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Displaying items by tag: Master Mariners

9th November 2016

Master Mariners & The WAFIs

Master Mariners are interesting people to meet and talk with. They are the Captains of their industry… The Shipmasters …. Leaders in the Merchant Navy…. A Master Mariner achieves that designation after years of study, examinations, Cadetship, sea-going service, more examinations as career advancement is achieved in the ships’ officer ranks and regular updating required of qualifications to ‘handle’ a ship…

It is a rank completely misunderstood by the general media… no surprise there when journalists and broadcasters with inadequate maritime knowledge describe those in charge of yachts as Captains or describe Skippers of fishing boats as Captains. It underlines the ignorance amongst the media of the marine sphere and the rank of Captain in the Merchant Navy.
I met Master Mariners at the Pilotage Conference in the National Maritime College in Ringaskiddy on the edge of Cork Harbour. They were discussing ‘Marine Pilotage Today and in the Future.
Four leading marine organisations combined to hold the conference – the Irish Institute of Master Mariners; the Irish Branch of the international Nautical Institute; NMCI Ports, which is the Port Operations Training section of the National Maritime College and the Port of Cork Company.

There was a big attendance of Master Mariners, pilots, cadets and College students. The relationship of Shipmasters and bridge crews aboard vessels with the pilots when they board ships entering harbours, the use of new electronic technology and other emerging trends, the adequacy of the training of pilots and the interaction with tugs when used, to ensure safe towage were amongst the topics discussed.

It was fascinating to hear the problems which can be encountered, the difficulties facing the officers and crew on the ships’ bridge.
I was shown what a large, heavily loaded container ship encountered from a yacht in Cork Harbour. This yacht came from the starboard side and was videoed by the bridge personnel as, despite warnings, it sailed practically under the rapidly approaching bow of the ship. From the bridge view, high up above the ship’s deck, the yacht looked a small but dangerous sight on the video. It ignored the ship and disappeared from view across the ship’s bow, to the consternation of the bridge officers and the pilot…. To the relief of everyone, it emerged on the port side, barely ahead of the ships’ bow.

It was a flagrant breach of safety… Whoever was aboard the yacht showed no consideration for the problems they were causing to the ship which had little room to manoeuvre. Were it an incident on the road I would consider the yacht crew chargeable for highly dangerous driving….

Marine pilots and Shipmasters told me that this was not an unusual incident, but an all-too regular occurrence. While racing events are controlled by clubs and warnings issued to participants about not interfering with shipping, leisure sailors impede ships and yachts are not the only offenders. So are motorboaters, jetskis and angling boats anchored too close to or in the shipping channel.
In commercial harbours shipping traffic has right-of-way, yacht clubs and others operate with the goodwill of the port companies. That needs to be remembered before the ignorance demonstrated on the video shown to me causes the imposition of restrictive regulations on leisure boating.
And what about WAFIS?
I learned that it is a term, not of endearment, used at times by ships’ crews to describe sailors causing dangerous problems for shipping:
The acronym reads in full WIND ASSISTED F…. (use your imagination) IDIOTS…
From what I saw on that container ship’s video in Cork Harbour it can be deserved …. and Cork is not the only harbour where similar incidents occur.
• Listen to the Podcast above

Published in Island Nation
Tagged under

#MasterMariners - The Irish Institute of Master Mariners, the professional body for shipmasters, has elected a woman to lead the organisation for the first time.

Capt Sinead Reen was also the first woman to qualify as a deck officer, having studied at CIT Cork where Nautical Science courses were held before they were transferred to the new National Maritime College at Ringaskiddy, where she now lectures.

She was also the first Irish woman to gain a Certificate of Competency as a Master Mariner and has served at sea aboard supertankers, but she now resides in Crosshaven with her husband, fellow Master Mariner Cormac MacSweeney.

Capt Reen's election underlines the opportunities of a career at sea for women in what has been a male-dominated profession.

The Irish Institute of Master Mariners promotes safe, efficient and professional conduct in the public and commercial maritime sectors. It is a member of the International Federation of Shipmaster's Associations and the Confederation of European Shipmasters.

Published in Ports & Shipping

Royal National Lifeboat Institute (RNLI) in Ireland Information

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is a charity to save lives at sea in the waters of UK and Ireland. Funded principally by legacies and donations, the RNLI operates a fleet of lifeboats, crewed by volunteers, based at a range of coastal and inland waters stations. Working closely with UK and Ireland Coastguards, RNLI crews are available to launch at short notice to assist people and vessels in difficulties.

RNLI was founded in 1824 and is based in Poole, Dorset. The organisation raised €210m in funds in 2019, spending €200m on lifesaving activities and water safety education. RNLI also provides a beach lifeguard service in the UK and has recently developed an International drowning prevention strategy, partnering with other organisations and governments to make drowning prevention a global priority.

Irish Lifeboat Stations

There are 46 lifeboat stations on the island of Ireland, with an operational base in Swords, Co Dublin. Irish RNLI crews are tasked through a paging system instigated by the Irish Coast Guard which can task a range of rescue resources depending on the nature of the emergency.

Famous Irish Lifeboat Rescues

Irish Lifeboats have participated in many rescues, perhaps the most famous of which was the rescue of the crew of the Daunt Rock lightship off Cork Harbour by the Ballycotton lifeboat in 1936. Spending almost 50 hours at sea, the lifeboat stood by the drifting lightship until the proximity to the Daunt Rock forced the coxswain to get alongside and successfully rescue the lightship's crew.

32 Irish lifeboat crew have been lost in rescue missions, including the 15 crew of the Kingstown (now Dun Laoghaire) lifeboat which capsized while attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme on Christmas Eve 1895.

FAQs

While the number of callouts to lifeboat stations varies from year to year, Howth Lifeboat station has aggregated more 'shouts' in recent years than other stations, averaging just over 60 a year.

Stations with an offshore lifeboat have a full-time mechanic, while some have a full-time coxswain. However, most lifeboat crews are volunteers.

There are 46 lifeboat stations on the island of Ireland

32 Irish lifeboat crew have been lost in rescue missions, including the 15 crew of the Kingstown (now Dun Laoghaire) lifeboat which capsized while attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme on Christmas Eve 1895

In 2019, 8,941 lifeboat launches saved 342 lives across the RNLI fleet.

The Irish fleet is a mixture of inshore and all-weather (offshore) craft. The offshore lifeboats, which range from 17m to 12m in length are either moored afloat, launched down a slipway or are towed into the sea on a trailer and launched. The inshore boats are either rigid or non-rigid inflatables.

The Irish Coast Guard in the Republic of Ireland or the UK Coastguard in Northern Ireland task lifeboats when an emergency call is received, through any of the recognised systems. These include 999/112 phone calls, Mayday/PanPan calls on VHF, a signal from an emergency position indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) or distress signals.

The Irish Coast Guard is the government agency responsible for the response to, and co-ordination of, maritime accidents which require search and rescue operations. To carry out their task the Coast Guard calls on their own resources – Coast Guard units manned by volunteers and contracted helicopters, as well as "declared resources" - RNLI lifeboats and crews. While lifeboats conduct the operation, the coordination is provided by the Coast Guard.

A lifeboat coxswain (pronounced cox'n) is the skipper or master of the lifeboat.

RNLI Lifeboat crews are required to follow a particular development plan that covers a pre-agreed range of skills necessary to complete particular tasks. These skills and tasks form part of the competence-based training that is delivered both locally and at the RNLI's Lifeboat College in Poole, Dorset

 

While the RNLI is dependent on donations and legacies for funding, they also need volunteer crew and fund-raisers.

© Afloat 2020

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