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Displaying items by tag: Dun Laoghaire Harbour

At the beginning of 2022, eager parents from Dun Laoghaire’s waterfront yacht clubs came together to build the RS Feva fleet in the harbour.

With a two-year gap for the majority of young sailors and the growth spurt that goes with that, many young sailors were no longer small enough for their Optimists.

 With this in mind, the Feva Dun Laoghaire initiative was established where parents came together with the class association with the goal of getting as many young sailors out racing as possible.

This started with a racing series in May, followed by a busy summer season of the National Championships and Club regattas. The events have become more popular with a major emphasis on enjoying the events and having fun.

As a result, the Irish National Sailing & Powerboat has, for the first time, decided to take the leap and join in on the fun, with six RS Fevas available and a keen bunch of sailors, they have developed a programme to get these youngsters with no racing background out on the water.

INSS has developed a programme to get youngsters with no racing background out on the waterINSS has developed a programme to get youngsters with no racing background out on the water 

The programme is off to a great start, with three boats being booked within hours of launching. It consists of six weeks of training with the goal of entering in the RS Feva Easterns held by the National Yacht Club on the 17th and 18th of September, along with the September series.

If you have a young sailor who would be interested, please do not hesitate to contact the INSS.

Irish National Marine Services, the RS reps for the republic of Ireland, are supporting this initiative by offering a major discount for the year that's in it, in order to try and encourage the growth of the fleet both locally and nationwide, for any information on buying a Feva or parts or servicing please contact Heather on
[email protected]

Published in RS Sailing

Dun Laoghaire Harbour's St. Michael’s Rowing Club Regatta took place on Sunday, the 17th of July and brought together a large community of heritage skiff rowers from all along the east coast writes St. Michael’s Simone Sav

Coastal rowing at St Michael’s Rowing Club combines all the positive aspects of team sport, seamanship, fitness, competition and the great outdoors. The club caters for men, women and children with all levels of aspiration, from the recreational to the serious athlete.

Traditionally held every year at Seapoint, the event drew hundreds of spectators on SundayTraditionally held every year at Seapoint on Dublin Bay, the event drew hundreds of spectators on Sunday

With more than 100 crews, 17 races on the cards and participation of all age categories (from youth rowers as young as 10 to ‘vets’ in their 50s and 60s), the event was the largest coastal rowing regatta in Dun Laoghaire Rathdown in 2022. Traditionally held every year at Seapoint, the event drew hundreds of spectators on Sunday. This helps keep alive the tradition of the hobblers of old. With fixed seats, wooden oars, and clinker-built boats, the sport of heritage skiff rowing differs significantly from our freshwater ‘Olympic-style’ cousins.

"Heritage rowing is a sport for all ages - from youth rowers as young as 10 to ‘vets’ in their 50s and 60s"

St. Michaels welcomed Mary Hanafin, Cathaoirleach of Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, who presented the medals to the youth rowers. In a thoughtful departure from the usual format, the club opted for eco-friendly wood medals. After all, heritage skiff rowing is truly a sport that leaves no trace, which draws on the savvy of wood craftsmanship, the power of the human body and the maritime knowledge to cross any waters.

St. Michael’s rowing medals were in hot dema at SeapointSt. Michael’s rowing medals were in hot dema at Seapoint

Club members were also delighted to see several elected councillors and TDs stop by or promote the event via their social media: TD Barry Ward; TD Cormac Devlin; Councilor Justin Moylan and Councillor Peter O’Brien.

St. Michaels welcomed Mary Hanafin, Cathaoirleach of Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, who presented the medals to the youth rowersSt. Michaels welcomed Mary Hanafin, Cathaoirleach of Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, who presented the medals to the youth rowersd

The event was supported by local businesses: Access Hearing Centre, Dun Laoghaire; Acorn Landscaping; Ardcolts Supervalu Dun Laoghaire SC; Cafe du Journal & Bearhug Clothing, Monkstown; Cinnamon, Monkstown; Elephant & Castle, Monkstown; Georges Fish Shop, Monkstown; McKenna’s Bar; Specialist Orthodontic Practice, Glenageary; The Graduate Pub, Killiney.

