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Displaying items by tag: RNLI

Helvick Head RNLI went to assist two children today (Tuesday 19 July) at Clonea Beach after they were swept out to sea on an inflatable.

With Force 2-3 north westerly winds and calm seas, the volunteer crew launched their inshore lifeboat at the request of the Irish Coast Guard at 12.17pm 

The lifeboat helmed by Alan Kelly and with crew members Paidi Breathnach, Cathal Reilly and Pat Devereaux onboard, launched at 12.25pm and headed north of the An Rinn peninsula.

On arrival at the scene, the two casualties had been rescued by the Clonea Beach lifeguard team so the lifeboat crew stood by and monitored the situation until everyone was safely back on shore.

Speaking following the call out, Sean Walsh, Helvick Head RNLI Deputy Launching Authority said: ‘Thankfully all’s well that ends well and we would like to wish the children well and commend the Clonea Beach lifeguard team for their efforts in bringing them to safety.

‘While inflatables can be great fun, we would advise that you don’t take them to the beach as they are not designed for open water and it can take very little breeze for them to be swept out to sea - much quicker than you can swim or paddle back to the shore. Should you get into trouble or see someone else in difficulty, dial 999 or 112 and ask for the Coast Guard.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Kilmore Quay RNLI launched at 9 pm last night (Monday 18 July) to assist three young people on board a four-metre RIB that had suffered engine failure approximately one mile south of the Great Saltee Island.

The volunteer crew were requested to launch their all-weather Tamar class lifeboat, Killarney, by the Irish Coast Guard at 9 pm yesterday evening to assist a four-metre RIB with three young people on board that had experienced engine failure and were drifting on the tide. Weather conditions at the time were calm.

The lifeboat, under Coxswain Philip Walsh with six crew members onboard, immediately launched and made its way to the scene.

Arriving on scene, the crew checked everyone on board the RIB was safe and well before assessing the situation. It was decided to establish a towline and transfer those on board the RIB to the lifeboat.

With a towline secured and the crew of the RIB safely aboard, the lifeboat was soon underway back to Kilmore Quay, arriving back at the harbour at 10.07 pm

Speaking following the call out, Kilmore Quay RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager John Grace, said: ‘Thankfully there was a positive outcome to this evening's call out., With such good weather more people are spending more time on the water making it the charity's busiest time of year. Even the best-maintained equipment can go wrong, so it is important to always be prepared for when it does happen. I would urge anyone heading out to sea to tell someone where you are going and when you will be back, carry a reliable means of communication, VHF or a mobile phone in a waterproof case in case you need to call for help and always wear a lifejacket’

The Kilmore Quay RNLI lifeboat crew involved in the call-out were Coxswain Philip Walsh, Dean Roche, Sam Nunn, PJ Bates, Shane Devereux, Dan Tierney and Tom Lambert.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Galway RNLI rescued six people who got into difficulty in the sea off Rabbit Island on Monday evening (18 July). The group who had walked over to the island at low tide became stranded by the incoming tide and were attempting to swim back to shore when they got into difficulty.

The volunteer crew at Galway RNLI were requested to launch their inshore Atlantic 85 class lifeboat at 5.30 pm by the Irish Coast Guard after a member of the public spotted one of the group getting into the water and attempting to swim back to shore. Concerned that the group was going to get into difficulty, they immediately raised the alarm.

The lifeboat helmed by David Oliver and with crew members, Brian Niland, Martin Oliver and Cathal Byrne onboard, launched within minutes and made its way to the scene approximately 10 minutes from the station.

Weather conditions at the time were good with hot weather, flat calm seas, clear skies and good visibility.

Arriving on scene, the lifeboat crew observed six people in the water attempting to swim the quarter of a mile back to shore.

With one of the group struggling and in great difficulty, the crew first went to their rescue taking the casualty out of the water and bringing them safely onboard the lifeboat. The crew then rescued the five others onto the lifeboat before returning them all safely back to shore at Murroogh House.

