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Allianz and Afloat - Supporting Irish Boating

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Dublin Bay Boating News and Information

Displaying items by tag: Coastguard

The Courtmacsherry All Weather Trent Class RNLI Lifeboat was called out this morning Sunday at 11 am, to go to the aid of a 75-foot fishing vessel that had got into difficulties 27 miles off the Old Head of Kinsale in West Cork.

The lifeboat under Coxswain Mark Gannon and a crew of 6 were underway from their moorings in the harbour within minutes of being alerted by the Marine Rescue Co-Ordination Centre in Valentia and proceeded at full speed to the area of the causality.

Conditions at sea today were very difficult with Force 7/8 winds and high sea swells. The fishing vessel with five crewmembers on board had put out a distress signal when its hull was breached in difficult sea conditions and was taking in water.

Also launched was the Coast Guard Rescue 117 Helicopter from Waterford. Just after 12 noon, the Coast Guard Helicopter dropped an emergency salvage pump and winchman on to the fishing vessel deck and the Courtmacsherry Lifeboat readied their emergency salvage pump, and plans were finalised to pump the water from the stricken vessel in order for it to continue being operational.

The seven Courtmacsherry RNLI Lifeboat crew members under Coxswain Mark Gannon after they arrived into Kinsale Harbour with the fishing vesselThe seven Courtmacsherry RNLI Lifeboat crew members under Coxswain Mark Gannon after they arrived into Kinsale Harbour with the fishing vessel

As the water was pumped from the casualty, the Lifeboat stood by alongside in readiness for evacuation of the crew or any other assistance if required. With the pumping of the water being successful, and the seas very difficult, the Lifeboat escorted the causality at a safe speed back into the safe surrounds of Kinsale Harbour, arriving just after 4 pm.

A relieved fishing vessel Skipper thanked all the rescue services for their help in today’s rescue.

The Courtmacsherry RNLI Lifeboat Deputy Launch Authority and LPO Vincent O Donovan said “Great credit is due to all our volunteer crew members who rushed to answer the callout this morning and headed into very rough seas to help others in distress. Vincent praised both the Coastguard Rescue 117 helicopter crew and the crew of the Lifeboat in carrying out a very professional rescue involving salvage pumps in rough seas and strong winds.

The Courtmacsherry RNLI Lifeboat volunteer Crew involved in today’s callout were Coxswain Mark Gannon, Mechanic Chris Guy and crewmembers Mark John Gannon, Dara Gannon, Denis Murphy, Ciaran Hurley and Evin O Sullivan.

The Lifeboat returned to its base in Courtmacsherry just after 5 pm and has refuelled and restocked, in readiness of whenever the next call to action may occur. This is the 13th callout of 2021 for the Courtmacsherry RNLI Lifeboat station.

The Gannon family, Coxswain Mark, his son Mark John and brother Dara, all part of the Lifeboat crew today.The Gannon family, Coxswain Mark, his son Mark John and brother Dara, all part of the Lifeboat crew today.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

The RNLI and the Irish Coast Guard are expecting a busy May Bank Holiday weekend on the coasts and inland waters, with more people enjoying the warmer weather and the brighter evenings. The two organisations are asking people to plan ahead for any water based or coastal activities by taking some simple steps. The call comes following an increase in the number and a broadening in the type of incidents requiring RNLI and Coast Guard intervention.

Key water safety tips to remember when beside or on the water are: 

  • Check the weather and tide and familiarise yourself with local currents before you participate in any open water or coastal activity.
  • Always carry a reliable means of raising the alarm with you.
  • Tell someone where you are going and when you will be back.
  • Wear a lifejacket or buoyancy aid on or near the water.
  • Never ever swim alone and always ensure that somebody ashore is monitoring your progress.

RNLI Lifesaving Manager Sean Dillion said, ‘Our volunteer lifeboat crews around the coast and on our inland waters are expecting a busy season as more people are out enjoying the water. Many of the callouts we deal with could have been avoided with some simple preparation and planning. We want people to be safe on the water and enjoy themselves. Whatever activity you are planning please take a few minutes to check the relevant safety advice and always dial 999 or 112 and ask for the Coast Guard if you see someone in trouble on the water.’

