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Displaying items by tag: Irish Coast Guard

#Coastguard - Secondary school students taking part in this week’s BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition at the RSD have identified a list of errors in navigational charts used by the Irish Coast Guard’s helicopter crews.

As the Irish Independent reports, pupils from Pobalscoil Neasáin in Baldoyle, Co Dublin found that official air charts used by the coastguard had inaccurate locations for famous landmarks including Fastnet Rock and Skellig Michael.

At the same time as the Irish Aviation Authority appeals to SAR pilots to assist in making corrections to its latest charts, the second-year students flagged the mistakes in the course of their research for a prototype helicopter-mounted ultrasonic sensor.

The ‘EchoCopter’ would the terrain of the aircraft’s flight path in real time, providing supplementary data alongside the built-in EGPWS system.

It’s hoped that such a device might help avoid further tragedies such as the Rescue 116 crash last March, which took the lives of four experienced coastguard SAR crew.

The Irish Independent has more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastguard

#Coastguard - The Irish Coast Guard saved 335 lives and assisted more than 3,300 people in 2017, as RTÉ News reports.

Among the details of its end of year review, the coastguard said its volunteer units and helicopter SAR crews also assisted with recovering 65 bodies resulting from drownings or searches for missing persons.

Overall, rescue incidents handled through the coastguard’s three Marine Rescue Co-ordination Centres were marginally fewer than in 2016.

But the coastguard also noted that despite its own and others’ water safety messages, a sizeable number of those assisted in SAR incidents last year were not wearing a personal floatation device or lifejacket.

RTÉ News has more on story HERE.

Published in Coastguard
Tagged under

#Rescue116 - The Irish Aviation Authority has appealed to SAR and other pilots to help correct its latest aeronautical chart introduced this past summer, as The Irish Times reports.

The updated visual flight rules chart was published in response to the Air Accident Investigation Unit (AAIU) highlighting issues with navigation data uncovered during their investigation of the Rescue 116 tragedy, which remains ongoing.

It’s now emerged that pilots have been encouraged to report mistakes and omissions in the new chart, which is already known to indicate a number of lighthouses in the wrong positions, among other errors.

In other news, the company that operates the Irish Coast Guard’s helicopter SAR services says its future profitability could be affected by potential legal and regulatory proceedings in the wake of the incident off Co Mayo in March this year.

The Irish Independent reports that CHC Ireland added the advisory to its latest accounts published for the Companies Registration Office.

Published in Coastguard

#WaterSafety - The Irish Coast Guard and the RNLI have issued a joint safety message for the festive season to remind people to stay safe when they are in or near the water, and to remember some basic safety advice to use if they see someone in trouble or get into difficulty themselves.

Speaking ahead of the holiday period, Irish Coast Guard operations manager Gerard O’Flynn said: “Many people will be engaging in outdoor activities along the coastline. The simple safety message is: Stay Back, Stay High, Stay Dry.

“Christmas Day swims are a popular pursuit and we would urge the public to only participate in organised swims where medical support and lifeguards are available.

The three Rescue Co-ordination Centres based in Malin, Valentia and Dublin, along with the coastguard helicopter service and volunteer units, will remain operational over the holiday period.

“And we would remind the public that if you see anybody in danger at sea, on the coast or on cliffs to call 112 and ask for the coastguard,” O’Flynn added.

The RNLI’s volunteer lifeboat crews will also remain on call over the Christmas period “but what would really make them happy is if everyone has a safe Christmas,” said the RNLI’s head of engagement Gareth Morrison.

“At this time of year a lot of people take part in charity swims and the water temperature is a lot lower than in the summer months. The RNLI lifeboat crews launch to a lot of people who never expected to end up in the water when they left the house. Callouts can be to people getting cut off from the tide, to slips or falls while walking near the coastline.

“We run our drowning prevention campaign ‘Respect the Water’ all year round and ask people to follow some simple advice and know what to do in an emergency. Further information is also available at www.respecthewater.com.”

If you fall into cold water unexpectedly, remember to fight your instincts, not the water.

People follow the same instinct when in cold water - they gasp, thrash about and swim hard. But this increases chances of water entering your lungs and increases strain on your heart.

If this happens, fight your instinct and float. The initial shock will pass quite quickly within 60–90 seconds and when you have regained control of your breathing, you can then try swimming to safety or calling for help. You’ll have a far better chance of staying alive.

If taking part in a swim, always take your time to slowly walk into the sea to allow your body time to acclimatise. Stay in the shallow water when you first go in to reduce the severity of cold water shock.

If you see someone in trouble in the water, fight the instinct to go in yourself. Call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.

If out for a walk by the water or along the coast, remember:

  • Be wary of all edges around the sea and waterside. Slips and falls happen in all locations; it is not just high cliff edges that are a risk.
  • Always let someone know where you are going and when you expect to be back.
  • Take care when walking in dark and slippery conditions.
  • Always take a means of calling for help.
  • Always check the weather and tides.
Published in Water Safety

#Coastguard - The Irish Coast Guard received a call from a member of the public yesterday evening (Sunday 5 November) who advised that two stand-up paddle boarders appeared to be in difficultly at the North Bull Wall near Dublin Port.

Dun Laoghaire Coast Guard’s team was on patrol off Sandymount at the time and were tasked to investigate, first making contact with the concerned caller.

Due to fading daylight, it was difficult to assess the SUPs’ situation and the coastguard crew had to relocate to a better position.

Assistance was also requested by incoming ferries to investigate on their passage into Dublin Port if the SUPs were indeed in difficultly.

It was quickly determined that the SUPs were riding the wake from the ferries, and eventually returned to shore once the ferries had passed.

