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Displaying items by tag: Arklow

Arklow RNLI in Co Wicklow were requested to launch early on Tuesday morning (2 April) following reports of a large yacht with four crew onboard in difficulty near the Arklow Bank.

Shortly after 6.30am, Arklow volunteers launched the station’s all-weather lifeboat Ger Tigchlearr and the crew made best speed to the yacht’s reported position, some 18 miles south-east of Arklow.

Once on scene, it was established that the 16-metre vessel had developed engine failure. The lifeboat crew assessed the situation and, due to the vessel not being able to make safe progress, it was decided to take the vessel under tow back to the nearest safe port at Arklow.

Both boats arrived back into Arklow at around 10.30am, and the casualty vessel was secured on the pontoons in the inner dock.

Speaking following the rescue, Jimmy Myler, Arklow RNLI launch authority said: “Huge thanks once again to our volunteer crew both onshore and on the lifeboat who at a moments notice go to sea to assist others, whether day or night.

“As we continue to enjoy the Easter break, we would remind everyone planning a trip to sea or near the coast to respect the water. Should you get into difficulty or see someone else in trouble, call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

Arklow RNLI’s volunteers on this call-out were coxswain Ned Dillon, station mechanic James Russell, Craig O’Reilly, John Tyrrell, David Molloy, Cillian Kavanagh and Josh McAnaspie.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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The European Ombudsman may be asked to examine the case of the Mary Kate, the fishing vessel which developed serious stability issues after it was bought by an Arklow family.

An Oireachtas committee has also agreed to appoint an expert to examine information surrounding the case.

Representatives of the departments of transport and agriculture, food and marine may then be invited before the committee after the expert report is completed.

The Joint Committee on Public Petitions and the Ombudsmen has proposed to take these actions after an initial hearing on the case in late February.

Arklow fisherman CJ Gaffney was invited to outline his experience, where he was left with debts of 1 million euro.

The committee had also invited Mary Bertelsen, campaigner and concerned citizen on people’s rights; Jakob Pinkster, Dutch stability and ship building expert; and Justin Delaney, stability expert.

Gaffney had tried unsuccessfully to take legal action in both the Netherlands and Germany after he discovered the stability issues with the vessel.

He told the committee members how he took out a loan to cover fixing the vessel and then had to surrender it to the bank in 2012.

He sought EU funds in compensation, but the EU said it was up to the national state as it was under 24 metres in length.

The vessel was broken up in New Ross, Co Wexford last year under the government’s decommissioning scheme.

Gaffney maintains that questions need to be asked at both national level and EU level as to how the beam trawler was issued with a stamped stability book from a renowned international classification society.

The committee members heard that 11 sister vessels were built, and three of them are similar to the Mary Kate – as in four “incorrect vessels” which were much heavier in the water.

Delaney said this had serious maritime safety implications, and said he had tried to raise the issue with the relevant German and Dutch authorities.

He expressed his shock that an EU investigation had not as yet been initiated, and said that the Gaffneys also deserved compensation for their ordeal.

Published in Fishing
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Arklow RNLI launched on Sunday (8 October) at around 11am following a pager alert by the Irish Coast Guard reporting swimmers in difficulty at the Co Wicklow town’s South Beach.

The volunteer crew made their way to the lifeboat station and within minutes of the request were aboard the all-weather lifeboat Ger Tigchlearr and en route to the reported location just outside Arklow Piers.

Once on scene, the lifeboat crew were made aware that there were two open-water swimmers in the area, with another person on a paddleboard.

Thankfully, it was established that they were not in difficulty and the lifeboat stood by the swimmers as they completed their swim and returned to shore.

Initial reports had said there were swimmers in difficulty and shouting for help but it was established they were communicating within the group and the shouts for help were misheard.

Following the call-out, Mark Corcoran, volunteer lifeboat press officer at Arklow RNLI said: “In this case, it turned out there was no one in difficulty. However, we would always encourage anyone who suspects they have heard any kind of call for help to phone 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Two men and a boy were rescued by the Courtown RNLI on August 9th after their cabin cruiser experienced engine failure off the coast of Cahore.