Coast Guard, Head of Operations Gerard O’Flynn added: “Don’t assume that just because we have clear skies and warmer temperatures it is safe to engage in all coastal activities. Please familiarise yourself with weather and tidal information and take the time to observe prevailing conditions before you commence”.

He added that the Coast Guard has noted (on year to date basis), a very significant increase in the number of incidents being coordinated, in comparison with previous years. Activity levels have not only exceeded 2020 but are also at a five-year high.

For anyone intending to take a walk along the coast, it is important to check the times of high tide to avoid being stranded on a cove or sandbank that becomes cut off by the rising tide.

Open water swimming has become increasingly popular and there has been a notable increase in the number of people taking part, whether with a short dip or going for longer swims. Wear a brightly coloured swim cap to be visible and consider using a tow float. Never swim alone and always ensure that your activity is monitored by a colleague ashore. Water temperatures are still relatively cold at around 10 degrees making Cold Water Shock a danger. It is also important to acclimatise when entering the water.

If going on the water make sure the craft and equipment are in good condition, especially if this is the first time back on the water. Always wear a Lifejacket or PFD (Personal Floatation Device) and carry a reliable means of calling for help should the need arise. Check the weather and tides or currents before setting off.

Published in Coastguard
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Portaferry Coastguard Rescue Team had a busy evening yesterday (27th April) with a callout to Kirkistown Spit, near the village of Cloughey on the east Co Down coast

The crew were on station training when called to the scene where two people had been cut off by the rising tide. It became clear that the female was up to chest depth and in immediate danger.

Coastguard Rescue officers entered the water and helped the two people back ashore, and the female was checked by paramedics before making her way home.

Also present were Bangor Coastguard Rescue Team and Portaferry RNLI crew, who stood by for safety cover.

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Reviewing the equipment on my Sigma 33. Scribbler, before launching this year, I've been wondering about flares.

I don't have any needing disposal at present, but I've been following the debate in the UK where the Royal Yachting Association has said that "it is worth looking again at effective alternatives that might replace them altogether".

I looked up the coastal safety website of the MCA there – the Maritime and Coastguard Agency – which didn't mention flares. The RYA has highlighted that.

The yachting association takes the view that anyone carrying flares who is not compelled to do so – and that's only for over 45-footers in the UK – should pay for their disposal.

"It is not our intention to prevent those who carry flares as part of their safety equipment from doing so, but in every other area of society, the holders of hazardous waste, which out-of-date flares are classified as, are expected to dispose of it legally and responsibly." The RYA is warning that if a boatowner carries flares, they'd better budget for the cost of eventual disposal.

The RYA is warning that if a boatowner carries flares, they'd better budget for the cost of eventual disposal

That echoes the UK Department of Transport which closed a consultation on flares last month, making it clear that it favours the 'polluter pays principle to dispose of flares.

In March last year, the UK MCA renewed its advice to yacht owners to carry flares for use in an emergency, rather than using Electronic Visual Distress Signals. It says it has been spending €250,000 sterling a year for a free flares disposal service, the contract for which will expire in December. But its figures show that when it started disposing of flares free it dealt with 60,000 a year but that number has dropped to less than 12,000.

As what happens in the UK often impacts here, I asked our Department of Transport, it having responsibility for the Coast Guard here - What are the existing provisions/arrangements for the safe disposal of out-of-date flares by owners of yachts/motorboats in the leisure sphere?

Marine Notice No.13, amended last October, detailing its scheme for the safe disposal of 'time-expired' flares

The Department's Press Office sent me Marine Notice No.13, amended last October, detailing its scheme for the safe disposal of 'time-expired' flares and listing eight chandlers in Clare, Cork, Donegal and Dublin where they may be taken.

They are Derg Marine in Killaloe; CH Marine in Skibbereen and Cork City; Union Chandlery, Cork; Swan Net Gundry, Castletownbere; Atlantic Marine Supplies and Swan Net Gundry in Killybegs; O'Sullivan Marine in Rathcoole, Dublin and Solas Marine in Dun Laoghaire Harbour.

Download the full notice here

That is good to know. My concern about flares is eased.

