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Displaying items by tag: Helvick Head

Courtmacsherry RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat Frederick Storey Cockburn was called out at 10.15pm on Wednesday night (4 May) to join a search off Garrettstown and Garrylucas beaches near the Old Head of Kinsale in West Cork.

Members of the public noticed a person swimming alone offshore, and an item of clothing was located at the beach some time later.

The lifeboat, with a crew of five under coxswain Mark Gannon, was underway within minutes and proceeded in the dark of night to the area of the search.

The lifeboat reached the area within 15 minutes and commenced a detailed search of the waters and coastline alongside the Kinsale RNLI inshore lifeboat and the Old Head/Seven Heads Coast Guard unit. The search was joined later by the Irish Coast Guard’s Waterford-based helicopter Rescue 117.

A thorough search was undertaken using the powerful search lights, night vision and parachute flares from the lifeboat and the heat detection sensors of the helicopter, while the coastguard unit on the water combed the shoreline at Garrettstown and Garrylucas.

At 12.30am, when nothing was located and gardaí had carried out detailed enquiries ashore, the Valentia Coast Guard Marine Co-Ordination Centre called off the search and the lifeboat and the other rescue services returned to their bases.

Brian O’Dwyer, Courtmacsherry RNLI’s lifeboat operations manager said: “It was great to see the fast response of so many of our voluntary crew tonight when their bleepers activated which ensured that we were at the scene very quickly.

“It is so important to call the rescue services at 112 or 999 quickly once any incident like this occurs as the various rescue services are always at the ready 24 hours a day and great credit is due to the concerned people that raised the alarm last night.”

The Courtmacsherry volunteer lifeboat crew involved in this call out were Coxswain Mark Gannon, duty mechanic Dave Philips and crew members Ken Cashman, Peter Nunan, Denis Murphy, Evin O’Sullivan and Dean Hennessey.

Helvick Head RNLI's Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat | Credit: RNLI/Aoife DuffyHelvick Head RNLI's Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat | Credit: RNLI/Aoife Duffy

Elsewhere on the same night, Helvick Head RNLI in neighbouring Co Waterford was requested to launch its inshore lifeboat following a report that a swimmer was in difficulty in Dungarvan Harbour.

With calm waters and little to no wind, the volunteer crew launched following the request by the Irish Coast Guard at 9.02pm. It followed a report that a swimmer was in difficulty between the Lookout in Dungarvan Harbour and Cunnigar Point.

The lifeboat, helmed by Alan Kelly and with crew members Joe Foley, Shane Walsh and Paidi Breathnach onboard, made its way to the scene. However, the lifeboat was shortly stood down as it transpired the swimmer wasn’t in difficulty and had reached the shore successfully.

Speaking later, Helvick Head RNLI deputy launching authority Sean Walsh said: “This callout turned out to be a false alarm with good intent but we would commend the person who raised the alarm as we would always much rather launch and find that all is safe and well, than not launch at all.

“On the first official week of summer, we would like to remind people if they are planning on going in the water that Dungarvan Harbour is renowned for its rip currents and can catch even the most experienced swimmers out. If you’re caught in a rip, stay calm, don’t panic. Don’t swim against it but rather parallel to the shore until free of the rip and then make for shore.

“We would also like to remind visitors and people new to our shores that the RNLI has a range of translated safety messages and advice in many languages which are available to download.

“If you do get into difficulty or see somebody in trouble on the water or along the coast, dial 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Helvick Head RNLI came to the aid of a fisherman on Saturday afternoon last (2 October) after his 21ft open deck boat broke down at Mine Head.

The volunteer crew were requested to launch their inshore lifeboat by the Irish Coast Guard at 2.26pm following a report that the vessel had suffered intermittent engine failure at Mine Head, off the Old Parish coastline in the Deise Gaeltacht region.

The lifeboat helmed by Alan Kelly and with crew members Paudie Walsh, Shane Walsh and Simon O’Hare onboard, launched immediately and made its way to the scene.

There was a Force 5-6 west to north-west wind blowing at the time.

Arriving on scene at 2.46pm, the lifeboat crew assessed the situation before deciding to tow the vessel back to the nearest safe port at Helvick Head Pier where they arrived at 3.20pm.

Speaking following the call out, Helvick Head RNLI Helm Alan Kelly said: ‘The casualty did the right thing by calling for help when he realised he was in difficulty. The winds were too fresh for him to return to the harbour without assistance.

‘We would remind anyone planning a trip to sea to always go prepared. Always wear a lifejacket and always carry a means of communication. Should you get into trouble or see someone else in difficulty, dial 999 or 112 and ask for the Coast Guard.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Helvick Head RNLI came to the aid of four people on Monday evening (6 September) after their 14ft open pleasure boat broke down at Cunnigar Point.

