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Allianz and Afloat - Supporting Irish Boating

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

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Marine Environment, Science, wildlife, weather & Ocean energy
Cars parked at coastal and other outdoor locations are at most risk of being broken into on weekend afternoons during summer months, the Garda Siochána says. Catalytic converters, cash, electronics, jewellery and tools were the items most targeted, and the…
Master of the new Aran island ferry Shane McCole
Porpoises, dolphins, fin whales, puffins and guillemots near the Cliffs of Moher...master of the new Aran island ferry Shane McCole promises much marine life on the new direct run between Galway city and Inis Mór. The 40-metre vessel Saoirse na…
The new full-time Aran Islands RNLI mechanic, Mairtín Eoin Coyne
Aran Islands RNLI has welcomed a new full-time mechanic to the station. Mairtín Eoin Coyne takes over from Johnny Mulkerrin, who retired after 35 years last month. Mairtín Eoin, an Aran Islander from birth, is no stranger to the station…
Lesser weever
Beachgoers around Munster have been warned to watch where they step after numerous sightings of a venomous fish that lurks in the sand, as the Irish Examiner reports. Lesser weevers are small fish, only 15cm in length, but their stinging…
Ellen Ruhotas, Managing Director of Zenith Energy, and Pearse Flynn, founder of EI-H2, pictured the two companies announced plans for a joint venture to develop a 3.2 gigawatt (GW) green energy facility Bantry Bay to produce green hydrogen and green ammonia. When fully operational, the new facility can reduce Irish carbon emissions by 2.4 million tonnes per year, which represents the equivalent of the carbon emissions of a quarter of all Irish homes.
Zenith Energy and EI-H2 have announced plans for a joint venture to develop a 3.2 gigawatt (GW) green energy facility at Bantry Bay to produce green hydrogen and green ammonia. The project will involve the engagement of key stakeholders in…
Roundstone Harbour in County Galway
Irish Water has been asked to explain why the Connemara harbour of Roundstone may end up with two wastewater treatment plants in a bid to meet EU water quality standards. As The Times Ireland edition reports, Bord Pleanála has queried…
Islanders of Rathlin off the Antrim coast, are leading the way in the fight against climate change having set out a 10 year plan
Residents of Rathlin Island off Co. Antrim are leading the way in the battle against climate change with communities on the island revealing ambitions to become carbon neutral. In 2015 many countries pledged to achieve carbon neutrality by signing the…
Zostera marina seagrass
Invasive seaweed is a growing threat to Ireland’s vital seagrass meadows, according to Coastwatch Ireland. The Irish Times reports on concerns for the health of seagrass habitats around the coast affected by the presence of Sargassum muticum — a brown…
Codling Wind Park artist impression
Today’s launch of the National Marine Planning Framework also brings about the establishment of a new Maritime Area Regulatory Authority to oversee licensing and regulation for offshore renewable energy. But what exactly is MARA? Functions of the new agency — first…
An Taoiseach Michéal Martin TD launched the National Marine Planning Framework (NMPF), Ireland’s first national framework for managing marine activities at Dun Laoghaire Harbour. The framework, which will apply to a maritime area of approximately 495,000km², outlines a vision for how we want to use, protect and enjoy our seas in the years up to 2040
Marine Leisure stakeholders have welcomed the launch of the National Marine Planning Framework (NMPF) at Dun Laoghaire Harbour today by An Taoiseach Michéal Martin TD and fellow Ministers. The plan is Ireland’s first national framework for managing marine activities. The framework, which…
A Cork County Council issued photograph posed to illustrate how the council is dealing with the matter of pleasure craft and water safety along the Cork Coast
There is a notable increase in leisure craft on the water all around the coast. Several incidents have been reported of users not adhering to harbour safety regulations, and Cork County Council's Senior Harbour Master has issued a warning that…
File image of the utility vessel Fastnet Sound
The Department of Transport has been advised that Codling Wind Park Limited intends to deploy metocean equipment off the coast of Wicklow as part of the consenting process for Codling Wind Park. This equipment will be deployed from the Fastnet…
White shark: A white shark (Carcharodon carcharias) swimming at the surface with a biologging package attached to dorsal fin. This package records temperature, swimming speed, depth, body movement and video footage
Marine biologists have long wondered why some species like the white shark and bluefin tuna are warm-blooded when most fish are not. Now newly published research led by a Trinity College Dublin (TCD) scientist has concluded that the ability to…
New Cross Border Bridge Project: Planning permission is in place for a 280-metre cable-stayed bridge, anchored by two towers at either end, for car and cycle traffic. to link counties Louth and Down.
Funding of €3m has been announced by the Government to progress work on the cross-border Narrow Water Bridge, which will link the Mourne mountains area with the Cooley peninsula. The money from the Shared Island Fund will see the project…
Magheramore Beach in Co Wicklow
The main route onto one of Co Wicklow’s most popular beaches has sold at auction for more than three times the asking price. And as The Irish Times reports, Wicklow County Council was outbid for the 21-acre site above Magheramore…
 Subterranean estuaries may be invisible to the naked eye, but may be very important in the ecology of coasts
“Subterranean estuaries” may be critical in managing sustainable fishing and aquaculture, according to new research. Subterranean estuaries may be invisible to the naked eye, but may be very important in the ecology of coastal systems, the research by Trinity College…

