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Displaying items by tag: Saltee Islands

#Fishing - Marine Minister Michael Creed signed into law conservation measures concerning Irish velvet crab stocks as he hosted the 12th meeting of the National Inshore Fisheries Forum (NIFF) today, Wednesday 27 September.

The Inshore Fisheries Forum structures, which include the NIFF and six Regional Inshore Fisheries Forums (RIFFs), were established in 2014 to foster stakeholder-led development of proposals for the inshore fishing sector.

As well as moved to protect Irish velvet crab, the minister also introduced measures to regulate fishing activities affecting Natura 2000 sites at Hook Head and the Saltee Islands.

Regulations signed by Minister Creed today will introduce a Minimum Conservation Reference Size (MCRS) of 65mm for velvet crab that will apply to Irish sea fishing boats from 1 January 2018.

This measure was initially developed by the West Regional Inshore Fisheries Forum (RIFF) with advice from the Marine Institute. The proposal was brought to the minister last year by the NIFF, and a public consultation on the measure was held at the end of 2016.

Velvet crab are fished all year, but mainly in the March to October period, and they are predominantly a by-catch in the lobster fishery. Landings of velvet crab into Ireland were 406 tonnes in 2015, higher than any year since 2004, and were valued at just under €808,000. Over 80% of velvet crabs are landed by vessels less than 10 metres in length.

Additionally, a Fisheries Natura Declaration signed by Minister Creed today will restrict fishing using dredge and trawling gear for scallop fishing to protect certain sensitive habitats in Natura 2000 conservation sites off the southeast coast of Wexford from 30 November.

The Natura 2000 sites include the Hook Head and Saltee Islands SACs (Special Areas of Conservation). The declaration also sets down monitoring and notification requirements for boats fishing using dredge and trawling gear within these habitats.

These gear and monitoring measures were developed through industry members working with the Marine Institute and Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) to address risks to sensitive habitats in the Hook Head and Saltee Islands SACs. The risks were identified by the Marine Institute in a 2014 risk assessment report of sea-fishing activities in Natura 2000 sites in the Irish Sea.

Industry members – including individual scallop fishermen, members of the Southeast RIFF and representatives of the Irish South and East Fish Producers Organisation (ISEFPO) – met with the Marine Institute and BIM through 2015 and 2016 to develop risk mitigation proposals for the fishery. A public consultation on the resulting Mitigation Response Plan was carried out in 2016.

These measures are being introduced following full consultation with the Inshore Fisheries Forum structures.

“Heading into their third year, the forums have taken a lead in tackling conservation issues and changing practices with a view to long-term sustainability,” said Minister Creed. “I welcome the support these measures have received from the Forums which reflects the mature approach this sector is taking in dealing with its own challenges.”

Minister Creed and the NIFF discussed the implementation of the new measures and the status of other measures under review for important stocks such as lobster, brown crab and razor clams.

The minister also discussed the impact of Brexit on the fishing sector and the UK’s intention to withdraw from the London Fisheries Convention, which governs access to waters inside the 12-mile limit.

Commenting on issues arising for the sector from Brexit, Minister Creed noted: “While the implications of Brexit are far from clear at this point in time, I will continue to highlight Irish fisheries concerns on the EU agenda and work with other impacted EU member states and the Barnier team to ensure that fisheries are not isolated in the overall negotiations on a new EU/UK relationship.”

Published in Fishing

#Fishing - The latest Marine Notice from the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport reminds fishing vessel operators to monitor their bilge spaces prior, during and after voyages.

It is also essential that bilge alarms are tested regularly, to determine that both the audible and visible alarms are working.

In addition, it is good practice to regularly inspect bilge suction strainers to ensure they are clean and ready for use.

The notice is prompted by the recommendation made in last year's report by the Marine Casualty Investigation Board into the sinking of the FV Napier off the Saltee Islands on 30 January 2014.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the Kilmore Quay lifeboat launched to the rescue of two fishermen on board the small lobster boat as it sank off the Co Wexford islands.

The official MCIB report into the incident was unable to determine the exact cause of water flooding the boat's bilge and engine area as it was not recovered from the sea bed, though it is presumed to be a serious failure of the seawater cooling system.

The full report is available to read or download HERE.

