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Displaying items by tag: RNLI

The RNLI is urging people to take extra care over the coming days as strong winds and large seas are expected during Storm Arwen which is forecasted to make its approach from the early hours of tomorrow (Friday morning).

With high winds and large seas anticipated on Friday and Saturday, the RNLI is urging people to exercise extreme caution if visiting the shoreline, especially along exposed cliffs, seafronts and piers. The charity is asking people not to take unnecessary risks – breaking waves can easily sweep you off your feet and out to sea.

Kevin Rahill, RNLI Water Safety Lead said: ‘Storm Arwen could make visiting our coasts treacherous and bring very dangerous sea conditions. The RNLI would advise people to stay out of the water during these stormy conditions. Swimming in large waves and rough seas can be dangerous where currents can drag someone away from the shore and in addition to that, the rough weather can make it difficult to spot someone in the water should they get into difficulty. Large waves can also make exiting the water difficult and increase the risk of injury’

‘While stormy conditions may be tempting to watch, it is important to remember the sea is very dangerous and unpredictable and big waves can easily knock you off your feet. We would urge people to stay well back from the edge to avoid being swept in by large waves crashing over rocks and piers. As well as the risk of being swept into the sea, large waves can often undermine cliff edges and make them unstable. If you think someone is in danger, please dial 999 or 112 and ask for the Coast Guard.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Portrush RNLI was requested to launch by Belfast Coastguard at 2.30pm yesterday afternoon (Tuesday 23 November) to reports of a fishing vessel in difficulty 800 metres east of the Barmouth.

The 26ft vessel with two males on board was reported to have lost power and was drifting near the entrance to the Bann on Northern Ireland’s Causeway Coast.

The all-weather lifeboat and its volunteer crew launched at 2.42pm on a beautiful afternoon with good weather conditions, a clear sky, good visibility and a southwesterly wind.

Eleven minutes later the lifeboat arrived at the scene and the crew carried out a dynamic risk assessment to decide on the most appropriate course of action for the fishermen and their vessel.

It was agreed that the best plan was to attach a tow line and tow the vessel to safety. This was done and once the fishing vessel was towed to Portrush Harbour, the lifeboat and crew arrived back on station at 4.50pm.

Lifeboat operations manager Beni McAllister said: “Once the crew arrived on scene, as always, an assessment was carried out along with the crew of the stricken vessel to agree the best course of action. This is a procedure that our crew carry out on a regular basis.

“We are just glad we were able to get the vessel and her crew to safety. We would advise anyone going out to sea to make sure that they do the necessary safety checks before leaving port, especially at this time of year.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Aran Islands RNLI came to the aid of two fishermen yesterday evening after their vessel got into difficulty off Nags Head in county Clare.

The volunteer crew were asked by the Irish Coast Guard to launch their all-weather Severn class lifeboat to assess the situation at 3.48pm (Monday 22 November).

A 30ft fishing vessel with two people on board was having engine difficulty off Nags Head.

The Irish Coast Guard helicopter, Rescue 115 from Shannon was also tasked and was on scene first, establishing no immediate danger to the vessel or its crew.

The lifeboat launched under Coxswain John O'Donnell with a full crew and headed straight for the vessel.

Conditions at the time of launching were good with calm seas and good visibility.

Once on scene, the crew checked that the fishermen aboard the vessel were safe and well before proceeding to establish a tow line between the lifeboat and the fishing vessel. The boat was then towed to the nearest safe port at Liscannor Harbour.

Speaking after the call out, Aran Islands RNLI Coxswain John O'Donnell said: ‘The volunteer crew didn't hesitate to answer the call and we were able to get the fishermen back to the harbour before night.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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The volunteer crew of Aran Islands RNLI were asked to launch their all-weather Severn class lifeboat last night, (Sunday 21 November) at 8.17 pm by the Irish Coast Guard.

A resident on the neighbouring Island of Inis Meáin was in need of further medical attention.

The lifeboat launched under Coxswain John O'Donnell and a full crew and headed straight for Inis Meáin.

Weather conditions at the time of launching were good with calm seas, clear visibility, and a light northerly breeze.

