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Displaying items by tag: Wexford

A marker buoy that washed ashore in Co Wexford this week has been traced to as far away as the US state of Louisiana.

The large metal buoy was found on Wednesday (3 April) on the coast at Ballymoney near Gorey by local man Owen J Dunbar, who discovered that despite its dilapidated condition it still bore the name of its manufacturer, Wet Tech.

Dunbar contacted the company by email and received a swift reply from operations manager Todd Carl, who not only confirmed the marker buoy was one of theirs but also provided more details about its origins.

The buoy was manufactured in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast region of the US, and had been moored in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico as a marker on an oil platform downed by the storm.

Carl believes the buoy broke its moorings in 2007 as it was recorded as missing during a regular service check, and as it was not fitted with a GPS transmitter its whereabouts were unknown.

It’s now presumed that over the last 17 years, the buoy drifted out of the gulf into the Atlantic and was caught in the Gulf Stream — indeed, it may have circled the North Atlantic more than once over the years before it beached in Wexford this week.

Published in Coastal Notes
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Wexford RNLI launched to the aid of a casualty who got cut off by the tide while walking near the Ferrybank area on Sunday evening (26 November).

The casualty alerted his family members of his whereabouts and they contacted the Irish Coast Guard who coordinated the rescue.

Curracloe Coast Guard unit assembled and were on scene at 5pm. Despite the darkness, they were able to locate the man who was in the water and unable to get ashore.

Wexford RNLI then launched their inshore lifeboat to assist at 5.37pm and were on scene 5.55pm. With assistance from the shore-based coastguard unit, the lifeboat crew led by helm Ger Doran quickly located the casualty and took him onboard the lifeboat.

The casualty was swiftly returned to the lifeboat station. He was found to be slightly cold and wet but otherwise in good spirits. After being warmed up in the station, he went home with his family.

Speaking after the rescue, Dave Dempsey, Wexford RNLI’s deputy launching authority said: “It was a good result with great teamwork between ourselves and our colleagues in the coastguard ensuring the casualty was brought back safely to his family.

“The casualty did the right thing in carrying a mobile phone while walking near the shoreline and we would like to commend him for that as it meant he was able to raise the alarm when he knew he was in difficulty.”

Wexford RNLI's volunteer crew on this call-out included helm Ger Doran, John Michael Murphy, Dave Marskell and Andy Ennis.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Wexford RNLI’s inshore lifeboat had a busy Sunday afternoon (13 August) with two back-to-back rescue efforts.

Lifeboat helm Damien Foley and volunteer crew Ger Doran and Donal Troddyn were first tasked with assisting two people whose boat suffered engine failure inside Wexford harbour at 1.08pm.

The lifeboat crew arrived on scene at 1.18pm and after assessing the situation, they decided the safest option was to secure a tow to the casualty vessel and bring the people safely ashore.

At 1.53pm, just as the lifeboat was a few hundred metres from shore, the Irish Coast Guard tasked them to reports of two girls in the water off Rosslare Strand.

The lifeboat crew were able to bring the people ashore before turning around en route to Rosslare, within minutes of the tasking.

Conditions at the time were good, with a south-westerly Force 3 wind and rising tide. Rosslare Harbour RNLI were also tasked to the incident.

While their lifeboat was on the way to Rosslare Point, Wexford RNLI were informed that another paddleboard user had assisted in the rescue and the girls were safely ashore.

Rosslare Harbour’s lifeboat was asked to search and recover the lost paddleboard in case it was spotted later and reported again.

Speaking following the call-out, Wexford RNLI helm Damien Foley said: “Both incidents resulted in good outcomes. If anyone sees a person in difficulty on or near the water, please dial 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

Shore crew for Wexford RNLI on Sunday afternoon was Simon Gulliver and the launch authority was Dave Dempsey.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Wexford RNLI rescued two people on Saturday night (15 July) after their boat was seen drifting.

The volunteer crew launched their inshore lifeboat at 11.53pm and were quickly on scene to assess the situation.

With a fallen tide and the boat going aground, fast action was taken to tow the vessel with two people onboard to deeper waters.

