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Jonathan Moneley has been elected chairman of the Irish Marine Federation (IMF), the trade body representing marine leisure and commercial maritime interests in Ireland.

Moneley was elected at the IMF’s AGM on Thursday 24 March and takes over from Paal Janson of Dun Laoghaire Marina, who held the position since January 2019.

Thirty-three-year-old Moneley is the general manager of Carlingford Marina in Co Louth and has worked as part of the family business for most of his life.

He has a BA in Public Relations and is one of fewer than 500 people accredited as a Certified Marina Manager by the Global Marina Institute.

In one of his first charges, Moneley hopes to encourage new membership applications to the IMF, and to broaden the scope of the businesses that are represented by the federation.

“The board of the IMF is made up by marina managers, chandlers and yacht brokers among others – and we would encourage any business with a vested interest in marine resources and recreational boating to get involved,” he says.

“The call goes out to more of the same kind of businesses to join up — but we would also like to see the likes of sail makers, pontoon fabricators, yacht insurance brokers or marine mechanics join the federation.

“On the commercial side, we would like to welcome the likes of marine surveyors, fishing boat builders, shipwrights and more. This gives us the best opportunity to represent the industry on the whole.”

Moneley suggests that the benefits of membership are far reaching, as the federation speaks in unison to promote the growth and development of the industry both home and abroad, and to influence public policy as one united voice.

“The greatest benefit for me has always been the networking aspect and industry specific discussions that happen at IMF meetings,” he says.

“At each meeting we do a round table ‘business barometer’ where members of the board are invited to speak about their business, talk about any challenges they are facing, or give an update on areas of their business in which they are excelling. We are then able to advise each other if it is requested, and we all leave with a very good knowledge of current industry trends.”

Membership applications are being accepted now for 2022. If you are interested in joining the IMF, you can contact Jonathan Moneley at [email protected] for further information.

Published in IMF

The Irish Marine Federation (IMF) AGM will hear how its contribution to the National Marine Planning Framework was kickstarted this week by Minister for Environment and Climate Eamon Ryan.

Over the last two years, the marine leisure trade body played an important role in the advisory group for the National Marine Planning Framework that has put in place new jurisdiction for marine planning in Ireland.

The IMF contribution is now enshrined in the significant piece of maritime legislation that will usher in a new age for the offshore renewable energy industry off the Irish coast.

The annual meeting, chaired by Dun Laoghaire Marina's Paal Janson, takes place on Thursday, 24th March at the Maldron Hotel in Portlaoise. 

The Federation was also a member of the Offshore Renewable Energy Development Plan (OREDP) II group that paved the way this week for Minister for Environment and Climate Eamon Ryan to formally kick-start the new maritime area consent regime

The new regime allows the minister on an interim basis to issue maritime area consents (MACs) to renewable energy developers who meet “relevant assessment criteria”.

Published in IMF

The Irish Marine Federation (IMF) has welcomed the call by an international marina grouping to have marinas recognised as nautical tourism destinations and to be recognised officially alongside other tourist accommodation descriptions. as set out in the National Tourism Development Authority Act 2003.

"This would allow marinas to extend the same advantages of a low tax rate that the Government has allowed for other providers in the tourism sector", IMF Chairman Paal Janson says.

"The marina infrastructure is a vital part of the coastal community economic and social fabric and should be afforded the same support and encouragement that other tourism accommodation providers enjoy", Janson told Afloat.

ICOMIA Marinas Group (IMG), recently published a new policy paper on marina taxation, putting the spotlight on the number of taxes marinas pay and the disparity of the tax value when compared to other tourism outlets. It received input from ICOMIA’s partner, European Boating Industry (EBI), which is actively advocating on VAT and its application for the boating and nautical tourism sector at the EU level.

"Marinas are unquestionably essential for nautical tourism"

Unquestionably essential for nautical tourism and tourism in general, marinas should be treated in the same way as hotels and other hospitality accommodations. Based on a survey carried out by ICOMIA members it is known that 40% of the countries have a reduced VAT tax for hotels and/or campsites that is not applicable to marinas. Of all the countries where there is a different VAT rate for hotels and marinas, the difference between those two vary significantly and they range between 10% to 18%. This significant difference makes nautical tourism less attractive and is known to be a big barrier to the growth of the industry.