The St. Michael’s Rowing Club committee, and in particular Captains Nicola Fitzgerald and Gareth Whittington, would like to thank all sponsors, supporters, club members and friends for their contribution to making the event a great success.

St. Michael’s Rowing Club was founded in Dun Laoghaire Harbour in the early 1920s. Today the club consists of over 100 members, from all walks of life, with all abilities catered for, from complete beginners to experienced rowers.

Crews train Monday to Friday from March to September, from 6 pm to sundown, in traditional wooden skiffs, as well as Celtic Longboat, with an offshore boat to be added to the fleet during the 2022 season.

St. Michael’s Home Regatta results - 17th July 2022

Intermediate Ladies
1st - Fingal
2nd - Stella Maris
3rd - Dalkey

Junior Ladies
1st - Dalkey
2nd - St Patrick’s
3rd - Stella Maris

Junior Men
1st - St Patrick’s
2nd - St Michaels
3rd - Stella Maris

Mixed crew
1st - Dalkey
2nd - St Michaels
3rd - Stella Maris

Senior Men
1st - St Patrick’s 
2nd - Wicklow 
3rd - St Michaels 

U12 boys
1st - Wicklow 
2nd - St Patrick’s 
3rd - Wicklow 

U12 girls
1st - St Patrick’s 
2nd - St Patrick’s 
3rd - St Michaels 

U14 boys
1st - St Patrick’s 
2nd - Wicklow 
3rd - Stella Maris 

U14 girls
1st - Stella Maris A
2nd - Stella Maris B 
3rd - Greystones 

Novice Men
1st - Fingal 
2nd - Bray 
3rd - Dalkey 

U21s Mens race
1st - St Michaels 

Senior Ladies
1st - St Michaels 
2nd - Wicklow 
3rd - Fingal 

Intermediate Men
1st - Wicklow 
2nd - Stella Maris 
3rd - Greystones 

U16 girls
1st - Stella Maris A
2nd - Stella Maris B
3rd - Wicklow 

U16 boys
1st - Bray
2nd - St Patrick’s 
3rd - Skerries 

U18 girls
1st - Skerries
2nd - Greystones
3rd - Bray?

U18 boys
1st - Wicklow 
2nd - St Michaels A
3rd - Skerries 

Vets
1st - Dalkey & Bray 
2nd - Dalkey 
3rd - Fingal 

Published in Coastal Rowing

An all-female lifeboat crew from Dun Laoghaire RNLI rescued four teenagers yesterday evening (Sunday 17 July) after they were overcome by the outgoing tide and found clinging to The Wooden Bridge at Dollymount.

The volunteer crew were alerted shortly after 5pm by the Irish Coast Guard following a call from a member of the public who was asked by a parent of one of the teenagers to raise the alarm. The crew launched the inshore lifeboat at 5.08pm and arrived on scene at 5.25pm.

This was the second time in the station’s history, that Dun Laoghaire RNLI launched a lifeboat with an all-female crew. The lifeboat was helmed by Laura Jackson with crew members Moselle Hogan and Hazel Rea onboard.

Weather conditions at the time were challenging with a choppy sea, the wind blowing a strong Force 4, and low water temperatures and a surging tide on scene.

The four teenagers were enjoying the hot weather and out no more than waist-high in the sea with a paddleboard when they realised they were being swept by the outgoing tide toward the underside of the wooden bridge.

The Dollymount lifeguards made best efforts to assist with lifebelts from the bridge deck but the casualties were struggling to secure a safe hold on them.

Arriving on scene, the crew observed two casualties in the water clinging on to the bridge, and two others 10m away on the paddleboard. As the tide was surging, the crew first rescued the two casualties under the bridge bringing them safely aboard the lifeboat and ashore. The crew then safely approached the two casualties on the paddleboard under the bridge, again bringing them onboard the lifeboat and returning them safely to the shore. All four casualties were shaken and distressed by their ordeal, but did not require medical treatment when brought ashore and into the care of Dollymount Lifeguards.

