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Members of the publuc are invited to attend a major flood evacuation training exercise this Saturday at Broadmeadow Esturary in Swords, Co Dublin.
Rescue and boat rescue crews from the Irish Coast Guard are sceduled to join teams from the Dublin Fire Brigade, the Civil Defence Fire Service and Gardaí in the exercise, which will simulate the rescue of a group of people stranded after a flash flood.
The crews will test water rescue and river search procedures, with an emphasis on general water safety and providing assistance to other search and rescue agencies.
The excercise will begin at 11am on Saturday 16 April and will last for one hour. Members of the public are welcome to observe must must obey any instructions and must not interefere with the exercise.
For more information contact Bill Powderly, assistant chief Civil Defence officer with responsibility for the Fingal Area, at [email protected] or 086 380 5197.

Members of the public are invited to attend a major flood evacuation training exercise this Saturday at Broadmeadow Esturary in Swords, Co Dublin.

Rescue and boat rescue crews from the Irish Coast Guard are sceduled to join teams from the Dublin Fire Brigade, the Civil Defence Fire Service and Gardaí in the exercise, which will simulate the rescue of a group of people stranded after a flash flood.

The crews will test water rescue and river search procedures, with an emphasis on general water safety and providing assistance to other search and rescue agencies.

The excercise will begin at 11am on Saturday 16 April and will last for one hour. Members of the public are welcome to observe must must obey any instructions and must not interefere with the exercise.

For more information contact Bill Powderly, assistant chief Civil Defence officer with responsibility for the Fingal Area, at [email protected] or 086 380 5197.

Published in Rescue
Ireland's new safety framework for oil and gas extraction and production will be informed by lessons learned after the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, The Irish Times reports.
A report published last week by the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER) outlined that the framework will be developed over the next two years, will be independent of the Department of Energy, and will be implemented in an "open and transparent manner".
The report also highlighted overlaps - and gaps - between state agencies involved in monitoring or working with the oil and gas industry.
One step towards resolving this is the CER's new remit for public safety - which applies to controversial project such as the Corrib gas field.
The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Ireland's new safety framework for oil and gas extraction and production will be informed by lessons learned after the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, The Irish Times reports.

A report published last week by the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER) outlined that the framework will be developed over the next two years, will be independent of the Department of Energy, and will be implemented in an "open and transparent manner".

The report also highlighted overlaps - and gaps - between state agencies involved in monitoring or working with the oil and gas industry. 

One step towards resolving this is the CER's new remit for public safety - which applies to controversial project such as the Corrib gas field. 

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastal Notes
Irish Water Safety is today warning the public of the increased risk to people becoming stranded whilst walking or picking shellfish on our beaches over the weekend.

The moon will be at its closest to earth since 1993 on Saturday March 19th.
This "Lunar Perigee", or 'Super Moon' as some astrologers refer to it as, is the opposite of the "Lunar Apogee", when the Moon is furthest from Earth. Generally, the Moon looks about 12-14% larger at its perigee compared to its apogee.

This has the effect of causing very high and low tides, or increasing the range of the tide. This will expose large areas of beach and rocks which we normally don't see. Many people enjoy walking on our beaches and exploring these new areas of beach and in particular people enjoy picking shellfish to eat which become exposed during these very low tides.

The risk to the public will be of becoming stranded as the tide advances back in which can leave people in a position where they are cut off from the shore. Members of the public are cautioned to be aware of this risk and carry your mobile phone. Should you get in to trouble then call 112 or 999 and ask for Marine Rescue, giving your exact location and in particular if you are near to any conspicuous landmarks nearby to assist the Rescue Services in locating your whereabouts.

All seafarers, surfers, swimmers and divers should be aware of the increased tidal streams that will be running around our coast over the weekend; people could find themselves in peril as a result of these strong and fast tidal conditions which have not been experienced for some time now.

