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Largs Yacht Haven in Ayrshire has been awarded the marina industry’s top accreditation, the Five Gold Anchor award, for the fourth time in a row.

The Gold Anchor award scheme rates the quality, level of service and overall standard of a marina’s offering. Marinas are assessed every three years meaning that Largs Yacht Haven has now carried the industry’s highest accreditation for over 12 years.

In 2017, as previously reported by Afloat, Largs Yacht Haven won the UK's Coastal Marina of the Year Award.

Since their previous inspection, Largs Yacht Haven has had major capital investment to ensure the marina remained at a high level. Recent investments included a new surfaced car park with a number plate recognition service for berth holders, new finger pontoons and an upgrade of all Wi-Fi hardware and infrastructure. These investments have helped ensure the marina remains an option for national and international events with various sailing fleets visiting Largs over the past few years.

New for this year’s assessment, marinas are highly scrutinised over their environmental impact. Particular attention is paid to the range of events and general awareness of environmental impacts. The assessor paid credit to Largs’ efforts in this area saying;

“Largs Yacht Haven is a true water sports centre; a nautical village in its own right. Largs Yacht Haven and Largs Sailing Club have helped put Largs on the map as a water sports destination with international allure. Largs Yacht Haven breathes respect for nature… it is green in both the literal and figurative sense. Environmental awareness is obvious throughout the marina, while the marina manager and marina team lead by example.”

– TYHA Assessor, 2019

Marina Manager Carolyn Elder has managed Largs Yacht Haven for over 30 years. Carolyn believes this year’s accreditation is extra special due to the current economic climate; “Just like many other businesses, we’re being forced to find new ways to attract customers, while working more efficiently and ensuring our business is as environmentally-aware as possible. Marinas need constant care, maintenance and improvement so we’re delighted that our efforts have been recognised across the board.”

Next year promises to be another exciting year at Largs Yacht Haven. The Visit Scotland Year of Coast And Water 2020 will coincide with the return of Fife Regatta in June, as well as D Zero Nationals, Optimist Nationals, Largs Regatta Festival and the RYA Zone Championships.

Published in Scottish Waters
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Shandon's senior men's eight were the fastest rowing crew at the Skibbereen Head of the River at the Marina in Cork on Saturday. They covered the course in nine minutes 4.97 seconds.  

Andrew Sheehan of Lee, a junior 18 competitor, was the fastest single sculler in 11 minutes 29.22 seconds. Junior women’s sculler Hannah Gahan of Cork Boat Club topped the rankings. 

Cork Boat Club's women's eight (bow number 268) were the fastest women's crew.

The head was held in very good conditions, though there was some difficulty due to bigger craft earlier in the day.

Published in Rowing

Last week the ICOMIA World Marinas Conference 2018 was held in Athens, hosted by the Greek Marinas Association who provided a  programme of topics, speakers and events under the theme: “Cross Sea Challenge for Marinas – Setting the Scene for Collective Development and Growth”. 

The Irish Marina Operators Association who represent over 20 Irish coastal installations and who are members of ICOMIA, did not attend this year's tenth such event.

Marina managers of the world met at the World Marina Conference in Athens to discuss the importance of marinas and waterfront redevelopment for economies, with a particular emphasis on how marina development can support the growth of boating, tourism and manufacturing markets. The conference is the only one of its kind, focusing in-depth on the marina industry on a global scale.

A conference for marina managers

The ICOMIA Marinas Group works hard to allow and encourage the exchange of technical, environmental and marketing information; educate government on the economic importance and environmental compatibility of boating facilities and creating a network so that information can be pooled for the common good. Additionally, the group organises the biennial ICOMIA Marinas Conference. 

Through the work of IMG, and collaboration during the ICOMIA Marinas Conference, marinas from across the world work towards a less bureaucratic industry, and a more straightforward approach to the expansion and improvement of boating infrastructure. With international pressures on boating and associated industry, from steel tariffs to environmental legislation, it has never been more important to develop an international forum, and have a unified body to allow the industry to speak with one voice.

A conference for investors

Marinas are very long-term businesses, and it is common for investors to expect a long and slow payback period. It is important that governments understand this, otherwise, there is a great risk that short-term leases will affect the viability of the industry. That is why the advocacy work of ICOMIA is so important, and the attendance of those working in government and politics at the World Marinas Conference is sure to have a positive impact on the industry.

Published in Irish Marinas
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Holyhead Sailing Club (HSC) is working on contingency plans to host the ISORA fleet following the devastation to the North Wales Marina during Storm Emma. 

it is unlikely the damage will be repaired in time for the ISORA events planned in Holyhead this year but it is not stopping the HSC team from coming up with alternatives.

The ISORA start for race three on 12th May and also the finish of race four on 26th May are due to take place at Holyhead.

As Afloat.ie reported at the time, the damage in Holyhead both to its racing fleet and the marina pontoons was severe.

Published in ISORA
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#CoastalNotes- A multi-million pound marina development planned for Fishguard Harbour, south Wales have fallen through.

This morning (Thursday) reports the Western Telegraph, the Conygar Investment Company released a statement to the London Stock Exchange, writing off their £2m investment in the Fishguard / Goodwick Marina Development.