Once at the pier, the crew brought the patient safely aboard following Covid-19 health and safety guidelines. The lifeboat then headed straight for Rossaveal Harbour and transferred the casualty into the care of the waiting ambulance crew.

Speaking after the call out, Aran Islands RNLI Coxswain John O'Donnell said: ‘We want to wish the person we helped this evening a speedy recovery. There was a great response time from our volunteers tonight which meant we could get the patient on his way to receive the medical attention he needed quickly.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Portrush RNLI was requested to launch in the early hours of this morning (Saturday 20 November) to reports of a casualty taken ill on 42m research vessel some three nautical miles northwest of the Causeway Coast town.

The all-weather lifeboat launched for the medevac at 1.19am in good conditions with clear skies, although the sea state was slightly choppy.

Six minutes later, the lifeboat arrived on scene and two RNLI volunteers were transferred on board the vessel to assess the condition of the casualty.

The decision was then made to transfer the casualty onto the lifeboat in order to bring him to Portrush Harbour and to a waiting ambulance.

Lifeboat operations manager Beni McAllister said: “This is a scenario that are crew are trained to undertake as a routine exercise but as always, doing it at night is slightly more complicated.

“The two crew members who went aboard the vessel have been trained in casualty care and knew exactly what had to be done. The other crew members then carried out the transfer in order to get the casualty and the crew members onto the [lifeboat] and the casualty handed over to the coastguard and the [Northern Ireland] Ambulance Service waiting back at the harbour.

“We wish the casualty well and hope he makes a full recovery.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Dublin Bay Old Gaffers Association invite participation in their next Zoom session “Dauntless Courage: The History of the RNLI Lifeboats, their crews and the Maritime Heritage of the Dunmore East Community,” which will be given by David Carroll on Thursday 25th November at 20.00 hrs.

DBOGA member David Carroll, the author of the best-selling Dauntless Courage, was brought up in Dunmore East, where his father Captain Desmond Carroll was the Harbour Master from 1947 until 1969.

His passion for lifeboats stems from that time. His father operated the shore radio transmitter located in the old pilot station whenever the Annie Blanche Smith lifeboat put to sea. His mother, Freda, always volunteered with a collection box for the RNLI on Regatta Day, and made sure that the support of all visiting yachts to the harbour was called upon.

Now living in Dublin, David has not forgotten his roots, and has retained a deep interest in the maritime life of Dunmore East. In 2020 Dauntless Courage was published as a fundraising project for the Lifebats, and sales of this book have generated over €31,000 for the RNLI to date.

Please come early to be sure of getting a good seat!

DBOGA Fundraising for HOWTH RNLI: Pre-Covid, we listened to talks together at Poolbeg while passing the Yellow Welly around for your €5 donation. In Zoom Land we can’t
do that, but the RNLI still urgently needs funds.

Please click on:  www.justgiving.com/fundraising/DBOGAHowthLifeboat to dob your €5 in. Thank you!

The details of this Zoom meeting are:
• Topic: David Carroll Talk
• Time: November 25th 2021, at 20.00hrs
• Link to join the meeting: 
hKps://us02web.zoom.us/j/89681992382?pwd=STZXcXArN3pKZ1cvcU1Cc1VaeURLZz09
• Meeting ID: 896 8199 2382
• Passcode: 390434

Leading Dunmore East lifeboat crewman Brendan Dunne and maritime historian David Carroll. Brendan Dunne played a leading role in the very successful sales and distribution of David’s book Dauntless Courage. Photo courtesy Dunmore east RNLI.Leading Dunmore East lifeboat crewman Brendan Dunne and maritime historian David Carroll. Brendan Dunne played a leading role in the very successful sales and distribution of David’s book Dauntless Courage. Photo courtesy Dunmore east RNLI.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Three RNLI Lifeboat’s from Bangor, Donaghadee and Larne were today involved with a multi-agency search with two Coastguard helicopters, Lagan Search and Rescue, PSNI Boat and local Coastguard Rescue Teams.

After reports of a paddleboarder overdue at Helen’s Bay, Belfast Coastguard requested the volunteer crew members from Bangor inshore lifeboat to launch at 3.43 pm followed by the two all-weather lifeboats from Donaghadee and Larne at 4.24pm.

