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Displaying items by tag: water safety

#watersafety – An Irishman has been appointed Chief Referee for the European lifesaving Championships 2013.

Irish competitors and officials are highly respected at the European Surf Lifesaving Championships, an event that tests the endurance of the fittest Lifeguards in Europe.

Daniel Wrafter, originally from Grantstown Park in Waterford and now living in Kilmainham, Dublin 8 is an experienced Internationally qualified A-Level referee.

A long time competitor himself at national and international level, Daniel now fulfills the position as Chief Referee for the Ocean Events and Deputy Referee for the Pool Events at the European Lifesaving Championships on 16th to 18th August 2013 in The Hague, Netherlands.

The Council of Irish Water Safety fully supports Daniel's nomination which it regards as a reflection on the high standards in Ireland both in terms of training competitors and officials.

IWS extends congratulations to Daniel and its appreciation to the International Lifesaving Federation of Europe's College of Referees.

Published in Water Safety
Tagged under

#MCIB - Investigators have reiterated the importance of water safety measures such as wearing a lifejacket and having a means of alert when on or near the water in the report into the death of a man in Dundalk Harbour in February last year.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the man was understood to have taken a small punt from the mudflats at Soldiers Point to reach a colleague requiring his aid on another boat on the afternoon of Saturday 12 February 2012, but went missing after he capsized near Dundalk Lighthouse.

The official report into the indecent by the Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB) names the man as Stephen Fergus, who was making his way to assist his friend Pat O'Brien, whose boat was suffering engine trouble and was anchored on the north side of the estuary at Dundalk Harbour.

Fergus was reported missing after O'Brien became concerned as to his whereabouts. After an extensive search of the estuary by the emergency services, Fergus' body and the submerged punt were found later that evening by the Drogheda unit of the Irish Coast Guard.

The subsequent post-mortem recorded Fergus' death as by drowning.

With no witnesses to the incident that brought about his death, it is assumed that Fergus was in the process of either getting into the punt or transferring from the punt to his own boat when the tragedy occurred.

It was noted that the canvas cover on his boat has not been disturbed, indicating that he did not gain access to the vessel before the incident.

The report's analysis concludes that the strong tidal current at the time would have made it difficult for Fergus to manoeuvre the punt to transfer to his boat single-handedly.

In addition, the condition of the mudflats where the punt was tied off were found to be changeable over time, with the mud in parts "arduous to walk on".

But the key finding of the investigation was that Fergus was neither wearing a lifejacket nor had any means of communication on his person at the time of the incident.

Two lifejackets were found in his car, and it was noted that he had left his mobile phone at home, presumably in the hurry to assist his friend.

The MCIB recommended that all owners and operators of recreational craft should be aware and follow the Code of Practice for the Safe Operation of Recreational Craft.

The full report is available to download as a PDF below.

Published in MCIB

#WaterSafety - RNLI lifeguards will provide Easter cover for the first time on three of the most popular family beaches in Northern Ireland.

For the second year running, lifeguards will be patrolling Tyrella Beach in Co Down, and for the third year will be ready to offer safety advice and assistance on Benone Strand on the north coast.



In addition this Easter, lifeguards will also be patrolling Portstewart Strand, Portrush East Strand and Whiterocks beach, all of which are located along the Causeway Coast.



The cover commences on Good Friday 29 March and will run throughout Easter week until Sunday 7 April.



Despite the unseasonal weather, the charity’s highly trained lifeguards will be ready to assist visitors who brave the elements and take a trip to the seaside over the Easter break. 



The lifeguards will operate on Benone, Portstewart, East Strand and Whiterocks from 11am to 7pm, and from 10am to 6pm on Tyrella Beach.



RNLI regional lifeguard manager Mike Grocott said: "Our highly trained lifeguards spot potential dangers before they develop, and are on hand to give appropriate safety advice and respond immediately if anyone gets into difficulty.

"Because our lifeguards work closely alongside our volunteer lifeboat crews, it means the RNLI offers beachgoers and water-users a seamless rescue service from beach to open sea."

The RNLI started providing lifeguard cover on Northern Ireland beaches in 2011, working with Coleraine Borough Council, Limavady Borough Council and the National Trust - and going into its third season now has lifeguards on 10 beaches.



Last year, lifeguards in the areas of Newry and Mourne District Council, Down District Council and the Causeway Coast together responded to 158 incidents and assisted 176 people.



Speaking ahead of the Easter holidays, RNLI lifeguard supervisor Tim Doran encouraged anyone planning a trip to the beach to keep safe.

