Allianz and Afloat - Supporting Irish Boating

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Displaying items by tag: lifejackets

#MarineNotice - The latest Marine Notices from the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (DTTAS) remind all mariners of the importance of safety at sea - both in seeking help and staying safe till help arrives.

Marine Notice No 38 of 2013 details guidelines for the care and maintenance of Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons or EPIRBs, which if installed correctly will automatically operate if a vessel capsizes, notifying the nearest emergency services of your location.

Meanwhile, Marine Notice No 39 of 2013 informs all owners, charterers, masters, skippers and crew of fishing and commercial vessels that correctly selected and worn lifejackets or personal flotation devices (PFDs) save lives.

Published in Water Safety

#WATER SAFETY - The latest Marine Notice from the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (DTTAS) addresses the legal requirements for all recreational craft owners, masters and users in relation to the wearing and carrying of personal flotation devices (PFDs).

The notice discusses the different types of PFDs - lifejackets and buoyancy aids - and their performance standards, as well as highlighting the importance of their use, proper care and servicing for safe activities on the water.

The law makes clear that there must be suitable PFDs for everyone on board any pleasure craft, and that PFDs must be worn by anyone the deck of any craft or on board any open craft that is under seven metres in lengh - or for people under the age of 16, any craft regardless of length.

Also detailed are recommendations for the storage of PFDs, and guidance for their correct usage.

The use of lifejackets and buoyancy aids is particularly important in light of the recent Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB) recommendations on a number of incidents where their availability could have saved lives.

Full details are included in Marine Notice No 45 of 2012, a PDF of which is available to read or download HERE.

Published in Water Safety

#MCIB - The families of two fishermen found dead at sea off the Skerries last April may never uncover the circumstances that led to their demise. But the official report into the incident indicated that the absence of lifejackets was a significant contributing factor.

Ronan Browne (26) and David Gilsenan (41) were reported missing on the evening of 1 April after failing to return from a trip tending to lobster pots.

Their vessel, Lady Linda, was found the following morning upturned in an oil slick off Clogherhead with no sign of the crew.

It wasn't until a week later that their bodies were discovered caught in the vessel's fishing gear some five miles east of Clogherhead, as previously reported on

Post-mortem results found that both men died from drowning, with Gilsenan also showing signs of hypothermia.

With no eyewitnesses to the incident, the report by the Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB) indicated a number of possible causes from eqiupment malfunction or shifting of lobster pots on deck, to the wave height and weather conditions on the day, which were reportedly deteriorating when the boat left port.

It also said that Browne and Gilsenan "were lifelong friends, both men were experienced and qualified marine engineers in the fishing vessel industry. Both men were experienced in boat handling and fishing and had worked together on many occasions."

But the report emphasised the lack of personal flotation devices (PFDs) on board, and noted that emergency equipment was stored under the deck and not easily accessible.

The MCIB's recommendations include a review of the code of practice for fishing vessels under 15m to establish "revised stability critera" and ensuring that all boats are fitted with automatic radio beacons that deploy upon capsize.

In a separate incident, lack of proper maintenance led to an unlicenced boat taking on water off Co Kerry last August.

The Claire Buoyant was carrying one crew, five passengers and 21 sheep from Beginish Island to Ventry when the vessel began to lose stability.

Skipper Eoin Firtear - who the MCIB described as having "limited sea-going experience" - and his five passengers were rescued by passenger ferry. All sheep were jettisoned overboard, with 18 eventually recovered.

The report reminded that the carriage of livestock should only be undertaken in appropriately certified vessels.

Published in MCIB

#CRUISE LINERS - Cruise ship passengers will be given a safety briefing before leaving port under new industry rules drawn up in the wake of the Costa Concordia incident, The Guardian reports.

Three organisations representing international cruise lines have agreed that the 'muster drill' - which is currently conducted within 24 hours of setting sail as per maritime law - must now be held before departure from any port.

