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Displaying items by tag: marine science

#MarineScience - Galway's Oslo Bar will host an evening of marine science talks on Tuesday 24 May as art of the international Pint of Science festival.

Taking place simultaneously over three evenings in May in Ireland, the UK, France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Austria, Canada, the USA, Brazil, Australia and South Africa, Pint of Science aims to encourage engagement with science beyond the lab or the lecture hall in the more approachable environment of a local pub.

The Oslo Bar in Galway city centre will host two evenings, one on the science of the human body on Monday 23 May, and a series of marine science topics from 7.30pm on Tuesday 24 May, MCed by Dr Nóirín Burke of the Galway Atlantaquaria.

Niall Keogh of GMIT will discuss the seabirds and cetaceans that populate Ireland's offshore waters, and Raissa Hogan of NUI Galway celebrates the diversity of Irish cold-water corals.

Representing INFOMAR and the Marine Institute, Oisín McManus will talk mapping the mountainous terrain that lies beneath the waves around Ireland, while Dr Tríona McGrath broaches the serious subject of ocean acidification.

For ticket information see the Pint of Science website HERE.

Published in Marine Science

#MarineScience - Dublin City University's St Patrick's Campus and the Marine Institute ran a pilot marine module with over 40 student teachers this week, giving them an opportunity to learn about teaching marine science and Ireland’s marine heritage.

Marine Institute chief executive Dr Peter Heffernan welcomed the collaboration with DCU to introduce themes relating to the marine environment into the science module.

“We recognise the unique position teachers have to help students develop an understanding of our amazing ocean resources," he said. "We hope these teachers will inspire curiosity among their students to learn more about the ocean and to develop an understanding of how we influence the ocean and how the ocean influences us.”

With a focus on a 'Marine Day' on 20 April on campus and in and the wider university, the oceans, seas and shorelines around Ireland present many opportunities to introduce marine themes into a range of cross curricular lessons,” explained Dr Thomas McCloughlin lecturer and lab manager of science at DCU's St Patricks Campus.

The Marine Institute provided a saltwater aquarium as well as a tidal tank for the modules, showing how bringing the seashore to the class provides an exciting way to learn about marine animals typically found on the seashore.

The programme was delivered to over 40 second- and third-year student teachers and included a field trip to the seashore and a range of interactive presentations in class.

“Student teachers get to explore the seashore through field trips as well as analysing specimens through examination and dissection in class. This allows them to integrate examining the biological themes of the marine as well as introducing social, physical-human and geographical influences relating to understanding and ocean resource,” said Dr Noirin Burke of the Galway Atlantaquaria, representing the Marine Institute’s primary school Explorers Education Programme.

Ireland has a seabed territory of approximately 880,000 sq km, 10 times greater than the size of the island of Ireland, making this one of the largest maritime member states of the European Union.

“Therefore, with Ireland being responsible for such a significant ocean resource, it is considered fundamental to teach Irish children, particularly as we are an Island nation, the historical and cultural values as well as the geographical and scientific backgrounds of our marine environment,” said Cushla Dromgool-Regan, responsible for the strategic development of education at the Marine Institute.

The pilot is supported by the Marine Institute and the Explorers Education Programme, which aims to build on Ireland’s marine and maritime heritage by increasing awareness of the value, opportunities and social benefits of our ocean wealth and identity.

The pilot was supported by Explorer Education Centres, Galway Atlantaquaria, Blackrock Education Centre and Sea Life Bray. For more information about the Explorers Education Programme see www.explorers.ie.

Published in Marine Science

#CommOCEAN - Whether you're a marine scientist keen to be speed-trained in modern ocean science communication skills or a communicator, working for a marine institute, NGO or governmental body, the CommOCEAN International Marine Science Communication event is for you.

Following on from the successful IMSCC-1, organised by CIIMAR, Ciencia Viva & EMBCP in 2014, the Bruges-Ostend CommOCEAN event is a unique opportunity to make a major leap forward in communicating your ocean knowledge.

The organisers (VLIZ, EMB, EMBCP, UNESCO-IOC-IODE) are developing an inspiring, innovative and interactive programme consisting of two separate events: a two-day conference in Bruges (6-7 December 2016), followed by a one-day high-level training programme at the InnovOcean facilities in Ostend (8 December 2016).

