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Displaying items by tag: Inland Fisheries Ireland

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has confirmed that a fishing permit will be required for angling on the River Suck and its tributaries for the 2022 season.

IFI manages the fisheries along the River Suck on the border of counties Galway and Roscommon on behalf of the ESB, which owns the fishery.

The State body for Ireland’s inland and inshore fisheries also moved to quash reports that the Midland Fishery Group permit has been abolished for the River Suck and its tributaries.

Details about the 2022 permit scheme for the River Suck and its tributaries can be found on the IFI website HERE.

Published in Angling

The State agency responsible for the conservation and protection of sea angling resources has developed an important new tool that captures anglers’ knowledge and hands-on experience to help track changes in stocks of marine fish.

According to Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI), the new method — called ‘FLEKSI’ — crucially taps into the local ecological knowledge of Irish sea anglers as a way of complementing scientific knowledge.

Over 650 recreational anglers who fish along the Irish Sea, Celtic Sea and West Coast of Ireland have contributed to the development of the tool, which was highlighted in the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES) Journal of Marine Science earlier this month.

FLEKSI, which stands for ‘Fishers’ Local Ecological Knowledge Surveillance Indicators’, can track how fisheries change over time. IFI says it could also have a much broader application in helping to conserve or manage fisheries internationally, as all EU member states are obliged to develop data collection programmes for marine recreational fisheries.

William Roche, senior research officer with IFI, said: “Ireland is known throughout the world for its iconic sea angling resources, attracting up to 185,000 anglers annually. A long and proud tradition of sea angling in this country means that many individuals and groups have accumulated hands-on knowledge of sea angling over the years, from catching tope sharks in the Irish Sea to fishing for bass on the beaches of the Dingle Peninsula.

“We wanted to create a standardised framework that could capture these anglers’ observations and perceptions, to help us better understand long-term changes in recreational fisheries and to act as an early warning signal for long-term changes in the future.”

Roche added: “Tools such as FLEKSI can help us meet the challenge of monitoring fisheries. It can also provide important new information that supports science, policy and management in Ireland and potentially throughout the European Union.”

Dr William Roche, senior research officer with Inland Fisheries Ireland | Credit: IFIDr William Roche, senior research officer with Inland Fisheries Ireland | Credit: IFI

A total of 657 sea anglers, some of whom had more than 40 years’ experience, took part in IFI’s study in April this year. They were asked how sea angling ‘now’ compared with how they remember sea angling ‘then’, when they first started.

Based on their perceptions and observations, the results suggest that stocks of cod, whiting and bass have declined around Ireland over the last 40 years. Importantly, this perception matches with stock assessments from ICES, the organisation tasked with determining stock status for all sea fish species in European waters.

“The study results clearly demonstrate that anglers’ knowledge can provide an accurate picture of changing marine fish stocks,” said Samuel Shephard, a senior research officer with IFI.

“Anglers have a leading role to play in conservation. They spend many hours outside, observing nature and the fish they catch. They may recall how different species have come and gone, and how average catches and sizes may have changed. Over an angling career, this experience can become a unique insight into the status of the fisheries.

“Inland Fisheries Ireland’s policy of collaborating, where possible, with angling citizen scientists and of harnessing their experiences can help us better understand long-term changes and how to protect these wonderful resources for the future.”

The FLEKSI tool paper is available to download from the ICES Journal of Marine Science website. The report is authored by Samuel Shephard (lead author), Diarmuid Ryan, Paul O’Reilly and Willie Roche of IFI.

Published in Angling

The tender process for State fisheries overseen by Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) is now open for 2022.

The list of fisheries available in the 2022 tender can be found on the IFI website, as can the 2022 application form. Applications can also be made online.

Postal tenders should be submitted in an envelope marked TENDER APPLICATION to Paul O’Reilly, Business Development, Inland Fisheries Ireland, 3044 Lake Drive, Citywest, Dublin 24.

If your angling club is interested in a longer term licence, fill out the relevant section on your form, including the ‘per year’ licence fee, and IFI will be in touch.

Tenders will be accepted up until Friday 17 December; proof of postage on or before this date will be accepted.

