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Displaying items by tag: water safety

#RNLI - Skerries RNLI in North Co Dublin were requested to launch by the Irish Coast Guard on Monday evening (24 June) following a call from a concerned member of the public regarding a group of people walking back to shore from Shenick Island.

The volunteer lifeboat crew launched their inshore lifeboat Louis Simson shortly before 9pm and proceeded directly to scene.

The caller had reported that the group were attempting to walk ashore from the island and were already in water up to their waists. However, shortly after arriving on scene, communication was received from Skerries Coastguard that the people in question had made it safely to shore.



Before returning to base, Skerries also requested the lifeboat to check on another group of people who were on the shoreline of Colt Island. This turned out to be a group of kayakers who were simply having a rest so the lifeboat was stood down and returned to station.


Speaking afterwards, Skerries RNLI volunteer lifeboat press officer Gerry Canning said: "It’s not unusual for people to get caught out by the quickly rising tide. We would encourage people to check the tide tables and always allow plenty of time to get to where you are going safely."

In related news, an updated and interactive edition of the RNLI’s safety handbook Sea Safety: The Complete Guide is now available free online.

The Complete Guide is the RNLI’s handbook of essential information for all those who go to sea. Its new interactive format – including videos, quizzes and challenges - means that sea safety is available on mobiles, tablets and laptops and at the tip of boaters’ fingertips.



RNLI coastal safety manager Tony Wafer said: "The Complete Guide gives more in-depth advice on how to follow these principles and stay safe on the water. It’ll cover everything from how to plan your time on the water, what safety equipment to take and how to use it, and what to do in an emergency."

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#Coastguard - The Irish Coast Guard (IRCG) has launched a new summer water safety campaign designed to protect children on beaches and near coastlines.

The IRCG is distributing thousands of free waterproof wristbands under the ‘Give Us A Hand’ campaign.

Parents or guardians can write their phone numbers on the wristband so that lifeguards, emergency services or members of the public can contact the child’s parents if the child becomes lost or becomes separated.

The wristbands have been made available to IRCG volunteer units for distribution through schools, lifeguard stations and maritime community events around the country. The wristbands carry a message reminding the public to call 112 and ask for the coastguard for beach, water or cliff emergencies.

The wristband concept is very simple: it’s made of water resistant Tyvek material which is strong and difficult to tear. The bands were designed and developed free of charge by coastguard volunteers and are a practical, simple way to assist families.

Finding a lost child at a busy beach is a very stressful experience for both parent and child. Coastal or waterside areas present further dangers with open water, sand dunes and exposed cliffs all adding to concerns.

Following a day at the beach, the band can easily be removed using scissors and disposed of by a parent or guardian.

This is the latest stage in the Irish Coast Guard’s summer safety campaign headed by its first TV advertising campaign, as previously reported on Afloat.ie

Meanwhile, the Galway Advertiser reports that Galway City councillors have approved €6,000 in funding for promoting water safety in the city.

Published in Coastguard

#Coastguard - Last weekend 8-9 June was the Irish Coast Guard's busiest since 1991 for search and rescue indigents, as reported yesterday on Afloat.ie.

Today's Irish Examiner goes deeper into the figures, which show more than 53 coastguard search and rescue incidents took place around the country last Saturday and Sunday - ranging from missing persons to swimmers in difficulty, vessels broken down, missing children, personal watercraft and speedboats operating in a hazardous way and urgent medical evacuations. 

In addition, the Irish Coast Guard's rescue helicopter fleet – not including any of the other IRCG units – was tasked a massive 18 times over the weekend alone.

The fleet was this week bolstered by the arrival of two Sikorsky S-92s previously flown by the British Coastguard.

Set to operate from Shannon, the choppers join the state-of-the-art Rescue 115 which has been operational since last year, and was last week on course to conduct the Irish Coast Guard's longest range mission ever.

Published in Coastguard

#Coastguard - The Irish Coast Guard (IRCG) has launched its new 'Stay Safe on the Water' TV advertising campaign aimed at families, leisure users and the fishing industry during the busy summer months. 

This is the coastguard’s first TV advertisement, having its premiere on RTÉ One television this evening after 6pm. 

The IRCG was motivated to launch its first TV water safety campaign following the success of the Road Safety Authority (RSA) TV campaigns. The new 20-second adverts will run from now until the end of August.

Coastguard statistics have recorded 11 deaths by drowning in Irish waters so far this year, and last weekend was the Irish Coast Guard's busiest since 1991 for search and rescue incidents. 