The call for contributions (orals, poster, workshop) is now open for the two-day conference. The organisers encourage the submission of abstracts from all areas of science communication with a special focus on the ocean, marine and estuarine realm.

The four major sessions of the conference are:

  • The fundamentals of science communication/reaching out to the public.
  • Optimising impact.
  • Social media and graphics.
  • Think out of the box: new formats and creativity.

In terms of ocean topics, there will be a special (but not restrictive) focus on marine climate change, ocean plankton/microbiota, deep sea exploration and ocean observation.

Three presentation formats are applicable for CommOCEAN 2016:

  • Oral presentation in the main plenary program (12'+3' Q/A).
  • Workshop interactive sessions in parallel groups (60').
  • Poster presentation, displayed at a central location.

Abstracts must be submitted in English to [email protected] according to the guidelines and the template provided.

Please make sure that you indicate your preference for one or more of the three suggested formats: oral, poster, workshop. If submitting an abstract for a workshop, please indicate the planned format and content, including any logistical requirements.

Abstracts can be submitted until 1 June 2016 at the latest. For any questions relating to abstracts, contact [email protected]

Read more about the venues, the scope and the tentative programme at CommOCEAN.org

Published in Marine Science
Tagged under

#BoatyMcBoatface - Not so fast, Boaty McBoatface! Despite the public voicing their choice of name for Britain's latest marine research vessel, the UK's Science Minister has put the kibosh on that notion – to much disappointment online.

As reported yesterday on Afloat.ie, the head of the National Environment Research Council (NERC) was left with a dilemma after 'Boaty McBoatface' was the runaway winner in an public poll to name the £200 million (€253 million) polar research ship.

The online poll included nominations as worthy as Antarctic explorer Henry Worsley and renowned natural history broadcaster David Attenborough, and as smart-alecky as It's Bloody Cold Here.

But according to The Irish Times, the final decision rests with Science Minister Jo Johnson, who was diplomatic in saying that while the "imaginative" suggestions for names would be "reviewed", he favoured one that “captures the spirit of scientific endeavour”.

The reaction online has been swift, with the minister being branded an "anti-democrat, humorless spoilsport" for overruling the people, prompting some to call for the resignation of Prime Minister David Cameron.

That's according to the Huffington Post, who also quoted former Royal Navy head Admiral Lord West on the 'controversy'.

“It’s the typical thing of Brits going mad," he said, "normally silly season, not at this time of year."

Published in News Update

#BoatyMcBoatface - The votes are in and 'Boaty McBoatface' is the clear choice in a public poll to name a new British polar research vessel, according to the Guardian.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, bosses at the National Environment Research Council (NERC) were left red-faced by the popularity of the tongue-in-cheek name, one of a number of witticisms nominated by the public in an online pills to name its latest £200 million (€253 million) research ship.

Now NERC chief executive Duncan Wingham, who holds final say on the naming rights, is left with the difficult decision of whether to go with the popular choice, or preserve the credibility of the advanced polar research fleet among the marine science community.

As it turns out, it's not the first time that marine science has had an awkward brush with the public online – as an effort by Greenpeace to draw attention to whaling in the South Pacific led to a humpback whale being lumbered with the dubious monicker Mister Splashy Pants.

However, as the AV Club reports, that name ended up being to the benefit of Greenpeace's campaign against Japanese whaling – a subject back in the news after confirmation of hundreds of whale kills on a recent Antarctic expedition.

Published in News Update

#MarineWildlife - Sharks have been filmed devouring a whale carcass at the ocean's surface in waters close to Britain and Ireland for the first time.

The results of the documentary expedition were broadcast last Friday as part of the UTV series Britain's Whales, available for catch-up the rest of this week.

As the Plymouth Herald reports, the groundbreaking experiment was headed by West Country marine biologist Dr Nicholas Higgs along with presenters Ellie Harrison and Ben Fogle, who sailed out to the Celtic Deep between Ireland, Cornwall and Wales with the carcass of a humpback whale in tow.

Their documentary crew were then able to film an "unprecedented" feeding frenzy by hundreds of blue sharks before the carcass was sunk for further study to examine the various creatures, from sharks to tiny 'zombie worms', that thrive on dead cetaceans as they drop to the ocean floor.