Conygar said: "Conygar has been informed by Stena that they do not wish to have any further involvement in the proposed marina development and do not wish to proceed with the reclamation works of the harbour.

"Stena state that they are concerned that the marina development will interfere with the operation of the harbour and their ferry operations. They will also not support the promotion of the Harbour Revision Order, which is necessary to progress the development.

For much more on the decision by the ferry operator, click here.

Published in Coastal Notes

Royal Cork Yacht Club Marina has won International Marina of the Year 2018 at the London Boat Show.

The Yacht Harbour Association (TYHA) announced the winners of their prestigious NMU Marina of the Year Awards on Thursday evening (11 January) at the new five-day London Boat Show 2018.

Gavin Deane, General Manager at the Royal Cork Yacht Club, commented upon receiving the award for International Marina of the Year: “We are delighted to receive such a significant award from TYHA, having been runner up in this category last year it spurred us on to improve our standards even further over the last 12 months.

“The receipt of this award is as a result of the hard work of the Executive Committee and Club Staff since the Royal Cork attained the Five Gold Anchor Status in late 2011.

This award means so much to everyone at the Club as it is voted for by our berth holders and visiting boats.” 

corkweekaerialRoyal Cork Yacht Club's marina (foreground) full to capacity during the staging of its biennial Cork Week Regatta. Photo:Bob Bateman

Now in their fifth year, the Awards, sponsored in 2018 by specialist insurer, NMU, are special because they are voted for by berth holders. They recognise the best of over 160 Gold Anchor accredited marinas from across the globe.

The NMU Marina of the Year 2018 winners and runners up were:

International Marina of the Year 2018

Winner – Royal Cork Yacht Club, Ireland
Runner up – Marina de Vilamoura, Portugal

UK Coastal Marina of the Year 2018 (over 250 berths)

Winner – St Helier Marina, Jersey
Runner up – Royal Quays Marina, England

UK Coastal Marina of the Year 2018 (under 250 berths)

Winner – Inverness Marina, Scotland
Runner up – Poole Quay Boat Haven, England

UK Inland Marina of the Year 2018

Winner – Church Minshull Aqueduct Marina, England
Runner up – Overwater Marina, England

Superyacht Marina of the year 2018

Winner – The Pavilion Marina at Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Runner up – Palmarina Bodrum, Turkey

Simon Haigh, Chairman of The Yacht Harbour Association, a group association within British Marine, gave his praise to all the marinas involved: “Many congratulations to all the winners and runners up in the NMU Marina of the Year Awards 2018. These awards have built huge momentum since they were introduced and really mean something because it is marina customers who are voting for their marinas, recognising the excellence of facilities provided and the level of service which they receive.

“The winners have been endorsed by their customers in the best possible way, to become Marina of the Year in their respective categories, which must be a hugely motivating and satisfying achievement. I would like to commend everyone involved and pass on our best wishes for the 2018 boating season.”

Commenting on their UK Coastal Marina (over 250 berths) category award, Mike Tait, Group Leisure Manager for Jersey Marinas said: “We are absolutely thrilled to have won this award, especially as it is voted for by our customers. Although we are small in number each and every one of the team takes an enormous pride and pleasure in looking after our marina guests.

“To receive such recognition from the prestigious The Yacht Harbour Association is a true reflection of the dedication, enthusiasm and professionalism consistently demonstrated by the Jersey Marinas Team and we would like to thank everyone who voted for us”.

David Findlay, Marina Manager at Inverness Marina responded to their award for UK Coastal Marina of the Year (under 250 berths): “We were all very surprised and pleased to hear that we had won the award. We would like to thank all our customers that took the time to vote for us and we look forward to providing the same friendly service and welcome to all those who choose to berth their boats at Inverness Marina, and to all the ever increasing numbers of visiting yachts passing through in the summer months 

“This is the icing on the cake on top of our four gold anchors, and with further developments planned we hope to improve our facilities even more to become a five gold anchor marina.”

Robert Parton, Managing Director at Church Minshull Aqueduct Marina, this year’s winner of the inland marina category commented: “We are delighted to have won the Inland Marina of the Year 2018 award. In an increasingly competitive market where customers have plenty of choice of marinas and moorings around the inland network, it is particularly rewarding to win an award that is a result of boat owners’ votes. Our thanks go to all those who voted for Aqueduct Marina, The Yacht Harbour Association for organising the award and to NMU for sponsoring the competition.” 

Liyanage Kithsiri, Marina Manager, Jumeirah Beach Hotel Marina, on receiving the Superyacht Marina Award said: “We are delighted to win this prestigious award, which demonstrates our commitment to providing the highest standards of customer service and safety. We would like to thank all of our loyal marina members for their ongoing support as well as Jumeirah Beach Hotel and Dubai Holding for their commitment to quality.”

Joe McCarthy, Marine Trade Underwriting Manager at awards sponsor NMU commented on the awards and NMU’s involvement: “To be recognised by their berth holders for consistently delivering a first class service is testament to each marina and their staff. All the winners and runners up today should be rightly proud of these awards.