Speaking following the call out, Dun Laoghaire RNLI Helm Laura Jackson said: ‘We would like to remind anyone using a paddleboard in any depth of water to always wear a suitable floatation device, and to carry a means of communication with them in a waterproof pouch.

‘It’s also important to be wary of tides even if you’re familiar with where you’re swimming as sea movements are unpredictable, particularly when close to bridges and other structures.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Deputy Jennifer Carroll MacNeill has repeated her call on Minister for Defence Simon Coveney to use Dún Laoghaire Harbour as a naval base in a response to Brexit.

The Fine Gael TD for Dún Laoghaire originally made the proposal in February but repeated it today following the Report of the Commission of the Defence Forces and as the Minister unveils a plan for expanding the Defence Forces

MacNeill said, “This report now needs to be taken seriously so we as a country can be ambitious with, and for, our military. There is a need to get quickly to ambition level 2 and to provide a pathway to ensure that this State can properly protect itself and its surrounds and respond to the needs of our citizens in difficulties around the world", she said in a statement.

Dun Laoghaire is halfway along the East Coast and is a harbour location that gives the Navy full control to enter and exit as needed without commercial constraints of other operatorsDun Laoghaire is halfway along the East Coast of Ireland and is a harbour location that gives the Navy full control to enter and exit as needed without commercial constraints of other operators says Deputy Jennifer Carroll MacNeill

“Brexit has proven that the stability of the status quo cannot be taken for granted and we have a need to develop the security of the East Coast and the capacity to patrol the Irish sea effectively", she said.

“The report clearly identifies the need for an enhanced national Recognised Maritime Picture to monitor Ireland’s territorial waters and Ireland’s Exclusive Economic Zone", the statement says.

The LE William Butler Yeats (P63) anchored off Dun Laoghaire Harbour in a busy Dublin Bay scene with local dinghy sailing and a visiting cruise liner The Navy's LE William Butler Yeats (P63) anchored off Dun Laoghaire Harbour in a busy Dublin Bay scene with local dinghy sailing and a visiting cruise liner Photo: Afloat

“With that in mind, there is an opportunity now for the Navy to identify a future home for such a patrol and Dún Laoghaire harbour is the obvious place for that"

“It is halfway along the East Coast, it is a harbour location that gives the Navy full control to enter and exit as needed without commercial constraints of other operators and it has the space and berthing area that is suitable. It is a state asset that is underutilised and would provide the Navy with a suitable, visible and high-profile location from which to operate on behalf of our citizens"

“It is clear from today’s report that the Navy needs to be expanded both in terms of assets and location. I am calling on the Navy to now assess the Dún Laoghaire harbour for suitability and would welcome them to Dún Laoghaire,” concluded Deputy Carroll MacNeill.

In a separate development, Dun Laoghaire Councillors recently gave the green light for Dun Laoghaire's Old Ferry Terminal as a 'Quarterdeck' co-worker space to open later this year.

Tagged under

Dun Laoghaire Harbour RNLI rescued a kayaker who was in the water for over 20 minutes on Saturday (2 July) after he got into difficulty off Dalkey Island.

The volunteer crew were alerted shortly after 4 pm by the Irish Coast Guard after a member of the public spotted the kayaker in difficulty half a mile off Sorrento Point and immediately raised the alarm. The crew launched the inshore lifeboat at 4.10 pm and arrived at the scene at 4.20 pm.

The lifeboat helmed by Laura Jackson and with two crew members onboard, immediately made its way to the scene.

While weather conditions at the time appeared calm closer to shore, the sea was choppy on scene and water temperatures were low.

