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A Harbour Seal photographed at Dun Laoghaire Marina on Dublin Bay, Ireland. Also known as the common seal, is a true seal found along temperate and Arctic marine coastlines of the Northern Hemisphere. The most widely distributed species of pinnipeds, they are found in coastal waters of the northern Atlantic and Pacific oceans, Baltic and North seas. Photo: AfloatA photograph of a Harbour Seal taken at Dun Laoghaire Marina on Dublin Bay, Ireland. Also known as the common seal, this species can be found along temperate and Arctic marine coastlines throughout the Northern Hemisphere. They are the most widely distributed species of pinnipeds and can be found in the coastal waters of the northern Atlantic and Pacific oceans, as well as the Baltic and North Seas. Photo: Afloat

Displaying items by tag: RNLI

Rosslare Harbour RNLI came to the aid of a sailor who got into difficulty off the Wexford coast on Monday morning (15 April).

The volunteer crew were alerted at the request of the Irish Coast Guard after a concerned member of the public raised the alarm.

They reported that a 22-foot yacht with one person onboard appeared to be drifting towards rocks at the mouth of the Boatsafe adjacent to Rosslare Europort.

The all-weather lifeboat launched at 9.15am and upon arrival at the scene, its crew assessed the situation and decided in consultation with the sailor that, as they were unable to make safe progress, the vessel would be towed to the nearest safe port.

Speaking following the call-out, Rosslare Harbour RNLI launch authority Tony Kehoe commended the member of the public who raised the alarm for his vigilance.

“The member of the public’s actions were crucial in preventing a possible serious incident this morning and we commend him for his swift actions,” Kehoe said. “We would remind anyone who sees someone or a vessel in trouble at sea, to never hesitate to call for help by dialling 999 or 112.”

The volunteer crew on the call-out were coxswain Keith Miller, mechanic Mick Nicholas and crew Keith Morris, Paul McCormack and Dave McCusker.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Enniskillen RNLI in Northern Ireland launched their inshore lifeboat, the John and Jean Lewis, at 10.30am on Saturday morning (13 April) following a request from Belfast Coastguard that a fishing boat was adrift close to the Horse Island near Kesh.

Winds on Lough Erne at the time were westerly Force 5 at the time and visibility was cloudy.

Helmed by Stephen Ingram and with three crew members onboard, the lifeboat engaged in a search of all areas including the shoreline.

The volunteer crew searched the area around the Kesh River and Hayes Marina and onto Muckross Bay and public jetty area.

However, it was established that the casualty vessel had managed to return to shore prior to the lifeboat’s arrival.

Speaking following the call-out, Ingram said: “We would like to commend the member of the public who raised the alarm when they were concerned; that is always the right thing to do. We would always much rather launch and find that all is safe and well than not launch at all.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Two men were rescued off the coast of Achill Island on Sunday, April 14th, when their small open pleasure craft began drifting off Old Head. The Irish Coast Guard requested the assistance of Achill Island RNLI, who quickly launched their all-weather lifeboat 'Sam and Ada Moody', with a six-man crew on board.

The drifting vessel was located around two miles east of Old Head, and on arrival, the crew observed that the two men on board were both wearing Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs) and were in good health. After assessing the situation, the Westport Coast Guard Delta was called to establish a tow and take the men and their small craft back to the safety of Old Head, with the lifeboat standing by in case further assistance was needed. 

Once the two men were safely back on shore, the lifeboat departed for Achill Island, arriving 25 minutes later. Ciaran Needham, Achill Island RNLI's volunteer Lifeboat Operations Manager, praised the crew and their colleagues in the Westport Coast Guard for their speedy response. He emphasised the importance of wearing PFDs and calling for help when needed, saying: "Even with the very best of plans and preparations, the most experienced boat users can find themselves in need of help at sea. If you see someone in need of help on or near the water, don't ever hesitate to call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coast Guard. Our crew are always happy to respond if requested to help."

The incident took place in good visibility, with a westerly Force 6 wind and moderate sea conditions. Thanks to the quick thinking and collaborative efforts of the RNLI and the Coast Guard, the two men were safely rescued and brought back to shore.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Swords Sailing & Boating Club Vice Commodore Siobhan Broaders has presented a cheque for €500 to Howth RNLI lifeboat service on board its Trent Class lifeboat in County Dublin.

The North Dublin club raised funds through a New Year's Day sail and the annual club quiz held in March.

SSBC's Robert McKay, Stephen Broaders, and Siobhan Broaders attended the presentation with Howth RNLI Ops Manager Colm Newport.

 

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Wicklow RNLI inshore lifeboat was launched on Saturday afternoon ( 13 April) following a crew pager alert. The alarm was raised after a windsurfer contacted the Coast Guard, to say his friend was unable to get into the harbour due to the offshore wind, and they were concerned for his safety.

Two minutes after launching, Helm Alan Goucher and a volunteer crew spotted the windsurfer safely ashore on Travelahawk Beach. Contact was made with the person, and no further assistance was required.

Speaking after the call out, Lifeboat Press Officer Tommy Dover said,’Our advice for going afloat is always to wear a lifejacket or buoyancy aid, and it’s very important to carry a means of calling for help.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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The National Opera House in Wexford is set to host a once-in-a-lifetime event, RNLI 200: A Celebration of Volunteers, Their Families and the Community on Thursday 23 May.

