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Displaying items by tag: Aran Islands

Aran Islands RNLI’s volunteer crew responded to two medical emergencies on a busy Bank Holiday Monday (1 August).

The first call came at 3.42am when the crew on Inis Mór were requested to launch by the Irish Coast Guard to go the aid of a man on the neighbouring island of Inis Meáin who was in need of further medical attention.

Under coxswain John O’Donnell, the all-weather lifeboat launched and headed straight for Inis Meáin where the patient was safely transferred aboard the lifeboat and brought to the mainland at Ros an Mhíl. Conditions at the time of launching were good with calm seas and good visibility.

The next call was at 10.39pm on Monday night when a patient on Inis Mór was in need of further medical attention.

With the patient transferred safely aboard the lifeboat at the pontoon at Kilronan Harbour, the lifeboat launched under O’Donnell and a full crew for the mainland and transfer to a waiting ambulance.

Conditions at sea this time were challenging, with poor visibility and a Force 5 southwesterly wind blowing.

Speaking after the callout, O’Donnell said: “It has been a busy weekend for our volunteers and they didn’t hesitate to respond to their pagers. We would like to wish both patients a speedy recovery.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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The RNLI’s most westerly shop in Ireland has opened its doors on Inis Mór, the largest of the Aran Islands, to raise vital lifesaving funds for the charity that saves lives at sea.

The new shop which is located inside Aran Islands RNLI’s lifeboat station at Kilronan Pier, is quickly becoming a key attraction for both the islanders and the many visitors who come each year. The shop means visitors can leave Inis Mór with a memory of their time on the island while supporting the charity.

The shop launched last Tuesday, and volunteers plan to have it open seven days a week during the tourist season (Easter through to Autumn) with opening times coinciding with the ferry arrival and departure times.

The shop offers a wide range of unique RNLI goods, including clothing and accessories, home and kitchen gadgets, toys and games, books and stationery, and gifts.The shop offers a wide range of unique RNLI goods, including clothing and accessories, home and kitchen gadgets, toys and games, books and stationery, and gifts.

The shop crew include volunteers Amy Williamson, Breda O’Donnell, Daniel and Lena O’Connell, David Terry, Margaret Jackie Gill, Shane Dirrane, Siobhán McGuinness and Treasa Ni Bhraonain, all of whom are looking forward to a busy summer after an exceptional first week serving local islanders and visiting tourists.

Speaking following the first week of trading, Brian Wilson, RNLI Community Manager, shares the shop team’s excitement: ‘We are delighted that Inis Mór is joining the rich heritage of lifeboat station shops in the RNLI. This is the second RNLI shop on the west coast of Ireland, along with Sligo Bay which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. The response in the first week has more than exceeded our expectations. We have had a wonderful response from locals and tourists alike and I want to thank the team here for their efforts in getting us to this point as well as thanking everyone who has visited and shown their support since the opening last week.

‘RNLI shops started 100 years ago as cake stands before they expanded into selling commemorative souvenirs and cards, and now we offer an excellent range of RNLI products with all profits helping to save lives at sea. So, we are all thrilled that this piece of RNLI heritage has reached Inis Mór and that the proceeds raised can now help to power the lifesaving work of the volunteer crew on the Aran Islands.’

The shop team at Aran Islands RNLI are looking for more volunteers. If you think you can give some time to help out, please call into the shop for more information.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Aran Islands RNLI on Inis Mór were called on to assist a local woman in need of medical attention on Wednesday evening, 22 June.

The woman was transferred safely aboard the lifeboat by the volunteer crew shortly after 6.15pm and the vessel, under coxswain John O’Donnell with a full crew, headed straight for Ros an Mhíl harbour where an ambulance was waiting.

Conditions at the time of launching were good with calm seas and clear visibility.

Speaking after the callout, O’Donnell said: “The volunteer crew responded to their pagers as soon as they went off so we were able to get the patient on her way to the hospital quickly. We would like to wish her a speedy recovery.

“As we head into the summer months, we would like to advise all beachgoers, and anyone heading to sea, to heed all safety advice and guidelines.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys has today announced the awarding of a new €4.9 million air service contract for the Aran Islands.