The move comes after reports that hundreds of passengers who had boarded the stricken vessel hours before it ran aground off the western Italian coast had not yet had any kind of safety instruction.

Muster drills, whereby passengers are shown how to put on lifejackets and directed to exits, are already common practice in the industry.

As previously reported on, an Irish couple were among thousands rescued from the Costa Concordia after the incident on Friday 13 January. At least 32 people are believed to have died in the disaster, with 15 recorded passengers still missing.

The Guardian has more on the story HERE.

Published in Cruise Liners
Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), the Seafood Development Agency, Irish Water Safety (IWS), the statutory body established to promote water safety and the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) are continuing their campaign to encourage more fishermen to wear their lifejackets at sea.

Despite seven fishermen losing their lives at sea this year to date, a laissez-faire attitude to safety still exists in the industry, particularly in relation to the wearing of lifejackets. In an effort to get fishermen to take notice of the real danger of going to sea without wearing a lifejacket, Noel O'Sullivan, a fisherman from Castletownbere, Co. Cork will act as Ambassador for the campaign. Noel survived an accident at sea, along with his six crew, when his vessel 'Discovery' capsized off the Isles of Scilly on the 29th January, 2007.

Noel describes the day of the accident...'I will never forget that day. As we were hauling in the catch, I knew there was something wrong. She was listing dangerously and I instructed the crew to launch the life rafts and jump overboard. As we jumped, she listed violently and capsized onto one of the life-rafts - puncturing it.....I treaded the freezing water for more than two hours until we were rescued..... I was terrified going back fishing but I went back as it's my livelihood, it's what I know...the difference is, I am more aware of the dangers now and I insist all my crew wear lifejackets. I would appeal to all fishermen to do the same' (Hear Noel's full story on BIM's website,

The fatality rate for Ireland's fishing sector stands at 88 per 100,000, making it 48 times more hazardous than other occupations*. Wearing a suitable lifejacket is the single most effective measure a fisherman can take to increase the chance of survival if involved in a man-overboard accident at sea.

Jason Whooley, BIM's CEO appeals to the fishing industry: 'I am sincerely asking all fishermen to wear their lifejackets. It could be the difference between life and death, it is that simple. Despite being a legal requirement, it is not something that is taken seriously enough in the fishing sector. We aim, along with our partners, IWS and the RNLI, to change this mentality through a targeted and ongoing safety campaign and I am delighted that Noel, who has personally survived an accident at sea, is helping us to drive this important message home.'

Current RNLI statistics suggest that less than 35% of fishermen regularly wear a lifejacket. Many fishermen feel that wearing a jacket inhibits their mobility and makes working on deck much more difficult. Part of this awareness campaign will be highlighting that there are a growing range of lifejackets that fishermen can use to suit their method of fishing and skippers and crew have a responsibility to themselves, work colleagues and family to consider the available options. In fact, there are new lifejackets on the market that are extremely light and compact and would not interfere with work on deck at all.

Published in Marine Warning
Tagged under
Over the past few seasons the use of lifejackets by crews on racing yachts has increased. There was a time when jackets were bulky, awkward and difficult to use in racing situations. The arrival of lighter, collar-type jackets, with built-in, automatic gas inflation bottles changed the situation.

The wearing of jackets is not compulsory, but a decision for the individual sailor, though Skipper can insist that crews use them while racing.

In the United States a debate is underway as to whether the wearing of jackets at all times on racing boats should be made compulsory by law. Regulations here require that everyone on board any boat of seven metres or less, approximately 22 feet, must wear lifejackets. They must be carried aboard for everyone on any vessel regardless of size. Every child less than 16 years of age must wear a lifejacket or personal floatation device at all times on deck while the craft is underway.

As owners prepare boats for racing this season, these regulations should be kept in mind. Enforcing the law, or even effectively checking its application remains patchy. Introducing laws is easier than implementing them, particularly in a yacht racing situation. Sailing clubs have their own enforcement arrangements and insist on buoyancy aids for dinghy racing.

