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An inquiry into the death of an experienced kayaker on a Kerry river last year has found that the lack of communication at the scene delayed call to the emergency services writes Lorna Siggins

Brita Waters (36) from Baldoyle, Dublin, drowned after she became trapped under a log on the Roughty river in Kilgarvan on November 4th, 2018.

The Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB) report says that not all of the requirements of a code of practice for recreational craft were adhered to, including carrying personal locator beacons (PLBs) on remote rivers with grade 3 or “difficult” conditions.

The one mobile phone with the group was in the pocket of Ms Water’s lifejacket.

It says that a lack of any other mobile phone or other means of contact at the scene of the incident resulted in a 37-minute delay in calling the emergency services.

Ms Waters, who lived in Douglas, Cork, but had family connections with Baldoyle in Dublin and Dungarvan, Co Waterford, was a social studies graduate who had worked with Tusla, the child and family agency.

She was a highly experienced member of the Lir Canoe Club and had provided training and safety cover for fellow kayakers on events such as the Liffey Descent.

She had volunteered abroad and at home with Alone, the charity for vulnerable older people, and with Make-A-Wish, which organises events for children and teenagers with life-threatening medical conditions.

The incident occurred when Ms Waters was one of a group of five from her club, navigating the Roughty, a 30km river running via Kilgarvan, Co Kerry, into Kenmare Bay.

The MCIB report confirms that all of the group were adequately trained and experienced, and the group was familiar with the river, which is classed as 3-4 white water grading, suitable for mixed ability groups.

They had inspected the river and were aware of a log obstruction on the route, but had planned to exit before this.

Ms Waters had started to turn into a side channel when her kayak was capsized by an underwater rock. She slipped out and was unable to grab the handles of the kayak or get onto her feet.

“She was washed quickly downriver over the drop obstructed by a large log and was trapped by the water flow under the log. The distance between the point of capsize and the drop was between five and six meters,” the report states.

Had the log not caught the casualty, and the water flow around it pushed her down, she would have arrived safely at the pool below the drop,” the MCIB report states.

The report says all four kayakers tried to pull her free, but the water flow was pushing her down. They tied ropes to try and keep her head above water, and tried to move the log but were unable to do so.

After about 20 minutes, one of the group went up to the road about 200 metres away and called the emergency services with a passer-by’s phone. The Kenmare Fire Brigade was first on the scene, followed by the Garda.

Rescue efforts focused on trying to move the log, which took just over an hour, but it was then found that Ms Waters was being trapped by a second more dangerous log with branches underneath.

Her buoyancy vest was cut away and she was released at 13.55 hours. She was pronounced dead by a doctor attending with the ambulance service after she was brought ashore.

A post mortem concluded death was caused by acute cardio-respiratory failure due to drowning.

The MCIB report says that “kayaking groups making descents on remote rivers of Grade 3 and higher should carry registered PLBs”.

It recommends that the requirements set out in Chapter 7 of the code of practice for recreational craft for canoeing/kayaking “should be highlighted by means of a Marine Notice”.

Published in Kayaking
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After launching a comprehensive new range of Cool Kayaks earlier in the season, the demand was so high that stocks soon ran out… not surprising considering their high quality and exceptionally good prices writes Brian O'Sullivan of O'Sullivan's Marine.

The good news is that a new consignment arrived into O’Sullivan’s Marine on 6th August, and the even better news is that they have increased their range, and can now offer an even bigger selection of “best value” kayaks in Ireland!

Sit On Top Kayaks

Sit on top kayaks are getting increasingly more popular, and at O’Sullivan’s Marine they have models to suit all budgets and abilities.

Recreational Fun for all the family

From the low profile sleek Flash Kayak for small adults and children up to the 9’6” Conger single kayaks and several models in between, O’Sullivan’s Marine can offer a range to suit all individual kayakers.

oceanus 5 767Oceanus 5

For those who want to share the fun, they also offer the Glide 1 + 1, this stable versatile platform has room to bring a small passenger in front of the paddler or the Oceanus 2.5 seater, a well-priced tandem kayak.