"Always swim at a lifeguarded beach. Never use inflatables in strong winds or rough seas and check tide times before you go," he said. "If you get into trouble, stick your hand in the air and shout for help and if you see someone else in trouble, tell a lifeguard. If you can’t see a lifeguard, call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard."



The RNLI is also encouraging anyone planning a trip to the seaside this year to download its ‘Beach Finder’ mobile app.

The handy app makes it easy to find the nearest lifeguarded beach, and gives users a wealth of beach safety information at their fingertips.



Real-time weather information and a five-day forecast for each location is also included with the app – ideal for anyone wondering whether they’ll need to pack their suncream or waterproofs!



The app is available to download free of charge on both Android and iOS devices from www.rnli.org/beach.

Published in Water Safety

#SafetyAtSea - Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) highlighted the importance of safety at sea in the Irish fishing industry at this year’s Irish Skipper Expo in Galway last weekend.

Ireland's sea fisheries board also marked the occasion with the launch of a new training guide on personal survival techniques, covering key topics such as personal flotation devices, abandoning ship, helicopter rescue and hypothermia.

The guide, approved by the National Adult Literacy Association (NALA), was developed by BIM in consultation with Dr Jason van der Velde of Medico Cork at Cork University Hospital, the Department of Transport and the Irish Coast Guard.

Over the last five years, 19 deaths at sea related to the commercial fishing and aquaculture sector have been recorded. Statistics for 2012 record seven deaths, and an increase year on year for the previous four years. And with two deaths already recorded this year, safety is a serious issue that must be addressed in the wider seafood sector.

BIM chief executive Jason Whooley emphasised the importance of completing life saving safety training. "Fishing is a dangerous occupation and the sector has already suffered from too many tragic accidents at sea in recent years," he said.

"With new developments in safety on board and new technology coming on stream, we have more tools at our disposal to increase survival rates from accidents at sea but in order for these measures to be effective, all crew require the necessary training.

"It is therefore imperative that fishermen and aquaculture personnel, who have not already done so, complete their safety training to help prevent any further lives lost at sea."

BIM runs a variety of training courses for industry, including the mandatory Basic Safety Course, in its dedicated training colleges under the National Fisheries College Ireland (NFCI) umbrella in Greencastle, Co Donegal and Castletownbere, Co Cork, as well as on board its coastal training units that bring training directly to ports and coastal locations around Ireland.

Published in Water Safety

#Coastguard - The chief executive of the UK's Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) was in Northern Ireland yesterday (4 March) to discuss future collaboration with the Royal National Mission to Deep Sea Fishermen.

As Fishupdate.com reports, the charity - also known as the Fishermen's Mission - provides emergency support to fishermen and their families in times of need.

Sir Alan Massey of the MCA was in Kilkeel, Co Down to meet with the charity's CEO David Dickens to find out how best to work together on their common ground of safety at sea.

"We want to encourage a culture where it becomes normal practice for all fishermen to wear a lifejacket or personal flotation device (PFD) when out at sea," said Massey.

Dickens added that the Fishermen's Mission is "keen to engage with all agencies and organisations that seek to reduce the number and severity of incidents in fishing".

Published in Coastguard

#MCIB - A man who lost his arm when he fell overboard from his boat in Cork Harbour last summer could have avoided the accident if he had followed essential safety precautions, according to the official report into the incident. The full report is available to download below as a PDF document.

Owen Corkery of Carrigaline was the subject of a 'miracle rescue' on 9 June 2012 when he was thrown overboard from his RIB, which subsequently struck him several times after he entered the water near Haulbowline Island, causing serious injuries to his head, back and left arm.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the RNLI said Corkery was "incredibly lucky to have been spotted from the shore" by a man now known to be Paul Bryans, who had been looking through a telescope at Fort Camden in Crosshaven approximately a mile away from the site of the incident.

Bryans and colleague Dick Gibson immediately raised the alarm with the emergency services and Crosshaven RNLI respectively, and rescue crews were dispatched within minutes.

While the lifeboat volunteers took control of the wayward RIB, Corkery was quickly retrieved from the water by the crew of the Cork Harbour Pilot boat Sonia. They found him incoherent and bleeding heavily, and also noted that while he was wearing a working personal flotation device (PFD), he was not wearing warm clothes or shoes.

Corkery was transferred via ambulance to Cork University Hospital, where his left arm was later amputated just above the elbow due to the severity of his injuries.