"I would never have predicted that you'd have this many sharks eating this much of the whale at the surface," said Dr Higgs. The Plymouth Herald has more on the story HERE.



In other cetacean news, Japan has disappointed global authorities by confirming hundreds of whale kills on its most recent expedition to the Antarctic.

Some 333 minke whales, including pregnant females, were poached between since December and last Friday (25 March), according to the Guardian.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, Ireland recently joined an international demarche expressing "serious concern" at Japan's decision to resume whaling for what it claims are scientific purposes, claims that are not supported by the International Whaling Commission.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#MarineNotice - The latest Marine Notice from the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (DTTAS) advises that the German Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (BSH) and the University of Bremen will deploy three scientific deep-sea moorings at Goban Spur off the southwestern Irish shelf.

The work will be carried out by the German research vessel Maria S Merian (Callsign DBBT) and is expected to start on or around Sunday 3 April, lasting for approximately five days, weather permitting.

The top elements of all three moorings are yellow or orange in colour and carry flags as well as radio and Iridium beacons that only signal once the top element is at the surface. Scientific instruments are attached at different depths to ropes and chains. Sub-surface floatation bodies will keep the moorings upright.

As this is sensitive scientific equipment it is requested that fishermen and marine operators engaged in such activities as bottom trawling or laying of static gear avoid the locations concerned.

The moorings will be in place for a period of 12-15 months and will be positioned at the locations detailed in Marine Notice No 12 of 2016, a PDF of which is available to read or download HERE.

Published in Marine Warning

#CoastalNotes - Marine Institute researchers assisted marine technology students from Cape Fear Community College in the USA by deploying their miniature marine research vessel from the RV Celtic Explorer last Sunday 20 March.

The students in Cape Fear Community College’s boat building programme spent two months building Marlin Spikin’ Miller, which washed up on the shores of a Connemara island recently some eight months after being put to sea 6,000 miles across the Atlantic, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

The boat is a miniature fibreglass sailboat designed to journey with the ocean winds and currents. It is embedded with a small satellite transmitter mounted on the deck and sends back data to the students which they use to monitor ocean and wind currents.

Cape Fear's boat building programme is unique in its kind and is part of a project in which a handful of schools across the USA are included.

Ciaran O’Donnell of the Marine Institute commented: “We are delighted to have this opportunity to play a role in this project and will look forward to seeing where the vessel will end up next.”

The Celtic Explorer launched the Marlin Spikin’ Miller at the most south-westerly point of the current blue whiting acoustic survey off the coast of Ireland.

The survey will run for another fortnight and will assess the size of the spawning stock of blue whiting in western waters. Ireland has participated in the international survey programme since 2004.

Acoustic data, age and maturity of blue whiting samples from all participants are combined to provide a measure of the relative abundance of the blue whiting stock.

The annual abundance estimate and stock numbers at age are presented to the ICES Working Group of Widely Distributed Stocks (WGWIDE).

Published in Coastal Notes

#BoatyMcBoatface - The operators of a new British marine research vessel may be left red-faced as an online poll to name the ship has a clear favourite: Boaty McBoatface.

The tongue-in-cheek submission is far ahead of rival choices such as David Attenborough in the public vote to name the Natural Environment Research Council's (NERC) new polar research ship, as The Independent reports. SEE VIDEO BELOW.

And it's not the only witticism in the running, with Usain Boat, Ice Ice Baby and Notthetitanic also proving popular on social media ahead of the voting deadline on 16 April.

Whatever name it eventually gets, the £200 million (€253 million) vessel will carry up to 90 scientists and support staff on lengthy research voyages to the Arctic and Antartica, forming part of what NERC describes as "the most advanced floating research fleet in the world".

The Independent has more on the story HERE.

Published in News Update

#MarineScience - Marine scientists on board the RV Celtic Explorer have posted their first blog entry from this year's blue whiting acoustic survey voyage.

Setting sail from Cork on St Patrick's Day last week, the team – comprising acousticians, biologists and marine wildlife observers – are preparing to cover a massive area between the West of Ireland and the west coast of Scotland, including Rockall, as part of a flotilla of international research vessels from the Netherlands, Norway and the Faroe Islands.

The [email protected] blog has more on the mission HERE.

Published in Marine Science
Page 9 of 28

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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