Published in Marine Warning
Irish Water Safety has today warned about the increased risk to the public in our current and forecast flood conditions this weekend. Ireland will experience the largest tides this year with Galway being worst hit with a high tide of 5.3 metres and the low water receding to -.1 metre below chart datum, which is unusual. During this coming Saturday & Sunday morning and evening it will become windy with heavy rain and strong south to westerly winds. There will be a full moon tonight which creates these large tidal ranges, in addition there are large areas of low pressure out in the Atlantic which further increase the height of our tides tides especially in our estuaries and bays exposed to the south and west coasts. The periods of rain over the weekend further increase flooding levels.

Flood conditions expose the public to hazards they need to be aware of. Fast moving water can exert pressure of up to four times its speed against the legs of someone attempting to cross it. Because water displaces bodyweight, the deeper a person becomes immersed the less the person weighs so the more difficult it is to remain upright. Never put ones feet down if swept away in floodwater, because foot and body entrapments and pinning are the leading cause of accidental death in rivers and fast flowing water.

Motorists need to be vigilant to avoid flooded areas on roads but particularly near rivers; with poor light and short days it is not possible to determine the depth of floods easily.  Swift water will carry cars and other vehicles away and there have been very tragic drownings in the past as a result.

Children are naturally curious about water, therefore parents should caution them that floodwater hides the true depth and that manhole covers may be open and that small streams when swollen are very fast and deeper than normal.

What should I do when I hear a Flood Warning?
·              Listen to the national and local radio for met eireann updates and AA Road watch updates
·              Check on neighbours particularly if they are elderly, infirmed or families with young children
·              Move your vehicles to higher ground
·              Move animal stock to higher ground
·              Check your small craft to ensure they are well secured or moored
·              Make sure you have warm clothes, food, drink, a torch and radio.
·              Block doorways and airbricks with sandbags or plastic bags filled with earth. Floodgate products will also work effectively.
·              Switch off gas and electricity supplies if flooding is imminent.
·              Check the time of High Water in the Newspaper or on http://easytide.ukho.gov.uk/EASYTIDE/EasyTide/SelectPort.aspx
·              Check out www.flooding.ie for more detail on General flooding

Personal Safety
·              Avoid flood waters at all times
·              carry a mobile phone at all times in case you need to call for help - call 112  in emergency
·              Wear suitable protective clothing & a lifejacket on or around water
·              Do not enter fast flowing water.
·              Never put your feet down if swept away by fast flowing waters
·              Flooding on roads will be deeper at dips and around bridges.
·              Stay away from sea and flood defences.
·              when walking or driving, be aware of manhole covers and gratings that may have been moved due to the heavy flow of water.
·              Take care when using electric appliances in damp or flood conditions.
·              Remember that during the hours of darkness the dangers are multiplied.

After the flood
·              Avoid eating food that has been in contact with flood water.
·              Run water for a few minutes and wash your taps.
·              Check gas and electricity supply.
·              Leave wet electrical equipment alone to dry and have it checked prior to use.
·              Ventilate your property well.
·              Check on elderly neighbors.
Published in Marine Warning
The director of a sailing firm who sent students across the Atlantic on an unsafe yacht with an unqualified captain has been fined and ordered to pay costs by a British court.
According to the Isle of Wight County Press, a Southampton Crown Court judge told George Haworth of In2Sail Ltd that if he does not pay up he would be jailed for six months.
The court heard that Haworth sold voyages to students for more than £8,000 per head, but did not have boats equipped with the minimum lifesaving gear required.
It also heard that students had been sent on a trip to St Lucia with a skipper not fully qualified for a yacht and with only basic equipment to operate within 60 miles of a safe haven.
Defending barrister Charles Crinion said his client’s "good reputation had been irrevocably damaged" and has cost him his business, with a personal loss of £45,000.
Haworth admitted two counts of failing to take reasonable steps to ensure the yacht was operated safely.
The Isle of Wight County Press has more on the story HERE.

The director of a sailing firm who sent students across the Atlantic on an unsafe yacht with an unqualified captain has been fined and ordered to pay costs by a British court.