The Arklow RNLI initially responded to the distress call and had the vessel under tow when the Courtown crew arrived on the scene. Courtown's inshore lifeboat took over the tow and safely brought the cruiser into Courtown Harbour.

The rescued individuals were all wearing lifejackets and had a means of communication to call for help. Jim Murphy, Deputy Launching Authority of Courtown RNLI, emphasised the importance of following safety recommendations and contacting the Coast Guard in an emergency.

Courtown and Arklow RNLI attend to the broken down cruiserCourtown and Arklow RNLI attend to the broken down cruiser

The successful joint operation between the two RNLI stations highlights their crucial role in ensuring the safety of those at sea.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Following a pager alert at 5.37 pm on Wednesday, 7 June, the volunteer lifeboat crew made their way to the station and, within minutes of the request, were aboard RNLB Ger Tigchlearr and en route to the reported location some six miles southeast of Arklow Harbour.

In a north-easterly wind with a 1.5-metre wave height, the all-weather Trent class lifeboat made its way to the reported position.

As Afloat reported earlier, once on scene, the vessel, which had been part of the Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race fleet, reported it had suffered rudder failure but had managed to rig an emergency steering system and could now proceed slowly back to Arklow under its own power.

The lifeboat was requested to stand by and then escorted the vessel back to port at Arklow.

Arklow RNLI crew on the call out were Coxswain Ned Dillon, Brendan Dillon, James Russell, Craig O’Reilly and James McAnaspie.

Following the call out, Mark Corcoran, volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer at Arklow RNLI said: 'Thanks to our crew for being there when needed, and to the crew of the yacht whose experience gave them the ability to come to port under their own power.'

Published in Dun Laoghaire Dingle

The volunteer lifeboat crew with Arklow RNLI launched in the early hours of Thursday morning (8 June) to reports of a vessel in difficulty some 10 miles south-east of the Co Wicklow town.

In a northeasterly wind with a 1.2-metre wave height, the all- weather Trent class lifeboat Ger Tigchlear made its way to the reported position and once on scene, the lifeboat crew confirmed that the sailboat had suffered engine failure.

It was decided to put a lifeboat crew member onboard the vessel to assist the lone sailor with rigging and running the towline.

Once this was done, the lifeboat took the casualty vessel under tow and returned to the nearest port of Arklow, arriving at 9am.

The Arklow lifeboat crew on this callout were coxswain Ned Dillon and crew members Craig O’Reilly, John Tyrrell, Dave Molloy, Ken O’Toole, Josh McAnaspie and James Russell.

Following the callout, volunteer lifeboat press officer Mark Corcoran said: “It’s been a busy couple of days at Arklow. It is great to see the training that we do paying off, in the assistance we are providing.

“Given the recent good weather, we are reminding everyone to stay safe and respect the water.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Seven members of Arklow RNLI have been honoured for their roles in a challenging and exhausting service, almost seven hours in duration, which saw a crew of three people, onboard a nine-metre yacht rescued. For his exceptional display of seamanship in the service, a Signed Letter of Thanks from the Chairman of the Institution was awarded to Arklow RNLI Coxswain Brendan Dillon. For their teamwork in challenging sea conditions and their part in completing a highly effective service, individual Chief Executive Commendations were awarded to 2nd Mechanic Eddie McElheron and volunteer crewmembers Austin Gaffney, Geoffrey Kearns, Trevor Conroy, Craig O’Reilly, Daniel Downey.

As Afloat reported, the rescue was carried out on 4 August 2020, 24 nautical miles east-southeast of Arklow. The 9-metre yacht, Infinite Jest was on passage from Newlyn, in England to Largs, in Scotland, and was experiencing very poor weather and rough sea conditions, with the crew of three people, suffering from exhaustion and seasickness. It was a demanding service, also involving a tow from the lifeboat, which lasted over three hours, in winds up to Force 8, with upwards of 5-metre swells, at night. The service itself lasted nearly seven hours.

On launching in Force 7 conditions, at 6.58 pm that evening, the Coxswain of Arklow lifeboat, Brendan Dillon, headed towards the last reported position of the yacht, Infinite Jest, immediately feeling the effect of the conditions as they left the shelter afforded by land. On receiving an updated position from the Coast Guard, he adjusted his course to cross the Arklow Bank, to intercept the yacht. In doing this, while operating in such challenging sea conditions, he enabled the lifeboat to significantly reduce their time to reach the casualty vessel.

