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Displaying items by tag: Belfast Lough

Last weekend Lagan Search and Rescue were made aware of a video circulating on social media of a young man encouraged to enter the water off the Lagan Weir footbridge as a dare.

Lagan SAR is a provider of Belfast's Independent Lifeboat and Water Search, Rescue and Recovery Service. It operates on the seaward River Lagan, Belfast Harbour Estate and Belfast Lough.

Lagan Weir Footbridge is a five-span structure across the River Lagan Weir on Belfast's waterfront. Developed as part of a wider regeneration project for the city, it is 120m in length, and its deck width varies from 4m to 10m at its widest.

Noel Keenan, a member of the Operational Management Committee of Lagan SAR, said, "To say we were disappointed to see the footage is an understatement. The actions of the men involved were hazardous and could have ended in a loss of life". Lagan Search and Rescue is involved in multiple emergency callouts for people entering the water close to this location throughout the year. He added, "Unfortunately, no matter how hard we try, we can't save everyone. Don't become a statistic".

Published in Belfast Lough
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 Just before midnight on Thursday 10th June, Lagan Search and Rescue, along with Bangor Coastguard Rescue Team, Portmuck CRT, the Police Service and a PSNI spotter plane, were all called to Hazlebank, Newtownabbey.

Hazlebank Park lies on the northern shore of Belfast Lough about six miles east of Belfast city.

There were reports of a small inflatable dinghy without navigation lights heading out into Belfast Lough with two persons onboard.

Members of the public reported the inflatable leaving but not coming back. The teams quickly found a vessel close to the shore with an inflatable alongside. Contact was made with the people on board, and it was established that they were safe and well and that they owned the inflatable.

Safety advice was given and about the lack of lights on both vessels and with everyone accounted for the team stood down.

Published in Belfast Lough
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We can only hope that next week's up-grading of our sailing from training events to official racing will hold up through a steadily developing season, despite the many challenges to continuing emergence from the pandemic. If it does, then when the full story of the sailing season of 2021 is finally analysed, it will be seen that the victory of John Minnis with his First 31.7 Final Call in last weekend's Scottish Series is in fact the first major "official" racing success this year, and a worthy "Sailor of the Month" winner for May.

Skipper Minnis and his keen crew are no strangers to being in the frame both in First 31.7 and handicap racing. But it took a special level of enthusiasm for a flotilla of cruiser-racers from Belfast and Strangford Loughs to cross the North Channel for a very controlled Scottish series in which the racing was certainly real and officially recognised, but just about everything else was virtual and socially distanced, with three different venues being used in the eastern Firth of Clyde.

Thus it wasn't felt appropriate to declare an overall winner, but had they done so, Final Call's very impressive scorecard and clear class win would have made her the favoured contender for the top title.

Final Call racing in the First 31.7 Class in the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta 2019, when she finished second overall in a class of 14 boats. Photo: Afloat.ie/David O'BrienFinal Call racing in the First 31.7 Class in the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta 2019, when she finished second overall in a class of 14 boats. Photo: Afloat.ie/David O'Brien

Published in Sailor of the Month

It was multi shout four days for Bangor Coastguard Rescue Team on Belfast Lough when they covered calls some of which resulted in rescue action.

On Thursday (20th) the team attended a yacht offshore reported to have a broken mast and no sign of anyone on board. Thankfully, it was found that the vessel was moored, and no further action was required. Then on Friday (21st), there was a report of an unmanned paddleboard in the Ballyholme Bay area, but it was discovered that it belonged to a BYC member and had blown into the water in the high winds.

The vessel towed to Bangor MarinaThe vessel towed to Bangor Marina

On the Saturday, the team answered a call about possible ordnance near Crawfordsburn Beach east of Bangor on the Belfast Lough coast. Again, there was no danger as it turned out to be a rusted fire extinguisher.

Yesterday (Sunday 23rd), Bangor Lifeboat towed a small broken-down vessel from near the Copeland Island off Donaghadee on the Down coast to Bangor Marina. They headed to Bangor, shadowed by the Coastguard. From the beach at Ballyholme, one of the CRT team spotted what looked like an upturned paddleboard in the water, and the Lifeboat was requested to drop the tow and make best speed to the area. They located the object, and thankfully on this occasion, it was driftwood. The Lifeboat re-established the tow back to the marina, where they were met by Coastguard personnel.

Published in Belfast Lough

It could be construed as an encouraging sign that half of the twelve-boat entry for the inaugural Royal Ulster Yacht Club on Belfast Lough to Strangford Lough Race was from that destination. Boats from the local fleet which would have been expected to enter were Sigma 33s, not yet launched due to the inclement spring weather.