If you have any queries relating to State fisheries or the 2022 tender process, contact Paul O’Reilly at [email protected] or 01 884 2600.

Meanwhile, all clubs who held a licence on any of the State fisheries during the 2021 season need to fill out an End of Year Report Form (PDF and .doc) and return it to IFI at the above address by 17 December. Alternatively you can complete the End of Year form online HERE.

Published in Angling

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) is now inviting applications from oyster fishers seeking a licence to operate an oyster dredge for the 2022 season.

Applications will only be accepted from applicants with boats on the sea fishing boat register of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

Completed applications for next year’s season — addressed to the relevant IFI offie and stating which fishery for which the application is being sought — must be received before noon on Monday 6 December.

For more information, the procedure and application form, see the IFI website HERE.

Published in Fishing

The State agency responsible for the protection and conservation of freshwater fish and habitats has launching a funding call of up to €1 million to support vital conservation projects around the country.

Since 2016, more than €5 million in grants have been awarded to over 250 projects throughout Ireland under funds administered by Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI).

Now eligible angling clubs, fishery owners and other stakeholders are invited to apply for funding to support fisheries conservation projects in their local areas through the 2022 Habitats and Conservation Fund scheme, which was launched this past Tuesday 9 November.

Priority will be given to projects that focus on habitat rehabilitation and conservation, such as improving water quality, rehabilitating damaged habitats and helping fish overcome physical barriers like impassable weirs.

Environment Minister Eamon Ryan has welcomed the funding call and is encouraging eligible groups and stakeholders to apply.

“The Habitats and Conservation Scheme is a great example of how we can encourage and support the stewardship role of managing our natural resources across the country,” he said. “This important environmental scheme supports angling clubs, fishery owners, and stakeholders — in helping them to improve damaged habitats, water quality and fish passage.

“The works and studies supported by the scheme in the future will also result in wider benefits for the environment. As the funding call is now open, I would encourage any eligible group or stakeholder to contact Inland Fisheries Ireland and express their interest in applying for this grant before the deadline.”

In 2021, a total of €785,604 in funding was approved for 18 projects, based in Cork, Donegal, Galway, Kilkenny, Laois, Limerick, Mayo, Roscommon, Wexford, Westmeath and Wicklow.

Examples included the construction of rock ramp passages, to make it easier for fish to migrate upstream and downstream of impassable weirs and the installation of fencing to improve water quality. This was done by stopping livestock from entering the river and providing them with alternative sources of drinking water.

Suzanne Campion, IFI’s head of business development, said that protecting and conserving fish species like Atlantic salmon and sea trout was critical to the overall health of the country’s eco-system.

“Damaged riverine habitats can lead to poorer water quality, climate change can lead to rising water temperatures and invasive species can mean even more threats to biodiversity,” she said. :These are having a damaging impact on our rivers and lakes and on all species that depend on them for survival.

“Under the Habitats and Conservation Scheme, made possible through fishing licence income, groups can now apply for grants to fund projects and measures that benefit the conservation of freshwater fish and habitats.”

As part of a new two-step process, all applicants must firstly complete an ‘Expression of Interest’ application on IFI’s online grant management portal before 5,30pm on Friday 17 December.

After the expression of interest has been completed, full applications must then be submitted to IFI via the online grant management portal by 5.30pm on Friday 28 January 2022.

An information guide about the Habitats and Conservation Funding Call 2022 is available to download from the IFI website HERE.

Published in Angling

A new report published by Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) shows that more wild salmon are now being ‘caught and released’ than ‘caught and kept’ by anglers in Ireland, to help conserve declining fish populations.

For the first time since records began in 2001, the Wild Salmon and Sea Trout Statistics Report 2020 shows that the number of salmon caught and released by anglers (51% of salmon caught) now outstrips the number of salmon that are kept (49% of salmon caught).

In all, 14,138 wild salmon and sea trout licences were issued to recreational anglers in 2020, while 78 public licences were made available to commercial fishermen.

IFI’s newly published report is based on the logbook returns of these licence holders, which shows that recreational anglers caught an estimated 78% of all salmon and sea trout last year, compared with commercial fishermen’s catch of 22%.