Angling Kayaks

Using kayaks for angling is a rapidly growing pastime that has many advantages for fishermen and women. It allows the exploration of areas that would otherwise be difficult to access, giving more fishing time and potentially bigger catches!

Dace pro 8 767pxThe Dace Pro 8

O’Sullivan’s Marine has a comprehensive choice of models for the angler, fully equipped with everything needed for a comfortable and productive outing. Ranging from the 9’6” Rodster up to the Dace Pro Angler 14’ single kayak, and the Caster double seater, these kayaks are well-featured and offer the perfect combination of stability, speed, manoeuvrability and straight-line tracking.

Tarpon Propel Kayak

Packed to the gills with fishing features, the Tarpon Propel 10 pedal kayak is equipped with a performance-engineered pedal drive system for hands-free fishing, accessory gear tracks, adjustable seat, hand-controlled rudder and 2 flush mount rod holders. Coming in at 10.5’ long and 33 inches wide this fishing machine is ready for anything!

Tarpon 767pxTarpon

Touring Sit in Kayak

The Swift touring kayak has a unique design that cuts through the water easily, giving it extraordinary acceleration. Equipped with a large seat well and two storage hatches.

swift 3 767pxSwift 3

SUP Boards

Available in 10’ and 12’, the cool SUP boards are high quality, competitively priced and equipped with storage hatches, foot cushions, bungees, drain plugs and carrying handles.

All Cool kayaks are well equipped as standard, but also offer a full range of additional accessories, from roof racks to luxury seats, all available from next week at O’Sullivan’s Marine.

For more information contact 066 7124524 or visit www.osmarine.ie

Published in Kayaking
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A unique new tidal guide assisting river users to circumnavigate the city’s waterways was launched yesterday at the River Lee Hotel. CORKUMNAVIGATION is a pocket-sized map published by Cork’s community boatyard, Meitheal Mara. The guide is aimed at helping locals and visitors alike discover the city from a new angle by kayak, canoe or rowing boat. See link below to purchase the guide.

According to Cathy Buchanan of Meitheal Mara, ''very few people know that you can actually row or paddle all around the city, and experience a very different and special side of Cork. As several of the bridges are particularly low and some weirs quite high, they can only be passed at certain tides. With the CORKUMNAVIGATION guide you can successfully navi­gate the city’s 29 bridges and eight weirs at vari­ous stages of the tide.''

Niamh Twomey, Cork City Council Heritage Officer, added ''The River Lee is one of the great unexploited spaces in Cork, offering a beautiful route around the historic city centre. This guide will give the growing number of river users the opportunity to experience the natural and built heritage of Cork from the River Lee. The guide also includes quirky historical facts contributed by the late Cían Ó Sé.''

corkumnavigate your way around the city 4

Corkumnavigate Cork city's 29 bridges and eight weirs with this latest pocket guide.

Originating near Gougane Barra in the Shehy Mountains, the River Lee flows east towards Cork City where it splits into two channels, form­ing the city's central island. Medieval Cork was a network of small river channels, which over the centuries have been covered in to leave just the north and south channels open. The river derives its name from the Irish "Laoi", meaning torrent or flood.

CORKUMNAVIGATION is a Meitheal Mara project, sponsored by Cork City Council and the River Lee Hotel. Fieldwork for the project was conducted in 2010 by the Cork Centre for Architectural Education, UCC and CIT, and sponsored by the Heritage Council.

The CORKUMNAVIGATION guide is available from Meitheal Mara via Afloat's Marine Market. Click HERE

Published in Book Review

HM Coastguard is coordinating a search for an overdue kayaker. The Kayaker left from Portmuck, County Antrim, Northern Ireland and has not returned as expected.

The Kayaker was reported overdue to the Coastguard just before 19:00 last night by a concerned friend.

The Royal Navy Rescue helicopter based at Prestwick, Irish coast guard rescue helicopter based at Dublin, the police helicopter, lifeboats from Redbay, Donaghadee, Bangor and the all-weather and inshore lifeboats from Larne, along with Coastguard Rescue Teams from Port Muck, Larne and Bangor are involved in the search.

