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Allianz and Afloat - Supporting Irish Boating

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

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Marine Environment, Science, wildlife, weather & Ocean energy
A whale shark in the Egyptian Red Sea, a busy shipping area
The world’s largest fish may be under threat due to collisions with ships in the oceans, a new study has claimed. As reported by RTÉ News, researchers in the Global Shark Movement Project set out to identify reasons for a…
The Explorers team look forward to joining teachers on the seashore for this year’s CPD training
Teacher training courses this summer are now available to book as part of the Marine Institute’s Explorers Education Programme. The five-day continuing professional development (CPD) courses will take place from 4-8 July in Galway, Dublin, Waterford, Kerry and West Cork.…
Potential flooding areas in Dublin by extreme water levels by 2100
Mapping Ireland’s seabed, how scientists predict flooding and how to grow your own volcano are themes of an open day hosted by the Geological Survey of Ireland (GSI) and National Museum of Ireland this weekend. The free “Down to Earth”…
Grace O'Sullivan
The Irish Wildlife Trust has welcomed a European Parliament report calling for action on bottom trawling but has questioned why most MEPs did not support a ban on the fishing technique in marine protected areas (MPAs). A report by Portuguese…
File image of Aran Islands RNLI's all-weather lifeboat
The volunteer crew of Aran Islands RNLI on Inis Mór were requested on Tuesday evening (3 May) to launch their all-weather Severn class lifeboat to go to the aid of a patient on the neighbouring island of Inis Meáin. Under…
The Marine Institute's Explorers team around the country are planning a Kraken Family Day on the beach for European Maritime Day on the 21st May
The Marine Institute's Explorers Education Programme is delighted to announce that they will be hosting five 'Kraken beach events' for families on seashores around the country, celebrating as part of European Maritime Day, on Saturday 21st May at 12pm. The…
Located on Ireland’s rugged Wild Atlantic Way, Achill Island’s Trent class all-weather lifeboat is ready to help the offshore island communities
Achill Island RNLI responded to a request for assistance with the medical evacuation of a patient on Inisturk, a small island off the coast of County Galway, on Bank Holiday Monday. The volunteer lifeboat crew launched shortly before 5 pm yesterday…
Natural oyster reef - Artificial oyster reefs along the US Gulf Coast are designed to protect and restore shoreline habitat and create living oyster reefs as a sustainable option for reducing erosion of coastal marshes and protecting communities from storm surge. A new study shows restoration of marshes and oyster reefs are among the most cost-effective solutions for reducing coastal flood risks
There are many reasons to love oysters, and now an NUI Galway scientist has suggested another one. Apart from its nutritional benefits, the shellfish also provides a cost-effective solution to the impacts of climate change. Natural reefs built from oysters…
Minister for Housing and Local Government Darragh O’Brien, Paul Fallon, Irish Water and Jim Cullen, Galway County Council pictured during the minister’s visit to the  wastewater project under construction at An Spidéal, Co Galway.
Water quality in Galway Bay may be improved when a new wastewater treatment plant is completed in An Spidéal next year, Minister for Housing and Local Government Darragh O’Brien has predicted. The project will eliminate the discharge of more than…
Dublin Bay in all its eccentric high tide glory. Yet with the greater city area actually sinking at about 3 millimetres a year relative to much of the rest of Ireland, we could be in for some interesting times on the tidal front
If you’re a coastal Dub doing a Marie Kondo on the shoe cupboard, and you’re thinking of heaving out the Cuban heels and the platform soles, just hang on a minute. Despite their exotic fashion origins, that fancy footwear might…
Minister for Housing and Local Government Darragh O’Brien
Water quality may benefit from a new 50 million euro funding scheme to provide treatment in small communities without access to public wastewater infrastructure. Some 547 villages and settlements may be eligible for the scheme which aims to reduce risks…
Kinsale Harbour in West Cork. The Port is to get a new €1.2m fisherman's pontoon under Brexit adjustment funding announced by Government
Funds to help regions 'adjust' to Brexit will be used to fund major improvements at 14 harbours across West Cork it was announced earlier this week. As Afloat reported earlier, the grant is the largest ever funding announcement of its…
Celebrating the milestone ‘sod turning’ of the Salmon Weir Pedestrian and Cycle Bridge were (L to R) Colm Ó Ríordáin, Senior Executive Engineer, Galway City Council, Patrick Greene, Director of Services, Galway City Council, Uinsinn Finn, Senior Engineer, Galway City Council; Brendan McGrath, Chief Executive of Galway City Council; John Pentony, Jons Civil Engineering Company; Minister of State, Department of Transport, Hildegarde Naughton, TD; Kealan Bolton, Jons Civil Engineering Company; Mayor of Galway City, Councillor Colette Connolly; John Rooney, National Transport Authority; Martin Jennings, Atkins Ireland; and David Minton, Director, NWRA
The first sod has been turned on constructing a new pedestrian and cycleway across the river Corrib – the first new bridge over the Atlantic coast river in over 30 years. The new Salmon Weir crossing will “draw pedestrians and…
The SOS Bearna delegation handing in a petition to Galway County Hall
Community group SOS Bearna has welcomed a decision by Galway county councillors to overturn a decision to permit the building to within just 15 metres of the shoreline. A setback of 30 metres from the shore has been reaffirmed for…
Chris Power Smith's potent J/122 Aurelia (meaning The Golden One) from the Royal St. George Yacht Club is the only Dublin entry so far for May's inaugural Inishtearaght Race from Kinsale
A competitive eight boat fleet is building in Kinsale for the inaugural Matthews Inishtearaght Race taking place in less than a month's time.  The race, promoted as an 'ideal shakedown race' for boats entering June's Round Ireland Race, has attracted top…
The Aran Islands Express Ferry Fleet
Doolin Ferry Company has set sail for the summer season, with their state-of-the-art ferries operating once again from Doolin Pier to the Aran Islands. Passengers can also opt to board a Cliffs of Moher cruise, or the Seafari experience, which…

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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