Speaking at the launch, IRCG manager Declan Geogheghan said: “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.  

"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.”

Last Saturday and Sunday saw more than 53 coastguard search and rescue incidents taking place around the country. Of these, 21 were co-ordinated by the Dublin Marine Rescue Co-ordination Centre (MRCC), 18 by Valentia MRCC and 14 by Malin MRCC.

These incidents ranged from missing persons, swimmers in difficulty, vessels broken down, missing children, personal watercraft and speedboats operating in a hazardous way and urgent medical evacuations. 

Coastguard helicopters alone – not including any of the other IRCG Units – were tasked a massive 18 times over the weekend.

“The pleasant, warm weather brings thousands of people to our coastlines, to our beaches and the outdoors," said Geoghegan. "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.

For specific advice and information on any water and coastal activity, visit www.safetyonthewater.ie.

Throughout the summer, as at other times of the year, Irish Coast Guard units throughout Ireland will patrol our waterways and coastlines issuing safety advice and information to holidaymakers, tourists and marine users.

The following are general safety tips and advice from the IRCG to help enjoy the water and coastal activities in your area this weekend and throughout the summer:

Swimming

Only swim at beaches and waterways that have lifeguards on duty and pay attention to the safety flags. Ask the lifeguard for advice about safety and water conditions and adhere to their instructions. Avoid using inflatable toys, such as li-los and rubber rings, on the water.

Cliff Walking

There is safety in numbers, so never be alone if possible. Let somebody know when and where you are going and what time you will be back. Stay well away from the cliff edge, both top and bottom. Don’t attempt to rescue people or pets if they fall over the edge. If assistance is required dial 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.

Water Sports and Coastal Activities

Before going to sea check local weather conditions and tides in the area. Wear correctly maintained and fitting lifejackets that are suitable for the activity. Lifejackets are of no use unless they are worn. Ensure your craft is fit for purpose. Always advise someone as to where you are going and the time of your intended return. Do not overload the craft. If you are in difficulty or see someone in difficulty and requiring assistance dial 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.

Finally, under no circumstances should anyone ever engage in water activities under the influence of alcohol.

Published in Coastguard

#Drowning - Three drownings over the weekend have underlined the importance of safety on the water during the current sunny spell.

In Galway, residents of Moycullen were mourning the loss of a Lithuanian man who drowned while swimming with friends in Ballyquirke Lake on Saturday evening 8 June, according to Galway Bay FM.

And RTÉ News reports of a similar incident in Cork in the early hours of this morning 10 June, in which a 21-year-old man drowned after getting into difficulties in the River Lee near Ballincollig.

The young man is also believed to have been swimming with friends after another hot day across the country, according to The Irish Times.

Elsewhere in Cork, RTÉ News says a 17-year-old has died after drowning in the River Blackwater.

Earlier it was reported that the teen was in a serious condition after getting into difficulties while swimming with friends at a bathing spit known locally as Lisheen Bridge, and had been in the water for some time before he was recovered.

Published in Water Safety

#KillCord - An official report into the tragic speedboat accident in Cornwall earlier this month that killed a father and daughter says that the driver was not attached to the boat's 'kill cord'.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, BSkyB executive Nick Milligan and his eight-year-old daughter Emily were struck by the family's runaway RIB after being thrown overboard from the vessel on the afternoon of Sunday 5 May.

Four other family members were struck by the runaway boat as it circled in the water off Padstow. Nick's wife Victoria and four-year-old son Kit are recovering after sustaining "life-changing" leg injuries.

Police were reportedly investigating the role played in the incident by the boat's kill cord or safety lanyard, a device attached to the throttle that should automatically cut engine power if the driver is thrown from the vessel.

Now The Guardian reports the Marine Accident Investigation Branch's (MAIB) conclusion that the 8m Cobra RIB was fitted with a kill cord, but it was not attached to the driver.

It has not yet been determined who was driving the speedboat at the time of the accident, nor is it clear how the family was thrown from the vessel.

The report added: "The kill cord serves only one purpose, to stop the engine when the driver moves away from the controls.

"To ensure that this tragic accident is not repeated it is essential that all owners and operators of vessels ensure they are fitted with kill cords."

Published in RIBs

#AnTostal - Galway's An Tostál maritime festival will take place on 26 May after strong winds forced the postponement of the originally scheduled date last Sunday, according to the Galway Independent.