According to the official report into the incident by the Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB), the RIB was found to be undamaged but had no CE or other approval mark.

The kill cord on the boat's motor was also found to be malfunctioning, as the engine could be started whether or not it was attached, and did not shut off when removed.

The report states that Corkery - an experienced powerboat user who had not completed any recognised handling course - has since explained he was aware of the kill cord malfunction but continued to use the vessel.

He confirmed in the same interview with investigators that he was standing beside the helm of the RIB at the time of the incident, a position that "would have made him considerably more likely to be thrown from the vessel".

Investigators also found it likely that Corkery's lack of shoes would also have reduced his grip while standing on the floor of the RIB.

In its conclusions, the MCIB report - which is available to download below - emphasises that the kill cord is an "essential part of safety equipment for all open motorboats" that should always be used and checked regularly, and that the helm of any high-speed watercraft should always remain seated, even at low speeds.

It also recommends that all pleasure craft owners should complete a recognised powerboat handling course.

Published in MCIB

#Safety - Two recent crushing accidents in the UK and Australia have restated the need for vigilance at the waterside even when boats are moored.

Yachting & Boating World reported last month on a port worker at Denton Wharf in Gravesend who was rendered critically ill after being crushed against a pier by a 40-tonne barge.

Thirty-six-year-old Michael Russell, a 20-year veteran of the wharf, was mooring the boat when the accident occurred. His wife Natalie said he "was in the wrong place at the wrong time."

Elsewhere, Australia's 9 News reports that the body of a man in his late 20s or early 30s was recovered from the water in Sydney Harbour after falling overboard from a luxury yacht and being crushed against a mooring pillar.

Both incidents should serve as a reminder all those on or near boats moored at port or dockside to maintain the same safety standards they would while on the water.

Published in Water Safety

#InlandWaterways - Waterways Ireland wishes to advise masters and owners on the Shannon Navigation that work will commence on the lock gates at Tarmonbarry Lock next Monday 14 January.

These works will be on-going for a period of approximately eight weeks until Thursday 14 March 2013. An alternative passage maybe accessed via the Camlin river loop upstream of Tarmonbarry Lock and the Clondra Canal downstream of the lock.

The cross-border body for Ireland's inland waterways also advises that the Carrick-on-Shannon Rowing Club's Head of River race will take place on Saturday 23 February from 9am till 5pm.

Masters of vessels are requested to proceed at slow speed and with minimum wash when passing this stretch of the navigation and to heed any advice or instructions issued by the regatta officials.

Meanwhile, Waterways Ireland has published a general marine notice reminding masters and owners of their responsibilities when navigating Ireland's rivers, lakes and canals.

The notice includes information on vessel registration, canal permits, public berthing, smart cards for service payments, speed restrictions, water safety and other important details for anyone boating in Ireland North and South.

Published in Inland Waterways

#SAFETY AT SEA - How do you use weather forecasts to plan your leisure time on the water? 

The RNLI asks all water users in the UK and Ireland to take a quick 10-minute survey by the UK's Met Office.

Its results will help meteorologists and rescue teams to better understand sea users in order to give better water safety advice and save more lives through preventative action. 

Take the survey HERE by 3 December.

Going out on the water can be a lot of fun, and is a way of life in coastal communities around the UK and Ireland. But the sea can be an unpredictable and dangerous place. 

Taking some simple precautions can make your time on the water even more enjoyable, and reduce your chances of getting into trouble.

The RNLI has an interactive publication, Sea Safety: The Complete Guide, which is essential reading for anyone who finds themselves drawn to the water.

Published in Water Safety

#SAFETY ON BOARD - Tackling fires on board a vessel is usually a case of grabbing the trusty fire extinguisher. But what if the fire is in the engine compartment, and you don't realise what's happening till it's too late?

The best weapon against fire is prevention, and to this end Sail Magazine presents a guide for how to install a straight-forward automatic fire suppression system on your boat.

Top of the line systems employ automatic sensors which detect when the temperature rises above a certain level and deploys an inert gas to extinguish the flames.

But the system outlined here in step-by-step format takes a simpler approach, involving a cable release that's controlled by a handle next to the helm that can be used to set off an extinguisher in the engine space at the first sign of trouble.

It means that the door to the engine room can remain shut, keeping that important safety barrier between the fire and the rest of the boat while also starving the flames of the oxygen they need to spread.

Sail Magazine has more on the story HERE.

Published in Water Safety
Tagged under
Page 13 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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