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Displaying items by tag: RNLI

The volunteer crew of Howth RNLI launched their all-weather lifeboat Roy Barker III on Sunday afternoon (24 July) to aid a father, son and their dog Billy on a boat drifting towards the cliffs off Howth Head.

The lifeboat, with a crew of seven, launched at 1.40pm following a request from Dublin Coast Guard to assist the boat, which had come across Dublin Bay from Dun Laoghaire and suffered engine failure close to the Baily Lighthouse.

Weather conditions were challenging with fresh southerly winds and, having lost power, the boat was being blown towards the cliffs on the south side of Howth Head.

The lifeboat reached the casualty vessel within 15 minutes of launching. Once it was established that all on board the boat were well, Howth RNLI coxswain Fred Connolly took the decision to take the father, son and their black Labrador on board the lifeboat and to tow their boat back to Howth.

Speaking following the incident, Connolly said: “The owner of the boat in difficulty did the right thing in calling the coastguard for help straight away. When the winds are blowing onshore and a boat is broken down, every minute counts. Our volunteer crew responded quickly once the pager went off and we launched the lifeboat within minutes. 

“Once on scene, we cast a line to the boat and pulled them alongside so that the father, son and their dog could be transferred to the safety of the lifeboat. Our crew then established a tow line and we were able to tow the boat back to Howth Harbour.”

The coxswain added: “This type of call out for the RNLI provides a good opportunity to remind boat owners to have a means of calling for help at all times and if you do get into difficulty that you're prepared. We were delighted to be able to return Billy and his owners safely ashore.”

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Crosshaven RNLI lifeboat in Cork Harbour was requested to launch shortly before noon on Monday (July 25th) to assist a 13-metre steel-hulled yacht on passage from Youghal to Crosshaven that had engine difficulties.

The yacht, with three crew on board alerted Valentia Coast Guard as they were approaching Roches Point that they had engine problems, and with a North Westerly wind blowing over 25 knots along with a 1 to 2 metre sea running, felt it prudent not to attempt entering Cork Harbour under sail alone.

The lifeboat volunteers of Aidan O’Conner, Susanne Deane, Norman Jackson and Claire Morgan launched and met the yacht at Roches Point. Susanne Deane boarded the yacht and organised the lines for the tow, before the vessel was brought to Crosshaven Boatyard, where she was safely berthed.

The lifeboat returned to station, was washed down, refuelled and declared ready for service once more at 1.15 pm.

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Fethard RNLI launched its inshore lifeboat on Friday afternoon (22 July) after one of its helms spotted a lone boatman struggling to make ground with oars while being blown away from the shore.

The volunteer crew launched the inshore lifeboat at Fethard Dock and headed to an area around half a mile off The Windy Gap. Weather conditions were good, with good visibility and a Force 4 southwesterly wind.

It emerged that the lone boatman had taken his flat-bottomed punt to check on a larger vessel that was moored, when the wind overpowered the small craft.

Upon arrival at the casualty vessel, the crew assessed the situation, brought the casualty on board the lifeboat, set up a towline and brought the vessel to the safety of Fethard Dock.

Commenting about the callout, volunteer helm Mick Roche said it “highlights the huge importance of always having a means to call 999 or 112”.

He added: “It also should encourage all members of the public engaging in water activities to know the local tides and weather, in particular the direction of the wind, and if an offshore wind is blowing.”

Friday’s callout also marked the first shout for volunteer crew member Ian O’Grady, who downed tools at a local building site to join the crew.

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Youghal RNLI’s volunteer lifeboat crew rescued a family of three from their stricken yacht this morning (Friday 22 July) as it drifted towards rocks near Black Head in Youghal Bay.

The couple with their teenage son radioed for help after their 44ft yacht had lost power, leaving them slowly drifting towards the rocky shoreline
 
Youghal’s Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat was launched at 6.42am and reached the 44ft yacht in just 10 minutes amid favourable conditions with a falling tide.

It emerged that a rope had become caught up in the yacht’s propeller and the vessel had lost all power.

The family onboard were experienced sailors and were travelling the world on their yacht for the last 10 years. The lifeboat crew found them to be safe with none requiring medical attention.
 