On successfully crossing Arklow Bank, the lifeboat’s primary navigation system was non-operational, with only the secondary GPS fully functional. The Coxswain requested the Navigator, Trevor Conroy, to calculate their position using speed and direction. In Force eight winds and a five-metre swell, the Arklow lifeboat Ger Tigchelaar arrived on scene at 8.20pm, having successfully located the casualty vessel.

The yacht, which was sailing with only her jib set, was instructed to take up a course behind the lifeboat, to be escorted to Wicklow Harbour, as the nearest safe port. After an hour on this course the yacht’s skipper informed the lifeboat, by VHF Radio, that it was proving difficult to maintain their course under sail and they were making poor headway. The Coxswain then asked the skipper if they could take in their sail and use their engine to maintain their course, behind the lifeboat, until they were closer to land.

Arklow RNLI brings the distressed yacht alongside at Wicklow Harbour in August 2020 Photo: RNLI/Tommy DoverArklow RNLI brings the distressed yacht alongside at Wicklow Harbour in August 2020 Photo: RNLI/Tommy Dover

As darkness was falling, the lifeboat took the yacht under tow, as the crew were exhausted and suffering from seasickness. Three members of the Arklow Lifeboat crew, led by Austin Gaffney, passed a heaving line to the casualty vessel. In very challenging conditions, the tow was established with the lifeboat maintaining radio contact with the yacht every 15 minutes, providing technical guidance, encouraging the tired crew to hydrate, offering support and informing them of progress to safe harbour. Wicklow RNLI was also placed on standby to launch if required, with their shore crew ready to receive both vessels into Wicklow Harbour.

As the lifeboat neared the Harbour, the crew of the yacht informed them that due to crew exhaustion, they could not make the berth under their own power and would require further support. The Coxswain requested Eddie McElheron to board the yacht in full protective equipment to assist. The lifeboat arrived at Wicklow Harbour at 12.55 am with the Infinite Jest on an alongside tow.

In recognising Coxswain Brendan Dillon’s role in commanding the lifeboat during such a challenging rescue, RNLI Chair Stuart Popham said he ‘showed excellent leadership qualities and sound decision making under the pressure of knowing what a precarious situation the casualty was in, and the risks presented to his lifeboat and crew. Throughout, he led by example, extolling the core values of the RNLI in all his actions.’

In awarding the lifeboat crew for their actions on the service, Mr Popham added, ‘This was a demanding service. The sea conditions, towing at night and crew transfer all presented risk and challenges. The crew demonstrated courage and resilience throughout. The deck crew on the Lifeboat performed faultlessly, showing skill, teamwork and a high degree of professionalism.’

The presentations were made during Arklow RNLI’s sold-out fundraising event ‘Dan’s Hurry to the Curry, which was held at the Arklow Bay Hotel after an absence of a few years due to the pandemic. The awards were presented on the night by RNLI Trustee and Chair of the Irish Council, Mr John Killeen.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Following a two-year break, Arklow RNLI’s Hurry to the Curry fundraiser returns on Friday 27 January at the Arklow Bay Hotel from 8pm.

Also known as Dan’s Lifeboat Special, the event has gone from strength to strength and continues to be one of the most enjoyable and well supported nights out in the events calendar, the lifeboat station says.

Culinary masterpieces prepared by Anne and her team of volunteers range from hot curry dishes and a wonderful array of fresh sea food — prawns, lobster, crab, monkfish and salmon— to cold-meat platters, vegetarian dishes and salads of all kinds.

Advice is to come to the bash good and hungry: “It’s the best value meal you’ll have had since [the last] event and quite simply the best craic to be had on the east coast.”

There are spot prizes galore and some lovely raffle and auction items. Music will be provided by the Joe Dolan Experience followed by a DJ till late. There might even be some special guests.

