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Displaying items by tag: Irish Coast Guard

A dog has escaped serious injury as he was rescued from the sea after falling more than 70 feet from a cliff near Doolin in Co Clare.

As TheJournal.ie reports, Irish Coast Guard volunteers responded to the call for help from the dog’s distressed owners at Trá Lathan on Wednesday afternoon (14 September).

Doolin Coast Guard’s Emmet McNamara explained to RTÉ’s Morning Ireland on Thursday morning (15 September) how the team launched their smaller D class rescue boat in order to safety retrieve the “terrified and frightened” dog, named Bear.

The canine casualty was found sitting on a rock and attempting to climb back up the cliff to no avail — before the coastguard stepped in, using their boat hook to snag the dog’s collar and lift him aboard.

Bear was then swiftly reunited with his relieved humans, the Collins family from Athenry in Co Galway.

The Collins family with Bear the dog and members of Doolin Coast Guard involved in his rescue on Wednesday | Credit: Irish Coast Guard/FacebookThe Collins family with Bear the dog and members of Doolin Coast Guard involved in his rescue on Wednesday | Credit: Irish Coast Guard/Facebook

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Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan and Minister of State Hildegarde Naughton, will hold a commemorative event in Greenore, Co Louth next Thursday (8 September) to mark the 200th anniversary of the Irish Coast Guard.

“The event is an opportunity to thank all full-time staff and volunteers, past and present, for their dedication and commitment to the Irish Coast Guard over the past 200 years,” the Deparment of Transport says.
 
The service was enacted in 1822 when Ireland was still a part of the United Kingdom and following independence in 1922 was reconstituted as the Coast Life Saving Service, which later became the Coast and Cliff Rescue Service, then Slánú - the Irish Marine Emergency Service and, in early 2000, the Irish Coast Guard.

Next Thursday’s event, from 10am at Greenore Coast Guard Unit, will include presentations of plaques to both the volunteer and full-time staff and a number of long service medal presentations, as well as a fly-past by a coastguard helicopter.

Published in Coastguard
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With Met Éireann issuing an advisory for hot weather through the rest of the week and the weekend, the RNLI, Irish Coast Guard and Water Safety Ireland are urging people to plan for their personal safety when visiting the coast or when they are on or near the water.

Air temperatures are set to be in the mid to high 20s, with some parts breaking 30C today (Thursday 11 August).

All three organisations are reminding people about the dangers of cold water shock, which can seriously affect breathing and movement, and can occur in any water temperature below 15C.

In a joint statement, they said: “With the good weather and high temperatures forecast to last right through to the weekend, we want to remind everyone to attend to their personal safety.

“With so many people enjoying the water this summer, it’s important that we all know the risks. The sea can be unpredictable, and even with the temperatures soaring, the fact is that the water is still relatively cool compared to air temperatures.

“Just because an area looks safe for swimming it doesn’t mean that it is safe. Only swim in areas that are protected by lifeguards or in areas with which you are familiar. In the case of lifeguard -protected beaches, only swim between the red and yellow flags.”

RNLI water safety lead Kevin Rahill said: “Many people who get into danger each year never planned to enter the water — slips, trips and falls can also occur.

“The RNLI is urging people to Float to Live if they get into trouble in the water. This means leaning back and spreading your arms and legs to stay afloat, controlling your breathing, then calling for help or swimming to safety.

“In the event of any water or coastal emergency, call 999 or 112 or use marine VHF Radio Channel 16 and ask for the coastguard.”

Roger Sweeney from Water Safety Ireland added: “Rip currents are difficult to spot but common on beaches and carry you out to sea quickly.

“If you do get caught in one, the advice is to not to exhaust yourself trying to swim against it. Rather swim parallel to the beach until free of the narrow current and then head for shore.”

Gerard O’Flynn from the Irish Coast Guard also noted: “Record numbers are also taking to the water on craft such as paddleboards and kayaks, many for the first time, so it is important to always remember to wear a lifejacket or buoyancy aid and to take a means of calling for help.”

Published in Water Safety

Ahead of the August Bank Holiday weekend, the Irish Coast Guard, RNLI, Water Safety Ireland and Met Éireann are appealing for people to take care when they are on or near the water.

With many people continuing to enjoy the summer holidays or planning a break this weekend, the organisations are asking people to be particularly mindful to check weather forecasts and tide times before venturing out and if planning on entering the sea to know how to spot and safely handle a rip current.

If planning other activities such as paddleboarding, the request is to always go prepared so the water can be enjoyed safely.