The PSO contract — which comes into effect on Tuesday 7 June — will run for four years until 2026 and will ensure essential mainland connectivity for the island communities. It’s also expected to significantly boost tourism, the department adds.

In addition, the new contract ensures for the first time the provision of a direct service from the mainland to Inis Meáin and Inis Oírr, which will mean a faster service for those smaller islands.

The contract with Galway Aviation Services Limited, trading as Aer Arann Islands, follows extensive consultation with island stakeholders and a full procurement process.

The air route has most recently been operated by Aer Arann Islands on an interim contractual basis. This came after the operator announced the termination of its PSO arrangement in mid 2018, citing profitability concerns.

Announcing the decision today, Minister Humphreys said: “This contract gives certainly to the communities of Oileáin Árainn. It ensures they can continue to avail of a year round, reliable and affordable air service to and from Aerfort Chonamara.

“And for the first time, we will now have direct flights to Inis Meáin and Inis Oírr – two wonderful island communities that are so steeped in history, culture and folklore.

“This is a fantastic development for these island communities. And it also sends a huge signal out ahead of the summer tourism season.”

The contract will provide 68,274 PSO seats annually to the three islands and will operate from Aerfort Chonamara at Inverin, which was purchased by the State in 2019.

The contract will also see the introduction of a flexible scheduling scheme that will allow operator to better respond to local service demands, such as island festivals and events.

Ad-hoc and scheduled non-PSO flights will also be provided by the operator to meet any demand above the agreed PSO seating allocation, the department says.

Published in Island News
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ESB Networks says it is investigating the cause of a power blackout which affected almost 800 Aran islanders last week.

The southern Aran island of Inis Oírr was most severely affected, with no electricity for 26 hours – resulting in substantial losses to businesses and households relying on freezers.

The break occurred when a contractor hit an underground cable on Inis Oírr at about 2 pm last Tuesday. Retired island co-op manager Paddy Crowe says the driver had been asked to stop working by several residents before the cable was hit.

Power went down on all three islands, but ESB Networks says it was able to restore supplies to Inis Mór and Inis Meáin less than an hour after the fault occurred.

However, Inis Oírr had no supply restored until 4.30 pm on Wednesday, some 26 hours later. ESB Network crews arrived at 10.30 am that morning and repaired the cable in six hours.

“Third-party damage occurs on our network from time to time,” a spokesman for ESB Networks said.

“ The overriding priority is always one of safety, and thankfully we are not aware of injuries on this occasion,” the spokesman said.

“Third-party incidents are unfortunately a feature of any electricity network, and we’d take every opportunity to remind those in construction of these dangers,” the spokesman said.

“In this case, we are in the process of establishing the precise cause, ”the spokesman said. He said he understood work was being undertaken on behalf of Galway County Council in the area where the fault occurred, and this was being followed up locally.

ESB Networks said it wished to “apologise to all customers impacted, particularly those on Inis Oírr who were without power overnight, for the disruption caused”.

“The incident serves as a timely reminder to all those involved in construction to ‘dial before you dig’ on 1800 928 960,” the spokesman said.

Published in Island News
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Following their two callouts on Monday, the volunteer lifeboat crew of Aran Islands RNLI were tasked again on Tuesday evening (31 May) to a woman in need of medical attention.

The Severn class all-weather lifeboat launched under coxswain in charge Sean Curtin and a full crew and headed straight from Inis Mór for the neighbouring island of Inis Meáin.

Conditions at the time of launch were good, with a northwesterly Force 3-4 wind blowing.

Once at the pier in Inis Meáin, the patient was transferred safely aboard and under the supervision of the volunteer crew, the lifeboat headed straight for Ros an Mhíl harbour and the waiting ambulance.

Speaking after the callout, Curtin said: “The volunteer crew responded quickly to the call and we got the patient safely on her way to the medical attention needed. we would like to wish her a speedy recovery.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Aran Islands RNLI’s volunteer crew were twice requested to launch on Monday (30 May).

