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Allianz and Afloat - Supporting Irish Boating

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Displaying items by tag: Coastguard

In early June, an inflatable kayak that had been seen washed onto rocks at Orlock near Groomsport on the North Down coast sparked a full search of the area by Bangor Coastguard Rescue Team, Portaferry CRT, the Donaghadee Saxon Lifeboat and the Bangor B Class Atlantic 8 Lifeboat.

The kayak was in very good condition and had not been there for long. On arrival at the location, the team took photographs and sent them to Belfast Coastguard after which a full search was requested.

Belfast Coastguard also made a Facebook appeal for the owner and as the search unfolded the owner was located safe and well. The kayak had been lost earlier in the evening due to an incident, but no one was injured.

The team took the kayak back to the car park for collection by the owner who was given advice. Bangor CRT emphasises, " If you lose an object in or near the sea report it to the Coastguard. Thanks to the members of the public that rang 999".

Published in Coastguard
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Dunmore East RNLI lifeboat in County Waterford launched yesterday (Sunday, June 6) to a report of a 4m angling vessel with four people on-board, which had lost its propeller and was drifting onto Falskirt Rock, three miles South West of Dunmore East.

At 1:30 pm the Dunmore East RNLI lifeboat launched at the request of the Irish Coast Guard to assist a 4m vessel that was in danger of going onto rocks. The boat with four people on board was located drifting only 50m from Falskirt Rock.

12 mins after launch the Trent Class Dunmore East RNLI lifeboat ‘Elizabeth and Ronald’ arrived on scene to find the vessel with four people onboard, close to going aground. The volunteer RNLI crew quickly got all four transferred to the lifeboat and took the vessel under tow back to the safety of Dunmore East harbour at 2:30 pm.

Karen Harris, RNLI Deputy Launch Authority for Dunmore East RNLI, said: ‘Conditions were good today and thankfully all four were wearing life jackets, they did the right thing in calling for help early. The area around Falskirt Rock can be very dangerous, so a speedy response by our volunteer crew ensured a safe recovery of the four people. I would like to remind people that the water is there to be enjoyed but please remember to always wear a lifejacket, have a means of calling for help, check the weather forecast and be sure to tell someone where you are going and when you will be back. If you see someone in trouble on the water dial 999 or 112 and ask for the Coast Guard’.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Valentia RNLI volunteers in county Kerry launched their all-weather lifeboat yesterday (Saturday 05 June) to assist a 43ft fishing vessel with three people on board, which required assistance.

At 08.55 am the Valentia Coast Guard requested Valentia RNLI’s volunteer crew to launch the all-weather lifeboat and to go to the aid of three people on board the fishing vessel, with a fouled propeller close to the rocks at the Blasket Islands. Weather conditions at the time were described as good visibility, a two-metre swell with a force two to three southerly wind.

At the location, the RNLI crew came alongside the vessel to assess the situation and moved the vessel to a safer location. The crew ensured all occupants on board were safe. After initially trying to defoul the vessel it was decided the best option was to set up a tow. The vessel was then towed safely back to Valentia Marina.

The Valentia RNLI lifeboat towing the fishing vessel to Valentia MarinaThe Valentia RNLI lifeboat towing the fishing vessel to Valentia Marina

Speaking following the call out, Colum O’Connell Valentia RNLI Lifeboat Operational Manager said: Although the crew on board the fishing vessel were experienced, they knew it was the right decision to call for help to prevent the situation from getting worse'.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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The Courtmacsherry All Weather Trent Class RNLI Lifeboat was called out this morning Sunday at 11 am, to go to the aid of a 75-foot fishing vessel that had got into difficulties 27 miles off the Old Head of Kinsale in West Cork.

The lifeboat under Coxswain Mark Gannon and a crew of 6 were underway from their moorings in the harbour within minutes of being alerted by the Marine Rescue Co-Ordination Centre in Valentia and proceeded at full speed to the area of the causality.

Conditions at sea today were very difficult with Force 7/8 winds and high sea swells. The fishing vessel with five crewmembers on board had put out a distress signal when its hull was breached in difficult sea conditions and was taking in water.

Also launched was the Coast Guard Rescue 117 Helicopter from Waterford. Just after 12 noon, the Coast Guard Helicopter dropped an emergency salvage pump and winchman on to the fishing vessel deck and the Courtmacsherry Lifeboat readied their emergency salvage pump, and plans were finalised to pump the water from the stricken vessel in order for it to continue being operational.

The seven Courtmacsherry RNLI Lifeboat crew members under Coxswain Mark Gannon after they arrived into Kinsale Harbour with the fishing vesselThe seven Courtmacsherry RNLI Lifeboat crew members under Coxswain Mark Gannon after they arrived into Kinsale Harbour with the fishing vessel

As the water was pumped from the casualty, the Lifeboat stood by alongside in readiness for evacuation of the crew or any other assistance if required. With the pumping of the water being successful, and the seas very difficult, the Lifeboat escorted the causality at a safe speed back into the safe surrounds of Kinsale Harbour, arriving just after 4 pm.

