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Displaying items by tag: MCA

The UK’s Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) says it wants “to send a clear message” to owners and operators of commercially operated yachts that their vessels — including those engaged in racing — must be coded.

The message comes after the MCA agreed to discontinue prosecution against the owners of two yachts, Scarlet Oyster and Playing Around, under the condition that both enter into a written agreement to ensure their vessels are coded when engaged in any commercial activity.

Small, commercially operated yachts must hold a valid code certificate when being used for any commercial purposes, including racing and training, while vessels must also only operate within the category of water for which they have been authorised.

A failure to comply will result in enforcement action, with the MCA saying it is committed to maintaining the rigorous standards of the UK flag.

Despite initiatives to address concerns raised in 2019, such as the publication of an information leaflet and officers attending Gran Canaria for the start of the ARC, investigations were begun into several yachts.

The Regulatory Compliance Investigation Team found a number of breaches, resulting in the owners receiving official cautions, paying several thousands of pounds in intervention costs to the MCA and ensuring their vessels were coded for future commercial use.

Other yachts were sold or removed from the UK flag and are no longer entitled to be UK-registered.

Mark Flavell, lead investigator at the MCA as part of the Regulatory Compliance Investigations Team, said: “A misinterpretation of the code concerning yachts engaged in racing had developed. The MCA want to send a clear message and dispel this misinterpretation.

“Commercially operated vessels, including those engaged in racing, must be coded. This is to ensure commercial vessels are subject of an independent survey and inspection regime. The aim being, as with any scrutiny of commercial operations, is to keep employees and public safe.

“We will not hesitate to take enforcement action against yacht owners who don’t want to hear this message and fail to get their yacht coded.”

Published in Racing

The company that runs the Clipper Round The World Yacht Race has called for an independent inquiry into the official investigation of the death of a sailor during the most recent edition of the race.

Clipper Ventures have blasted UK’s Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) and Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) for “failure of professionalism, impartiality and honesty” in their parallel probes of the overboard incident in the Southern Ocean that cost the life of 60-year-old retired solicitor Simon Speirs on 18 November 2017.

Despite his being tethered to the boat, as Clipper Ventures says, a “freak failure” of a tether safety clip led to Speirs entering the water as he was helping to reduce sail on board the yacht CV30, also known as GREAT Britain, amid increasing winds and sea state.

Spears was recovered from the sea by his fellow crew but could not be resuscitated. He was given a burial at sea the following day.

Clipper Ventures says the conclusions of investigations by the MCA and MAIB into the incident “are the cause of considerable concern” and involve “multiple errors and distortions of the truth” — including a suggestion by an MCA official that a nearby vessel could have taken Speirs’ body home to the UK for burial, when no such vessel existed.

Clipper Ventures also says it suspects that “significant and improper influence was applied to the MAIB investigation by the MCA team” in the bodies’ parallel investigations.

As of 1pm on Sunday 11 August, the MCA and MAIB have not released comment on Clipper Venture’s claims.

Published in Clipper Race

The UK’s Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) wants to hear recreational boaters’ views on six draft Marine Guidance Notes (MGN) concerning guidance on boat safety over the next few weeks.

RYA cruising manager Stuart Carruthers said: “The MCA has launched this consultation following the Cheeki Rafiki trial where the judge commented that there were aspects not covered by the construction standards for small commercial vessels which should be considered best practice.

“The RYA already provides a considerable amount of safety advice that is readily accessible by the boating public and intends to submit a full response, outlining our views and the concerns of our members.

“Our response will focus on the interests of pleasure boaters with the aim of ensuring that any guidance is clear, realistic and proportionate.”

The six notices cover guidance on keel groundings, rigging inspections, preparedness, stowage of lifesaving gear, vessel resilience and emergency procedures, and maintenance, modifications, damage and repairs.

They are aimed at both small commercial vessels as well as pleasure boats.

The MCA states that it wishes to reinforce to owners, managing agents and skippers of both commercial and pleasure vessels what it considers good practice in terms of safety when going out to sea.

Boaters’ views are sought in the following areas:

  • Whether the draft notes contain guidance that is realistic to carry out in practice
  • What other costs and benefits there might be that haven’t been included in the de minimis assessment
  • If there is the right level of content in each MGN

Full details on the draft MGNS and how to give your views can be found on the UK Government website. A full list of consultation questions is contained in Section 5 of this consultation.