Published in Fishing

#MCIB - The lack of a handheld VHF radio or float-free EPIRB potentially delayed the rescue of passengers from a capsized vessel off the Saltee Islands last August.

One man died by drowning but nine others were rescued after a five-hour ordeal at sea when their leisure craft was swamped in the channel between the islands, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

According to the official report on the incident by the Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB), the 21ft Dory named 'Jillian' was already low in the water when it set out from Kilmore Quay in Co Wexford on the afternoon of Saturday 29 August 2015 with its owner-skipper and nine passengers on board.

Shortly before 7pm, as the boat passed through the channel in what are commonly choppy waters towards fishing grounds south of Great Saltee, witness reports said that a wall of water came over the bow, forcing through the acrylic glass windows of the wheelhouse and flooding the cabin.

Before efforts could be made to bail out the boat or use the fixed VHF radio in the wheelhouse, the engine stopped and more water flooded in, causing the vessel to capsize quickly.

One passenger was trapped under the hull but was rescued moments later by one of the others, and all but one managed to climb onto the upturned hull.

With no handheld radio or EPIRB on the boat, the skipper and his passengers were unable to call for help. A flare found by one of the survivors was discarded as none knew how to operate it and feared injury in doing so.

Many hours later at midnight, as the group were having difficulty staying on the upturned hull, they attracted the attention of the Saltee Islands ferry which had joined the search party with the Kilmore Quay and Fethard RNLI and the Irish Coast Guard minutes before.

Within 20 minutes all 10 casualties had been taken aboard the ferry, but one was quickly transferred to the Kilmore Quay lifeboat when his health appeared to be failing.

Despite the swift actions of the lifeboat crew and the personnel of coastguard helicopter Rescue 117 who continued CPR, the man was pronounced dead on arrival at Wexford General Hospital.

The investigation later determined that the skipper did not know the maximum load capacity of his vessel, though it was built before such information was made mandatory for the maker's name plate.

It was therefore judged likely that the additional passenger weight caused the boat to sit low in the water, making it vulnerable to breaking waves in the rougher waters between the Saltees.

In addition, if the boat had carried a handheld radio or EPIRB, or had anyone on board knowledge of how to use a flare, it's likely that the party could have been rescued earlier, the report concluded.

The complete MCIB report into the 'Jillian' incident is available to read or download HERE.

Published in MCIB

#MCIB - Wearing a personal flotation device could have helped save the life of a fisherman whose body was found at the Saltee Islands off Co Wexford this summer months after his disappearance, according to marine accident investigators.

As RTÉ News reports, the body of Paddy Barry, 56, was discovered on the shore of Great Saltee Island on 4 May more than five months after his fishing vessel, the MFV Leonora Jacinta, was found south of the island with no one aboard on 25 November 2013.

The official report into the incident by the Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB) established that Barry, a part-time fishermen who could not swim, had set out from Kilmore Quay alone on the morning of his disappearance to lift and bait lobster pots, and retrieve a string of fouled pots close to Shoal Rock.

It was at the latter location where his boat was last seen headed at 11am, but around 11.50am a passing fishing vessel noted that Barry's boat had been stationary in that spot for some time.

Another vessel approached some 30 minutes later and found that the Leonora Jacinta was secured to a line of pots with its engine idling and its pot hauler set in neutral.

Lifeboat and coastguard teams were contacted immediately and began what became a 26-day search by land, sea and air around the area where the Leonora Jacinta was found, but the operation was stood down on 22 December due to deteriorating weather conditions.

According to the MCIB report, witnesses familiar with Barry confirmed that two personal floatation devices (PFDs) found on the Leonora Jacinta were the vessel's only PFDs – and indicated that Barry preferred not to wear one when he was working, against the Code of Practice for Fishing Vessels.

It was also found that the boat's gunwale was only half a metre high at the pot hauler, giving little stability in that deck position. Though not against regulations, it suggests that Barry could have been pitched overboard by the vessel lurching in even a slight swell.

In such an event, strong currents in the area could have carried Barry some two miles northeast of the boat within two hours, and lacking a lifejacket it would have been extremely difficult both for him to stay afloat and for rescuers to spot him.

Had he been wearing a PDF "it is likely that he would have remained on the surface and been visible to the search teams, which could have led to an early recovery," says the report – which also recommends amending the Code of Practice to set a minimum height for bulwarks, guard rails and hand rails.

