Sunday 18 March 2018

That's just swell

Niall O'Connor

Niall O'Connor

IT'S a rollercoaster ride as a test pilot tackles a 30ft wave in a brand new, hi-tech rescue boat.

Former naval diver Ciaran Monks, from Cobh, Co Cork, was at the helm of the craft as he bravely took on huge Atlantic waves.

The vessel is the newest in a fleet of pilot launches and rescue vessels built by Cork company Safe Haven Marine.

Pilot boats are deployed by port authorities to guide in large ships through dangerous waters.

Cobh man Frank Kowalski, owner of Safe Haven Marine and the man who designs the amazing craft, said Roche's Point in Cork Harbour was a perfect place to test the boats.

On the day the picture was taken, Mr Kowalski and his team took the boats to sea to put them through their paces.

"We saw there was bad weather coming in so we went out -- these were perfect conditions for sea trials. We tested the boats in the harbour by capsizing them with a crane but we wanted to test them in the worst of the weather," he added.

"Roche's Point is located at the entrance to Cork Harbour and it has interesting swells -- perfect for testing these ships."

But he said that the crew were safe and dry inside the craft.

"These are highly skilled sailors and they know what they are at. If the boat gets hit, it will roll and come back up.

"The occupants will be bounced around but they'll be dry inside."

The company employs 25 people in two factories in Cork at Little Island and Youghal. It has gone from strength to strength since first building a craft for Cork Harbour in 2006.

"This is a real success story for an Irish company during a time when other companies are struggling," he added.

Irish Independent

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