Wednesday 1 August marked an historical and positive day for Youghal as Liam Keating a native of Waterford with over 30 years’ experience on the sea, started as the Harbour Master based in Youghal.
Keating started his career in his family’s electrical business, however a friend convinced him to go on tour with the Asgard II in 1981. “I had no experience at sea and had to be talked into going on the tour,” he said. “Six years later I got off the Asgard! Keating had found his passion for the sea. Following his six year tour, he commenced worked in commercial shipping with firms such as Arklow Shipping. For the past 17 years he has worked with the Tall Ship Youth Trust, a charitable organisation that teaches people from ages 12-80 the skill set of sailing.
The duties for the Harbour Master are varied and while some of the finer details have yet to be worked out, the primary duties are as follows;
- The enforcement of the County of Cork Harbour Bye-laws 2009 and proposed amended Bye-Laws to initially include piers, slips and harbours from Cork Harbour to the Waterford border.
- The enforcement of other legislation currently in force in relation to the operation of piers, slips and harbours for the time being covering the areas
- Provision of information for the implementation of charges— Harbour Rates and the proposed amended County of Cork Harbour Bye-laws including collection of fees and charges due.
- Attending at the specified Office on a daily basis.
- Supervision of all operations on the piers and slips in the charge of Cork County Council in the area outlined at 1 above.
- Monitoring of all vessels within the Harbour area and enforcing of the speed limit in the Harbour.
- Upkeep of Harbour Building and other related Cork County Council properties associated with piers, slips and Harbours within the area
- Ensuring that the pier areas are properly maintained, keep in a tidy and orderly condition and reporting any defects,
- Reporting any accidents, incidents or damage to Council property within the Piers and Harbour areas to the Relevant Cork County Council offices.
- Collection, receipting, recording and lodging of all Harbour Charges and fees.
- Supervision of all vessels entering and exiting the Harbour – provision of first point of contact.
- Keeping landing berths clear for vessels landing fish.
- Ensuring that steps and slips are cleaned on a regular basis and are in a safe condition.
- Checking AtoN’s in the Harbour on a regular basis to make sure lights are working and reporting any faults.
- Managing the moorings in the Harbour including recoding the location of all Cork County Council moorings and ownership of other moorings; all issues arising with users of the Harbour and allocation of new moorings, transfers, disputes, collection of dues etc.
- Monitoring of power supply units on pier and provision of charge cards to consumers and lodging monies received and recording payments and electricity usage.
- Monitoring of water and electricity supplies and water charges on the pier.
- In bad weather monitoring the Harbour for boats that break mooring etc.
- Dealing with all visiting yachts leisure crafts etc during the summer months including collection of fees and lodging and recording same.
- Supervision of waste oil facility in the Harbour.
- Identifying ownership, contacting and ensuring the removal of any wrecks or obstructions in the Harbour.
- Dealing with any accidents emergences within the Harbour and ensuring the safe running of the Harbour.
- Keeping a set of steps clear at all times for the purpose of dropping off and picking up, e.g. divers, anglers, leisure, etc.
- Attending County Council Divisional Management or other meetings, if required.
- Liaising with Cork County Council Municipal District Officer regarding administration and collection of fees etc.
- Liaising with employees of state agencies, e.g. Customs, County Council, Power Utilities, Eircom etc. regarding provision of services in the Harbour.
- Implementation of Cork County Council Safety Management Systems and in particular the Ancillary Safety Statement.
- The Harbour Master shall regulate signage on the pier area.
- The Harbour Master will cover other areas as required by their Line Manager.
- Any other duties as may be required by their Line Manager.
Enforcement of best practice water safety and awareness reputations for the benefit of all maritime users is vital, Keating said “Some great strides have been made in that regard in the last decade, and simplest common sense can save your life. For example, telling someone where you are going and what time you expect to be back, and keeping your phone in a ziplock bag which enables you to use it in the water. Using life jackets and, if necessary, buoyancy aids. All simple little things and rules which should be done out of habit but aren't always followed, can make all the difference in getting back home safely. I will be liaising closely with the Irish Water Safety, the RNLI, Coastguard and Gardaí in that regard”.
Commercial, marine and tourism is high on Keating’s agenda. “Our harbours are natural amenities”, he said, “It is vital that we make the best use of them, to put areas like Youghal on the map. We need to be “house-proud” of our waterways and put all we have into their success.” Keating has first-hand experience of how The International Tall Ships event has had a major impact on local tourism and visitor numbers in Waterford. A relatively small investment made a huge return with regard to visitor expenditure. Roughly €3 million was invested in 2011 to host the event, with a return of about €30 million over the 4 days of festivities.
Deputy County Mayor Mary Linehan Foley said that she is “delighted that finally we have a Harbour Master in our beautiful town. We welcome him, and this new appointment shows that our Harbour is being utilised and is on the up. I would like to wish him the best of luck in his new job”