Podcast below

Published in Tom MacSweeney
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Yesterday afternoon (11th April) Portaferry Coastguard Rescue Team had what turned out to be an Accident Prevention call out.

At Cloughey on the east coast of the Ards Peninsula in Co Down, a dog had entered the water to chase seagulls, (maybe bored with Lockdown?) but ended up quite a distance from the shore.

The owner was thinking of going into the water to rescue the dog, but he did the correct thing and stayed out of the water. Instead, he dialled 999 to ask for help. When the Team arrived, the dog was swimming ashore back to its owner. After some doggie treats and a stern telling off, it was on its way home to dry off.

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Portaferry Coastguard Rescue Team was paged on Saturday along with Newcastle Coastguard after a report that seven people were stranded by the tide on Guns Island, off the southeastern County Down coast near Ballyhornan.

Two Coastguard Rescue officers in water rescue equipment made their way out to the island to reassure the four adults and two children, but the incoming tide made it impossible to walk ashore, so Portaferry Lifeboat was called, and all seven were taken to safety.

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Coastguard and Lifeboat rescue teams have been extremely busy over the Easter Weekend and of course, answer distress calls without hesitation. But Belfast Coastguard Operations Centre has reported a hoax call.

Both Bangor and Portaferry Coastguard Rescue Teams were tasked to a vessel, possibly in distress near Ballywalter on the eastern Co. Down coast. Whilst they were proceeding to the scene, they received a call reporting a person in the water, and in serious difficulty in Killyleagh on the western side of Strangford Lough.

Both Coastguard Rescue Teams were diverted to the person in the water and Portaferry Lifeboat was also requested along with the Police Service. Belfast Coastguard said, "This was a hoax call. It tied up multiple Search and Rescue units, along with police, and someone who may have actually needed us had to wait. Please do not make hoax calls. Hoax calls cost lives".

Published in Coastguard
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The RNLI and the Irish Coast Guard are urging people who will be spending time on or near the water during the Easter break to take note of the relevant water safety advice for their activity and to raise the alarm if they see someone in trouble by dialling 999 or 112 and asking for the Coast Guard. The call comes as the Easter break falls early this year and recent call outs for the search and rescue resources have seen a noted increase in requests to assist walkers cut off by the tide and people getting into difficulty while engaging in open water swimming.

Both organisations emphasise the importance of adherence with Government guidelines on 5 km travel and other Covid related restrictions. With many people who live near the coast, exercising on or alongside the water, the Coast Guard and the RNLI are requesting the public to be cautious when engaging in any coastal or water-based activity. Despite some recent warm weather, sea temperatures remain at their coldest this time of year. Also, cliff top areas may have been subject to erosion or other local weather-related changes and care should be taken when walking there.

Kevin Rahill, RNLI Water Safety manager, said: ‘We are asking people to think about their own safety. Coastal areas and our inland waterways provide a great opportunity to enjoy fresh air and open space but it is important to remember that while air temperatures may be warming up in Spring and early Summer, water temperatures remain dangerously cold between 8-10°, increasing the risk of cold water shock. And, if you are out for a walk on the beach, make sure to check the tide times to avoid being cut off by a rising tide.’

Irish Coast Guard, Head of Operations Gerard O’Flynn added: ‘The past year has seen an increase in activities such as open water swimming, and incidents relating to use of inflatable toys which are unsuitable for open water. Please always be mindful of your personal safety and always ensure that you have a means of communication should you get into difficulty.’

Water safety advice from the Irish Coast Guard and RNLI:

  • When kayaking and paddleboarding, always carry a means of calling for help, such as a VHF radio or mobile phone in a waterproof pouch.
    Whenever going afloat, wear an appropriate buoyancy aid or lifejacket.
  • For open water swimmers and dippers, acclimatise slowly and always be visible
  • Check weather forecasts, tidal conditions, never swim alone and ensure that your activity is being monitored by a colleague onshore.
  • Take care if walking or running near cliffs – know your route and keep dogs on a lead
  • Carry a fully charged phone
  • If you get into trouble in the water, FLOAT - fight your instinct to thrash around, lean back, extend your arms and legs, and Float.
Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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A European pilots’ organisation has expressed alarm at the delay in publishing the final report into the loss of four air crew in the Rescue 116 helicopter crash off the Mayo coast four years ago.

