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Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Dublin Bay Boating News and Information

Displaying items by tag: Crew Crisis

The strength of the Naval Service is at its lowest ebb in 42 years with the exodus of highly experienced people showing no sign of abating.

There is increasing concern that by the late autumn it could be getting close to just 800 personnel – whereas it should have a minimum of 1,094.

There are just 841 personnel on the books at present, but the Irish Examiner (which has more) understands this includes an unspecified number, (believed to be around 30) who have officially signalled they want to leave and are waiting their discharge papers.

This would bring the Naval Service ever closer to what experts say is a "critical 800-level" making it increasingly difficult to "keep the ship/s afloat" especially as recruitment isn't keeping pace with departures.

Despite the best efforts of a cohort of Naval Service personnel – who have embarked on around-the-country recruitment campaigns in shopping centres, second-level schools etc – the latest recruit class of enlisted personnel had just six in training.

Published in Navy

Just six young Naval Service recruits passed out of training in what's believed to be the smallest class in modern times encountered by the navy, which is already dogged by personnel shortages.

Normally, the Naval Service would get anything between 25 and 40 in a recruit class and needs to ratchet up recruitment significantly as it is already more than 200 personnel short of the minimum number it requires.

The Irish Examiner understands that initially, 15 people enlisted in this particular recruit class. They were primarily trained at the army's Collins' Barracks in Cork City because there is more space there than the Naval Service headquarters on Haulbowline Island and extra space was required due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Nine dropped out during training, leaving just six to pass out after completing a 22-week course.

Click here for more on the chronic shortage of naval crew.

Published in Navy

The current dire condition of the Naval Service led Ireland to rely on a European Union (EU) ship to help patrol its fishing zone for the first time this year.

According to the Irish Times, the Irish Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority (SFCA) requested and received the support of the European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA) in patrolling Irish waters on four occasions between January and March in 2021.

This was considered necessary because “the Naval Service could not commit to increase its patrol days at sea under a joint-EU initiative co-ordinated at EU level by EFCA.”

It was the first time Ireland had to rely on the EFCA’s vessel (Afloat can reveal as the Lundy Sentinel). 

The revelation was contained in a blunt assessment from the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine to the Commission on the Defence Forces which is examining the future role and capabilities of the Irish military.

Fishery protection is the core role of the Naval Service, which has been hit particularly hard by the manpower crisis impacting the entire Defence Forces.

Last year there was a 25 per cent decrease in the number of fishery patrols carried out by the Naval Service compared to 2019.

For more on this notable first fishery patrol duty performed by the EFCA in Irish waters, click here.

Published in Navy

Use of financial sweeteners aimed at stemming rapidly declining numbers of the Naval Service have failed, making it increasingly difficult to carry out key roles such as sea fishery protection and search-and-rescue operations.

In a communique sent by senior Naval Service officers to a member of the Defence Forces General Staff, they say the 'concerning and continual fall in (personnel) numbers' in the service, is 'hampering best efforts to provide the expected level of service to key stakeholders, and indeed the State'.

The 'restricted' communication, seen by the Irish Examiner, has further fuelled calls for an urgent response from the Government to tackle the deepening retention crisis in the Naval Service, which is currently operating without four ships.

LÉ Eithne and LÉ Orla were taken off operations in June 2019 due to crew shortages. LÉ Ciara is currently 'tied up' because she's so small there could be a high risk of Covid-19 transmission among her crew. It's not known when they will be fully vaccinated.

LÉ Roisin is coming out of a mid-life refit and when she does LÉ Niamh will go into dock for a similar overhaul.

More from the newspaper here.

Published in Navy

Naval Service manpower crisis continues, writes Irish Examiner, with ships being delayed going on patrol because they are short of a specialist crew member.

LÉ Niamh was to go on patrol last Monday but was forced to cancel sailing when a communications specialist earmarked for the four-week patrol was unable to join the crew due to illness.

The Irish Examiner understands at least three such incidents have occurred in recent months and that it is becoming a growing problem associated with critical shortages of communications specialists, medics, marine engineers, engine-room fitters, and electronics and electrical technicians.

Nearly 15 months ago, a decision was made to take two ships out of operations and to disperse their crews around the rest of the fleet to ensure the remaining ships were adequately manned.

However, the continued exodus of personnel has meant some of the remaining operational ships are struggling to find the necessary skill-sets to go to sea.

For more on this crew crisis click here. 

Published in Navy

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