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Displaying items by tag: inland waterways

The Inland Waterways Association of Ireland has cancelled its Council Meeting scheduled for this coming Saturday, March 7th.

IWAI President Alan Kelly has advised that due to the increased risk posed by COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and that cases of Coronavirus have now been
confirmed North, South, East and West it has been decided to cancel the IWAI Council meeting scheduled for this coming Saturday, March 7th.

The IWAI says it is keeping the situation 'under review' and a decision made about the AGM (scheduled for April 25) at a later date.

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A historic railway bridge in south west Wexford, reports New Ross Standard, has raised concern in that the structure which has been out of use for a decade is being left to rot and could eventually fall into the river.

Former Labour county councillor Denis North, who worked for CIE for 45 years, including 13 years operating the bridge, said the central span may fall into the River Barrow in years to come if it isn't maintained and returned to use.

Irish Rail CEO Jim Meade informed Mr North in May that there is no proposal to close the Barrow Bridge.

'The Barrow Bridge operating equipment is very old and requires significant resources to maintain and operate,' Mr Meade wrote.

He said: 'While the railway line is suspended, the focus of operation has been to support the Port of New Ross shipping operations in line with our statutory responsibility for the bridge operation.'

He said: 'In order to ensure the consistent delivery of the required shipping lane access for the Port of New Ross, we have reviewed the operation with the Port of New Ross Chief Executive and our Chief Civil engineer and propose to temporarily secure the bridge in the open position for shipping traffic, to improve the navigation controls and lighting on the bridge to a required standard and to allow the remote monitoring of bridge operations. The effect of this proposed change will ensure the reliability of the operation for maritime navigation and reduce our operations and infrastructure costs in the meantime.'

For more on the story click this link. 

Published in Irish Ports

A new clean-up initiative which involves volunteers kayaking down the river Liffey to pick up rubbish has been launched.

GreenKayak, a Danish non-governmental organisation founded in 2017 by Tobias Weber-Andersen, reports The Irish Times, operates a free service where volunteers sign up to kayak along the river in exchange for picking up litter.

The initiative launched its first Irish venture, in partnership with Dublin’s City Kayaking, on Tuesday. It aims to collect plastic from the river Liffey before it reaches the Irish Sea.

Each kayak is fitted with a bin and tools for grabbing plastic bobbing on the water’s surface. Each bin is weighed after docking, and the waste is recycled.

Volunteers must then share their experience on social media to promote the initiative, see related link.

Click here to read more on the background of this initiative

Published in Kayaking

#irishports - New Ross Port is to be transferred to Wexford County Council within the coming months and will lead to great opportunities for the development of the quays area of the town.

As NewRoss Standard writes, this is the view of director of services for economic development with Wexford County Council, Tony Larkin who addressed the monthly meeting of New Ross Municipal District.

Mr Larkin said the 'bottom tier' ports in Ireland are being transferred to local authorities.

'It's New Ross' turn. We have been in negotiations with the Department of Transport for two years. We've been doing due diligence on the port company and I compliment the work of the port company.'

He said the company is being disbanded and will merge into the council.

Mr Larkin said the transfer could occur as soon as May or June, and would have already taken place if not for some cost issues involving the removal of the oil tanks on the quay and the cost of draining the Barrow.

For the transfer to take place three ministers have to sign the transfer letter.

For further reading on this development at the inland port click here.

Published in Irish Ports

The winter mooring period ends on Sunday 31 Mar 2019. Thereafter Navigation Bye-law No. 17(3) applies i.e. vessels should not berth in the same harbour for longer than the statutory period of 5 consecutive days nor more than a total of 7 days in any one month.

Published in Inland Waterways
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The winter mooring period has begun and with it a number of changes to the operation of Waterways Ireland’s moorings.

Winter mooring is available on Waterways Ireland moorings on the River Shannon for the 5 month period 1 November – 31 March for a fee of €63.50. For 2018-2019 bookings visit here

From the 7th November electricity and water to Waterways Ireland jetties, harbours and marinas will be turned off to reduce damage from winter weather including storms and freezing conditions. A Marina Notice will issue when both services are re-connected in 2019.