Evelyn Cusack, head of forecasting in Met Éireann says: “While there will be some warm sunny spells, the weather will be mixed this weekend. For a detailed forecast for 10-days ahead for over 1,000 locations around Ireland including the beaches, lakes and mountains, go to met.ie.”

If heading out on the water or visiting the coast:

  • Always check the weather and tide times.
  • Carry a reliable means of raising the alarm such as a VHF radio or personal locator beacon (PLB) and a mobile phone in a waterproof pouch as back-up.
  • Tell someone where you are going and what time you are due back.
  • If going afloat, wear a lifejacket or suitable personal flotation device for your activity.
  • Never ever swim alone. Only swim in areas that are supervised by lifeguards or in areas with which you are familiar.
  • Should you get into difficulty or see someone else in trouble, dial 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.

Kevin Rahill, RNLI water safety lead said: “This weekend will see spring tides so we would encourage anyone planning a walk or activity near the coast to check tide times before venturing out to avoid becoming cut off.

“The RNLI is also urging everyone to remember to ‘Float to Live’ if they do get into trouble in the water this weekend. To do this: Lean back, using your arms and legs to stay afloat. Control your breathing, then call for help or swim to safety. In a coastal emergency, call 999 or 112 for the coastguard.”

Irish Coast Guard operations manager Micheál O’Toole said: “We wish to thank the public for their cooperation and support and for the responsible approach displayed when participating in any water based or coastal activity.

“We would also advise people to avoid bringing inflatable toys to the beach, rivers or lake side as users can easily get swept away from the shore.”

Water Safety Ireland’s acting chief executive Roger Sweeney said: “Swimmers should watch out for rip currents which are one of the most dangerous natural hazards at Irish beaches.

“The strong channel of water running from a beach back to sea can be difficult to spot so the best way to avoid them is to swim at lifeguarded beaches between the red and yellow flags. If caught in one, don’t exhaust yourself trying to swim against it. Swim parallel to the beach until free of the narrow current and then head for shore.”

Published in Water Safety

As the June bank holiday approaches, the Irish Coast Guard, RNLI and Water Safety Ireland have issued another joint water safety appeal — this time for the many thousands of people expected to take advantage of the break this weekend and visit the coast and inland waters.

The organisations are asking people to check that they have the correct equipment they need to enjoy their activities and that they know what to do in the event of an emergency.

Water-based activities are safe and enjoyable with the right equipment. However, inflatable toys are not suitable for use in open water, including at the seaside, inland waters and rivers.

Inflatable toys, including dinghies and air mattresses, can quickly blow out to open waters or capsize. They should not be used in any open waters.

The three organisations have issued a joint water safety appeal as the summer months traditionally bring an increase in callouts for the search and rescue organisations, including coastguard and lifeboat crews, many of whom are volunteers.

As the popularity of kayaking, canoeing and paddle boarding increases, the safety advice for these activities includes:

  • Always have a means for calling for help and make sure you can access it when you are out on the water
  • Tell someone where you are going and what time you expect to return
  • Wear a lifejacket or buoyancy aid
  • Always check the weather forecast and sea conditions before you set off
  • Paddle in a group where possible. If you're exploring somewhere new, seek knowledge from experienced practitioners in the area

“We want everybody to enjoy our waters but please pay attention to your own safety,” Irish Coast Guard operations manager Micheál O’Toole said.

“Never, ever swim alone and if you are using a boat or kayak, please ensure that if an emergency arises and you need assistance, that you are capable of contacting the coastguard with a marine VHF radio, PLB or EPIRB. Never rely on a mobile phone alone.”

RNLI water safety delivery support Lisa Hollingum said: “It’s great to see people getting out and taking part in water based activities this summer but it’s important to know what to do if something unexpected happens.

“There are so many great products on the market for water safety and something as simple as a water proof pouch to hold a means of communication for when you go out on a paddle board or kayak, can make all the difference.”

Water Safety Ireland’s acting chief executive Roger Sweeney added: “This weekend, the lifeguards trained and assessed by Water Safety Ireland begin summer patrols at local authority run bathing areas.

“Last year, they rescued 473 people and provided first aid to 6,700 people. This weekend, let them be there for you. Bring your loved ones to any of the lifeguarded waterways listed at watersafety.ie.”

If you see somebody in trouble on the water or along the coast, or think they are in trouble, dial 999 or 112 or use VHF Channel 16 and ask for the coastguard.

Published in Water Safety

Skerries RNLI were tasked Wednesday morning (25 May) by Dublin Coast Guard following 999 calls reporting a paddle boarder in distress in the water off Bettystown beach.

Shortly before 11.30am the volunteers in Skerries launched their Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat Louis Simson. The crew plotted a course for Bettystown beach and proceeded as quickly as possible through difficult weather conditions.

