Health and Safety Policy

Galway Bay Boat Tours is committed to complying with the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 and the associated safety regulations as well as Merchant Shipping safety regulations including the Merchant Shipping {Passenger Boat) Regulations 2002 (SI 273 of 2002) and the Merchant Shipping (Passenger Boat Manning) Regulations 2005.

In order to fully comply with current health and safety legislation, we are committed to:

  • Carrying out risk assessments for all activities that may pose a risk to the health, safety, or welfare of our staff and customers.
  • Providing and maintaining a safe working environment, including safe work equipment, safety equipment and vessels in good condition.
  • Providing appropriate safety information and training to staff and safety information to our customers.


We are committed to continually improving our safety performance and appreciate customers help in this process.

As our craft are supplied with a skipper as part of the hire, it is regarded as a Passenger Boat, and is surveyed and licensed by the Maritime Safety Directorate (MSD). A copy of our licence is available for inspection at any time.

Ciaran Oliver
Updated April 2022

Duties and Responsibilities for Safety

The skipper (Ciaran Oliver or a qualified skipper working on his behalf), will make sure that all passengers receive an appropriate safety briefing before each trip.
The skipper is responsible for ensuring the vessel is maintained in a seaworthy condition and is properly equipped.
They have been trained under the Merchant Shipping (Passenger Boat Manning) Regulations 2005 which requires that skippers of passenger boats (vessels licensed to carry not more than 12 passengers) undergo appropriate training and testing to operate a passenger boat.
They are responsible for ensuring that the vessel is sufficiently stable when in the conditions of service for which it is intended.
They will make sure that crew have received adequate safety training and are fully aware of how to operate the radio, make a distress call and rescue a man overboard.
The Skipper has overall responsibility for safety on the vessel and will make sure that a safety inspection is carried out before each trip including an equipment and fire safety inspection.
They will inform a land based contact of the proposed trip, number of pax, the duration and location.
They are responsible for ensuring the vessel carries adequate life-saving and survival equipment, and has adequate means of recovering people from the water.
The skipper will take charge in an emergency.
The skipper is responsible for recording and reporting accidents.

Accidents and First Aid

In the event of an accident or illness the following are the important contact numbers;

Local Doctor: Galway Bay Medical Centre 091 530054
Westdoc: 0818-360000
Local Garda: 091-538000
Coastguard: 999 or 112 or ch 16 vhf

A mobile phone will be available in the wheelhouse. There is a first aid kit on board for category c vessels as directed by the Dept of Transport. The Skipper is trained in first aid. Any major accident or medical emergency will be handled through medico Cork via a V.H.F pan pan call. Tablets and medication must not be provided for customers use without authorisation from medico Cork.

Accident Reporting
If a customer suffers an injury while on the boat and requires the attention of a doctor or a hospital visit the accident must be reported to the Health and Safety Authority. Reports can be made online at

The vessels are fitted with a D.S.C automated calling system. A distress call is activated simply by pressing and holding for 3 seconds a dedicated switch on the radio, this system transmits an all station call on Channel 70. The operator initiates an all station call by simply uncovering and pushing the red SOS switch on the radio’s panel. This will transmit the MMSI identity code – a series on 9 digits, without any further action required by the crew. In addition to the MMSI number, it is interfaced with a GPS to give the boat’s position. Transmitting and receiving sets will switch to Channel 16 to allow further information be transmitted e.g. spoken MAYDAY message, nature of emergency etc.

Crew have a Radio Operator’s Licence and are given the following instructions for emergencies;

  1. The checklist with the correct radio distress procedures and the call sign are adjacent to the radio.
    After activating the SOS switch maintain a radio watch on Channel 16.
    Activate the EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon) P5.
    Use the GPS /Plotter to update the information passed to the Iifeboat/ hicopter.
    Conserve power, where possible, so that vital equipment can be used for as long as possible.
    Don’t delay in calling Irish Marine Emergency Service if you have problems. It is better for the lifeboat or helicopter to launch and then be recalled than to be called out too late!

The decision to abandon will be taken only if absolutely necessary. Often a damaged or incapacitated boat will, even in adverse weather conditions, offer greater protection to a crew, than entering the water or deploying a life raft. However in the case of fire or critical flooding there may be no other option. All our crew are familiar with the procedures for launching a life raft. The decision to abandon is to be made by the skipper.