Over the winter Waterways Ireland advises boat owners to take additional precautions if visiting their vessels during any stormy weather and heavy rainfall. Slippery conditions and strong winds are a hazard when walking on floating pontoons and when moving boats. Certainly boat owners should consider wearing full personal protective equipment if it is deemed necessary to visit a vessel during stormy weather.

Boaters should also note the closure of Albert Lock and Athlone Lock for 6 weeks from the 5th and 12th November respectively for essential maintenance works and passage through the locks will not be possible during this time.

Waterways Ireland will continue to issue Marine Notices throughout the winter period to advise boaters of changes to navigation conditions. Marine Notices are published on the Waterways Ireland website.

Published in Inland Waterways

Afloat.ie reader, Chris, is trying to find out what the rules and limitations are for jet boating on Irish rivers. In particular, he was curious to know if there are any regulations governing speed limits. 

A jetboat is a boat propelled by a jet of water ejected from the back of the craft. Unlike a powerboat or motorboat that uses an external propeller in the water below or behind the boat, a jetboat draws the water from under the boat through an intake and into a pump-jet inside the boat, before expelling it through a nozzle at the stern. 

Jetboats were originally designed by Sir William Hamilton (who developed a waterjet in 1954) for operation in the fast-flowing and shallow rivers of New Zealand, specifically to overcome the problem of propellers striking rocks in such waters.

We passed Chris's query to Waterways Ireland, the body responsibile for the management, maintenance, development and restoration of inland navigable waterways, principally for recreational purposes.

WI responded as follows: 

'Waterways Ireland actively encourages the use of Ireland's waterways for all types of activities including jet-boating. In this context the rivers and lakes under the remit of Waterways Ireland are available for jet-boating with some public safety restrictions to be respected.

There is a 5 knot speed limit in place in the vicinity of all marinas and harbours. We encourage a no wake policy in the vicinity of moorings, jetties and swimming areas. We have received occasional complaints from other boat users regarding excessive speed by jet skis and powerboats in the vicinity of marinas etc, consideration for other water users is encouraged.  

'Lough Derg between Portumna and Terryglass is an area that is used for water-ski training and would be ideal for jet-boating'

The Lower Bann river between Lough Neagh and Coleraine has zones used primarily for powered water sports and could be an ideal jet-boating location.  Lough Derg between Portumna and Terryglass is an area that is used for water-ski training and would be ideal for jet-boating.

There are Waterway Ireland offices in various locations along the lakes and river network who can advise further on local matters when you are on the waterway'.

Published in Inland Waterways
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Could The Heritage Bill destroy the Navigations it should be protecting? That's the view of the Inland Waterways Association of Ireland (IWAI).

In a long running campaign, the IWAI has received strong political support for its view that this proposed legislation must put user requirements, tourism development and local communities at the centre of the regulations. 

The Heritage Bill 2016 is currently before the Dáil. With several Amendments still to be considered by the Oireachtas, The Inland Waterways Association of Ireland (IWAI) is hopeful that the final shape of the Bill has the potential to unlock a bright future for the Grand Canal, Royal Canal and Barrow Navigation that will put user requirements, tourism development and local communities at the centre of the regulations.

Could The Heritage Bill destroy the Navigations it should be protecting?

The Bill is scheduled for debate by the Select Committee on Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht this Wednesday afternoon. Once again there is strong political support for the IWAI view but concerns remain with the proposed legislation, this is reflected by the number of Amendments on the table for discussion on Wednesday.

The main areas of concern relate to

• new complicated legal licensing, - rather than the need to legislate for a simple permitting system that is customer friendly, easy to use, and fit for purpose
• Adequate provisions - so that boats of dimensions for which the canals were built to accommodate are protected and can continue to do so into the future
• proposed provision and powers of Authorised Officers
• legislation that will facilitate the introduction of a complete different set of rules and regulations that are not in place on the adjoining Waterways, and will make these canals less attractive to potential boating tourism

Ireland’s Canals as beautiful linear waterways have the potential to attract both domestic and International boating visitors who will relish the tranquil opportunity of slow tourism cruising at walking pace as people move faster than the canal boats on the system, while experiencing the associated industrial heritage, peat lands, small villages and towns that have interdependence with the canals and our capital city.

