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Displaying items by tag: Kilkeel

Afloat.ie reader Lee Maginnis has sent us images of the old minesweeper HMS Enterprise looking worse for wear in Kilkeel Harbour.

The former Royal Navy minesweeper was previously anchored in Carlingford Lough, and made the news nine years ago when it broke its moorings and beached in Rostrevor Bay a number of times.

Built in 1957 by MW Blackmore & Sons and once part of a fleet of minesweepers, the Enterprise is also renowned as one of the first vessels to discover the wreck of the Titanic in the North Atlantic 34 years ago.

HMS Enterprise in Kilkeel by Lee Maginnis

Later the historic boat was refitted as a radio ship as part of a cross-community project called Pirates for Peace, as the Belfast Telegraph reports, and was subsequently sold on to an owner based in Australia with plans to relocate it there.

But the mahogany- and teak-hulled boat has since fallen into serious disrepair, as reflected by its state at its current Co Down harbour mooring, leaving questions about its future.

HMS Enterprise at Chatham in 1981, with HMS Triumph in the background (Photo: Wikimedia)HMS Enterprise at Chatham in 1981, with HMS Triumph in the background | Photo: Wikimedia

If any Afloat.ie readers have any more information about the Enterprise and its current situation, please get in touch or let us know in the comments below.

Published in Historic Boats
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Kilkeel RNLI launched to the rescue a windsurfer who got into difficulty off Cranfield Point on Saturday (14 November).

The volunteer crew set out on their inshore lifeboat at 3.25pm on Saturday as part of a multi-agency tasking that also involved Kilkeel Coastguard, Greenore Coast Guard and the Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 116 from Dublin.

Onshore, Kilkeel Coastguard had spotted the sail of the windsurfer just north of Carlingford Lough’s shipping channel and directed lifeboat helm Gerry Smyth towards the casualty, who had been one of a group of eight.

The other seven members of the group had made it safely to shore. In Force 5-6 winds and in a moderate sea, the casualty and his gear were taken onboard.

The exhausted casualty was checked by the lifeboat crew for injury, water inhalation and the effects of the cold conditions. He was then made comfortable and brought safely ashore. The lifeboat returned at 4.15pm where the grateful surfer was met by Kilkeel Coastguard.

Speaking following the callout, Kilkeel’s lifeboat operations manager John Fisher said: “The crew did everything in a thoroughly professional manner and we would like to wish the casualty well.

“Because of Covid-19, the crew have been restricted in their training exercises but this afternoon they demonstrated their skills with this rescue also highlighting how well multiple agencies work together.”

The crew readied to launch for a second time over the weekend at 2.15pm yesterday (Sunday 15 November) following a call that an EPIRB had been activated.

However, after an extensive local onshore search it was found that the EPIRB was faulty and was located in a boat owner’s garage.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Co Down woman Danielle Rooney has started her “dream job” as harbour master at Kilkeel, as The Irish News reports.

The 28-year-old is believed to be the first woman to hold such a role within the Northern Ireland Fisheries Harbour Authority.

She succeeds Michael Young, who has moved down the coast to Carlingford Harbour in Co Louth.

Rooney will be sharing her harbour duties with her existing role as station officer for Kilkeel Coastguard.

Safety is a big priority for me so combining that with my great passion for the water hopefully will bring success for the harbour,” she says.

The Irish News has more on the story HERE.

Published in Irish Harbours
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Kilkeel’s volunteer lifeboat crew worked fast to help clear a speedboat with engine troubles from a busy shipping lane yesterday afternoon (Tuesday 27 August).

The 16ft Bayliner, with one person on board, had broken down in Carlingford Lough and was in danger from incoming and outgoing shipping traffic, according to Kilkeel RNLI.

Kilkeel’s inshore lifeboat launched at 1.10pm headed south along the Co Down coast, and on arrival at the scene they found that the speedboat has been restarted.

Checking that the skipper was fine, they ensured there were no further issues before escorting the skipper back to his mooring in Greencastle.

The previous evening, Carrybridge RNLI’s inshore lifeboat Douglas Euan & Kay Richards and rescue water craft were launched to a vessel with its own engine difficulties some two miles downstream of the River Erne hamlet.

When the lifeboats arrived on scene, the casualty vessel — with two person on bard — was found floating close to the shoreline.

