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Displaying items by tag: water safety

#WaterSafety - Rosslare RNLI has given credit to the quick-thinking member of the public who raised the alarm over what they believed to be a swimmer in difficulty - even though the call-out turned out to be a false alarm.

Lifeboats from Rosslare Harbour and Wexford RNLI were involved in the sea search on Friday evening (19 July) after a swimmer was reported to be in difficulty off Curracloe beach in Co Wexford.

The Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 117 and two local fishing vessels were also involved in the search, which was stood down after an hour and 45 minutes upon coastguard request as no one was reported missing.

Speaking after the call-out, Rosslare RNLI deputy launching authority Dave Maloney said: "The member of the public who raised the alarm this evening deserves credit for doing so."

He added: "We would always encourage the public to alert the emergency services if they see anyone they believe to be in trouble or any signs of danger."

The message is particularly important in a fortnight that has seen a shocking 10 drownings around the island of Ireland - resulting in a big rise in emergency call-outs over the 2012 mid-summer period.

Elsewhere on the same day, the Ballycotton RNLI lifeboat was requested to help search the water off Ballinamona Strand in Ballycotton Bay, Co Cork, for a missing five-year-old girl.

The little girl was playing on the strand when her family lost sight of her.  Emergency services were alerted and a search of the area commenced, but thankfully a short while later the little girl was located safe and well.

In other water safety news, the Irish Coast Guard has issued a public appeal for help locating a training mannequin that was lost in Galway Bay during an exercise off Blackhead in North Clare last week.

The Connacht Tribune reports that five coastguard mannequins were placed in the water to acts as people who jumped overboard from a ship fire - but only four were recovered afterwards.

Published in Water Safety

#WaterSafety - Rescue call-outs for people swimming in inland waterways have risen more than 100% over the past two months compared to the same period last year, as The Irish Times reports.

Coastguard call-outs overall have risen 50 per cent in the same timeframe, with calls to help coastal swimmers up by more than half on 2012 figures.

With the death toll from drownings during the continuing heatwave now standing at 10 after two weeks, the Irish Coast Guard has also highlighted a growing number of "close shaves" that could have doubled this already shocking figure.

According to the Irish Examiner, coastguard units throughout the country dealt with 72 incidents this past weekend alone.

These include two children rescued at Ballybunion in Co Kerry after drifting out to sea on an inflatable toy.

Published in Water Safety

#WaterSafety - Four more people have drowned in separate incidents around Ireland as the heatwave continues.

As RTÉ News reports, a 24-year-old man died while swimming in the sea near Ardara in Co Donegal yesterday afternoon (20 July).

Later, the body of a second victim was recovered from the Shrule River in Newtownstewart, Co Tyrone after getting into difficulty.

A third man in his 60s is was drowned after failing to return from a swim in a quarry near Carrick-on-Suir. His body was recovered earlier today.

The tragedies follow news of a 19-year-old who drowned while swimming with friends in Lough Leane in Killarney on Friday evening (19 July).

And a woman in her 30s was lucky to be rescued after getting into difficulty swimming in the River Nore near Kilkenny. She is currently in a serious but stable condition in hospital.

Irish Water Safety have renewed their appeal for the public to take extra care when taking to the water during this extraordinary hot weather that had already claimed seven lives as of Thursday last.

Published in Water Safety

#WaterSafety - Water safety chiefs have yet again underscored the dangers of swimming in unsupervised areas after a teenager drowned in Co Derry yesterday afternoon.

The Irish Times reports that the 15-year-old boy was airlifted to hospital by police helicopter after getting into difficulty when he fell into the River Roe.

The as yet unnamed teen is the seventh drowning victim on the island of Ireland during the current heatwave.

Last week alone saw five drownings of young people, prompting Irish Water Safety CEO John Leech to make a public appeal for awareness of the dangers of swimming in areas without lifeguards, especially in open water.