Dublin Coast Guard had also tasked the Irish Coast Guard’s Dublin-based helicopter Rescue 116, and just as the lifeboat was arriving on scene they had begun winching a woman from the water.

She had been blown out to sea on her paddle board and was reportedly exhausted and very cold.

Rescue 116 then landed on the beach and with the assistance of Drogheda Coast Guard Unit the woman was transferred to an awaiting ambulance.



To prevent any hazards to navigation, or any additional 999 calls regarding the paddle board, Dublin Coast Guard requested its recovery and the lifeboat subsequently located it just over a mile away before returning to station.

Speaking about the callout, Skerries RNLI’s Gerry Canning said: “This is a great example of all the rescue services working together to ensure the best possible outcome.

“We would advise anyone intending to be on or near the water to check the weather and tides for the local area.”

Published in Rescue

Morale among the Irish Coast Guard’s volunteers is at an all-time now, an Oireachtas committee has been told.

RTÉ News reports on yesterday’s hearing of the Joint Committee on Transport and Communications, which was addressed by former coastguard volunteers who believe they were unfairly dismissed from their roles.

They included Bernard Lucas, widower of the late coastguard volunteer Caitriona Lucas who died during a rescue operation off Kilkee in September 2016.

Bernard Lucas formerly served with Doolin Coast Guard, which was at the centre of controversy following the sudden resignation of six volunteers last November which effectively shut down the unit.

Suggestions of bullying that had allegedly been simmering in Doolin for years prompted a statement in the Dáil at the time referencing a “toxic” working environment within the service.

That sentiment was reiterated yesterday as representatives of the Irish Coast Guard Volunteers Representative Group claimed that a climate of fear has been instilled by upper management.

RTÉ News has much more on the story HERE.

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Calls have been made for greater public awareness over the risks of incoming tides after three people were rescued off Sandymount earlier this week.

A multi-agency response involving Dun Laoghaire RNLI and the Irish Coast Guard’s Dublin-based helicopter Rescue 116 led to the casualties’ successful retrieval after they became stranded on a sandbank on Tuesday (26 April).

Speaking to Independent.ie, a local councillor called for a major advertising campaign to highlight the dangers of tides at Sandymount, which has become notorious for such incidents.

“This happens far too often and the Coast Guard use a huge amount of resources every year to rescue people who find themselves in this situation,” Fine Gael’s Cllr James Geoghegan said. Independent.ie has more on the story HERE.

The news comes in the same week as a joint appeal from the coastguard, RNLI and Water Safety Ireland to take care when on or near the water this May Bank Holiday weekend, as reported earlier on Afloat.ie.

Published in Water Safety

It’s feared that Waterford could lose its Irish Coast Guard helicopter base following the recent €800 million request for tender to renew the search-and-rescue contract, as The Times reports.

The tender document issued in December for a new long-term SAR service contract calls for the provision of a minimum of three helicopters with a fixed-wing aircraft on standby.

CHC Ireland — the current contractor on a 10-year, €600 million deal since 2012 — operates the existing service with five helicopters flying from four bases around the coast: in Dublin, Shannon, Sligo and Waterford, the latter of which flies with the code Rescue 117.

The new contract process comes as the Irish Coast Guard embarks on a series of reforms in the wake of the final report into the Rescue 116 tragedy as well as personnel issues afflicting the volunteer unit at Doolin. This week the coastguard issued a revised Safety Statement in support of these changes.

The Times has more on the story HERE (subscription required).

Published in Coastguard

The Irish Coast Guard has reported an 12% increase in the overall number of incidents coordinated during 2021.

And among these, the search and rescue agency saved 474 lives over the course of the year — though tragically 68 lives were lost to drownings, according to its end-of-year statement.

The coastguard said its biggest increases were recorded in April, with 249 incidents in comparison with 139 in April 2020, and in July with 469 incidents, compared with 339 for the same period in 2020.

From September onwards, activity was similar to 2020. The total number of incidents coordinated is expected to reach 2,970 in comparison with 2,665 in 2020.

In the key category of “lives saved”, which is defined as “assistance provided that prevented loss of life, severe risk to life, or protracted hospitalisation”, the coastguard recorded 474 individual responses in the course of 2021.

The agency highlighted the rescue of seven crew members from a fishing vessel off Kenmare Bay on Saturday 27 March, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Four of the crew of the Waterford-based coastguard helicopter Rescue 117 were recognised in the National Bravery Awards last month, with winch operator Sarah Courtney receiving a silver medal for her actions amid exceptionally challenging conditions.

