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Youghal RNLI’s lifeboat volunteers in East Cork launched twice over the May Bank Holiday weekend, to join the rescue efforts for a boat aground on rocks and a kayaker in difficulty.

Late on Saturday afternoon (4 May) the crew were requested to launch their Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat to take part in a multi-agency response following reports of two people aboard a 5m pleasure craft with engine failure that ended up on rocks near Goat Island beach in the Youghal Bay area.

Helmed by Jason Ansbro alongside crew members Jason Innes, Joe O’Connor and Ivan Bryan, the lifeboat arrived on scene shortly before 6pm in favourable weather conditions and a falling tide.

Two lifeboat crew members entered the water and swam ashore to the boat, which was high and dry on the rocks. They observed that the two men onboard, who were both wearing lifejackets, were safe and well and did not require any medial assistance.

It was decided that, due to the position of the boat, the casualties should be airlifted to safety by the Waterford-based Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 117 and handed over to Ardmore Coast Guard, who were waiting close by.

Before leaving the scene, the lifeboat crew secured the casualty boat, which had to be left at the scene.

Youghal RNLI’s inshore lifeboat approaches the casualty kayaker on the rocks, with another kayaker nearby in the shadow of Sampson Crane in Ardmore Bay on Monday 6 May | Credit: RNLI/Mel MullaneYoughal RNLI’s inshore lifeboat approaches the casualty kayaker on the rocks, with another kayaker nearby in the shadow of Sampson Crane in Ardmore Bay on Monday 6 May | Credit: RNLI/Mel Mullane

As the long weekend drew to a close on Monday (6 May), the lifeboat was called out at 3.55pm to reports of kayakers in difficulty at Sampson Crane in Ardmore Bay.

The inshore lifeboat, again helmed by Jason Ansbro with crew members Jack Nolan, Jason Innes and John McCarthy, arrived within 10 minutes of launching and one crew member was put into the water to swim to the rocks to assess the casualty, who was standing waiting for assistance.

He did not require any medical attention and was escorted to the lifeboat along with his kayak that had filled with water and capsized.

Weather conditions at the time were fair with a calm sea state and light breeze. Rescue 117 was also in attendance and proceeded to do a sweep of the area to confirm there were no other casualties.

The crew that remained in the lifeboat approached another kayaker who was close by but did not require any assistance. They proceeded to follow the lifeboat to Ardmore Pier where they were handed over to Ardmore Coast Guard awaiting their arrival.

Speaking after the Monday call-out, Youghal RNLI helm Jason Ansbro said: “This was a straightforward shout with a great outcome. With the weather becoming finer it is so important to always have a means of communication within reach at all times.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Ireland’s national governing body for triathlons says it did not sanction the swim event at the weekend in which two men died in separate incidents. previously reported on the tragedies in Youghal on Sunday (20 August) during the Ironman 70.3 event.

The two deceased have since been identified as Ivan Chittenden (64) from Toronto and Brendan Wall (45), originally from Slane but most recently living in the UK, according to RTÉ News.

They had been taking part in the swim portion of the event at Claycastle Beach in the East Cork town on Sunday morning, where sea conditions were visibly choppy.

In a statement, Triathlon Ireland said its technical officials attended before the start of the event to review the conditions and carry out a water safety assessment.

“Due to adverse conditions on the day, Triathlon Ireland Technical Officials confirmed to the race organisers that it was not possible to sanction the race,” it added.

Gardaí say they have ruled out any criminal investigation into the weekend’s tragedies, but noted that witness statements will be included with post-mortem in a file for the coroner.

RTÉ News has more on the story HERE.

Published in Sea Swim

RTÉ News reports that two men have died in separate incidents during the swimming portion of a triathlon in East Cork on Sunday morning (20 August).

A man in his mid-60s and another man in his mid-40s were both pronounced dead at the scene in Youghal during the Ironman 70.3 event.

In a statement, organisers said: “We share our greatest sympathies with the families and friends of the athletes and will continue to offer them our support as they go through this very difficult time.

"We thank the safety personnel and first responders who worked quickly to provide the athletes with medical assistance.”

It’s understood that the event continued after the incidents with a 90km cycle and long-distance run. More on the story HERE.

Published in Sea Swim

Youghal RNLI came to aid of a sailor onboard a broken-down 17ft pleasure boat that suffered engine failure some two-and-a-half miles south east of Youghal Lighthouse in East Cork.