Speaking following the call out, Barry Heskin, Galway RNLI Deputy Launching Authority said: ‘Time was of the essence this evening and we need to commend the member of the public who had the foresight to raise the alarm as soon as they thought the group might get into difficulty, that made a difference and helped to ensure we were on scene at the right time.

‘The group had walked out to Rabbit Island at low tide but then got stranded when the tide came in and their access to the mainland was cut off. It was when they attempted to swim back that they experienced difficulties. While was one of the group was in danger, we were thankfully able to rescue them from the water in good time and no casualty care needed to be administered. We would like to wish the group well following what was a frightening experience for them.

‘We have some beautiful weather at the minute, and we want everyone to enjoy it, but we would urge everyone to think safety first and respect the water. Before planning an activity on or near water, check weather and tide times to ensure it is safe to proceed. When going out always carry a means of communication and let someone on the shore know where you are going and when you are due back.

‘We are also experiencing some spring tides at the minute, and it is very easy for people to get cut off. If you do happen to become stranded, don’t attempt to swim to shore yourself, rather use your means of communication to call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coast Guard. And if you do get into difficulty in the water, try to float to live. To do this, lean back, using your arms and legs to stay afloat. Control your breathing, then call for help or swim to safety.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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The volunteer lifeboat crew of Howth RNLI launched both their inshore and all-weather lifeboats to three separate incidents today (Monday 18 July), the hottest day on record in Dublin.

The inshore lifeboat was launched at 2.20pm to reports of a missing child on Portmarnock beach. The Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 116 from Dublin and the Howth Coast Guard unit were also tasked to assist.

As the first incident was unfolding, a ‘Pan-Pan’ or urgent message was broadcast from a yacht with three people onboard that was in difficulty five miles North East of Howth. The Howth all-weather lifeboat which was launching to the missing child at the time was re-directed to this incident.

Once on scene at Portmarnock beach, the crew of the inshore lifeboat were informed the missing child was located on the beach and was placed into the care of the Howth Coast Guard team. The inshore lifeboat was then requested to accompany the all-weather lifeboat to the yacht in difficulty.

The yacht was located five miles offshore with rigging problems and unable to make way due to the moderate winds . The crew of the yacht were directed to hold the boat steady on a particular compass heading while the Coxswain of the all-weather lifeboat manoeuvred the lifeboat alongside to transfer a crew member on board.

The RNLI crew member worked with the yacht’s crew to secure the rigging. Once safe, the all-weather lifeboat escorted the yacht to Howth harbour.

While on its way to the yacht in difficulty, the inshore lifeboat was again requested by Dublin Coast Guard to another incident. A powerboat with a family of four onboard had suffered engine failure and was being blown ashore off Portrane. Once on scene a passing boat had come to the family’s assistance and secured a tow. The crew of the inshore lifeboat then escorted the boat to the safety of Malahide marina.

Speaking following the three incidents, Howth RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager, Colm Newport said: 'Thankfully the outcome of all of these incidents was positive with the missing child located safe and well and the crews of both the yacht and powerboat returned safely ashore.

Our volunteer crew train regularly to deal with all types of incidents on the water. As the sun shines and more people spend time on the water it’s the charity's busiest time for its lifeboat crews.

When going to the beach, it’s important to swim where lifeguards are present and to swim between the red and yellow flags.

For boat owners, it’s important to ensure you have undergone the right training so that you can develop your skills to be prepared for when things go wrong. Your engine should be well maintained and if you do get into difficulty, make sure you have an anchor on board and a means of calling for help.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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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

Five adults and four children have been rescued by lifeboat crew from Red Bay RNLI after their vessel hit a submerged object this afternoon (Sunday, 17 July) and started taking on water, near Fair Head near Ballycastle.

Lifeboat crew from Red Bay RNLI in Cushendall were requested to launch by Belfast Coastguard at 12.50 pm. The volunteer lifeboat crew located the vessel, which was taking on water and took all nine people onboard the lifeboat.

The rescued group were taken to Ballycastle Harbour and delivered into the care of the local Coastguards before lifeboat crew returned to the vessel. Once back on scene, two volunteer lifeboat crew were transferred onto the craft with a salvage pump to staunch the ingress of water and once the vessel was deemed safe, it was towed to safety, to avoid it causing an obstruction at sea.