Marinas, such as Ireland's largest at Dun Laoghaire Harbour pictured above, are not just resorts, they are clusters of companies, an attraction by themselves, a centre of activities and a hospitality infrastructure argues ICOMIAMarinas, such as Ireland's largest at Dun Laoghaire Harbour pictured above, are not just resorts, they are clusters of companies, an attraction by themselves, a centre of activities and a hospitality infrastructure argues ICOMIA Photo: Afloat

Martinho Fortunato, IMG Chair said: “Marinas have proven to be a great booster to local economies and tourism. Marinas are not just resorts, they are clusters of companies, an attraction by themselves, a centre of activities and a hospitality infrastructure. They increase nautical tourism and nautical sports. Knowing all this, why aren’t marinas considered like that in terms of tax? Why don’t we have a bigger harmonization between activities and countries? These are the main reasons why the ICOMIA Marinas Group carried a survey among its members and developed the Policy Paper about marina taxation, a very important document for the future of our industry.”

Philip Easthill, EBI Secretary-General added: “EBI is advocating for a level playing field in the tourism sector at EU level which must include VAT rates to be adapted for the entire nautical tourism sector. This can further increase competitiveness and incentivise economic growth and jobs. We are delighted that our partner ICOMIA will also promote this globally in other regions through the policy paper on marina taxation.”

Neglecting the positive impacts of a lower and levelled VAT system applied to marinas signals for a poor understanding of the real social and economic impacts of nautical tourism in local communities, especially in countries with a big boating market potential.

ICOMIA recommends implementing policies that consider marinas as tourism organisations and as hotel-like infrastructures and therefore apply the same VAT charges. Looking ahead and for the long-term success of recreational boating and nautical tourism and its direct and indirect benefits, administrations are encouraged to work on harmonised tax policies for marinas.

Published in IMF

The Irish Marine Federation has confirmed with the Government that restrictions against visiting vessels in Irish ports remain for the time being.

Last week Afloat.ie reported on contradictory advice that emerged in the wake of the latest update to maritime travel restrictions amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic from the Department of Transport.

Following that update on Wednesday (23 June), Irish Sailing said its understanding was that “the previous ban on foreign leisure vessels travelling to Irish ports has been lifted”. As of Wednesday morning 30 June, the statement remains on the Irish Sailing website.

This view was not shared by all in the marine industry, and in response the Irish Marine Federation (IMF) says it was “contacted by a number of members who were uneasy at the apparent downgrading of the ‘essential travel only’ advice currently in force”.

The IMF sought clarification from the Department of Transport, which has since confirmed that “there has been no change” and the current restrictions on travel to Ireland remain in place until at least 18 July.

“The IMF and its affiliated body, the Irish Marina Operators Association, have been keenly watching the travel situation develop throughout this ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and our members continue to suffer the financial loss of foreign leisure vessels excluded from coastal harbours and marinas,” the federation added.

“Nobody is more eager to see a safe and responsible return to marine tourism than our members are. We strongly recommend however that Government and public health advice is adhered to, as is clearly set out, and this is the only source of information used when assessing the risks and feasibility of international travel.”

Meanwhile, Afloat.ie has received its own confirmation from the Department of Transport that no cruise ships are permitted to enter any Irish port or anchor in Irish waters.

“While this decision will be kept under review, there are no plans at present for the resumption of cruises into Ireland,” the department added. “Government advice continues to be that only essential travel is to be undertaken in accordance with health authorities’ guidance.

“The focus at present is on minimising the risk of infection across all sectors. Any decision regarding the resumption of cruise tourism into Ireland will be based on the advice from public health officials.”

There is no “essential worker” exemption for foreign crews delivering boats to Ireland amid the current pandemic restrictions.