The volunteer crew were requested to launch their Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat at 11.11am on Thursday morning (20 July) following a report of a person onboard a broken-down Warrior 175 and were on the scene around five minutes later.

Weather conditions were described as very favourable with a northwesterly breeze on a ebbing tide.

Helmed by Alan Revins along with crew members Jack Nolan, Shane Buckley and Jason Innes, the lifeboat arrived at the location and the crew observed the man onboard was safe and well and did not require medical assistance.

Upon further assessment of the situation, one crew member boarded the vessel and a decision was made to establish a tow and bring the boat to its mooring at Ferry Point in Youghal Harbour.

Speaking after the call-out, Mark Nolan, Youghal RNLI deputy launching authority said: “The person onboard made the call for assistance by calling 999 and asking for the coastguard. He did the right thing by carrying a means of communication like a mobile phone and VHF radio and also by wearing his personal protective equipment — things we would always encourage people to do.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Youghal RNLI in East Cork was requested yesterday afternoon (Sunday, 16 July) at 4.18 pm following a report of a sailor in difficulty half a mile from Capel Island after their boat had broken down due to a gearbox malfunction.

The volunteer lifeboat crew received a request from the Irish Coast Guard to launch their inshore lifeboat to reports of the broken down yacht.

The lifeboat, helmed by Liam Keogh and with crew members Jason Ansbro, John McCarthy and Noel Joyce, launched and was quickly on scene.

Weather conditions at the time were described as fair, with a southwesterly wind and a moderate sea state.

Shortly after launching and arriving at the location, the lifeboat crew observed that the man onboard was safe and well and was wearing full personal protective equipment and did not require medical assistance. Upon further assessment of the situation, one crew member boarded the vessel and a decision was made to establish a tow and bring the boat to the safety of Youghal Harbour.

Speaking after the call out, Youghal RNLI Helm Liam Keogh, said: ‘This was a straightforward call with a very good outcome, like always we would like to point out the importance of carrying a means of communication and always wear a lifejacket or suitable floatation device.’

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Youghal RNLI’s volunteer crew launched their lifeboat to retrieve a dismounted jet ski yesterday afternoon (Sunday, 2 July) and upon their return, they were diverted to assist with what later transpired to be a false alarm. The alarm was raised by lifeguards working on Youghal Beach.

The inshore lifeboat launched at 4.30pm upon an alert from the Irish Coast Guard that there was a potential safety risk due to a dismounted jet ski in the water. A person onboard the jet ski had got into difficulty and was thrown into the water, and the wind took it away. However, the jetskiier managed to make it safely to shore.

Weather conditions at the time were described as clear but slightly choppy.

The lifeboat helmed by John Griffin Jnr and with crew members John McCarthy, Jason Innis and Ivan Brian onboard, made its way to the scene.

The lone jet ski was reported to be at Youghal’s front strand but upon the crew’s arrival on scene, the jet ski had drifted and was located a mile and a half from Youghal lighthouse.

The lifeboat crew assessed the situation and a decision was made to tow the vessel back to the front strand.

As the crew were returning at 5.30pm, they were alerted by the Coast Guard to a second call out and were requested to do a welfare check on a boat out by Capel Island. A member of the public raised the alarm after seeing what they thought was a boat in difficulty.

The crew diverted to the scene but on arrival found nothing and the reported boat was no longer on scene. The Irish Coast Guard helicopter, Rescue 117 from Waterford was also tasked and did a fly over but also found nothing. The search was subsequently stood down and the lifeboat returned to the station.

Speaking following the call outs, Youghal RNLI Helm John Griffin Jnr said: ‘The jet skier who had managed to make it safely ashore unaided had used the jet ski’s kill cord properly which ensured it didn’t run away. That is the right thing to do and kill cords are essential for safety.

‘We were happy to help with both incidents and would like to commend the member of the public who raised the alarm when they thought that somebody was in difficulty, we would always much rather launch and conduct a search and find nothing than not launch at all.’

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Youghal RNLI in East Cork launched to the aid of three people on Monday afternoon (19 June) after a 40ft yacht fouled its mooring in Youghal Harbour.

The volunteer crew were requested to launch their inshore lifeboat at 3.45pm following a report from the Irish Coast Guard that the yacht was in difficulty about 200m from the lifeboat station.

