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Displaying items by tag: Donegal Bay

The Irish Coast Guard is leading a “large-scale maritime exercise” off the Donegal coast today (Wednesday).

The exercise, called “Blue Hills”, will test major incident plans, it says.

It will also focus on the operational capability and co-ordination of the relevant authorities for a major maritime search and rescue incident, the Irish Coast Guard says.

Agencies involved will include Donegal County Council, the Health Service Executive, Garda Síochána, Dublin Fire Brigade, Naval Service, Air Corps, RNLI and others.

The exercise will be conducted in the proximity of Donegal Bay and include both live and virtual participation, it says.

“There will be no disruption to services during this exercise,” it says.

A planned exercise to test drift and tidal modelling software in Galway Bay on Tuesday was deferred due to a resources issue.

The exercise, which aims to simulate an overdue paddleboarder and swimmer, has been rescheduled to a later date.

Published in Coastguard
Tagged under

#MarineNotice - Marine Notice No 14 of 2018 advises that as part of the Donegal Group B Sewerage Scheme, remedial works are being carried out this week by Norfolk Marine at the Bundoran outfall in Donegal Bay.

These works were scheduled to begin on Tuesday 3 April to last for around one week at 54° 28.778’ N and 08° 19.304’ W, conducted from the vessel Chateau Thierry (Callsign EI-HK-6). An additional small boat or RIB will also be involved in the operation as required.

The work vessel will display appropriate lights and markers, and will monitor VHF Channel 16 throughout the project.

Published in Coastal Notes

#MarineNotice - TechWorks Marine are deploying three trawl-resistant bottom mounted acoustic Doppler current profiler (ADCP) frames at three locations in Donegal Bay from this week.

The frames, which will be on the sea floor between now and June, are being deployed as part of the oceanographic monitoring programme for the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

Scheduled for deployment earlier this week on Monday 27 March, the frames will be left in the water for a minimum of one month before being retrieved.

The vessel Dulra na Mara (Callsign EIFS6) will be used for both deployment and collection of the frames. The vessel will be listening on VHF Channel 16 throughout the project.

The frames are 2m by 1m and will remain on the seafloor for a period of up to 90 days, after which each frame will be retrieved by the acoustic release of a pop-up buoy allowing for its recovery.

There will be no surface marker during the extent of deployment so vessel traffic will not need to avoid the area but should be aware of its presence.

A map and co-ordinates of the frame placement points are included in Marine Notice No 14 of 2017, a PDF of which is available to read or download HERE.

Published in Marine Science

#MarineNotice - INFOMAR will undertake a hydrographic and geophysical survey in Donegal Bay next weekend 24-25 May.

The RV Celtic Voyager (Call sign EIQN) is expected to carry out the survey operations, which follow up on a previous survey completed last month.

Though the vessel will not be towing any instruments during this survey, she will have limited limited manoeuvrability due to survey line constraints.

The vessel will display appropriate lights and markers, and will be listening on VHF Channel 16 throughout the project.

Details of the survey area are included in Marine Notice No 31 of 2014, a PDF of which is available to read or download HERE.

Published in Marine Warning

#MarineNotice - Marine Notice No 24 of 2014 advises that a hydrographic and geophysical survey operation will be carried out in Donegal Bay between 28 March and 3 April 2014 as part of the INFOMAR programme.

The RV Celtic Voyager (Call sign EIQN) is expected to carry out survey operations in an area bounded by the following co-ordinates:

NE Corner - Lat: 54° 37.545’N; Long: 08° 11.510’W
SW Corner - Lat: 54° 19.718’N; Long: 09° 29.418’W
NW Corner - Lat: 54° 41.909’N; Long: 09° 28.698’W
SE Corner - Lat: 54° 17.165’N; Long: 08° 50.486’W

The vessel will display appropriate lights and markers. The vessel will not be towing any instruments during this survey but will have limited manoeuvrability due to survey line constraints. The vessel will be listening on VHF Channel 16 throughout the project.

All mariners are reminded of their responsibilities under the International Collision Regulations and are reminded of Marine Notice No 17 of 2007, which gives general advice in relation to the activities of vessels engaged in survey work for hydrographic, seismic, fishing research and underwater operations.

The International Regulations for Prevention of Collisions at Sea (COLREGS) are implemented in Irish law by the Merchant Shipping (Collision Regulations) (Ships and Water Craft on the Water) Order 2012 [SI No 507 of 2012], and the Signals of Distress (Ships) Rules 2012 [SI No 170 of 2012]. These Statutory Instruments may be purchased by mail order from Government Publications, Office of Public Works, 52 St Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2 at 01 647 6834/1890 213 434 and are also available online at www.irishstatutebook.ie.

Published in Marine Warning
Tagged under

#SURFING - The Irish Times reports that surfers from around the world are flocking to Sligo in expectation of what might be Ireland's biggest waves of the year.

Breakers of up to 30 feet off Donegal Bay could be the result if growing swells in the Atlantic combine with southerly winds expected from this weekend.

“We have had 50ft waves in the past but 30ft waves would certainly be great and you would have a lot of surfers coming into Ireland to follow them," said top Irish surf pro Richie Fitzgerald.

