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Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), Ireland’s seafood development agency has launched a fishermen’s health manual. The short manual offers practical advice on keeping healthy at sea and on land and has been translated into five languages. The BIM Fishermen’s Health Manual has been adapted from a publication Fisherman first published by Haynes and funded by Maritime Charities Funding Group in the UK. More than 3,000 fishermen in Ireland have received the manual to date.

Jim O’Toole, BIM CEO said: “The fishing sector is a rewarding and a highly demanding industry. BIM’s focus on sustainability refers not just to the industry per se but to the people who work in the industry. This manual is by no means meant to replace professional advice from a medical practitioner. It’s about the promotion of better self-awareness and proactivity among members of the sector when it comes to their physical and mental wellbeing, all of which will help the sector to thrive for generations to come.”

The publication is written in plain language in the style of a Haynes’ car manual and the BIM adaptation of the publication has been developed with the support of Healthy Ireland Initiative.

Kate O'Flahery, Head of Health and Wellbeing at the Department of Health commented:

“Healthy Ireland welcome the publication of BIM's Fisherman's Health Manual, which addresses specific health issues involved in the Irish seafood and fishing industry. Fishing is a challenging profession and having access to detailed and practical advice will empower fishermen in Ireland to make changes, and particularly as the guide is accessible in five languages.”

Ian Banks, President of the European Men’s Health Forum, and author of the original UK publication and said:

“All fishing gear comes with a manual. The machinery is tough, it has to be considering the environment in which it has to work. Fishermen are also tough for the same reasons but there was no manual for maintenance. Well now there is, and hopefully fishermen will stay healthy no matter what those deep waters throw at them.”

The manual is available in English, Irish, Arabic, Malay, Russian and Spanish. 

Published in Fishing
Tagged under

While cuts to USC, pension increases and a Public Sector pay rise are among the main components of Budget 2017 anounced today, the Marine Sector came in for special mention with a new income tax credit that recognises the difficult nature of work in the fishing sector. 

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan & Minister for Public Expenditure Paschal Donohoe delivered Budget 2017 in the Dail today.

Following on from a recommendation made in the marine tax review completed last year, the government says it aims to assist the viability of the commercial fishing sector and at attracting and retaining staff.

The €1,270 annual credit will shelter income of up to €6,350, which is the equivalent value of the seafarers exemption. 

There was €121.5 million in the Budget for Fisheries, fishery harbours and marine related Non-Commercial State Sponsored Bodies (NCSSBs) such as the Marine Institute, Bord Iascaigh Mhara and the Sea Fisheries Protection Agency – €43.6m of this is for the Seafood Development Programme.

Outlining these incentives the Minister for the Marine Michael Creed said “I am keen to acknowledge the commitment and hard work of fishermen and the contribution they make to the development of our Blue Economy. It is vital for the development of this sector to maintain employment and attract new entrants to the sector. Therefore, I am pleased to confirm an annual tax credit specifically for fishermen of €1,270. Furthermore I welcome changes to ‘Fish Assist’ including a €5 weekly increase and increased eligibility criteria.”

The €241m European Maritime and Fisheries Fund Operational Programme, launched in January 2016, will be further rolled out in 2017 with an increased total budget in 2017 of €43m made available across the Marine Department and its agencies.” 

Published in Budget
Tagged under

#rnli – As Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) research reveals more fishermen die in January than in any other month of the year, the lifesaving charity has launched a hard-hitting campaign encouraging fishermen to make sure their boats keep them safe at sea – with an emotive advert due to be displayed around the town of Kilkeel.

The campaign features five short films which provide practical advice and use easy to follow animation. The films show how to keep fishing boats stable and highlight factors that lead to dangerous instability, with RNLI research showing that the majority of deaths in the commercial fishing industry occur when vessel stability is lost.

RNLI figures show that 59% of commercial fishing fatalities were due to a loss of vessel stability leading to capsize, leaking or swamping between 2010 and 2013 – with 30% of deaths occurring in the month of January when seas can be rough and water temperatures are at their lowest. The campaign is targeted at fishermen who work on vessels under 15m in length, as the majority of fishing-related fatal incidents (73%) occurred on fishing boats in this category.

The films cover five key areas that lead to boat instability: overloading, watertight integrity, free surface effect2, modifications and hauling.

