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Youghal RNLI’s volunteer crew were part of a multi-agency operation yesterday evening (Sunday 24 May) to reports of a missing person in Youghal.

The inshore lifeboat launched in good weather on a filling tide at 6.04pm a few minutes after pagers sounded.

Working alongside the Irish Coast Guard and its Rescue 117 helicopter from Waterford, a comprehensive search was undertaken from the inner harbour at Youghal to Knockadoon.

But the lifeboat crew were pleased to stand down at 7.30pm after the reported person was found safe on shore.

Speaking following the callout, Youghal RNLI lifeboat operations manager Derry Walsh said: “We welcome the news that the individual was found safe and well.

“We would like to remind the public that although our volunteers are currently not taking part in weekly training exercises due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we remain on call and available 24/7.

“If in need of help please call 112/999 and ask for the coastguard.”

The Youghal lifeboat crew on this callout were Martin Morris, Mike Brooks, Jack Nolan and Karen Walsh.

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The volunteer crew of Youghal RNLI were paged yesterday at 4.57 pm to reports of a fishing vessel with one person onboard aground on the rocks at the northern end of Ferry Point.

Launching in force 8 North Westerly winds and choppy conditions, the inshore lifeboat arrived on the scene a few minutes later to find the fisherman had managed to get safely onto land.

The crew established a tow line and brought the fishing boat off the rocks and alongside the lifeboat. One crew member then boarded the vessel and began to pump out water as it was towed safely back to Harvey’s dock and handed over to the awaiting Coast Guard unit.

The Lifeboat returned to the station at 5.41 pm. The Lifeboat crew were, Patsy O’Mahoney (Helm), James Hanna, Liam Keogh and Jack Nolan.

Patsy O’Mahoney, Youghal RNLI Helm said: ‘Situations can change very quickly at sea, especially in stormy conditions. Our training really stood to us today dealing with the swell and high winds’.

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The volunteers of Youghal RNLI recently gathered at Berties bar in the East Cork town to mark the retirement of long-serving crew member John Innes.

John first became involved in 1987 and was fully enrolled as a crew member by 1988. He went on to become a helm on three Atlantic class lifeboats: the Atlantic 21 Marjory Turner, Atlantic 75 Patricia Jennings and the current Atlantic 85 Gordon and Phil.

He also served as lifeboat training co-ordinator between 2001-2009 and again between 2016-2017.

Speaking on the night, John said: “Since I started with the RNLI 30 years ago, I’ve seen many changes and big improvements, the standard of training is so high these days.”

There have been many memorable rescues for John over the years. One he remembers from his early days happened one summer evening, when a man from Cork city traveled to Youghal to try out his new surfboard that he’d received as a birthday gift.

John recalls: “The man had booked a surfing lesson, but the teacher was late so he decided to go out on his own. Shortly after he entered the water, he began to be swept out to sea with the offshore breeze.

“When we arrived the man was in the water and being carried further out to sea, he was freezing cold. Had we not arrived when we did, the outcome could have been very different.”

During his 30 years with Youghal RNLI, John Innes was instrumental in saving 34 lives at sea.

Deputy launching authority Brendan O’Driscoll said: “The time, effort and commitment John has shown to Youghal RNLI over the last 30 years has been outstanding.

“On behalf of everybody at the lifeboat station, I would like to thank him for the immense contribution he has made over the years and we all wish him well in his future endeavours.”

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A boat sinking on its moorings at Youghal Harbour in East Cork prompted a callout for the local RNLI volunteers yesterday afternoon (Friday 20 September).

Only the bow of the 24ft boat was visible when the lifeboat crew arrived. A towline was set up and the vessel was brought as close to the pier as possible on the falling tide.

With assistance from the local coastguard unit, the boat was secured with two rides for the owner to attend too at low tide, Youghal RNLI reports.

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Crosshaven RNLI has came to the aid of a sailor after his yacht got into difficulty off Cork Head on Friday (21 June).

The UK-registered yacht en route from Kinsale to Crosshaven broadcast a PAN PAN alert after its skipper spotted smoke in his engine bay.

Crosshaven’s crew of Warren Forbes, Denis Cronin, Aidan O’Connor and Derek Moynan were paged at 4.13pm and launched their inshore lifeboat to the reported position.

Once on scene, they assessed that there was no fire in the engine bay, but that the engine was disabled.

The casualty vessel was then towed to Crosshaven boatyard and safely berthed.

Crosshaven RNLI helm Warren Forbes said: “A fire onboard a vessel is a sailor's worst nightmare but fortunately no fire was observed when we arrived on scene.

“The yachtsman made the correct decision by not opening the engine bay and calling for help.”

More recently in Cork, Youghal RNLI launched in poor weather conditions yesterday (Sunday 23 June) to reports of a swimmer in trouble some 500m off Claycastle.

Fortunately the swimmer managed to get to safely back to shore as the inshore lifeboat arrived at the scene.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

New Clifden lifeboat volunteer Ashling Sweeney has her first callout earlier this week to a fisherman whose boat drifted out to sea after engine failure.

At 3.40pm on Tuesday 4 June, Clifden RNLI was requested to launch its all-weather and inshore lifeboats to assist the nine-metre fishing vessel with one onboard just east of Turbot Island in Co Galway.

Clifden’s Atlantic 85 lifeboat Joyce King, helmed by Daniel Whelan and with four volunteer crew onboard, launched first and made good time to the fishing vessel, which was drifting south.

The fishing vessel was quickly taken under tow back to Clifden pier as Clifden RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat launched to provide backup.

Weather conditions on scene had a north-west winds of Force 5-6 with a slight sea.

Speaking following the callout, new volunteer Ashling Sweeney said: “This was my first callout for Clifden RNLI today and I was happy to gain the experience of putting my training into action.”