Dawn Petrie, UK Coastguard said:

“The kayker was reported overdue after not returning home this afternoon, we are carrying out an extensive search in the Gobbins coastal path area of Portmuck. Rescue resources were quickly sent to the area and we are also asking vessels in the area to help”

RNLI adds: 

A massive search and rescue operation from Belfast Lough to Fairhead in County Antrim, involving four RNLI lifeboats has resumed this morning (Tuesday 29 September) in a bid to find a kayaker missing from yesterday afternoon.

Volunteer lifeboat crew from Larne, Red Bay, Bangor and Donaghadee RNLI searched for the missing man throughout the early hours, stopping at 3.30am for a short rest and to allow lifeboats to refuel.

Despite the darkness, weather conditions for searching were described as good during the night with clear visibility.

This morning, Larne RNLI’s all-weather and inshore lifeboats and Red Bay RNLI’s inshore lifeboat launched once again while Campletown RNLI in Scotland also joined the search. The operation is being coordinated by Belfast Coastguard.

Larne RNLI was first requested to launch at 7.30pm yesterday evening following a report of a missing kayaker who had set sail from Portmuck at Islandmagee at 1.30pm. The kayaker was due to return to shore at 3pm.

Larne RNLI’s all-weather and inshore lifeboats were initially launched to search from Portmuck to Whitehead before moving to search the area of Gobbins Path. Red Bay RNLI meanwhile was diverted while on a training exercise and requested to go southwards towards Larne. Later at 9.30pm, the search was extended and both the inshore lifeboat from Bangor and the all-weather lifeboat from Donaghadee launched. Bangor RNLI initially searched the Groomsport area before moving across back up into Belfast Lough while Donaghadee searched the Copelands area.

As the search got underway once again this morning, Darren Byers, RNLI Divisional Operations Manager said: ‘Our volunteers have had a short break to rest and refuel their lifeboats but are now back out and will be making every attempt this morning to find the missing kayaker and bring him home. Our thoughts and prayers are very much with the man and his family at this time.’

Published in Coastguard
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#foylerescue – A group of canoeiests are safe after capsizing on the river Foyle this afternoon and sparking a major resuce operation. At 2.05pm Belfast Coastguard was alerted by Police Service Northern Ireland, (PSNI) to an incident in the River Foyle involving two large capsized canoes with 26 people in the water.

Coleraine Coastguard Rescue Team was sent to the area and the Coastguard requested lifeboats from Foyle Search & Rescue, the Irish Coastguard rescue helicopter and Irish Coastguard boat from Greencastle. Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service also joined the search and rescue operation.

Lifeboats recovered 26 adults from the water and 12 people were transferred to hospital by helicopter and also by Northern Ireland Ambulance Service to be checked for hypothermia.

The group of 26 adults had got into difficulty after their two large canoes capsized.

The canoeists were taking part in a fundraiser for the YMCA. All 26 are now at Altnagelvin hospital with mild hypothermia, it has been reported.

The Coastguard recommends: 

Safety Advice for Sea canoeing / kayaking: Ensure that someone at home knows your passage plan including points of arrival and departure, timescale, number in group and other relevant information. Check weather forecasts and tidal conditions and ensure that your skill levels are appropriate for where you are kayaking. Wear a buoyancy aid and check that equipment is functioning properly, that your distress flares are in date and are stowed where you can reach them. Carriage of a 406 Personal Locator Beacon is highly recommended for more remote locations.

Carry a VHF marine band radio (fitted with DSC if possible) and learn how to use it. Where there is good network coverage then it is worth carrying a mobile phone in a waterproof bag. Call the Coastguard if you get into difficulty, preferably via channel 16 on your radio or if not by calling 999 and asking for the Coastguard.

Published in Canoeing

#oceantocity – Cork harbour waters featured a flotilla of over 180 Irish and international boats taking part in the Ocean to City, An Rás Mór on Saturday. A record number of boats competed in the race which saw competitors row 28km from Crosshaven's Royal Cork Yacht Club to Lapps Quay.