Once those on board were found to be well, a volunteer from the rescue water craft boarded their vessel to help set up a tow line and it was brought back to its private berth in the hamlet.

Carrybridge RNLI helm Chris Cathcart later advised all boat users: “Before setting out on your journey, please plan your route and carry out regular checks of their vessels. Also have a means of calling for assistance if you find yourself in trouble.

“If you see someone in trouble on the water or are in difficulties yourself, the number to dial is 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Dun Laoghaire RNLI launched to a 34ft yacht unexpectedly dismasted while sailing near Dalkey Island yesterday afternoon (Sunday 25 August).

The skipper aboard the yacht was able to call the coastguard by VHF radio, and the volunteer lifeboat crew were requested to launch the all-weather Anna Livia at 2.15pm in calm conditions, Dun Laoghaire RNLI reports.

Once on the scene, the lifeboat crew checked that the skipper was safe and uninjured, then he and his yacht were towed back to Dun Laoghaire.

Speaking after the callout, Dun Laoghaire RNLI’s coxswain Mark McGibney said: “In this situation where the yacht unexpectedly dismasted, the skipper was able to alert the coastguard as thankfully he had a backup handheld VHF radio. It is also essential to always carry a means of communication.”

Hours before, Larne RNLI was requested to launch by Belfast coastguard to reports of a sinking vessel with two people on board.

Launching both of their lifeboats, Larne RNLI’s volunteer crew made their way towards the casualty vessel’s reported position, just outside of Larne Harbour.

While en route, the inshore lifeboat Terry was stopped by a passing pleasure craft which reported they had recovered the two people from the casualty vessel, who were found to be safe and well and were returned to shore on the all-weather lifeboat.

Larne RNLI inspect the submerged vessel | Photo: RNLI/Derek ReaLarne RNLI inspect the submerged vessel | Photo: RNLI/Derek Rea

Later both lifeboats were requested to survey the casualty vessel to see if anything could be salvaged — but by then it was mostly submerged, as Larne RNLI reports.

Earlier in this Bank Holiday weekend for Northern Ireland, Kilkeel RNLI launched late on Friday (23 August) to attend a 10m yacht with two on board which had become stranded with a rope in the propeller.

Kilkee RNLI says the volunteer crew located the yacht Villa Vilja — which was on passage from Tromso, Norway to the Caribbean — seven miles north-east of Kilkeel in freshening conditions.

And with the yacht tossing about in the rough seas, the lifeboat helm brought the lifeboat safely aside and a crew member boarded the yacht to check all was well to establish a tow.

Despite the challenging conditions, the yacht was brought safely into Kilkeel Harbour where the local coastguard team ensured it was safely and securely berthed at the pontoon.

Kilkeel RNLI lifeboat operations manager John Fisher said: “The transfer of a crew member to another vessel is a manoeuvre the crew often practice but with both boats being tossed about, the transfer was particularly difficult — but was managed, as usual, in a very safe professional manner and we wish the sailors a safe onward passage to the Caribbean.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Kilkeel RNLI’s volunteer crew launched at 1.20pm yesterday (Sunday 23 June) to go to the aid of the 44ft French yacht with two people onboard that was stranded two miles off Annalong Harbour in Co Down.

In fresh conditions with good visibility, the lifeboat volunteers found that the yacht had become stranded due to a rope in the propeller.

The crew, with Gary Young as helm, managed to retrieve the rope and free the yacht.

A crew member went aboard the yacht to check everything was well and finding everything was in order, he returned to the lifeboat and the yacht went on its way to continue its journey north.

Speaking following the callout, volunteer press officer Leslie Campbell said: “As we approach the summer months, we would remind all sea users regardless of their activity to always respect the water.

“Always wear a lifejacket, always carry a means of communication and always let someone on the shore know where you are going and what time you will be due back.

“Should you get into difficulty or see someone in trouble dial 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Wicklow RNLI volunteers were alerted by pager at 1.05pm on Friday afternoon (12 April) following a launch request to assist a fishing boat with engine failure.

The all-weather lifeboat Jock and Annie Slater put to sea shortly before 1.15pm under the command of coxswain Nick Keogh and proceeded towards the vessel, which was reported to be 23 miles north-east of Wicklow Harbour.