The films, which are all under 10 minutes in length, feature experts Peter Duncan, lecturer from the Scottish Maritime Academy, and RNLI Fishing Safety Manager and former commercial fisherman Frankie Horne. They can be viewed at RNLI.org/stability.

Alexander McCauley volunteer lifeboat crew member from Kilkeel RNLI lifeboat station, who is also a commercial fisherman, said: 'I know just how demanding and dangerous commercial fishing can be, especially in rough conditions throughout the winter months. I'd encourage all fishermen to take a look at these films at RNLI.org/stability. They provide excellent, practical advice in an easy to digest format.

'It's easy to get complacent with boat safety checks and it can be very tempting to cut corners to maximise a haul. But these films highlight just how easily you can compromise your boat's stability by doing this, and the consequences can be fatal.'

Emotive adverts are also being used throughout the campaign, using the strapline 'Dad's gone fishing'. The powerful image used in the adverts shows coat hooks in a family home. The coats of mum and two young children are hanging up, but dad's coat is missing – he's failed to return home from fishing.

This advert will be displayed on an ad van driving around Kilkeel in early January. The hard-hitting advert will also appear on Facebook posts targeted at fishermen and their families and friends, in commercial fishing publications and websites.

In addition to the adverts, drinks glasses, coasters and coffee mugs have been produced to support the campaign and will be distributed to pubs and bars at fishing ports across the UK and the Republic of Ireland in January. These products feature key safety tips and point fishermen to the vessel stability films online at RNLI.org/stability.

Frankie Horne, RNLI Fishing Safety Manager, said: 'Data3 shows that, tragically, 49 fishermen died between 2009 and 2012 across the UK and Ireland. We hope that this campaign will help prevent further deaths at sea.

'The majority of these fatalities were fishermen working on boats under 15 metres long and 30% of deaths occurred in the month of January, when sea conditions are often very rough and the water temperature is dangerously low.'

The films offer tips and guidance on areas including:
Leaks, overloading and the free surface effect2 of a loose catch can all make a vessel unstable.
Keep your boat watertight by checking hatches are closed at sea.
Tie down loose kit and keep scuppers clear.
When modifying a fishing boat, get professional advice on stability first.
Cut the net if hauling in a heavy catch makes your boat list.

'I would also like to remind fishermen of the importance of wearing a personal floatation device. Our figures show that of all commercial fishing fatalities between 2010 and 2013, 59% of those who died were not wearing a lifejacket or buoyancy aid,' added Frankie Horne.

Between 2009 and 2013, RNLI lifeboats launched 2,555 times to incidents involving commercial fishing boats, rescuing 3,762 people.

1 RNLI-commissioned causal analysis of fatalities in waters around the UK and Republic of Ireland between the period 2010 and 2013.

2 Definition of free surface effect In a partly filled tank or fish hold, the contents will shift with the movement of the boat. This 'free surface' effect increases the danger of capsizing. The centre of gravity moves over to the side, making the vessel less stable.

3 Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) and Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB) data 2009–12.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
Tagged under

#MARINE WILDLIFE - Fears are growing of an illegal cull of marine wildlife after a seal and dolphin were discovered dead on a Waterford beach - just hours after two seals were found dying from bullet wounds in the same location.

TheJournal.ie reports that the wounds on the two animals found on Tramore Beach on Thursday are also believed to be from gunshot.

Two grey seals were euthanised the previous evening after they were discovered gravely injured with "horrific" wounds on the same beach.

A spokesperson for the Irish Seal Sanctuacy (ISS) has called for a post-mortem of the animals to determine the exact cause of death - but pointed the finger at an illegal cull allegedly carried out by local fishermen.

"We’re not against a properly regulated cull," said the ISS's Johnny Woodlock, "but it’s the guy who goes out with a shotgun and takes potshots, that’s what we’re against.”

TheJournal.ie has more on the story HERE, including an image that many may find distressing.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#NEWS UPDATE - The search for two fishermen still missing after their boat went down off West Cork nearly three weeks ago will be wound down next week, The Irish Times reports.

Search teams have been combing the area for any trace of Michael Hayes (35), skipper of the Tit Bonhomme, and crewman Said Mohammed (23) after the fishing vessel ran aground in rough seas near Adam's Rock, at the mouth of Glandore Harbour, on Sunday 15 January.