“As multiple winners of insurance industry service awards ourselves, NMU really value the achievement of winning an award which is voted for entirely by your own customers.

“NMU are specialist insurers to the marine industry and we are proud sponsors of the NMU Marina Of The Year awards.”

To commemorate their achievement, winners and runners up of the Awards were presented with etched glass trophies and framed certificates by NMU company director, Nick Limb.

Jon White, General Manager of The Yacht Harbour Association, summed up the awards for 2018: “Yet again the competition for these much coveted awards was fierce. The winners, runners up and all the marinas voted for in this year’s NMU Marina of the Year competition deserve a huge round of applause. Right across the UK and around the world we are seeing marinas rise to the challenge of meeting the modern berth holder’s needs, ensuring they receive both excellent facilities and services.”

Published in Royal Cork YC

Marina pontoon installation work has been installed at Cape Clear Island's North Harbour where pontoons to the value of €200,000 are now in place at the West Cork island harbour.

As our pictures below show the new facility is a welcome addition in the popular harbour for both commercial and leisure craft. It's another valuable asset for boaters exploring the sailing wonders of West Cork.

The facility was installed by leading Irish pontoon supplier, Inland and Coastal Marina Systems Ltd.

 cape clear pontoon1cape clear pontoon1

Under the 2017 fishery harbour and coastal infrastructure capital programme, Junior Minister Andrew Doyle told the Dail Harbour's debate in June he had allocated €720,000 for maintenance and development works at the Island's North Harbour.

'The 2017 programme provides €200,000 for pontoons at Cape Clear and €250,000 for the design, preparation of contract documents and planning for additional repair work to Duffy's Pier' he said.

Read more on the works in our July report here.

Published in Coastal Notes
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Marina pontoon installation work is well underway at Cape Clear Island's North Harbour where pontoons to the value of €200,000 have been procured for the West Cork island harbour.

Under the 2017 fishery harbour and coastal infrastructure capital programme, Junior Minister Andrew Doyle told the Dail Harbour's debate in June he had allocated €720,000 for maintenance and development works at the Island's North Harbour.

'The 2017 programme provides €200,000 for pontoons at Cape Clear and €250,000 for the design, preparation of contract documents and planning for additional repair work to Duffy's Pier' he said.

Read more on the works in our June report here.

Published in Irish Marinas
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140–boats are expected off the coast of County Wicklow for the two–race 'Taste of Greystones Trophy' later this month. 

Greystones Sailing Club (GSC) will be keeping its fingers crossed for better winds than two years ago when the 2017 edition sets sail this August 26th. In 2015, the event was becalmed and rescheduled but its been the only blot for the newest east coast regatta that has been a runaway–success for the traditional dinghy club. GSC has also been embracing cruiser–racing since the new marina opened in the harbour, four years ago.

Started in 2013, by Greystones Sailing Club, the new cruiser event has focused on the 'social experience Greystones village offers', according to club Commodore Daragh Cafferkey, a regular ISORA sailor. 

Clubs from Howth, Clontarf, Poolbeg, Dublin Bay, Bray, Wicklow, Arkow and Courtown – and perhaps some from as far afield as Wales too – are expected in Wicklow for the regatta sponsored by marina operator BJ Marine.

Published in Greystones Harbour

Bantry Bay Port Company officially opened the new Bantry Harbour Marina yesterday (Friday, 11th August 2017). Over 40 boats visited the new marina which was officially unveiled by Bantry’s own footballing legend, Graham Canty along with Bantry Bay Port Company Chairman, John Mullins.

To celebrate the opening, Bantry Regatta and BBQ Festival is taking place all weekend (11th - 13th August) with lots of fun family events, both on and off the water happening on the marina and throughout Bantry town.

The opening of the new marina is part of the overall Bantry Inner Harbour Development which marks the start of the regenerating of the Inner Harbour Development scheme developed by the Bantry Bay Harbour Commissioners in 2012.

Speaking at the opening, Bantry Bay Port Company and Port of Cork Chairman John Mullins said “We are delighted that the new Bantry Harbour Marina is now open for local and visiting boats to enjoy. This new sheltered harbour facility will be of great benefit to both commercial and leisure users bringing increased activity in Bantry Harbour and Town and we would like to acknowledge the cooperation and patience of all local harbour users shown throughout the construction period.”

He continued, “We are pleased to have worked closely with the Bantry Development & Tourism Association and the Bantry Business Association to host the inaugural Bantry Regatta & BBQ Festival which is sure to be a fantastic weekend for all.”

Brendan Keating CEO Bantry Bay Port Company and Port of Cork said “I’d like to pay particular thanks to BAM Construction and Malachy Walsh Consulting Engineers and our own port teams in Bantry and in Cork.” 

He continued, “The Inner Harbour Development will provide improved access and facilities on the town pier, will support existing businesses and will promote and increase commercial activity in Bantry Harbour and Town.”

Bantry Harbour Marina will provide 40 short-stay berths for the marine leisure sector in close proximity to Bantry Town which will provide a critical kick-start for the marine leisure industry, with the aim to attract more marine tourism to the area.

Published in Irish Marinas
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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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