Irish Coast Guard director Eugene Clonan said that since the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, the key challenge has been to ensure the 24/7 delivery of coastguard SAR services.

These services comprise the three rescue coordination centres, volunteer units around the island and the contracted helicopter service, along with the RNLI and community inshore rescue service and the support of the Naval Service and Air Corps.

“We are indebted to the men and women that make up our SAR community, for the discipline and commitment they have demonstrated in facing the challenge presented by Covid and in maintaining service availability throughout the year,” Clonan said.

In addition, the coastguard says it was was notified of a total of 68 drownings in 2021, which is seven fewer than in 2020. The agency says it works closely with Water Safety Ireland (WSI) in monitoring drowning risks and trends, and supports WSI in compilation of drowning statistics.

The coastguard thanks the public for their cooperation and support during the year, including the “positive response” in adhering with severe weather warnings, “and extends best wishes for a safe 2022”.

If you see somebody in trouble on the water or along the coast, use marine VHF Channel 16 or dial 112 and ask for the coastguard.

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Irish Fishing industry 

The Irish Commercial Fishing Industry employs around 11,000 people in fishing, processing and ancillary services such as sales and marketing. The industry is worth about €1.22 billion annually to the Irish economy. Irish fisheries products are exported all over the world as far as Africa, Japan and China.

FAQs

Over 16,000 people are employed directly or indirectly around the coast, working on over 2,000 registered fishing vessels, in over 160 seafood processing businesses and in 278 aquaculture production units, according to the State's sea fisheries development body Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM).

All activities that are concerned with growing, catching, processing or transporting fish are part of the commercial fishing industry, the development of which is overseen by BIM. Recreational fishing, as in angling at sea or inland, is the responsibility of Inland Fisheries Ireland.

The Irish fishing industry is valued at 1.22 billion euro in gross domestic product (GDP), according to 2019 figures issued by BIM. Only 179 of Ireland's 2,000 vessels are over 18 metres in length. Where does Irish commercially caught fish come from? Irish fish and shellfish is caught or cultivated within the 200-mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ), but Irish fishing grounds are part of the common EU "blue" pond. Commercial fishing is regulated under the terms of the EU Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), initiated in 1983 and with ten-yearly reviews.

The total value of seafood landed into Irish ports was 424 million euro in 2019, according to BIM. High value landings identified in 2019 were haddock, hake, monkfish and megrim. Irish vessels also land into foreign ports, while non-Irish vessels land into Irish ports, principally Castletownbere, Co Cork, and Killybegs, Co Donegal.

There are a number of different methods for catching fish, with technological advances meaning skippers have detailed real time information at their disposal. Fisheries are classified as inshore, midwater, pelagic or deep water. Inshore targets species close to shore and in depths of up to 200 metres, and may include trawling and gillnetting and long-lining. Trawling is regarded as "active", while "passive" or less environmentally harmful fishing methods include use of gill nets, long lines, traps and pots. Pelagic fisheries focus on species which swim close to the surface and up to depths of 200 metres, including migratory mackerel, and tuna, and methods for catching include pair trawling, purse seining, trolling and longlining. Midwater fisheries target species at depths of around 200 metres, using trawling, longlining and jigging. Deepwater fisheries mainly use trawling for species which are found at depths of over 600 metres.

There are several segments for different catching methods in the registered Irish fleet – the largest segment being polyvalent or multi-purpose vessels using several types of gear which may be active and passive. The polyvalent segment ranges from small inshore vessels engaged in netting and potting to medium and larger vessels targeting whitefish, pelagic (herring, mackerel, horse mackerel and blue whiting) species and bivalve molluscs. The refrigerated seawater (RSW) pelagic segment is engaged mainly in fishing for herring, mackerel, horse mackerel and blue whiting only. The beam trawling segment focuses on flatfish such as sole and plaice. The aquaculture segment is exclusively for managing, developing and servicing fish farming areas and can collect spat from wild mussel stocks.

The top 20 species landed by value in 2019 were mackerel (78 million euro); Dublin Bay prawn (59 million euro); horse mackerel (17 million euro); monkfish (17 million euro); brown crab (16 million euro); hake (11 million euro); blue whiting (10 million euro); megrim (10 million euro); haddock (9 million euro); tuna (7 million euro); scallop (6 million euro); whelk (5 million euro); whiting (4 million euro); sprat (3 million euro); herring (3 million euro); lobster (2 million euro); turbot (2 million euro); cod (2 million euro); boarfish (2 million euro).

Ireland has approximately 220 million acres of marine territory, rich in marine biodiversity. A marine biodiversity scheme under Ireland's operational programme, which is co-funded by the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund and the Government, aims to reduce the impact of fisheries and aquaculture on the marine environment, including avoidance and reduction of unwanted catch.