The consultation closes on Thursday 18 July and the RYA encourages all UK boaters to respond.

Published in Water Safety
Tagged under

#Cattleships- Express 1, an Ireland-Libya serving livestock-carrier which was detained in February by the UK's Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) has this week been on 'post-repair trails' in the English Channel, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Having anchored overnight off the Cornish port, the Express 1 returned to Fowey this morning after a two-day inspection at sea of the 7,087 tonnes vessel. This was part of the requirments of the inspection as agreed by MCA surveyors.

Commenting to Afloat.ie, a spokesman for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency said: "The Express 1 remains under detention at Fowey following an inspection yesterday. The operator has made some safety improvements, but there are still some issues".

"Further maintenance work will take place to ensure the ship meets safety standards. We will reinspect it once the maintenance work is complete."

As previously reported, Express 1 while on a passage through the English Channel from Germany in February encountered engine-failure in stormy seas and was taken under tow to Fowey. Arising from the incident, there were calls to the Irish Department of Agriculture to revoke the ships livestock-license.

The 100m Express 1 last year she became the first ship to revive the live cattle-trade from Ireland to Libya, such exports have not taken place since 1996, when Libya banned beef imports from the EU, following the outbreak of (BSE) mad cow disease.

On that inaugural sailing she loaded cattle at Belview Port, the main terminal for the port of Waterford from where animal welfare groups protested.

A sister, Atlantic M, earlier this week had docked at Belview Port and the vessel remains at anchorage today off Dunmore East. She was a former vehicle-carrier the Autotransporter and likewise of Express 1 as the Autoline, they originally operated for Hoegh Ugland Auto-Carriers.

The pair later began a career for United European Car Carriers (UECC) and the sisters continued to make frequent calls to Irish ports.

Published in Ports & Shipping

#Coastguard - The chief executive of the UK's Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) was in Northern Ireland yesterday (4 March) to discuss future collaboration with the Royal National Mission to Deep Sea Fishermen.

As Fishupdate.com reports, the charity - also known as the Fishermen's Mission - provides emergency support to fishermen and their families in times of need.

Sir Alan Massey of the MCA was in Kilkeel, Co Down to meet with the charity's CEO David Dickens to find out how best to work together on their common ground of safety at sea.

"We want to encourage a culture where it becomes normal practice for all fishermen to wear a lifejacket or personal flotation device (PFD) when out at sea," said Massey.

Dickens added that the Fishermen's Mission is "keen to engage with all agencies and organisations that seek to reduce the number and severity of incidents in fishing".

Published in Coastguard

#Coastguard - For Argyll in Scotland reports that Richard Newell has resigned from his post as rescue co-ordination centre manager at Belfast Coastguard.

The news comes some weeks after the command base took on extra responsibility with the permanent closure of the Clyde coastguard station last month.

Britain's Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) confirmed to the website that Newell resigned from his position around two weeks ago - and that he has assured the agency that his decision has no connection with the streamlining plans being undertaken across Britain's coastguard network.

However, For Argyll alleges Newell had made it known locally that "if he considered the future [of the coastguard service] was becoming dangerous, then he would go".

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, campaigners for the Clyde coastguard station in western Scotland were taken aback by the early transfer of helicopter dispatches to Belfast and Stornoway in November, ahead of the base's permanent closure on 18 December last.

More than 30 jobs were lost with the scrapping of the Clyde control centre at Greenock, with much of its role now being taken up by the Belfast command centre at Bangor across the North Channel - a change to the original plan for Scottish stations to share the load till 2015.

Published in Coastguard

A French skipper has been fined £9,000 for the infringement of navigation rules during his Round Britain and Ireland record attempt in June. Marc Guillemot was charged with breaking navigation rules twice in the Straits of Dover during his attempt to beat his own record.

Following his fine Guillemot issued the following statement:

Today, Thursday 6th December 2012, the British justice system issued its judgement following Marc Guillemot's infringement of navigation rules during his Round Britain and Ireland record attempt in June 2012. The skipper will have to pay a fine of 9 000 £.