The first callout came from the Irish Coast Guard at 2pm following a report of a small inflatable boat broken down off Doolin.

The volunteer crew under coxswain Sean Curtin were ready to launch the all-weather Severn class lifeboat when the call came through that the inflatable had made its way safely ashore.

The second callout came at 10.05pm when a man visiting the islands overnight was in need of medical assistance.

With the patient transferred safely aboard, the lifeboat launched under Curtin and a full crew and proceeded straight for Ros and Mhíl’s harbour and the waiting ambulance.

Speaking later, Curtin said: “We would like to wish the patient a speedy recovery. On both occasions the volunteer crew turned up without hesitation.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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The volunteer crew of Aran Islands RNLI on Inis Mór were requested on Tuesday evening (3 May) to launch their all-weather Severn class lifeboat to go to the aid of a patient on the neighbouring island of Inis Meáin.

Under coxswain John O'Donnell with a full crew onboard, the lifeboat launched for the medevac around 6pm in good weather conditions, with a southwesterly Force 3-4 wind, calm seas and good visibility.

Once at the pier in Inis Meáin, the patient was brought safely aboard the lifeboat by the crew and then transferred directly to Rossaveal Harbour and the waiting ambulance on the mainland.

Speaking after the callout, O’Donnell said: “This was a great response time from the volunteer crew who are always there to help anyone in need. We would like to wish the patient a speedy recovery.

“With the summer season fast approaching and the weather improving, we would advise anyone heading to the coast to heed all weather and safety advice.

“If you are planning a trip to sea, always wear a lifejacket or suitable floatation device for your activity, always carry a means of communication and let someone on the shore know where you are going and when you are due back.

“Should you get into difficulty, dial 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Companies throughout Galway have been promoted to more than 50 top tour operators and travel agents from Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland at a trade workshop held recently in Scandinavia.

Moycullen-based North & West Coast Links Golf Ireland and Aran Island Ferries (incl. Cliffs of Moher) took part along with 23 other businesses at Tourism Ireland’s 2022 Nordic trade workshop in Copenhagen, Denmark.

At the event, Irish businesses met with Nordic travel professionals, to encourage them to extend their Ireland offering, or to include Ireland for the first time in their brochures and programmes.

The key message was that Ireland is open for business again, and cannot wait to welcome back Nordic visitors.

Asides the Galway City Docks-Aran Islands (Inishmore) route, Afloat highlights those available from Rossaveel, Connemara and from Doolin in Co. Clare. At Doolin Pier there are other ferry operators also connecting to all three Aran Islands of Inishmore, Inishmean and Inisheer.

In addition running out of Doolin, coastal excursions head along to the spectacular Cliffs of Moher. 

More from Galway Daily on the tourist trade promotion.  

Published in Galway Harbour

Doolin Ferry Company has set sail for the summer season, with their state-of-the-art ferries operating once again from Doolin Pier to the Aran Islands. Passengers can also opt to board a Cliffs of Moher cruise, or the Seafari experience, which was introduced in 2021.

With the popularity of the Aran Islands continuing to increase year on year, the family-run business now offers up to 20 sailings per day between Inis Óirr, Inis Mór and Inis Meáin.

As a top destination in the West of Ireland, the Aran Islands offer visitors the chance to step back in time and experience Irish culture in its truest and most traditional forms.

The Doolin Ferry Co. Seafari Launch The Doolin Ferry Co. Seafari Launch

Doolin Ferry Co. holds the largest and fastest ferry fleet operating on the Wild Atlantic Way. Doolin Ferry Co’s one of a kind ‘Seafari’ experience takes place onboard an exclusive, private 10 seater rib.

The rib is designed to allow you unrivalled, close up views of the entire Clare Coast while sheltering you from the elements with an optional canopy if the need arises.

Doolin Ferry Co’s private charters allow you to dictate the itinerary so no two journeys onboard are ever the same.

Published in Ferry
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The Irish Coast Guard

The Irish Coast Guard is Ireland's fourth 'Blue Light' service (along with An Garda Síochána, the Ambulance Service and the Fire Service). It provides a nationwide maritime emergency organisation as well as a variety of services to shipping and other government agencies.

