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Allianz and Afloat - Supporting Irish Boating

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Displaying items by tag: Speedboat

Shortly before 9 am yesterday, HM Coastguard received a call from a concerned member of the public who had seen a submerged speed boat with potential casualties in the water in Castor Bay in the south east corner of Lough Neagh.

Lifeboats from Lough Neagh Rescue – a voluntary search and rescue organisation based on the shores of Lough Neagh, the largest freshwater lake in the British Isles, quickly made way to the area and found the vessel close to the shore but it had taken on water. On initial search, no casualties appeared to be in the water. The crew moored the lifeboat at a nearby fishing quay and searched the shoreline, where they found parts of the boat with a few other items, including life jackets.

The speed boat was towed to the local fishing quayThe speed boat was towed to the local fishing quay

Further information came from the Coastguard that the occupants of the boat had run aground last night and notified the PSNI but did not contact the Coastguard.

The speed boat was towed to the local fishing quay. Lough Neagh Rescue advises, "If you are out on the water and something like this happens and you don't require emergency assistance make sure and notify the Coastguard".

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With most boats either safely ashore or secured in safe mooring berthages, this is a month to prepare for the season ahead and one of those aspects, about which I feel particularly strongly is safety on the water. There is an obligation on all of us who enjoy watersports to exercise responsibility, to be able to look after ourselves and to ensure our crews do likewise. We also have a responsibility not to be the cause of unnecessary call-outs to the rescue services.

To underline these points, I have the story this week from a lifeboatman with 32 years’ experience at Youghal on the East Cork coastline.

During the 17th century, Youghal was one of Ireland's main ports, far more important than Cork Harbour, which was described officially then as “a port near Youghal.”

Yuoghal lighthouse and Harbour entranceYoughal Lighthouse and Harbour entrance

That historical record of the respective ports may have some association with the confusion of two-speed boat crew to whom navigation was an art they did not have the knowledge or the resources to understand when the Youghal lifeboatman came upon their confusion.

The story is told by John Innes who has retired after 32 years’ service with Youghal lifeboat. He was Helm of three Atlantic class lifeboats at Youghal - the Atlantic 21 Marjory Turner; the Atlantic 75 Patricia Jennings and the Youghal station’s current Atlantic 85 Gordon and Phil. He also served as Lifeboat Training Co-ordinator from 2001-2009 and again between 2016-2017. During his RNLI service, John was involved in saving 34 lives at sea.

Doing a bit of research about Youghal in preparing this week’s Podcast I discovered that nuns once made sure that the light was maintained on Youghal Lighthouse. It was a duty of the nunnery of the Chapel of St. Anne’s from 1202 until the Reformation in the 1530s when the nunnery had to be abandoned as was the light. Construction of the present lighthouse, designed by George Halpin, began in 1848 and it was brought into operation in 1852.

I also discovered that there was a climate incident described in the historical records as a "great convulsion of nature" in the province of Munster in the year 830, in which over a thousand people were killed in a “fierce storm.” One of the storm’s effects was to change the flow of the famous River Blackwater which flows through Youghal. This formed a new entrance to Youghal Harbour, the current one – which confused those two speedboat men!

Published in Tom MacSweeney
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#Speedboat - A man has been sentenced to six years in prison for the manslaughter of a woman who died after his speedboat crashed in London three years agp.

According to The Guardian, Jack Shepherd (31) was absent from sentencing at the Old Bailey after skipping bail, and police currently have a warrant out for his arrest.

The jurors heard that in December 2015, Shepherd took his date Charlotte Brown (24) to his speedboat on the River Thames while both were under the influence of alcohol, and allowed her to drive the vessel at “full throttle”.

The boat crashed into a submerged log before capsizing and throwing both Shepherd and Brown into the river.

Brown showed symptoms of hypothermia and cardiac arrest when she was recovered from the water, and was pronounced dead later.

Neither Brown nor Shepherd was wearing a lifejacket, and Shepherd — who had previously been pulled over a number of times for speeding on the river — admitted in a police interview that he did not inform Brown, who had no boating experience, about the safety devices on board.

Police also said the speedboat itself had a number of defects, including a ‘wobble’ in its steering.

Mail Online has video recorded by Brown on her phone of part of the pair’s speedboat trip, in which she can be heard commenting that Shepherd was “going so fast”.

Judge Richard Marks QC, in his sentencing remarks, said Shepherd had a “totally cavalier attitude to safety”. The Guardian has more on the story HERE.

Published in News Update
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#Missing - Police Scotland confirmed that two bodies were recovered from the Irish Sea in the search for a speedboat missing off the Scottish coast, according to Yachting & Boat World.

RNLI lifeboats and coastguard volunteers from Northern Ireland were involved in the search for the speedboat and its two occupants off Dumfries and Galloway, as reported yesterday on Afloat.ie.