Reminder of what happened

On 7th June 2012, Marc Guillemot was charged with breaking navigation rules twice in the Straits of Dover during his attempt to beat his own record. Marc Guillemot and his crew did in fact enter the traffic separation system without respecting the lanes and rules regarding crossing this zone.

On 12th July, Marc Guillemot willingly attended a meeting following a summons from the British coastguards (MCA) to find out exactly what he was being accused of and immediately accepted their version of events.

In early September, he was summoned to a hearing, which was due to take place in Southampton on 2nd October at the Magistrates Court. The sailor, who was busy preparing for the Vendée Globe offered his excuses and was represented by his lawyer, to whom he gave instruction to plead guilty.

The judge did not wish to excuse Marc Guillemot's non-attendance and issued a warrant against the skipper. The validity of the warrant issued by the judge was contested by Marc Guillemot at the high court, which led to it being cancelled, and his summons to appear was put back until after the Vendée Globe.

Marc Guillemot was therefore able to line up at the start of the race on 10th November as planned.

The judgement from 6th December

Following his retiral from the Vendée Globe, Marc Guillemot made himself immediately available to the British authorities and was summoned to a hearing on 6th December at the Magistrates Court in Southampton, which he willingly attended accompanied by his legal advisors.

During the hearing, the judge issued Marc Guillemot with a fine of  9 000 £.

Published in Offshore
Tagged under

#FERRY NEWS - The captain of the 1,500 tonnes cargo vessel Union Moon which was involved in a collision with the passenger ferry Stena Feronia in Belfast Lough last night, has been arrested by police, according to BBC News.

An investigation is under way after the accident which happened about a mile and a half from shore between Carrickfergus and Helen's Bay.

The 27,000 tonnes Stena Feronia was on its way from Birkenhead, Merseyside, to Belfast when the collision happened at about 19:45 GMT.

Coxswain of Donaghadee Lifeboat Philip McNamara said the Union Moon, was brought back to Belfast.

No one was injured, but both vessels were substantially damaged. The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) said both captains had been breathalysed, to read more about this story click HERE.

Published in Ferry
A container ship en route from Cork to Rotterdam has been freed after running aground off Cornwall.
BBC News reports that the 131m-long Karin Schepers was beached near St Just early this morning.
Rescue teams were alerted to assist, but the 12-strong crew had managed to free the vessel from the sand by the time help arrived.
According to Steve Huxley of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA), the ship was "extremely lucky" to get off the sand so quickly.
The cause of the incident is not yet known.
A container ship en route from Cork to Rotterdam has been freed after running aground off Cornwall.

BBC News reports that the 131m-long Karin Schepers was beached near St Just early this morning.

Rescue teams were alerted to assist, but the 12-strong crew had managed to free the vessel from the sand by the time help arrived.

According to Steve Huxley of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA), the ship was "extremely lucky" to get off the sand so quickly.

The cause of the incident is not yet known.
Published in Ports & Shipping
The UK's Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) has published its annual canoeing and kayaking report for 2010.
Among 456 incidents involving canoes or kayaks across the UK, which include nine fatalities, many were due to people underestimating weather and tidal conditions.
The report highlighted that many canoe and kayak owners in Britain do not wear essential safety kit such as buoyancy suits or lifejackets, do not include contact details in their craft, and are not a part of the CG66 small boat safety scheme which enables the coastguard to easily identify them.
There have also been increased reports of kayakers getting into difficulty which turn out to be kayakers fishing offshore. The MCA urges any kayakers doing so to contact the coastguard to avoid wasted searches.
The report is available to read and download HERE.

The UK's Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) has published its annual canoeing and kayaking report for 2010.

Among 456 incidents involving canoes or kayaks across the UK, which include nine fatalities, many were due to people underestimating weather and tidal conditions.

The report highlighted that many canoe and kayak owners in Britain do not wear essential safety kit such as buoyancy suits or lifejackets, do not include contact details in their craft, and are not a part of the CG66 small boat safety scheme which enables the coastguard to easily identify them.

There have also been increased reports of kayakers getting into difficulty which turn out to be kayakers fishing offshore. The MCA urges any kayakers doing so to contact the coastguard to avoid wasted searches.

The report is available to read and download HERE.

Published in Canoeing
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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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