EU fisheries ministers hold an annual pre-Christmas council in Brussels to decide on total allowable catches and quotas for the following year. This is based on advice from scientific bodies such as the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea. In Ireland's case, the State's Marine Institute publishes an annual "stock book" which provides the most up to date stock status and scientific advice on over 60 fish stocks exploited by the Irish fleet. Total allowable catches are supplemented by various technical measures to control effort, such as the size of net mesh for various species.

The west Cork harbour of Castletownbere is Ireland's biggest whitefish port. Killybegs, Co Donegal is the most important port for pelagic (herring, mackerel, blue whiting) landings. Fish are also landed into Dingle, Co Kerry, Rossaveal, Co Galway, Howth, Co Dublin and Dunmore East, Co Waterford, Union Hall, Co Cork, Greencastle, Co Donegal, and Clogherhead, Co Louth. The busiest Northern Irish ports are Portavogie, Ardglass and Kilkeel, Co Down.

Yes, EU quotas are allocated to other fleets within the Irish EEZ, and Ireland has long been a transhipment point for fish caught by the Spanish whitefish fleet in particular. Dingle, Co Kerry has seen an increase in foreign landings, as has Castletownbere. The west Cork port recorded foreign landings of 36 million euro or 48 per cent in 2019, and has long been nicknamed the "peseta" port, due to the presence of Spanish-owned transhipment plant, Eiranova, on Dinish island.

Most fish and shellfish caught or cultivated in Irish waters is for the export market, and this was hit hard from the early stages of this year's Covid-19 pandemic. The EU, Asia and Britain are the main export markets, while the middle Eastern market is also developing and the African market has seen a fall in value and volume, according to figures for 2019 issued by BIM.

Fish was once a penitential food, eaten for religious reasons every Friday. BIM has worked hard over several decades to develop its appeal. Ireland is not like Spain – our land is too good to transform us into a nation of fish eaters, but the obvious health benefits are seeing a growth in demand. Seafood retail sales rose by one per cent in 2019 to 300 million euro. Salmon and cod remain the most popular species, while BIM reports an increase in sales of haddock, trout and the pangasius or freshwater catfish which is cultivated primarily in Vietnam and Cambodia and imported by supermarkets here.

The EU's Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), initiated in 1983, pooled marine resources – with Ireland having some of the richest grounds and one of the largest sea areas at the time, but only receiving four per cent of allocated catch by a quota system. A system known as the "Hague Preferences" did recognise the need to safeguard the particular needs of regions where local populations are especially dependent on fisheries and related activities. The State's Sea Fisheries Protection Authority, based in Clonakilty, Co Cork, works with the Naval Service on administering the EU CFP. The Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine and Department of Transport regulate licensing and training requirements, while the Marine Survey Office is responsible for the implementation of all national and international legislation in relation to safety of shipping and the prevention of pollution.

Yes, a range of certificates of competency are required for skippers and crew. Training is the remit of BIM, which runs two national fisheries colleges at Greencastle, Co Donegal and Castletownbere, Co Cork. There have been calls for the colleges to be incorporated into the third-level structure of education, with qualifications recognised as such.

Safety is always an issue, in spite of technological improvements, as fishing is a hazardous occupation and climate change is having its impact on the severity of storms at sea. Fishing skippers and crews are required to hold a number of certificates of competency, including safety and navigation, and wearing of personal flotation devices is a legal requirement. Accidents come under the remit of the Marine Casualty Investigation Board, and the Health and Safety Authority. The MCIB does not find fault or blame, but will make recommendations to the Minister for Transport to avoid a recurrence of incidents.

Fish are part of a marine ecosystem and an integral part of the marine food web. Changing climate is having a negative impact on the health of the oceans, and there have been more frequent reports of warmer water species being caught further and further north in Irish waters.

Brexit, Covid 19, EU policies and safety – Britain is a key market for Irish seafood, and 38 per cent of the Irish catch is taken from the waters around its coast. Ireland's top two species – mackerel and prawns - are 60 per cent and 40 per cent, respectively, dependent on British waters. Also, there are serious fears within the Irish industry about the impact of EU vessels, should they be expelled from British waters, opting to focus even more efforts on Ireland's rich marine resource. Covid-19 has forced closure of international seafood markets, with high value fish sold to restaurants taking a large hit. A temporary tie-up support scheme for whitefish vessels introduced for the summer of 2020 was condemned by industry organisations as "designed to fail".

Sources: Bord Iascaigh Mhara, Marine Institute, Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine, Department of Transport © Afloat 2020

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