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Three divers were rescued by the RNLI Clifden lifeboat yesterday after their rigid inflatable boat (RIB) caught fire in Bertraghboy bay near Roundstone, Co Galway.

Shortly before 3 pm yesterday (Monday, Sept 21st) Clifden RNLI launched their Shannon class all-weather lifeboat in response to a Mayday call to the Coastguard from a Rigid Inflatable Boat (RIB) that had caught fire in Bertraghboy Bay near Roundstone.

The three people on board had inflated their life raft, evacuated the RIB and were taken under tow by a local fishing vessel. They had been diving approximately 3 miles offshore when the incident happened.

Clifden RNLI said that the three people on board had inflated their life raft, evacuated the RIB and were taken under tow by a local fishing vessel. They had been diving approximately three miles off shore when the incident happened.

The Shannon class lifeboat Brianne Aldington arrived at the scene approximately 55 minutes after launch, it said.

Aran Island RNLI, which had also been requested to launch, was stood down shortly afterwards - as was Clifden’s Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat, once it was clear the situation was under control, it said.

The Irish Coastguard helicopter Rescue 115 from Shannon was on scene while the lifeboat escorted the casualties into Inishnee pier, where they were met by members of Cleggan Coastguard. 

Coxswain James Mullen said ‘“While this was obviously a very upsetting thing to happen, the boat was very well equipped and the sailors had taken every safety precaution to deal with an emergency scenario like this. “ 

“We wish them well and commend their quick actions and also of course the local vessel that went to their aid as quickly as possible, in what have could otherwise have been a disastrous incident, “ Mr Mullen added.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Corrib Mask Search and Rescue is appealing for any information after its newly acquired RIB was stripped of its motor and GPS equipment.

The Zodiac boat, which was stored in the Cong area, was targeted some time between Thursday (17 September) and yesterday (Saturday 19 September) and stripped it of its Yamaha outboard engine and GPS plotter — valued together at upwards of €10,000.

Anyone in the vicinity of Cong who may have seen or heard anything, or is aware of someone trying to sell the missing parts, is encouraged to contact Claremorris Garda Station at 094 937 2080 or the Garda Confidential line at 1800 250 025.

Published in Rescue

The Red Bay Boats 1150 offshore RIB launched by County Kerry boaters John and Adam Brennan two years ago is on the market.

As Afloat reported in December 2018, the stunning all-white vessel has filled the role of luxury day cruiser and long distant explorer but after two years of service is up for sale.

According to the advert on Afloat here, the 'extremely capable cruiser' is in 'perfect condition with every option installed by the manufacturer'. 

Launched November 2018 with just over 3,000 miles covered in the 2019 season. It can entertain up to 12 people on day trips. Priced at €295k you can see full specs and photos here.

Published in Boat Sales
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Renowned hospitality specialist John Brennan of Dromquinna Manor and the Park Hotel in Kenmare in County Kerry is best known for his entertaining and informative “At Your Service” double act on television with his brother Francis. In it, the brothers bounce ideas off each other as they bring their unrivalled expertise to bear on some difficult challenges in product-improvement across a wide range of problematic hospitality establishments all over Ireland.

Yet as anyone who has ever enjoyed the superb food and glorious location of his Boathouse restaurant down by the harbour at the Dromquinna Manor wedding venue and glamping holiday set up on the shores of the beautiful Kenmare River will know, John Brennan has a secret life as a serial boat development enthusiast. His Dromquinna-based flotilla does offer hotel guests the possibility of a speedy voyage down the Kenmare River for some unexpected lunch venues. But those who know him are well aware that really it’s all about John’s abiding impulse to create the perfect fast multi-purpose boat and in pursuit of that he and his son Adam have been working with the specialist RIB development team at Redbay Boats at Cushendall in County Antrim.

boathouse dromquinna2 The Boathouse Restaurant at Dromquinna Photo: W M Nixon

It’s intriguing that father-and-son boat connoisseurs from the distant southwest of Ireland should be so closely linked to a design and production unit in the far northeast of the country. But the reality is that the development of big multi-purpose high speed RIBs is simply a world apart from the humdrum existence of most of us, and we can only watch in wonder as it attracts folk like infrastructure construction magnate Kevin Lagan, who has steadily worked his way up through the Redbay Stormforce size range such that his current machine – with very comfortable cruising accommodation for six - is all of 58ft long.