Irish Marine Federation chairman Paal Janson received the official line from the Department of Transport, following suggestions by UK delivery skippers that they could sail under the ban on non-essential international travel — which is expected to be extended until at least the Easter period.

“Some UK delivery skippers are strongly suggesting that they are considered transport workers and exempt from a lot of the current restrictions. This turns out not to be the case,” Janson says.

Irish Marine Federation Chairman Paal JansonIrish Marine Federation Chairman Paal Janson Photo: Afloat.ie

“In addition, should the boat be big enough to have a full-time professional crew, this is also not acceptable in the eyes of the department.

“If the boat turns up regardless, the crew must have a negative PCR test result (less than 72 hours old) and have filled in all the paperwork.”

Janson says the Irish Marine Federation will continue to raise with both the Department of Transport and HSE Dublin Port Health on the matter.

The response from the Department of Transport is below:

There is a Government Advisory in operation against all non-essential international travel and this would be considered to be non-essential travel.

However, if the voyage goes ahead the crew of this vessel are not considered to be part of the maritime supply chain and therefore are not essential workers, in other words they would not be exempt from the requirements placed on normal visitors to Ireland and so must complete the passenger locator form and quarantine according to place of origin and have negative PCR test result (less than 72 hours old).

The owner of the vessel is subject to the travel restrictions placed on the general population.

The Irish Marine Trade has been giving its reaction to today's cancellation of the giant German Boat Show, Boot Dusseldorf that was scheduled for April and a key show for the Irish industry.

As Afloat reported earlier, the world’s largest indoor boat show fell due to the ongoing high infection numbers across all of Europe. 

Boot had been steadily attracting more and more Irish visitors after the collapse of the London Boat Show and the availability of direct flights between Dublin and Dusseldorf.

But while key members of the Irish trade are 'disappointed' at the loss of the European industry showcase event, the view is that it was not unexpected and many new models can be viewed at home this Spring subject to guidelines. 

Typically, Ireland was represented on many of the major marques at Boot across the 17 halls and in both sail and power brands. 

"At a time when the Covid19 pandemic is running rife through European countries, and the necessarily strict public health protocols that are in place for the foreseeable future, the priority is rightly to the health of exhibitors, visitors and service providers, Irish Marine Federation Chairman Paal Janson told Afloat.

IMF Chairman Paal Janson at Dun Laoghaire MarinaIMF Chairman Paal Janson at Dun Laoghaire Marina

"It is also a cruel blow to the many Irish leisure marine businesses who rely on the very significant trade that is done at this annual show. Irish consumers too will undoubtedly miss the opportunity to visit the biggest indoor boat and marine leisure show in the world" Janson said.

Manufacturers and retailers have adapted remarkably well and the online content for boats and equipment has improved vastly.

Janson says dealers are also offering bespoke video tours of their stock boats to prospective customers. "Irish Marine Federation members are already seeing a pick up in interest from the public and see 2021 as being another busy year with people enjoying family time afloat in their local marinas and harbours, as they did in 2020".

While safe foreign travel is still an unknown undertaking, boating remains a safe and responsible leisure activity enjoyed by people of all ages, the IMF chair told Afloat.

Leading Irish dealer Gerry Salmon of MGM Boats also told Afloat today's decision was not unexpected.

MGM Boats John O'Kane (left) from Belfast Lough with Martin (centre) and Gerry Salmon of MGM Boats in Dublin on board at a previous boot Dusseldorf Prestige stand with the new 70-foot Prestige 680sMGM Boats John O'Kane (left) from Belfast Lough with Martin (centre) and Gerry Salmon of MGM Boats in Dublin on board at a previous boot Dusseldorf Prestige stand 

The Dun Laoghaire firm took an annual brokerage stand in Dusseldorf but they have already hatched alternative arrangements. "We will be hosting several showcase events featuring our new models for this coming season when guidelines permit, and our boatyard here in Dun Laoghaire along with Dun Laoghaire marina is the perfect setting for some new model debuts from Jeanneau, Lagoon and Zodiac," Salmon says. "We will announce the dates as the restrictions are lifted closer to the time and look forward to getting our clients on the water this season," he said.