Blackrock Youth Course
1st Lassies Crew Tara & Pamela, The Pink Pirates, YAP Ireland
1st Lads Crew Adam & Jake, Mooju, TACT Project, Togher
1st Youth Crew William & Charlie, The Red Oars, Life Centre
1st Junior Kayak Daniel Redmond, Phoenix Kayak Club
1st Cooperation Ireland Crew David & Jack, Belfast/Lisburn
Ogra Cup Winner Mikey & Niall, The Daisy, Foroige Greenmount/Ballyphehane
Most Fiercesome Youth Crew Jack, Ciaran & Cliona, Belfast/ Lisburn Cooperation Ireland
Monkstown-Kayak Course
1st Woman Kayak #770 Catherine Molloy
3rd Veteran Kayak #753 Barry Marron, Inniscara Sailing & Kayaking Club
2nd Veteran Kayak #766 Sean Casey
1st Veteran Kayak #773 Patrick Sparrow
2nd Single Sit-on-top Kayak #753 Barry Marron, Inniscara Sailing & Kayaking Club
1st Single Sit-on-top Kayak #669 Chris Coady
3rd Single Touring Kayak #770 Catherine Molloy
2nd Single Touring Kayak #766 Sean Casey
1st Single Touring Kayak #773 Patrick Sparrow
Monkstown Course
1st 2-hand Currach #105 Churchfield Community Trust, An Dobharchú
Dragon Boat Course
2nd Dragon Boat #83 Dublin Vikings
1st Dragon Boat #84 Croí Cróga
City-Kayak Course
3rd Veteran Kayak #679 Lawrence Buckley, Blackrock Surfski Club
2nd Veteran Kayak #675 Tim Healy
1st Veteran Kayak #682 Malcolm Banks, Salmon Leap
1st Veteran Woman Kayak #648 Jan Albin, Snowdonia Canoe Club (Wales)
2nd Woman Kayak #606 Ruth McAuliffe, Phoenix Kayak Club
1st Woman Kayak #648 Jan Albin, Snowdonia Canoe Club (Wales)
1st Double Kayak #509 Patrick Pierce & Ruth Phelan
3rd Touring Kayak #654 Chris McDaid, North Mayo Sea Kayakers
2nd Touring Kayak #672 Edward Doody
1st Touring Kayak #675 Tim Healy
2nd Racing Kayak #679 Lawrence Buckley, Blackrock Surfski Club
1st Racing Kayak #682 Malcolm Banks, Salmon Leap
1st Single Kayak #682 Malcolm Banks, Salmon Leap
City Course
1st Veteran Crew #17 North Berwick Rowing Club, Speedwell (Scotland)
1st City Crew #17 North Berwick Rowing Club, Speedwell (Scotland)
Ocean-Relay Course
1st Traditional-style Relay Crew #2 Kilbrin Rowing Club, Cul Rowings
1st Relay Crew #59 Galley Flash Rowing Club
1st ICRF Relay #59 Galley Flash Rowing Club
Ocean Course
2nd Mixed Crew #39 North Berwick Rowing Club, Bass Rockets (Scotland)
1st Mixed Crew #62 Edermine Ferry, Still Mad For It
1st Veteran Crew #7 Naomhóga Chorcaí, Croi Na Nog
3rd Women's Crew #51 MYC Rowing Porthmadog, Porthmadog Ladies (Wales)
2nd Women's Crew #20 St.Kearns Rowing Club, Flaming Rowing Tigers
1st Women's Crew #8 Naomhóga Chorcaí, Neart na mBan
1st Single Sliding Seat Boat #13 Mersea Island Rowing Club, Lone Wolf (England)
2nd St Ayles Skiff #39 North Berwick Rowing Club, Bass Rockets (Scotland)
1st St Ayles Skiff #38 Coigach Rowing, Coigach (Wales)
1st 4-oared Wooden Boat #20 St.Kearns Rowing Club, Flaming Rowing Tigers
1st 6-oared Wooden Boat #72 Falmouth Gig Club, Kernow Bys Vyken (England)
1st Wooden Boat #38 Coigach Rowing, Coigach (Wales)
1st Mixed Crew Celtic Longboat #54 Aberystwyth RC, Aberystwyth Mixed (Wales)
2nd Celtic Longboat #52 Aberystwyth RC, Aberystwyth Men (Wales)
1st Celtic Longboat #53 Aberystwyth RC, Aberystwyth Vets (Wales)
2nd ICRF #68 Templenoe Rowing Club
1st ICRF #63 Arklow Rowing Club, Honey Badgers
1st GRP Crew #63 Arklow Rowing Club, Honey Badgers
2nd Racing Currach #29 An Spideil
1st Racing Currach #30 Doonbeg Currach Club
1st Working Noamhóg #7 Naomhóga Chorcaí, Croi Na Nog
1st Currach #3 Naomhóga Chorcaí, Fiolair na Mara
1st Ocean Crew #3 Naomhóga Chorcaí, Fiolair na Mara
Special Awards
Meitheal Mara Challenge #105 Churchfield Community Trust, An Dobharchú
Boat of the Day, Charlie Hennessy Cup #4 Avonmore II, Paul Tingle
Boat Builder of the Day #33 Jeremy Duffin, Strangfjǫrðr, Strangford Costal Rowing Club
Community Boat Build Prize #1&2 Kilbrin Rowing Club
First International Crew #53 Aberystwyth RC, Aberystwyth Vets (Wales)
Special Endeavour Award #754 Jason Coniry for the ''First ever SUP entry''
Cian Ó Sé Commemorative Trophy #11 Naomhóga Chorcaí, Cumhacht Ceithre Capall