John Brennan for his part is particularly interested in the detailed technical side and every aspect of planning, designing and creating a boat which provides good performance and onboard comfort with the maximum eco-friendly credentials. And in Tom McLaughlin’s creative team of Gary Fife and designer Owen McKinley, the Dromquinna duo have found kindred spirits with whom to push the envelope of boat development for John’s requirement for “a serious long-distance cruiser”.

john brennan3Hospitality guru John Brennan of Kenmare in Kerry has a secret life as a serial boat design-and-build developer, using the scope offered by the variations possible in the large Redbay Stormforce RIBs built at Cushendall in County Antrim.
In fact, with a Redbay Stormforce RIB, pushing the envelope is what it’s all about, as the company are cheerfully flexible about size changes as the specification develops. Thus although the Brennans’ Redbay 1150 Dromquinna is now nicely run in and functioning just as planned, even as she was nearing completion John and Adam were well aware that John’s busy mind already had the next boat taking shape in concept form, so the Redbay 1150 Dromquinna is now for sale as progress accelerates on a bigger and more sophisticated craft, due for delivery in April 2021.

redbay 1150 dromquinna4Home berth – the Redbay Storm 1150 Dromquinna at Dromquinna quay in Kerry
The most recent set of drawings for the new boat date from March 3rd and illustrate a customised version of Redbay’s Stormforce 14.50. But with a clear programme now in place to guide Dromquinna Manor through the lockdown, the boat team have gone back to the drawing board and we’ll be looking at a Stormforce 16.50 (that’s just over 54ft) with three engines, as an extra two metres length and an additional 0.5m beam were required to accommodate a smaller eco-friendly centre-line engine which will drive her at a gentle 5-7 knots of hyper-economy and minimal pollution for a range of 1800 miles.

However, if you’re in a hurry the big beasts either side will give a top speed of 38 knots, but that only provides 400 miles range, whereas 750 miles is available at 20 knots.

At this boat size, you’re able to provide a second layer of accommodation under the deck saloon, which is an irresistible challenge for someone with John Brennan’s turn of mind. Full-size three-dimensional jigsaw puzzles that would bewilder many of the rest of us are just his thing.

redbay 1150 dromquinna speed5Dromquinna shows her speed and style – after meticulous planning and attention to detail, this special machine is now for sale as the project is very successfully completed, and her owner seeks a fresh challenge in his new Redbay Stormforce 1650
With almost all waterborne life in Ireland on hold, it’s top creativity time for designers and concept developers to do their thing. At a time when sailboat designer Mark Mills of County Wicklow is our “Sailor of the Month” for his success in designing both successful racing machines and highly developed sailing superyachts, it’s good to know that the lines of communication are red hot between the Mountains of Kerry and the Glens of Antrim as another ingenious Brennan powerboat takes shape.

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MGM Boats at Dun Laoghaire Harbour have announced the launch of the biggest ever RIB built by international manufacturer Zodiac. 

The French RIB builder and their Irish agents are making the most of the lockdown with the virtual launch of its 'big boy', the nine-metre 'Medline 9' RIB.

The new 55-knot top speed craft Medline represents a year and a half of research and development. (Download the spec sheet below).

Medline 9 OffWhite White Cayenne top viewMedline 9 top view

Zodiac already has 20 orders worldwide for the new marque that has yet to have its press sea trials because of COVID-9 restrictions.

Zodiac collaborated with the French agency DEMS to design the boat that accommodates up to fourteen people sitting down. Its clever bolster seat arrangement allows three sittings (two adults and a child). There are seven storage compartments.

medline 9 consoleMedline 9 console

As a result, the new edition has 'all you need in order to spend a long time on water', says Gerry Salmon of MGM Boats. The boat is equipped with a cabin with a removable bunk, 'so it is possible to overnight onboard or ideal just for a good nap', Salmon adds.

A toilet, a shower as well as a kitchen complete the standard equipment.

Download spec sheet below

Published in MGM Boats
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MGM Boats describes the new Zodiac Open 5.5 that has recently landed at the boatyard in Dun Laoghaire Harbour as the 'Swiss army knife of boats'.

As regular Afloat readers will know, MGM Boats became Irish Zodiac distributors last December. In announcing the new distributorship, Dublin Bay-based MGM Boats also launched a promotion on the new Open 5.5 metre RIB, a popular size model in Ireland and this March arrival makes good on that promise.

With its excellent sea-keeping performance – thanks to its deep V-hull and its optimised deck plan, the Open is a great starter package and a lot more besides because it is pretty much at ease in all activities.

Thanks to its design, it is easily transportable, even with an inflated tube, it works for getaways, fishing, waterskiing, wakeboarding and sunbathing (we hope!)

The new 5.5 has a Deep V fibreglass hull and a self-bailing deck. Full spec here. 

More details from MGM Boats here.

Published in Boat Sales
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Places are still available for the latest powerboat training course at the Royal St George Yacht Club later this month.

