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Allianz and Afloat - Supporting Irish Boating

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Displaying items by tag: Fethard

Volunteer lifeboat crew at Fethard RNLI were requested to launch their lifeboat by the Irish Coast Guard on Sunday afternoon (1 May) at 3pm, to the aid of four people on board a yacht south of Duncannon Fort in the Waterford Estuary.

Fethard RNLI’s inshore lifeboat crew were attending the Shine A Light Festival at Hook Lighthouse where the crew were offering sea safety advice to the locals and visitors in the area, when Irish Coast Guard requested their assistance. Fully prepared with shore crew and boat crew, they proceeded straight to Duncannon launching the lifeboat from Duncannon strand. Conditions were good with a force 4 south-westerly wind and a flood tide.

The lifeboat proceeded to the vessel in difficulty and established that the crew of the casualty vessel were all ok. Irish Coast Guard Helicopter, Rescue 117, stood by overhead until Fethard lifeboat crew carried out an assessment of the situation. The lifeboat crew then established a tow line, brought the yacht to deeper safe water, where the yacht made its way under its own power.

Speaking about the incident Fethard’s Volunteer Helm Eoin Bird said, ‘We’d like to thank the member of the public who dialled 999 or 112 to raise the alarm with the Coast Guard.’ Eoin also went on to say, ‘As a general reminder, as this year’s leisure boat season gets underway, it is recommended to those taking to the water, to ensure that their maritime charts are up to date, that they have relevant tide tables, at least one means of communication and that all equipment on their vessel is fully operational and in date. And most importantly, that all crew on board always wear a lifejacket.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Fethard RNLI are hugely grateful to a group of local winter swimmers who each braved the elements completing 12 Swims of Christmas during December, at Baginbun Beach, raising an amazing €9,150.

Set up by local artist Helen Mason, this safety-conscious swimming group who prefer to swim in numbers, grew from single figures to almost 70. In an effort to stay motivated this December, as the sea temperatures dropped, the group set themselves a goal of 12 swims, and a fundraising target for Fethard RNLI. Speaking at today’s presentation, Helen said; ’To help stay focused, we decided to turn the month of December into a fundraiser for our local RNLI in recognition of the time and dedication given by our local RNLI volunteers. We enjoyed every minute of it, and how we laughed and joked!’

Today (30 January) Helen, the swimmers, and their families presented the cheque to volunteer Lifeboat fundraising committee member Sarah Bates and Fethard RNLI chairperson Tony Molloy at Fethard RLNI boathouse. Commenting on this amazing amount raised, Tony said, ‘It is dedicated fundraisers like Helen and the swimmers that help keep RNLI stations going. As a charity we depend on these generous acts of fundraising to run our station, train our crew, and update our lifesaving equipment. Thanks to everyone who got involved in the swims and all who logged on to the charity page and made their donation. It is because of everyone involved; we get to save lives at sea.’

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Fethard RNLI joined Kilmore Quay’s coastguard unit in a multi-agency operation to rescue local residents trapped in their homes by heavy flooding on Christmas Day, according to RTÉ News.

It’s reported that a number of people in the village of Bridgetown were safely removed by lifeboat, while motorists who were either cut off by the flooding or trapped in the water were also assisted.

Wexford Civil Defence and Wexford Fire Service also joined in the rescue effort on Saturday 25 December, as Kilmore Quay Coast Guard acknowledged on social media.

Heavy rainfall delayed the arrival of the Waterford-based Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 117 — and was also responsible for the erosion of bridges near Enniscorthy due to the swelling of the River Borough (Boro), a tributary of the River Slaney.

In a statement, Transport Minister Eamon Ryan said his department “will provide full support for Wexford County Council and other councils as they address and repair the damage caused by the flash floods”.

Published in Rescue

Fethard RNLI launched its inshore lifeboat on Friday afternoon last (22 October) to conduct a sea search. A concerned member of the public out kayaking reported seeing a body like object floating in the sea off Baginbun Beach in County Wexford.

The volunteer crew was requested to launch their inshore lifeboat by the Irish Coast Guard just after p.m. The crew proceeded to Fethard Dock, launched the lifeboat, and made their way to an area east of Baginbun beach to carry out a search. Weather conditions at the time were good with a light south-westerly breeze, calm sea conditions and good visibility.

