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Displaying items by tag: Galway

#MCIB - Marine investigators have emphasised the dangers of drinking while at sea in the official report into the death of a lobster fisherman off Galway in April last year.

The body of Gerard Folan was recovered from the waters off St MacDara's Island, near Carna in Co Galway, on the morning of 24 April 2012 after he was reported missing the night before.

According to the report into the incident by the Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB), Folan had set off in his currach from Dooeyher Pier in Carna around lunchtime on 23 April to check on lobster pots some 3nm away, off Deer Island - promising to contact his father on his return.

Folan was shortly after observed by another fisherman in the area, and was reportedly not wearing an oilskin nor a lifejacket.

Some hours later Folan's father went around the local piers but did not find his son. Later still, Folan's ex-wife contacted Clifden Coast Guard to report his disappearance and a search effort was mobilised.

Early the next morning, before the search resumed at first light, the fishing vessel Ocean Breeze sighted a drifting currach that was found to be Folan's. His body was later recovered off St MacDara's Island around 11am.

According to the MCIB report, it was not possible to determine how Folan became separated from his boat, though it was found that the currach's outboard engine had no kill cord attached, so it is probable the engine was running and the boat motored out of reach when he went overboard.

Although Folan was regarded as a strong swimmer, the post-mortem found elevated levels of alcohol in his bloodstream, which the MCIB report said would have hindered his attempts to swim back to his vessel.

Investigators also highlighted the "undue delay" in raising the alarm when Folan has failed to return earlier on the evening of 23 April.

The full report into the incident is available to download below.

Published in MCIB

#CongerEel - A Galway businessman had a life-threatening encounter with a conger eel while SCUBA diving in Connemara last month, as the Connacht Tribune reports.

Jimmy Griffin, who owns Griffins Bakery on Galway's Shop Street, describes the wildlife attack as like being "hit by a freight train".

He continued: "It had me by the face and I was being tossed around like a rag doll. It hit my head really hard. My regulator was knocked out of my mouth.

"I knew something was after hitting me and biting me, but I didn’t know what it was. I couldn’t get my hands around it, it was so big. I managed to wrestle it off and the pain started to set in on my face.”

The pain was from a serious bite to the side of his mouth that would have sent a less experienced diver into a dangerous panic.

The Connacht Tribune has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#CruiseLiners - The world's largest residential cruise liner is set to visit the City of the Tribes next week, according to the Galway Independent.

The floating town known as The World is expected to arrive in Galway Bay next Monday 8 July for a single night's stay after a similar stop this morning at Belfast and later this week at Derry.

Distinct from other cruise liners that ply the oceans, The World comprises a residential community of some 130 families who between them own the 12-deck, 200-metre-long vessel.

Galway Harbour Master Captain Brian Sheridan described The World's visit as "a great opportunity to showcase the city and the region to its passengers and a welcome economic boost" - despite the ship being too large to enter Galway's inner harbour.

Providing berthing space for the modern generation of cruise ships is one of the goals of the planned expansion of Galway Port, though it emerged this week that the planning application had still not been submitted to An Bord Pleanála.

The Galway Independent has more on The World's visit HERE.

Published in Cruise Liners

#Tourism - The world-class surfing hotspot of Sligo has failed to make the grade in Fáilte Ireland's long list of leading tourism towns for 2013, according to the Irish Independent.

The north-east county was among a surprise selection of areas known for their maritime and waterways attractions - such as Westmeath on the Shannon and Galway, host of last year's Volvo Ocean Race finale - that were not featured in the Irish tourism board's list of 45 towns and villages put forward for the Highly Commended Tourism Towns award, part of the National Tidy Towns Awards to be announced later in the year.

Counties on the water that did make the cut include Clare and Mayo, with five towns each on the list, Kerry with four - including last year's winner Portmagee - and Donegal and Waterford, represented three times each.

The top prize winner, to be announced by Fáilte Ireland in November, will receive €10,000 in supports for tourism marketing and development.

Though Sligo is conspicuous by its absence, Donegal's triple placing shows the north-east region is a big tourism attraction - and the Tripclocker blog says surfing is at the forefront of that.

With Ireland's exposure to the open Atlantic giving is "better waves more often", according to Killian O'Kelly of Bundoran's Turn n' Surf, there is a wide variety of surf beaches stretching from Donegal to Clare in particular with swells for all levels of experience.

Published in Aquatic Tourism

#Drowning - Three drownings over the weekend have underlined the importance of safety on the water during the current sunny spell.

In Galway, residents of Moycullen were mourning the loss of a Lithuanian man who drowned while swimming with friends in Ballyquirke Lake on Saturday evening 8 June, according to Galway Bay FM.

And RTÉ News reports of a similar incident in Cork in the early hours of this morning 10 June, in which a 21-year-old man drowned after getting into difficulties in the River Lee near Ballincollig.

The young man is also believed to have been swimming with friends after another hot day across the country, according to The Irish Times.

Elsewhere in Cork, RTÉ News says a 17-year-old has died after drowning in the River Blackwater.