Helmed by John Griffin Jr and with crew members Eddie Hennessy, Jack Nolan and Jason Innes onboard, the inshore lifeboat was launched and was quickly on scene.

Weather conditions at the time were good with a southerly Force 3 wind and a smooth sea.

Once on scene, the crew observed the three onboard were not in difficulty but had requested assistance due to the yacht having become tangled in its mooring cable, which the crew were able to set free.

Speaking following the call-out, John Hearne, Youghal RNLI’s deputy launching authority said: “This was a straightforward call-out for our volunteers who were happy to assist those onboard the yacht.

“As we now enter the summer season, we would encourage anyone planning a trip to sea to always go prepared, ensure boats and engines are checked and that you have enough fuel for your trip, always wear a lifejacket or suitable flotation device and always carry a means of communication such as a VHF radio or a mobile phone.

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

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Youghal RNLI volunteer lifeboat crew were tasked to launch for the fourth time over the May bank holiday weekend, on Monday evening (1 May), following a report of a 5.5 metre RIB (rigid inflatable boat) that had broken down due to engine failure, approximately five miles south-east of Youghal Harbour.

The Atlantic 85 class lifeboat, helmed by John Griffin Jnr, launched at 3.32 pm and reached the casualty vessel within ten minutes. Weather conditions were favourable with a force 3 south-westerly wind on a falling tide.

When the lifeboat crew arrived on scene the crew observed that the two people onboard the vessel had succeeded in restarting the engine and that the boat was now functionally operating. They did not need further assistance but requested the lifeboat crew to escort them back to the Ferry point in Youghal harbour, where they originally had set out from, in case the vessel got into difficulty again.

Youghal RNLI Deputy Launching Authority Mark Nolan said ‘The two people aboard the boat had many means of communication to call for assistance and they were able to successfully contact the Coast Guard and request help. As they were far from land when the vessel broke down, this was an important for their safety, while at sea.’

‘This call out was the fourth one for our volunteer crew over the bank holiday weekend and I would like to thank them, along with our shore crew, for dropping everything to answer these calls. As volunteers, they train for each type of emergency at sea and often don’t know what they are launching to until they arrive on scene. Sadly, during the weekend, the lifeboat crew launched, as part of a multi-agency response, to an incident in Whiting Bay where a young man drowned in a swimming accident. We send our condolences to his family and friends at this sad time.’

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Youghal RNLI volunteer crew were tasked to launch following a report of a 12ft sailing dinghy that had capsized with a casualty in the water, south of the ferry point in Youghal harbour, in County Cork.

Youghal RNLI Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat launched at 3.40 pm on Friday (2 September) under Helm Liam Keogh, reaching the vessel within minutes. Weather conditions were calm with a mild south-westerly wind and a falling tide.

Once arriving on scene, lifeboat crew observed that the boat was capsized, and the sailor was trying to self-right the vessel but was unsuccessful.

The lifeboat crew then entered the water and righted the boat. They helped the man onboard the lifeboat where he was checked for any need of medical assistance but did not require any. A towline was then established between the lifeboat and the vessel and it was towed back to Ferry point. On arrival at the shore, the man was handed into the care of Youghal Coast Guard, who were awaiting his arrival.

Youghal RNLI Deputy Launching Authority John Herne said, “The water is terribly cold at this time of year, so be prepared if you are engaging in water-related activity and wear the appropriate clothing and a personal floatation device. Also, it is vital to have a means of communion for calling for help should something go wrong.’’

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Youghal RNLI in East Cork were called on Friday evening (12 August) to assist two people on a pleasure craft that had suffered engine failure on the River Blackwater.

The Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat launched at 7.17pm and arrived on scene at the casualty boat, a 13ft Rigiflex boat some half a mile north of Youghal Bridge at Ballynatray, around 10 minutes later.

There were two people onboard wearing lifejackets. Both were in good spirits and did not require medical assistance. Weather conditions were described as ideal and a filling tide.

After the lifeboat crew conducted a situation assessment, the casualty vessel was safely towed back to the ferry point in Youghal Harbour from where the boat was launched.

All were safe ashore and the lifeboat returned to the station where it was washed down, refuelled and readied for service.

Deputy launching authority Mark Nolan said: “Always wear a lifejacket and carry a means of communion like the casualties in this rescue. If you find yourself in difficulty, call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

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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.

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