Safety on the water is an issue for each individual, but skippers/owners would be well advised to protect themselves in this litigious nation by insisting on the wearing of lifejackets by crew members during racing. Accidents will happen. Preparation is best.

The national sailing association, the ISA, is to nominate teams for this year's Nations Cup match racing. The finals will be held at the USA Sailing Centre in Wisconsin from September 13-18.

The Irish Sailing Association this week sought expressions of interest from skippers who would like to represent Ireland, in the first instance at the European Regional Finals in Gydnia, Poland, from July 19-23.

Ireland is drawn in Europe Group II in the open and women's classes. Expressions of interest are needed to the ISA by next Tuesday, February 8. Selection will be based on performance in the ISA Match Race Championships last year and ISAF ranking positions.

2-handed class" racing in this year's Dun Laoghaire Week in early July. A number of skippers have already expressed interest and there may be UK boats. He wants to know if any South Coast sailors are interested. Contact Olivier who is Sailing Manager at the National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire, phones 012801198 or 2805725 or by Email to Olivier at: [email protected]

Vinnie O'Shea of the RCYC has been elected Commodore of the South Coast Offshore Racing Association (SCORA). Jackie Kenefick of Schull Harbour SC is Executive Officer and Michael Murphy of both the Schull and Crosshaven clubs remains as Treasurer and PRO. The Association is to discuss class bands and handicapping.

This article is reprinted by permission of the EVENING ECHO newspaper, Cork, where Tom MacSweeney writes maritime columns twice weekly. Evening Echo website:

More on lifejackets

Published in Island Nation

Gardai launched a full investigation into the weekend boating tragedy where two men died in Inishboffin harbour.The men were identified locally as former Mayo footballer, Ger Feeney, and businessman, Donal McEllin, both from Castlebar.

It is understood the pair left the island by small RIB to travel back to their motor cruiser some time after midnight on Saturday and are both thought to have been wearing lifejackets when they set out.

A second investigation is also to be carried out by officers of the Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB).

More here:

Ex-GAA star dies in double drowning tragedy off island

Two men drowned off Inishbofin

Castlebar in shock as Inishbofin victims are named

Related Safety posts

RNLI Lifeboats in Ireland

Safety News

Rescue News from RNLI Lifeboats in Ireland

Coast Guard News from Ireland

Water Safety News from Ireland

Marine Casualty Investigation Board News

Marine Warnings

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Two men died in a boating accident off the coast of Inishbofin in Co. Galway early this morning.

The pair, aged in their late 50's and early 60's had arrived on the island yesterday on a 40ft motor cruiser and it is understood, through local lifeboat sources, the accident appears to have happened as the two men returned to the cruiser by dinghy on Saturday night.

Both men were wearing lifejackets.

One of the bodies was washed ashore, while another was located inside the upturned dinghy around 11 o'clock this morning.

The bodies were airlifted by the Sligo-based Coastguard helicopter to Galway University Hospital.

Post-mortem examinations will be carried out to determine the exact cause of death.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

With the summer boating season coming to a close, the RNLI’s Sea Safety team is back in Dun Laoghaire this morning and people who use the water are being invited to get their lifejackets checked out for free and find out more about this vital piece of boating kit.

It's an ideal opportunity to get the jackets checked before putting them away for the winter or indeed before the start of the different winter series on the Bay.

The RNLI carried out a similar service during the summer and on that occasion Over 90% of lifejackets tested at Ireland's two biggest sailing centres failed the simple checks.

From 91 jackets tested in Cork and Dublin, 83 failed the free inspection.

The annual Lifejacket check service carried out by the institute was only taken up by 40 sailors from an estimated 1,000 competing crews at Cork week. 35 failed the test.

The RNLI lifejacket clinic took place yesterday at Dun Laoghaire marina and takes place again today. 