Winner of both classes were visitors with the IRC fleet top prize going to Shaun Douglas's Beneteau 40.7 Game Changer from Cockle Island Boat Club at Groomsport on the North Down coast, in a corrected time of 3hrs 51mins ahead of Michael Eames' Sun Fast 3200 All or Nothing from Strangford Lough YC. And All or Nothing featured again, winning the NHC Unrestricted fleet in a corrected time of 3hrs 47mins in the NHC fleet ahead of Jay Colville's First 40 Forty Licks from Strangford Lough YC.

An interesting entry was the MGRS Juno which Myles Lindsay of Royal Ulster raced in Belfast Lough in the 90s. She languished in Arklow for some years and is now racing again in the North thanks to Terence O'Neill of Portaferry SC. She turned in a very respectable 4th place in the NHC fleet.

The course was from Bangor south along the Ards Peninsula coast to the finish on an imaginary East/West line at the Bar Pladdy South Cardinal buoy in the entrance to Strangford Sound.

The weather played its part in this race with a forecast of 10 knots early on and then an increase to 18 knots later which meant that with a Covid Restriction of 80% crew limit the two-sail fetch became a procession.

John Harrington in the IMX38, Excession was enthusiastic about the race even though as he said, they "didn't make a particularly good show of it competitively". He said " The sailing committee and the battery teams laid on a fantastic event for us. It was great to see so many visiting boats come for this new challenge. And the customary warm welcome in Portaferry brought back memories of events of old and an indication of a great summer of sailing ahead of us. We eagerly await the next race in the series".

Published in Belfast Lough
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The Sunday Life recently highlighted the decision by Downtown Radio Star Neil McClelland to support Lagan Search & Rescue.

Lagan S&R is an independent Lifeboat covering the seaward River Lagan and Belfast Lough; It relies on the generosity and support of the community. They said, "To have Neal come onboard to help us to raise vital funds and promote water safety within the community is fantastic". The River Lagan flows through the City of Belfast to Belfast Lough and its environs have in the last few years been the site of much regeneration of the city.

LS&R's new fundraising campaign is to Build a Boathouse. The team acquired a new lifeboat a year ago with a grant from the Department for Transport. This new craft has now been in operation for almost a year and is a superb asset for city of Belfast and surrounding areas. It is capable of 42 knots and equipped with twin 150 HP outboards, the latest Search and Rescue technology including Thermal Imaging, Radar, Wireless Communications and Sonar.

Lagan Search and Rescue boats on the pontoon in Belfast Harbour MarinaLagan Search and Rescue boats on the pontoon in Belfast Harbour Marina

In order to maximise the lifespan of this Lifeboat and the efficiency of rescues, they need to raise enough money to build a permanent floating boathouse in Belfast Harbour Marina.

Currently, the Lifeboats are in Belfast Harbour Marina but LS&R says they desperately need a Floating Boathouse in the same location, essentially a boathouse over the pontoon, so they are looking to raise enough money to do this. This facility would allow the team to keep all the kit, such as drysuits, helmets, water pumps etc. alongside the boat thus speeding up the response times significantly and protecting the boats from the elements when not in use.

For more information on this campaign please visit the dedicated website here

Harland & Wolff, the national strategic asset, with four leading shipyards and fabrication facilities based in Belfast, Appledore, and Scotland is proud to be celebrating its 160th anniversary.

Founded on April 11 1861 by Sir Edward James Harland and Gustav Wilhelm Wolff, its heritage includes work on some of the most iconic ships, including the famous RMS Titanic, RMS Olympic and HMHS Britannic, right through to the SS Canberra for P&O and the Myrina tanker – the first supertanker built in the UK.

John Wood, Group CEO commented: “It is a great privilege to celebrate 160 years of Harland & Wolff. It is a brand that is steeped in history and is now going through a pivotal change that will see it industry-leading once again.

We have already started to invest in all our facilities, from Wilma the robotic welder in Belfast to the complete restoration of the Appledore dock gates. As technology advances, we are keen to adopt new and better ways of doing things across all of our facilities to ensure we are internationally competitive.

As we recruit the next generation of shipbuilder and fabricators through our apprenticeship scheme, you will not just see ships being built under Samson and Goliath, you’ll see work from across all our five markets from wind farm jackets to bridges, and warships.”

Pioneering twenty-first century offshore and maritime engineering, Harland & Wolff operates throughout five markets, offering six key services. Its Belfast yard is one of Europe’s largest heavy engineering facilities, with deep water access, two of Europe’s largest drydocks, ample quayside and vast fabrication halls. As a result of the acquisition of Harland & Wolff (Appledore) in August 2020, the company has been able to capitalise on opportunities at both ends of the ship-repair and shipbuilding markets where there is significant demand.

In February 2021, the company acquired the assets of two Scottish based yards along the east and west coasts. Now known as Harland & Wolff (Methil) and Harland & Wolff (Arnish), these facilities will focus on fabrication work within the renewable, oil and gas and defence sectors.