The people onboard were monitored closely by the crew and brought safety ashore at 12.35am.

Speaking after the incident, Wexford RNLI helm Lorraine Galvin commended the crew who are all newly trained volunteers.

“Night-time call-outs add extra hazards and all three volunteer crew members, Kevin Fitzharris, Dave Murray and Kenneth Fox, worked tirelessly in reassuring the people onboard, establishing the tow and keeping a close watch until the people were safely ashore — well done,” she said.

“If anyone sees anyone in difficulty on or near the water, ring 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

Shore crew for this call-out were Peter Scallan, Damian Lynch and Dave Dempsey while the launching authority was David Sherwood.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Wexford RNLI rescued two people on Tuesday night (20 June) after their boat ran aground on rocks.

The volunteer crew were just completing a routine training exercise when they were requested by the Irish Coast Guard at 9.30pm to go to the aid of two people on a motorboat that had grounded on rocks that form part of a tidal defence wall, known as the North Training wall.

Helmed by Lorraine Galvin and with crew members Ger Doran, Dave Murray and Kevin Fitzharris onboard, the inshore lifeboat was quickly on scene at 9.35pm and the crew assessed the situation.

Both onboard the casualty vessel were found to be safe and well.

There was a strong tidal flow which required the lifeboat crew to make careful calculations to pass a tow while avoiding damage to the lifeboat itself by the rocks.

The tow was established at 9.50pm and the vessel was safely removed from the rocks and towed to the nearby boat club.

Weather conditions at the time were good, with a Force 3 southeasterly wind and good visibility.

Speaking following the call-out, Lorraine Galvin, Wexford RNLI lifeboat press officer said: “A strong tide made getting safely near the boat challenging but all the crew did a great job in assessing the options and successfully getting the crew and their vessel to safety.

“If anyone sees anyone in difficulty on or near the water, ring 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

Shore crew on Tuesday night was Dermot Whelan while the deputy Launching authority was Damien Lynch.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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A kitesurfer who sustained serious injuries in an incident in Co Wexford on Sunday (28 May) is expected to make a full recovery.

As the Wexford People reports, the casualty had been kitesurfing on Lady’s Island Lake south of Rosslare around lunchtime when it’s understood he collided with rocks.

Ambulance crew who attended the scene called on the Waterford-based Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 117 to airlift the casualty from the scene for further treatment.

Published in Rescue

The volunteer crews of Wexford and Rosslare Harbour RNLI rescued four people after their boat suffered engine failure outside of Wexford Harbour shortly after 5pm on Tuesday (9 May).

Rosslare Harbour RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat, under coxswain Eamonn O’Rourke and four other crew members onboard, was first on scene — locating the casualty vessel with assistance from the Kilmore Quay Harbour Master.

Having assessed the situation, the decision was made to tow the boat into safe waters. Wexford RNLI then took over the tow to navigate the casualty over Wexford bar and through the sandbanks of Wexford Harbour. The four people were safely brought ashore just before 7pm.

Weather conditions at the time were reasonably good, with a Force 3 westerly wind and good visibility with some showers.

Speaking following the callout, Wexford RNLI helm Damien Foley said: “The casualties did the right thing and contacted the coastguard when they were in difficulty. All four were also wearing lifejackets. This callout was well executed between ourselves and our colleagues in Rosslare Harbour.

“We would remind people that if you see anyone in difficulty on or near the water to ring 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

Wexford RNLI’s crew included helm Damien Foley, Sinead Casey, James Flood and Dave Murray. Deputy launching authority was David Sherwood and shore crew was Dermot Foley. Rosslare Harbour RNLI’s crew included coxswain Eamonn O’Rourke, mechanic Keith Morris, Peter Carr, Paul McCormack and Seamus McDonald.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

A group of sea urchins which died together on the seafloor almost 350 million years ago have been found in fossilised form at Hook Head, Co Wexford, by a team of scientists.

"Experts from University of Galway’s school of natural scientists led the team which recorded the fine, described as “one of the most important in Irish palaeontology in recent times”.

Sea urchins, or echinoids, are a group of marine animals, related to starfish, the scientists explain.