According to the Isle of Wight County Press, a Southampton Crown Court judge told George Haworth of In2Sail Ltd that if he does not pay up he would be jailed for six months.

The court heard that Haworth sold voyages to students for more than £8,000 per head, but did not have boats equipped with the minimum lifesaving gear required.

It also heard that students had been sent on a trip to St Lucia with a skipper not fully qualified for a yacht and with only basic equipment to operate within 60 miles of a safe haven.

Defending barrister Charles Crinion said his client’s "good reputation had been irrevocably damaged" and has cost him his business, with a personal loss of £45,000. 

Haworth admitted two counts of failing to take reasonable steps to ensure the yacht was operated safely.

The Isle of Wight County Press has more on the story HERE.

Published in Offshore
Over the past few seasons the use of lifejackets by crews on racing yachts has increased. There was a time when jackets were bulky, awkward and difficult to use in racing situations. The arrival of lighter, collar-type jackets, with built-in, automatic gas inflation bottles changed the situation.

The wearing of jackets is not compulsory, but a decision for the individual sailor, though Skipper can insist that crews use them while racing.

In the United States a debate is underway as to whether the wearing of jackets at all times on racing boats should be made compulsory by law. Regulations here require that everyone on board any boat of seven metres or less, approximately 22 feet, must wear lifejackets. They must be carried aboard for everyone on any vessel regardless of size. Every child less than 16 years of age must wear a lifejacket or personal floatation device at all times on deck while the craft is underway.

As owners prepare boats for racing this season, these regulations should be kept in mind. Enforcing the law, or even effectively checking its application remains patchy. Introducing laws is easier than implementing them, particularly in a yacht racing situation. Sailing clubs have their own enforcement arrangements and insist on buoyancy aids for dinghy racing.

Safety on the water is an issue for each individual, but skippers/owners would be well advised to protect themselves in this litigious nation by insisting on the wearing of lifejackets by crew members during racing. Accidents will happen. Preparation is best.

The national sailing association, the ISA, is to nominate teams for this year's Nations Cup match racing. The finals will be held at the USA Sailing Centre in Wisconsin from September 13-18.

The Irish Sailing Association this week sought expressions of interest from skippers who would like to represent Ireland, in the first instance at the European Regional Finals in Gydnia, Poland, from July 19-23.

Ireland is drawn in Europe Group II in the open and women's classes. Expressions of interest are needed to the ISA by next Tuesday, February 8. Selection will be based on performance in the ISA Match Race Championships last year and ISAF ranking positions.

2-handed class" racing in this year's Dun Laoghaire Week in early July. A number of skippers have already expressed interest and there may be UK boats. He wants to know if any South Coast sailors are interested. Contact Olivier who is Sailing Manager at the National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire, phones 012801198 or 2805725 or by Email to Olivier at: [email protected]

Vinnie O'Shea of the RCYC has been elected Commodore of the South Coast Offshore Racing Association (SCORA). Jackie Kenefick of Schull Harbour SC is Executive Officer and Michael Murphy of both the Schull and Crosshaven clubs remains as Treasurer and PRO. The Association is to discuss class bands and handicapping.

This article is reprinted by permission of the EVENING ECHO newspaper, Cork, where Tom MacSweeney writes maritime columns twice weekly. Evening Echo website: www.eecho.ie

More on lifejackets

http://www.afloat.ie/safety/lifeboats/item/13619-majority-of-lifejackets-fail-lifeboat-test/

Published in Island Nation
Four fishermen have been rescued last night from a 58 foot wooden Fishing Vessel 'Karen', after hitting rocks near the entrance to Ardglass Harbour and taking on water. The crew of the Fishing vessel had prepared their liferaft, as the vessel was in danger of sinking.

Belfast Coastguard received a Mayday call at 5:54pm from the Newry registered vessel, which operates out of Ardglass, and immediately sent the Southdown and Portaferry Coastguard Rescue Teams to the scene. The launch was requested of the RNLI Portaferry inshore lifeboat.  The Irish Coastguard Rescue Helicopter was tasked but was later stood down.

