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Displaying items by tag: Irish Underwater Council

#Diving - The Irish Times' Lorna Siggins profiles the Irish Underwater Council (CFT) as it celebrates its 50th anniversary.

The organisation has certainly come a long way since founder member Michael Moriarty first plunged into the depths with little more than a dry suit and some rubber breathing hoses for air.

Of course technology would revolutionise the pastime, with the development of the diving regulator and later the rebreather system, which made diving much safer and allowed divers to explore beneath the surface better than ever before.

Such developments also provoked big changes in the way Ireland values its national heritage.

Today it's hard to believe that now endangered shellfish were picked on a whim, or that the National Museum considered the numerous wrecks from the Spanish Armada were "not of historical significance".

The Irish Times has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Diving

#Diving - The Irish Underwater Council (CFT) reports the "huge success" of the 22nd annual Dive Ireland expo in Athlone at the weekend.

The two-day event at the Hodson Bay Hotel welcomed "speakers from near and far as well as photography workshops and a fully loaded international trade fair" - not to mention the CFT National Dive Conference and AGM.

Ahead of the expo, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Jimmy Deenihan commented on the role of SCUBA clubs and diving centres in Ireland's national tourism infrastructure in promoting this country's dive sites.

In the foreword to the recently published Warships, U-boats and Liners, he also wrote of the Government's commitment to developing its archive of wrecks in Irish waters.

“With the support of responsible dive centres and local dive clubs ... these wrecks can be explored now and into the distant future by visitors from home and abroad.”

According to the CFT, local authorities are also starting to recognise the importance of developing aquatic activities to encourage tourism.

One example is Mayo County Council's Blue Ways list of swimming and snorkelling sites along the county's coast, which complements its Green Ways walking trails.

The council also highlighted the importance of heritage among Ireland's diving community, and their role in discoveries such as the Viking-era swords retrieved from the River Shannon near Banagher last autumn, as the Offaly Independent reports.

Published in Diving

#Diving - The Dive Ireland expo heads to Athlone in 2013 with a full weekend of speakers, exhibits and workshops for divers and snorkelers of all levels.

This year's hosts at the Athlone Sub Aqua Club have announced details of the 22nd-annual dive show from 2-3 March 2013 at the Hodson Bay Hotel, which also doubles as the AGM for the Irish Underwater Council (CFT).

Speakers lined up for this year include renowned wreck diver Barry McGill, cave divers Jim Warney and Jason Masterson, limit-pushing free diver Feargus Callaghy and snorkelling advocate Victor Kutischev, as well as representatives from marine wildlife conservation group Sea Shepherd.

Just like last year, Dive Ireland 2013 will also feature a wide array of exhibitors to cater for all types of diver interests - and entry for each day costs just €5.

The Athlone Sub Aqua Club has more details on the Dive Ireland 2013 programme HERE.

Published in Diving

#DALKEY ISLAND SNORKEL - More than 100 participants took part in the St. Patrick's Day Dalkey Island snorkel fundraiser event in aid of the RNLI, where the local Dun Laoghaire lifeboat RNLB Anna Livia was hove to off Coliemore Harbour, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Some two hours after high-tide this morning the snorkelers set off from the harbour through Dalkey Sound and made an anti-clockwise circuit of the island.

The circuit took up to an hour to complete and their progress was monitored by a fleet of safety RIBS, with the last participants returning to the harbour around noon.

A crowd gathered overlooking the harbour where fundraising activities took place and it was hoped that the event would raise between €4,000 - €5,000.

The fundraiser was organised by the Marlin Sub Aqua Club on behalf of Comhairle Fó Thuinn (CFT) the Irish Underwater Council. The club was established in 1980 and operates from the Clondalkin Community Sports Centre in west Dublin.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
13th February 2012

Dive Ireland Expo Returns

#DIVING - Dive Ireland 2012, Ireland's only dedicated dive expo, promises to be bigger, better and feature more speakers, exhibits and workshops - everything for the dive professional as well as the complete beginner.

The 21st Annual International Dive Show, hosted by the Irish Underwater Council (CFT), will take place at the City North Hotel in Dublin on the weekend of 3-4 March.

This year's show will feature top SCUBA professionals including keynote speaker Rory Golden, who in 2000 became the first Irish diver to visit the wreck site of the Titanic, returning for a second visit in 2005.

Golden will be giving a series of talks on his experiences to mark the centenary of the ill-fated ship's sinking in the north Atlantic.

Dive Ireland 2012 will also feature a huge array of Irish SCUBA companies, free seminars and practical workshops that will cater to a wide range of diver interests, along with a host of in-show features guaranteeing a great day out for divers and non-divers alike.