They have globular plated bodies covered by numerous defensive spines, which fall away after the urchin dies.

The scientists say that over 200 complete fossil echinoids are preserved in exquisite detail on a limestone surface, in an area of just one square metre.

Detailed view of fossil sea urchins, with their spines still attached, preserved on limestone surface at Hook Head, Wexford (2 Euro coin for scale). Image courtesy of the Royal Irish AcademyDetailed view of fossil sea urchins, with their spines still attached, preserved on limestone surface at Hook Head, Wexford (2 Euro coin for scale). Photo: courtesy of the Royal Irish Academy

“All of the Hook Head specimens have their spines still attached, and they apparently died together on the seafloor almost 350 million years ago - a dramatic moment now frozen in time on the rock surface on the coast of south-east Ireland,” they say.

“The limestone layer containing the fossil urchins was in danger of being lost to coastal erosion, so the scientific team mounted a rescue operation to save it,” they state.

Lead author in the study, palaeontologist Dr Nidia Álvarez-Armada, said she initially discovered the fossil sea urchins on a rocky coastal outcrop when surveying the geology of Hook Head peninsula for her undergraduate Bachelor of Science thesis at University of Galway.

“ When I first noticed the echinoids on the limestone surface, I was completely astonished by both the sheer number of fossil specimens present and also their exceptional preservation,” she said.

“The significance of the find was instantly apparent, and I immediately began mapping and recording the shape, size and position of each individual urchin on the rock surface,” she said.

“ This work took several weeks to complete, but it was important to carefully document the fossil find in as much detail as possible.”

As the Hook Head is protected under law, approval for the recovery was granted by several State agencies and the local landowner.

 Rescue and recovery of the limestone slab containing the fossil sea urchins at Hook Head, Wexford. Credit: Dr Sarah Gatley, Geological Survey Ireland Rescue and recovery of the limestone slab containing the fossil sea urchins at Hook Head, Wexford. Photos: Dr Sarah Gatley, Geological Survey Ireland

Following successful removal, the team said it “immediately entrusted the fossil-bearing slab to the National Museum of Ireland for conservation and further study”.

The discovery and recovery of the hundreds of fossil sea urchins were recently reported in the Irish Journal of Earth Sciences, published by the Royal Irish Academy.

The Hook Head fossil find is said to have the potential to reveal important information about the nature of seafloor communities during the Carboniferous - a time period that occurred “long before dinosaurs ever walked on land, when the marine realm was very different to today”.

University of Galway school of natural scientists expert Dr John Murray, who co-authored the paper and supervised the original project, said that is “quite exceptional to find Carboniferous fossil sea urchins so perfectly preserved and in such large numbers like this”.

“In life, these particular echinoids had very flexible plated bodies, covered with many spines, which usually disarticulated and dispersed rapidly after death, leaving little trace of them behind,” he said.

“ The Hook Head urchins must have been buried quite quickly after they died, with little or no post-mortem disturbance; however, it remains unclear why they congregated in such large numbers at this location on that ancient seafloor,” he said.

“The significance of this discovery was such that all of the members of the rescue team willingly volunteered their time and expertise to travel to Hook Head to help salvage the fossil-bearing slab,”Dr Murray added.

“We consciously chose to leave this important fossil find in the care of the National Museum of Ireland immediately - I guess it was our way of giving this piece of priceless geoheritage back to the people of Ireland,” he said.

The full study in The Irish Journal of Earth Sciences can be read here

Published in Marine Science
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Fethard RNLI joined Kilmore Quay’s coastguard unit in a multi-agency operation to rescue local residents trapped in their homes by heavy flooding on Christmas Day, according to RTÉ News.

It’s reported that a number of people in the village of Bridgetown were safely removed by lifeboat, while motorists who were either cut off by the flooding or trapped in the water were also assisted.

Wexford Civil Defence and Wexford Fire Service also joined in the rescue effort on Saturday 25 December, as Kilmore Quay Coast Guard acknowledged on social media.

