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Displaying items by tag: Bangor

Last Friday was the first of July’s FunDay Fridays on Belfast Lough, a three-way collaboration between Bangor Marina, SUP HubNI and Citizen Sea who are together providing a fabulously educational and active two-hour session where all the children will have an opportunity to learn about Water Safety, try Paddleboarding, learn about environmental issues and research, and commandeer the pontoons like pirates looking for treasure (marine life)!

Citizen Sea is Northern Ireland’s first boat-based Environmental Research Charity, SUP Hub NI is a Paddleboard School and Boatfolk Bangor Marina’s role is to facilitate and promote this new collaboration.

Onboard the Seabird, a converted 17-metre ex herring ring netter, the children learn about Harbour wildlife, then search for marine creatures and see how the Sea Bins work collecting marine litter. It is run by Jen Firth, a boat lover and marine conservationist, and Master Shipwright Tony McLoughlin. SUPHubNI frequently operates in the Harbour and owner, Iain McCarthy wants to make the experience as safe, simple and enjoyable as possible and therefore provides the Paddleboard, Paddle, Wetsuit, Buoyancy Aid, Booties & Leash.

The popularity of this venture is illustrated by the fact that all sessions are fully booked.

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The rescue services were so busy over the weekend that they have related several incidents together.

A jetskier needed medical assistance after coming off his jetski. Donaghadee Lifeboat brought the casualty from Millisle into Donaghadee harbour and was met by Northern Ireland Air Ambulance, HART Paramedics, NIAS Ambulance and Bangor CRT. The team thanked the Kayakers who went to his aid.

Bangor was the scene when two girls were washed out to sea on paddleboards. And at Millisle it was a false alarm with good intent when a member of the public who did not see the canoe belonging to two males, thought they were trapped on the rocks.

Portaferry Coastguard Rescue

And today (Sun 28th) the team was tasked along with Portaferry Coastguard Rescue and Portaferry Lifeboat to rescue several people stuck on one of the many islands in Strangford Lough. The persons involved had spent the night on the island and had attempted to come back ashore. It was at this point one of the kayaks capsized and they returned to the island. Portaferry Lifeboat brought all nine people back to the waiting Coastguards who carried out welfare checks on everyone.

Belfast Coastguard says “A big thank you to the members of the public who gave our casualties warm drinks”.

Published in Belfast Lough
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Bangor's lifeboat rescued four people aboard a motorboat from Carrickfergus after the boat broke down off Whitehead, and the group risked drifting into a shipping lane in Belfast Lough in fading light.

A volunteer crew from Bangor RNLI was requested by Belfast Coastguard just after 10pm on Saturday night last (13 June) to attend the broken down motorboat just off Whitehead.

In calm conditions and only light winds, there was no immediate danger, but there was a possibility of the boat drifting into the shipping lane used by the Belfast to Cairnryan ferry.

In fading light, helm Kyle Marshall and the crew were able to reach the craft quickly and, having assessed the situation, attached a tow rope and towed them back to Carrickfergus Marina.

By the time they reached the marina, the light had all but gone.

Speaking following the callout, Marshall said: “We were delighted to be able to help these people and return them safely to the marina.

“We would ask everyone returning to the water after lockdown to ensure their vessel has been well maintained, and they have all the appropriate safety gear on board.”

Boat owner Alan McIlroy was effusive in his praise of the Bangor crew: “These guys are worth their weight in gold, and after realising we had a problem, we were delighted to see them arrive. They were totally professional, and very skilled.”

Published in Belfast Lough
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The situation around the opening of marinas and harbours in Northern Ireland in COVID-19 appears fluid but the latest news is good for those wanting to relax, sail and visit.

Bangor Harbour Master Kevin Baird says that Bangor, Carrickfergus, and Glenarm marinas and harbours are open to visitors but for short stay only – no overnighting.

Also open to all are the Ards and North Down harbours but the Copeland Islands off Donaghadee are completely closed. Marinas and harbours in the Newry and Mourne Council areas are open on the same basis – short stay only.

Belfast Harbour Marina has confirmed that it is open for residents only.

Going north all the Causeway Coast and Glens Marinas and Harbours are now open but only to residents, with the exception of Rathlin Island. It will remain closed for in the short term to all vessels, including visitors. John Morton, Ballycastle Harbour Master, has clarified, “We are not open for any visiting vessels at this time, only resident ones. This will be reviewed over the coming weeks”.

In Strangford Lough, Portaferry Marina has been open for residents and visitors since 25th May but there is no news on Strangford town pontoon or on Foyle Marina in Derry.