‘Catch-and-release angling by itself won’t solve the problem of declining fish populations, such as wild salmon or sea trout’

IFI chair Fintan Gorman praised the conservation efforts of anglers, clubs and federations around the country, saying: “Looking at statistics from the 2020 Wild Salmon and Sea Trout Report, it is encouraging to see anglers practicing ‘catch and release’ to a greater extent than ever before. Anglers released 51% of their wild salmon catches in 2020, compared with 47% in 2019 and that’s a very positive development.

“However, catch-and-release angling by itself won’t solve the problem of declining fish populations, such as wild salmon or sea trout. That’s why Inland Fisheries Ireland will continue implementing other important measures too, such as fish barrier mitigation, water quality monitoring, ‘invasive species’ control and enforcement patrols of fisheries.

“We will also keep promoting the sustainable stewardship of our precious salmon fishery through our schools and marketing programmes. These are all crucial factors in protecting and conserving our fish populations and their habitats for the benefit of this generation and future generations to come.”

The Wild Salmon and Sea Trout Tagging Scheme provides the state agency with data to assist with the protection, management and conservation of wild salmon and sea trout.

IFI chief executive Francis O’ Donnell has also welcomed the positive conservation efforts being made by citizens across the country to protect Ireland’s salmon and sea trout resource.

“Atlantic salmon and sea trout are facing a very uncertain future due to habitat degradation, water quality issues, unacceptable levels of poaching, marine migration issues and the effects of climate change,” he said.

“As always, our staff are deeply committed to executing our statutory role to enforce, protect and conserve our native fish stocks and in particular salmon and migratory sea trout. This is very much aligned with our new corporate plan and vision as the statutory agency charged with protecting the inland fisheries Resource.”

According to IFI’s 2020 report, five rivers accounted for over half of all salmon caught by anglers and commercial fishermen last year: the River Moy in Co Mayo, the River Blackwater in Lismore, Co Waterford, the River Laune in Co Kerry, the Corrib in Co Galway and the Lower Lee in Cork.

A total of 27,829 wild salmon were caught collectively by commercial fishermen and recreational anglers in 2020, including salmon which were later released. For sea trout, the total catch recorded last year was 1,394 when figures for commercial fishermen and anglers are combined.

‘Atlantic salmon and sea trout are facing a very uncertain future’

Meanwhile, between now and 1 December, IFI is running a public consultation on the future management of the Wild Salmon and Sea Trout Tagging Scheme, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

The State agency is encouraging anyone with an interest in the area to submit their views on how the tagging system can be improved and modernised. It is especially keen to hear from salmon and sea trout anglers, angling clubs, commercial fishermen and those businesses that distribute salmon and sea trout licences, such as fishing tackle shops.

Published in Angling

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has launched a public consultation on the future management of the Wild Salmon and Sea Trout Tagging Scheme.

The State agency with responsibility for the protection and conservation of freshwater fish and habitats is encouraging anyone with an interest in the area to submit their views on how the tagging system, which started in 2001, can be improved and modernised.

It is especially keen to hear from salmon and sea trout anglers, angling clubs, commercial fishermen and those businesses that distribute salmon and sea trout licences, such as fishing tackle shops.

The Wild Salmon and Sea Trout Tagging Scheme was set up 20 years ago to record the issuing of wild salmon and sea trout licences, gill tags and logbooks to both recreational anglers and commercial fishermen and to process details of fish catches on a database for further analysis.

It was part of a series of measures introduced to help with the management and conservation of Ireland’s wild salmon and sea trout populations, which have been in decline.

Figures from the 2020 Wild Salmon and Sea Trout Statistics Report show that 14,138 salmon and sea trout licences were sold to recreational anglers in the state last year, which were a mixture of virtual licences sold online and hard copy licences sold over the counter in shops. In addition, 78 public commercial licences were made available to commercial fishermen in 2020.

IFI is now carrying out a review of the whole tagging system, to see how it can be made more user-friendly in the future and to ensure that it can provide the agency with real-time, accurate data to assist with the protection, management and conservation of wild salmon and sea trout.