The three lifeboats liaised with Belfast Coastguard and the other rescue agencies to form search patterns in order to locate the missing paddleboarder.

The visibility was good albeit light was being lost, conditions were challenging out at sea with a west to north-west wind force 6 – 8 at times.

Search teams were stood down just before 6 pm when clarification was received that the suspected casualty was safe and well.

Margaret Ramm, Donaghadee Lifeboat Press Officer commented ‘ We were relieved to hear that this was a false alarm with good intent, that the paddleboarder had been located and was not in any danger. Conditions today were challenging enough and if there had been a person in the water time really was of the essence in order to prevent loss of life, always contact the emergency services as early as possible if you are worried. As always we recommend checking sea conditions and wind direction before going into the sea and carrying a means of contacting shore, and always be aware of your own capabilities.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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A fundraising volunteer for Lough Derg RNLI has received an award for her services to the Co Tipperary lifeboat station.

Laura Clarke was presented with the Excellence in Volunteering Award by RNLI community manager Jennifer Grey during the annual Christmas card and gift sale at Lough Derg Yacht Club in Dromineer yesterday (Tuesday 9 November).

Laura has been a volunteer on the Lough Derg RNLI Fundraising Committee for 11 years. She says she became a volunteer because the charity “was one my late father loved and always supported, and it was something I wished to continue”.

She recalled that her father Mr Crawford had donated to Portrush lifeboat station in Northern Ireland for the build of their new lifeboat. In 2019, Laura organised a fundraising swim in memory of her father that raised significant funds for the RNLI.

As well as a long family association with the lifeboats, Laura’s husband Caleb is honorary treasurer for both Lough Derg RNLI’s lifeboat station and fundraising committee, while her brother-in-law Peter Clarke was a volunteer helm with the station for 14 years.

In commending Laura for the award, RNLI director of fundraising Jayne George wrote: “Your productive, innovative and reliable attitude has not only optimised our fundraising opportunities at local events but throughout the pandemic has raised more than £2,000 in Christmas card and gift sales alone.”

Of the volunteer’s hard work throughout these difficult past two years, Jayne added that Laura’s enthusiasm and dedication “embodies the RNLI core values of being courageous, trustworthy, selfless and dependable”.

Laura said it is a “great honour to be a part of an organisation that is such a force for good in the world. I’m thrilled to receive this award.”

Niamh McCutcheon, chair of the Lough Derg RNLI fundraising branch and member of the Irish Council of the RNLI. added that she is “delighted to see Laura’s commitment, dedication and significant efforts acknowledged with this award”.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Dun Laoghaire Harbour RNLI shop, located in the harbour beside the busy East pier is the location for a new community defibrillator, donated by the family of Larry Costello, who died following a cardiac arrest in 2016. The family have funded six defibrillators which are located around the local area. Dun Laoghaire RNLI is a fitting final location, as volunteer lifeboat crewmember Gary Hayes has helped the family with the project, through his role with the Dalkey Community First Responders Group and as a RNLI crewmember.

In funding the defibrillators, the family wanted the community to have access to them in busy public areas and in doing so, to take away the fear that people have in using them. The Dalkey Community First Responders will undertake the upkeep and maintenance of the defibrillators and this one will remain charged by the RNLI’s electricity supply for the shop, which is located behind the lifeboat station.

Larry was born and raised in Dun Laoghaire and raised his family with wife Audrey in Glasthule. A much-loved member of the community, Larry worked in Blackrock Park and coached a local football team in Presentation College. When he died of a cardiac arrest, his family wanted to do something in his memory that could help another family in a similar situation. With the support of their friends and the people Larry coached and helped during his life, the family raised €14,000 and bought six defibrillators. They are placed at McCauley’s Chemist in Glasthule, the Sallynoggin Inn, the Igo Inn in Ballybrack, Eden Villas in Glasthule, Dun Laoghaire Marina and finally at the Dun Laoghaire RNLI shop beside the East Pier.

