Hundreds of water sport enthusiasts in the Foyle area will be rowing, boating and sailing in safety thanks to support of Loughs Agency in partnership with 3 local water based recreation clubs.
Foyle Sailability, Lough Foyle Yacht Club and Moville Boat Club regularly organise sessions on the water (for the public as well as members) but at times have been hindered by inadequate safety boat cover. The Loughs Agency has now provided a safety boat for shared use among these organisations to facilitate ‘taster’ sessions, regattas and other gatherings.
Photo: L-R: James Hockley, Lough Foyle Yacht Club. Conor Hynes, Foyle Sailability.
Garry Crothers, Foyle Sailability. Andy Sides, Loughs Agency. Kim Banks, Moville Boat Club.
Garry Crothers, Vice Chairman of Foyle Sailability points out that “safety is paramount for any club, but we are super safety conscious when dealing with people with disabilities and the extra challenges that entails. We have fantastic goodwill between ourselves and the local boating and yacht clubs and they not only provide us with safety cover but a large number of our volunteers have come through these clubs. Direct access to a safety vessel will greatly enhance our ability to deliver more sessions on the water on a more regular basis to people with disabilities from across the north west. We cannot thank the Loughs Agency enough for their ongoing support to our efforts. We look forward to a full season ahead, details of which will be announced soon on our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/foylesailability) and website www.foylesailability.org“.
Bill Johnson, speaking on behalf of Lough Foyle Yacht Club welcomed “this initiative by the Loughs Agency and their ongoing work to improve access to, and use of the Foyle. As the second city of Northern Ireland, there is a massive under usage of this valuable recreational resource, and this boat will enable more people to safely get onto the water at one of the three sailing clubs. We at Lough Foyle Yacht Club are particularly keen to attract more members and introduce them to dinghy sailing, on the Foyle, please see our club web site for details, www.lfyc.co.uk“.
The Commodore of Moville Boat Club, Joe Kelly, said “the club is privileged to be included in the shared safety boat scheme that has been funded by the Loughs Agency to encourage and support water sports in the region. This initiative by the Loughs Agency ensures that clubs like Moville can promote these water sports, increasing the number of people exposed to the fabulous natural resources that Lough Foyle offers. Once again Moville Boat Club owes the Loughs Agency a great big thank you.”
Andy Sides from Loughs Agency said ‘we advocate the promotion and development of marine tourism on the Foyle but there must also be support for safe operating systems on the water. We have liaised with these clubs and developed a partnership arrangement for shared use of the boat. The clubs have also taken on the responsibility of managing and maintaining the boat to ensure efficient usage and reliability. This provision of the safety boat will lead to more activity on the Foyle and enable the organisations to increase the delivery of their services and activities.’
Further information and contact details for the clubs can be found at the Loughs Agency website www.loughs-agency.org