future sea level and storm surges
Lines of light showing projected sea level rise in Galway city is part of a collaborative project involving scientists and artists which will extend across a number of Irish coastal areas this year. Línte na Farraige aims to provoke a…
Belfast Harbour - a grant of €90,000 has been awarded to Cork and Belfast city councils to work together on the project, entitled Cork-Belfast Harbour Cities
Docklands regeneration in Cork and Belfast is one of 25 projects awarded monies under the Shared Island local authority development funding scheme announced by Taoiseach Micheál Martin. A grant of €90,000 has been awarded to Cork and Belfast city councils…
New marine research ship to be named in a ceremony held in Dingle
RV Tom Crean, Ireland’s newest marine research vessel named after the Kerry explorer will be officially commissioned in Dingle next month, reports RadioKerry. At almost 53-metres RV Tom Crean will be used (by the Marine Institute) for ocean surveys, fishery,…
The 'GhostShip' Alta made world headlines when it suddenly landed on Irish shores after 2 years of drifting around the Atlantic Ocean. Next February will mark 3 years since the cargoship was washed up on the east Cork coastline near Ballycotton.
The ghost ship MV Alta made famous, after been washed ashore close by of Ballycotton, Co.Cork, during a storm in February 2020, may not last another winter on the rocks, going by the latest images of the shipwreck. Corkman Charlie Wilkins,…
The mural of Shackleton by artist Eloise Gillard records Amundsen’s words on hearing of the Irish explorer’s death
A mural paying tribute to Irish and Norwegian explorers Ernest Shackleton and Roald Amundsen has been unveiled by Norwegian Ambassador to Ireland Mari Skåre in Athy, Co Kildare. The mural of Shackleton by artist Eloise Gillow records Amundsen’s words on hearing…
Shell had agreed deals with Cork-based company Simply Blue to acquire a 51 per cent share in the Western Star Floating wind project off the coast of Clare and to jointly develop the 1.3GW Emerald floating wind project off the south coast
Wind Energy Ireland has expressed concern at Shell’s withdrawal from the Irish offshore renewables market. A Sunday Business Post exclusive today quotes a senior industry source stating that Shell is leaving to focus its efforts on “countries with more accommodating…
Cetacean spotters at Clogher Head in Co Kerry for this year’s All-Ireland Whale Watch Day on Saturday 20 August
Despite lower attendance and a reduced sighting rate, the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) says it is “delighted” with the return of its All-Ireland Whale Watch Day last month. Held on Saturday 20 August during Heritage Week and for…
Local TDs and stakeholders mark the commencement of redevelopment works at Connaught Harbour on Friday 23 September
On Friday (23 September), Waterways Ireland marked the commencement of works on two significant tourism and navigation projects on the Shannon Navigation in Portumna, Co Galway. Minister of State for Disability, Anne Rabbitte and fellow local TDs Ciarán Cannon and…
Quagga mussels discovered in Ireland as reported by scientists
A project involving nine local authorities to tackle the invasive Quagga mussel in the river Shannon is one of 128 initiatives approved for over €1.4 million in funding through the Local Biodiversity Action Fund (LBAF). A feasibility study of the…
Aran Islands RNLI official opening of shop and Visitor Experience poster
The RNLI’s most westerly shop in Ireland will officially open its doors next Saturday 1 October from 1-4pm on Inis Mór, raising vital lifesaving funds for the charity that saves lives at sea. And the day will also see the…
Music and marine life in Galway Atlantaquaria and jazz hosted by Claddagh hooker sailors are among events with maritime themes at this year’s Culture Night in the west on Friday, September 23rd. After a summer of sailing, Bádóirí an Chladaigh…
During the drift towards the Dutch coast, the bulk carrier first hit another ship and then two structures of a wind farm under construction. See vid below
The Dutch Safety Board says it has initiated an investigation into the “increasing congestion” caused by wind farms and shipping in the North Sea. The safety board, which investigates shipping, aviation, railway and industrial accidents in the Dutch State, said…
A young osprey (also called a sea hawk), was tagged in the Scottish Borders took an unusual route south to Spain having hitched a ride on cargoships.
Information has emerged as to how a young osprey tagged in the Scottish Borders hitched a ride on two ships during his first attempt at migration. Conservationist Sacha Dench is part of a team tracking the bird to learn more…
The tug/workboat Husky pictured at Arklow Bank Wind Park
Operators of the North Irish Sea Array (NISA) offshore wind farm will shortly undertake a subtidal benthic ecology survey campaign on its proposed export cable route area, off the coast of north Co Dublin and Co Meath. Similar to the…

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.