James Kirwan of BJ Marine in Greystones Harbour County Wicklow predicts that "2021 will be another year where boating is one of the safest things you can do, and the market reflects that"

James Kirwan of BJ MarineJames Kirwan of BJ Marine

Responding to the news of Boot's April cancellation, the Irish Beneteau agent says "While disappointing for the industry it is not unexpected, and it is the right thing to do. Our planning for 2021 started last Spring, ordering new models to ensure we had a supply of the most popular boats, power and sail, for our clients for this season" 

Kirwan adds "Many of the boats that people would have travelled to the show to see, we can show in Ireland. We will showcase these as best we can within the guidelines as they evolve".

German organisers said today that in 2022, boot Düsseldorf will return to the "known concept" and will accompany watersports enthusiasts into a new season. 

Published in Boot Düsseldorf

The Irish Marine Federation (IMF) has made its first-ever bid to stage ICOMIA's World Marina Conference in Dublin in 2023. 

The marine leisure trade body, that also represents Irish Marina Operators, is up against stiff competition from rival bids in Villamoura in Portugal and also Tampa, Florida. 

Up to 400 delegates would be involved in the high-level conference that includes site visits to key Irish marina facilities.

If successful, the IMF wants to use the conference as both a showcase for the potential of the fledgeling Irish Marine industry to an international audience but also use the three-day event as a means of lobbying local government to support the domestic initiatives around the coast.

The Irish marine sector has developed from small-scale boat building and boat rentals to award-winning marinas, international pontoon manufacturers and a major hub for cruising boats and superyachts.

IMF Chairman Paal Janson is leading the Irish bidIMF Chairman Paal Janson is leading the Irish bid to bring the World Marina Conference to Dublin in 2023

The Irish bid, led by IMF Chairman Paal Janson, who is also General Manager of Ireland's biggest marina at Dun Laoghaire Harbour, has been supported by relevant Government Departments and other state agencies including Failte Ireland who assisted in the preparation of Ireland's presentation.

The Irish bidders are hoping that as many delegates will never have been to Ireland before there will be a 'Dublin city bounce' as the capital is a much sought after conference location.

Published in IMF

The Irish Marine Federation joined boating industry voices in Brussels today in an online meeting to give the EU a better understanding of the issues faced by the Irish marine industry and Irish sailing and boating alike in the wake of COVID-19.

The meeting came just days after the European Commission presented its long-awaited proposal for the EU recovery plan when an unprecedented €750 billion recovery fund was announced.

The 'very useful and constructive meeting' was held between Ambassador Maeve Collins, Ireland's Deputy Permanent Representative to the European Union, Attaché Dymphna Keogh (Maritime Affairs), Philip Easthill, Secretary General of the European Boating Industry and Paal Janson, Chairman of the Irish Marine Federation.

Paal Janson, Chairman of the Irish Marine FederationPaal Janson, Chairman of the Irish Marine Federation

Ambassador Collins was apprised of the scale of the marine leisure industry from a European perspective as well as the significance and reliance of the marine tourism sector by Irish coastal communities. A productive discussion from both an EU perspective and a more focused national level was had with examples raised and examined of practical issues faced by industry and public alike.

At the meeting Maritime Affairs Attaché Dymphna Keogh confirmed that she will pass on the relevant parts of the discussion to the Irish interdepartmental Marine Coordination Group to give a better understanding of the issues faced by Ireland's marine SMEs and sailors alike.

"This meeting was a great example of how, despite the current Covid19 pandemic, these connections can still be made and maintaine" Janson told Afloat.

"The message of the Irish Marine Federation together with our colleagues in the European Boating Industry was brought to the attention of policy makers and public representatives", he added.

Published in IMF

The Irish Marine Federation has given a cautious thumbs-up to the resumption of recreational boating in line with the Government's COVID-19 Restrictions 'Roadmap'.