Arklow RNLI’s crew are pulling out all the stops to ensure a magical night is had by all. Lifeboat press officer Mark Corcoran says: “Without volunteers like our fundraising team and our lifeboat crew who still to this day give of their own time, our lifeboat couldn’t function and continue to be rescue ready. We would love to see everybody at the Arklow Bay Hotel on Friday 27 January.”

Tickets are €20 and are available from the Arklow Bay Hotel and Arklow RNLI Fundraising committee members, or you can email [email protected].

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Arklow RNLI launched on Sunday evening (11 September) to assist two people on 39ft yacht which had lost propulsion and was adrift off the Co Wexford town.

The volunteer crew made their way to the lifeboat station around 7pm and within minutes of the request were aboard the all-weather lifeboat Ger Tigchlearr and en route to the reported location.

Once afloat, the lifeboat travelled the half mile to the vessel at Arklow’s South Beach.

In wet conditions with light fading and southerly winds with wave heights of around two-and-a-half metres, the vessel had lost propulsion and tried to anchor as it drifted onto a lee shore some 50 yards from the beach.

Following an assessment by the lifeboat crew, it was decided to establish a tow to bring the vessel to safety.

A lifeboat volunteer boarded the casualty vessel to assist with rigging a tow. Once it was established, the casualty vessel was able to have its anchor hauled up and proceed with the tow back to the nearest safe port at Arklow.

Following the callout, volunteer lifeboat press officer Mark Corcoran said: “Our teams dedication and training for these scenarios really paid off this evening. Thankfully the crew on the sailing vessel had done all the right things which allowed us to get there and be able to assist.”

Arklow RNLI’s crew on this callout were coxswain Ned Dillon, John Bermingham, Eddie McElheron, Craig O’Reilly, Sinead Myler, Jimmy Myler and Dave Molloy.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Arklow RNLI launched to the aid of five people on Wednesday evening (13 July) after their sailing vessel got into difficulty.

Volunteers were paged at 8.45pm after reports that a vessel had become entangled in fishing gear close to shore near the harbour in Arklow Bay.

The all-weather lifeboat launched shortly thereafter in calm seas with slack winds, quickly locating the casualty vessel with five people onboard.

Upon arrival, a lifeboat crew member was put aboard the vessel to assist with freeing the entanglement. Once this had been cleared, the yacht was towed back into Arklow Harbour where everybody came ashore safely.

Speaking later, Mark Corcoran, Arklow RNLI community safety officer said: “Our volunteers are always on call — huge thanks to them and their families for the amazing work they do in our community.”

The crew for this callout were coxswain Ned Dillon, Brendan Dillon, John Bermingham, Craig O’Reilly and Geoff Kearnes.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Aquaculture Information

Aquaculture is the farming of animals in the water and has been practised for centuries, with the monks farming fish in the middle ages. More recently the technology has progressed and the aquaculture sector is now producing in the region of 50 thousand tonnes annually and provides a valuable food product as well as much needed employment in many rural areas of Ireland.

A typical fish farm involves keeping fish in pens in the water column, caring for them and supplying them with food so they grow to market size. Or for shellfish, containing them in a specialised unit and allowing them to feed on natural plants and materials in the water column until they reach harvestable size. While farming fish has a lower carbon and water footprint to those of land animals, and a very efficient food fed to weight gain ratio compared to beef, pork or chicken, farming does require protein food sources and produces organic waste which is released into the surrounding waters. Finding sustainable food sources, and reducing the environmental impacts are key challenges facing the sector as it continues to grow.

Salmon is the most popular fish bought by Irish families. In Ireland, most of our salmon is farmed, and along with mussels and oysters, are the main farmed species in the country.

Aquaculture in Ireland

  • Fish and shellfish are farmed in 14 Irish coastal counties.
  • Irish SMEs and families grow salmon, oysters, mussels and other seafood
  • The sector is worth €150m at the farm gate – 80% in export earnings.
  • The industry sustains 1,833 direct jobs in remote rural areas – 80% in the west of Ireland
  • Every full-time job in aquaculture creates 2.27 other jobs locally (Teagasc 2015)
  • Ireland’s marine farms occupy 0.0004% of Ireland’s 17,500Km2 inshore area.
  • 83% of people in coastal areas support the development of fish farming
  • Aquaculture is a strong, sustainable and popular strategic asset for development and job creation (Foodwise 2025, National Strategic Plan, Seafood
  • Operational Programme 2020, FAO, European Commission, European Investment Bank, Harvesting Our Ocean Wealth, Silicon Republic, CEDRA)
    Ireland has led the world in organically certified farmed fish for over 30 years
  • Fish farm workers include people who have spent over two decades in the business to school-leavers intent on becoming third-generation farmers on their family sites.