For all you need on the Marine Environment - covering the latest news and updates on marine science and wildlife, weather and climate, power from the sea and Ireland's coastal regions and communities - the place to be is Afloat.ie.

Coastal Notes

The Coastal Notes category covers a broad range of stories, events and developments that have an impact on Ireland's coastal regions and communities, whose lives and livelihoods are directly linked with the sea and Ireland's coastal waters.

Topics covered in Coastal Notes can be as varied as the rare finding of sea-life creatures, an historic shipwreck with secrets to tell, or even a trawler's net caught hauling much more than just fish.

Other angles focusing the attention of Coastal Notes are Ireland's maritime museums, which are of national importance to maintaining access and knowledge of our nautical heritage, and those who harvest the sea using small boats based in harbours where infrastructure and safety pose an issue, plying their trade along the rugged wild western seaboard.

Coastal Notes tells the stories that are arguably as varied as the environment they come from, and which shape people's interaction with the natural world and our relationship with the sea.

Marine Wildlife

One of the greatest memories of any day spent boating around the Irish coast is an encounter with Marine Wildlife. It's a thrill for young and old to witness seabirds, seals, dolphins and whales right there in their own habitat. And as boaters fortunate enough to have experienced it will testify, even spotting a distant dorsal fin can be the highlight of any day afloat. Was that a porpoise? Was it a whale? No matter how brief the glimpse, it's a privilege to share the seas with Irish marine wildlife.

Thanks to our location in the North Atlantic, there appears to be no shortage of marine life to observe. From whales to dolphins, seals, sharks and other ocean animals, the Marine Wildlife category documents the most interesting accounts around our shores. And we're keen to receive your observations, your photos, links and video clips, too!

Also valuable is the unique perspective of all those who go afloat, from coastal sailing to sea angling to inshore kayaking to offshore yacht racing, as what they encounter can be of great importance to organisations such as the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG). Thanks to their work we now know we share the seas with dozens of species who also call Ireland home. But as impressive as the list is, the experts believe there are still gaps in our knowledge. Next time you are out on the ocean waves, keep a sharp look out!

Weather

As an island in the North Atlantic, Ireland's fate is decided by Weather more so than many other European countries. When storm-force winds race across the Irish Sea, ferry and shipping services are cut off, disrupting our economy. When swollen waves crash on our shores, communities are flooded and fishermen brace for impact - both to their vessels and to their livelihoods.

Keeping abreast of the weather, therefore, is as important to leisure cruisers and fishing crews alike - for whom a small craft warning can mean the difference between life and death - as it is to the communities lining the coast, where timely weather alerts can help protect homes and lives.

Weather affects us all, and Afloat.ie will keep you informed on the hows and the whys.

Marine Science

Perhaps it's the work of the Irish research vessels RV Celtic Explorer and RV Celtic Voyager out in the Atlantic Ocean that best highlights the essential nature of Marine Science for the future growth of Ireland's emerging 'blue economy'.

From marine research to development and sustainable management, Ireland is developing a strong and well-deserved reputation as an emerging centre of excellence. Whether it's Wavebob ocean energy technology to aquaculture to weather buoys and oil exploration, the Marine Science category documents the work of Irish marine scientists and researchers and how they have secured prominent roles in many European and international marine science bodies.