“One of the reasons we’re losing all these youngish people is because a whole generation haven’t learned to swim in open water,” said Leech, who added that 32 per cent of victims have consumed alcohol.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Water Safety

#WaterSafety - Water safety chiefs have urged the public to take proper care after the fifth drowning of this week's heatwave.

As The Irish Times reports, the body of a 17-year-old boy was recovered yesterday from a canal in Ardnacrusha, Co Clare where he had been swimming with friends on what was the hottest day so far this week.

It follows the tragic deaths of four other young people ranging from 12 to 21 years of age in various incidents around the country in both coastal and inland waters.

The sad news prompted the Irish Coast Guard to urge the public to "keep water safety in mind" when enjoying outdoor activities at any time this summer.

Irish Coast Guard (IRCG) manager Declan Geoghegan said: “With the warm weather forecast, our thoughts naturally go to enjoying the outdoors and outdoor activities. Whether you enjoy swimming, canoeing, surfing, angling, sail boarding, always remember to wear a personal flotation device.” 

PFDs include lifejackets and buoyancy aids, and the IRCG reiterated that it is vital to wear a lifejacket or buoyancy aid if your activity takes you near the water, whether at the sea or on lakes and rivers.

Geoghegan continued: “Each year, the Irish Coast Guard is involved in many search and rescue incidents involving people in our seas, lakes and inland waterways. Wearing a PFD isn’t just common sense, it's basic advice that could save your life.” 

Advice from the coastguard to stay safe on the water this summer is to always remember and take heed of the following:

  • Never go out alone
  • Be able to swim - get the proper training to stay safe
  • Never go out on the water having consumed alcohol
  • Familiarise yourself with the local areal be aware of your own capabilities and that of your craft
  • Check your equipment before you set off and tell someone where you are going and what time you will be back
  • Never go out when darkness is approaching

Geoghegan urged anyone planning to join in water-based activities to check out the Safety On The Water website which includes guidelines and advice on most watersport and related activities.

Published in Water Safety

#WaterSafety - RTÉ News reports that a teenager has drowned in Co Roscommon in the fourth such tragic incident during this week's heatwave.

The teen was one of three swimmers who went missing in Annaghmore Lough near Strokestown yesterday evening.

Two of the swimmers managed to reach the shore, but the body of this third was recovered before midnight by a search party led by the Irish Coast Guard's Shannon rescue helicopter and involving local angling boats.

The sad news comes just a day after a 12-year-old boy drowned while swimming in the sea off Youghal beach in Co Cork.

That followed the death of a 21-year-old woman named Lisa Knight who was swimming with friends in the River Feale in Co Limerick late on Tuesday night.

And on Wednesday afternoon a 17-year-old boy drowned after getting into difficulty swimming in a lake in Celbridge, Co Kildare, according to The Irish Times.

Irish Water Safety chief John Leech has appealed to the public on RTÉ Radio 1's Morning Ireland to be aware of the risks associated with the water, especially in unsupervised areas - and particularly for inexperienced swimmers.

Published in Water Safety

#Weather - Irish Water Safety has urged anyone heading to the water on lakes, rivers or beaches during this week's heatwave to take extra precautions as Met Éireann issues a 'yellow warning' amid soaring temperatures.

Speaking to TheJournal.ie, IWS chief John Leach underlined the increased risk of drownings during warmer periods, especially among young people in their teens or early twenties to go swimming in unsupervised areas.

Only today RTÉ News is reporting on the death of a 21-year-old Lisa Knight, who drowned while swimming with friends on the River Feale in Co Limerick in the early hours of this morning.

The heatwave, which is expected to peak on Friday with temperatures in many parts breaking the 30s, has drawn people to coastal areas in droves.

Also on TheJournal.ie, the Irish Coast Guard has reported a 40% increase in call-outs relating to watersport and other leisure activities over the last three weeks compared to the same period in 2012.

A significant number of these relate to rogue jetskiers "tormenting" beach-goers by racing through designated swimming areas on their personal water craft, according to IRCG operations manager Declan Geoghehan.