Irish Aquaculture FAQs

Aquaculture, also known as aquafarming, is the farming of aquatic organisms such as fish, crustaceans, molluscs and aquatic plants, and involves cultivating freshwater and saltwater populations under controlled conditions- in contrast to commercial fishing, which is the harvesting of wild fish. Mariculture refers to aquaculture practiced in marine environments and in underwater habitats. Particular kinds of aquaculture include fish farming, shrimp farming, oyster farming, mariculture, algaculture (such as seaweed farming), and the cultivation of ornamental fish. Particular methods include aquaponics and integrated multi-trophic aquaculture, both of which integrate fish farming and plant farming.

About 580 aquatic species are currently farmed all over the world, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), which says it is "practised by both some of the poorest farmers in developing countries and by multinational companies".

Increasing global demand for protein through seafood is driving increasing demand for aquaculture, particularly given the pressures on certain commercially caught wild stocks of fish. The FAO says that "eating fish is part of the cultural tradition of many people and in terms of health benefits, it has an excellent nutritional profile, and "is a good source of protein, fatty acids, vitamins, minerals and essential micronutrients".

Aquaculture now accounts for 50 per cent of the world's fish consumed for food, and is the fastest-growing good sector.

China provides over 60 per cent of the world's farmed fish. In Europe, Norway and Scotland are leading producers of finfish, principally farmed salmon.

For farmed salmon, the feed conversion ratio, which is the measurement of how much feed it takes to produce the protein, is 1.1, as in one pound of feed producing one pound of protein, compared to rates of between 2.2 and 10 for beef, pork and chicken. However, scientists have also pointed out that certain farmed fish and shrimp requiring higher levels of protein and calories in feed compared to chickens, pigs, and cattle.

Tilapia farming which originated in the Middle East and Africa has now become the most profitable business in most countries. Tilapia has become the second most popular seafood after crab, due to which its farming is flourishing. It has entered the list of best selling species like shrimp and salmon.

There are 278 aquaculture production units in Ireland, according to Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) *, producing 38,000 tonnes of finfish and shellfish in 2019 and with a total value of €172 million

There are currently almost 2,000 people directly employed in Irish aquaculture in the Republic, according to BIM.

BIM figures for 2019 recorded farmed salmon at almost 12,000 tonnes, valued at €110 million; rock oysters reached 10,300 tonnes at a value of €44 million; rope mussels at 10,600 tonnes were valued at €7 million; seabed cultured mussels at 4,600 tonnes were valued at €7 million; "other" finfish reached 600 tonnes, valued at €2 million and "other" shellfish reached 300 tonnes, valued at €2 million

Irish aquaculture products are exported to Europe, US and Asia, with salmon exported to France, Germany, Belgium and the US. Oysters are exported to France, with developing sales to markets in Hong Kong and China. France is Ireland's largest export for mussels, while there have been increased sales in the domestic and British markets.

The value of the Irish farmed finfish sector fell by five per cent in volume and seven per cent in value in 2019, mainly due to a fall on salmon production, but this was partially offset by a seven per cent increased in farmed shellfish to a value of 60 million euro. Delays in issuing State licenses have hampered further growth of the sector, according to industry representatives.

Fish and shellfish farmers must be licensed, and must comply with regulations and inspections conducted by the Sea Fisheries Protection Authority and the Marine Institute. Food labelling is a function of the Food Safety Authority of Ireland. There is a long backlog of license approvals in the finfish sector, while the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine says it is working to reduce the backlog in the shellfish sector.

The department says it is working through the backlog, but notes that an application for a marine finfish aquaculture licence must be accompanied by either an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) or an Environmental Impact Assessment Report (EIAR). As of October 2020, over two-thirds of applications on hand had an EIS outstanding, it said.

