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Ireland has ranked fifth in a new Europe-wide report on bathing water quality - but some beaches in Northern Ireland are falling short of strict EU standards.
MEP Jim Higgins welcomed the results of the annual Bathing Water Report for 2010, saying: "Ireland's scenic attributes are a primary reason for attracting tourists and it is essential that our coastal and inland bathing sites are also enticing."
Ireland has moved up five places from its overall rank of 10th in 2009, with 90.1% of all bathing water sites meeting the EU's Blue Flag guidelines for water quality at beaches and swimming spots.
However, the Daily Telegraph reports that a number of beaches in Northern Ireland and other parts of the UK were judged to be 'poor'.
Beaches at Newcastle and Ballyholme in the North are among 16 across the UK that did not pass the EU's strict checks for Blue Flags.
The 2010 report ranks Cyprus as the cleanest bathing spot in Europe, with 100% of sites passing EU insspection. It was closely followed by Croatia with 97.3%, Malta at 95.4% and Greece at 94.2%.

Ireland has ranked fifth in a new Europe-wide report on bathing water quality - but some beaches in Northern Ireland are falling short of strict EU standards.

MEP Jim Higgins welcomed the results of the annual Bathing Water Report for 2010, saying: "Ireland's scenic attributes are a primary reason for attracting tourists and it is essential that our coastal and inland bathing sites are also enticing."

Ireland has moved up five places from its overall rank of 10th in 2009, with 90.1% of all bathing water sites meeting the EU's Blue Flag guidelines for water quality at beaches and swimming spots.

However, the Daily Telegraph reports that a number of beaches in Northern Ireland and other parts of the UK were judged to be 'poor'.

Beaches at Newcastle and Ballyholme in the North are among 16 across the UK that did not pass the EU's strict checks for Blue Flags.

The 2010 report ranks Cyprus as the cleanest bathing spot in Europe, with 100% of sites passing EU insspection. It was closely followed by Croatia with 97.3%, Malta at 95.4% and Greece at 94.2%.

Published in Coastal Notes

Afloat magazine profiles Noonan Boats, one of the country’s leading repair facilities

From collision damage, keel fairing right up to osmosis treatments and re-sprays, Noonan boatyard in Newcastle, Greystones Co. Wicklow offers such a comprehensive service on the East Coast there is little need for any boat to go abroad for repairs these days, regardless of the extent of damage.

And news of the quality work has been spreading with boats from the four coasts Ireland coming to Wicklow for a range of work.

noonan_clip2

Graeme Noonan (left) has extensive big boat repair experience from his time in the marine industry in Sydney, Australia and is an active RS sailor. Founder Tony Noonan (centre) has spent a lifetime in the Irish Marine industry with Neil Watson Yachts, Wicklow Marine Services before setting up Noonan Boats in 1995. Brian Flahive is an active dinghy and keelboat sailor this year finished second in the Round Ireland double-handed class and won the Fireball National Championships.

Father and son team Tony and Graeme Noonan have over 30 years in the business and have recently expanded the premises to over 3,000 sq feet to cater for a growing range of repair work for boats up to 50 feet under cover.

They have a well-established reputation for the treatment of osmosis, to resolve hull blistering. This is a preventative and remedial process that requires specialist treatment.

The bulk of repair work comes from along the East Coast based boats and the nearby port of Dun Laoghaire but the company offers a national service to include transport to and from the Noonan boatyard if required.

“We have an established track record dealing with Insurance companies. No job is too difficult, too small or too big for us” says Tony Noonan.

Most work is carried out in in a purpose-built marine workshop containing two lifting bay facilities that includes keel and rudder repair pits but the firm also carries out on site repairs to suit too.

Repairs are carried out to original specifications and they carry out re-moulding repairs to up to date construction methods e.g. GRP foam core, Balsa core and carbon under vacuum bagging conditions.

A particular speciality is the repair of carbon repairs to dinghy masts, spinnaker poles and hulls. This has become more popular recently with the advent of carbon bowsprits on boats such as the J109s and SB3s.

Keel fairing, the process of improving the accuracy of the shape of a keel to improve boat speed is also high on the jobs list.

The company also has the specialist hot weld equipment to carry out the repair of polyethylene materials as used in the RS Feva and Laser Pico dinghies.

noonan_work

Colour Matching

Making a fibreglass repair to bring a boat back to original specification is one thing but matching gel coat to weathered or faded paintwork is quite another. Noonan Boatyard cosmetically match gels to present colour so the repair can appear practically invisible.

Polyethelene Repair

Plastic boats are durable but they can split and crack. Repairing them requires specialist heat gun welding equipment

Repair and re-spray

Weathered topsides, especially darker colours, always benefit from a re-spray, tired areas including decks and non-skid areas can also be re-sprayed

Floor matrix repair

After a keel grounding with rocks, for example, damage to a floor matrix may not be immediately visible but it is vital that inner frames are checked and repaired

Osmosis treatment, hot vac and copper coat

The yard uses the latest technology in the treatment of osmosis. Hulls are gel-planed to expose lay up prior to a HOT- VAC process and drying. This can be the stage where copper coat is an economical choice. It ends the need for the expensive and unpleasant annual chore of cleaning and repainting a boat’s hull. Simply hose down the hull at regular intervals, commonly once a year, to remove any build-up of sea-slime. We currently have two examples in our yard at present which show after one year and after ten years of immersion – and still working. Come and see for yourself!

Fully Repaired, Tried and Tested

Noonan Boats completed extensive repairs to Oystercatcher, a Gibsea 37, and when this work was completed the firm entered the boat in the gruelling 704-mile race round Ireland.

Local sailors Brian Flahive (Fireball National Champion) who works at the yard and Bryan Byrne manned what was Wicklow Sailing Club’s first ever yacht to entry into the doubled handed class of the Race. Dubbed the ‘Pride of Newcastle’ the entry finished an impressive winner of IRC III and Cruiser Class IV. The pair also finished second in the two handed class.

It was no easy journey but certainly the repairs stood up to the job, a case of repair work being tried, tested and proven!

The Boatyard, Sea Road, Newcastle, Greystones, Co. Wicklow
Tel/Fax: 01 281 9175  •  Mobile: 086 170 8875
Email: [email protected]

Published in Boat Maintenance
Page 4 of 4

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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