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Another Rescue in Galway Bay Prompts Appeal for Safety

24th November 2020
Open water swimmer Paddy McNamara Open water swimmer Paddy McNamara Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy

Experienced open water swimmer Paddy McNamara has appealed to people to be mindful of sea safety after he rescued a young man from Galway Bay yesterday.

McNamara pulled the man in his early twenties from the water after he got into difficulties seconds after jumping off the Blackrock tower in Salthill.

The man was taken to University Hospital, Galway where he received treatment for suspected cold water shock.

McNamara, a Galway native and year-round long-distance sea athlete since the age of 11, had just had coffee after his own swim on Monday morning when the incident occurred.

“I had changed and had had my coffee and croissant, and was talking to some other swimmers at the time,” he said.

Together with several others, he threw a lifebuoy to the young man, who was with three other friends.

When the young man wasn’t able to hold onto the buoy, McNamara threw off his coat and swam in his clothes to reach him.

He helped the young man to safety, where he was assisted ashore.

“Jumping in at this time of year is at risk of cold water shock...people have to realise that the sea is not the same every day,” McNamara said.

The surge in interest in sea swimming into the winter months during the pandemic has led to an increase in incidents involving rescue agencies.

Water Safety Ireland, the Irish Coast Guard and RNLI issued appeals last week to take precautions and check weather forecasts and tides, after eight rescues in the space of four days.

Last weekend, fishermen Patrick and Morgan Oliver recorded another rescue when they assisted a swimmer who required help at Palmer's Rock off Salthill.

Published in Galway Harbour, Sea Swim
Lorna Siggins

About The Author

Lorna Siggins

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Lorna Siggins is a print and radio reporter, and a former Irish Times western correspondent. She is the author of Everest Callling (1994) on the first Irish Everest expedition; Mayday! Mayday! (2004) on Irish helicopter search and rescue; and Once Upon a Time in the West: the Corrib gas controversy (2010).

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Galway Port & Harbour

Galway Bay is a large bay on the west coast of Ireland, between County Galway in the province of Connacht to the north and the Burren in County Clare in the province of Munster to the south. Galway city and port is located on the northeast side of the bay. The bay is about 50 kilometres (31 miles) long and from 10 kilometres (6.2 miles) to 30 kilometres (19 miles) in breadth.

The Aran Islands are to the west across the entrance and there are numerous small islands within the bay.

Galway Port FAQs

Galway was founded in the 13th century by the de Burgo family, and became an important seaport with sailing ships bearing wine imports and exports of fish, hides and wool.

Not as old as previously thought. Galway bay was once a series of lagoons, known as Loch Lurgan, plied by people in log canoes. Ancient tree stumps exposed by storms in 2010 have been dated back about 7,500 years.

It is about 660,000 tonnes as it is a tidal port.

Capt Brian Sheridan, who succeeded his late father, Capt Frank Sheridan

The dock gates open approximately two hours before high water and close at high water subject to ship movements on each tide.

The typical ship sizes are in the region of 4,000 to 6,000 tonnes

Turbines for about 14 wind projects have been imported in recent years, but the tonnage of these cargoes is light. A European industry report calculates that each turbine generates €10 million in locally generated revenue during construction and logistics/transport.

Yes, Iceland has selected Galway as European landing location for international telecommunications cables. Farice, a company wholly owned by the Icelandic Government, currently owns and operates two submarine cables linking Iceland to Northern Europe.

It is "very much a live project", Harbourmaster Capt Sheridan says, and the Port of Galway board is "awaiting the outcome of a Bord Pleanála determination", he says.

90% of the scrap steel is exported to Spain with the balance being shipped to Portugal. Since the pandemic, scrap steel is shipped to the Liverpool where it is either transhipped to larger ships bound for China.

It might look like silage, but in fact, its bales domestic and municipal waste, exported to Denmark where the waste is incinerated, and the heat is used in district heating of homes and schools. It is called RDF or Refuse Derived Fuel and has been exported out of Galway since 2013.

The new ferry is arriving at Galway Bay onboard the cargo ship SVENJA. The vessel is currently on passage to Belem, Brazil before making her way across the Atlantic to Galway.

Two Volvo round world races have selected Galway for the prestigious yacht race route. Some 10,000 people welcomed the boats in during its first stopover in 2009, when a festival was marked by stunning weather. It was also selected for the race finish in 2012. The Volvo has changed its name and is now known as the "Ocean Race". Capt Sheridan says that once port expansion and the re-urbanisation of the docklands is complete, the port will welcome the "ocean race, Clipper race, Tall Ships race, Small Ships Regatta and maybe the America's Cup right into the city centre...".

The pandemic was the reason why Seafest did not go ahead in Cork in 2020. Galway will welcome Seafest back after it calls to Waterford and Limerick, thus having been to all the Port cities.

© Afloat 2020

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