The RNLI’s lifejacket campaign, first launched in June 2007, aims to encourage all who go to sea in their leisure time to always put their lifejackets on when going to sea, and then decide when (if at all) to take it off.


RNLI Divisional Sea Safety Manager, Nicola Davies, explains:

‘A lifejacket is useless unless worn, if it is worn incorrectly or if it is not in full working order. It’s much safer to get into the habit of wearing a lifejacket at all times when afloat, because it means you’ll be familiar with your particular lifejacket and how to operate it should an emergency situation unfold. In the summer months when boat owners may take family and friends who don’t often go afloat, it’s even more crucial to ensure that all on board, including babies and children, are wearing a well-fitted lifejacket.

‘A correctly fitting lifejacket will keep you afloat so that, should you end up in the water, you have time to overcome the initial shock and you can begin to think about survival. It will also keep your airways clear of the water, which is absolutely crucial because it only takes just a cup full of water in the lungs to make survival difficult and just over a litre to drown. A lifejacket also buys you time, this will allow for the search and rescue services to come to your aid. Our advice is not meant to spoil the fun of water users, but it is founded on the years of experience of RNLI lifeboat crew who know how unpredictable the weather can be and how quickly things can go wrong at sea.’

Lifejackets should not only be worn, but they need regular maintenance checks too. They should be stored in a dry, well-aired area when not in use. RNLI Sea Safety managers and volunteers around the coast of the UK and Ireland found that almost 35 per cent of lifejackets they’ve looked at during RNLI Sea Checks would, in their opinion, fail to operate.

Related Safety posts

RNLI Lifeboats in Ireland

Safety News

Rescue News from RNLI Lifeboats in Ireland

Coast Guard News from Ireland

Water Safety News from Ireland

Marine Casualty Investigation Board News

Marine Warnings

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

1.    SWIM WHERE LIFEGUARDS PATROL - they're trained to keep you safe

Warm summer trips to Ireland's waterways can be an accident waiting to happen if the proper precautions are not taken. One of the safest precautions people can take is to swim at Lifeguarded waterways. Irish Water Safety trained Lifeguards patrol beaches and inland waterways nationwide. Lifeguards are trained to see the dangers develop, can prevent accidents before they happen and respond instantly if they occur. Every year Lifeguards not only carry out all sorts of dramatic rescues but also give on-the-spot advice to keep swimmers. This umbrella of protection is available at Lifeguarded waterways, all of which are listed on Irish Water Safety's website,


2.    CHECK YOUR LIFEJACKET - it may save your life.

If you have anything to do with boats and being on or near the water, having a lifejacket and wearing it isn't enough - you also have to check that it works. Wearing a lifejacket will only save your life if you know it works so get it checked.  That's the pressing message of a Bank Holiday campaign from Irish Water Safety, which is urging people taking to water-based activities to make sure that their lifejackets and buoyancy aids are fully working as they check their equipment ready for the summer season ahead.

Irish Water Safety is concerned about a noticeable increase in the number of people who use Ireland's waterways without wearing proper protective equipment and recommends that all leisure boating enthusiasts wear a lifejacket that is maintained, correctly worn and fit for purpose. More people than ever before are coming into contact with our extensive network of waterways yet tragically there have been a number of drownings this year where the absence of a lifejacket was a contributory cause.

Irish Water Safety has developed a 14-Steps to Safe Boating Guide to educate water users on the dangers that are ever present when boating.  SEE BELOW.

3.    DROWNING IS FAST AND SILENT - supervise children on holidays.

When the sun is shining and the weather warmer, there's nothing more refreshing than a dip however it is never safe to assume that children will not be injured and this is why water safety must start the moment you arrive at a holiday destination.  The swiftness of an accident and its possible outcome is devastating. In the few seconds it takes to turn burgers on the barbecue or dash inside for more cold drinks, a child can drown. The general misconception is that there will be splashing and shouting so parents can come to the rescue. Sadly, this isn't the case. Drowning is fast and silent, which is why many parents don't even know its happening.