As The Times Ireland edition reports, European Cockpit Association (ECA) president Captain Otjan de Bruijn has also questioned why Ireland had adopted a “rare procedure” where an aviation accident investigation can be re-examined before publication.

An air accident investigation must be published to ensure key safety lessons can be learned “swiftly”, Capt de Bruijn said, and he has urged release of the report “without delay”.

Capt Dara Fitzpatrick, Capt Mark Duffy and winch team Paul Ormsby and Ciarán Smith died after their Irish Coast Guard Sikorsky S-92 helicopter crashed at Blackrock island off the north Mayo coast on March 14th, 2017.

The four Dublin-based helicopter crew were providing “top cover” communication for the medical evacuation of a crewman from a British-registered fishing vessel off the west coast.

The Air Accident Investigation Unit (AAIU) issued a preliminary report and a series of interim reports, and a final draft report was given to families and stakeholders in late 2019, with a 60-day period for submissions.

However, its publication was put on hold by a request in January 2020 by an unidentified stakeholder for a review, which was granted by Ryan’s predecessor, Shane Ross.

The ECA president said that the final report was due in January 2020, and it “is an extremely long delay for publishing a report”

Capt de Bruijn said that during these four years, “possible safety-critical flaws have remained unaddressed – something we are quite alarmed about”.

“Any deficiencies that have been identified in the accident investigation must be made public, out in the open so they can be fixed swiftly. In the interests of passenger safety, we urge the Irish AAIU to release the report without delay,” he said.

“We are not aware of any other similar cases across Europe of a re-examination of the technical work of an independent technically qualified organisation by a body with limited expertise in aviation accident investigations,” Capt de Bruijn said of the review board option.

“This rare procedure could be a slippery slope allowing for undue influence over the investigation process and its findings, and clearly has resulted in an unhelpful delay in the publication of the report,” he said.

“Let us not forget that the final report contains safety-critical recommendations that are valuable – and potentially life-saving – lessons for the aviation system in and beyond Ireland,” he said.

The Irish Airline Pilots Association (IALPA) has already questioned the decision to include a review in the Irish legislation, and said the review “does not comply with the standards and recommended practices laid down by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO)”.

The Department of Transport said, “the review board is independent in its work in accordance with the 2009 Regulations and the timeframe for the board to carry out the re-examination is a matter for the chairperson to determine”.

Read more in The Times here

Published in Coastguard
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The fishing vessel Ellie Adhamh, the seven-person crew of which were evacuated by Coast Guard Helicopters on Saturday evening, has sunk in approximately 80m of water over two miles North of the Bull Rock, at the entrance to Kenmare Bay.

Valentia Coast Guard who coordinated the operation monitored the vessels situation overnight as it drifted in a northerly direction.

A local Tug hired by the owners was on scene all morning evaluating options to tow the vessel to a place of safety.

A second local Tug was also proceeding to the scene but it was evident from early morning that the vessels condition was deteriorating.

Sinking fast - The bow of the fishing vessel Ellie Adhamh seconds before the trawler sank in approximately 80m of water over two miles North of the Bull Rock, at the entrance to Kenmare BayThe bow of the fishing vessel Ellie Adhamh seconds before the trawler sank in approximately 80m of water over two miles North of the Bull Rock, at the entrance to Kenmare Bay. See vid below

A Coast Guard spokesperson expressed relief that there was no loss of life and acknowledged the professionalism of all who had been involved in the operation, as Afloat reported previously including Naval Service ship LE George Bernard Shaw, Castletownbere RNLI, Coast Guard Helicopter crews, owners and their representatives.

Published in Coastguard
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Dublin Bay

Dublin Bay on the east coast of Ireland stretches over seven kilometres, from Howth Head on its northern tip to Dalkey Island in the south. It's a place most Dubliners simply take for granted, and one of the capital's least visited places. But there's more going on out there than you'd imagine.

The biggest boating centre is at Dun Laoghaire Harbour on the Bay's south shore that is home to over 1,500 pleasure craft, four waterfront yacht clubs and Ireland's largest marina.