In a statement, the IMF, the national organisation representing both commercial and leisure sectors of the marine industry in Ireland, says it has been working with Government, industry and marine trade associations worldwide during the Covid19 pandemic to ensure that our members are kept informed of the necessary measures to help to come through this most difficult of times.

With the publication of the Roadmap for reopening society and business last week, the IMF believes that the time for safe and responsible recreational boating is very near.

Internationally it has shown that it is possible for family-units to return to outdoor recreation in compliance with both medical and government guidelines. In addition, boats require regular safety and maintenance checks which can be best carried out by owners or qualified contractors.

dun laoghaire marina2Ireland's largest marina at Dun Laoghaire Harbour is a member of the Irish Marine Federation (IMF) and the Irish Marina Operators Association (IMOA)

The IMF says it is strongly encouraged that these actions can be carried out in accordance with the government roadmap and that Monday, May 18th is the earliest date at which there should be a limited return to recreational boating. The government guidelines are clear and restrictions such as travel distances must be adhered to for the greater public good.

As part of the industrywide promotion of recreational boating, the IMF and its members will support the international #back2boating campaign to encourage marine recreation once again with the easing of Covid19 restrictions.

The IMF says it will continue to monitor the situation and make further updates as appropriate in line the Government's Roadmap for reopening society and business.

Published in IMF

The Irish Marine Federation (IMF) has called on the Government to consider easing some restrictions currently imposed on the marine sector amid the Covid-19 pandemic response.

In an letter to Brendan Griffin TD, Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, as seen by Afloat.ie, IMF chairman Paal Janson suggests “some responsible steps” to allow small businesses within the sector to resume limited trading “in light of the considerations now being given” to a gradual easing of movement restrictions.

These steps would allow for the pick-up of a boat or boat equipment from a dealer, broker or seller “as it is considered a reasonable justification under obtaining goods and services”.

They would also allow a boat-owner to access their vessel at a marina or mooring “to male sure it is safe and compliant”, or to take their vessel to a marina or boat shed for repairs or servicing (or likewise return it to its mooring it after same).

“In addition, we would suggest that once recreational activities are once again permissible, boating is one of the more responsible and acceptable forms of enjoying the outdoors,” Janson says, provided boaters stick to the following:

  • Only boat with those already in your immediate household. No guests on your boat.
  • Go right from your house to the boat and back, no unnecessary contact with anyone or any loitering at the marina/dock.
  • Maintain your distance at the fuel dock and when purchasing provisions.
  • No rafting up, keep your distance when out on the water.
  • Wash your hands any time there is contact with shared surfaces.
  • Be safe and responsible, do nothing that would require the assistance of the rescue services.

“The Irish Marine Federation is committed to ensuring that the safety of its members and customers alike is of overarching importance and hopes to be able to work with the relevant Government authorities to see a gradual return to a safe and responsible recreational activity,” Janson adds.

Published in Marine Trade
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Irish Sailing Club of the Year Award

This unique and informal competition was inaugurated in 1979, with Mitsubishi Motors becoming main sponsors in 1986. The purpose of the award is to highlight and honour the voluntary effort which goes into creating and maintaining the unrivalled success of Ireland's yacht and sailing clubs. 

In making their assessment, the adjudicators take many factors into consideration. In addition to the obvious one of sailing success at local, national and international level, considerable attention is also paid to the satisfaction which members in every branch of sailing and boating feel with the way their club is run, and how effectively it meets their specific needs, while also encouraging sailing development and training.

The successful staging of events, whether local, national or international, is also a factor in making the assessment, and the adjudicators place particular emphasis on the level of effective voluntary input which the membership is ready and willing to give in support of their club's activities.

The importance of a dynamic and fruitful interaction with the local community is emphasised, and also with the relevant governmental and sporting bodies, both at local and national level. The adjudicators expect to find a genuine sense of continuity in club life and administration. Thus although the award is held in a specific year in celebration of achievements in the previous year, it is intended that it should reflect an ongoing story of success and well-planned programmes for future implementation. 

