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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
The mini yacht ended up on Bunes Beach that is quite isolated on the western side of Reinefjorden on the Moskenesøya island, Norway
The 1.5 metre unmanned mini sailboat called 'Seoltóir Na Gaillimhe – the Galway Sailor', that was deployed in June, was recently found stranded on the Bunes Beach above the Arctic Circle in the Lofoten Islands, in Norway. After travelling over…
Pierce Purcell Jnr of Galway Maritime (left) presents owner/skipper Mark Wllson from the successful Sigma 33 Scorpio with the King of Lambs Trophy in Galway Maritime’s premises in Galway City
So much happened so quickly in Galway Bay SC’s 46-boat Lambs Week cruise to the Aran islands and Connemara (as reported in Afloat.ie) that it took a day or two for a more formal presentation to take place with the…
Aran Islands lifeboat tows the angling boat back to Kilronan Harbour
The Aran Islands volunteer RNLI lifeboat crew were requested by the Irish Coast Guard to launch their All-Weather Severn Lifeboat at 2.48 pm, yesterday (Monday, August 30th). An 11.6 metre angling boat, with nine people aboard, was experiencing engine problems…
Eoin Warner, presenter of TG4's new series, An Cuan
A year-long look at Dublin Bay’s ecosystem is the theme of a new television series on TG4 during the autumn. Presented by Eoin Warner, “An Cuan” focuses on the fact that Dublin is the only city of its type in…
Officials and volunteers at Kilmore Quay, Co Wexford at a meadow of seagrass Zostera marina from left: Austrian Ambassador HE Dr Thomas Nader has just seen his first Irish seagrass meadow. To his right: Tom Enright, Chief Executive Wexford CoCo, daughter Ashling and Cllr Lisa Mc Donald (in a wetsuit) to his left Conor McCabe PO Marine Planning DHLGH. In the background are Richard Simpson, Sinead Brennan RTE and Karin Dubsky
Environmental group Coastwatch has called on the Government to specify protection of seagrass beds in new maritime planning legislation. As The Times Ireland reports, seagrass or Zostera marina is the inshore equivalent of coral reefs or tropical rainforests in nurturing…
The ‘Fenit 3’ dolphins, identified as members of the Moray Firth population
A trio of dolphins who surrounded a swimmer rescued after hours at sea off the Kerry coast earlier this week have been identified as a group from Scottish waters more than 1,000km away. As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the swimmer…
God's Own Country, as seen from a satellite above Connemara and Galway Bay. While the three Aran Islands provide some shelter from the Atlantic, this is still a challenging area in which to organise a cruise-in-company and a couple of offshore races for a fleet of 46 boats
With an impressive and eclectic fleet of 46 boats from West Coast ports which ranged from Clew Bay to the north to Kilrush in the Shannon Estuary to the south - in addition to the many harbours and anchorages within…
Saturday's, albeit brief, storm-style conditions for DBSC racing on Dublin Bay
August's changeable weather has been on everybody's lips, especially among Dublin Bay boaters adding heft to the age-old query about whether the month is, in fact, Summer or Autumn? Take these three pictures from the Bay, and it's hard to…
Aran Islands RNLI
Aran Islands RNLI’s volunteer lifeboat crew were called to two medical evacuations from Inis Oirr and Inis Mór yesterday (Sunday 22 August). At 3.42 pm the crew were asked by the Irish Coast Guard to launch their all-weather Severn class…
BIM’s higher diploma in business in fisheries and aquaculture
Applications are being sought for a business diploma with a “salty air taste” run by Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) and the Institute of Technology (IT) Carlow. The closing date is September 3rd for prospective participants in BIM’s higher diploma in…
Achill Island RNLI’s Tony McNamara
Achill Island RNLI’s Tony McNamara retires as Lifeboat Operations Manager after 32 years of service to the charity. Achill Island RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager, Tony McNamara has retired after three decades of volunteering for the charity in an operational role.…
Malcolm Noonan
The Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform has urged ‘walrus watchers’ along Ireland’s South Coast to “cop on” and observe Wally the walrus from a distance. The Arctic walrus was first spotted in Ireland off the coast of…
A Young Hearts session on Grattan Beach, Galway Bay
Sea and sky, as in the marine and astronomy, were twin themes of this year’s “Young Hearts”, a field programme involving transition year students working with senior citizens in Galway. Tutors Dr Noirin Burke of Galway Atlantaquaria, artist Vicky Smith…
Image of the Scientific Investigations intro from the Sea and Inland Fisheries report for 1906
In celebration of National Heritage Week 2021, the Marine Institute has launched a new Interactive Marine Archive where you can explore two rare historical collections on Irish sea and inland fisheries. The digitised collections include the Sea and Inland Fisheries…
Wally the Arctic walrus resting on a pontoon in the Isles of Scilly in July 2021
Wally the Arctic walrus’ trail of destruction along the South Coast may be curbed by the provision of a ‘floating couch’ for the large marine mammal, as the Irish Examiner reports. Following his return to Irish shores earlier this month…
The new moorings blocks being shipped to the Aran Islands for GBSC's Lambs Week Regatta
Preparations continue apace for Galway Bay's Lamb's Week Sailing Regatta that starts on Thursday.  As Afloat previously reported, Galway Bay Sailing Club hosts Lambs Week from August 19th to 25th, when some 50 boats will take part in the five-day…

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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