One volunteer crew member boarded the yacht and established a towline to bring it back to Youghal pontoon, where the family were handed into the care of Youghal Coast Guard who were awaiting their arrival.
 
Youghal RNLI deputy launching authority Mark Nolan said: “The family had a VHF radio onboard and didn’t hesitate to call the coastguard to alert the lifeboat for assistance when they experienced difficulty.

“This has been a very busy time for us here in Youghal with this being our fifth shout less than a week. We would urge people to always carry a means of communion and if they get into difficult to call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

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Less than 24 hours after their role in the dramatic rescue of French yachtsman Loic Escoffier, Baltimore RNLI were called out to provide a medical evacuation on Wednesday afternoon (20 July) from Cape Clear Island in West Cork in what marked their third callout in five days.

The volunteer crew — coxswain Aidan Bushe, mechanic Nigel Kehoe and crew members Emma Lupton, Emma Geary and Don O’Donovan — launched their all-weather lifeboat at 4.25pm following a request from the Irish Coast Guard to provide a medevac for a man on the island.

Arriving at North Harbour 25 minutes later, they transferred the casualty onboard the lifeboat and returned to station where the casualty was then handed over to the care of an HSE ambulance crew at 5.35pm.

Speaking following the callout, volunteer lifeboat press officer Kate Callanan said: “It has been a busy few days for Baltimore Lifeboat with three calls in the last five days.

“On [Saturday] 16 July the all-weather lifeboat assisted a yacht with two people on board that was in difficulty close to rocks off the eastern side of Cape Clear Island. [Tuesday night] the all-weather lifeboat rescued a lone sailor 70 miles south of Baltimore after his catamaran capsized during a race.

“We are grateful to the crews of both our all-weather lifeboat and our inshore lifeboat who are always ready to answer their pagers as soon as required. Please remember, if you find yourself in a medical emergency whilst on an island, call 999 or 112.”

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A 36ft yacht with two people onboard that had suffered engine failure south of Roche’s Point yesterday (Wednesday, 20 July), was brought to safety by lifeboat crew from Ballycotton RNLI.

Ballycotton RNLI was requested to launch by Valentia Coast Guard at 4.20 pm when a yacht suffered engine failure. The vessel had been en route to Crosshaven in Cork Harbour.

Conditions were calm and once on scene, lifeboat crew assessed the situation before establishing a tow and bringing the yacht to the nearest safe port, which was Crosshaven.

Commenting on the callout Ballycotton RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager Jerry Lynch said, ‘Thankfully conditions were perfect for the callout. With the recent good weather we have seen an increase in people out enjoying the water. We would advise people to take the correct water safety advice for the activity they are taking part in to always make sure they have a means of raising the alarm if things go wrong.’

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Portaferry RNLI launched for the third time in two days on Wednesday evening (20 July) to retrieve a kayak that had drifted off Slanes Bay on Northern Ireland’s Arts Peninsula.

A member of the public raised the alarm shortly before 7.30pm after observing two children abandon a kayak when they got out of their depth in the water and decided to return to shore.

Portaferry RNLI’s volunteer crew — including new member Jesse Brown on her first callout — launched the inshore lifeboat promptly and made their way to Slanes Bay amid good weather conditions.

The kayak was located one mile off Slanes Bay at 8.05pm and the crew took it on board to prevent it becoming a risk to others on the water. The lifeboat then proceeded bay to nearby Cloughy beach and transferred the kayak into the care of the Portaferry Coastguard rescue team.

Commenting on the callout, Portaferry RNLI helm Chris Adair said: “Thankfully we were able to assist in bringing the kayak safely back to shore without it posing a danger to others.”

The previous evening, the Portaferry lifeboat launched to the aid of three casualties across two callouts in the space of two hours.

The first of these was two assist a female sea swimmer who had got into difficulty close to Killough Pier, west of Ardglass in Co Down.

As the lifeboat was en route via the Strangford Narrows, word came through that a local RIB has provided assistance and brought the swimmer ashore to the care of waiting emergency services. The crew were stood down and returned to Strangford to carry out their weekly exercise.