Over the years, the adjudication system has been continually refined in order to be able to make realistic comparisons between clubs of varying types and size. With the competition's expansion to include class associations and specialist national watersports bodies, the "Club of the Year" competition continues to keep pace with developing trends, while at the same time reflecting the fact that Ireland's leading sailing clubs are themselves national and global pace-setters

Irish Sailing Club of the Year Award FAQs

The purpose of the award is to highlight and honour the voluntary effort which goes into creating and maintaining the unrivalled success of Ireland's yacht and sailing clubs.

A ship's wheel engraved with the names of all the past winners.

The Sailing Club of the Year competition began in 1979.

PR consultant Sean O’Shea (a member of Clontarf Y & BC) had the idea of a trophy which would somehow honour the ordinary sailing club members, volunteers and sailing participants, who may not have personally won prizes, to feel a sense of identity and reward and special pride in their club. Initially some sort of direct inter-club contest was envisaged, but sailing journalist W M Nixon suggested that a way could be found for the comparative evaluation of the achievements and quality of clubs despite their significant differences in size and style.

The award recognises local, national & international sailing success by the winning club's members in both racing and cruising, the completion of a varied and useful sailing and social programme at the club, the fulfilling by the club of its significant and socially-aware role in the community, and the evidence of a genuine feeling among all members that the club meets their individual needs afloat and ashore.

The first club of the Year winner in 1979 was Wicklow Sailing Club.

Royal Cork Yacht Club has won the award most, seven times in all in 1987, 1992, 1997, 2000, 2006, 2015 & 2020.

The National YC has won six times, in 1981, 1985, 1993, 1996, 2012 & 2018.

Howth Yacht Club has won five times, in 1982, 1986, 1995, 2009 & 2019

Ireland is loosely divided into regions with the obviously high-achieving clubs from each area recommended through an informal nationwide panel of local sailors going into a long-list, which is then whittled down to a short-list of between three and eight clubs.

The final short-list is evaluated by an anonymous team based on experienced sailors, sailing journalists and sponsors’ representatives

From 1979 to 2020 the Sailing Club of the Year Award winners are:

  • 1979 Wicklow SC
  • 1980 Malahide YC
  • 1981 National YC
  • 1982 Howth YC
  • 1983 Royal St George YC
  • 1984 Dundalk SC
  • 1985 National YC (Sponsorship by Mitsubishi Motors began in 1985-86)
  • 1986 Howth YC
  • 1987 Royal Cork YC
  • 1988 Dublin University SC
  • 1989 Irish Cruising. Club
  • 1990 Glenans Irish SC
  • 1991 Galway Bay SC
  • 1992 Royal Cork YC
  • 1993 National YC & Cumann Badoiri Naomh Bhreannain (Dingle) (after 1993, year indicated is one in which trophy is held)
  • 1995 Howth Yacht Club
  • 1996 National Yacht Club
  • 1997 Royal Cork Yacht Club
  • 1998 Kinsale Yacht Club
  • 1999 Poolbeg Yacht & Boat Club
  • 2000 Royal Cork Yacht Club (in 2000, competition extended to include class associations and specialist organisations)
  • 2001 Howth Sailing Club Seventeen Footer Association
  • 2002 Galway Bay Sailing Club
  • 2003 Coiste an Asgard
  • 2004 Royal St George Yacht Club
  • 2005 Lough Derg Yacht Club
  • 2006 Royal Cork Yacht Club (Water Club of the Harbour of Cork)
  • 2007 Dublin Bay Sailing Club
  • 2008 Lough Ree YC & Shannon One Design Assoc.
  • 2009 Howth Yacht Club
  • 2010 Royal St George YC
  • 2011 Irish Cruiser Racing Association
  • 2012 National Yacht Club
  • 2013 Royal St George YC
  • 2014 Kinsale YC
  • 2015 Royal Cork Yacht Club
  • 2016 Royal Irish Yacht Club
  • 2017 Wicklow Sailing Club
  • 2018 National Yacht Club
  • 2019 Howth Yacht Club
  • 2020 Royal Cork Yacht Club

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