To achieve this potential it is vital that the Heritage Bill 2016 preserves and enables the development of the canals for the current and future generations and communities. Over regulation and excessive charges are not the answer to developing these waterways; they deserve proper legislation that put user requirements, local communities and tourism at the centre of the regulations.

Published in Inland Waterways
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The Ulster Architectural Heritage Society will bring the Heritage Angel Awards to Northern Ireland for the first time and IWAI Newry and Portadown have been shortlisted to receive a Heritage Angel Award in the category Best Rescue, Recording or Interpretation of a Historic Place. On learning of the group's success Peter Maxwell the Branch treasurer said: "It's a huge honour for us to have won through the nomination process and we are looking forward to the decision. It's a great opportunity for us to spread the word about the canal and what a fantastic asset it is to the community."

IWAI Newry and Portadown volunteers have created a video entitled ‘New Life for the Old Canal’ that celebrates the project to re-water the summit level of the Newry Canal, a four mile stretch of water from Poyntzpass to Scarva. New lock gates were built and installed by the volunteers to allow canoes and small boats to use the canal. Alongside this the group researched and published a guided walk app highlighting the history of the canal. They also manage a heritage centre on the towpath with displays to help visitors understand how a canal works and how its restoration could help boost the local economy.

The purpose of the Heritage Angel Awards is to recognise groups that inspire and increase activity to help conserve and protect built heritage, a purpose that according to Peter, IWAI Newry and Portadown volunteers support very strongly; "We certainly meet that aim as our volunteers contribute more than 2000 hours annually to canal projects. Without our input it's fair to say that the canal, dating from 1742 and the first of its kind in Ireland & the UK would again become a neglected, overgrown ditch as was the case when it was abandoned in 1949. Instead, our project on the summit has shown how the canal can be used by many different types of people for recreation and enjoyment."
Peter’s enthusiasm and that of his fellow volunteers clearly shows the potential impact that a project like this can have on society as a whole. Please show your support and cast your vote now to show that there most definitely is new life for the old canal. Logon to https://www.heritageangelawards-ni.org.uk/ Voting closes on Friday October 27th. The awards ceremony will take place in the Grand Opera House, Belfast on Tuesday November 7th. The Awards are funded by the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation and the Department for Communities.

Published in Inland Waterways

Waterways Ireland advises Masters and Owners of vessels berthed in public harbours, at jetties or moorings against visiting any vessels or boats during periods of extreme weather such as storm force winds and heavy rainfall.

Strong winds are a hazard to personal safety if walking on or near navigation infrastructure and also because of blown debris from trees or buildings in the vicinity. There is also the hazard of the unpredictable nature of rising water levels and their effect on built infrastructure.

Canal banks will be muddy and slippery. Access to vessels could be hazardous.

At present a number of mooring facilities and access ramps to same and the approach roads and paths to their associated car parks are underwater or are inaccessible across all navigations.

Fast flowing currents, eddies and turbulent water will be experienced in and around these structures for some time after the storms have passed.

Mooring lines and cleats on vessels at these facilities will be under strain as will the shore bollards that they are made fast to. Extreme care should be exercised when releasing lines in these circumstances to avoid them snapping back and causing injury. There is also the danger of deck cleats, which may have been weakened whilst under strain, pulling out and striking a person when engaged in this activity.

Waterways Ireland further advises that full personal protective equipment such as lifejacket and foul weather gear be worn if it is deemed necessary to visit a craft in a harbour that the visit is undertaken in company with a colleague and that someone has been advised of an expected return time. A fully charged mobile phone should be carried in the event of an emergency and the visit should be made during daylight hours.

Published in Inland Waterways
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The Irish Coast Guard

The Irish Coast Guard is Ireland's fourth 'Blue Light' service (along with An Garda Síochána, the Ambulance Service and the Fire Service). It provides a nationwide maritime emergency organisation as well as a variety of services to shipping and other government agencies.