While out on exercise, the volunteer crew received reports from concerned kayakers of two paddleboarders struggling against the tide off Kilard Point after drifting a mile out from Kilclief Beach.

Once on scene, the volunteer crew helped the casualties aboard the lifeboat and brought them ashore to Strangford Pier.

Josh Boyd, Portaferry RNLI helm said: ‘“Clear information made it very straightforward for us to locate the two paddleboarders in the nick of time. With tide pulling the two further away from the shore, it was absolutely the correct thing for the kayakers to do in calling for help.”

As the weather gets warmer and more people travel to the coast, Portaferry RNLI reminds anyone planning a trip to sea or an activity on the water to always carry a means of calling for help, always wear a lifejacket and other appropriate protection and always check the weather and tides before going to sea.

Should you get into difficulty or see someone else in trouble, dial 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.

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Youghal RNLI in East Cork responded to two callouts in less that two hours on Tuesday (19 July), coming to the aid of six people.

The volunteer lifeboat crew were first requested to launch at 4.37pm to aid a family that had been left to anchor their vessel due to engine failure one mile south of the lighthouse in Youghal and were drifting due to a falling tide and westerly wind.

Once on scene, the lifeboat crew observed that the family were all safe and well and all wearing lifejackets and did not require first aid. The crew assisted three family members onto the lifeboat while one crew member boarded the vessel and a towline was established.

The boat was then towed back to the Quays slipway in Youghal and two crew members assisted the safe recovery of the vessel by helping it back onto its trailer.

The lifeboat was back and ready for next service when the pagers went off again at 6.32pm to reports of a 28ft pleasure craft with two onboard that was experiencing engine difficulties due to overheating a quarter of a mile east of the Black Ball Ledge cardinal mark in Youghal Bay.

Weather conditions had changed a small bit since the first call and the sea state was now choppy but overall still clear and visible.

When the crew arrived at the location given they observed two men onboard that were both safe and well. They lifeboat assessed the casualty vessel and established a safe towline to bring the boat back to the pontoon in Youghal.

Speaking after the callouts, Youghal RNLI helm Liam Keogh said: “It was great to see on both calls today the people onboard had mobiles and rang for help. We would urge people to remember to bring any means of communication with you because you don’t know when you might need it.”

The back-to-back shouts also represented Alan Revins’ first since recently completing his helm training. He said: “This is an exceptionally busy time for all emergency services so please take care when you head out and enjoy the fantastic weather, stay safe and respect the water.

“If you think you’re in trouble or if you think you see someone else is in danger in or near the water call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

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Baltimore RNLI were called out to assist a lone sailor whose yacht had capsized 70 miles off the coast of Baltimore, West Cork, yesterday evening (Tuesday 19 July).

The volunteer lifeboat crew launched their all-weather lifeboat at 5.50 pm, following a request from the Irish Coast Guard to go to the assistance of a lone sailor who had been taking part in a race when his yacht capsized, approximately 70 miles off the coast of Baltimore.

The Baltimore all-weather lifeboat crew arrived at the casualty vessel at 9.08 pm. The sailor was on the upturned hull of the catamaran in which he had been racing in single-handedly.

Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 117 was also on scene.

The lone sailor was on the upturned hull of the catamaranThe lone sailor was on the upturned hull of the catamaran. Screengrab from Irish Coastguard video below

Due to the conditions at sea, Coxswain Aidan Bushe decided the best course of action was to launch their small inflatable Y-Boat from the all-weather lifeboat with two RNLI crew members on board.

The RNLI Y-Boat alongside the casualty vessel to rescue the sailor from the upturned hullThe RNLI Y-Boat alongside the casualty vessel to rescue the sailor from the upturned hull. Screengrab from Irish Coastguard video below

Brendan Cottrell and Brian McSweeney were able to manoeuvre the Y-Boat alongside the casualty vessel to rescue the sailor from the upturned hull.

RNLI crew members assisted the sailor up on to the Baltimore lifeboat from the Y-BoatRNLI crew members assisted the sailor up on to the Baltimore lifeboat from the Y-Boat. Screengrab from Irish Coastguard video below

RNLI crew members assisted the sailor up on to the lifeboat from the Y-Boat and Rescue 117 winched the casualty from the lifeboat into the helicopter where they then departed the scene at 9.58 pm. Baltimore RNLI crew members recovered their Y-Boat and the lifeboat made its way back to Baltimore, arriving back at the station at 1.30 am.

