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Displaying items by tag: Maritime Festivals

#ConamaraSeaWeek - The 32nd Conamara Sea Week got under way in Letterfrack yesterday (Sunday 23 October) with a full programme of entertaining and educational events, including a mini sailing regatta.

The Connacht Tribune has much more on the maritime festival line-up for the week ahead, centred this year around a schools programme bringing together marine ecologists and storytellers to involve children and young people in Connemara in all aspects of the sea.

Published in Maritime Festivals

#MaritimeFestivals - The 2016 Carlingford Oyster Festival kicks off this evening (Thursday 4 August) on the shores of Carlingford Lough with the official opening of the event that runs till Monday 8 August.

This Saturday (6 August) is when the festivities really under way, with local restaurants offering samples of their finest seafood dishes.

Visitors will have an opportunity to try some of the Co Louth town's renowned local oysters at the Festival Oyster Tent.

There will also be guided tours of what's one of Ireland's few remaining Medieval walled towns, to coincide with Irish Walled Towns Day on Sunday 7 August.

For more on the weekend's festivities see HERE.

Published in Maritime Festivals

#TitanicMaritime - Belfast City welcomes some of the Tall Ships back for the Titanic Maritime Festival a three day event (28-30 May) that begins today and includes this Spring Holiday Monday in the UK.

Groups of young people from across the city have been enjoying the challenge of life on the ocean waves, thanks to Belfast City Council’s Sail Training Initiative.

A total of 30 volunteers, aged between 16 and 28 and from all parts of the city, are taking part in series of voyages on board the tall ships Maybe and Morgenster. They were scheduled to call to ports such as Dublin, Liverpool, the Isle of Man, Derry/Londonderry, Galway, Cork, Oban, Carsaig on the Isle of Mull and Lamlash on the Isle of Arran.

Lord Mayor, Councillor Arder Carson, said: “These voyages will provide the participants with a unique, challenging and inspirational experience that increases their self-awareness and self-confidence, develops their teamwork and leadership skills and creates a strong sense of community responsibility, perhaps helping them to become future civic leaders. 

The Lord Mayor added “As members of trainee crews, along with trainees from Dublin, Galway and Liverpool they will be an important members of the crew and their participation in all activities is essential to the smooth running of the voyage.”

During the voyages, the trainees will help in all aspects of life on board, including trimming sails, steering and navigation.

The Belfast Titanic Maritime Festival and for further details, click here.

Published in Maritime Festivals

#OurOceanWealth - Registration is now open for the 2016 Our Ocean Wealth Conference at NUI Galway on Friday 1 July.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, this year's conference will again take place alongside SeaFest, Ireland's national maritime festival, hosted this year in Galway Harbour from 2-3 July.

The full conference agenda is yet to be announced but items of focus will include:

  • Progress on the implementation of Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth - Ireland's Integrated Marine Plan
  • Into the Blue: Economy and Growth
  • Map, Observe, Predict: Innovating Across the Atlantic
  • Our New Relationship With the Sea

For more information or to register for the conference visit www.ouroceanwealth.ie.

Published in News Update

#InlandWaters - The Waterways Ireland Docklands Summer Festival takes place this weekend 21-22 May with a wide array of activities for all.

Water-based experiences include kayaking, paddle boarding and barge rides, as well as the opportunity for the young and old to try their hand at a range of interesting water sports.

If you'd prefer to stay dry, events for land-lubbers include water golf off the jetty or the rubber duck race.

The festival promises a hive of activity across the Docklands, with entertainment and family fun guaranteed. Find out more HERE.

This Saturday 21 May also sees the Waterways Ireland Loughfest take place at the Fermanagh Lakeland Forum in Enniskillen.

The annual extravaganza, organised by Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, promises to be a fun-packed day for all the family, with a range of events taking place on Lough Erne and the Broadmeadow from 12 noon till 4pm. Details are HERE.

Published in Inland Waterways

#OurOceanWealth - NUI Galway will host the third annual Our Ocean Wealth Conference on Friday 1 July.

The previous two conferences – in the inaugural event in Dublin Castle and last summer's in Cork Harbour – have outlined the progress in implementing the Government's 2012 Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth: An Integrated Marine Plan for Ireland.

And like last year's event in Ringaskiddy and Haulbowline, this year's conference will precede the return of SeaFest, Ireland's national maritime festival, in Galway Harbour from 2-3 July.

Further details are available at the Our Ocean Wealth website HERE.

Another upcoming date for the diary is the 26th Irish Environmental Research Colloquium.

'Ecosystem Services for a Sustainable Future' is the title of Environ 2016 at the University of Limerick from Tuesday 22 to Thursday 24 March.

For more information contact Sinead Macken at 086 807 1498 or [email protected] or visit www.environ2016.org

Published in News Update

#MaritimeFestivals - This year's Dublin Bay Prawn Festival is moving a month earlier to tie in with the St Patrick's festivities in Ireland's capital.

As ever, your favourite prawn dishes will be the star of the show at the food village in the heart of Howth from Friday 18 to Sunday 20 March.

The full programme of events is yet to be announced, but the three days of food and fun are set to kick off once again with the 'mystery dine-around' on Friday 18 March, with a wine reception and courses from some of Howth's finest seafood restaurants. (Tickets priced at €65 per head are going fast.)

In addition, this year's festival will feature an evening of music and dance celebrating Irish, Slovakian and Brazilian culture.