Harland & Wolff is a wholly-owned subsidiary of InfraStrata plc (AIM: INFA), a London Stock Exchange-listed firm focused on strategic infrastructure projects and physical asset life-cycle management.

In addition to Harland & Wolff, it owns the Islandmagee gas storage project, which is expected to provide 25% of the UK’s natural gas storage capacity and to benefit the Northern Irish economy as a whole when completed.

Published in Shipyards

Coastguard and Lifeboat rescue teams have been extremely busy over the Easter Weekend and of course, answer distress calls without hesitation. But Belfast Coastguard Operations Centre has reported a hoax call.

Both Bangor and Portaferry Coastguard Rescue Teams were tasked to a vessel, possibly in distress near Ballywalter on the eastern Co. Down coast. Whilst they were proceeding to the scene, they received a call reporting a person in the water, and in serious difficulty in Killyleagh on the western side of Strangford Lough.

Both Coastguard Rescue Teams were diverted to the person in the water and Portaferry Lifeboat was also requested along with the Police Service. Belfast Coastguard said, "This was a hoax call. It tied up multiple Search and Rescue units, along with police, and someone who may have actually needed us had to wait. Please do not make hoax calls. Hoax calls cost lives".

Published in Coastguard
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 It isn't an April Fool! Thursday will be to Bangor Marina berth holders the end of a long-awaited return to their craft after a roller coaster of lockdown, opening up and lockdown again over the past year.

In Harbour Master Kevin Baird's welcome email to berth holders yesterday he said "We have spoken with and taken advice from the British Marine Federation, the RYA NI, the UK Harbour Masters Association, as well as consulting with healthcare professionals in order to try and navigate through these extraordinary times". And added, " Last week, Boris Johnson added 'fresh air' to the Coronavirus slogan, as sea-loving folk, we already know that sailing and boating provides that clean, fresh sea air which at this time of the year can blow with considerable strength".

There has been an update to the Regulations (Amendment 6) that outlines aspects from 1st April 2021 - up to 10 people (including children of all ages) from a maximum of two households can take part in outdoor sports activities. He added, "In the reading of these, it would be our understanding that restricted access to the Marina may be permitted".

But the reception, washrooms and laundry will remain closed and overnighting on board is strictly prohibited. The Marina is also closed to visiting craft.

Although reception is closed, staff can be reached by telephone; +44 (0) 28 9145 3297; email [email protected] or VHF Ch 80 or Ch11

Kevin sought to reassure boat owners, "These strange times will not last forever, and the sea will still offer solace when we all need it, and when the time is right".

Published in Belfast Lough

Belfast Lough based Artemis Technologies, which is leading a programme to develop a new class of zero-emission high-speed vessels, has unveiled the world's most advanced marine simulator in Northern Ireland. The simulator represents a multi-million-pound investment over the past decade by Artemis Technologies and the Artemis Racing professional sailing team.

The company will use the simulator to streamline the development process and prototyping of the company's Artemis eFoilerTM electric propulsion system and new green high-speed vessels, targeting the ferry and workboat markets.

Double Olympic champion Dr Iain Percy OBE, CEO of Artemis Technologies, had revealed the installation of the simulator ahead of the America's Cup, of which he is a four-time veteran. "We originally built the simulator for Artemis Racing taking part in the America's Cup, and are hugely excited to bring this incredible technology to Northern Ireland. There is nothing else like this in the world, it's the most advanced of its kind, and it's right here. Behind the device is all our collective learning, over 10 years and hundreds of millions of pounds in investment, learning about the marine environment and how vessels operate in that environment. The result is when we want to test something new, like a zero-emission vessel, we can confidently do that."

The simulator features a 4.5 metre high, 210-degree screen, which conveys images from three projectors, wrapped around a physical platform similar to those used for flight and motorsport simulators, providing an incredibly immersive experience.

It forms part of Artemis Technologies' roadmap to creating a high-tech maritime innovation hub in Northern Ireland. With the Belfast Maritime Consortium, we are trying to create a number of world's firsts, the first ever zero-emission high-speed fast ferry. As this has never been done before, by definition, you need a digital twin.

The simulator will continue to be used by high-performance professional sailing teams from across the world and is expected to attract interest from the commercial maritime sector.

Artemis Technologies is the lead partner in the Belfast Maritime Consortium which brings together a range of established and young firms, academia and public bodies, including: Ards and North Down Borough Council, Belfast City Council, Belfast Harbour, Belfast Met, Catalyst, Creative Composites, Invest Northern Ireland, Northern Ireland Advanced Composites Engineering (NIACE), Power NI (Energia Group), Queen’s University Belfast, Spirit AeroSystems, and Ulster University.

More here

Published in Belfast Lough
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