The multi-agency response involved Fethard RNLI, Fethard Coast Guard, The National Ambulance Service, An Garda Siochana and Coast Guard Helicopter Rescue 117. An extensive sea search of Baginbun Bay was carried out by Fethard RNLI lifeboat, with Rescue 117 assisting from the air. Fethard Coast Guard ground units carried out a shoreline search.

After two hours, the search was stood down by the Irish Coast Guard, when nothing was found.

Speaking after the call out, Pete Barry, Fethard RNLI Deputy Launch Authority said “Even though the call turned out to be a false alarm, we would like to commend the member of the public who did the right thing by calling 999 to report what they saw. They thought someone had gotten into trouble and had good intent calling the authorities. We would rather launch to investigate what was seen and put everyone’s mind at ease. This call also highlights the importance of always carrying a means of communication when involved in water activities by the sea.”

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Fethard RNLI lifeboat was requested to launch today (Saturday 25 September) by the Irish Coast Guard shortly before 12.30 pm, following a call for help from two stranded fishermen in a small open punt. Their craft had outboard engine difficulties in thick fog off Creadan Head in the Waterford Estuary.

The volunteer crew of Fethard Lifeboat launched at Duncannon Strand and proceeded to the coordinates given by the men on the broken-down vessel. The water was flat calm; there was a light breeze. However, visibility was less than 4 metres in a thick fog. The fishermen were located off Woodstown, where they tied up to a lobster pot marker buoy. There, the lifeboat crew assessed the situation, and it was decided to tow the fishermen back to the safety of Duncannon Harbour.

Commenting about the callout Thomas Stafford, Volunteer Helm, said, "The two lads did everything right. They wore their lifejackets, they tied up to a marker when the engine failed, and they had the means to call for help and give their coordinates when things went wrong. All this led to a positive outcome with the two lads being returned to safety."

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Over the weekend Fethard RNLI marked the 25th anniversary of the reopening of their lifeboat station, with an impressive search and rescue display off Baginbun Beach in Wexford. The search and rescue demonstration involved Fethard RNLI and their flanking lifeboat stations, Dunmore East RNLI and Kilmore Quay RNLI along with Fethard Coast Guard and Rescue 117. The Wexford based lifeboat station had been off service for a period of 82 years before locals were successful in getting the historic lifeboat station reopened with an inshore lifeboat in 1996.

As the weather held off, a crowd gathered to observe lifeboat crews from Fethard, Dunmore East and Kilmore Quay, carry out a scenario which saw the three RNLI lifeboat crews work as a team to form search patterns to locate survivors of a fictional light aircraft, which had reportedly come down just off Baginbun Head. When located, the casualties were brought ashore where the volunteer crew of Fethard Lifeboat administered casualty care and transferred them into the care of Fethard Coast Guard. In the final part of the exercise, Waterford based Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 117 flew overhead; in this scenario the helicopter crew would have airlifted the casualties onboard to receive more urgent medical care and transport to hospital.

Also present on the day were members of the RNLI’s Water Safety team, who provided advice and handed out waterproof pouches to water sports enthusiasts for the safe keeping of their mobile phones when they are out on the water.

Speaking about the joint exercise to mark the 25th anniversary, Volunteer Lifeboat Operations Manager for Fethard RNLI, Walter Foley said, ‘This major exercise between the three RNLI lifeboat stations, Fethard Coast Guard and Rescue117 shows the public the services that are available to them when things go wrong. It highlights the importance of always carrying a means of calling for help on your person and to call 999 or 112 if you or someone else gets into trouble.’

Walter continued saying ‘We, at Fethard RNLI, would like to thank all the volunteers who gave up their time to take part in the exercise, and we would especially like to thank the public, our supporters, who came out even when the weather was not looking too great. It’s been an incredible 25 years and we look forward to serving our community for many more years to come.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Fethard RNLI came to the aid of two adults and a child yesterday evening (Thursday 26 August) after their 17ft Dory boat suffered engine failure and was in danger of verging into a nearby shipping lane.

The volunteer crew were requested to launch their inshore lifeboat shortly after 5pm after the Irish Coast Guard was notified that a boat with three people onboard was in difficulty east of the fairway buoy near Loftus Hall.

The lifeboat helmed by Thomas Stafford and with crew members Nadia Blanchfield and Mick Roche onboard, launched immediately and made its way to the scene approximately 10 minutes away.

Weather conditions at the time were good with a light sea breeze and an incoming tide.