Steve Carson, Watch Manager, Belfast Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre, said:

"The crew aboard the fishing vessel were rescued by the inshore lifeboat and then taken to Ardglass Harbour where they received medical attention; one of the crew has since been taken to Downpatrick Hospital.

It is imperative to always ensure you are carrying the correct safety equipment and have it serviced regularly. Due to the prompt and appropriate action of the crew I am pleased to say they are all safe but shaken by their traumatic experience.

The rescue was successfully coordinated by Belfast Coastguard with assistance from their colleagues at Dublin, Liverpool and Holyhead Coastguard Stations.

The vessel has now been successfully refloated and is now alongside in Ardglass Harbour."

Published in Coastguard

SEFtec NMCI Offshore Ltd (SNO), a public / private joint venture between SEFtec Global Training Ltd and The National Maritime College of Ireland (NMCI), will be launched tomorrow at the National Maritime College, Co. Cork, by the Minister of Enterprise, Trade & Employment, Batt O'Keeffe.

This venture is a shining example of how to bring together state of the art public infrastructure, in the form of one of the world's most advanced maritime colleges, with private enterprise's expertise in not only offshore training, but in the design, manufacture, installation, commissioning and service of training simulators for the global maritime industry.

The Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation, Batt O'Keeffe TD, who launched the public-private joint venture, said it would support jobs and the growth of the Irish offshore exploration and wind energy sectors.  'The future is bright for the partnership we are announcing here this afternoon. The maritime sector is a diverse and developing global industry that requires huge levels of skill and technical capability,' said Minister O'Keeffe.

Focused on supporting the successful and sustainable growth of the Irish offshore exploration sector, SNO has successfully secured the approval of the Offshore Petroleum Industry Training Organization (OPITO) for its programme of courses. In a sector that is completely focused on safety,OPITO has become the global industries focal point for skills, training and workforce development.

"SNO is very proud to have achieved its OPITO approval this year, the approval came about in a phenomenal time frame and this wouldn't have been possible without the combined efforts of both public and private joint venture partners. This will mean that we can service not only the growing needs of Ireland's offshore sector, but train for the global industry as well"  Conor Mowlds, Managing Director SNO Ltd.

SEFtec, an Irish SME with a global focus, commenced trading in 2004 and has quickly become one of the world's leaders in the provision of offshore simulation equipment. Based in a state-of-the-art facility in Cork it has diversified its activities from the design and fabrication of offshore training simulation equipment to training and already operates an OPITO centre in Kazakhstan.

The NMCI, a public private partnership between the Cork Institute of Technology, Vita Lend Lease and the Irish Naval Service was opened in 2004, represents a €60 million investment by the state in maritime training, and is one of the world's most advanced maritime colleges.

The future aim of SNO is to break into the offshore renewable energy sector, with the development of their Offshore Wind Energy Safety Training course (OWEST) ear marked for further development.  The OWEST course currently involves Helicopter Winching Techniques, Life Saving Appliances and Vessel Abandonment which is key training for anyone working on or near Offshore Wind Energy Sites.

See below for photos taken this morning at the National Maritime College in Ringaskiddy of delegates on the OPITO approved BOSIET - Offshore Training Course, using the Helicopter Underwater Training Simulator

Published in Rescue

Owners and masters availing of winter mooring facilities for their vessels on any of Waterway Ireland's navigations are advised to choose a sheltered berth within the harbour, place adequate fendering between the vessel and the harbour wall and secure the vessel with double mooring lines.

The vessel should be monitored on a regular basis in the event that it should be taking or making water and particularly so after a period of stormy or frosty weather.

Owners visiting harbours during this period and who intend to work on their vessels should bear in mind the changed environmental conditions at this time of year and to take the appropriate measures necessary to reduce risks associated with working on or near water.