Suzanne Campion, IFI’s head of business development, said:“The Wild Salmon and Sea Trout Tagging Scheme was first introduced two decades ago and since then, we’ve seen a seismic shift towards buying and selling online, with many technological advances along the way that we’d like to harness.

“As we’re undertaking a review of the tagging system, we see this as the perfect opportunity for the public, especially those involved in the angling sector, to have their say on the management of how licences, tags and logbooks are issued and distributed in the future. In other words, how can Inland Fisheries Ireland make the tagging system as user-friendly as possible in the future and a better service for all?”

The public consultation for the Wild Salmon and Sea Trout Tagging Scheme closes at 5pm on Wednesday 1 December. Submissions can be made via a short online survey.

Alternatively, written submissions can be emailed to [email protected] or posted to Wild Salmon & Sea Trout Tagging Scheme Consultation, Inland Fisheries Ireland, 3044 Lake Drive, Citywest Business Campus, Dublin 24, D24 CK66.

Published in Angling

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has launched a public consultation on the proposed introduction of a conservation byelaw prohibiting angling for Arctic char.

The glacial relict fish species is native to Ireland and is currently classified in the Irish Red Data Book as “vulnerable”.

This is due to a range of anthropogenic and environmental pressures such as water abstraction, eutrophication, climate change and introduction of non-native fish species.

The proposal currently under consideration is:

to request the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, to introduce a conservation byelaw prohibiting any person from taking, or attempting to take, an Arctic Char (Salvelinus alpinus), by means of any fishery engine or rod and line from the waters of the State and to prohibit killing, retention or possession of Arctic Char.

All submissions must be marked ‘Public consultation - Proposed prohibition of angling for Arctic Char’ and must be received in writing by 5pm on Tuesday 16 November.

Written submissions can either be emailed to [email protected] or can be posted to Inland Fisheries Ireland, Station Road, Ballyshannon, Co Donegal, F94 WV76.

All valid submissions will be published on the Inland Fisheries Ireland website at www.fisheriesireland.ie

Published in Angling

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) is encouraging salmon and sea trout anglers to return their angling logbooks, setting out their fishing and catch record, and any unused gill tags from 2021 licences.

Under the Wild Salmon and Sea Trout Tagging Scheme, anglers can return these in one of three ways:

  • Using the postage pre-paid business return envelope that was supplied at the time of licence purchase (preferred option).
  • Posting the logbook and unused gill tags to the IFI office address that is displayed on their licence or logbook.
  • Scanning and emailing logbook and licence documents to [email protected] (Please scan all sides of documents, including continuation pages, to ensure that the licence names and number can be correctly linked to the logbook.)

On average, 70% of anglers in Ireland return their logbooks and these returns provide vital information regarding the status and management of our wild Atlantic Salmon and Sea Trout stocks into the future.

In accordance with the Wild Salmon and Sea Trout Tagging Scheme, anglers in Ireland are required by law to return their completed logbook and all unused tags to the issuing office of Inland IFI within seven days of licence expiry and no later than next Tuesday 19 October.

As part of the scheme, an angler must attach a valid gill tag to a salmon (any size) or sea trout (over 40cm) harvested, immediately on landing. hey must enter details of their catch and/or gill-tag used into their logbook.

Questions or queries can be directed to [email protected] and IFI says it will respond as quickly as possible.

Published in Angling

Inland Fisheries Ireland has expressed concern over a shark carcass that was found in the River Erne in Co Cavan earlier this month, as BBC News reports.

The remains of what’s thought to be a small spurdog shark were found at Belturbet on Friday 17 September.

The State agency with responsibility for the protection and conservation of Ireland’s inland fisheries and sea angling resources believes the shark was caught at sea and later dumped in the river.

“The incident is a cause for concern for Inland Fisheries Ireland as the body advocates a ‘catch and release’ approach with shark species,” it said.

Published in Marine Wildlife
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Ireland's Offshore Renewable Energy

Because of Ireland's location at the Atlantic edge of the EU, it has more offshore energy potential than most other countries in Europe. The conditions are suitable for the development of the full range of current offshore renewable energy technologies.