Holiday destinations often lull people into a false sense of security and people often put their lives at risk around water as a result of complacency, ignorance of the dangers, a lack of training or a combination of all three. Irish Water Safety has produced the following 14 Steps to safe holidays.


BELOW: Safe Holidays Guide / Safe Boating Guide / Lifejackets Checklist

Irish Water Safety's 14-Steps to Safe Holidays


On arrival at a holiday centre, which has a swimming pool, do not allow children to go immediately to the pool until you have checked out the safety arrangements.  On many occasions there may not be any lifeguard on duty.

Swim only after digesting food and never after taking alcohol or immediately after a long journey.

Always swim with others, never alone.

Be particularly careful of young children wandering off. Constantly supervise children/baby pools that may be next to the main pool without any barrier between them.

Check for pool depth markings.  There may not be any so you must check the depths yourself if you are a competent swimmer.

Ensure that you do not dive into shallow water.

Watch out for sudden drops or changes in the gradient of a pool floor.

Check for missing, uneven or slippery tiles surrounding or in the pool.

Do not swim or do not allow children to swim in a pool with discoloured water.

Always swim in designated areas patrolled by lifeguards.

Swim with family or friends - never alone.

Swim within your depth and parallel to the shore.

Never swim after dark.

Beware of rip currents, as new moon spring tides are particularly high mid week.


Irish Water Safety's 14 steps to safe and enjoyable boating:

Check condition of boat and equipment, hull, engine, fuel, tools, torch.

Check the weather forecast for the area.

Check locally concerning dangerous currents, strong tides etc.

Do not drink alcohol while setting out or during your trip.

Carry an alternative means of propulsion e.g. sails and oars or motor and oars.

Carry a first aid kit on board and distress signals (at least two parachute distress rockets, two red hand flares).

Carry a fire extinguisher, a hand bailer or bucket with lanyard and an anchor with rope attached.

Carry marine radio or some means of communication with shore.

Do not overload the boat - this will make it unstable.

Do not set out unless accompanied by an experienced person.

Leave details of your planned trip with someone ashore - including departure and arrival times, description of boat, names of persons on board, etc.

Wear a Lifejacket or Buoyancy Aid at all times.

Keep an eye on the weather - seek shelter in good time.

In Marine Emergencies, call 999 or 112 and ask for Marine Rescue.


Lifejackets Checklist

Ensure CO2 Cartridges have not been punctured and are secured firmly

Ensure all zips, buckles, fasteners and webbing straps are functioning correctly and adjusted to fit the user

Check that their lights, if fitted are operating correctly

Ensure that Automatic Inflation devices if fitted are fully serviced and in date

Check that the valve or lifejacket is not leaking by inflating the lifejacket overnight

Discard any faulty lifejackets by destroying them

Always wear a crotch strop on your lifejacket

For information on buoyancy aids and lifejackets click on the IWS website

Published in Marine Warning
Page 3 of 3

Featured Sailing School

INSS sidebutton

Featured Clubs

dbsc mainbutton
Howth Yacht Club
Kinsale Yacht Club
National Yacht Club
Royal Cork Yacht Club
Royal Irish Yacht club
Royal Saint George Yacht Club

Featured Brokers

leinster sidebutton

Featured Associations

isora sidebutton

Featured Webcams

Featured Events 2021

vdlr21 sidebutton

Featured Sailmakers

northsails sidebutton
uksails sidebutton
quantum sidebutton
watson sidebutton

Featured Chandleries

CHMarine Afloat logo
osm sidebutton

Featured Marinas

dlmarina sidebutton

Featured Blogs

W M Nixon - Sailing on Saturday
podcast sidebutton
mansfield sidebutton
BSB sidebutton
wavelengths sidebutton

Please show your support for Afloat by donating