Elsewhere, President Michael D Higgins made a recent visit to the Somo Surf Centre in Cantabria, northern Spain while attending Spanish courses ahead of his State visit to South America last month, as Oceanlook reports.

“I had already heard of the charms of Loredo and Somo," the President commented. "There are many Irishmen flying to Cantabria in search of sun and also waves to get the chance to surf.”

Published in Surfing

#SURFING - British surfer Jayce Robinson wasn't about to let the largest wave ever recorded off Ireland's shores go by without giving it a shot.

And as Sky News Online reports, he was captured doing exactly that on Tuesday afternoon.

The Cornish surfing pro told the website: "It was definitely the biggest barrell I've ever surfed.

"I was a little nervous but I didn't have time to think about it - it's almost like a car crash, you don't know what's happening."

Robinson rode the giant wave for 20 seconds before the lip crashed down and knocked him off his board.

His surfing partner Lyndon Wake, who towed him to the swell at Mullaghmore Head, said: "It's always a worst case scenario when your tow partner wipes out. Lucky he managed to come out the other side OK."

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, storm force winds off the coast of Donegal produced monster rollers of over 20 metres (over 60 feet) in height detected in Donegal Bay.

Mullaghmore Head will once again welcome the world's top big wave surfers for the second annual Tow-In Surf Session in the New Year.

Published in Surfing
"Phenomenal" ocean conditions will be of grave concern to vessels in Irish waters from tomorrow evening as Hurricane Katia makes its approach to Ireland.
As the Irish Independent reports, Met Éireann has considered issuing a severe weater warning today, predicting winds of up to 160kmph and sea flooding on the west coast from Donegal Bay to the Shannon estuary.
On the east coast, winds are expected to reach 130kmph in Dublin on Monday, raising the threat of falling trees and "excessive damage" to property.
The UK Met Office has already taken the rare step of issuing an extreme weather alert for the whole of Ireland.
The category one hurricane is carrying winds of up to 145kmph as it crosses the Atlantic, and is expected to make landfall on the northern half of Ireland tomorrow night.
The Irish Independent has more on the story HERE.

"Phenomenal" ocean conditions will be of grave concern to vessels in Irish waters from tomorrow evening as Hurricane Katia makes its approach to Ireland.

As the Irish Independent reports, Met Éireann has considered issuing a severe weater warning today, predicting winds of up to 160kmph and sea flooding on the west coast from Donegal Bay to the Shannon estuary.

On the east coast, winds are expected to reach 130kmph in Dublin on Monday, raising the threat of falling trees and "excessive damage" to property.

The UK Met Office has already taken the rare step of issuing an extreme weather alert for the whole of Ireland.

The category one hurricane is carrying winds of up to 145kmph as it crosses the Atlantic, and is expected to make landfall on the northern half of Ireland tomorrow night.

The Irish Independent has more on the story HERE.

Published in Weather
The Irish Independent reports that some 100 bottlenose dolphins have made a new home off the Donegal coast in the past week.
The pod of bottlenoses - a rare treat in Irish waters compared to the near ubiquitous common dolphin - has been spoted by boaters and wildlife enthusiasts in the inner Donegal Bay, between Rossnowlagh Beach and Doorin Head.
Patrick Lane of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group said the bottlenose often swims closer to the shore than its more common counterparts, making it much easier for people on shore to catch a glimpse.
The Irish Independent has more on the story, including photos, HERE.

The Irish Independent reports that some 100 bottlenose dolphins have made a new home off the Donegal coast in the past week.

The pod of bottlenoses - a rare treat in Irish waters compared to the near ubiquitous common dolphin - has been spoted by boaters and wildlife enthusiasts in the inner Donegal Bay, between Rossnowlagh Beach and Doorin Head.

Patrick Lane of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group said the bottlenose often swims closer to the shore than its more common counterparts, making it much easier for people on shore to catch a glimpse.

The Irish Independent has more on the story, including photos, HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife
The recent warm weather has attracted scores of basking sharks to feed in Irish waters weeks ahead of schedule, Metro reports.
Video posted on YouTube by mackerel fishermen in Donegal Bay shows one of the sharks - the second largest species in the big fish family - just metres from their boat:
"We saw about 20 basking sharks that day," fisherman Brian Smith told Metro. "I have never seen so many at this time of year. You don't usually see them until later in May time."
Despite their fearsome size, basking sharks are among the friendlies of Ireland's marine wildlife.
They feed only on plankton and tiny fish - sifting them through their enormous gaping jaws - and are known for their calm temperament.

The recent warm weather has attracted scores of basking sharks to feed in Irish waters weeks ahead of schedule, Metro reports.

Video posted on YouTube by mackerel fishermen in Donegal Bay shows one of the sharks - the second largest species in the big fish family - just metres from their boat:

"We saw about 20 basking sharks that day," fisherman Brian Smith told Metro. "I have never seen so many at this time of year. You don't usually see them until later in May time."

Despite their fearsome size, basking sharks are among the friendlies of Ireland's marine wildlife.

They feed only on plankton and tiny fish - sifting them through their enormous gaping jaws - and are known for their calm temperament.

Published in Marine Wildlife

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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