The volunteer crew were requested to launch their inshore lifeboat at 7.19 pm following a request from the Irish Coast Guard to assess the situation where the boat with two men and two women onboard, had suffered engine failure at Cunnigar Point, a 5km sand spit that juts across from An Rinn to Dungarvan Bay.

The lifeboat helmed by Alan Kelly and with crew members, Paudie Walsh, Richard Haynes and Joe Foley onboard, launched immediately and made its way to the scene.

Weather conditions at the time were bright and sunny with a flat calm sea and an easterly Force 1 wind.

On arrival, the lifeboat crew first ensured that all onboard were safe and well before assessing the situation and deciding to tow the vessel to the nearest safe port at Ballynagaul.

Speaking following the call out, Sean Walsh, Helvick Head RNLI Deputy Launching Authority said: ‘We would like to commend the group who had taken the necessary safety precautions for their trip. They were all wearing their lifejackets and were at anchor when the lifeboat arrived.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Volunteer lifeboat crew from Helvick Head RNLI in Waterford, rescued three kayakers stranded on rocks at Kilmurrin Cove yesterday afternoon (Wednesday 28 July) when a sudden squall capsized one of the kayaks and the group were forced onto the rocks as conditions rapidly deteriorated. The three kayakers were brought to safety when the lifeboat crew carried out a challenging manoeuvre to bring the lifeboat close to the rocks in the choppy waters and the group were helped onto the lifeboat by lifeboat crew and the winchman from Rescue 117.

The alarm was raised at 12.18 pm and Helvick RNLI were joined on the scene by Rescue 117, Bunmahon Coast Guard and Bunmahon Community Rescue Boat. The kayakers got into difficulty when conditions turned from mild to challenging quite quickly. Squalls and horizontal rain saw one kayaker capsize and the group were pushed over to rocks at Kilmurrin Cove. Taking refuge on the sharp rocks in the worsening conditions, a rescue operation was immediately launched. The winchman from Rescue 117 was able to descend from the helicopter onto the rocks and stay with the group as the lifeboat crew made the difficult approach to the rocks.

With no shoreline or safe landing spot, the lifeboat Helm performed a veering down manoeuvre which brought the lifeboat close to the rocks. A lifeboat crewmember swam to the rocks to assist the Rescue 117 winchman with the transfer of the casualties onto the lifeboat. In a highly precise and closely timed exercise, which relied on the crew taking note of the movement of the lifeboat into and away from the rocks, the three casualties were helped onboard the lifeboat and brought to the safety of the shore, where they were met by members of Bunmahon Coast Guard.

Commenting on the callout Helvick Head RNLI crewmember Joe Foley said, ‘“This was a great outcome in some challenging conditions. The wind picked up very quickly out there and the group were right to seek safety on the rocks. We were glad to see that they were all wearing buoyancy aids and had not sustained any injuries other than some scratches. The veering down manoeuvre which we carried out is something that we practice regularly in training, but every scenario is different, and it is challenging when dealing with multiple casualties and a moving lifeboat in choppy water. We have a great group of search and rescue agencies around here and we all work well together.”

The RNLI advises to always wear the proper safety equipment for your activity and always bring a means of calling for help.

This is the fourth callout for Helvick RNLI in the last ten days.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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21st August 2020

RNLI Helvick Swim Cancelled

The 2020 RNLI Helvick Sponsored Swim in County Waterford which was scheduled for Sunday, September 13, has been cancelled due to the revised Covid-19 restrictions.

It would have been the 26th year of the event which was a major fundraiser for the RNLI and social occasion in Waterford.

Published in Sea Swim
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#RNLI - Helvick Head RNLI had its first callout for 2018 in the early hours of Saturday morning (20 January) when the crew of a fishing vessel reported engine difficulty.

Pagers sounded at 1.50am and volunteer crew Brian O’Rourke, Joe Foley, Shane Walsh and Cathal Reilly launched the inshore lifeboat Robert Armstrong within minutes.

The lifeboat travelled the eight miles to the vessel and a tow was quickly set up. Sea conditions were described as moderate at the time.

The vessel was then towed back to Helvick Harbour, docking safely at just after 5am.

Commenting on the rescue, Helvick Head RNLI lifeboat operations manager John Condon said: “It was great to see the excellent reaction to the call by all the members of the crew.

“Given the time at which the pagers went off, it was fantastic to see the response by all – not only those who went to sea but also by the others who assisted on the shore.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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#RNLI - Helvick Head RNLI rescued a man who got into difficulty in the water at Helvick Pier early this morning (Sunday 11 September).

