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Allianz and Afloat - Supporting Irish Boating

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Dublin Bay Boating News and Information

Displaying items by tag: Coronavirus

It’s been confirmed that tourist travel to offshore islands will be permitted from next Monday under the next phase of lifting coronavirus restrictions, which was announced last night (Thursday 25 June).

RTÉ News reports that the move was recommended by the Attorney General and the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) after consultation with Comhairle na nOileán, the authority for Ireland’s island communities.

However, Comhairle na nOileán said it was not responsible for public health decisions.

Earlier this week, the islands federation Comhdháil Oileáin na hÉireann echoed comments from Gaeltacht Minister Sean Kyne in their opposition to the early lifting of travel restrictions to offshore islands, instead recommending a phased approach.

As Lorna Siggins reported for Afloat.ie, a survey conducted Inis Óirr last week indicated 92% of residents and businesses oppose reopening for the remainder of the summer due to fears over the spread of Covid-19, of which there has been one confirmed case across all three Aran Islands.

Restrictions on foreign travel are set to be lifted on Thursday 9 July, with the Government to provide a ‘green list’ of countries where people can travel without being subject to mandatory 14-day quarantine.

Published in Aquatic Tourism
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Following the Commodore’s Conference on Zoom yesterday (Thursday) evening to analyse the lifting of COVID-19 Lockdown restrictions, the basic reality is that club racing is allowed to resume from next Tuesday (June 30th) provided that crews comply with much-relaxed social distancing requirements, while most clubhouses will be open and functional within the same limitations.

It’s a complex situation, and it’s unreasonable to expect a long list of official does and don’ts as sailing and boating try to get back towards some sort of normality. After all, everything to do with boats and their use is supposed to be ultimately about self-reliance afloat, it’s supposed to be what seamanship is all about. So if people lack the savvy to apply common sense to a changing public health situation and how it affects our sport, then perhaps they shouldn’t be going near boats in the first place.

For ours is a robust and healthy sport, with the action taking place in the brisk open air, just as fresh as fresh air can be, while the sailing population, in general, will surely prove to have been significantly less affected by the Coronavirus than the population at large. So maybe it’s time people just got on with it, and stopped waiting for cast-iron official directives before making any move, showing instead an ability and readiness to apply personal responsibility and a capacity for initiative.

J80 Racing on Dublin BayNow, after three and more completely blank months of negativity and bewilderment and severely constrained existence, it’s time for us to get out and about and sailing again Photo: Afloat

When sailing fans demanded to know when they could go sailing again as the Coronavirus receded and Lockdown was eased through its various phases, it soon becomes clear that there’s much more to their concept of “going sailing” than simply getting into a boat with one or two others who comply for a bubble or pod within COVID-19 regulations, and then just going for a sail within five kilometres from their home port, and returning to it at the end of a mini-voyage.

Yet anyone prepared to accept that as an interim stage in the process back towards normality could have got sailing of sorts. Not perfect by any means, but sailing nevertheless. And if they felt the need for some competition afloat, they could very quickly have arranged informal matches with just one other boat sailed by friends, through the VHF or over a mobile. And they could then talk of having had a “race” as they returned in a social-distance compliant manner to the marina or mooring.

If people had been prepared to accept that as the beginning of the process, they could have been “going sailing” and having had racing of sorts since May 24th. And certainly, the Sailing Schools who are in it for more than simply enjoyment have been organising sailing of the new type for weeks now.

But in today’s very structured world, it seems that the ordinary punters want much more than just “going sailing” in order to tempt them afloat again. The truth is, they want the full monty, with an intense highly-organised racing programme, and hearty socializing afterwards. And even with cruising folk, the freely sociable element is an important part and often essential of the mix.

Either way, this “all-or-nothing” attitude was becoming much too prevalent. So maybe it’s time we grew up. None of us in Ireland among current generations has ever experienced anything remotely like this Lockdown, with its inevitable implementation of what seemed very like a high-powered version of the Nanny State.

For sure, it was necessary at the time, and the nation is to be commended for generally accepting the onerous restrictions which were imposed. But now we have to accept that the threat is receding, and it’s time to become responsible adults again. For, after three months of Lockdown, there are signs of creeping infantilism throughout society, and an expectation of complying with detailed directives at every stage.

