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The Marine Institute has announced funding of €0.24 million for the first two Eoin Sweeney PhD Scholarships to run over the next four years.

This Scholarship Programme has been established by the Marine Institute and Plataforma Oceánica de Canarias (PLOCAN) in memory of Eoin Sweeney (1947-2017), who made a significant contribution to developing Irish marine industry, particularly the ocean energy sector, including the establishment of test-bed sites off the west coast of Ireland that provides sea-state testing opportunities for researchers and technology developers.

This Scholarship Programme provides a unique training opportunity for the students using the state-of-the-art scientific facilities at the Plataforma Oceánica de Canarias (PLOCAN) in Gran Canaria, Spain.

Dr José Joaquín Hernández-Brito, CEO said, “PLOCAN are delighted to collaborate with colleagues in Ireland on this Scholarship Programme. We are looking forward to hosting the students in due course, and wish to strengthen our existing research networks between Spain and Ireland together with exploring opportunities for future co-operation in ocean observation.”

The students will also benefit from access to the Marine Institute historical datasets, equipment and infrastructures including access to the national marine research vessels such as the new RV Tom Crean.

Congratulating the award recipients, Mick Gillooly, Director of Ocean Climate and Information Services in the Marine Institute said, “This is an exciting collaboration between the two Universities, PLOCAN and the Marine Institute that enables international collaboration and testing of novel technology, gliders and data buoys, to better understand our ocean ecosystems through long-term observations. Forecasting Ocean and Climate Change is a strategic focus area in the Marine Institute’s Strategic Plan and these scholarships will provide research data from a variety of locations and sea conditions, which will contribute to scientific advice to stakeholders backed up by high-quality peer-reviewed research.”

The awards funded are as follows:

PhD Project Title

Lead Organisation

Grant-Aid Funding Awarded  (for 4 years)             

Application of AUVs to studies on Diel cycles of ocean plankton and biogeochemistry in the Northeast Atlantic

NUI Galway

€120,000           

Wave-powered data buoy

Maynooth University

€120,000  


The students are expected to have commenced by July 2021, with their first visit to PLOCAN expected to take place in 2022 (dependent on government restrictions).

Funding for the Eoin Sweeney Scholarship Programme is provided by the Marine Institute and the Irish Government, funded under the Marine Research Programme. PLOCAN will provide support and host the scholars for two to three months per annum.

Published in Marine Science

Scientists from NUI Galway and Seasearch Ireland are asking divers and marina users to keep an eye out for Undaria pinnatifida, commonly known as Wakame or Japanese kelp. This species was first recorded in Belfast Lough, Northern Ireland in 2012, Wakame has subsequently been recorded at Carlingford Lough in 2014 and Kilmore Quay in Wexford in 2016.

Since then it has been recorded by Seasearch diver Frances O'Sullivan of the Dalkey Sub Aqua club recorded it in Dun Laoghaire Harbour in 2017 and by Seasearch Ireland and KelpRes divers at Greystones Harbour in 2020. Given the widespread nature of the records on the east coast, it is thought that the species is likely to occur in suitable habitats between these areas and may have spread to other areas of the coast.

Wakame can be distinguished from other kelp species found in Ireland by the undulating margins of the blade, distinctive midrib, and belt-like stipe that often has reproductive sori at the margins. The distinctive midrib in a large blade distinguishes this species from other kelp species in Irish waters (e.g. dabberlocks - Alaria esculenta -which has a distinctive midrib but thin blade).

Seasearch Ireland and the KelpRes team at NUIG are asking any marine users who see a kelp species matching the description below to send a photo to [email protected] to confirm the identification and then our colleagues from the KelpRes team in NUIG intend to collect samples of the seaweed for genetic analysis.

Undaria pinnatifida, commonly known as Wakame or Japanese kelp identificationUndaria pinnatifida, commonly known as Wakame or Japanese kelp identification

Kathryn Schoenrock-Rossiter explains the rationale for the sampling: "Studying the genetics of invasive species is important in terms of identifying vectors for introduction and spread. For example, in the invasive freshwater Zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha) a study combing genetic analysis with fieldwork revealed leisure boats from the United Kingdom as the most likely source (vector) of introduction. By using genetic tools to investigate Wakame populations we can estimate whether a single introduction event or multiple have occurred and potentially determine where from (e.g. Europe)."