Offshore Renewable Energy FAQs

Offshore renewable energy draws on the natural energy provided by wind, wave and tide to convert it into electricity for industry and domestic consumption.

Offshore wind is the most advanced technology, using fixed wind turbines in coastal areas, while floating wind is a developing technology more suited to deeper water. In 2018, offshore wind provided a tiny fraction of global electricity supply, but it is set to expand strongly in the coming decades into a USD 1 trillion business, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). It says that turbines are growing in size and in power capacity, which in turn is "delivering major performance and cost improvements for offshore wind farms".

The global offshore wind market grew nearly 30% per year between 2010 and 2018, according to the IEA, due to rapid technology improvements, It calculated that about 150 new offshore wind projects are in active development around the world. Europe in particular has fostered the technology's development, led by Britain, Germany and Denmark, but China added more capacity than any other country in 2018.

A report for the Irish Wind Energy Assocation (IWEA) by the Carbon Trust – a British government-backed limited company established to accelerate Britain's move to a low carbon economy - says there are currently 14 fixed-bottom wind energy projects, four floating wind projects and one project that has yet to choose a technology at some stage of development in Irish waters. Some of these projects are aiming to build before 2030 to contribute to the 5GW target set by the Irish government, and others are expected to build after 2030. These projects have to secure planning permission, obtain a grid connection and also be successful in a competitive auction in the Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS).

The electricity generated by each turbine is collected by an offshore electricity substation located within the wind farm. Seabed cables connect the offshore substation to an onshore substation on the coast. These cables transport the electricity to land from where it will be used to power homes, farms and businesses around Ireland. The offshore developer works with EirGrid, which operates the national grid, to identify how best to do this and where exactly on the grid the project should connect.

The new Marine Planning and Development Management Bill will create a new streamlined system for planning permission for activity or infrastructure in Irish waters or on the seabed, including offshore wind farms. It is due to be published before the end of 2020 and enacted in 2021.

There are a number of companies aiming to develop offshore wind energy off the Irish coast and some of the larger ones would be ESB, SSE Renewables, Energia, Statkraft and RWE.

There are a number of companies aiming to develop offshore wind energy off the Irish coast and some of the larger ones would be ESB, SSE Renewables, Energia, Statkraft and RWE. Is there scope for community involvement in offshore wind? The IWEA says that from the early stages of a project, the wind farm developer "should be engaging with the local community to inform them about the project, answer their questions and listen to their concerns". It says this provides the community with "the opportunity to work with the developer to help shape the final layout and design of the project". Listening to fishing industry concerns, and how fishermen may be affected by survey works, construction and eventual operation of a project is "of particular concern to developers", the IWEA says. It says there will also be a community benefit fund put in place for each project. It says the final details of this will be addressed in the design of the RESS (see below) for offshore wind but it has the potential to be "tens of millions of euro over the 15 years of the RESS contract". The Government is also considering the possibility that communities will be enabled to invest in offshore wind farms though there is "no clarity yet on how this would work", the IWEA says.

Based on current plans, it would amount to around 12 GW of offshore wind energy. However, the IWEA points out that is unlikely that all of the projects planned will be completed. The industry says there is even more significant potential for floating offshore wind off Ireland's west coast and the Programme for Government contains a commitment to develop a long-term plan for at least 30 GW of floating offshore wind in our deeper waters.

There are many different models of turbines. The larger a turbine, the more efficient it is in producing electricity at a good price. In choosing a turbine model the developer will be conscious of this ,but also has to be aware the impact of the turbine on the environment, marine life, biodiversity and visual impact. As a broad rule an offshore wind turbine will have a tip-height of between 165m and 215m tall. However, turbine technology is evolving at a rapid rate with larger more efficient turbines anticipated on the market in the coming years.

 

The Renewable Electricity Support Scheme is designed to support the development of renewable energy projects in Ireland. Under the scheme wind farms and solar farms compete against each other in an auction with the projects which offer power at the lowest price awarded contracts. These contracts provide them with a guaranteed price for their power for 15 years. If they obtain a better price for their electricity on the wholesale market they must return the difference to the consumer.

Yes. The first auction for offshore renewable energy projects is expected to take place in late 2021.