That isn’t the way life should be in the real Ireland. We should be showing more spirit. And while it’s clear that the official and governmental authorities are risk-averse as public and semi-public authorities are programmed to be, the yacht and sailing club Commodores are showing a spirit of adventure and entrepreneurship. For in effect, they represent the vital and key private enterprise sector of our sport, and they have to get their clubs back to a level of economically-viable activity just as soon as is humanly possible.

Thus there never has been a time when the yacht and sailing clubs of Ireland have more urgently needed the full, enthusiastic and understanding support and involvement of their members. And there has never been a time when it is essential for everyone to resume sailing – albeit within limits which may in some cases seem niggling – just as soon as possible.

Several clubs are showing commendable initiative in offering significant discounts and the opportunity for late entries in order to get the complicated yet truly remarkable Irish sailing infrastructure back up and running again. The least that the sailing community can do is be supportive in backing their efforts. Sailing is ultimately a complete community activity, and as with all community activities, in the last analysis, you only get as much out of your club and your sailing as you are prepared to put into it.

Dublin Bay Sailing Club Committee Boat FreebirdSailing is ultimately a complete community activity Photo: Afloat

Now, after three and more completely blank months of negativity and bewilderment and severely constrained existence, it’s time for us to get out and about and sailing again. And okay, maybe, for now, it’s not truly sailing as we know and love it in all its full sporting and socially-carefree complexity. But what’s now becoming possible is a massive step in the right direction, and every journey starts with one step.

Each club is providing clearcut guidance towards taking that step in accordance with the special setup and circumstances which obtain at each club. And as I happen to sail from Howth, which has been in the forefront of the process of getting sailing going again, it’s timely to conclude with the letter to members issued by Commodore Ian Byrne this (Thursday) evening:

Howth Yacht Club reopens

Dear Member,

Many of us have enjoyed the recent spell of good weather pottering responsibly in our wonderful sailing area. The Irish Sailing Return to Sailing Phase 3 plan brings us closer to a new normal, and their meeting today gave us guidance on getting back to racing.

Club racing can start from next Tuesday with full crews. In line with the Government strategy the guidelines are relaxed and emphasis has shifted to prioritising contact tracing with a recognition that, where physical distancing cannot be reasonably achieved in a sport, each individual must assess the risks and minimise them whilst trying to follow hygiene, etiquette and distance recommendations. The term ‘pod’ is used to describe a virtual household that is a crew, race committee, safety RIB etc. with each individual pod remaining socially distant from others on the water and ashore.

This also has positive implications for Junior courses and safety boat crews which the Sailing Committee will work on in the coming days.

You will already have received an email announcing that club racing fees are waived for 2020. Online entry is now available on hyc.ie. The Fingal League starts on Sat 4th July and our clubhouse will open next Monday with a special menu and our usual array of beverages served by Frank and the team inside or on the balcony in our comfortable, spacious and safe surroundings.

There is plenty of summer left to enjoy your sport through July and August. A perfect lead into Wave, Ireland’s best Regatta this year, on 11th Sep followed by the Autumn League on 19th Sep to 24th Oct. Almost 4 months of top class racing! There are a few good days to get the boat ready for next week so enter online and get racing.

Your class captain will have more details related to your class after the Sailing Committee meeting tonight including keelboat skipper responsibility to email crew and any changes details in advance each race day.

Ian Byrne
Commodore

Yacht Club Commodores from across Ireland have a conference call planned for tomorrow (Thursday) to see do they all interpret the lockdown-easing regulations the same way as sailing prepares to resume this weekend.

The acceleration of the easing of restrictions means clubs and sailing centres will now be under pressure to turn around changes quickly for the proposed 29 June start date.

Already, the country's largest racing club, Dublin Bay Sailing Club has advised members it intends to resume two weeks earlier than planned on July 7th.

Following the Taoiseach’s announcement last Friday, Irish Sailing is in the process of revising Phase three and four of its Return to Sailing Scheme. Irish Sailing has published its latest update here.