Earlier it was reported that the teen was in a serious condition after getting into difficulties while swimming with friends at a bathing spit known locally as Lisheen Bridge, and had been in the water for some time before he was recovered.

Published in Water Safety

#RNLI - Clifden RNLI‘s Atlantic 75 lifeboat launched on Thursday afternoon 6 June in response to a coastguard request to assist in the transfer of a casualty from Inishbofin Island in Co Galway to the mainland.

A 61-year-old man, who was visiting the island, had sustained significant facial injuries following a fall from a bicycle. Clifden RNLI lifeboat helm James Mullen, a full-time paramedic, was able to assess the casualty’s injuries on arrival.

Having checked him over, he and the other voluntary crew members transported the man quickly and safely to Cleggan pier and an awaiting ambulance, which then transferred him to University College Hospital Galway for further treatment.

Mullen said of the launch: “I was glad to be available to assist on this callout to Inishbofin today. Our swift launch and recovery time is vital regarding our local islands, and while the casualty’s injuries were not life threatening, they were certainly serious enough to warrant urgent medical attention.”

Inishbofin Island is located five miles off the Connemara coast and is a popular summer holiday destination.

The Clifden RNLI lifeboats have undertaken many launches to and exercises around the island, including with the island’s main ferry. And as previously reported on Afloat.ie, the station was recently chosen to trial the new Mersey class all-weather lifebo

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#MarineWildlife - Another beaked whale stranding has been recorded on the Irish coast just weeks after two of such creatures were found in Donegal.

A ranger with the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) made the discovery at Aillebrack in Co Galway on the evening of 27 May.

The 5m carcass of a female - like the female and juvenile found in the northwest - is thought to be either a True's or Sowerby's beaked whale.

Mick O'Connell, strandings officer with the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG), says the latest stranding "raises new questions", with suspicion that its death may be linked to the face of the Donegal pair earlier this month.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, beaked whales are a rare occurrence in Irish waters, with the last record before this month' stranding made in 2009.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#MarineScience - Galway Bay FM reports that the Marine Institute in Galway is to become one of the world's leading marine research centres.

The news comes in the wake of a groundbreaking deal signed in Galway on Friday afternoon (24 May) between the EU, the US and Canada to join forces on Atlantic Ocean research, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

All partners have agreed to commit to funding to study the interplay of the Atlantic with the Arctic Ocean, and discover ways that research on the oceans and marine wildlife can contribute to scientific advances in other areas.

Meanwhile, a monitoring system for waste waters is among the projects that will benefit from a near €1 million in funding from the Science Foundation.

Research Minister Seán Sherlock announced the funding for projects at NUI Galway that is hoped to deliver "commercialisation of research in a range of areas".

Published in Marine Science

#RNLI - Galway RNLI came to the rescue of three students who got stranded on Hare Island yesterday afternoon (Monday 13 May) after getting caught in the tide off Ballyloughane Beach.

The two young women and young man, in their late teens/early 20s, had gone for a walk and were spotted waving from the island by a local resident who contacted the emergency services and Galway RNLI.

Conditions at the time (around 4pm) were changeable with heavy showers.

Three volunteer members of the inshore lifeboat crew were working in the vicinity of the station at the time and launched the boat in six minutes.

The three students were picked up safely and brought back to the lifeboat station at Galway Docks where they were warmed up and given tea. They did not require medical attention.

The lifeboat crew on this callout were helm David Oliver, Dara Oliver, David Badger and Olivia Byrne.

Lifeboat shore crew John Bryne said: "The three students did the right thing waiting on the island and not attempting to get off."

It's not the first time that people have been stranded by the incoming tide on Hare Island, as Galway RNLI were called to a similar incident in September 2010.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#Festivals - "Tens of thousands" of visitors are expected to flock to the City of the Tribes later this month for the first Galway Sea Festival over the June bank holiday weekend, according to the Galway Advertiser.

Dubbed the 'Mini-Volvo' by locals, the four-day event from 31 May till 3 June is hoped to recreate the celebratory atmosphere of last summer's successful Volvo Ocean Race finale, with a wide range of events both on and off the waters of Galway Bay.

Highlights include the festival regatta led by the Galway Bay Sailing Club's parades of sail on the Friday and Saturday evenings, and a traditional boat regatta by Badoiri na Cladaigh.

Watersports enthusiasts can get a taste of canoeing, diving, sea kayaking and windsurfing over the weekend, which also coincides with World Oceans Day - with family-friendly activities at the Galway Atlantaquaria on Sunday 2 June - and the International Canoe Polo Championships at Claddagh Basin.

Preceding the festival on Thursday 30 May will be the Bright Blue Sea Conference, a major international symposium on marine science, renewable energy, the environment and the 'blue economy'.

Last month it was reported that the Galway Sea Festival received the financial backing of Galway City Council, spurred by its aims to promote Galway as a maritime destination or commerce and tourism.

The Galway Advertiser has much more on the festival HERE.

Published in Maritime Festivals
Page 13 of 31

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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