This special commemorative event marks the 200-year legacy of the RNLI and pays tribute to the brave volunteers who crew the boats, their families who make sacrifices and the communities that support them.

RNLI 200 promises to be an unforgettable journey through history, showcasing the courage and dedication of RNLI volunteers.

The one-night-only spectacular will feature a diverse range of performances, including song, dance, spoken word and video presentations.

Audiences will be treated to stories ranging from the foundation of the RNLI to epic rescues carried out by lifeboat crews along the South-East of Ireland, namely Courtown, Wexford, Rosslare Harbour, Kilmore Quay and Fethard RNLI.

Local talents such as George Lawlor, Tony Carthy, Chris Currid, The Craic Pots, Wexford School of Ballet and Performing Arts and Dara Pierce Ballet Academy will grace the stage alongside nationally recognised artists like pipe player Mark Redmond and tenor Glenn Murphy.

Under the baton of composer Liam Bates, the evening promises to be a symphony of emotion and celebration. Adding to the star-studded line-up, Celtic Thunder’s Ryan Kelly, Celtic Woman star Chloe Agnew and, fresh from their sellout performance at the National Concert Hall, The Sea of Change Choir will make a special guest appearance, with more surprise guests to be announced in the coming weeks.

Produced by Wexford-based Seanchai Productions Ltd, known for their events such as Wexford Virtual St Patrick's Day and The Green Light Sessions in 2021, RNLI 200 is set to captivate audiences with its blend of entertainment and heartfelt tribute.

RNLI 200 organisers say the event would not be possible without the generous support of sponsors PTSB, the EPA, Kent Stainless and The Talbot Collection.

Proceeds from the event will go to the RNLI. Tickets are priced at €30 each and are available from www.nationaloperahouse.ie.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Clifden RNLI’s volunteer lifeboat crew in western Co Galway were tasked just before 2pm on Thursday (11 April) following a request from the Irish Coast Guard to provide a medical evacuation for a casualty on Inishbofin.

Clifden’s Shannon class all-weather lifeboat St Christopher was launched under coxswain David Barry with Joe Acton, Dan Whelan, Andy Bell, Neil Gallery and Shane Conneely as crew. The coastguard’s Sligo-based helicopter Rescue 118 was also dispatched.

Weather conditions at the time were poor, with limited visibility and deep swells.

When the lifeboat crew arrived at the island, the casualty was received on board St Christopher and a casualty care assessment was carried out on the person, who was injured from a fall.

The casualty was immediately transported to Cleggan pier and the awaiting ambulance for further treatment in hospital.

Speaking about the call-out, Barry said: “This tasking was a real team effort involving the Cleggan Coast Guard, HSE National Ambulance Service and the local community in Inishbofin who provided great assistance during the transfer of the casualty. My thanks to all involved and I also wish the person a swift recovery.

“The volunteer crew at our station are on call 24/7. If you get into difficulty, or see someone else in trouble, call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Celebrity chef Glen Wheeler from 28 At The Hollow will cook up a delicious menu at Enniskillen RNLI’s lifeboat station at 7pm on Monday 29 April.

The culinary masterclass is in aid of the Enniskillen lifeboat and tickets for the event are £15. Get yours via the evening’s Eventbrite page or via the Northern Ireland phone contacts in the event poster above.

Enniskillen RNLI is also calling on members of the public to support the RNLI’s Mayday fundraising campaign, after revealing they launched 17 times last year on Lough Erne — as did their neighbours at Carrybridge RNLI.

The RNLI’s Mayday fundraiser begins on Monday 1 May and will run for the whole month across Ireland and the UK. Afloat.ie has more on the initiative HERE.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Bangor RNLI, the lifesaving charity on Belfast Lough based in Northern Ireland, has launched a Mayday fundraising campaign to support its vital services.

The charity has revealed that it was called into action 36 times in 2023, highlighting the importance of its work in saving lives.

To support its lifesaving services, the charity is urging members of the public to participate in the Mayday Mile, a challenge to cover a mile a day throughout May.

The funds raised will help provide the necessary training and equipment to keep the lifesavers safe. Glen McMahon, a Bangor RNLI volunteer, emphasised the significance of the charity’s work and the need for public support, particularly during the busiest time of the year.

The RNLI’s Mayday fundraiser begins on May 1 and will run throughout Ireland and the UK. To participate in the Mayday Mile or find out more about the RNLI’s vital work, visit rnli.org/SupportMayday.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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A humpback whale caught in fishing ropes off the coast of Cornwall in south-west England has been saved thanks to the efforts of local rescuers.

According to Marine Industry News, the whale known locally as “Ivy” became entangled in Mounts Bay on Easter Sunday (31 March) and was soon spotted in distress by both fishing crews and a wildlife-watching tour.

Conditions at sea were choppy at the time, meaning these onlookers could not intervene.

But in the afternoon Penlee RNLI’s volunteer lifeboat crew came to the rescue, cutting the whale free from their inshore lifeboat.

Hannah Wilson, co-owner of tour group Marine Discovery Penzance said: “It’s incredible what the guy at the helm achieved because it was properly rough.”

Marine Industry News has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife
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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.”