Multi-household groups will be able to crew on boats, committee boats, safety boats using a ‘pod’ system under Phase three much like Afloat described here in early May.

Irish Sailing CEO Harry Hermon says 'It appears that there will be little change in activities on the water between Phases three and four, so effectively the plan for Phase three is likely to be in place for the foreseeable future (ie the ‘New Normal’).

The main changes anticipated under phase 3 are:

  • The focus for activities will be to maintain physical distancing where possible and to put in place effective measures (eg following Government guidelines on contact tracing and face masks)
  • Local, Regional and National competition may resume
  • Multi-household groups will be able to crew on boats, committee boats, safety boats using a ‘pod’ system (maintaining regular crew as much as possible)
  • Training will also be encouraged to use a ‘pod’ system as much as possible (ie the same groups working with the same instructor for the duration of the course)
  • Travel restrictions expanded to all Ireland
  • Up to 200 people can gather outdoors
  • Club catering facilities serving a ‘substantial meal’ may open
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A funding package of up €70 million has been approved by Government to support the sport sector emerging from the coronavirus shutdown.

This funding package will support the sport sector through:

  • funding of up to €40 million for the three main field sports organisations – the FAI, the GAA and the IRFU;
  • a Resilience Fund of up to €10 million to support the national governing bodies of sport, such as Irish Sailing;
  • a Sports Club Resilience Fund of up to €15 million to support clubs; and
  • a Sports Restart and Renewal Fund of up to €5m.

Launching the fund last night (Friday 19 June), Sport Minister Shane Ross said: “The sport sector has been severely impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic and many sporting bodies and clubs are experiencing significant financial challenges.

“We have had extensive contact with the sector and it is clear that the challenge is enormous and is being felt at every level.

“While the scale of this package may seem extraordinarily large, it merely reflects the enormity of the challenges being faced by our sporting bodies.”

Minister Ross said the new funding package “will assist our national governing bodies of sport and sports clubs as they prepare to restart their sports under the Government roadmap.

“Sporting organisations and clubs are hugely important for the social fabric of every community in the country and we want to ensure that the sector recovers as strongly as possible from the current crisis.

“The roadmap accelerations and funding being announced today will ensure the survival of our vibrant sport sector, particularly the network of clubs throughout the country. My officials will now engage with Sport Ireland to design new grant schemes, which will be administered by Sport Ireland.”

Minister of State with responsibility for tourism and sport, Brendan Griffin, added: “Today is the most important day for sport in this country during my time in this office. I am delighted that the Government saw fit to respond to the many loud calls for help from our sporting bodies.

“The scale of lost revenues, from the smallest of club fundraisers to a sold-out stadium, is breath taking. Today’s package will go a long way to aiding the badly needed recovery.”

Funding allocations to national governing bodies and clubs under the new scheme will be determined following a robust grant application and assessment process conducted by Sport Ireland.

Sport Ireland will announce an open invitation to applications from funded bodies for assistance under the grant scheme.

Published in News Update
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RYA Northern Ireland has released guidance for boaters after a Sport Northern Ireland update confirmed that outdoor activity has moved into Step 2 out of coronavirus lockdown.

However, this is limited to outdoors only and indoor activity/advice remains as it was in Step 1 until further announcements.

The Sport Northern Ireland update highlighted that:

  • Groups of up to 10 are now permitted to take part in socially distanced outdoor training.
  • No relaxation of restrictions is yet in place for indoor activity and as a result no indoor sports activity is permitted at this time.
  • Resumption of outdoor sporting activity at Step 2 is entirely conditional on robust protocols being in place, communicated, fully understood and complied with by all participants. We would therefore urge a cautious approach.

Under the Northern Ireland Executive’s Pathway to Recovery, the following is therefore permitted:

  • Outdoor activities involving small groups of less than 10 people during which it may be difficult to maintain social distancing but where contacts are brief (less than10 minutes).

RYANI has since updated and issued its Guidance for Step 2 and considerations of activity that could now take place.

The governing body continues to urge boaters to take a conservative approach to activities and to follow all public health advice in order to best help eliminate Covid-19. Guidance for access to indoors remains in Step 1 until subsequent announcements.