A relieved fishing vessel Skipper thanked all the rescue services for their help in today’s rescue.

The Courtmacsherry RNLI Lifeboat Deputy Launch Authority and LPO Vincent O Donovan said “Great credit is due to all our volunteer crew members who rushed to answer the callout this morning and headed into very rough seas to help others in distress. Vincent praised both the Coastguard Rescue 117 helicopter crew and the crew of the Lifeboat in carrying out a very professional rescue involving salvage pumps in rough seas and strong winds.

The Courtmacsherry RNLI Lifeboat volunteer Crew involved in today’s callout were Coxswain Mark Gannon, Mechanic Chris Guy and crewmembers Mark John Gannon, Dara Gannon, Denis Murphy, Ciaran Hurley and Evin O Sullivan.

The Lifeboat returned to its base in Courtmacsherry just after 5 pm and has refuelled and restocked, in readiness of whenever the next call to action may occur. This is the 13th callout of 2021 for the Courtmacsherry RNLI Lifeboat station.

The Gannon family, Coxswain Mark, his son Mark John and brother Dara, all part of the Lifeboat crew today.The Gannon family, Coxswain Mark, his son Mark John and brother Dara, all part of the Lifeboat crew today.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

The RNLI and the Irish Coast Guard are expecting a busy May Bank Holiday weekend on the coasts and inland waters, with more people enjoying the warmer weather and the brighter evenings. The two organisations are asking people to plan ahead for any water based or coastal activities by taking some simple steps. The call comes following an increase in the number and a broadening in the type of incidents requiring RNLI and Coast Guard intervention.

Key water safety tips to remember when beside or on the water are: 

  • Check the weather and tide and familiarise yourself with local currents before you participate in any open water or coastal activity.
  • Always carry a reliable means of raising the alarm with you.
  • Tell someone where you are going and when you will be back.
  • Wear a lifejacket or buoyancy aid on or near the water.
  • Never ever swim alone and always ensure that somebody ashore is monitoring your progress.

RNLI Lifesaving Manager Sean Dillion said, ‘Our volunteer lifeboat crews around the coast and on our inland waters are expecting a busy season as more people are out enjoying the water. Many of the callouts we deal with could have been avoided with some simple preparation and planning. We want people to be safe on the water and enjoy themselves. Whatever activity you are planning please take a few minutes to check the relevant safety advice and always dial 999 or 112 and ask for the Coast Guard if you see someone in trouble on the water.’

Coast Guard, Head of Operations Gerard O’Flynn added: “Don’t assume that just because we have clear skies and warmer temperatures it is safe to engage in all coastal activities. Please familiarise yourself with weather and tidal information and take the time to observe prevailing conditions before you commence”.

He added that the Coast Guard has noted (on year to date basis), a very significant increase in the number of incidents being coordinated, in comparison with previous years. Activity levels have not only exceeded 2020 but are also at a five-year high.

For anyone intending to take a walk along the coast, it is important to check the times of high tide to avoid being stranded on a cove or sandbank that becomes cut off by the rising tide.

Open water swimming has become increasingly popular and there has been a notable increase in the number of people taking part, whether with a short dip or going for longer swims. Wear a brightly coloured swim cap to be visible and consider using a tow float. Never swim alone and always ensure that your activity is monitored by a colleague ashore. Water temperatures are still relatively cold at around 10 degrees making Cold Water Shock a danger. It is also important to acclimatise when entering the water.

If going on the water make sure the craft and equipment are in good condition, especially if this is the first time back on the water. Always wear a Lifejacket or PFD (Personal Floatation Device) and carry a reliable means of calling for help should the need arise. Check the weather and tides or currents before setting off.

Published in Coastguard
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Portaferry Coastguard Rescue Team had a busy evening yesterday (27th April) with a callout to Kirkistown Spit, near the village of Cloughey on the east Co Down coast

The crew were on station training when called to the scene where two people had been cut off by the rising tide. It became clear that the female was up to chest depth and in immediate danger.

Coastguard Rescue officers entered the water and helped the two people back ashore, and the female was checked by paramedics before making her way home.

Also present were Bangor Coastguard Rescue Team and Portaferry RNLI crew, who stood by for safety cover.

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Reviewing the equipment on my Sigma 33. Scribbler, before launching this year, I've been wondering about flares.

I don't have any needing disposal at present, but I've been following the debate in the UK where the Royal Yachting Association has said that "it is worth looking again at effective alternatives that might replace them altogether".

I looked up the coastal safety website of the MCA there – the Maritime and Coastguard Agency – which didn't mention flares. The RYA has highlighted that.

The yachting association takes the view that anyone carrying flares who is not compelled to do so – and that's only for over 45-footers in the UK – should pay for their disposal.