Published in News Update

#Missing - RNLI lifeboats from Bangor and Donaghadee have joined the search for a speedboat with two men missing off the Scottish coast, as BBC News reports.

Coastguard volunteers from Bangor are also part of the emergency operation launched last night (Saturday 6 May) when the two men failed to return to Port Logan in Dumfries and Galloway.

Searches for the missing vessel, thought to be an 18ft black Fletcher speedboat, are concentrated off the Mull of Galloway for the time being.

BBC News has more on the story HERE.

Published in News Update

#ThunderChild - Storm Doris’s high winds on Thursday (2 February) made the perfect conditions for testing Safehaven Marine’s latest state-of-the-art naval patrol vessel in Cork Harbour, as the Irish Examiner reports.

Test pilot Ciaran Monks was at the helm of Thunder Child amid 50-knot winds and six-metre waves in what crew member Mary Power said were “by far the roughest conditions she’s encountered since her launch before Christmas”.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, Thunder Child was launched for tests in December in preparation for an attempt to break the record for the fastest circumnavigation of Ireland — with an open-sea loop via Rockall to boot.

The Irish Examiner has more on the story HERE.

Published in Safehaven Marine

#ThunderChild - Stormy winter seas made the perfect proving ground for a new state-of-the-art naval patrol and rescue vessel tested in Cork Harbour recently, as the Irish Examiner reports.

But it’s just the beginning for Thunder Child – the latest high-tech design from Cork-based Safehaven Marine, makers of the James Bond-style Interceptor, Barracuda – which was launched from the Port of Cork last month.

Safehaven’s managing director Frank Kowalski has his sights set on breaking the record for the fastest circumnavigation of Ireland — including a 1,000km open-sea loop around Rockall.

And considering the sleek wave-cutting vessel has already clocked speeds of over 100kph in testing, and is kitted out to handle the stormiest situations, it should be well up to the task of that challenging route.

The Irish Examiner has more on the story HERE.

Published in Safehaven Marine

#IrishSea - A man has died after going overboard from a speedboat in the Irish Sea off Aberystwyth in West Wales yesterday morning (Wednesday 31 August).

Aberystwyth RNLI launched its Atlantic class lifeboat at 9.30am to reports of an empty speedboat circling in Cardigan Bay about 500m offshore.

The volunteer crew were swift to the scene to pull two men from the water into the safety of the lifeboat, and treatment of one of the casualties began immediately.

However, as Wales Online reports, despite the best efforts of rescuers, the man sadly died, while his companion was last reported in a stable condition at Bronglais Hospital.

HM Coastguard later assisted the lifeboat volunteers in their inshore rescue boat to gain control of the speedboat and bring it in to the marina.

Published in News Update

#Devon - The Guardian reports on the death of a teenage girl who became trapped under a capsized speedboat in a Devon marina at the weekend.

Three others – the girl's father and two friends – required medical attention after the incident on Saturday 2 May in which the 5m speedboat they were travelling in overturned at Brixham Harbour in Torbay.

Police have appealed for witnessed to come forward as they investigate the circumstances surrounding the incident, which recalls the tragic RIB accident in Cornwall two years ago that killed Sky TV executive Nick Milligan and his daughter Emily.

Published in News Update
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#RNLI - Larne RNLI was called out for assistance on two separate occasions this past week.

On Thursday night 6 June, the volunteer lifeboat Dr John McSparran responded to a request by Belfast Coastguard to assist a lone yachtsman who had become disorientated in sea fog.

Weather conditions at the time were described as flat calm with no wind at all. However, a sea fog had come down in the evening, and the man on board - having left Girvan in Scotland en route to Glenarm Marina in an old gaffer to celebrate the Old Gaffers Association's Golden Jubilee - got into difficulty.

The casualty was located becalmed seven miles east of The Maidens Lighthouse. Lifeboat crew members Martin Agnew and Scott Leitch were put on board to assist after it was discovered that the casualty's outboard engine had failed and the gaffer was making no headway against the tide.

It was decided by Coxswain Frank Healy to tow the casualty to Glenarm, keeping the two crew members on board to assist. The vessels and crews arrived in Glenarm at 1.30am.

Two nights before, Larne RNLI assisted two men after their motor boat got into difficulty on Belfast Lough.

The volunteer crew launched their inshore lifeboat, the Hannahbella Ferguson, at 8.15pm following a request to assist the speed boat which had sustained engine failure off Muck Island.

Two men, both wearing lifejackets, were on board. Weather conditions at the time were described as good with a flat calm sea.

The casualty boat was subsequently towed safely to shore by the lifeboat to Portmuck Harbour.

Crew on this call out included helm Willie Evans, Martin Agnew and Jay Torbitt.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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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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