Published in Coastal Rowing

#kayakingwhale – Youtube footage captures the moment two kayakers, a father and daughter were lifted clear out of the water after a whale surfaced underneath them.

The two were paddling in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Puerto Madryn, Argentina, when they spotted two whales swimming nearby.

One of the kayakers had a camera and was able to record as the whales turned around and approached their kayak, before suspending them on its back.

The father jokes: "Look, it's coming over here, it's angry with you.

"It's coming to bite the paddle. Terrible, terrible, we're on top of the whale!"

The whale lifted the kayak out of the water for a few seconds, before sinking back below the waves and swimming away.

The footage, posted on YouTube by user gisela6652, has already received nearly 800,000 views online.

Published in Canoeing
Tagged under

HM Coastguard dealt with 578 incidents involving canoes and kayaks in 2012. Sadly, there were nine fatalities.

The type of call outs ranged from falling in to the water, fighting with strong winds and rip tides, to a lack of survival equipment. But another key issue is canoes or kayaks that have been found drifting at sea or abandoned on shore. Coastguards often spend valuable time tracking down the owners to check if they're safely ashore or actually in trouble at sea. This occasionally involves a large-scale search and rescue mission, involving coastguard rescue teams, lifeboats and even search and rescue helicopters.

HM Coastguard has now produced a free ID sticker which owners can use to write their contact details on and stick on their canoe or kayak.

Anne Young, HM Coastguard's National Liaison Officer for canoes and kayaks, says:

"We recommend that you clearly mark your canoe or kayak with your name and contact details so that if it is lost, stolen or abandoned we can contact you to make sure that you are safe. This will save a lot of time, and could give us extra information we need to help you if we believe you're in difficulty at sea.

"The new stickers are very easy to use. Just write your contact details onto the paper side, stick the laminate over the top and stick onto your canoe or kayak.

"For canoeists and kayakers, our other safety advice is to wear a buoyancy aid and make sure you carry a VHF radio, so you can contact the Coastguard on channel 16 if you get into difficulty. A Personal Locator Beacon ( PLB) is also a good idea for more remote locations, so an accurate position of where you are can be sent direct to the Coastguard. And remember to tell a shore contact where you are going and when you expect to return so that they can contact us if you do not come home as expected."

Published in Canoeing
Tagged under

#kayak – Jim and Maria Kennedy of Atlantic Sea Kayaking have been honoured by the Mexican government with the highest award that can be bestowed on a non Mexican, The Ohtli Award.