"It is not our intention to prevent those who carry flares as part of their safety equipment from doing so, but in every other area of society, the holders of hazardous waste, which out-of-date flares are classified as, are expected to dispose of it legally and responsibly." The RYA is warning that if a boatowner carries flares, they'd better budget for the cost of eventual disposal.

The RYA is warning that if a boatowner carries flares, they'd better budget for the cost of eventual disposal

That echoes the UK Department of Transport which closed a consultation on flares last month, making it clear that it favours the 'polluter pays principle to dispose of flares.

In March last year, the UK MCA renewed its advice to yacht owners to carry flares for use in an emergency, rather than using Electronic Visual Distress Signals. It says it has been spending €250,000 sterling a year for a free flares disposal service, the contract for which will expire in December. But its figures show that when it started disposing of flares free it dealt with 60,000 a year but that number has dropped to less than 12,000.

As what happens in the UK often impacts here, I asked our Department of Transport, it having responsibility for the Coast Guard here - What are the existing provisions/arrangements for the safe disposal of out-of-date flares by owners of yachts/motorboats in the leisure sphere?

Marine Notice No.13, amended last October, detailing its scheme for the safe disposal of 'time-expired' flares

The Department's Press Office sent me Marine Notice No.13, amended last October, detailing its scheme for the safe disposal of 'time-expired' flares and listing eight chandlers in Clare, Cork, Donegal and Dublin where they may be taken.

They are Derg Marine in Killaloe; CH Marine in Skibbereen and Cork City; Union Chandlery, Cork; Swan Net Gundry, Castletownbere; Atlantic Marine Supplies and Swan Net Gundry in Killybegs; O'Sullivan Marine in Rathcoole, Dublin and Solas Marine in Dun Laoghaire Harbour.

Download the full notice here

That is good to know. My concern about flares is eased.

Podcast below

Published in Tom MacSweeney
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Yesterday afternoon (11th April) Portaferry Coastguard Rescue Team had what turned out to be an Accident Prevention call out.

At Cloughey on the east coast of the Ards Peninsula in Co Down, a dog had entered the water to chase seagulls, (maybe bored with Lockdown?) but ended up quite a distance from the shore.

The owner was thinking of going into the water to rescue the dog, but he did the correct thing and stayed out of the water. Instead, he dialled 999 to ask for help. When the Team arrived, the dog was swimming ashore back to its owner. After some doggie treats and a stern telling off, it was on its way home to dry off.

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Portaferry Coastguard Rescue Team was paged on Saturday along with Newcastle Coastguard after a report that seven people were stranded by the tide on Guns Island, off the southeastern County Down coast near Ballyhornan.

Two Coastguard Rescue officers in water rescue equipment made their way out to the island to reassure the four adults and two children, but the incoming tide made it impossible to walk ashore, so Portaferry Lifeboat was called, and all seven were taken to safety.

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Coastguard and Lifeboat rescue teams have been extremely busy over the Easter Weekend and of course, answer distress calls without hesitation. But Belfast Coastguard Operations Centre has reported a hoax call.

Both Bangor and Portaferry Coastguard Rescue Teams were tasked to a vessel, possibly in distress near Ballywalter on the eastern Co. Down coast. Whilst they were proceeding to the scene, they received a call reporting a person in the water, and in serious difficulty in Killyleagh on the western side of Strangford Lough.

Both Coastguard Rescue Teams were diverted to the person in the water and Portaferry Lifeboat was also requested along with the Police Service. Belfast Coastguard said, "This was a hoax call. It tied up multiple Search and Rescue units, along with police, and someone who may have actually needed us had to wait. Please do not make hoax calls. Hoax calls cost lives".

Published in Coastguard
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Marine Wildlife Around Ireland 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. 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 the location of our beautiful little island, perched in the North Atlantic Ocean there appears to be no shortage of marine life to observe.

From whales to dolphins, seals, sharks and other ocean animals this page documents the most interesting accounts of marine wildlife around our shores. We're keen to receive your observations, your photos, links and youtube clips.

Boaters have a unique perspective and all those who go afloat, from inshore kayaking to offshore yacht racing that what they encounter can be of real value to specialist organisations such as the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) who compile a list of sightings and strandings. The IWDG knowledge base has increased over the past 21 years thanks in part at least to the observations of sailors, anglers, kayakers and boaters.

Thanks to the IWDG work we now know we share the seas with dozens of species who also call Ireland home. Here's the current list: Atlantic white-sided dolphin, beluga whale, blue whale, bottlenose dolphin, common dolphin, Cuvier's beaked whale, false killer whale, fin whale, Gervais' beaked whale, harbour porpoise, humpback whale, killer whale, minke whale, northern bottlenose whale, northern right whale, pilot whale, pygmy sperm whale, Risso's dolphin, sei whale, Sowerby's beaked whale, sperm whale, striped dolphin, True's beaked whale and white-beaked dolphin.

But as impressive as the species list is the IWDG believe there are still gaps in our knowledge. Next time you are out on the ocean waves keep a sharp look out!

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