Rory O'Callaghan, Seasearch Ireland: "International experience with wakame would indicate it is much more likely to occur in marinas and on other man-made structures. From here it can attach to boats and be carried to other parts of the country when boats are moved. As divers, we are particularly conscious of the need for good biosecurity practices such as cleaning or drying out their boat before moving it to another location."

Seasearch is a project by the Marine Conservation Society for divers and snorkelers, who have an interest in what they're seeing underwater, want to learn more and want to help protect the marine environment around the coasts of Britain and Ireland.

Published in Marine Wildlife

The latest research has shown that the impacts of climate change are already evident in Irish marine waters, with the patterns of harmful algal blooms changing in recent decades. The research, undertaken by the Marine Institute, also indicates that the ocean off southwest Ireland will likely become warmer and less salty by the year 2035.

Naturally occurring blooms of microscopic algae species can sometimes harm ocean health. While most microalgae in the sea are beneficial, some species can produce chemicals that can be passed on via filter-feeding shellfish and occasionally make these shellfish unfit for human consumption. These harmful algal blooms can therefore cause substantial damage to the shellfish industry through prolonged farm closures and loss of produce. Ireland has a national monitoring programme in place to ensure that all Irish shellfish placed on the market are tested and safe for human consumption.

By investigating harmful algal bloom patterns in Irish marine waters over a 20-year period, from 1997 – 2016, Marine Institute scientists discovered that the timing of harmful algal blooms has changed. Two species, Karenia Mikimoto and Dinophysis acuta, show a clear recent increase in their average monthly abundances, peaking later in the year compared to the previous decade. The data from recent years also shows a notable increase in the number of weeks these organisms are present each year.

Dr Caroline Cusack of the Marine Institute said, "By looking at the data on harmful algal blooms over the past two decades, we can see that climate change is already having an impact on our marine environment. Harmful algae usually bloom during the warm summer season or when water temperatures are warmer than usual. As human-induced climate change continues to impact our ocean, we must remain vigilant to the stress and damage this is having on marine ecosystems."

Researchers at the Marine Institute also developed computer models to investigate the regional oceanic climate off the southwest of Ireland. This climate model indicates that under future projected medium and high greenhouse gas emissions, the ocean off southwest Ireland will become warmer and less saline by the year 2035. The results of the ocean climate model are consistent with other European climate models and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) climate models.

Mick Gillooly, Director of Ocean Climate and Information Services at the Marine Institute said, "Our ocean and climate are inextricably linked. Small changes in the marine ecosystem, such as changing harmful algal bloom patterns, could have a big effect on our shellfish industry, economy and marine environment over the next decades. Adapting to a changing climate is one of the greatest challenges facing society, and scientific knowledge is essential to forecast changes in our oceans, so Ireland can effectively respond to, mitigate and adapt to those changes in our ocean and climate."

This research was carried out by the Marine Institute, as the project coordinator of the CoCliME (Co-development of Climate Services for adaptation to changing Marine Ecosystems) Project, funded by the Irish Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the European Commission and other European national funders.

CoCliME modelling efforts undertaken by project partners in France, show that existing ocean currents have the potential to bring tropical warm water species such as the microalgae Ostreopsis to the southern shores of Ireland. One potentially harmful Ostreopsis species is now confirmed in coastal regions off southwest France with genetic markers detected off the Brittany coast indicating it can establish in areas further north.

The CoCliME study indicates that the ocean is changing with similar trends to that observed by other European and global predictions in both climate scenarios and altered harmful algal blooms occurrence patterns in the last two decades.

This project is funded under the EPA Research Programme 2014-2020. The EPA Research Programme is a Government of Ireland initiative funded by the Department of the Environment,
Climate and Communications. It is administered by the Environmental Protection Agency, which has the statutory function of co-ordinating and promoting environmental research.

Published in Aquaculture
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A combination of marine plasma and an enzyme produced by honeybees is being tested by an Irish biotechnology company and two universities for its effectiveness against Covid-19.

As The Sunday Times reports today, Cellnutrition Health Ltd plans to work with NUI Galway (NUIG) and Trinity College, Dublin (TCD) on trials that will involve combining the bee’s enzyme with marine plasma to prevent infection and treat those already infected.

