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Dublin Bay Boating News and Information

Displaying items by tag: EPIRB

The Irish Coast Guard has revealed further details over an incident involving the activation of an emergency positioning beacon off West Cork last month.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, Baltimore RNLI was called out to search or the EPIRB which activated two nautical miles west of the Calf Islands on the afternoon of Wednesday 19 August.

Despite an extensive operation which also involved Schull Coast Guard, a coastguard helicopter and the Naval Service vessel LÉ Samuel Beckett, nothing was found and the search was stood down by early evening.

‘…it is highly unusual to have detections of the type that was encountered on 19 August’

In response to further enquiries from Afloat.ie, the Irish Coast Guard said the EPIRB in question, which was last detected at Coosnagulling on the southwest of Long Island, “did not appear to be fully functional and the homing signal was not active.

“It was not registered in Ireland and registration details were not available. It was not of Irish origin.”

Confirming that the search was terminated with “no further action being deemed necessary”, the IRCG added: “Accidental activations of EPIRBs are not unusual but it is highly unusual to have detections of the type that was encountered on 19 August.

“Every effort was made to locate the device both inland and on the coast but as outlined above, the search proved to be unsuccessful given the operational gaps in the information that was available.”

Published in Water Safety

Owners of the Ocean Signal SeaSafe E100 or E100G emergency radio beacons are reminded to perform their unit’s self-test function as soon as possible.

The manufacturer says all of its EPIRBs should be routinely tested on a monthly basis, as per the user manual.

All Ocean Signal beacons are designed to have sufficient capacity to accommodate a monthly self-test over the lifetime of the battery.

However, for those beacons that do not pass the self-test, an exchange process is being offered for affected units.

Details on how to perform the self-test — and seek a replacement if necessary — are detailed in Marine Notice No 29 of 2020 attached below.

Published in Marine Warning

The first time this year that pagers sounded for the volunteers of Skerries RNLI may have ended in a false alarm.

But the crew of the North Co Dublin lifeboat station confirms it takes any activation of an emergency beacon seriously.

Skerries RNLI were tasked shortly before 7.30am yesterday morning (Monday 24 February) after Dublin Coast Guard picked up the signal from an emergency beacon almost two miles north-east of Skerries.

The Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat was launched by the volunteer crew into strong west to south-west winds, gusting to 30 knots at times.

Skerries lifeboat, the Howth lifeboat and the Irish Coast Guard’s helicopter Rescue 116 all proceeded to the last co-ordinates received and began a thorough search of the area in challenging conditions.

It was soon found that the vessel registered to the EPIRB (emergency position-indicating radio beacon) was safely tied up in Skerries Harbour, but the EPIRB had been removed.

The lifeboats and the helicopter continued to search the area until the coastguard was satisfied that the beacon had not been taken to sea aboard another vessel, and the operation was stood down.

Speaking about the callout, volunteer lifeboat press officer for Skerries RNLI, Gerry Canning, said: “EPIRBs are a vital piece of safety equipment, often designed to activate when a vessel capsizes or sinks, so any activation has to be treated very seriously.

“It was a wet morning for most people today, but even more so for our crews.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Rosslare Harbour RNLI all weather was launched by the volunteer lifeboat crew yesterday morningat 11.45am to respond to an EPIRB distress signal (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon).

The Irish Coast Guard alerted Rosslare Harbour RNLI to immediately launch following an EPIRB alarm, which usually indicates a vessel in serious danger. The signal was traced to an 18m yacht close to Carnsore Point off the Wexford coast, which was competing in the offshore Normandy Channel yacht race, as reported by Afloat.ie here.

The RNLI lifeboat and Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 117 were quickly on the scene. It was soon established that the 18m yacht was not in trouble and the EPIRB alarm had accidentally activated. Volunteer RNLI crew aboard Rosslare Harbour lifeboat deactivated the alarm system, returned the device to the yacht which then continued on with its race.

Conditions at the time were reasonably favourable with a brisk southerly wind.

Speaking after the incident Rosslare Harbour RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer Jamie Ryan praised the skill of the coxswain who brought the lifeboat alongside the yacht and the efforts of the RNLI volunteers who fixed the EPIRB and returned it to the 18m yacht.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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#EPIRB - Marine Notice No 9 of 2017 contains a product advisory for two EPIRB products manufactured by McMurdo.

Under certain circumstances, signs of cracking may appear in the top dome cases of all versions of the McMurdo SmartFind EPIRB and the Kannad Marine EPIRB Sport, Sport Pro and Sport Pro + models.

This cracking area is outside of the waterproof seal and as such does not compromise the integrity of any affected unit.

McMurdo recommends that any such unit “should be subject to rectification work at the earliest opportunity” and provides support details for any in-warranty units in the Marine Notice, available to read or download HERE.