Published in RYA Northern Ireland
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Boaters are reminded that leisure cruisers and other personal vessels from abroad remain banned from entering ports here, despite the latest relaxation of coronavirus measures.

Ireland’s sailing community has hailed the wider return to sailing heralded by the start of Phase 2 of relaxing coronavirus lockdown restrictions from today, Monday 8 June.

And Irish Sailing has published a guideline document to all sailors and boaters, including those who have not yet done so, for getting back on the water.

But under the heading for transport and travel in the Government’s list of Phase 2 public health measures, it states: “The arrival of personal non-national maritime leisure vessels is banned (with exceptions such as ‘port in a storm’).”

The message is, for now, that cruising should keep local for the health and safety of all — and the hopeful further loosening of restrictions in three weeks’ time.

Published in Cruising
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As boating returns to Dun Laoghaire upon the relaxing of coronavirus restrictions, the local authority is asking everyone of all ages to make their own flag with a message of hope for the future.

All are invited to tell their own Covid-19 story with their flags which will be flown from the masts of boats among Dun Laoghaire’s sailing community.

These boats will set sail in convoy on a day of solitary this August, when Ireland is set to emerge from the fifth and final phase of health restrictions.

Friday 10 July is the deadline to submit your flag and completed submission form c/o Sandra Kelly, Community Department, County Hall, Marine Road, Dún Laoghaire — and DLRCoCo has provided some handy tips to help you get started.

Following more easing of Covid-19 restrictions announced by the Northern Ireland Executive, plans are being made by Waterways Ireland to reopen its navigations north of the border — the Erne System, Lower Bann and on the Shannon-Erne Waterway — to boating from next Friday 29 May.

The cross-border body for Ireland’s inland waterways says it is working to roll out health and safety procedures and protocols to ensure the safe return of both staff and boaters to these navigations.

Private boaters undertaking short trips on the water, as permitted under the new restrictions, are reminded to proceed with caution as navigations and their facilities have not been fully maintained since lockdown began in late March.

“It will take time to reopen the above navigations,” Waterways Ireland said in a statement. “We expect they will reopen on May 29th.

“Waterways Ireland’s locks and service blocks will remain closed in line with the five-step roadmap to recovery [in Northern Ireland]. We recognise the situation is constantly changing.”

It added that updates prior to reopening will be made via marine notices, on the Waterways Ireland website and via social media channels.

The Inland Waterways Association of Ireland (IWAI) yesterday welcomed to the return of boating to Lough Erne with a list of recommendations to keep everyone safe on the water.

Published in Inland

The UK government’s easing of COVID-19 lockdown restrictions has brought relief to many aspects of life and, particularly certain sports. Sailing is one of those fortunate past-times that is now allowed in England, along with all other forms of watersports practised on open waterways, including windsurfing, canoeing, rowing, kayaking, surfing, paddle-boarding and the use of privately-owned motorised craft (in line with the guidance issued by the relevant navigation authority).

Sarah Treseder, Royal Yachting Association (RYA) Chief Executive has been quoted as saying: "We are pleased that Government guidance has confirmed that all forms of watersports including sailing, windsurfing and motor-boating are not only permitted, but are being actively encouraged in England.”

Treseder is quoted as adding that: "We are aware that marinas, clubs and other venues are working hard to facilitate a safe return to boating activities, although it will inevitably take a while before the full infrastructure is operational.”

This last remark echoes the concerns raised by Restart Sailing’s recent survey of Sailing Clubs, the marine industry and interested individuals. While the return to the water is welcomed, it will be some time before normal service is resumed. Most worrying is the need to protect institutions and businesses starved of income and at risk of permanent closure leaving sailors unable to practice their sport.

The survey was undertaken prior to the recent easing, but according to Simon Lovesey, founder of Restart Sailing, the results remain relevant and offer a glimpse into the difficulties faced by the sport. “The key takeaways are that individuals, clubs and businesses are desperate to see a return to on the water activity provided it can be done safely and responsibly,” says Lovesey. “However, there is widespread concern that the lockdown will take considerable time to unwind and some clubs and businesses may not survive.”