The purpose of the Irish Coast Guard is to promote safety and security standards, and by doing so, prevent as far as possible, the loss of life at sea, and on inland waters, mountains and caves, and to provide effective emergency response services and to safeguard the quality of the marine environment.

The Irish Coast Guard has responsibility for Ireland's system of marine communications, surveillance and emergency management in Ireland's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and certain inland waterways.

It is responsible for the response to, and co-ordination of, maritime accidents which require search and rescue and counter-pollution and ship casualty operations. It also has responsibility for vessel traffic monitoring.

Operations in respect of maritime security, illegal drug trafficking, illegal migration and fisheries enforcement are co-ordinated by other bodies within the Irish Government.

On average, each year, the Irish Coast Guard is expected to:

  • handle 3,000 marine emergencies
  • assist 4,500 people and save about 200 lives
  • task Coast Guard helicopters on missions

The Coast Guard has been around in some form in Ireland since 1908.

Coast Guard helicopters

The Irish Coast Guard has contracted five medium-lift Sikorsky Search and Rescue helicopters deployed at bases in Dublin, Waterford, Shannon and Sligo.

The helicopters are designated wheels up from initial notification in 15 minutes during daylight hours and 45 minutes at night. One aircraft is fitted and its crew trained for under slung cargo operations up to 3000kgs and is available on short notice based at Waterford.

These aircraft respond to emergencies at sea, inland waterways, offshore islands and mountains of Ireland (32 counties).

They can also be used for assistance in flooding, major inland emergencies, intra-hospital transfers, pollution, and aerial surveillance during daylight hours, lifting and passenger operations and other operations as authorised by the Coast Guard within appropriate regulations.

Irish Coastguard FAQs

The Irish Coast Guard provides nationwide maritime emergency response, while also promoting safety and security standards. It aims to prevent the loss of life at sea, on inland waters, on mountains and in caves; and to safeguard the quality of the marine environment.

The main role of the Irish Coast Guard is to rescue people from danger at sea or on land, to organise immediate medical transport and to assist boats and ships within the country's jurisdiction. It has three marine rescue centres in Dublin, Malin Head, Co Donegal, and Valentia Island, Co Kerry. The Dublin National Maritime Operations centre provides marine search and rescue responses and coordinates the response to marine casualty incidents with the Irish exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

Yes, effectively, it is the fourth "blue light" service. The Marine Rescue Sub-Centre (MRSC) Valentia is the contact point for the coastal area between Ballycotton, Co Cork and Clifden, Co Galway. At the same time, the MRSC Malin Head covers the area between Clifden and Lough Foyle. Marine Rescue Co-ordination Centre (MRCC) Dublin covers Carlingford Lough, Co Louth to Ballycotton, Co Cork. Each MRCC/MRSC also broadcasts maritime safety information on VHF and MF radio, including navigational and gale warnings, shipping forecasts, local inshore forecasts, strong wind warnings and small craft warnings.

The Irish Coast Guard handles about 3,000 marine emergencies annually, and assists 4,500 people - saving an estimated 200 lives, according to the Department of Transport. In 2016, Irish Coast Guard helicopters completed 1,000 missions in a single year for the first time.

Yes, Irish Coast Guard helicopters evacuate medical patients from offshore islands to hospital on average about 100 times a year. In September 2017, the Department of Health announced that search and rescue pilots who work 24-hour duties would not be expected to perform any inter-hospital patient transfers. The Air Corps flies the Emergency Aeromedical Service, established in 2012 and using an AW139 twin-engine helicopter. Known by its call sign "Air Corps 112", it airlifted its 3,000th patient in autumn 2020.

The Irish Coast Guard works closely with the British Maritime and Coastguard Agency, which is responsible for the Northern Irish coast.

The Irish Coast Guard is a State-funded service, with both paid management personnel and volunteers, and is under the auspices of the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport. It is allocated approximately 74 million euro annually in funding, some 85 per cent of which pays for a helicopter contract that costs 60 million euro annually. The overall funding figure is "variable", an Oireachtas committee was told in 2019. Other significant expenditure items include volunteer training exercises, equipment, maintenance, renewal, and information technology.