The two-day course, on Saturday 29 February and Sunday 1 March from 8.45am to 5pm, provides the ideal way to get afloat for the first time, or to build on skills you already have.

The Irish Sailing syllabus Powerboat II course (National Powerboat Certificate) will formally teach you the fundamentals in the safe operation of a powerboat, its preparation and allied aspects, while helping you to build your confidence on the water and get the most from your RIB or powerboat in a safe and comfortable manner.

This weekend course (which will also run in May) is priced at €260 which includes all course materials, instruction and certifications. Book online via the RSGYC website HERE.

Published in Power

Larne RNLI launched at 3.50pm on Saturday (18 January) to assist a RIB which had lost engine power half a mile south of Muck Island.

The volunteer crew were requested to launch by Belfast Coastguard to the nine-metre RIB with three people on board which had been losing engine power.

The all-weather lifeboat, Dr John McSparran, launched into a slight swell with light levels decreasing as the night closed in.

The lifeboat reached the anchored casualty boat and a volunteer crew member was put on board to establish a tow rope so that the lifeboat could bring the casualty boat into Carrickfergus Harbour.

One of the casualties from the boat was transferred to the lifeboat for some respite from the cold conditions of the open water.

Upon reaching Carrickfergus, the casualty boat was handed into the care of the Portmuck Coastguard team.

Larne RNLI lifeboat operations manager Allan Dorman said: “The casualty boat did the right thing by dropping their anchor and calling for help at the earliest opportunity.

“Being able to find the boat in daylight made it much easier for our volunteer crew to establish the tow and bring them into the safety of Carrickfergus Harbour.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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RS Electric Boats, the brand-new sister company to RS Sailing, this week launches the Pulse 58 - its electric RIB. Unveiled at Boot Dusseldorf, the Pulse58 is the product of two years of development and is ground-breaking as the first-ever production RIB with a fully integrated electric drive.

The marine industry trails behind car manufacturers in terms of engine emissions and a defined future for alternative energy. Evolving environmental attitudes and imminent changes to law around the world are driving demand for a different approach to boating that removes the negative impact of a fossil fuel burning motor.

With 25 years of design and build experience in zero emissions boating, RS’ Pulse58 will blend proven automotive electronic technology and an extremely efficient electric drive optimised hull form, with the highest level of sustainable construction of any boat in its sector.

Project managed by the award-winning RS development team alongside key industry experts, Pulse58 uses marinized electronic components already well proven in automotive use. A 57Kwh battery bank stored in a purpose designed underfloor structural case delivers up to 104v to the ground-breaking RAD drive propulsion unit. RAD drive is a unique and integral retractable drive unit that belt feeds power from the twin motors to a hub-less drive unit. The electronic management system controls all aspects of the drive, motor control and battery conditioning and also controls the electric drive tilt mechanism that lifts the RAD drive into the transom in shallow water.

Pulse58’s hull design has been purposely designed for its electric drive. The tunnel hull form and long waterline length give decreased low speed drag that suits the instant torque of electric power, while providing a stable and maneuverable platform at speed. The battery bank deep in the hull lowers the centre of gravity increasing comfort. Hypalon tubes and an integral cockpit non-slip floor combine to give a high quality and long-lasting finish. The acclaimed Raymarine Axiom 7” touch screen display is standard fit on the console. Alongside all the advanced plotting and navigation features, Axiom also displays the power reserve, instant range and battery data delivered by the RADLink transmitter. RADLink then broadcasts by Bluetooth and 4G to its mobile app to give remote charge data along with revolutionary geofencing capabilities to control security and safe use.

Pulse58’s sustainable construction comprises of Bio-based infused epoxy resin, recycled PET core material and naturally sourced basalt and flax fibres. These fibres are incredibly strong and energy absorbing. Experience gained in the sustainable construction of the successful RS Aero and RS21 sailboats has enabled RS to bring to market the most sustainable laminate of any RIB in the sector. This innovative laminate is lightweight and long lasting in even the most extreme environments.

Pulse58 debuts at Boot Dusseldorf on Saturday 18 January - 16:30 (CET) - Hall 15 – Stand E24.

Published in RIBs
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Top Irish boat dealer MGM Boats has added the Zodiac Inflatable and Rigid Inflatable Boat marque to the range of boats offered at its Dun Laoghaire Harbour showrooms.

In announcing the new distributorship, Dublin Bay-based MGM Boats has launched a promotion on the new Open 5.5 metre RIB, a popular size model in Ireland.

The new 5.5 has a Deep V fibreglass hull and a self-bailing deck. Full spec here. 

More details from MGM Boats here.

Published in RIBs
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Ireland's Commercial Fishing 

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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