Rescue 117 winched the casualty from the lifeboat into the helicopterRescue 117 winched the casualty from the lifeboat into the helicopter. Screengrab from Irish Coastguard video below

Irish Coast Guard video of the dramatic rescue

 

There were seven volunteer crew onboard the lifeboat, Coxswain Aidan Bushe, Mechanic Nigel Kehoe and crew members Brendan Cottrell, Eoin Ryan, Brian McSweeney, Jim Griffiths and Emma Lupton. Conditions at sea during the call were challenging with a north to north westerly force 6-7 wind and a 3 to 4m sea swell.

Speaking following the call out, Kate Callanan, Baltimore RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer said: ‘This is a great example of a joint-agency rescue working together under difficult conditions to save a life. We wish the sailor a speedy recovery and thank our colleagues in the Irish Coast Guard for all assistance provided during this callout'.

Drheam Cup

The lone sailor involved was well-known French yachtsman Loic Escoffier competing in the Drheam Cup in his catamaran Lodigroup.

The 41-year-old from Saint-Malo had left Cherbourg and was 60 miles south of Fastnet when the boat capsized with him inside. 

Rescued - French yachtsman Loic EscoffierRescued - French yachtsman Loic Escoffier

The alarm was raised at around 4pm on Tuesday and the coast guard and RNLI picked him up shortly before midnight. 

Loic had spent his time capsized on the inside of the vessel, and the emergency effort was coordinated by the Valentia Coast Guard.

Lodigroup has issued thanks to the rescue services for their 'reactivity and professionalism' and also to Brieuc Maisonneuve, a rival Rhum Multi competitor, who stood by Escoffier until his evacuation.

Loic Escoffier on his catamaran LODIGROUP prior to the capsize in the 900-mile Drheam-Cup A photo of the catamaran LODIGROUP prior to the capsize in the 900-mile Drheam-Cup  Photo: Thierry Martinez

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Just after 8am on Monday morning (18 July), Lough Ree RNLI was requested to go to the aid of four people on board a stranded cruiser near Clawinch Island.

It brought to 19 the total number of people assisted across six incidents this week for the Co Westmeath lifeboat station.

The lifeboat crew located the 32ft cruiser which had run aground on rocks south of the island. After confirming that all four people on board were well and following a hull inspection, the stricken vessel was towed to safe water and continued under its own power.

The rocks around the Hexagon Shoal claimed another casualty when on Sunday (17 July) the inshore lifeboat Tara Scougall with her volunteer crew was called to the assist five people on board a speedboat on the rocks.

Launched at 2.42pm under helm Kieran Sloyan, the lifeboat reached the scene in minutes and found that three people had been taken on board a passing vessel while the remaining two were rescued by the lifeboat crew.

The speedboat, which was holed and taking water, was towed to Coosan Point where it was beached.

While this callout was continuing, the lifeboat station was alerted to an incident at Coosan Point where a member of the public had been injured while jumping into the lake. The casualty was assisted by Shane McCormack, a volunteer helm and casualty care specialist.

In a double callout last Thursday (14 July), Lough Ree RNLI responded to a call for assistance at midday to five people on board a stranded cruiser on the Hexagon Shoal. The cruiser was towed to safe water and headed north towards Lanesboro.

While returning from this call, the volunteer crew were diverted to another incident near Inchclearaun where a 27ft cruiser with one person on board was stranded on rocks. Following inspection, the boat was towed off the rocks and continued north.

Last Monday (11 July) Lough Ree RNLI’s volunteer crew were called to assist a 40ft cruiser with five people on board which was stranded on rocks at Kids Island. After safety checks, the boat was towed to safe water.

Following this busy week and weekend on and off the water, Lough Ree RNLI lifeboat operations manager Kevin Ganly appealed for anyone using amenities around Coosan Point to “stay well away from the slipway and launch area for the charity’s lifeboat. At busy times congestion in the area can hamper the launch of the lifeboat responding to an emergency call.”

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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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