Cost is one difference, and technology is another. Floating wind farm technology is relatively new, but allows use of deeper water. Ireland's 50-metre contour line is the limit for traditional bottom-fixed wind farms, and it is also very close to population centres, which makes visibility of large turbines an issue - hence the attraction of floating structures Do offshore wind farms pose a navigational hazard to shipping? Inshore fishermen do have valid concerns. One of the first steps in identifying a site as a potential location for an offshore wind farm is to identify and assess the level of existing marine activity in the area and this particularly includes shipping. The National Marine Planning Framework aims to create, for the first time, a plan to balance the various kinds of offshore activity with the protection of the Irish marine environment. This is expected to be published before the end of 2020, and will set out clearly where is suitable for offshore renewable energy development and where it is not - due, for example, to shipping movements and safe navigation.

YEnvironmental organisations are concerned about the impact of turbines on bird populations, particularly migrating birds. A Danish scientific study published in 2019 found evidence that larger birds were tending to avoid turbine blades, but said it didn't have sufficient evidence for smaller birds – and cautioned that the cumulative effect of farms could still have an impact on bird movements. A full environmental impact assessment has to be carried out before a developer can apply for planning permission to develop an offshore wind farm. This would include desk-based studies as well as extensive surveys of the population and movements of birds and marine mammals, as well as fish and seabed habitats. If a potential environmental impact is identified the developer must, as part of the planning application, show how the project will be designed in such a way as to avoid the impact or to mitigate against it.

A typical 500 MW offshore wind farm would require an operations and maintenance base which would be on the nearby coast. Such a project would generally create between 80-100 fulltime jobs, according to the IWEA. There would also be a substantial increase to in-direct employment and associated socio-economic benefit to the surrounding area where the operation and maintenance hub is located.

The recent Carbon Trust report for the IWEA, entitled Harnessing our potential, identified significant skills shortages for offshore wind in Ireland across the areas of engineering financial services and logistics. The IWEA says that as Ireland is a relatively new entrant to the offshore wind market, there are "opportunities to develop and implement strategies to address the skills shortages for delivering offshore wind and for Ireland to be a net exporter of human capital and skills to the highly competitive global offshore wind supply chain". Offshore wind requires a diverse workforce with jobs in both transferable (for example from the oil and gas sector) and specialist disciplines across apprenticeships and higher education. IWEA have a training network called the Green Tech Skillnet that facilitates training and networking opportunities in the renewable energy sector.

It is expected that developing the 3.5 GW of offshore wind energy identified in the Government's Climate Action Plan would create around 2,500 jobs in construction and development and around 700 permanent operations and maintenance jobs. The Programme for Government published in 2020 has an enhanced target of 5 GW of offshore wind which would create even more employment. The industry says that in the initial stages, the development of offshore wind energy would create employment in conducting environmental surveys, community engagement and development applications for planning. As a site moves to construction, people with backgrounds in various types of engineering, marine construction and marine transport would be recruited. Once the site is up and running , a project requires a team of turbine technicians, engineers and administrators to ensure the wind farm is fully and properly maintained, as well as crew for the crew transfer vessels transporting workers from shore to the turbines.

The IEA says that today's offshore wind market "doesn't even come close to tapping the full potential – with high-quality resources available in most major markets". It estimates that offshore wind has the potential to generate more than 420 000 Terawatt hours per year (TWh/yr) worldwide – as in more than 18 times the current global electricity demand. One Terawatt is 114 megawatts, and to put it in context, Scotland it has a population a little over 5 million and requires 25 TWh/yr of electrical energy.

Not as advanced as wind, with anchoring a big challenge – given that the most effective wave energy has to be in the most energetic locations, such as the Irish west coast. Britain, Ireland and Portugal are regarded as most advanced in developing wave energy technology. The prize is significant, the industry says, as there are forecasts that varying between 4000TWh/yr to 29500TWh/yr. Europe consumes around 3000TWh/year.

The industry has two main umbrella organisations – the Irish Wind Energy Association, which represents both onshore and offshore wind, and the Marine Renewables Industry Association, which focuses on all types of renewable in the marine environment.

©Afloat 2020

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