Power From The Sea

The message from the experts is clear: offshore wind and wave energy is the future. And as Ireland looks towards the potential of the renewable energy sector, generating Power From The Sea will become a greater priority in the State's 'blue growth' strategy.

Developments and activities in existing and planned projects in the pipeline from the wind and wave renewables sector, and those of the energy exploration industry, point to the future of energy requirements for the whole world, not just in Ireland. And that's not to mention the supplementary industries that sea power projects can support in coastal communities.

Irish ports are already in a good position to capitalise on investments in offshore renewable energy services. And Power From The Sea can even be good for marine wildlife if done properly.

Aside from the green sector, our coastal waters also hold a wealth of oil and gas resources that numerous prospectors are hoping to exploit, even if people in coastal and island areas are as yet unsure of the potential benefits or pitfalls for their communities.

Changing Ocean Climate

Our ocean and climate are inextricably linked - the ocean plays a crucial role in the global climate system in a number of ways. These include absorbing excess heat from the atmosphere and absorbing 30 per cent of the carbon dioxide added to the atmosphere by human activity. But our marine ecosystems are coming under increasing pressure due to climate change.

The Marine Institute, with its national and international partners, works to observe and understand how our ocean is changing and analyses, models and projects the impacts of our changing oceans. Advice and forecasting projections of our changing oceans and climate are essential to create effective policies and management decisions to safeguard our ocean.

Dr Paul Connolly, CEO of the Marine Institute, said, “Our ocean is fundamental to life on earth and affects so many facets of our everyday activities. One of the greatest challenges we face as a society is that of our changing climate. The strong international collaborations that the Marine Institute has built up over decades facilitates a shared focusing on our changing ocean climate and developing new and enhanced ways of monitoring it and tracking changes over time.

“Our knowledge and services help us to observe these patterns of change and identify the steps to safeguard our marine ecosystems for future generations.”

The Marine Institute’s annual ocean climate research survey, which has been running since 2004, facilitates long term monitoring of the deep water environment to the west of Ireland. This repeat survey, which takes place on board RV Celtic Explorer, enables scientists to establish baseline oceanic conditions in Irish waters that can be used as a benchmark for future changes.

Scientists collect data on temperature, salinity, water currents, oxygen and carbon dioxide in the Atlantic Ocean. This high quality oceanographic data contributes to the Atlantic Ocean Observing System. Physical oceanographic data from the survey is submitted to the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES) and, in addition, the survey contributes to national research such as the VOCAB ocean acidification and biogeochemistry project, the ‘Clean Atlantic’ project on marine litter and the A4 marine climate change project.

Dr Caroline Cusack, who co-ordinates scientific activities on board the RV Celtic Explorer for the annual survey, said, “The generation of long-term series to monitor ocean climate is vital to allow us understand the likely impact of future changes in ocean climate on ecosystems and other marine resources.”

Other activities during the survey in 2019 included the deployment of oceanographic gliders, two Argo floats (Ireland’s contribution to EuroArgo) and four surface drifters (Interreg Atlantic Area Clean Atlantic project). The new Argo floats have the capacity to measure dissolved ocean and biogeochemical parameters from the ocean surface down to a depth of 2,000 metres continuously for up to four years, providing important information as to the health of our oceans.

During the 2019 survey, the RV Celtic Explorer retrieved a string of oceanographic sensors from the deep ocean at an adjacent subsurface moored station and deployed a replacement M6 weather buoy, as part of the Irish Marine Data Buoy Observation Network (IMDBON).

Funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, the IMDBON is managed by the Marine Institute in collaboration with Met Éireann and is designed to improve weather forecasts and safety at sea around Ireland. The data buoys have instruments which collect weather and ocean data including wind speed and direction, pressure, air and sea surface temperature and wave statistics. This data provides vital information for weather forecasts, shipping bulletins, gale and swell warnings as well as data for general public information and research.

“It is only in the last 20 years, meteorologists and climatologists have really began to understood the pivotal role the ocean plays in determining our climate and weather,” said Evelyn Cusack, Head of Forecasting at Met Éireann. “The real-time information provided by the Irish data buoy network is particularly important for our mariners and rescue services. The M6 data buoy in the Atlantic provides vital information on swell waves generated by Atlantic storms. Even though the weather and winds may be calm around our shores, there could be some very high swells coming in from Atlantic storms.”

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