The kayaker had come off his kayak and was unable to get back into it. Arriving on scene, the crew observed the casualty who was wearing a lifejacket, floating close to his kayak. They rescued the kayaker and brought him safely aboard the lifeboat before returning to Coliemore Harbour. He was then transferred into the care of the Coast Guard team for medical assessment but did not require hospital treatment.

Speaking following the call out, Dun Laoghaire RNLI Helm Laura Jackson said: ‘We would like to commend the member of the public who spotted the kayaker and did the right thing by raising the alarm immediately. Time is always of the essence in these situations.

‘We encourage anyone setting out in a kayak or craft of any size to carry a means of calling for help in a waterproof pouch and wearing a suitable floatation device as the casualty did today.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Dun Laoghaire Harbour might see more of the R116 Coastguard Helicopter after this month's major inter-agency marine and coastal agency emergency services display at the Dublin Bay Port.

Held in the Ferry Marshalling Area of the Harbour on June 16th, the display was described as a 'non-public event'.

Arising out of the pow-wow, the County Dublin site has been highlighted as one with good connectivity and landing options for the coastguard helicopter.  This is especially the case concerning Ambulance transfer to nearby St. Vincent's Hospital at Elmpark in Dublin 4, according to one Afloat source.

The briefing dealt with emergency landing zones, evacuation procedures, Ambulance access points, Major incident facilities and Port Secure Zones. 

The operational briefing had static displays and equipment capabilities with the Irish Coast Guard's Dun Laoghaire Unit, RNLI Dun Laoghaire Lifeboat Station, Irish Coast Guard - Rescue Helicopter 116 and DLRCOCO staff from Dun Laoghaire Harbour and Dun Laoghaire Marina. 

An Incident Command Unit, Mobile units and equipment, an All-terrain vehicle, Dun Laoghaire's Trent class All-Weather lifeboat, D-Class Inshore lifeboat, and R116 were displayed.

Dun Laoghaire Harbour RNLI rescued Sadie, a boxer dog who had fallen more than 3m below the pier walkway close to the Half Moon swimming area on the South Bull Wall at Dublin Port on Wednesday (29 June) while walking with her owner.

The volunteer crew were requested to launch their inshore lifeboat shortly before 10 am by the Irish Coast Guard

Dun Laoghaire Coast Guard was also tasked but the 3m climb down to retrieve the dog was not possible for the shore crew. The crew launched the lifeboat at 9.58 am and arrived at the scene within 12 minutes.

Weather conditions at the time were calm, however with the tide out, exposed, slippery and jagged rocks running along the Bull Wall meant Sadie was in a precarious position.

Once on scene, the crew calmly approached Sadie and brought her on board the lifeboat where she was found to be shaken but safe and well, however sporting some minor cuts on her paws from the fall. The lifeboat then safely returned Sadie to her owner at the slipway a short distance down the wall.

Speaking following the call out, Dun Laoghaire RNLI Helm Nathan Burke said: ‘We were delighted to be able to reunite Sadie with her owner following her ordeal today and wish her a speedy recovery. The owner did the right thing raising the alarm when she was in difficulty rather than entering the water themselves.

‘We would encourage pet owners to keep their pets on a lead when walking near the water’s edge, close cliff edges or fast-flowing waters. If your pet does enter the water, don’t go in after them. If worried, call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coast Guard.’

As regular Afloat readers know, Dun Laoghaire's new inshore boat was christened 'Joval' earlier this month

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Dun Laoghaire RNLI rescued two stand-up paddleboarders who got into difficulty off Seapoint in Dublin Bay last Saturday (25 June).

The volunteer crew were requested to launch their inshore lifeboat at 12.55 pm by the Irish Coast Guard. The alarm was raised by lifeguards who were on patrol at Seapoint and observed the two stand-up paddleboarders experiencing difficulty some distance out in Dublin Bay.

The D class lifeboat with three crew members on board, launched at 1.06 pm and arrived on scene six minutes later at 1.12 pm. As regular Afloat readers will know, this new lifeboat was officially named in Dun Laoghaire earlier this month

Weather conditions at the time were fresh to blustery with a Force 5 wind, a slight sea state and waves up to 1.25m.