The EU requires member states to have marine spatial plans by 2021, and Ireland has assigned responsibility to the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government for the National Marine Planning Framework (NMPF). Legislation has been drawn up to underpin this, and to provide a "one stop shop" for marine planning, ranging from fish farms to offshore energy – as in Marine Planning and Development Management Bill. However, the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine confirmed last year that it intends to retain responsibility for aquaculture and sea-fisheries related development – meaning fish and shellfish farmers won't be able to avail of the "one stop shop" for marine planning.

Fish and shellfish health is a challenge, with naturally occurring blooms, jellyfish and the risk of disease. There are also issues with a perception that the sector causes environmental problems.

The industry has been on a steep learning curve, particularly in finfish farming, since it was hailed as a new future for Irish coastal communities from the 1970s – with the State's Electricity Supply Board being an early pioneer, and tobacco company Carrolls also becoming involved for a time. Nutrient build up, which occurs when there is a high density of fish in one area, waste production and its impact on depleting oxygen in water, creating algal blooms and "dead zones", and farmers' use of antibiotics to prevent disease have all been concerns, and anglers have also been worried about the impact of escaped farmed salmon on wild fish populations. Sea lice from salmon farmers were also blamed for declines in sea trout and wild salmon in Irish estuaries and rivers.

BIM says over 95% of all salmon farmed in Ireland are certified organic. Organically grown salmon are only fed a diet of sustainable organic feed. They are also raised in more spacious pens than traditional farmed salmon. The need to site locations for fish farms further out to sea, using more robust cages for weather, has been recognised by regulatory agencies. There is a move towards land-based aquaculture in Norway to reduce impact on local ecosystems. The industry says that antibiotic use is declining, and it says that "safe and effective vaccinations have since been developed for farmed fish and are now widely used". Many countries are now adopting a more sustainable approach to removing sea lice from salmon, using feeder fish such as wrasse and lumpsucker fish. Ireland's first lumpsucker hatchery was opened in 2015.

BIM says over 95% of all salmon farmed in Ireland are certified organic. Organically grown salmon are only fed a diet of sustainable organic feed. They are also raised in more spacious pens than traditional farmed salmon. The need to site locations for fish farms further out to sea, using more robust cages for weather, has been recognised by regulatory agencies. There is a move towards land-based aquaculture in Norway to reduce impact on local ecosystems. The industry says that antibiotic use is declining, and it says that "safe and effective vaccinations have since been developed for farmed fish and are now widely used". Many countries are now adopting a more sustainable approach to removing sea lice from salmon, using feeder fish such as wrasse and lumpsucker fish. Ireland's first lumpsucker hatchery was opened in 2015.

Yes, as it is considered to have better potential for controlling environmental impacts, but it is expensive. As of October 2020, the department was handling over 20 land-based aquaculture applications.

The Irish Farmers' Association has represented fish and shellfish farmers for many years, with its chief executive Richie Flynn, who died in 2018, tirelessly championing the sector. His successor, Teresa Morrissey, is an equally forceful advocate, having worked previously in the Marine Institute in providing regulatory advice on fish health matters, scientific research on emerging aquatic diseases and management of the National Reference Laboratory for crustacean diseases.

BIM provides training in the national vocational certificate in aquaculture at its National Fisheries College, Castletownbere, Co Cork. It also trains divers to work in the industry. The Institute of Technology Carlow has also developed a higher diploma in aqua business at its campus in Wexford, in collaboration with BIM and IFA Aquaculture, the representative association for fish and shellfish farming.

© Afloat 2020

At A Glance - Irish Aquaculture

  • Fish and shellfish are farmed in 14 Irish coastal counties
  • Salmon is the most popular fish bought by Irish families. 
  • In Ireland, most of our salmon is farmed, and along with mussels and oysters, are the main farmed species in the country.
  • The industry sustains 1,833 direct jobs in remote rural areas – 80% in the west of Ireland
  • Every full-time job in aquaculture creates 2.27 other jobs locally (Teagasc 2015)
  • Ireland’s marine farms occupy 0.0004% of Ireland’s 17,500Km2 inshore area.
  • 83% of people in coastal areas support the development of fish farming

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