Changing Ocean Climate

Our ocean and climate are inextricably linked - the ocean plays a crucial role in the global climate system in a number of ways. These include absorbing excess heat from the atmosphere and absorbing 30 per cent of the carbon dioxide added to the atmosphere by human activity. But our marine ecosystems are coming under increasing pressure due to climate change.

The Marine Institute, with its national and international partners, works to observe and understand how our ocean is changing and analyses, models and projects the impacts of our changing oceans. Advice and forecasting projections of our changing oceans and climate are essential to create effective policies and management decisions to safeguard our ocean.

Dr Paul Connolly, CEO of the Marine Institute, said, “Our ocean is fundamental to life on earth and affects so many facets of our everyday activities. One of the greatest challenges we face as a society is that of our changing climate. The strong international collaborations that the Marine Institute has built up over decades facilitates a shared focusing on our changing ocean climate and developing new and enhanced ways of monitoring it and tracking changes over time.

“Our knowledge and services help us to observe these patterns of change and identify the steps to safeguard our marine ecosystems for future generations.”

The Marine Institute’s annual ocean climate research survey, which has been running since 2004, facilitates long term monitoring of the deep water environment to the west of Ireland. This repeat survey, which takes place on board RV Celtic Explorer, enables scientists to establish baseline oceanic conditions in Irish waters that can be used as a benchmark for future changes.

Scientists collect data on temperature, salinity, water currents, oxygen and carbon dioxide in the Atlantic Ocean. This high quality oceanographic data contributes to the Atlantic Ocean Observing System. Physical oceanographic data from the survey is submitted to the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES) and, in addition, the survey contributes to national research such as the VOCAB ocean acidification and biogeochemistry project, the ‘Clean Atlantic’ project on marine litter and the A4 marine climate change project.

Dr Caroline Cusack, who co-ordinates scientific activities on board the RV Celtic Explorer for the annual survey, said, “The generation of long-term series to monitor ocean climate is vital to allow us understand the likely impact of future changes in ocean climate on ecosystems and other marine resources.”

Other activities during the survey in 2019 included the deployment of oceanographic gliders, two Argo floats (Ireland’s contribution to EuroArgo) and four surface drifters (Interreg Atlantic Area Clean Atlantic project). The new Argo floats have the capacity to measure dissolved ocean and biogeochemical parameters from the ocean surface down to a depth of 2,000 metres continuously for up to four years, providing important information as to the health of our oceans.

During the 2019 survey, the RV Celtic Explorer retrieved a string of oceanographic sensors from the deep ocean at an adjacent subsurface moored station and deployed a replacement M6 weather buoy, as part of the Irish Marine Data Buoy Observation Network (IMDBON).

Funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, the IMDBON is managed by the Marine Institute in collaboration with Met Éireann and is designed to improve weather forecasts and safety at sea around Ireland. The data buoys have instruments which collect weather and ocean data including wind speed and direction, pressure, air and sea surface temperature and wave statistics. This data provides vital information for weather forecasts, shipping bulletins, gale and swell warnings as well as data for general public information and research.

“It is only in the last 20 years, meteorologists and climatologists have really began to understood the pivotal role the ocean plays in determining our climate and weather,” said Evelyn Cusack, Head of Forecasting at Met Éireann. “The real-time information provided by the Irish data buoy network is particularly important for our mariners and rescue services. The M6 data buoy in the Atlantic provides vital information on swell waves generated by Atlantic storms. Even though the weather and winds may be calm around our shores, there could be some very high swells coming in from Atlantic storms.”

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