Around the same time on Tuesday, Youghal RNLI in East Cork were requested to launch to an eight-metre yacht adrift in the harbour with no people onboard.

The volunteer crew launched their inshore lifeboat in a moderate north westerly breeze and were with the yacht within minutes.

On arrival, the crew determined that the yacht was dragging its mooring. A crew member boarded the yacht and cut the mooring line before the crew established a tow and bought the yacht safely back to the pontoon were the coastguard were waiting to assist.

Derry Walsh, Youghal RNLI lifeboat operations manager, said: “As we approach the summer season, we would remind sailors and boat owners to ensure the appropriate safety, engine and fuel checks are completed ahead of any trip as well as ensuring vessels are safely secured on their moorings.”

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Youghal RNLI launched to the aid of two people whose moored yacht was taking on water yesterday morning (Monday 20 May).

The volunteer lifeboat crew was requested to launch by the Irish Coast Guard at 10.01am following a report that a 26ft leisure craft was taking on water.

hHelmed by Liam Keogh, the inshore lifeboat was on scene within minutes, in clear conditions.

The casualty boat was tied up at its moorings in Youghal Harbour, with the two people onboard trying to pump the water out with a hand pump.

Two lifeboat crew boarded the vessel with a salvage pump and made sure the people onboard were well. They then used the salvage pump to pump the water out.

The lifeboat crew requested the coastguard for quayside assistance and towed the leisure craft safely back to the slip where it was taken ashore on a trailer.

Speaking later, Youghal RNLI helm Liam Keogh said: “This was a smooth callout for the crew and we were delighted to be able to help.”

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Youghal RNLI is encouraging people to respect the water and heed key water safety messages ahead of summer.

The East Cork lifeboat station’s community safety team will be running a number of events throughout the summer and are inviting individuals and groups to get in touch if they would like the team to speak to them.

Mick Walsh, Youghal RNLI’s volunteer community safety officer, said while the RNLI wants people to have a fun and enjoyable summer, the charity also wants people to do that with safety in mind.

“Whether you are a swimmer, a watersports enthusiast, an angler, a boater or just enjoy walking on the beach, it is important for you to understand that there are risks involved with all water and water-side activities.

“It doesn’t matter what your activity might be, or how many times you’ve done it, accidents can happen.

“Part of our role is to help educate and share our knowledge with the public. We want to talk to people, to help them understand the risks better and to listen to their experiences.”

Walsh said the RNLI has lots of safety advice on how to respect the water.

“Most people who end up in trouble at the coast didn’t intend being in the water so it’s important to know what do to if you do get into difficulty and end up in cold water.

“The RNLI’s national drowning prevention campaign is called Respect the Water and lots of information can be found on the dedicated site www.RespectTheWater.com, including how to float should you get into difficulty.

“We want people to learn and remember simple messages such as how to call for help. Dial 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard if you or someone you see is in trouble.

“We can help people choose the best communication device for their activity. We also want people to wear a lifejacket or floatation device when on the water.

“Again we can help you choose the right PFD for your activity. We will also show you how to take care of your PFD properly.”

To get in touch with Youghal RNLI’s community safety team, contact Mick Walsh at [email protected]

You can also keep an eye on Youghal RNLI’s Facebook page for more information detailing the RNLI’s Respect the Water campaign, which launches later this month, and to find out when the community safety team is active.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Youghal’s latest RNLI recruits followed a training exercise on Sunday (31 March) with a callout to a 10ft open boat experiencing engine trouble just off the old Youghal bridge in the East Cork town.

The volunteer crew launched the inshore lifeboat Gordon and Phil within four minutes of returning to station in fresh conditions.

They quickly reached the troubled vessel with two men wearing lifejackets onboard.

A tow line was established and the boat was safely towed back to the ferry slip in Youghal where it was handed over to the owner at 3.40pm, just 10 minutes after launch.

Mark Nolan, deputy kaunching authority at Youghal RNLI, said: “The two people onboard had the good sense to anchor the boat as soon as they started to experience engine trouble.

“They had both a VHF radio and mobile phone with them also and so were able to call for help quickly. It is essential to carry some form of communication with you when you go out on the water.

“We would also like to say well done to all of our shore crew today, all of which were new recruits.”

Recently Youghal RNLI received a cheque for more than €3,000 raised by the Ardmore Christmas Day swim, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

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Youghal’s RNLI volunteers were presented last week with a cheque for €3,439.60 from the organisers of the Ardmore Christmas Day swim.

The event was first organised in 1997 and has successfully run every Christmas Day since. The swim is always well supported by the local community and 2018’s was no exception.

The swimmers met on the beach at Ardmore at 12.15pm on Christmas Day in dry but chilly conditions and made the dash into the water for a quick dip before heading back to the beach for a hot drink.

Youghal RNLI’s inshore lifeboat, Gordon and Phil, and her volunteer crew were there on the day to oversee the safety of the swimmers.

Lifeboat operations manager Derry Walsh said: “We would like to send our thanks to everyone who came out on Christmas Day and took part in the swim, and a special thank you to those who have organised the swim over the last 22 years.

“The RNLI depend on the generosity of the public to save lives at sea, and this donation will help to ensure our lifeboat and crew are always ready when they are called upon.”

Elsewhere, a callout for Larne RNLI to a suspected vessel in trouble on Friday evening (29 March) turned out to be false alarm as smoke seen rising from a vessel at the Maidens was part of a training exercise.

Paul Johnston, Larne RNLI deputy launching authority, said: “We would like to commend the member of the public for contacting the coastguard and raising the alarm. We would always much rather launch to find all is safe and well than not launch at all.”

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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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