The survey’s Executive Summary highlights a number of issues, many of which are common to other sporting activities:

The sailing sector (clubs, classes and trade) is facing massive financial struggle with all activity cancelled and drops in membership renewals and other expenditure 59% of respondents believe that financial concerns will continue into the foreseeable future as Government financial support fails to reach all parts of the sector.

Real concern exists over the length of time and amount of money that will be required to restart as facilities and equipment have been effectively mothballed
Advice and guidance from the Government, Local Authorities and the RYA during the period of lockdown has been mixed Covid-19 has created a lack of confidence in people and this may inhibit the return to sport.

Equally, if the sport is seen to return to early and irresponsibly there could be real reputational damage.

Interestingly, on the positive side, the respondents indicated that Covid-19 could present opportunities to reboot the sport and institute much-needed reform.

Overwhelmingly, respondents felt that there was a need for better communication from the authorities and that similar situations in the future would be better managed with proper planning, greater agility and acting earlier.

Respondents are hopeful that at the end of the pandemic there will be lasting evidence of change in habits with greater emphasis on local events and support for local clubs and businesses. Reducing costs, improving use of technology and addressing the sport’s environmental impact are priorities.

In the immediate term, respondents are keen to see proper well thought through guidance on measures that will help reduce the risk of contagion. The continued focus on hygiene is seen as critical, as is introducing clear, simple to follow social distancing rules in marinas and boat parks. Sailing events should only be conducted if and so long as protective measures are easy to institute, follow and enforce.

https://restartsailing.org/

The Government has been warned of the risks of an increase in drownings in the next few weeks during an easing of Covid-19 restrictions.

Water Safety Ireland chief executive John Leech has expressed concern about the risks if weather is good before lifeguards are in place on beaches, and when water temperatures are still relatively low.

There is also some concern among commercial providers of outdoor adventure activities about the timing of safe resumption.

“Cold-water shock is a serious risk for people who have not been swimming on the sea or inland since last summer, and who haven’t been able to access a swimming pool,” Mr Leech said, pointing out that almost two million people living within 5km of the coastline, and many others live close to rivers and lakes.

“The last thing we want is to restrict people, but we are going to have the greatest number on the water in our history over the next few weeks, as they cannot go abroad and many have lost their jobs,” he said.

The Government has sanctioned re-opening of “outdoor public amenities and tourism sites, such as car parks, beaches and mountain walks” as part of phase one from Monday.

The Irish Coast Guard has also lifted its advisory on staying off the water and thanked the public for its co-operation, but cautioning that “the current 2x5 rule, as in two-metre physical distance and five km travel distance” remains in place.

Marinas, sailing and kayaking clubs are re-opening under advice issued by national sport governing bodies including the Irish Sailing Association (ISA) and Canoeing Ireland in line with Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Covid-19 guidelines.

Activities such as kayaking in groups of up to four are being advertised as and from Monday by several providers, including Inish Adventures in Moville, Co Donegal.

“We are restricting to groups of four, all equipment will be sanitised, there will be social distancing and we are staying within the two loughs of Swilly and Foyle,” Adrian Harkin of Inish Adventures said. “We have received approval from our local Irish Coast Guard and from Canoeing Ireland.”

Mr Harkin said that he had erected marquees and outdoor showers as part of his preparation.

“I’ve never had so many inquiries from people to buy kayaks, and to be honest I’d prefer to see them going out with qualified instructors rather than taking risks on their own,” he said.

Canoeing Ireland chief executive Moira Aston said it has published return to sport protocols for its members and clubs.

“While we don’t have a regulatory function in relation to the commercial sector, we sincerely hope that everyone behaves responsibly, observes all guidelines, legislation and safety protocols and allows for further easing of restrictions,” she said.

She said she was aware that commercial operators had drawn up their own procedures which appeared to be in line with HSE guidelines. Canoeing Ireland would “not endorse any individual or organisation operating outside of our protocols”, she stressed.

“Kayaking is in a great position to be out there, but we are dipping our toe in the water,” she said.

In Galway, harbourmaster Capt Brian Sheridan confirmed public slipways and the marina would re-open under the guidelines, with a medical disclaimer required for use of the crane in launching craft.

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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