The lifeboat was alongside the 10-metre fishing boat an hour later. Conditions in the area were good, with south-easterly Force 3 winds.

The fishing vessel with three crew had developed mechanical problems and had lost propulsion. A towline was secured, and the vessel was towed back towards Wicklow over the next three-and-a-half hours, being secured safely alongside the North Quay shortly before 6pm.

This was the third callout since the all-weather lifeboat Jock and Annie Slater went on station at Wicklow on Friday 5 April.

Earlier in the week, Kilkeel RNLI’s volunteer crew launched at 4.20pm on Wednesday (10 April) to respond to a call from the skipper of a fishing boat that a semi-submerged kayak was adrift at Leestone Point, north east of Kilkeel Harbour.

Conditions were good and the crew arrived quickly on scene. On examination of the kayak, the crew found there was an algae growth on her bottom and no signs that it had been recently occupied.

With no reports of a missing kayaker, the kayak was taken on board the lifeboat which then returned to the station. Kilkeel Coastguard were in attendance.

Speaking afterwards, John Fisher, Kilkeel RNLI lifeboat operations manager, said: “It is important that if a small craft is lost or abandoned that it is reported to the coastguard. This will prevent any further reports by concerned members of the public or other persons.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Lifeboats from Clogherhead, Newcastle and Kilkeel were involved in the search for a woman missing in Carlingford Lough at the weekend, which came to a sad end yesterday afternoon (Monday 18 March) with the discovery of a body in the water off Greenore.

Newcastle RNLI was tasked to divert from a morning training exercise on the Co Down coast to join the major search operation which began on Sunday (17 March), concentrating on the entrance to Carlingford Lough and outlying islands.

During this search the all-weather lifeboat located a casualty in the water and, working with volunteer lifeboat crews from Clogherhead and Kilkeel RNLI, the casualty was taken ashore to Greenore Harbour by the Kilkeel lifeboat and placed in the care of An Garda Síochána.

The casualty was shortly after confirmed to be the remains of Ruth Maguire from Newcastle, who went missing during a hen party in Carlingford on Saturday night (16 March).

Speaking following the search, Newcastle RNLI coxswain Nathan Leneghan said: “On behalf of Newcastle RNLI I wish to express our deepest sympathy to the family and friends of the woman who was recovered from the water this afternoon.

“The thoughts and prayers of the everyone involved in the search are with them at this sad time. I also wish to commend the volunteer crews for their commitment and professionalism.”

Kilkeel RNLI lifeboat operations manager John Fisher added: “This was not the outcome we or the family wanted and at this difficult time our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of the casualty.

“At this time I would also like to thank the volunteer crew for their commitment and energy. We train for such an incident but always pray that it has a better outcome.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#Lifeboats - Kilkeel’s RNLI volunteers responded to a Mayday in the early hours of yesterday morning (Sunday 24 February) after a fishing vessel lost propulsion about half a mile off Kilkeel Harbour in very foggy conditions.

The crew, including helm Gerry Smyth, Andrew McConnell, Mark McCullough and Robert Tomkins, launched their inshore lifeboat and responded to the Mayday call at 5.40am.

The vessel was quickly located and having spoken to the skipper, the helm decided to put crew member Andrew McConnell aboard to safely secure a tow rope and safely tow in the vessel, with the local coastguard team assisting in berthing. By 6.25am the crew had returned safely to the boathouse.

Speaking following the call-out, Kilkeel RNLI helm Gerry Smyth said it was “something our volunteers train for on a regular basis but this time the foggy conditions and the low tide made the tow more difficult than usual.

“The lifeboat crew were delighted to help and handled the call out in a thoroughly professional manner. We wish the fishermen well.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
Tagged under

Stanley Tomkins, treasurer for the Kilkeel RNLI volunteer crew, is to retire after 25 years’ service at the Co Down lifeboat station.

Tomkins, a retired bank manager, was recently awarded the British Empire Medal for his charitable work in the local community.

Over the past 25 years he been the treasurer for Kilkeel RNLI, and he has now decided to step down to devote more time to his other interests.

John Fisher, Kilkeel RNLI lifeboat operations manager, said: “We thank Stanley for his dedication and his energy over the past 25 years. We shall miss his steady hand on the financial rudder and wish him well for the future.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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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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