For more details are they are announced, visit the Dublin Bay Prawn Festival website HERE.

Published in Maritime Festivals

#MaritimeFestivals - The inaugural Festival Lough Erne is taking place in the island town of Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh this weekend – a celebration of food and the waterways with fun for all ages.

In the tented village there will be opportunities to meet local food producers and sample the very best of the area's produce, see guest chefs at work and pick up some informative cookery tips and recipes, all whilst tickling the taste buds.

Find out more about the festival's happenings today (Saturday 20 June) and tomorrow at the Fermanagh Lakelands website HERE.

Published in Maritime Festivals

#SeaFest - Marking World Oceans Day across the globe today (Monday 8 June), Marine Minister Simon Coveney announced the first national celebration of Ireland's oceans next month.

The inaugural national maritime festival SeaFest will take place in Cork Harbour on 10 and 11 July and will see thousands of visitors enjoying the fruits and pleasures of the sea, from boating trips, yacht sailing, open water swimming, marine simulators, rescue demonstrations, sea life exhibits, educational screenings and talks, festival family fun and a food village with live seafood cookery demonstrations with some of Ireland's best known chefs.

"As an island nation, it is so important to recognise and celebrate the incredible resources of Ireland's abundant and surrounding seas," said Minister Coveney at today's SeaFest launch. "This two-day festival will travel Ireland, taking place in Cork in 2015 and with plans already underway to bring SeaFest to Galway in 2016.

"It is a national festival at which we can share our seafaring heritage and future, enjoy a myriad of water sports and activities, have fun while learning about the sea and the opportunities it presents, and feast on some of the world's best seafood. I am hugely excited about this national festival, SeaFest, and look forward to it becoming one of Ireland's leading festivals in the coming years."

Cookery demonstrations, workshops on how to cook and eat prawns, lobsters, mussels and oysters among other seafood will be hosted by the seafood development agency, Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) and Bord Bia, the Irish Food Board, with renowned seafood chefs Martin Shanahan and Rory O'Connell.

As well as leading Irish chefs showing people just how easy, quick and healthy it is to enjoy fresh fish from our oceans, there will also be fishmonger demonstrations, seafood sampling, rope making, talks on seafood and a large fish market at the festival.

The Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth Conference, which forms a key part of SeaFest, will attract international and national delegates and experts in marine research, ocean energy and the 'blue economy' to Cork.

"Ireland is one of the largest states in the EU if you take into account our seabed area," said Dr Peter Heffernan, CEO of the Marine Institute. "With our exclusive rights to a sea area more than ten times our land size, Ireland's ocean is a national asset providing incredible opportunities for tourism, energy, food and new applications for therapeutics and technology. SeaFest aims to celebrate and acknowledge the importance of the sea for the island."

The National Maritime College of Ireland (NMCI) will be sharing their facilities, normally used to train for a career as a maritime professional, with the public at SeaFest.

Festival goers can experience various ship models in national and international waters in a variety of weather conditions via the simulators; these simulation exercises show the skills required when working at sea.

Also open for visitors will be UCC's new Beaufort Building. This state-of-the-art €15 million facility will house the LIR National Ocean Test Facility and the SFI MaREI centre, which is a cluster of key university and industrial partners dedicated to solving the main scientific, technical, social and economic challenges related to marine renewable energy.

The Irish Naval Service will be on hand to provide tours of the offshore patrol vessel LE James Joyce, the sister ship to LE Samuel Beckett.

Members of the Irish Defence Forces will tell visitors about the activities of the Irish Navy, situations encountered aboard while at sea and showcase the latest in modern seafaring technology on board this new ship.

The Marine Institute research vessel RV Celtic Voyager will be visiting SeaFest before departing on a survey to investigate algal blooms off Ireland's coast.

The RNLI are the nominated charity for the SeaFest event and 2,000 ducks in lifeboats will take part in a duck race in Cork Harbour to raise funds for the charity, which provides rescue services all around the Irish coast and saves hundreds of lives at sea each year.

There will also be a parade of sail including superyachts, racing yachts, private leisure craft and boats that will sail from the mouth of Cork Harbour to the Port of Cork Marina in the city centre.

The parade of sail will follow the open water swimmers of the Lee Swim, which is taking place on 11 July and will see hundreds taking to the sea to enjoy a refreshing and strenuous in the sea.

SeaFest 2015 promises to be a thoroughly enjoyable festival for all. Don't miss this opportunity to enjoy the best of Ireland's oceans this July in Cork Harbour.

A full schedule of festival fun has been announced at www.seafest.ie.

Published in Maritime Festivals

#Riverfest - The Dublin Bay Old Gaffers Association has timed its annual regatta to take place this weekend during the third Dublin Port Riverfest.

Weather permitting, the DBOGA will race in Dublin Bay for the Leinster Plate Trophy on Saturday 30 May, while on Sunday 31 May they will sail upriver to berth along the north quays and enjoy the festival's atmosphere before parading back to the Poolbeg Boat and Yacht Club.

Then on Bank Holiday Monday 1 June they will join an even bigger parade of sail to salute the departing tall ships – including the square rigger Kaskelot.

More details on the Old Gaffers' weekend plans – and how you can join in the fun – are available HERE.

And don't forget this summer's cruise in company along the 'Fastnet coast' in West Cork.

Published in Maritime Festivals
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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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