The Irish Coast Guard has four search and rescue helicopter bases at Dublin, Waterford, Shannon and Sligo, run on a contract worth 50 million euro annually with an additional 10 million euro in costs by CHC Ireland. It provides five medium-lift Sikorsky S-92 helicopters and trained crew. The 44 Irish Coast Guard coastal units with 1,000 volunteers are classed as onshore search units, with 23 of the 44 units having rigid inflatable boats (RIBs) and 17 units having cliff rescue capability. The Irish Coast Guard has 60 buildings in total around the coast, and units have search vehicles fitted with blue lights, all-terrain vehicles or quads, first aid equipment, generators and area lighting, search equipment, marine radios, pyrotechnics and appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE). The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) and Community Rescue Boats Ireland also provide lifeboats and crews to assist in search and rescue. The Irish Coast Guard works closely with the Garda Siochána, National Ambulance Service, Naval Service and Air Corps, Civil Defence, while fishing vessels, ships and other craft at sea offer assistance in search operations.

The helicopters are designated as airborne from initial notification in 15 minutes during daylight hours, and 45 minutes at night. The aircraft respond to emergencies at sea, on inland waterways, offshore islands and mountains and cover the 32 counties. They can also assist in flooding, major inland emergencies, intra-hospital transfers, pollution, and can transport offshore firefighters and ambulance teams. The Irish Coast Guard volunteers units are expected to achieve a 90 per cent response time of departing from the station house in ten minutes from notification during daylight and 20 minutes at night. They are also expected to achieve a 90 per cent response time to the scene of the incident in less than 60 minutes from notification by day and 75 minutes at night, subject to geographical limitations.

Units are managed by an officer-in-charge (three stripes on the uniform) and a deputy officer in charge (two stripes). Each team is trained in search skills, first aid, setting up helicopter landing sites and a range of maritime skills, while certain units are also trained in cliff rescue.

Volunteers receive an allowance for time spent on exercises and call-outs. What is the difference between the Irish Coast Guard and the RNLI? The RNLI is a registered charity which has been saving lives at sea since 1824, and runs a 24/7 volunteer lifeboat service around the British and Irish coasts. It is a declared asset of the British Maritime and Coast Guard Agency and the Irish Coast Guard. Community Rescue Boats Ireland is a community rescue network of volunteers under the auspices of Water Safety Ireland.

No, it does not charge for rescue and nor do the RNLI or Community Rescue Boats Ireland.

The marine rescue centres maintain 19 VHF voice and DSC radio sites around the Irish coastline and a digital paging system. There are two VHF repeater test sites, four MF radio sites and two NAVTEX transmitter sites. Does Ireland have a national search and rescue plan? The first national search and rescue plan was published in July, 2019. It establishes the national framework for the overall development, deployment and improvement of search and rescue services within the Irish Search and Rescue Region and to meet domestic and international commitments. The purpose of the national search and rescue plan is to promote a planned and nationally coordinated search and rescue response to persons in distress at sea, in the air or on land.

Yes, the Irish Coast Guard is responsible for responding to spills of oil and other hazardous substances with the Irish pollution responsibility zone, along with providing an effective response to marine casualties and monitoring or intervening in marine salvage operations. It provides and maintains a 24-hour marine pollution notification at the three marine rescue centres. It coordinates exercises and tests of national and local pollution response plans.

The first Irish Coast Guard volunteer to die on duty was Caitriona Lucas, a highly trained member of the Doolin Coast Guard unit, while assisting in a search for a missing man by the Kilkee unit in September 2016. Six months later, four Irish Coast Guard helicopter crew – Dara Fitzpatrick, Mark Duffy, Paul Ormsby and Ciarán Smith -died when their Sikorsky S-92 struck Blackrock island off the Mayo coast on March 14, 2017. The Dublin-based Rescue 116 crew were providing "top cover" or communications for a medical emergency off the west coast and had been approaching Blacksod to refuel. Up until the five fatalities, the Irish Coast Guard recorded that more than a million "man hours" had been spent on more than 30,000 rescue missions since 1991.