The Galway-based company founder Declan Clarke, who holds an MSc in marine science, says the combination of the two natural materials has the potential to work as a “natural vaccine and immunotherapy”.

He believes it may be effective against not only Covid-19 but also other viruses, bacteria, fungi and certain parasites.

Named “Beemar”, the combination relies on “both adaptive and innate immunity to provide protection against the virus and its variants,” Clarke said.

Dr Daniel O’Toole of NUI Galway’s school of medicine said that it was one of a number of potential treatments being tested at the university.

“Honeybees in healthy hives tend to be quite resistant to infections, through use of this enzyme called lysozyme which basically chews up any foreign bodies,” Dr O’Toole said.

“Marine plasma is basically concentrated seawater, and saltwater tends to have a long history of being very good for the lungs,” he noted.

Dr Kim Roberts, Ussher assistant professor of microbiology at TCD, said that the company was in discussion with the university to test the “Beemar” product on cells to see if it protected them from SARS-CoV-2 infection.

It is one of several projects which TCD is working on, she said.

Read more in The Sunday Times here

Published in Marine Science
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Marine biologist Maude Delap had been a favoured name among Marine Institute staff when suggestions were being sought last year for a title for the State’s new research ship.

As Afloat revealed last month, renowned polar explorer Tom Crean of Annascaul, Co Kerry, won out, and the 52.8-metre ship will sail into Irish waters under his name after it is completed next summer.

As Times.ie reports today, coincidentally, Delap, who died in 1953, spent much of her life in Crean’s home county of Kerry.

Born in Donegal, she lived on Valentia Island, Co Kerry, from the age of eight as her father was Church of Ireland rector there.

Both Maude and her sister Constance collected marine specimens – many in Dublin’s Natural History Museum. Maude took an interest in jellyfish and pioneered breeding them in captivity.

Her father opposed an offer made to her to work at the Plymouth Marine Biological Association as he is reputed to have said “no daughter of mine will leave home, except as a married woman”.

She was made an associate of the Linnaen Society of London in honour of her work, and had a sea anemone named after her- and she is also remembered by a plaque on Valentia island.

Her name was one of several proposed for the Irish research ship - with the Marine Institute keen to avoid the experience of Britain’s Natural Environment Research Council.

It had been landed with Boaty McBoatface when it sought the public’s opinion on a name for its new polar research vessel several years ago – but opted for RSS Sir David Attenborough.

Tom Crean’s name was confirmed by Minister for Marine Charlie McConalogue earlier this month.

He said Crean’s name on the ship would acknowledge the role of the legendary Irish seaman and explorer who sailed with Sir Ernest Shackleton.

Crean’s three major groundbreaking expeditions to the Antarctic in the early years of the 20th century sought to increase scientific knowledge and to explore unreached areas of the world, at that time, the Marine Institute has noted.

Crean’s family has welcomed the choice, and the Marine Institute said in a statement that several candidate names were shortlisted, “many of which had compelling reasons for selection”.

“These included names such as RV Tom Crean, RV Celtic Discovery, RV Celtic Odyssey, and RV Maude Delap,” it confirmed.

The ship is intended to replace one of two existing marine research ships based in Galway, the 31m RV Celtic Voyager.

Read more on Times.ie here

Published in RV Tom Crean
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Some 30 per cent of researchers worldwide are female, according to UNESCO which marks International Day of Women and Girls in Science this week

About 35 per cent of all students in STEM-related fields – that’s science, technology, engineering and maths – are women, UNESCO says.

However, about 51 per cent of staff at the Marine Institute in Galway are female, and about 70 per cent hold key roles in science, technical analysis and research, extending from oceanography and ocean climate to fishery ecosystems, marine environment and food safety.

Marine Institute director of corporate services Patricia Orme says the organisation also has women working in policy, innovation and research, maritime development and corporate roles.

“We are extremely proud to note that 80% of our female employees hold bachelor, masters or doctorate level qualifications," she says.