The current Foyle Port website posts a Notice to Mariners stating that Foyle Port Marina is closed to visiting vessels and crafts. A further notice will be issued when the marina has re-opened to all.

On the subject of crews, Kevin Baird says, “ Our understanding is that groups of up to six people who do not share a household can meet up outdoors and onboard boats while maintaining social distancing, i.e. two metres”.

Published in Irish Marinas
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Bangor RNLI is appealing to get in touch with the family of a teenage paddle boarder rescued at the weekend after he was blown out into Belfast Lough.

The volunteer lifeboat crew were tasked on Friday afternoon (29 May) after reports of the incident off Grey Point.

Arriving at the scene, they found the 13-year-old boy had been retrieved from the water by a motorboat that has seen him in difficulty, and he was safety returned to the beach at Helen’s Bay.

Bangor RNLI emphasises that the boy had no lifejacket on, and that without the help of others “this could easily have turned into a tragedy”.

Now the lifeboat unit is appealing to contact the boy and his family to invite them to visit the lifeboat station when regulations allow, to find out more about what they do.

“We are also interested to find out from him how he felt when he realised things were going wrong, in the hope that this might prevent others getting into difficulty.”

Published in Belfast Lough
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Another project in addition to the Bangor Queen’s Parade development on the County Down coast mentioned recently in Afloat, should see the enhancement of a two-mile stretch of the coast from the west of the Bangor Harbour all the way through to the eastern end of Ballyholme Bay writes Betty Armstrong.

Ards and North Down Council has appointed AECOM as consultant for this £60M Bangor Waterfront project to help establish Bangor as a thriving town and prime visitor attraction in Northern Ireland.

The project includes new public realm along the 2.2 mile stretch and new greenways and coastal paths that will better link people to both the town and the sea. Pickie Park, which is already immensely popular with residents and visitors alike, will be enhanced to become a family visitor attraction of national significance and compliment the re-imagining of Ballyholme beach that is also part of the project.

The potential for other innovative features that support the town’s aspiration to revive itself as an attractive, accessible, creative and diverse seaside town will be explored as part of the early work AECOM will undertake.

Bangor SeafrontBangor Seafront

The AECOM team offers extensive visioning, design, environmental and economic expertise. AECOM was the master planner for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and has delivered a range of waterfront projects, including Liverpool, Blackpool and in Northern Ireland,the award-winning Newcastle public realm. AECOM has also worked on several projects in Bangor, such as the recent town centre public realm improvements. The AECOM-led team for the Bangor Waterfront project also includes Hemingway Design, Savills and Jettora.

Patrick Clarke, Director – UK & Ireland Masterplanning Lead, AECOM, said: “Building on the ambitious waterfront plan for Bangor, our team brings a breadth of multidisciplinary expertise to further develop this vision, creating a masterplan that will secure long-term tourism and economic benefits for the town and a business case to support future investment in Bangor” Wayne Hemingway, Hemingway Design, added: “We think that Bangor is a town with so many of the ingredients needed to really attract more visitors and be an even more lovely place to live and work, so we’re excited to be a part of this project”.

The Bangor Waterfront Project is one of several exciting tourism-led regeneration schemes due to receive funding from the Belfast Region City Deal. Approximately £40M will be secured via this bespoke package of funding from Westminster, with the remaining investment coming from both the Council and the private sector.

Mayor of Ards and North Down, Alderman Bill Keery, commented: “The appointment of AECOM, and its wider team, is a critical step forward in our plans to regenerate Bangor. They bring a wide range of experience, including the delivery of international coastal regeneration projects, to the table and I have no doubt will challenge and refine our thinking as we progress this very exciting project.”

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Since Victorian times until about thirty years ago, Queens Parade in Bangor was a thriving seaside thoroughfare with shops, hotels, a cinema, and ice cream vendors all colourfully set in a row, attracting hundreds to that part of the town writes Betty Armstrong.

Sadly, most of the buildings have gone, many are derelict and only artistic type ‘pods’ on waste ground relieve the boredom. In 1989 on the seaward side, the Council built the marina replacing the open bay and the little beach at the bottom of Main Street with a 500-berth haven and associated facilities, a Coastguard station and beside it a boatyard.

But the siting of two huge retail complexes on the outskirts of the town has ruined business in the town centre. Now the Ards and North Down Council, after many proposed and discarded redevelopment plans, has appointed Bangor Marine as the developer to take forward a major £50m regeneration project of Queen’s Parade.

Bangor Marine PresentationAn artist's impression of views from the proposed apartments out over Bangor Marina
The proposed scheme is made up of; Marine Gardens Public Realm combining external events space, cafes, sheltered promenade and kiosks, beach, seafront lawns, children’s play area and water feature; a 70/80 bed hotel; a destination/cinema building; residential units; commercial/retail/restaurant space; office Space; a play zone; refurbishment of existing commercial properties; 200 space car park; and marketplace and courtyard squares.