Heavy rainfall delayed the arrival of the Waterford-based Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 117 — and was also responsible for the erosion of bridges near Enniscorthy due to the swelling of the River Borough (Boro), a tributary of the River Slaney.

In a statement, Transport Minister Eamon Ryan said his department “will provide full support for Wexford County Council and other councils as they address and repair the damage caused by the flash floods”.

Published in Rescue

Volunteering for the RNLI is truly a family affair for lifeboat crews in Co Wexford.

While Robbie Connolly is looking forward to his first Christmas on call since becoming a helm at Wexford RNLI earlier this year, his father-in-law Eugene Kehoe — a seasoned coxswain at Kilmore Quay — will also be ready to answer the call if there is an emergency at sea.

As the lifesaving charity continues its Christmas Appeal, Robbie and Eugene will skip their dinner for the difficult seas of winter should their pagers sound.

And they are urging people across Wexford — home to five stations at Courtown, Wexford, Kilmore Quay, Rosslare Harbour and Fethard — to help their crews, and the thousands of other volunteer crews on call over the Christmas period, to continue their lifesaving work.

“I am 10 years on the lifeboat crew at Wexford RNLI,” says Robbie, who is an engineer by day. “I have always had a love for the sea but when I finished college and started working alongside crew members and a deputy launching authority, I was encouraged to join, and I am delighted to be involved.”

As a helm, Robbie is responsible for the inshore lifeboat and his fellow crew during the launch of the lifeboat and while at sea.

“I have had one callout as helm so far and it was to a yacht with three people onboard that had got into difficulty on a falling tide and ran aground as it was coming into Wexford Harbour.

“Where our station is located, there are shifting sands and the channel is changing regularly so time was of the essence and with the callout happening at night, there was the added challenge of working in the dark. But thankfully, we had a safe and successful outcome.

“There are a few differences in being a helm,” he adds, “you are more conscious of looking after your own crew as well as those you are going to rescue and the conditions at sea.

“However, what my helm’s training taught me was to have more confidence in my decision making and skills ability and I suppose in that sense it is about having self-belief and making your 10 years of training and experience become second nature when responding to a callout.”

Shane Crawford joins his brother Colum on the Aran Islands RNLI crew | Credit: RNLIShane Crawford joins his brother Colum on the Aran Islands RNLI crew | Credit: RNLI

Elsewhere, Aran Islands RNLI will have two new volunteer lifeboat crew on call, ready to drop everything and help launch the lifeboat to save those in trouble at sea.

Fisherman and father-of-five Georgie Gillan and NUIG student Shane Crawford are the most recent recruits to join the lifeboat.

Georgie says: “I’ve grown up around the sea and I’ve seen its power and its potential. I’m enjoying the training, and learning a different set of skills, all based around search and rescue and saving others.

“Being out on the lifeboat, you’re part of a team, the feeling of giving back is a great one. The standard of the kit and the training is so high and the support we get to do this job is amazing. I’m grateful to the people who support the work of the lifeboats and keep them at sea all year round.”

Meanwhile, Shane — a first year Arts student at NUIG Galway — knew from an early age that he would wear a lifeboat pager, as helping others is in his DNA.

His mother is the local community nurse and his father served with the local fire service for many years. Shane's older brother Colum is also a member of the Aran Islands RNLI volunteer lifeboat crew and is currently studying to become a paramedic.

Adding his support to the RNLI Christmas Appeal, Shane says: “It has been a dream for me to be on the lifeboat crew ever since I was very young. I feel very at home onboard the lifeboat even though I’m still new to it.

“The communication between the crew when we are out at sea is incredible and you can see the training and commitment of everyone involved. Every piece of kit has a purpose, and the RNLI are always looking to evolve and improve the equipment. It’s maintained to the highest standard and we are aware of the responsibility that comes with that.

“When the pagers goes, no lifeboat volunteer hesitates to answer the call, and these rescues would not be possible without the donations from the RNLI’s generous supporters, helping to fund the essential kit, training equipment needed by lifeboat crews all year round. Thank you to everyone who supports the appeal this Christmas.”

To make a donation to the RNLI’s Christmas Appeal, visit RNLI.org/Xmas

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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