Larry’s family recent visited the lifeboat station to officially unveil the final defibrillator along with some members of Dun Laoghaire RNLI, including lifeboat crewmember Gary Hayes, who the family credits with helping them put their plan into action.

Larry’s wife Audrey visited with their four children, Graham, Jennifer, Emma and Ian, along with in-laws and grandchildren. In welcoming the installation of the final defibrillator, Audrey said, ‘Our hope is to save lives and we are grateful to the local RNLI for letting us put the final defibrillator at their shop, which sees so many people walk by every day. We never thought we would raise enough to fund six of these and it’s all thanks to our friends and neighbours in our local community and beyond. Larry was so well-loved, and I think people wanted to show that. We are so grateful for their generosity. Thank you too to Gary Hayes from Dun Laoghaire RNLI and Dalkey Community First Responders who helped us with this endeavour and suggested the station for the final defibrillator. It is a very fitting location.’

Dun Laoghaire RNLI volunteer lifeboat crew member Gary Hayes added, ‘We are delighted to have the RNLI be home to one of Larry’s defibrillators. While the lifeboat crew are here to save lives at sea, we are happy to have a lifesaving piece of equipment on land too, at the wall of our retail shop and available for any member of the public to use should they need it. There is no training necessary, and the instructions are clear and easy to follow. Well done to the family and friends of Larry for this fantastic gift to the community.

The family have asked that if anyone would like to donate to the upkeep and maintenance of the defibrillators, they contact the Dalkey Community First Responders.

Harland & Wolff, the iconic shipyard with over 160 years of maritime and offshore engineering pedigree, is delighted to announce it has signed a framework agreement with the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) for the haul-out, repairs, maintenance, refurbishment and associated works for the RNLI's fleet of lifeboats.

Under the terms of this framework agreement, Harland & Wolff (Appledore) will be responsible for the repairs, maintenance and other works programmes defined by RNLI for its fleet of lifeboats and other vessels. This agreement will span multiple years and each docking will be priced as a bespoke agreement based on the scope of works required to be performed on each vessel.

As part of this agreement, Harland & Wolff will also support the RNLI with free bi-annual haulouts and wash down of its Appledore lifeboat.

The RNLI currently has a fleet of 431 lifeboats and 238 lifeboat stations that will require repairs and maintenance on a regular basis in order to keep them active and ready for deployment. Its Appledore yard will be working in conjunction with RNLI's internal team to perform defined works programmes.

John Wood, Group CEO of Harland & Wolff, commented: "I am delighted that Appledore has signed this framework agreement with the RNLI. The RNLI is a much-respected institution, and we are privileged to be hosting its vessels at Appledore. Our capacity, capability and proximity to the RNLI's main centres of activity has been crucial to the award of this contract. This, once again, demonstrates that our strategy to be geographically diverse in order to attract local business is sound and bearing fruit. I look forward to a long-standing and growing relationship with the RNLI in the months and years ahead and will be looking at opportunities to support them, not only from Appledore, but also from all our sites across the UK."

Harland & Wolff is a multisite fabrication company, operating in the maritime and offshore industry through five markets: commercial, cruise and ferry, defence, energy and renewables and six services: technical services, fabrication and construction, decommissioning, repair and maintenance, in-service support and conversion.

Its Belfast yard is one of Europe’s largest heavy engineering facilities, with deep water access, two of Europe’s largest drydocks, ample quayside and vast fabrication halls. As a result of the acquisition of Harland & Wolff (Appledore) in August 2020, the company has been able to capitalise on opportunities at both ends of the ship-repair and shipbuilding markets where there will be significant demand.

In February 2021, the company acquired the assets of two Scottish-based yards along the east and west coasts. Now known as Harland & Wolff (Methil) and Harland & Wolff (Arnish), these facilities will focus on fabrication work within the renewable, energy and defence sectors.

Harland & Wolff is a wholly owned subsidiary of Harland & Wolff Group Holdings plc (previously known as InfraStrata plc), a London Stock Exchange-listed firm. In addition, it also owns the Islandmagee gas storage project, which is expected to provide 25% of the UK’s natural gas storage capacity and to benefit the Northern Irish economy as a whole when completed.

Published in Shipyards
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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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