Arriving on scene, the lifeboat crew assessed the situation before making the decision to tow the vessel with its occupants onboard to the nearest safe port at Duncannon.

Speaking following the call out, Walter Foley, Fethard RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager said: ‘While everyone was safe and well and not in any immediate danger, the crew on the vessel made the right decision to call for help when they did as the broken-down boat could have entered the nearby shipping lane. We would remind anyone planning a trip to sea to always wear a lifejacket and to always carry a means of calling for help like the group onboard did yesterday evening, that is always the right thing to do.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Volunteer lifeboat crew at Fethard RNLI were requested to launch their lifeboat by the Irish Coast Guard yesterday afternoon (Saturday 17 July) at 5.34 pm, to assist a person in difficulties on their jet ski.

The crew launched the D-Class lifeboat Naomh Dubhán on the beach under Duncannon Fort. Duncannon beach lifeguards and Rescue 117 Helicopter were also involved in the rescue.

The conditions were calm with a light breeze on the hottest day of the year.

As the lifeboat proceeded to the area where the jet ski was located, it was established from communications with the Irish Coast Guard that the male was assisted ashore by the lifeguard and locals and was receiving casualty care at Duncannon Harbour. Fethard lifeboat crew recovered the beached jet ski, towing it into the harbour and then rendered assistance with the care of the casualty.

Speaking about the incident Fethard RNLI Volunteer Helm John Colfer said, "It was a very positive outcome showing the teamwork achieved by the lifeguards, the Coast Guard helicopter and ourselves."

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Fethard RNLI commemorated an important anniversary on Saturday (10 July 2021). It was 25 years to the exact day (10 July 1996) that the RNLI re-established a lifeboat station at Fethard-On-Sea, following an absence of 82 years. The milestone was marked by a solemn ceremony at sea, where current lifeboat crew laid a wreath to remember all those involved with the station, who had passed away over the last 25 years.

The anniversary was originally to involve a large-scale exercise at sea, viewed by the public from Baginbun beach and involving Fethard RNLI, Kilmore Quay RNLI, Dunmore East RNLI and the Irish Coast Guard. Unfortunately, the display was postponed due to the ongoing restrictions for Covid and it is now planned to take place on Sunday the 12 September.

Fethard RNLI has a rich history in the Institution. A previous RNLI lifeboat based in Fethard, called the Helen Blake, was lost and 9 of her 14 crew on 20 February 1914. The station was then closed, and it was not known if a lifeboat would ever again be on service in the area. However, the local community came together years later to raise the funds needed to establish a new station. After a lot of hard work and determination, their dream of having a Lifeboat was realised.

That same community spirit was also present in 2016 when the community funded the station’s current lifeboat the Naomh Dubhan.

Commenting on the 25th anniversary, Fethard RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager Walter Foley said, ‘All of us involved with Fethard RNLI would like to sincerely thank our wonderful community who have supported this lifeboat station for the past 25 years. There are so many people involved with our station and we appreciate every one of them and the work they do.’

‘Having a lifeboat station re-established after suffering such a loss as we did in 1914 is an incredible achievement. In the intervening years our community decided they wanted their lifeboat back and campaigned and raised the funds necessary to return one to the area. There is a special bond between Fethard RNLI, and its community and it is the reason why we are still going strong today.’

An official event to mark the 25th anniversary of the reopening of Fethard RNLI is due to take place on Baginbun beach on Sunday 12 September.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Volunteer lifeboat crew at Fethard RNLI were requested to launch their lifeboat by the Irish Coast Guard yesterday morning (Thursday 1 July) at 11.20 am, to assess the situation where a fisherman reported difficulties with his boat’s outboard engine.

Fethard RNLI’s inshore lifeboat was launched and arrived on scene at Loughlin’s Hill, east of the Hook Peninsula, where the helm and crew began to assess the situation prior to undertaking a tow.

The weather was fine, with good visibility and a Force 2-3 south-westerly wind. The fisherman’s anchor on his 18ft open punt was ineffective and he was drifting towards the rocks. The decision was made to undertake a tow as it was necessary and the safest way to assist the casualty. The vessel was returned to the safety of the nearest port at Fethard Harbour.

Commenting on the call out Pat Wallace, Fethard RNLI Deputy Launching Authority said: ‘The fisherman did the absolute right thing by raising the alarm before things got out of hand. This call out highlights the importance of carrying a means of calling for help and having it at hand as a means to contact someone for help.’