The purpose of the Irish Coast Guard is to promote safety and security standards, and by doing so, prevent as far as possible, the loss of life at sea, and on inland waters, mountains and caves, and to provide effective emergency response services and to safeguard the quality of the marine environment.

The Irish Coast Guard has responsibility for Ireland's system of marine communications, surveillance and emergency management in Ireland's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and certain inland waterways.

It is responsible for the response to, and co-ordination of, maritime accidents which require search and rescue and counter-pollution and ship casualty operations. It also has responsibility for vessel traffic monitoring.

Operations in respect of maritime security, illegal drug trafficking, illegal migration and fisheries enforcement are co-ordinated by other bodies within the Irish Government.

On average, each year, the Irish Coast Guard is expected to:

  • handle 3,000 marine emergencies
  • assist 4,500 people and save about 200 lives
  • task Coast Guard helicopters on missions

The Coast Guard has been around in some form in Ireland since 1908.

Coast Guard helicopters

The Irish Coast Guard has contracted five medium-lift Sikorsky Search and Rescue helicopters deployed at bases in Dublin, Waterford, Shannon and Sligo.

The helicopters are designated wheels up from initial notification in 15 minutes during daylight hours and 45 minutes at night. One aircraft is fitted and its crew trained for under slung cargo operations up to 3000kgs and is available on short notice based at Waterford.

These aircraft respond to emergencies at sea, inland waterways, offshore islands and mountains of Ireland (32 counties).

They can also be used for assistance in flooding, major inland emergencies, intra-hospital transfers, pollution, and aerial surveillance during daylight hours, lifting and passenger operations and other operations as authorised by the Coast Guard within appropriate regulations.

Irish Coastguard FAQs

The Irish Coast Guard provides nationwide maritime emergency response, while also promoting safety and security standards. It aims to prevent the loss of life at sea, on inland waters, on mountains and in caves; and to safeguard the quality of the marine environment.

The main role of the Irish Coast Guard is to rescue people from danger at sea or on land, to organise immediate medical transport and to assist boats and ships within the country's jurisdiction. It has three marine rescue centres in Dublin, Malin Head, Co Donegal, and Valentia Island, Co Kerry. The Dublin National Maritime Operations centre provides marine search and rescue responses and coordinates the response to marine casualty incidents with the Irish exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

Yes, effectively, it is the fourth "blue light" service. The Marine Rescue Sub-Centre (MRSC) Valentia is the contact point for the coastal area between Ballycotton, Co Cork and Clifden, Co Galway. At the same time, the MRSC Malin Head covers the area between Clifden and Lough Foyle. Marine Rescue Co-ordination Centre (MRCC) Dublin covers Carlingford Lough, Co Louth to Ballycotton, Co Cork. Each MRCC/MRSC also broadcasts maritime safety information on VHF and MF radio, including navigational and gale warnings, shipping forecasts, local inshore forecasts, strong wind warnings and small craft warnings.

The Irish Coast Guard handles about 3,000 marine emergencies annually, and assists 4,500 people - saving an estimated 200 lives, according to the Department of Transport. In 2016, Irish Coast Guard helicopters completed 1,000 missions in a single year for the first time.

Yes, Irish Coast Guard helicopters evacuate medical patients from offshore islands to hospital on average about 100 times a year. In September 2017, the Department of Health announced that search and rescue pilots who work 24-hour duties would not be expected to perform any inter-hospital patient transfers. The Air Corps flies the Emergency Aeromedical Service, established in 2012 and using an AW139 twin-engine helicopter. Known by its call sign "Air Corps 112", it airlifted its 3,000th patient in autumn 2020.

The Irish Coast Guard works closely with the British Maritime and Coastguard Agency, which is responsible for the Northern Irish coast.

The Irish Coast Guard is a State-funded service, with both paid management personnel and volunteers, and is under the auspices of the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport. It is allocated approximately 74 million euro annually in funding, some 85 per cent of which pays for a helicopter contract that costs 60 million euro annually. The overall funding figure is "variable", an Oireachtas committee was told in 2019. Other significant expenditure items include volunteer training exercises, equipment, maintenance, renewal, and information technology.