This special honour is awarded by the Mexican government to individuals for promoting Mexico abroad. "Ohtli" is the Aztec word for pathway. It has only ever been awarded worldwide to 250 people outside Mexico.

Last year's recipient was the music legend Paddy Moloney who, along with the Chieftains and Ry Cooder recorded the album "The St Patricios" commemorating the Irish Regiment who changed their allegience and fought with Mexico against The United States in the War of Independence.

The award was presented by the Mexican ambassador, Carlos Garcia De Albo during the Mexican Independence Day celebrations at the Clyde Court Hotel in Dublin and was witnessed by about 1000 guests of the embassy including The Lord Mayor of Dublin Oisin Quinn, many ambassadors of other countries as well as family and friends of the Kennedys.

Through their business Atlntic Sea kayaking, Jim and Maria are directly responsible for hundreds of Irish people over the last 25 years having an unforgettable trip of a lifetime to Mexico, and indirectly probably thousands more through their promotional talks and video presentations over Europe.

"It's an easy sell" said Jim after he was presented with the award, "Mexico sells itself with its magnificent natural beauty, fascinating art and culture, wonderful food and more importantly, its passionate and fun loving people."

Atlantic sea kayaking, a homegrown family business founded in 1995, has grown into an International Adventure Travel enterprise. Jim is also an ambassador for Adventure Tourism and The Wild Atlantic Way with Failte Ireland.

This award means that Jim and Maria Kennedy will be lifelong ambassadors and promoters of the delights and charms of Mexico and will continue to forge new links to connect Ireland and Mexico. Their next scheduled tour in Mexico will be February 2014 to witness the Grey Whale migration from Canada.

Published in Kayaking
Tagged under

#kayak – A kayaker has been located safe and well after he capsized in the Gulf of Corryvreckan.

Belfast Coastguard was contacted by a local fishing vessel just after 3.30pm this afternoon, reporting that they had spotted the kayak upside down in the water, along with other items including a lifejacket, food parcels, a paddle and a wetsuit.

The Jura Coastguard Rescue Team, the RNLI Islay all-weather lifeboat and the Royal Navy search and rescue helicopter from Prestwick were sent to the scene to carry out a thorough search. Belfast Coastguard also issued a mayday relay broadcast on VHF Channel 16 to other vessels in the area to report back if they had any information.

Police Scotland then contacted Belfast Coastguard to let them know that the man had turned up at a house nearby. It emerged that he had capsized and was unable to collect his equipment so swam to shore. He then walked several miles barefoot to a house to raise the alarm.

Graeme Watters, Watch Manager at Belfast Coastguard, said:
"This kayaker was well equipped but unfortunately capsized and wasn't able to collect all of his equipment.
"We always advise kayakers to wear a buoyancy aid, carry distress flares that are stowed where you can reach them and carry a VHF marine band radio so you can contact the Coastguard if you get into difficulty or distress.
"It may also be worth signing up to CG66, which is free and records details of your kayak and shore contacts for use in an emergency."

Published in Coastguard
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About boot Düsseldorf: With almost 250,000 visitors, boot Düsseldorf is the world's largest boat and water sports fair and every year in January the “meeting place" for the entire industry. From 18 to 26 January 2020, around 2,000 exhibitors will be presenting their interesting new products, attractive further developments and maritime equipment. This means that the complete market will be on site in Düsseldorf and will be inviting visitors on nine days of the fair to an exciting journey through the entire world of water sports in 17 exhibition halls covering 220,000 square meters. With a focus on boats and yachts, engines and engine technology, equipment and accessories, services, canoes, kayaks, kitesurfing, rowing, diving, surfing, wakeboarding, windsurfing, SUP, fishing, maritime art, marinas, water sports facilities as well as beach resorts and charter, there is something for every water sports enthusiast.

At A Glance – Boot Dusseldorf 

Organiser
Messe Düsseldorf GmbH
Messeplatz
40474 Düsseldorf
Tel: +49 211 4560-01
Fax: +49 211 4560-668
Web: https://www.boot.com/

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