In related news, the Irish Independent says hoax calls to the coastguard have increased 40-fold since the IRCG was added to the main emergency services accessible by dialling 999 or 112 - and now constitute the "vast majority" of calls received.

Published in Weather

#Coastguard - The Irish Coast Guard has advised members of the public to pay special attention to water safety this week.

The warm, sunny weather with temperatures in the high 20s is forecast to last for the rest of the week and the weekend, when traditionally many people take to the water and enjoy outdoor activities.

Irish Coast Guard manager Declan Geoghegan said: “Warmer weather encourages everyone to enjoy the outdoors and brings thousands of people to our coastlines, to our beaches and the outdoors. We want everyone to enjoy the outdoors but to remember to take simple, basic advice about staying safe on the water and along cliff paths, when hill walking and enjoying the outdoors.

"Time and again, we see people ignoring basic safety advice, taking risks and then getting into difficulty, sometimes leading to loss of life. The coastguard is a 24/7 service but we must again advise caution as too many people are taking risks and ignoring our advice.”

Last month the Irish Coast Guard launched its first TV water safety campaign, as well as a summer campaign designed to protect children on beaches and near coastlines. The coastguard made available thousands of free waterproof wristbands under the ‘Give Us A Hand’ campaign.

“This summer we began our 2013 safety awareness campaign in May and we want to strongly get across the safety message to families, leisure users and the fishing industry about going out on the water," said Geoghegan.

"We want everyone to enjoy the outdoors this summer weather but remember to heed our advice to ensure that you and your family and friends stay safe."

Published in Coastguard

#Rescue - Castlerock RNLI lifeguards rescued a family of six after they got into difficulty on the town’s seaside beach in Co Derry yesterday (7 July).

Senior RNLI lifeguard Gordon Clark was patrolling busy Castlerock beach when at he noticed a person in the water waving for help a short distance to the right of the flagged zone on the beach around 5.30pm.



The family of six – including a man, woman and four children – were all on bodyboards when they got caught in what appeared to be a flash rip, a strong current running out to sea.



After radioing for assistance, Clark swiftly entered the sea with a rescue tube. He was quickly joined in the rescue operation by his RNLI lifeguard colleagues Jenny Thompson and Ray Cunningham. 



Clark and Thompson proceeded to safely ferry the children, followed by their parents, to the shore, where they were checked over to ensure they hadn’t taken on any water. All were safe and well.



Speaking following the rescue, Mike Grocott, RNLI lifeguard manager for Northern Ireland, said: "Rip currents often catch people out because they can be difficult to spot, and research shows that most people don’t know how to identify one. They are a major cause of incidents that the RNLI’s lifeguards deal with each season.



"Anyone who gets caught in a rip should try to remain calm, raise their arm in the air to signal for help like the family member did today. If they feel they can swim, they should swim parallel to the beach until free of the current, and then head for shore."



With temperatures expected to soar this week, Grocott reminded people to be mindful of the RNLI’s key safety recommendations – choose a lifeguarded beach and swim between the red and yellow flags, which mark the safest area to swim and are an indicator that lifeguards are on duty.

Published in Rescue

#RNLI - Donaghadee RNLI has rescued a man after his boat got into difficulty off the Co Down coast.

  1. In good weather conditions, the volunteer crew launched the all-weather lifeboat at 3.07pm yesterday (Wednesday 26 June) to go to the aid of a casualty off Mew Island.

It followed a request by Belfast Coastguard which had received a call from the owner of the 4m boat to say his vessel had broken down and had starter motor problems.

The lifeboat located the boat north of Mew Island, where it was taken safely under tow by the crew and brought to Donaghadee Harbour.

Earlier in the week, a group of young people from the RNLI Storm Force visited the Donaghadee lifeboat station for a guided tour that emphasised the importance of safety on the water.

The children and their parents were given a warm welcome by coxswain Phillip McNamara and members of the station, who explained the work they do when they respond to emergencies - including getting into their lifeboat gear and jackets in a hurry!

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
Page 11 of 16

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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