Once on scene, the crew quickly located the two casualties and brought them on board the lifeboat where they were assessed and found to be safe and well. The lifeboat then safely returned them ashore at Seapoint.

Speaking following the call out, Eamon O’Leary, Dun Laoghaire RNLI Deputy Launching Authority said: ‘We would like to wish the paddleboarders well after they got caught out by a change in weather conditions at sea on Saturday.

‘As the summer holidays get underway this week, we would like to remind anybody planning an activity at sea to check weather forecasts and tide times before venturing out. Always carry a means of communication and always let someone on the shore know where you are going and when you are due back. Should you get into difficulty or see someone else in trouble, dial 999 or 112 and ask for the Coast Guard.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

After the disappointment of the blowout of last weekend’s (June 25) RIYC Regatta, this weekend’s Royal St George big event on Saturday 2 July is much anticipated on Dublin Bay.

The Frank Keane BMW George Regatta brings to a close the annual waterfront regattas for 2022 at Dun Laoghaire, which began on 12 June with the DMYC Regatta and was followed a week later by the Davy NYC Regatta.

Online entry is still available for the event, which comes with an equally packed onshore programme that promises a great day of fabulous food and family entertainment along with the excitement of racing on the water.

What’s more, the RStGYC Regatta Dinner is back this Saturday evening in the clubhouse. Click HERE to book a table at €55 per head and for any further questions contact Elle at 01 280 1811 or email [email protected]

Published in RStGYC

Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Councillors voted last night, with 35 in favour and five against, for the reopening of the Dún Laoghaire Harbour ferry terminal as a co-worker, incubator space. 

Dún Laoghaire ferry terminal, which has lain idle for seven years, will be leased by the Council and open later this year.

The deal, which will see the publicly-owned building leased to Quartermaster Innovations Ltd for at least 13 years, was described at Monday night's council meeting as both a “shot in the arm” for the town and “privatisation beyond belief”.

As Afloat reported as far back as March 2020Lapetus Investments Ltd, trading as Quarterdeck Innovation, has envisioned a “co-working innovation space” within the St Michael’s Pier terminal building.

It intends “to create a technology hub whereby small and medium-size businesses can collaborate in a community-based environment that promotes and fosters entrepreneurship, through a spirit of innovation and creativity”.

The project team is led by accountant Hilary Haydon, a past president of Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown Chamber of Commerce and former Chair of Nutgrove Enterprise Centre.

And it’s hoped the scheme could create more than 650 jobs after five years in the south Dublin port town — which will pique the interest of the waterfront yacht clubs among many other local stakeholders.

According to Owen Laverty, head of enterprise with DLRCoCo a key benefits of the Quarterdeck Innovation project include generating in excess of three quarter billion euros in wages during the lifetime of the project.

And the project emphasises integration with its location, positioning the hub as particularly attractive for marine technology and research.

Lapetus/Quarterdeck intends to repurpose the building’s interior as a “state-of-the-art innovation campus” proposing “sensational sea views from almost every desk”.

In addition, its ground floor level would be a ‘Food Hall’ acting as a common area for co-workers to relax away from their desks, and which would also be open to the public as “an opportunity for strong local community interaction”.

The project partners have also pledged to “assist and collaborate closely” with the feasibility study team for the National Watersports Campus being proposed for Carlisle Pier to help “improve the harbour’s infrastructure resulting in improved access, job creation and strong tourism potential”.

The company established by Haydon will pay rent to the council of €400,000 per year, starting in year two.

According to the Irish Times questions were raised about whether Mr Haydon had sufficient track record to develop the project, but Owen Laverty, said he had experience, had invested significant sums in the project and would have tenants in by the third quarter of this year. He described the project as “very exciting” repeatedly.

Proposals to develop the former Stena ferry terminal were first made in 2017 but later scrapped over licensing issues.

More in the Irish Times here including reaction from Councillors

Tagged under
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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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