It is advised that personal protective clothing, to guard against the cold and the wet, including a personal flotation device, should be worn and all items checked for serviceability beforehand, bearing in mind:

• Low air temperatures
• Low water temperatures
• Reduced daylight
• Inclement weather
• Raised water levels
• Flood conditions including increased rates of flow

Working on or near water should preferably be undertaken in the company of a colleague. Lone working should be avoided if possible and especially at remote locations. Ensure that someone has been informed of your whereabouts and expected time of return.

Further, carry a mobile phone and/or a handheld Marine VHF, fully charged, for keeping in contact while being aware that full phone coverage is not available everywhere.

Published in Inland Waterways

Both Irish skippers who retired from the Rolex Middle Sea Race that finishes today at the Royal Malta Yacht Club have described the 'vicious' conditions encountered in the Mediterranean this week. The fleet suffered several knowdowns and at least one man overboard but the bulk of the fleet were safely secured in either Marsamxett Harbour this morning with just two racing. 15 had retired.

Last night Dun Laoghaire's Cathal Drohan, sailing his third Middle Sea Race on the X41 Legally Brunette, spoke of 40 knots squalls and visibility near shipping lanes being reduced to five or six boat lengths.

"The boat was well founded and we had a great crew but after five days racing we were looking at a further long stretch of sailing and a severe forecast". Drohan told Afloat.ie from Malta.

All skippers in the race were mindful of the safety of crews given one sailor had been seriously hurt in a knockdown in a heavy squall.

The Royal Malta Yacht Club has calculated the winners and these are set out below.

Barry Hurley sailing on the Maltese yacht Aziza sent the following back to Afloat.ie after the yacht retired: 

"We were sailing in sustained low 30knts all day Tuesday and encountered several vicious squalls, often adding up to 20 knots to the average windspeed. Such squalls are common in the area and always play a significant part in the Middle Sea Race. By Wednesday morning the seas had grown substantially and rounding Pantelleria we received an updated weather forecast for sustained mid 40's on Wednesday afternoon. We believe we were lying 4th overall at that stage so were keen to press on, but faced with the prospect of potential 60's in the squalls we made the decision to retire into Pantelleria in the interest of safety. A few hours later an Italian X Yacht came in alongside needing medivac for a crew member seriously hurt in a knockdown in just such a squall, so our decision was vindicated. A somewhat disappointing end to another fantastic Middle Sea Race, but for now it's back home to Dublin until the Sydney Hobart race in December".

Press Release from organisers:

ROLEX MIDDLE SEA RACE CLASS WINNERS CONFIRMED
October 28, 2010

If the early miles of the Rolex Middle Sea Race were a test of patience, the latter miles were a true test of endurance. A strong mistral of up to 40+ knots helped push the fleet homeward to the finish in Malta. The last two yachts, Zizanie and Amethyst Abroad, were around the island of Lampedusa and racing towards the finish line off the Royal Malta Yacht Club. The two boats showed heaps of perseverance for hanging in, even if the northwesterly breeze had subsided to a 'mere' 25+ knots.

Meanwhile the bulk of the fleet were safely secured in either Marsamxett Harbour or around the corner in Grand Harbour Marina, and the overall class standings were sorted as the last boats trickled in.

IRC Overall – Lucky (USA)

IRC 1 – Esimit Europa 2 (SLO)

IRC 2 – Lucky (USA)

IRC 3 – Jaru (MLT)

IRC 4 – Artie (MLT)

ORC Overall – Jaru (MLT)

ORC 1 – E1 (RUS)

ORC 2 – Varuna (GER)

ORC 3 – Jaru (MLT)

ORC 4 – Three Sisters (CZK)

Double Handed – BOV Plain Sailing (MLT)

Racing offshore double handed is not for the faint-hearted. It requires all-round seamanship, determination, stamina and above all courage. At the 606-nautical mile Rolex Middle Sea Race, the Double Handed Class is somewhat under the radar with only three entrants, but this year's competitors were a diverse and experienced group.

Taking line honours in the Double Handed Class was White Star, a custom 54-footer, which finished yesterday afternoon with an elapsed time of 4 days, 6 hours, 44 minutes, and 18 seconds. But the Italian boat would have to wait until today when BOV Plain Sailing finished, to see who would win on corrected time.