Cian O’Lorcáin of the organisers said the decision to delay the event was made "for the benefit of water safety. We were really thinking of the crews on the water because, with the winds, it could have proved hazardous...

"Safety is the number one thing for us so when that couldn't be guaranteed, we decided to postpone."

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the festival - reactivated in 2011 after a 50-year gap - celebrates Galway's maritime traditions with currach racing along the Salthill promenade. This year's event is also set to feature a Galway Hooker parade of sail.

Published in Maritime Festivals

#InlandWaterways - Waterways Ireland is advising masters and users of the Shannon Navigation that a triathlon event will take place on Saturday 8 June in the environs of Portrunny Harbour.

The swimming course will be laid out adjacent to the moorings in the harbour, and will be active from 11.30am till 1pm on the day.

Swimmers on the course will be accompanied by a safety boat and kayaks.

Masters are requested to give the swimmers a wide berth and to navigate at slow speed and with a low wash when passing the area, and to heed any instructions or advice given by the event marshals.

Published in Inland Waterways

#KillCord - Police in Cornwall investigating the deaths of a father and daughter in a speedboat accident off Padstow at the weekend are focusing on the boat's 'kill cord', according to BBC News.

BSkyB executive Nick Milligan and his eight-year-old daughter were struck by the family's runaway Cobra RIB after losing control of the vessel and being thrown overboard.

Four other family members in the water struck by the 8m-long boat were hospitalised, with the BBC reporting that Milligan's wife Victoria and four-year-old son Kit suffered "serious, potentially life-changing injuries".

Witnesses describe the speedboat circling to hit the family after turning sharply and throwing them into the water, then continuing to run around in circles before it was stopped by local waterskiing instructor Charlie Toogood who jumped on board.

Investigators are looking closely at the kill cord or safety lanyard, a device attached to a boat's throttle that should automatically cut engine power if the boat's pilot goes overboard.

A malfunctioning kill cord was identified in an incident in Cork Harbour last summer in which a RIB pilot lost an arm after he was thrown overboard and subsequently struck by his runaway vessel, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Months before, an angler died and another was treated for hypothermia after being thrown overboard and separated from their vessel, a result of neither man using the kill cord on their boat's engine.

Published in RIBs

#RNLI - Portaferry RNLI is looking for new volunteer crew members to join its search and rescue service in Co Down.

The station currently has 17 lifeboat and two shore crew to cover its inshore service on Strangford Lough but is now calling on new volunteers to come forward and find out how they can get involved in helping the charity continue to save lives at sea.

To that end, the station will be hosting two open days early next month for all interested candidates to learn more.

"We are looking for anyone aged 17 years and over who is willing to offer some of their free time to join what I believe to be, one of the most exhilarating and rewarding voluntary services that is out there," said lifeboat operations manager Brian Bailie.

"Every volunteer receives first class training from the RNLI and learns new skills which can benefit them in many walks of life. Lifeboat crew members need to have a reasonable level of fitness, have good eyesight and not be colour-blind."

He added: "Anyone who would like to volunteer but feels they would not meet the requirements for lifeboat crew should in no way be put off, as shore crew also play an essential role in the launch and recovery of the lifeboat when it goes on service."

For anyone who feels they have the time and commitment to volunteer for the charity which is on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, is asked to email Brian at [email protected].

Alternatively, prospective volunteers can come along to the station’s open days from 7-9pm next Tuesday 7 May or from 2-4pm next Saturday 11 May.

Elsewhere in Northern Ireland, primary school children will have the opportunity to hit the surf with RNLI lifeguards over the next month.

The charity’s ‘Hit the Surf’ programme runs from 7 May to 7 June on the East Strand Beach in Portrush.

Aimed at primary five to seven pupils aged eight to 11, the programme - which is expanding to accommodate more schools this year - gives children a unique opportunity to gain practical lessons in lifesaving and beach safety. All equipment is provided free of charge.

Each session lasts two-and-a half-hours and includes a theory lesson on staying safe at the beach, the role of beach lifeguards and the RNLI, and detailed information on flags and rip currents.

There are practical lessons in lifesaving and surf based skills, while lifeguards aim to build pupils confidence in the sea. Children also learn about the local hazards and the beach environment.

Sessions are still available for schools who want to book pupils in. For more information contact Jessica on 0777 441 4208 or email [email protected]

Last year RNLI lifeguards located on beaches in Co Down and along the Causeway Coast responded to 158 incidents and assisted 176 people who found themselves in difficulty.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
Page 12 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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