The bodies of Kevin Kershaw (21), Attia Shaban (26) and Wael Mohammed (35) were recovered in the days and weeks following the tragedy. Only one of the six-person crew - 43-year-old Abdul Mohammed – is confirmed to have survived.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, last weekend saw more than 90 divers embark on an extensive search of the wreck site and the Glandore bay area, with hundreds more volunteers searching the coastline and on land.

Published in News Update

#NEWS UPDATE - The Irish Coast Guard told RTÉ News that it has received an "overwhelming" response from the diving community to its appeal to join the search in West Cork for two missing fishermen.

Skipper Michael Hayes and crewman Saied Ali Eldin are still missing after the fishing vessel Tit Bonhomme ran aground in rough seas near Adam's Rock at the mouth of Glandore Harbour.

Only one of the six-person crew - 43-year-old Abdul Mohammed – is confirmed to have survived. The bodies of Kevin Kershaw (21) and Attia Shaban (26) were recovered last week, while the remains of Wael Mohammed (35) were found by civilian divers near the wreck site last Sunday.

Coastguard manager Declan Geoghegan said that search teams now have the 48 divers required to conduct an exhaustive search of the wreck area and urged further volunteers not to travel for the moment.

The search will concentrate on the waters between Adam's Rock and Long Point, where much of the debris from the trawler has washed up.

RTÉ News reports that more than 200 volunteers are assisting the coastal search by boat and on land, which is being co-ordinated from the village of Union Hall.

Published in News Update

#NEWS UPDATE - The search is set to resume again this morning for the three fishermen not yet recovered after their trawler sank off West Cork last Sunday.

Skipper Michael Hayes and Egyptian crewmen Saied Ali Eldin and Wael Mohammed have been missing since the fishing vessel Tit Bonhomme ran aground and went down in rough seas near Adam's Rock, at the mouth of Glandore Harbour.

Only one of the six-person crew, 43-year-old Abdul Mohammed, is confirmed alive after he was able to reach the shore immediately following the incident.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, Garda divers retrieved the body of Attia Shaban (26) on Thursday morning, followed in the afternoon by that of Kevin Kershaw (21).

Yesterday the search was expanded to cover an 18-mile radius after a dive at the wreck site was unsuccessful, according to The Irish Times.

Divers from the Garda and Naval Service will continue to focus on the wreck today, helped by favourable weather conditions, while volunteers join in the wider search of the coastline.

It emerged on Friday that that boat's aluminium wheelhouse sheared off in the rough seas that followed for three days after it ran aground.

RTÉ News has video of the search operation in progress HERE.

Published in News Update
Fishermen and farmers make up more than half of all work-related fatalities in Ireland, according to the Minister for the Marine.
As The Irish Times reports, Simon Coveney TD decried it as an "absolute tragedy" in the Dáil.
He noted the progress being made in encouraging people to wear safety gear when on the water, but said there was "little or no progress in getting fishermen to wear lifejackets”.
"For some reason fishermen seem to think they will never fall in the water," the minister commented.
Cork South West TD Noel Harrington also raised the point of the Department of the Marine's refusal to use personal beacons that directly signal emergency services, rather than emergency position indicating radio beacons (EPIRB).
He referred to the capsizing of the Rambler 100 yacht in the Fastnet Race in August, saying that the latter did not go off to alert the coastguard as the boat had not sunk.

Fishermen and farmers make up more than half of all work-related fatalities in Ireland, according to the Minister for the Marine.

As The Irish Times reports, Simon Coveney TD decried it as an "absolute tragedy" in the Dáil. 

He noted the progress being made in encouraging people to wear safety gear when on the water, but said there was "little or no progress in getting fishermen to wear lifejackets”.

"For some reason fishermen seem to think they will never fall in the water," the minister commented.

Cork South West TD Noel Harrington also raised the point of the Department of the Marine's refusal to use personal beacons that directly signal emergency services, rather than emergency position indicating radio beacons (EPIRB).

He referred to the capsizing of the Rambler 100 yacht in the Fastnet Race in August, saying that the latter did not go off to alert the coastguard as the boat had not sunk.

Published in Water Safety
Two fishermen in the Irish Sea were rescued from the water this afternoon after drifting for an hour in the water before their cries for help were heard.

Liverpool Coastguard received a 999 call from a member of the public at just after 1.30pm. The caller had heard calls for help from the water and spotted two people in difficulty off Silloth, Cumbria. Coastguard Rescue Teams from Maryport and Burgh by Sand were sent to the scene with the RNLI Inshore Lifeboat from Silloth and Maryport Inshore Rescue Boat.