The volunteer lifeboat crew was requested to launch their inshore lifeboat at 7.12am following a report of a potential tragedy at Helvick Pier on the Co Waterford headland.

On arriving at the car park, the crew observed a crashed car. The lifeboat took to the water immediately and within seconds shore helpers spotted a casualty in the water.

Once on scene with the casualty, crew members Shane Breathnach and Dónal Ó Faoláin entered the water to assist.

The casualty, who was struggling to stay afloat, was helped into the lifeboat where he was treated for hyperthermia by helm Shay Young and crew member Cathal Reilly.

The man was then returned to Helvick Lifeboat Station where he was cared for until the ambulance arrived and he was transferred to hospital.

"It was a close call this morning and we would like to commend local fishermen Barty Whelan and Richard Tobin who were active on the shore in raising the alarm, spotting the casualty and remaining on site," said Young following the callout.

"Once on scene, it took all four of us aboard the lifeboat to bring the man in and do what was necessary. We would like to wish the casualty a full recovery following his ordeal."

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - Three kayakers who got into difficulty in Dungarvan Bay on Sunday evening (7 August) were assisted by the volunteer crew of Helvick Head RNLI.

The inshore lifeboat Robert Armstrong launched just after 6.30pm following a report that three people in kayaks were struggling in strong winds and currents in the Ballyvoile area of Dungarvan Bay.

One kayaker had made his way ashore but was stuck on rocks and was in need of medical assistance. He was airlifted by the Irish Coast Guard helicopter to Waterford Regional Hospital.

A second woman was helped from her kayak by the lifeboat crew and brought ashore at Clonea Beach close by. The third person was successful in reaching the shore.

The lifeboat, helmed by John Condon and with crew members Shane Walsh and Joe Foley onboard, later returned to the scene to recover a kayak from the rocks.

"Strong winds and the tide made it difficult for the casualties to get ashore and they were struggling," said Condon after the callout, "so the lifeboat was essential in ensuring the safe recovery of the second kayaker as well as in assisting the helicopter. We would like to wish all three kayakers well after their ordeal."

The incident came on the same day that a group of 12 kayakers was rescued in Dublin Bay after failing to heed the small craft warning in place due to forecast high winds, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#Diving - A man has died after getting into difficulty while diving off Ardmore in Co Waterford yesterday afternoon (Sunday 12 June).

Youghal RNLI's volunteer lifeboat crew were tasked to the incident between Goat Island and Ram Head near Ardmore, Co Waterford before 4.30pm.

On arrival they found a man in the water who they recovered onto the lifeboat, and immediately administered casualty care.

Working with Helvick Head RNLI, who were also on scene, the casualty was winched onto the Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 117 and brought to Waterford University Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead, as the Irish Examiner reports.

A spokesperson for Helvick Head RNLI that a second diver who had been with the deceased had managed to swim to shore to raise the alarm, allowing for a swift emergency response.

Commenting on the callout, Youghal RNLI lifeboat operations manager Fergus Hopkins said: "This was a difficult callout for everyone concerned and our thoughts are with the family of the man who was taken from the water this afternoon."

Published in Diving

#RNLI - The Duck Race in aid of the Helvick Head RNLI lifeboat station on Saturday 11 April 11th was a "spectacular success", according to race co-ordinator RoseAnn Foley.

As part of the Cois Cé celebrations during West Waterford Festival of Food, the 600 little yellow ducks entered the water from Devonshire Bridge in Dungarvan at 1.15pm with a lively commentary from Jenny Beresford and Sean Breathnach as they floated down Davitt’s Quay.

First prize in the Duck Race went to RNLI crew Liam Harty. Second was a photo finish between Séamus Kiersey from Ardmore and Tomás de Faoite ón Rinn, while third went to Tom Considine from Dungarvan and fourth went to Catherine Downey also from An Rinn.

Later, all the ducks were collected from the mud and were washed and put into storage until their next race.

And they weren't the only attraction on the day, with a free lifejacket clinic and sea safety check conducted by Austin Flynn also proving popular.

"We are very grateful to the public, Dungarvan Harbour Sailing Club, the kayakers, SGC and all our sponsors, West Waterford Festival of Food and the media for their enormous support," said Foley.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) - FAQS

Marine protected areas (MPAs) are geographically defined maritime areas where human activities are managed to protect important natural or cultural resources. In addition to conserving marine species and habitats, MPAs can support maritime economic activity and reduce the effects of climate change and ocean acidification.

MPAs can be found across a range of marine habitats, from the open ocean to coastal areas, intertidal zones, bays and estuaries. Marine protected areas are defined areas where human activities are managed to protect important natural or cultural resources.