Making the announcement the Department for Communities Permanent Secretary Tracy Meharg said: “This development and the £50m investment in Bangor will generate new jobs, new shops, new offices, new homes and make this area Bangor a place to see and visit. It will help to support a number of areas that we know are important to the vitality of our town centres, especially employment and tourism”.

The then Mayor Councillor Richard Smart said “The regeneration of Queen’s Parade is critical to the future of Bangor and to maximising the economic growth potential of the wider borough of Ards and North Down. With the appointment of Bangor Marine – a consortium made up of a number of leading companies including the Karl Group and Farrans – we are taking a very significant and exciting step forward”.

Aran Blackbourne, Managing Director of the Karl Group commented “The Bangor Marine team are delighted to have signed the Development Agreement to deliver this prestigious and life changing development for the people of Bangor and beyond”.

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#Lifeboats - Bangor RNLI was delighted yesterday (Tuesday 29 January) Yesterday afternoon, Bangor RNLI was delighted to welcome a delegation led by Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence, Chairman of the RNLI Operations Committee.

Sir Tim and other top RNLI officials met volunteers who run the Bangor lifeboat station as part of the charity’s coastal review.

Together, they spent more than two hours discussing the running of the lifeboat station, the views of management, crew members and fund-raisers, as well as their hopes for the future.

Sir Tim, who is chairman of the RNLI’s operations committee, explained that he and his colleagues visit every lifeboat station in the country in a rolling series of visits to ensure the RNLI remains relevant to each station’s unique needs.

He thanked all the Bangor RNLI volunteers for their commitment to keeping the local waters and shores safe and said how impressed he was to see the high standards set by Bangor are being maintained.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Bangor RNLI has paid tribute to its dedicated lifeboat volunteers after what’s hoped to be its final callout of 2018.

Just after 6.30am this morning (Monday 31 December) the lifeboat was called to assist in the rescue of a vulnerable woman in the water off Carrickfergus.

The inshore lifeboat Jessie Hillyard was stood down after the woman was assisted by land-based rescue services, but according to the Bangor RNLI Facebook page, even this callout illustrated the dedication of its crew.

“Every time the pagers go off, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year, our dedicated volunteers drop everything to launch the lifeboat with the aim of saving lives at sea.

“This morning, 16 volunteers turned up at the lifeboat station to help, and while only four were needed to crew the boat, the others stayed around to clean the boat on her return.

“Please raise a glass to them tonight, for everything they do to keep the waters and shore around us safer.

“Please also toast our wonderful fundraising team who work so hard to raise the vital funds we need to provide this service.

“And, thanks to everyone who has contributed their hard-earned money to the RNLI this year — we really do appreciate it.

“Finally, please remember that this is a difficult time of year for many people, and that lives can be saved with a friendly word or a smile.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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#RNLI - Two RNLI lifeboats were launched on Friday (31 August) at the request of Belfast Coastguard to assist a pleasure fishing boat with four people onboard off Carrickfergus.

Bangor RNLI was first to launch at 3.15pm to reports that a fishing boat had a fouled propeller and was taking on water while drifting ashore onto rocks near Carrickfergus.

Once on scene, the Bangor lifeboat crew established a towline and were able to pull the sinking boat off the rocks, as well as transfer two of its crew to the safety of the inshore lifeboat Jessie Hillyard, where they were given casualty care.

The remaining two fishermen were recovered on the shoreline by coastguard members.

Due to the vessel taking on too much water, the decision was taken to request the assistance of Donaghadee RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat and use its salvage pump to try and save the vessel.

Bangor cut their towline and proceeded to take the two casualties, who were wet and cold, to Carrickfergus and the care of the waiting coastguard crew.

Donaghadee’s volunteers were paged at 4.12pm and proceeded on their lifeboat Saxon at full speed to the last reported location of the sinking vessel.

Upon arrival, the fishing boat was already semi submerged and in the shipping lane, posing a danger to shipping traffic and local boats.

The crew were able to secure a line and tow the boat to shallow waters just north-east of Carrickfergus and prevent it becoming a danger to other boats. Unfortunately, the boat was unable to be recovered.

Speaking after the dual operation, Donaghadee RNLI coxswain Philip McNamara said: “Although unable to make it on time to save the fishing boat, the main concern is the safety of the crew members onboard. Thankfully the speedy response of our colleagues in Bangor ensured the people were brought to safety before the situation deteriorated any further.