Wavelengths spoke to three of those women – starting with postdoctoral researcher Julia Calderwood who is involved in designing what will be a very useful app for the fishing industry to help reduced unwanted catches as part of the IFish project funded by Science Foundation Ireland.

lizabeth Tray, from North Carolina, is team leader for data co-ordination and reporting on marine spatial planninglizabeth Tray, from North Carolina, is team leader for data co-ordination and reporting on marine spatial planning

Elizabeth Tray, from North Carolina, is team leader for data coordination and reporting on marine spatial planning and the EU’s Marine Strategy Framework Directive.

Yvonne Bogan from Donegal took her PhD in marine biotoxins and formerly worked with the Environmental Protection Agency. She is now quality manager team leader with the Marine Institute.

Yvonne Bogan of the Marine InstituteYvonne Bogan, a quality manager team leader with the Marine Institute

For more profiles of female scientists in marine research, follow #WomenInScience on the Marine Institute’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages.

You can listen to Wavelengths below

Published in Wavelength Podcast

The Marine Institute is celebrating the International Day of Women and Girls in Science on 11th February 2021, by highlighting the many brilliant women who play transformative and ambitious roles in understanding, exploring, protecting and sustainably managing the wealth of our oceans.

"The Marine Institute recognises our people as a critical enabler of success, and we are committed to supporting a diverse workforce and a culture of high performance driven by our people. Just as the ocean supports a great diversity of life and ecosystems, the Marine Institute values our diverse workforce," said Patricia Orme, Director of Corporate Services at the Marine Institute.

The Marine Institute has a staff of 234 employees, and supports a strong workforce of female employees at 51%. The organisation continues to recognise that its employees’ skills, experience, diversity and passion for the marine are central to the work that is undertaken for the government and other partners.

"Almost 70% of the women working at the Marine Institute work in roles that deliver key services centred around science, technical analysis and research including areas of oceanography & ocean climate, fisheries ecosystems and advisory roles, marine environment and food safety and the development of applications. We also have women working in policy, innovation and research, maritime development and corporate roles. We are extremely proud to note that 80% of our female employees hold bachelor, masters or doctorate level qualifications," Patricia Orme added.

From the 8th – 12th February 2021, the Marine Institute will share photos, animations and profiles of female scientists, sharing their study and career paths, the work they do at the Marine Institute and the important contribution their work delivers. Follow #WomenInScience on the Marine Institute’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to meet some of our female scientists, learn about their work and their many successes.

The International Day of Women and Girls in Science Forum has been one of the flagship events of the United Nations, since its inception in 2016. It is a key event for women and girls in science, science experts, policy-makers and diplomats to share their vision, expertise and best practices to achieve internationally agreed development goals, including the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. According to data from the UN Scientific Education and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), 30% of researchers worldwide are women and approximately 35% of all students in STEM-related fields in higher education are women.

Published in Marine Science

The work of a marine scientist and conservationist who pioneered a response to the Torrey Canyon supertanker environmental disaster of 1967 has been marked by the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.

The late Stella Turk, a leading expert on molluscs on the British and Irish coasts, is among 241 people to have been acknowledged as history “shapers” in the publication’s new edition.

Turk ( née Phillips) was born in St Mary’s on the Scilly isles in 1925, and developed an interest in natural history from a young age. After she married Frank Archibald Turk, a conchologist and marine life expert, she further developed her expertise on the Cornish coast.

The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography entry records how the Torrey Canyon disaster of March 1967 had an enormous influence on her work

The supertanker struck a reef between Cornwall and Scilly and leaked some 30 million gallons of crude oil into the sea, polluting a large section of the Cornish coast.

Turk observed that “the rock pools were stripped bare” , and pointed out that quantifying the losses was made difficult by a lack of records of the pre-existing flora and fauna.

“ This seems to have focused the Turks even more sharply on the task of surveying and compiling lists of biological records for the county, continuing their extensive fieldwork, and corresponding with numerous national experts for assistance in specialist groups,” the Oxford publication says.

Turk founded the Cornish Biological Records Unit, which for many years she ran from her home in Reskadinnick, and later worked closely with the Cornish Wildlife Trust.

From 1990, she pioneered what is now Cornwall Wildlife Trust's Marine Strandings Network, which is of international standing.

In 2019, two years after her death in 2017, a research facility at the University of Exeter's Penryn Campus was named after her.

The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography is the national record of men and women who have shaped British history, worldwide, from prehistory to the year 2017. From January 2021 the dictionary includes biographies of 64,071 individuals, written by over 14,000 contributors.