The Irish Coast Guard has four search and rescue helicopter bases at Dublin, Waterford, Shannon and Sligo, run on a contract worth 50 million euro annually with an additional 10 million euro in costs by CHC Ireland. It provides five medium-lift Sikorsky S-92 helicopters and trained crew. The 44 Irish Coast Guard coastal units with 1,000 volunteers are classed as onshore search units, with 23 of the 44 units having rigid inflatable boats (RIBs) and 17 units having cliff rescue capability. The Irish Coast Guard has 60 buildings in total around the coast, and units have search vehicles fitted with blue lights, all-terrain vehicles or quads, first aid equipment, generators and area lighting, search equipment, marine radios, pyrotechnics and appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE). The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) and Community Rescue Boats Ireland also provide lifeboats and crews to assist in search and rescue. The Irish Coast Guard works closely with the Garda Siochána, National Ambulance Service, Naval Service and Air Corps, Civil Defence, while fishing vessels, ships and other craft at sea offer assistance in search operations.

The helicopters are designated as airborne from initial notification in 15 minutes during daylight hours, and 45 minutes at night. The aircraft respond to emergencies at sea, on inland waterways, offshore islands and mountains and cover the 32 counties. They can also assist in flooding, major inland emergencies, intra-hospital transfers, pollution, and can transport offshore firefighters and ambulance teams. The Irish Coast Guard volunteers units are expected to achieve a 90 per cent response time of departing from the station house in ten minutes from notification during daylight and 20 minutes at night. They are also expected to achieve a 90 per cent response time to the scene of the incident in less than 60 minutes from notification by day and 75 minutes at night, subject to geographical limitations.

Units are managed by an officer-in-charge (three stripes on the uniform) and a deputy officer in charge (two stripes). Each team is trained in search skills, first aid, setting up helicopter landing sites and a range of maritime skills, while certain units are also trained in cliff rescue.

Volunteers receive an allowance for time spent on exercises and call-outs. What is the difference between the Irish Coast Guard and the RNLI? The RNLI is a registered charity which has been saving lives at sea since 1824, and runs a 24/7 volunteer lifeboat service around the British and Irish coasts. It is a declared asset of the British Maritime and Coast Guard Agency and the Irish Coast Guard. Community Rescue Boats Ireland is a community rescue network of volunteers under the auspices of Water Safety Ireland.

No, it does not charge for rescue and nor do the RNLI or Community Rescue Boats Ireland.

The marine rescue centres maintain 19 VHF voice and DSC radio sites around the Irish coastline and a digital paging system. There are two VHF repeater test sites, four MF radio sites and two NAVTEX transmitter sites. Does Ireland have a national search and rescue plan? The first national search and rescue plan was published in July, 2019. It establishes the national framework for the overall development, deployment and improvement of search and rescue services within the Irish Search and Rescue Region and to meet domestic and international commitments. The purpose of the national search and rescue plan is to promote a planned and nationally coordinated search and rescue response to persons in distress at sea, in the air or on land.

Yes, the Irish Coast Guard is responsible for responding to spills of oil and other hazardous substances with the Irish pollution responsibility zone, along with providing an effective response to marine casualties and monitoring or intervening in marine salvage operations. It provides and maintains a 24-hour marine pollution notification at the three marine rescue centres. It coordinates exercises and tests of national and local pollution response plans.

The first Irish Coast Guard volunteer to die on duty was Caitriona Lucas, a highly trained member of the Doolin Coast Guard unit, while assisting in a search for a missing man by the Kilkee unit in September 2016. Six months later, four Irish Coast Guard helicopter crew – Dara Fitzpatrick, Mark Duffy, Paul Ormsby and Ciarán Smith -died when their Sikorsky S-92 struck Blackrock island off the Mayo coast on March 14, 2017. The Dublin-based Rescue 116 crew were providing "top cover" or communications for a medical emergency off the west coast and had been approaching Blacksod to refuel. Up until the five fatalities, the Irish Coast Guard recorded that more than a million "man hours" had been spent on more than 30,000 rescue missions since 1991.