Visit the Dive Ireland 2012 website for more details on tickets or booking a stand.

Published in Diving
The Irish Underwater Council (ICU) says injuries in sports diving are increasing, the Irish Examiner reports.
Some 12 of a total of 61 registered incidents last year caused injury to divers. Other incidents included near-misses between boats, divers going missing, air shortages and rapid ascent.
ICU national diving officer Martin Kiely said the figures did not necessarily show that more incidents were occurring, but rather that more were being reported.
The Irish Examiner has more on the story HERE.

The Irish Underwater Council (ICU) says injuries in sports diving are increasing, the Irish Examiner reports.

Some 12 of a total of 61 registered incidents last year caused injury to divers. Other incidents included near-misses between boats, divers going missing, air shortages and rapid ascent.

ICU national diving officer Martin Kiely said the figures did not necessarily show that more incidents were occurring, but rather that more were being reported. 

The Irish Examiner has more on the story HERE.

Published in Diving

My time on the water has been spent 'on the surface,' but those who like to go underwater tell me the attractions of diving are magnificent and that Cork Harbour, my sailing base atop the water, is one of the great 'dive spots' on the Irish coastline.

There are many ways to enjoy the water, so I believe in encouraging everyone who takes parts in watersports. That is one way in which appreciation of the importance of the marine sphere can be advanced.

The Irish Underwater Council, Comhairle Fó Thuinn, known by its initials 'CFT,' promotes diving and is the national governing body for recreational underwater sports in Ireland. Through affiliated clubs, it provides training for diving and snorkelling.

DIVING_IN_CORK_HARBOUR_0ne

"It's time to dive," the CFT says. "We provide the opportunity for recreation and fun in a friendly environment while maintaining a safe and cautious attitude to Irish waters. The basic objective of the training system is to demonstrate, teach and practice all the necessary abilities until the beginner is comfortable with the equipment and basic safety skills. There is no pressure of time limits and training is at the individual's own pace."

The CFT was founded in 1963 when underwater enthusiasts wanted to establish a national group which would organise and promote sport scuba diving and snorkelling. At that time there were six clubs around the country. The number has now expanded to 84.

I was talking in the past week to just one of those clubs - the Cork Sub Aqua Club which is encouraging more people to take up the sport. It has been in existence for 40 years and organises dives on Wednesday evenings during the Summer and on most Sundays throughout the year. There are visits to dive sites outside of Cork and wreck-diving is organised to suit ability and experience. Divers come from all ages and backgrounds, so there is a great opportunity if for anyone interested to get involved.

"We will begin training new recruits in January, so anyone who joins will be ready for open water by the Spring. No experience is necessary," the club says. "Our qualified instructors are waiting for newcomers and, for anyone already qualified, we say join and dive with us."

The photograph on this week's blog shows two divers enjoying their time in the water, even in this cold period of the year. Niall O'Regan from Monkstown in Cork and Ian Kelleher were diving off Roche's Point. They had a look at a trawler which sank in the area back in the mid-80s. The attraction of diving for them is "the great diversity of sea life to be found around the harbour and the quiet and tranquillity underwater in comparison to the hustle and bustle on land." That is a well-expressed sentiment which I like and encourages me to tell you that I am continuing with attempt to develop my idea for the establishment of an Irish maritime foundation. My thanks to those readers of this blog who Emailed me about it. Some good ideas have been put forward and more are always welcome.

For anyone interested you can get more information about the Irish Underwater Council by Emailing: [email protected] or about membership by Email to: [email protected]

You can Email me in response to items on this blog at: [email protected]

This article is reprinted by permission of the EVENING ECHO newspaper, Cork, where Tom MacSweeney writes maritime columns twice weekly. Evening Echo website: www.eecho.ie

Published in Island Nation
It's that time of year again, dark evenings and looking for a new challenge writes Timmy Carey. Time to find a new sport to take away the winter blues, why not try SCUBA Diving or Snorkelling. Most clubs begin training either in October or February so now is the best time to enquire and give it a try. The shores of Ireland are blessed with a rich variety of marine life and with almost 12,000 shipwrecks around our coast, there is an never ending challenge awaiting. The Irish Underwater Council has almost 100 diving clubs clubs across Ireland affiliated to it and most will be running beginners scuba courses shortly. For further details log in HERE or alternatively ring the Irish Underwater Council head office at 01-2844601

 diveMG_0558

Divers completing a decompression stop after a 40 meter dive to the wreck of the ssFoilia off the Waterford Coast

Published in Diving

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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