Published in News Update

#Recall - The Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (DTTAS) advises that Kannad Marine, the manufacturer of Kannad SAFELINK EPIRBS, have issued a Global Recall Safety Notice for the following affected EPIRB units:

  • EPIRB SAFELINK Manual+ GPS (part no K1202311)
  • EPIRB SAFELINK Auto GPS (part no K1202367)

For further information please see the annex attached to Marine Notice No 2 of 2016, a PDF of which is available to read or download HERE.

Published in News Update
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#epirb – The Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport advises it has been informed that Standard Communications Pty Ltd, the manufacturer of GME EPIRBs, have issued a Product Safety Recall of the following affected EPIRB units:

GME MT400/MT401/MT403 EPIRBs with serial numbers between 50101000 and 80250722.

For further information please see the attached notice below.

Published in Marine Warning

The Irish Maritime Administration of the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport wishes to bring important safety information to the attention of users of Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons (EPIRBs).

The purpose of this notice is:-
• to highlight the importance of regular maintenance of EPIRBs by their owners;
• to highlight the obligation to register EPIRBs; and
• to advise users of certain GME EPIRBs that these have been the subject of a safety alert by the manufacturer.

It is vital for the safety of users of EPIRBs that you read and note the advice provided in the Marine Notices below which can be read on the Department's website at www.dttas.ie:

• Marine Notice No. 38 of 2013 which deals with the care and maintenance of EPIRBs, including the requirement for inspection and testing by owners. This Marine Notice also indicates that it is mandatory for all EPIRBs to be registered with the Irish Maritime Administration, and that changes to registered beacons must also be notified. If you own an EPIRB and have not yet registered it, or if you wish to notify any changes in ownership (or any other changes), please contact the Irish Maritime Administration as soon as possible. EPIRB registration is free of charge.

• Marine Notice No. 63 of 2013 which deals with a safety alert on GME EPIRBs. In the event of any EPIRB tested by the owner failing to produce a positive self-test result, owners should immediately contact their point of purchase or the manufacturer, or the GME email hotline at [email protected], as appropriate.

For any further enquiries please contact: 

Maritime Services Division, Irish Maritime Administration, Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, Leeson Lane, Dublin 2, Ireland. 

Email: [email protected] . Telephone: 01-678 3400 (within Ireland) or +353-1-678 3400 (from abroad).

Published in Marine Warning

Following recent reports in the media regarding the use of Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons (EPIRBs) the Department of Transport, Tourism & Sport wishes to clarify the position regarding the approval and use of EPIRBs in Ireland.

Fishing vessels in Ireland are subject to a comprehensive survey regime covering all safety equipment, including the EPIRB, and a safety certificate is only issued on foot of satisfactory completion of the survey. EPIRBs and other safety equipment are regulated in accordance with the EU Marine Equipment Directive.

The GME EPIRBs, covered in media reporting and the subject of the manufacturer's recent safety alert, hold certification issued by Bureau Veritas, the relevant international certifying authority, confirming compliance with the EU Directive.

The Department as the national maritime authority raised concerns with the manufacturer earlier this year following feedback in relation to vessel surveys that led to the issue of the alert by the company. The manufacturer's alert emphasises the importance of all users testing the equipment at regular intervals in accordance with the alert notice. The Department also wishes to emphasise the importance of regular inspection and testing of all safety equipment in accordance with manufacturers' guidance.

In 2010 the Department made enquires of the manufacturer regarding false alerts and battery failures. The company advised at the time that they had four units returned to them from this country as part of their warranty process. In two cases the equipment had been replaced in line with the warranty. In a third case the warranty was refused because the equipment had been tampered with. The fourth EPIRB was still awaiting examination at the time.

The company has advised the Department that they have sold over 150,000 EPIRBs between 2004 and 2012 with a failure rate of 0.11%.

The Department is currently examining all the issues associated with this matter and will make a detailed report available as quickly as possible.

Published in News Update
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#Safety - The factor of a malfunctioning radio beacon in the deaths of three fishermen in Tramore Bay this summer prompted the recent Marine Notice urging tests of such devices.

According to RTÉ News, the Australian manufacturer of the EPIRB devices in question was not aware of any problems until after it emerged that the beacon on the small fishing punt sailed by Paul, Kenny and Shane Bolger failed to emit a signal.

The bodies of the three men were recovered from the water in Tramore Bay just hours after they were reported missing on Wednesday 12 June.

The EPIRB - or Emergency Position Indication Radio Beacon - carried on the Bolger brothers' boat is one of the six classes identified in last week's Marine Notice (see appendix HERE).

All were manufactured between 2005 and 2010 by Australian film GME, which has since told RTÉ News that it lately learned of problems with its radio devices via "market-place feedback".

A malfunctioning microprocessor is thought to be to blame.

RTÉ News has more on the story HERE.

Published in Water Safety
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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