Published in Marine Science
Tagged under

This vacancy has been filled - February 1 2021

P&O Maritime Services is a global company providing specialist maritime service solution through ownership, operation and management of a fleet of specialised vessels.

In Ireland, we manage Ireland's Marine Science vessels 'RV Celtic Explorer' and 'RV Celtic Voyager'.

Based in Galway, the Marine Technical Co-Ordinator will be responsible for Technical procurement and assist the Technical Manager with ship and scientific related projects.

Requirements:

  • Relevant Bachelor of Engineering qualification or equivalent.
  • It would be advantageous to have a minimum of 3 years relevant experience onboard ship as Engineer – preferably having a 2nd Engineer COC.
  • Workshop & Fabrication skills plus a working knowledge of CAD / Engineering Drawing.
  • Strong negotiation and communication skills.
  • A background of working within an asset management role is desirable but not essential.
  • Good Computer skills and experience with a computerized PMS / Purchase ordering system.

For a full job description or to apply for this role please send CV and covering letter to [email protected]

Published in Jobs
Tagged under

Irish cold-water corals can survive in extreme conditions within Ireland’s largest submarine canyon on the Porcupine Bank, a new study has found.

The coral even grows on precipices of high cliffs, and can withstand sea current speed of over 114 centimetres per second, according to the study published today in the science journal Nature.

This is the highest current speed ever recorded in a cold water habitat, according to University College Cork(UCC) scientist Dr Aaron Lim who led the research.

An example of a 3D reconstruction of a cold water coral habitat from -750 m water depth at the Porcupine Bank CanyonAn example of a 3D reconstruction of a cold-water coral habitat from -750 m water depth at the Porcupine Bank Canyon Photo: Aaron Lim

Dr Lim’s team used the Holland 1 remotely operated vehicle (ROV) on the State research ship Celtic Explorer to explore how coral are living in the Porcupine Bank Canyon which is 3,500 metres deep.

The Marine Institue's Holland 1 ROV being deployed from the RV Celtic Explorer as it 'holds' the deep sea monitoring system (attached to the front) before descending to the deep sea (credit Aaron Lim). The Marine Institue's Holland 1 ROV being deployed from the RV Celtic Explorer as it 'holds' the deep sea monitoring system (attached to the front) before descending to the deep sea Photo: Aaron Lim

He was part of the 2018 expedition which explored and mapped the canyon some 320 km west of Kerry, finding it full of cold-water corals forming reefs and mounds which create a rim on the lip of the canyon.

This latest expedition found coral in a range of deep marine settings.

The scientists had to use deep marine monitoring stations and three-dimensional reconstructions as part of the work. .

“These cold-water corals are growing at the very edge of a near-vertical cliff face, in Ireland’s largest submarine canyon some 850 m below the surface in very intense conditions. They’re quite literally living on the edge,” Dr Lim said.

UCC's deep sea monitoring system at the edge of the submarine canyon where it collects marine environmental data for months at a timeUCC's deep sea monitoring system at the edge of the submarine canyon where it collects marine environmental data for months at a time

As he explained, cold-water corals help to form deep-water reefs and mounds which can range from as little as ten metres to over 100 m high.

Some coral mounds have existed offshore Ireland for 2.6 million years, he said. 

“Some of these habitats were predominantly alive, while others were mostly dead and so the aim of the study was to understand what is driving this?” Dr Lim said.

UCC marine geologist Luke O’Reilly described the canyon as “a strange-place; deep, dark and cold but full of life”.

“Together with the Marine Institute, we developed a monitoring system which could withstand these pressures and conditions for months at a time,” O’Reilly said.

Prof Andy Wheeler, head of UCC’s school of biological, earth and environmental sciences, noted that the coral can cope with the strong sea currents, but tend to feed when it slows down – such as when the tide turns. 

The team have recently deployed monitoring stations in the canyon to gather information on survival over longer time scales. 

The research was funded by Science Foundation Ireland and Horizon 2020, with co-funding by the Marine Institute and Geological Survey, Ireland. Shiptime was funded by the Marine Institute's National Shiptime Programme.

The study is published here

Published in Marine Science
Page 1 of 29

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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