If forced to abandon, the following points will be adhered to;

  • If time allows contact the Coastguard on DSC VHF
  • Make sure everyone has a Lifejacket on.
  • Launch the life raft (if applicable) after having first checked the water in the launching area is clear of people and obstructions.
  • Wait until the Life raft is fully inflated before attempting to board, do not jump onto the canopy, Keep the life raft as close as possible to the boat but avoid the raft chafing against the craft when a abandoning ship.
  • If possible, board the raft without entering the water to reduce the effects of the cold. It is better to climb down into the life raft.
  • If it is not possible to board the life raft without entering the water, choose a suitable place to leave the boat while taking account of the sea state, drift of the boat. Try to keep contact with the survival craft it can drift much faster than most people can swim. Hold it close to the boat with the painter and follow the painter to the life raft make sure not to tie to the boat as it could pull the life raft down.
  • Wear extra layers of clothing or water proofs, in particular make sure that head gear is worn to prevent heat loss from the body.
  • The Skipper will issue life jackets in any emergency. Don the lifejacket before leaving the boat. Every one under the age of 16 will be wearing a lifejacket as stated in law. If possible tie the EPIRB the life raft it will transmit your position to the coastguard. Bring the hand held V.H.F. into the life raft.
  • Do not remain in the water longer than is necessary.
  • Once all crew are in the raft it should be cut free, manoeuvre clear of the craft or any obstructions, deploy the sea anchor, close all entrances to conserve heat, issue sea sickness tablets, post a lookout. Maintain the raft – inflate the floor, bale out any water, check for leaks, ventilate by maintaining a small opening.

It is our policy to make sure that there are written risk assessments for all potentially hazardous activities or equipment used. The skipper will make sure that a hazard identification / risk assessment is conducted on all new equipment and practices.

A new hazard identification and risk assessment of a particular activity, process or area may be necessary in the following circumstances:

  1. A change in activities (new activities or processes or equipment).
  2. A need to improve safety performance in a particular area.
  3. Changes in legislation or safety standards.
  4. If an accident happens.
  5. Where hazards are reported.
  6. When changes to individual personnel health circumstances require it.

A record of the risk assessment will be made on ‘Hazard identification & risk assessment form’ The following paragraphs set out the hazards that have been identified and the measures we take to make sure that the risk associated with them is either eliminated or reduced to the lowest level possible.


  • Smoking.
  • Spillage of diesel fuel or lube oil.
  • Faulty electrical wiring.

Risk assessment: Low

Control measures

  • There is no smoking permitted in the wheelhouse or inside spaces.
  • There will be no passengers on board when refuelling, all spills will be contained and cleaned as soon as possible.
  • Regular checks are carried out on electrical connections and wiring.
  • Fire extinguishers are checked weekly and serviced annually. Crew are trained in their use.
  • If a fire is discovered get everyone out of the cabin.
  • Only fight the fire if you have been trained and it is possible to bring it under control.
  • Reduce the air getting to it by closing vents and hatches.
  • Do not go back in to the cabin or any smoke-filled place.
  • For an Engine Space fire, take the following actions:
    • Stop the engine
    • Shut off the main fuel cock for the engine.
    • Shut the engine space air vents.
    • Operate the engine space fire suppression system, by opening the CO2 Bottle for the engine behind the corner of the seating on the right as you enter the wheelhouse.
    • Keep engine hatch closed until you are sure the fire is out or the fire brigade is on board.


Risk low

  • Drowning
  • Hypothermia
  • Injury during rescue


  • The guard rails are 110 cm high and it is difficult to fall overboard.
  • All the crew have received instruction and training in rescuing a man overboard.
  • The boat is equipped with 2 lifebuoys, one with an 18 m line. A throwing bag is located just inside the wheelhouse.
  • All passengers under 16 years of age are required by law to wear Lifejackets/ PFDs at all times except if they are going swimming.
  • Lifejackets are available for all passengers who want to wear them.
  • Lifejackets are examined regularly.
  • Guests are given instruction how to don Lifejackets before each trip.


Risk Low

  • There is a risk of getting pierced by a hook.
  • There is a risk of being lacerated when cutting bait.
  • There is a risk of being pierced or cut by a fish.


  • Every effort will be made to show novice anglers the safest method of handling the hooks.
  • The skipper will cut bait for beginners and only allow the most experienced anglers to cut their own bait.
  • The skipper will advise on the safest way to handle the most dangerous fish.


Risk medium – high

  • There is a risk of tripping or slipping on deck before entering the water.
  • There is a risk slipping on the ladder or boarding platform when leaving the water.
  • There is a risk of decompression illness.
  • There is a risk of drowning


  • All divers will be helped in and out of their equipment.
  • All divers will be helped in and out of the boat.
  • All dive clubs must have their own O2 kits.
  • We are in constant contact with Galway Coastguard Radio (MRCC) when engaged in diving.
  • No one will be allowed to dive with us without correct valid certification.



Risk low – medium

  • There is a risk of drowning.
  • There is a risk of slipping on wet deck or swim platform.


  • We always pick the safest places for swimming depending on direction of wind and tide
  • All swimmers will be told what depth they are in and must be comfortable in the sea.
  • All swimmers will be helped on and off the boat.
  • P.F.D.s and wetsuits are available for the less confident.


Risk Low – medium

  • Boarding and disembarking.
  • Slipping on wet a deck.
  • Tripping on obstacles.


  • Passengers will be helped on and off the boat.
  • There is seating available for all passengers and passengers are discouraged from moving around in rolling seas.
  • Decks to be kept clear of unnecessary obstacles