Several investigations were initiated into each incident. The Marine Casualty Investigation Board was critical of the Irish Coast Guard in its final report into the death of Caitriona Lucas, while a separate Health and Safety Authority investigation has been completed, but not published. The Air Accident Investigation Unit final report into the Rescue 116 helicopter crash has not yet been published.

The Irish Coast Guard in its present form dates back to 1991, when the Irish Marine Emergency Service was formed after a campaign initiated by Dr Joan McGinley to improve air/sea rescue services on the west Irish coast. Before Irish independence, the British Admiralty was responsible for a Coast Guard (formerly the Water Guard or Preventative Boat Service) dating back to 1809. The West Coast Search and Rescue Action Committee was initiated with a public meeting in Killybegs, Co Donegal, in 1988 and the group was so effective that a Government report was commissioned, which recommended setting up a new division of the Department of the Marine to run the Marine Rescue Co-Ordination Centre (MRCC), then based at Shannon, along with the existing coast radio service, and coast and cliff rescue. A medium-range helicopter base was established at Shannon within two years. Initially, the base was served by the Air Corps.

The first director of what was then IMES was Capt Liam Kirwan, who had spent 20 years at sea and latterly worked with the Marine Survey Office. Capt Kirwan transformed a poorly funded voluntary coast and cliff rescue service into a trained network of cliff and sea rescue units – largely voluntary, but with paid management. The MRCC was relocated from Shannon to an IMES headquarters at the then Department of the Marine (now Department of Transport) in Leeson Lane, Dublin. The coast radio stations at Valentia, Co Kerry, and Malin Head, Co Donegal, became marine rescue-sub-centres.

The current director is Chris Reynolds, who has been in place since August 2007 and was formerly with the Naval Service. He has been seconded to the head of mission with the EUCAP Somalia - which has a mandate to enhance Somalia's maritime civilian law enforcement capacity – since January 2019.

  • Achill, Co. Mayo
  • Ardmore, Co. Waterford
  • Arklow, Co. Wicklow
  • Ballybunion, Co. Kerry
  • Ballycotton, Co. Cork
  • Ballyglass, Co. Mayo
  • Bonmahon, Co. Waterford
  • Bunbeg, Co. Donegal
  • Carnsore, Co. Wexford
  • Castlefreake, Co. Cork
  • Castletownbere, Co. Cork
  • Cleggan, Co. Galway
  • Clogherhead, Co. Louth
  • Costelloe Bay, Co. Galway
  • Courtown, Co. Wexford
  • Crosshaven, Co. Cork
  • Curracloe, Co. Wexford
  • Dingle, Co. Kerry
  • Doolin, Co. Clare
  • Drogheda, Co. Louth
  • Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin
  • Dunmore East, Co. Waterford
  • Fethard, Co. Wexford
  • Glandore, Co. Cork
  • Glenderry, Co. Kerry
  • Goleen, Co. Cork
  • Greencastle, Co. Donegal
  • Greenore, Co. Louth
  • Greystones, Co. Wicklow
  • Guileen, Co. Cork
  • Howth, Co. Dublin
  • Kilkee, Co. Clare
  • Killala, Co. Mayo
  • Killybegs, Co. Donegal
  • Kilmore Quay, Co. Wexford
  • Knightstown, Co. Kerry
  • Mulroy, Co. Donegal
  • North Aran, Co. Galway
  • Old Head Of Kinsale, Co. Cork
  • Oysterhaven, Co. Cork
  • Rosslare, Co. Wexford
  • Seven Heads, Co. Cork
  • Skerries, Co. Dublin Summercove, Co. Cork
  • Toe Head, Co. Cork
  • Tory Island, Co. Donegal
  • Tramore, Co. Waterford
  • Waterville, Co. Kerry
  • Westport, Co. Mayo
  • Wicklow
  • Youghal, Co. Cork

Sources: Department of Transport © Afloat 2020

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