Yesterday’s launch also marked the first call out for one of Fethard RNLI’s new crew members, Nadia Blanchfield. Nadia, who has undergone 18 months of training at sea, when Covid-19 regulations allowed, took part in yesterday’s rescue.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Sharks in Irish waters

Irish waters are home to 71 species of shark, skates and rays, 58 of which have been studied in detail and listed on the Ireland Red List of Cartilaginous fish. Irish sharks range from small Sleeper sharks, Dogfish and Catsharks, to larger species like Frilled, Mackerel and Cow sharks, all the way to the second largest shark in the world, the Basking shark. 

Irish waters provide a refuge for an array of shark species. Tralee Bay, Co. Kerry provides a habitat for several rare and endangered sharks and their relatives, including the migratory tope shark, angel shark and undulate ray. This area is also the last European refuge for the extremely rare white skate. Through a European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) project, Marine Institute scientists have been working with fishermen to assess the distribution, diversity, and monthly relative abundance of skates and rays in Tralee, Brandon and Dingle Bays.

“These areas off the southwest coast of Ireland are important internationally as they hold some of the last remaining refuges for angel shark and white skate,” said Dr Maurice Clarke of the Marine Institute. “This EMFF project has provided data confirming the critically endangered status of some species and provides up-to-date information for the development of fishery measures to eliminate by-catch.” 

Irish waters are also home to the Black Mouthed Catshark, Galeus melastomus, one of Ireland’s smallest shark species which can be found in the deep sea along the continental shelf. In 2018, Irish scientists discovered a very rare shark-nursery 200 nautical miles off the west coast by the Marine Institute’s ROV Holland 1 on a shelf sloping to 750 metres deep. 

There are two ways that sharks are born, either as live young or from egg casings. In the ‘case’ of Black Mouthed Catsharks, the nursery discovered in 2018, was notable by the abundance of egg casings or ‘mermaid’s purses’. Many sharks, rays and skate lay eggs, the cases of which often wash ashore. If you find an egg casing along the seashore, take a photo for Purse Search Ireland, a citizen science project focusing on monitoring the shark, ray and skate species around Ireland.

Another species also found by Irish scientists using the ROV Holland 1 in 2018 was a very rare type of dogfish, the Sail Fin Rough Shark, Oxynotus paradoxus. These sharks are named after their long fins which resemble the trailing sails of a boat, and live in the deep sea in waters up to 750m deep. Like all sharks, skates and rays, they have no bones. Their skeleton is composed of cartilage, much like what our noses and ears are made from! This material is much more flexible and lighter than bone which is perfect for these animals living without the weight of gravity.

Throughout history sharks have been portrayed as the monsters of the sea, a concept that science is continuously debunking. Basking sharks were named in 1765 as Cetorhinus maximus, roughly translated to the ‘big-nosed sea monster’. Basking sharks are filter feeders, often swimming with their mouths agape, they filter plankton from the water.

They are very slow moving and like to bask in the sun in shallow water and are often seen in Irish waters around Spring and early Summer. To help understand the migration of these animals to be better able to understand and conserve these species, the Irish Basking Shark Group have tagged and mapped their travels.

Remarkably, many sharks like the Angel Shark, Squatina squatina have the ability to sense electricity. They do this via small pores in their skin called the ‘Ampullae of Lorenzini’ which are able to detect the tiny electrical impulses of a fish breathing, moving or even its heartbeat from distances of over a kilometre! Angel sharks, often referred to as Monkfish have a distinctively angelic shape, with flattened, large fins appearing like the wings of an angel. They live on the seafloor in the coastal waters of Ireland and much like a cat are nocturnal, primarily active at night.

The intricate complexity of shark adaptations is particularly noticeable in the texture of their skin. Composed of miniscule, perfectly shaped overlapping scales, the skin of shark provides them with protection. Often shark scales have been compared to teeth due to their hard enamel structure. They are strong, but also due to their intricate shape, these scales reduce drag and allow water to glide past them so that the shark can swim more effortlessly and silently. This natural flawless design has been used as inspiration for new neoprene fabric designs to help swimmers glide through the water. Although all sharks have this feature, the Leafscale Gulper Shark, Centrophorus squamosus, found in Ireland are specifically named due to the ornate leaf-shape of their scales.

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