The full MCIB report on the MFV Leonora Jacinta incident is available to download below.

Published in MCIB
Tagged under

#RNLI - Kilmore Quay RNLI came to the rescue of two fishermen after their boat sank off the Saltee Islands in Co Wexford yesterday afternoon (Thursday 30 January).

The volunteer crew was requested to launch their all-weather lifeboat shortly after 4pm following a Mayday report that a small fishing vessel with two people on board was sinking southwest of the Saltee Islands.

Weather conditions at the time were described as overcast with a force three wind blowing.

The two casualties managed to evacuate the sinking boat onto a liferaft before being rescued by another vessel that was in the area at the time. The men were then transferred to the lifeboat and brought safely back to Kilmore Quay harbour.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
Motor Boats Monthly has posted video of the dramatic rescue of four divers from the Wexford coast on Saturday.
The search operation, which included four RNLI lifeboats, an Irish Coast Guard helicopter and shore unit, was launched last Friday night when the group of divers failed to return to shore.
The divers were rescued at 6am on Saturday morning near the Saltee Islands, where they were found clinging to their upturned RIB.
Divernet reports that the accident occurred when a section of tubing at the boat's bow broke away from the hull.

The accident that left four divers stranded off the Wexford coast last weekend was caused by damage to their boat's hull.

Divernet reports that the accident occurred when a section of tubing at the RIB's bow broke away from the hull.

The search operation, which included four RNLI lifeboats, an Irish Coast Guard helicopter and shore unit, was launched last Friday night when the group of divers failed to return to shore.

The divers were rescued at 6am on Saturday morning near the Saltee Islands, where they were found clinging to their upturned RIB.

Dramatic video of the divers' rescue was posted earlier this week on Afloat.ie.

Published in Rescue
The first in a new series, The Sea Road, following classic Irish sea kayaking routes in The Irish Times takes Gary Quinn to the Saltee Islands.
Setting out from Kilmore Quay in Co Wexford in a group of seven, the forecast of four four winds with rain, fog and thunderstorms is concerning, but not enough to hold Quinn back. And when they finally pierce the fog to land on Little Saltee, it's all worth it.
"The fog lifts, the sun breaks through and, stepping up off the beach, a carpet of bluebells appears to bloom, almost before our eyes," writes Quinn.
The Irish Times has more on Gary Quinn's Saltee Islands visit HERE.

The first in a new series, The Sea Road, following classic Irish sea kayaking routes in The Irish Times takes Gary Quinn to the Saltee Islands.

Setting out from Kilmore Quay in Co Wexford in a group of seven, the forecast of four four winds with rain, fog and thunderstorms is concerning, but not enough to hold Quinn back. And when they finally pierce the fog to land on Little Saltee, it's all worth it.

"The fog lifts, the sun breaks through and, stepping up off the beach, a carpet of bluebells appears to bloom, almost before our eyes," writes Quinn.

The Irish Times has more on Gary Quinn's Saltee Islands visit HERE.

Published in Canoeing
Three anglers were recovered by the Kilmore Quay lifeboat last weekend after an engine failure on their vessel close to the Saltee Islands.
SAR Ireland reports that three males were on board the cheekily named Crafty Bitch on a fishing expedition when they got into difficulty.
They were forced to raise the alarm by phone as there was no VHF radio on board. The absence of radio and GPS made locating the vessel "very difficult", but the boat was eventually found after some delay and towed to port. All on board were wearing lifejackets.
Boat anglers are reminded to ensure they have at a bare minimum a VHF radio and GPS locator on board, as mobile phone signals can be unreliable offshore.

Three anglers were recovered by the Kilmore Quay lifeboat last weekend after an engine failure on their vessel close to the Saltee Islands.

SAR Ireland reports that three males were on board the cheekily named Crafty Bitch on a fishing expedition when they got into difficulty. 

They were forced to raise the alarm by phone as there was no VHF radio on board. The absence of radio and GPS made locating the vessel "very difficult", but the boat was eventually found after some delay and towed to port. All on board were wearing lifejackets.

Boat anglers are reminded to ensure they have at a bare minimum a VHF radio and GPS locator on board, as mobile phone signals can be unreliable offshore.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

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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