The paddlers were part of a group that travels out daily to meet the ferries, taking off from the north side of the North Wall and staying outside of the shipping channel. All have undergone safety training and have been an asset to emergency responders at times, said Dun Laoghaire Coast Guard.

However, to some out walking in the evening, they might appear to be making no progress and this may prompt concern.

“Thankfully a safe ending to a cold evening,” said the coastguard unit.

Tagged under

#Coastguard - Irish Coast Guard management faced a protest march at the weekend over Kilkee’s lack of a full rescue service — and one restricted further since the death last year of coastguard volunteer Caitriona Lucas, as The Irish Times reports.

Locals were demonstrating for the second time this month over what former mayor Manuel di Lucia said was an issue that dated back to when the Irish Coast Guard took over the Co Clare’s town’s community lifeboat in 2013.

The paper’s sources allege inconsistent management and a lack of training and qualified crew compounded the situation that led to the death of Lucas, when the RIB she was travelling in capsized during a search operation. Her bravery at sea was recognised with a posthumous award of the State's highest honour earlier this month.

The Irish Times has much more on the protest, which came on the same weekend that Lucas and the lost crew of Rescue 116 were remembered at a memorial service for those who died in the Cleggan Bay Disaster in 1927.

Published in Coastguard

#Rescue116 - Lifejackets worn by the crew of the downed Rescue 116 were not fit for purpose — and the operators of Ireland’s coastguard rescue helicopter service knew five years beforehand.

That’s according to a report set to be broadcast on RTÉ One’s Prime Time at 9.35pm tonight (Thursday 26 October), which reveals that pilots had warned management at CHC Ireland that locator beacons on supplied lifejackets were fitted too close to the GPS antenna, contrary to manufacturer’s guidelines.

“Effectively this means that the beacon could produce absolutely zero receivable transmissions,” said a 2014 safety report filed by one crew member, while another warned that “pilots are wholly exposed in the event of a ditching”.

The Air Accident Investigation Unit’s preliminary report in April recommended a review of the use of locator beacons on Mk 44 lifejackets used by the crew of Rescue 116.

The crash on 14 March caused the deaths of Capt Dara Fitzpatrick and Capt Mark Duffy. The bodies of Paul Ormsby and winchman Ciaran Smith remain lost at sea.

While the installation issue only applies to the pilots’ lifejackets, which have since been withdrawn from service, the Prime Time report will also cover documents that identify similar issues with those worn by winch crew across the Irish Coast Guard fleet.

The new revelations come after a previous Prime Time report this summer said the issue of missing data from the helicopter’s onboard warning system was flagged four years ago with senior management at CHC Ireland, which won a 10-year contract to operate the Irish Coast Guard’s helicopter SAR services in 2012.

Published in Coastguard

#Coastguard - The late Irish Coast Guard volunteer Caitriona Lucas has been recognised in this year’s National Bravery Awards.

The Posthumous Gold Medal and Certificate of Bravery were presented to Lucas’ family at Farmleigh House yesterday (Friday 20 October) a year after she died during a search operation in Kilkee when her RIB capsized.

“Catriona’s courage and selfless action on that day says everything about her — her strength of character and spirit and willingness to help others,” said Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó’ Fearghaíl, who presented the awards to 15 recipients.

“It is also a reminder of how committed and brave members of our emergency services put their lives on the line on a daily basis to help and protect their communities.

“Caitriona’s family accepted a Gold Medal for Bravery in recognition of her courage, which is the highest award possible.”

Others recognised at the ceremony yesterday include Darren McMahon, who was awarded a Certificate of Bravery for his attempt to rescue his brother from a kayak trapped in a weir gate in Ennis.

Bronze Medals and Certificates of Bravery also went to scouts Sean Baitson, Kyle Corrigan, Cory Ridge Grenelle and Philip Byrne for their attempts to rescue 14-year-old Aoife Winterlich, who died after being swept into the sea during an outing at Hook Head Lighthouse in December 2015.

Byrne in particular was noted for his efforts to keep Winterlich afloat in the rough waters before help arrived.

Published in Coastguard

#Medevac - Shannon’s Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 115 was involved in a medevac from the cruise liner Queen Mary 2 some 60 nautical miles off West Cork on Thursday morning (12 October), as BreakingNews.ie reports.

An elderly passenger understood to have a heart problem was treated by the ocean liner’s medical staff before transfer to the coastguard crew, who airlifted him to University Hospital Tralee.

Published in Coastguard

#Coastguard - Castletownbere’s Irish Coast Guard team was alerted on Friday night (29 September) by Valentia Coast Guard to a medevac scheduled for the early hours of Saturday.

FV Argeles, a French fishing vessel, had an injured crewman onboard and was expected in Castletownbere some hours later.

The coastguard crew and Castletownbere HSE ambulance were waiting for the trawler when it docked at 2.40am. The two crews worked together to assess and stabilise the casualty, who had sustained back injuries after a fall.

After the casualty had been transferred to the ambulance, they were taken to Cork University Hospital for further treatment. The coastguard team were stood down at 5.10am.

Elsewhere, the Marine Rescue Coordination Centre in Dublin received a request for assistance from a yacht off the coast of Malahide on Thursday afternoon (28 September).

A crew member aboard the yacht, which was en route to Dun Laoghaire Marina, was ill and required medical attention.

It was agreed that the yacht would continue to its destination. RNLI Dun Laoghaire was sent to provide an escort and also dropped crew aboard to assist.

On arrival to the marina, Dún Laoghaire Coast Guard members greeted the yacht alongside HSE paramedics and gardaí. The ill crew member was transported to hospital for further medical attention.

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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