White Star's crew were experienced double handed sailors Diego Tisci and Daniele Chiamenti; Tisci is a veteran of eight Rolex Middle Sea Races, Chiamenti several as well, but this is the first double handed Middle Sea for either of them. An Italian owner built the yacht and is entering it in double handed races as a way to showcase its' potential.  As Tisci said, "This was the first race of a new program for the boat. It was like a test; so we see how the yacht goes, how we have to optimize that and the crew.

"We had a problem at the start and we broke the jib, this is why we stayed far to the east on the way to Messina. We could only use the staysail and code zero, which doesn't allow you to sail very close to the wind – that's why we had a very strange track! At the end that was the best we could do. Around Stromboli, we didn't have much wind and again it was difficult to go to weather without the proper headsail.

Chiamenti explained, "After that the race was very strategic. But our strategy was based on the sails that we had, not on the wind!" When the forecast coincided with this strategy, White Star was in good shape. From Trapani on, the northwest breeze allowed them a favourable point of sail. To add to their woes, White Star lost instruments as well. The two sailors estimated maximum wind speed at approximately 35 knots; but off the wind, and with a staysail set, they were good to go.

Asked about the best part of sailing double handed, Tisci said with a smile "I think the team.

But really, I like sailing short-handed. It's nice to be at sea. You don't have to argue about what you think is right or wrong; it's your race, just yours. You aren't a wheel in a big mechanism; you are only the mechanism. And we take all decisions together."

The two concurred about the course, and Chiamenti said, "For sure it's the best race in the Mediterranean. It's very tactical, and the panorama is great. You've got a volcano, you've got the Messina Strait, and the time of year is great, it's not too cold, not too warm.

The 34-footer, BOV Plain Sailing, crossed the line midday on Thursday after five days, zero hours and 52 minutes at sea. Their corrected time was good enough to give the Maltese boat the Double Handed Class overall win.

Maltese sailing veteran, skipper/owner Anthony Camilleri is no stranger to the Rolex Middle Sea Race, sailing in his tenth race. But his crew, Gilbert Azzopardi has never raced two-handed before and neither has the boat. The Tango 34 is the smallest and lightest boat of the 76 yachts that started the race.

Camilleri spoke dockside after completing the race, "I am delighted that we have won, but first and foremost, I must give a mention to Bepe Bisotto, skipper of Atame. We had a great battle, often side-by-side, but when we developed a problem with the reefing lines of our mainsail, he offered to stop and help. That offer of assistance shows the spirit of our discipline, we look after each other.

"Probably the lowest moment in the race was the last night. We were tired and the weather was really bad, up to forty knots of wind on the beam, with six metre waves crashing into the cockpit. We took down the mainsail and continued under storm jib alone, it was the hardest part of the race. This race is one of contrasts and the previous day the sailing was spectacular. Downwind with the spinnaker up, we were surfing at a constant 12 knots, at times accelerating to 18 knots. It is an amazing feeling with just the two of us, a very special moment."

Last night, the Fast 42 Atame pulled into Trapani to get a respite from the relentless wind and sea.  Beppe Bisotto emailed, " 'Ad impossibilia' (it's impossible), as the Latins say. Ian (Knight) and I shared the same thinking. Outside, a Force 8 gale is blowing hard from the north. No way to pass Favignana island, as we had been stopped for ten hours with no wind. We missed the wind shift, blowing at SW Force 7 straight into the face, with forecast predicting force 8 on the back.  More than this, to Pantelleria Force 7 SW on the nose was forecast. So, surrounded by gales, we decided to stop and avoid any possible damage.  Do not forget that we were only two- handed instead of a full crew of eight to ten. By the way, we are happy to have raced faster than many bigger boats with full crew! Atame is definitely solid, fast, and reliable."

Only the x40 Pita Maha (ITA), retired today, bringing the total number of retired boats to 15, with 58 boats finished, and two still racing.

 

Published in Offshore
Page 6 of 7

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