The bay is rather shallow with many sandbanks and rocky outcrops, and was notorious in the past for shipwrecks, especially when the wind was from the east. Until modern times, many ships and their passengers were lost along the treacherous coastline from Howth to Dun Laoghaire, less than a kilometre from shore.

The Bay is a C-shaped inlet of the Irish Sea and is about 10 kilometres wide along its north-south base, and 7 km in length to its apex at the centre of the city of Dublin; stretching from Howth Head in the north to Dalkey Point in the south. North Bull Island is situated in the northwest part of the bay, where one of two major inshore sandbanks lie, and features a 5 km long sandy beach, Dollymount Strand, fronting an internationally recognised wildfowl reserve. Many of the rivers of Dublin reach the Irish Sea at Dublin Bay: the River Liffey, with the River Dodder flow received less than 1 km inland, River Tolka, and various smaller rivers and streams.

Dublin Bay FAQs

There are approximately ten beaches and bathing spots around Dublin Bay: Dollymount Strand; Forty Foot Bathing Place; Half Moon bathing spot; Merrion Strand; Bull Wall; Sandycove Beach; Sandymount Strand; Seapoint; Shelley Banks; Sutton, Burrow Beach

There are slipways on the north side of Dublin Bay at Clontarf, Sutton and on the southside at Dun Laoghaire Harbour, and in Dalkey at Coliemore and Bulloch Harbours.

Dublin Bay is administered by a number of Government Departments, three local authorities and several statutory agencies. Dublin Port Company is in charge of navigation on the Bay.

Dublin Bay is approximately 70 sq kilometres or 7,000 hectares. The Bay is about 10 kilometres wide along its north-south base, and seven km in length east-west to its peak at the centre of the city of Dublin; stretching from Howth Head in the north to Dalkey Point in the south.

Dun Laoghaire Harbour on the southside of the Bay has an East and West Pier, each one kilometre long; this is one of the largest human-made harbours in the world. There also piers or walls at the entrance to the River Liffey at Dublin city known as the Great North and South Walls. Other harbours on the Bay include Bulloch Harbour and Coliemore Harbours both at Dalkey.

There are two marinas on Dublin Bay. Ireland's largest marina with over 800 berths is on the southern shore at Dun Laoghaire Harbour. The other is at Poolbeg Yacht and Boat Club on the River Liffey close to Dublin City.

Car and passenger Ferries operate from Dublin Port to the UK, Isle of Man and France. A passenger ferry operates from Dun Laoghaire Harbour to Howth as well as providing tourist voyages around the bay.

Dublin Bay has two Islands. Bull Island at Clontarf and Dalkey Island on the southern shore of the Bay.

The River Liffey flows through Dublin city and into the Bay. Its tributaries include the River Dodder, the River Poddle and the River Camac.

Dollymount, Burrow and Seapoint beaches

Approximately 1,500 boats from small dinghies to motorboats to ocean-going yachts. The vast majority, over 1,000, are moored at Dun Laoghaire Harbour which is Ireland's boating capital.

In 1981, UNESCO recognised the importance of Dublin Bay by designating North Bull Island as a Biosphere because of its rare and internationally important habitats and species of wildlife. To support sustainable development, UNESCO’s concept of a Biosphere has evolved to include not just areas of ecological value but also the areas around them and the communities that live and work within these areas. There have since been additional international and national designations, covering much of Dublin Bay, to ensure the protection of its water quality and biodiversity. To fulfil these broader management aims for the ecosystem, the Biosphere was expanded in 2015. The Biosphere now covers Dublin Bay, reflecting its significant environmental, economic, cultural and tourism importance, and extends to over 300km² to include the bay, the shore and nearby residential areas.

On the Southside at Dun Laoghaire, there is the National Yacht Club, Royal St. George Yacht Club, Royal Irish Yacht Club and Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club as well as Dublin Bay Sailing Club. In the city centre, there is Poolbeg Yacht and Boat Club. On the Northside of Dublin, there is Clontarf Yacht and Boat Club and Sutton Dinghy Club. While not on Dublin Bay, Howth Yacht Club is the major north Dublin Sailing centre.

© Afloat 2020