“The crew member that requested assistance as soon as they realised they were in trouble did the right thing; the two crew members that made it ashore were very lucky to do so. If in difficulties it can be best to stay with your vessel as long as possible and avoid entering the water if you can.”

In other RNLI news from Northern Ireland, young members of Lough Erne Yacht Club went the extra mile for the lifesaving charity when they held a mini triathlon that raised £310 for Enniskillen Lifeboat Station, based at their club.

five children go the extra mile for enniskillen rnli

Emma Brines and Emily Torrens along with Peter Brines, Charlie Valentine and Adam Torrens presented the cheque to Lifeboat crew members Olivia Crosgrove, Padraig Lunny and helm Brian McAleer (photo by Bob Torrens). The young sailors thanked club members, family and friends for their support.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Irish Coast Guard

The Irish Coast Guard is Ireland's 4th 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.

Introduction

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 around 2000 times (40 times to assist mountain rescues and 200 times to carry out aeromedical HEMS missions on behalf of the HSE), Coast Guard volunteer units will respond 1000 times and RNLI and community lifeboats will be tasked by our Coordination Centres about 950 times
  • evacuate medical patients off our Islands to hospital on 100 occasions
  • assist other nations' Coast Guards about 200 times
  • make around 6,000 maritime safety broadcasts to shipping, fishing and leisure craft users
  • carry out a safety on the water campaign that targets primary schools and leisure craft users, including at sea and beach patrols
  • investigate approximately 50 maritime pollution reports

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

List of Coast Guard Units in Ireland

  • 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

The roles of the Irish Coast Guard

The main roles of the Irish Coast Guard are 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.

Each year the Irish Coast Guard co-ordinates the response to thousands of incidents at sea and on the cliffs and beaches of Ireland. It does this through its Marine Rescue Centres which are currently based in:

  • Dublin
  • Malin Head (Co Donegal)
  • Valentia Island (Co Kerry).

Each centre is responsible for search and rescue operations.

The Dublin National Maritime Operations Centre (NMOC) provides marine search and rescue response services and co-ordinates the response to marine casualty incidents within the Irish Pollution Responsibility Zone/EEZ.

The Marine Rescue Sub Centre (MRSC) Valentia and MRSC Malin Head are 24/7 centres co-ordinating search and rescue response in their areas of responsibility.

The Marine Rescue Sub Centre (MRSC) Valentia is the contact point for routine operational matters in the area between Ballycotton and Clifden.

MRSC Malin Head is the contact point for routine operational matters in the area between Clifden and Lough Foyle.

MRCC Dublin is the contact point for routine operational matters in the area between Carlingford Lough and Ballycotton.

Each MRCC/MRSC broadcasts maritime safety information on VHF and, in some cases, MF radio in accordance with published schedules.

Maritime safety information that is broadcast by the three Marine Rescue Sub-centres includes:

  • navigational warnings as issued by the UK Hydrographic Office
  • gale warnings, shipping forecasts, local inshore forecasts, strong wind warnings and small craft warnings as issued by the Irish Meteorological Office.

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.

The Coast Guard can contract specialised aerial surveillance or dispersant spraying aircraft at short notice internationally.

Helicopter tasks include:

  • the location of marine and aviation incident survivors by homing onto aviation and marine radio distress transmissions, by guidance from other agencies, and by visual, electronic and electro-optical search
  • the evacuation of survivors from the sea, and medical evacuees from all manner of vessels including high-sided passenger and cargo vessels and from the islands
  • the evacuation of personnel from ships facing potential disaster
  • search and or rescue in mountainous areas, caves, rivers, lakes and waterways
  • the transport of offshore fire-fighters (MFRTs) or ambulance teams (MARTs) and their equipment following a request for assistance
  • the provision of safety cover for other search and rescue units including other Marine Emergency Service helicopters
  • pollution, casualty and salvage inspections and surveillance and the transport of associated personnel and equipment
  • inter-agency training in all relevant aspects of the primary role
  • onshore emergency medical service, including evacuation and air ambulance tasks
  • relief of the islands and of areas suffering from flooding or deep snow

The secondary roles of the helicopter are:

  • the exercise of the primary search, rescue and evacuation roles in adjacent search and rescue regions
  • assistance to onshore emergency services, such as in the evacuation of high-rise buildings
  • public safety awareness displays and demonstrations
  • providing helicopter expertise for seminars and training courses

The Irish Coast Guard provides aeronautical assets for search and rescue in the mountains of Ireland. Requests for Irish Coast Guard assets are made to the Marine Rescue Centres.

Requests are accepted from An Garda Síochána and nominated persons in Mountain Rescue Teams.

Information courtesy of Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (July 2019)

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