Several investigations were initiated into each incident. The Marine Casualty Investigation Board was critical of the Irish Coast Guard in its final report into the death of Caitriona Lucas, while a separate Health and Safety Authority investigation has been completed, but not published. The Air Accident Investigation Unit final report into the Rescue 116 helicopter crash has not yet been published.

The Irish Coast Guard in its present form dates back to 1991, when the Irish Marine Emergency Service was formed after a campaign initiated by Dr Joan McGinley to improve air/sea rescue services on the west Irish coast. Before Irish independence, the British Admiralty was responsible for a Coast Guard (formerly the Water Guard or Preventative Boat Service) dating back to 1809. The West Coast Search and Rescue Action Committee was initiated with a public meeting in Killybegs, Co Donegal, in 1988 and the group was so effective that a Government report was commissioned, which recommended setting up a new division of the Department of the Marine to run the Marine Rescue Co-Ordination Centre (MRCC), then based at Shannon, along with the existing coast radio service, and coast and cliff rescue. A medium-range helicopter base was established at Shannon within two years. Initially, the base was served by the Air Corps.

The first director of what was then IMES was Capt Liam Kirwan, who had spent 20 years at sea and latterly worked with the Marine Survey Office. Capt Kirwan transformed a poorly funded voluntary coast and cliff rescue service into a trained network of cliff and sea rescue units – largely voluntary, but with paid management. The MRCC was relocated from Shannon to an IMES headquarters at the then Department of the Marine (now Department of Transport) in Leeson Lane, Dublin. The coast radio stations at Valentia, Co Kerry, and Malin Head, Co Donegal, became marine rescue-sub-centres.

The current director is Chris Reynolds, who has been in place since August 2007 and was formerly with the Naval Service. He has been seconded to the head of mission with the EUCAP Somalia - which has a mandate to enhance Somalia's maritime civilian law enforcement capacity – since January 2019.

  • Achill, Co. Mayo
  • Ardmore, Co. Waterford
  • Arklow, Co. Wicklow
  • Ballybunion, Co. Kerry
  • Ballycotton, Co. Cork
  • Ballyglass, Co. Mayo
  • Bonmahon, Co. Waterford
  • Bunbeg, Co. Donegal
  • Carnsore, Co. Wexford
  • Castlefreake, Co. Cork
  • Castletownbere, Co. Cork
  • Cleggan, Co. Galway
  • Clogherhead, Co. Louth
  • Costelloe Bay, Co. Galway
  • Courtown, Co. Wexford
  • Crosshaven, Co. Cork
  • Curracloe, Co. Wexford
  • Dingle, Co. Kerry
  • Doolin, Co. Clare
  • Drogheda, Co. Louth
  • Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin
  • Dunmore East, Co. Waterford
  • Fethard, Co. Wexford
  • Glandore, Co. Cork
  • Glenderry, Co. Kerry
  • Goleen, Co. Cork
  • Greencastle, Co. Donegal
  • Greenore, Co. Louth
  • Greystones, Co. Wicklow
  • Guileen, Co. Cork
  • Howth, Co. Dublin
  • Kilkee, Co. Clare
  • Killala, Co. Mayo
  • Killybegs, Co. Donegal
  • Kilmore Quay, Co. Wexford
  • Knightstown, Co. Kerry
  • Mulroy, Co. Donegal
  • North Aran, Co. Galway
  • Old Head Of Kinsale, Co. Cork
  • Oysterhaven, Co. Cork
  • Rosslare, Co. Wexford
  • Seven Heads, Co. Cork
  • Skerries, Co. Dublin Summercove, Co. Cork
  • Toe Head, Co. Cork
  • Tory Island, Co. Donegal
  • Tramore, Co. Waterford
  • Waterville, Co. Kerry
  • Westport, Co. Mayo
  • Wicklow
  • Youghal, Co. Cork

Sources: Department of Transport © Afloat 2020

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