The world's first MPA is said to have been the Fort Jefferson National Monument in Florida, North America, which covered 18,850 hectares of sea and 35 hectares of coastal land. This location was designated in 1935, but the main drive for MPAs came much later. The current global movement can be traced to the first World Congress on National Parks in 1962, and initiation in 1976 of a process to deliver exclusive rights to sovereign states over waters up to 200 nautical miles out then began to provide new focus

The Rio ‘Earth Summit’ on climate change in 1992 saw a global MPA area target of 10% by the 2010 deadline. When this was not met, an “Aichi target 11” was set requiring 10% coverage by 2020. There has been repeated efforts since then to tighten up MPA requirements.

Marae Moana is a multiple-use marine protected area created on July 13th 2017 by the government of the Cook islands in the south Pacific, north- east of New Zealand. The area extends across over 1.9 million square kilometres. However, In September 2019, Jacqueline Evans, a prominent marine biologist and Goldman environmental award winner who was openly critical of the government's plans for seabed mining, was replaced as director of the park by the Cook Islands prime minister’s office. The move attracted local media criticism, as Evans was responsible for developing the Marae Moana policy and the Marae Moana Act, She had worked on raising funding for the park, expanding policy and regulations and developing a plan that designates permitted areas for industrial activities.

Criteria for identifying and selecting MPAs depends on the overall objective or direction of the programme identified by the coastal state. For example, if the objective is to safeguard ecological habitats, the criteria will emphasise habitat diversity and the unique nature of the particular area.

Permanence of MPAs can vary internationally. Some are established under legislative action or under a different regulatory mechanism to exist permanently into the future. Others are intended to last only a few months or years.

Yes, Ireland has MPA cover in about 2.13 per cent of our waters. Although much of Ireland’s marine environment is regarded as in “generally good condition”, according to an expert group report for Government published in January 2021, it says that biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation are of “wide concern due to increasing pressures such as overexploitation, habitat loss, pollution, and climate change”.

The Government has set a target of 30 per cent MPA coverage by 2030, and moves are already being made in that direction. However, environmentalists are dubious, pointing out that a previous target of ten per cent by 2020 was not met.

Conservation and sustainable management of the marine environment has been mandated by a number of international agreements and legal obligations, as an expert group report to government has pointed out. There are specific requirements for area-based protection in the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD), the OSPAR Convention, the UN Convention on Biological Diversity and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. 

Yes, the Marine Strategy Framework directive (2008/56/EC) required member states to put measures in place to achieve or maintain good environmental status in their waters by 2020. Under the directive a coherent and representative network of MPAs had to be created by 2016.

Ireland was about halfway up the EU table in designating protected areas under existing habitats and bird directives in a comparison published by the European Commission in 2009. However, the Fair Seas campaign, an environmental coalition formed in 2022, points out that Ireland is “lagging behind “ even our closest neighbours, such as Scotland which has 37 per cent. The Fair Seas campaign wants at least 10 per cent of Irish waters to be designated as “fully protected” by 2025, and “at least” 30 per cent by 2030.

Nearly a quarter of Britain’s territorial waters are covered by MPAs, set up to protect vital ecosystems and species. However, a conservation NGO, Oceana, said that analysis of fishing vessel tracking data published in The Guardian in October 2020 found that more than 97% of British MPAs created to safeguard ocean habitats, are being dredged and bottom trawled. 

There’s the rub. Currently, there is no definition of an MPA in Irish law, and environment protections under the Wildlife Acts only apply to the foreshore.

Current protection in marine areas beyond 12 nautical miles is limited to measures taken under the EU Birds and Habitats Directives or the OSPAR Convention. This means that habitats and species that are not listed in the EU Directives, but which may be locally, nationally or internationally important, cannot currently be afforded the necessary protection

Yes. In late March 2022, Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien said that the Government had begun developing “stand-alone legislation” to enable identification, designation and management of MPAs to meet Ireland’s national and international commitments.

Yes. Environmental groups are not happy, as they have pointed out that legislation on marine planning took precedence over legislation on MPAs, due to the push to develop offshore renewable energy.

No, but some activities may be banned or restricted. Extraction is the main activity affected as in oil and gas activities; mining; dumping; and bottom trawling

The Government’s expert group report noted that MPA designations are likely to have the greatest influence on the “capture fisheries, marine tourism and aquaculture sectors”. It said research suggests that the net impacts on fisheries could ultimately be either positive or negative and will depend on the type of fishery involved and a wide array of other factors.

The same report noted that marine tourism and recreation sector can substantially benefit from MPA designation. However, it said that the “magnitude of the benefits” will depend to a large extent on the location of the MPA sites within the network and the management measures put in place.

© Afloat 2022

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