The fishermen were rescued from the water by the RNLI Inshore Lifeboat and taken to hospital in Carlisle by ambulance. It then transpired that they had been fishing for shrimps at Cardurnock Flats, four miles from where they were found. It appears that their net got caught and their ten-metre fishing vessel 'Boy Bailey' turned over in the water. The vessel then sank and the men spent an hour drifting in the water, supported by life rings.

Tony Topping Liverpool Coastguard Watch Manager said:
"These fishermen were extremely lucky. Firstly they managed to grab life rings and then the tide carried them the four miles down to Silloth.

"The MCA recommends that commercial fishermen wear a personal floatation device or lifeline whilst working on the deck of a vessel at sea. This will keep you afloat should the unexpected happen and if you also have your vessel fitted with VHF DSC radio equipment which can send a distress alert you'll also have a way of calling for assistance when you need it."

Published in Coastguard
FOUR Irish fishermen reported missing on Sunday have been found in good spirits off the coast of Minehead in Somerset.
This Is The West Country reports that the four men had left Helvick harbour in Co Waterford early on Sunday on a fishing trip but got lost shortly after.
www.thisisthewestcountry.co.uk/news/somerset_news/9284434.Missing_Irish_fishermen_found_off_Minehead/
After contacting the coastguard with their concerns, the Helvick Head RNLI lifeboat was dispatched to Minehead, where the lost boat had been found by another fishing vessel, Faoilean Ban.
The lost fishermen subseqently followed the Faoilean Ban back to port at Helvick.

FOUR Irish fishermen reported missing on Sunday have been found in good spirits off the coast of Minehead in Somerset.

This Is The West Country reports that the four men had left Helvick harbour in Co Waterford early on Sunday on a fishing trip but got lost shortly thereafter.

After contacting the coastguard with their concerns, the Helvick Head RNLI lifeboat was dispatched to Minehead, where the lost boat had been found by another fishing vessel, Faoilean Ban.

The lost fishermen subseqently followed the Faoilean Ban back to port at Helvick.

Published in Rescue
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The Half Ton Class was created by the Offshore Racing Council for boats within the racing band not exceeding 22'-0". The ORC decided that the rule should "....permit the development of seaworthy offshore racing yachts...The Council will endeavour to protect the majority of the existing IOR fleet from rapid obsolescence caused by ....developments which produce increased performance without corresponding changes in ratings..."

When first introduced the IOR rule was perfectly adequate for rating boats in existence at that time. However yacht designers naturally examined the rule to seize upon any advantage they could find, the most noticeable of which has been a reduction in displacement and a return to fractional rigs.

After 1993, when the IOR Mk.III rule reached it termination due to lack of people building new boats, the rule was replaced by the CHS (Channel) Handicap system which in turn developed into the IRC system now used.

The IRC handicap system operates by a secret formula which tries to develop boats which are 'Cruising type' of relatively heavy boats with good internal accommodation. It tends to penalise boats with excessive stability or excessive sail area.

Competitions

The most significant events for the Half Ton Class has been the annual Half Ton Cup which was sailed under the IOR rules until 1993. More recently this has been replaced with the Half Ton Classics Cup. The venue of the event moved from continent to continent with over-representation on French or British ports. In later years the event is held biennially. Initially, it was proposed to hold events in Ireland, Britain and France by rotation. However, it was the Belgians who took the ball and ran with it. The Class is now managed from Belgium. 

At A Glance – Half Ton Classics Cup Winners

  • 2017 – Kinsale – Swuzzlebubble – Phil Plumtree – Farr 1977
  • 2016 – Falmouth – Swuzzlebubble – Greg Peck – Farr 1977
  • 2015 – Nieuwport – Checkmate XV – David Cullen – Humphreys 1985
  • 2014 – St Quay Portrieux – Swuzzlebubble – Peter Morton – Farr 1977
  • 2013 – Boulogne – Checkmate XV – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1985
  • 2011 – Cowes – Chimp – Michael Kershaw – Berret 1978
  • 2009 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978
  • 2007 – Dun Laoghaire – Henri-Lloyd Harmony – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1980~
  • 2005 – Dinard – Gingko – Patrick Lobrichon – Mauric 1968
  • 2003 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978

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