Paddy McLaughlin, Red Bay RNLI Coxswain said, ‘It was a very serious situation for the group, which included a number of children. Conditions were good for the callout, and we are relieved it was a good outcome for all involved.’

‘With the good weather set to continue, we would advise everyone who is planning a trip on the water to take a means of communication should they need to raise the alarm and to wear a personal flotation device.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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This past week has been a very busy period at Courtmacsherry RNLI in West Cork with three callouts in five days.

The all-weather lifeboat was requested at 10.45pm on Tuesday night (12 July) to launch in search of a person in a kayak that was overdue from Dunworley Bay on the Seven Heads peninsula. The alert was raised by family personnel and an observer from the shore.

Under coxswain Ken Cashman and a crew of six, the lifeboat was under way within minutes, but while en route it emerged that while the kayaker had overturned, he was able to right himself and was able to get ashore by himself.

The lifeboat returned to base after being recalled at 11.15pm.

Crew members on this callout with Cashman were mechanic Dave Philips, Denis Murphy, Paul McCarthy, Donal Young, Dean Hennessy and Enda Boyle.

On Wednesday evening (13 July) at 5.40pm, the pagers were again activated by the Irish Coast Guard’s Marine Rescue Coordination Centre in Valentia as a pleasure craft had developed mechanical problems two miles off the Old Head of Kinsale.

The lifeboat, under coxswain Mark Gannon and a crew of six, reached the casualty vessel at 6.15pm and following an assessment it was towed back to the nearest port in Courtmacsherry.

Joining Gannon on this callout were mechanic Stuart Russell, Chris Guy, Donal Young, Ken Cashman, Mark John Gannon and Dave Philips.

The third callout was to rescue a person from the rocks off Broadstrand on last Saturday (9 July) in conjunction with the Old Head/Seven Heads Coast Guard unit and the coastguard’s Waterford-based helicopter Rescue 117.

The casualty was brought by the lifeboat back to Courtmacsherry Pier and transferred to a waiting HSE ambulance.

The lifeboat crew on this callout were coxswain Mark John Gannon, mechanic Stuart Russell, Tadgh McCarthy, Denis Murphy, Austin McKenna, Dave Philips, Pat Lawton and Conor Dullea.

As the fine weather continues, and we head into peak holiday season, Courtmacsherry RNLI stresses to all those that are partaking in any water activities, or planning a visit to the coast over the busy summer season, to remember and follow RNLI safety advice below to stay safe at all times:

  • Have a plan — check the weather forecast, tide times and read local hazard signage.
  • Keep a close eye on your family — on the beach, on the shoreline and in the water.
  • Don’t allow your family to swim alone.
  • Don’t use inflatables at all on the sea.
  • Make sure to wear a lifejacket at all times when taking to the sea in a boat.
  • If you fall into the water unexpectedly, Float to Live. Fight your instinct to thrash around, lean back, extend your arms and legs, gently move them around if you need to, and float.
  • In an emergency dial 999 or 112 immediately and ask for the coastguard.
Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Racing for the Beaufort Cup at Cork Week will conclude on Friday with the winning services team awarded the trophy and €10,000 for their chosen charity.

After three days of light and complex racing, a sea breeze kicked in on Day Four to spice up the action on the penultimate day.

Tonight, The Beaufort Cup teams are invited to a formal dress code Gala Dinner at Haulbowline Island in Cork Harbour.

With just one more day of racing, leading the Beaufort Cup is Crosshaven RNLI, racing Denis Murphy & Annamarie Fegan’s Grand Soleil 40 Nieulargo.

The Royal Navy team racing J/109 Jolly Jack Tar is two points behind Crosshaven RNLI. The US Marines racing First 40.7 Escapado is in third place.

Royal Navy team racing J/109 Jolly Jack TarThe Royal Navy team racing J/109 Jolly Jack Tar Photo: Mary Malone

“We wanted to be here in 2020 but that didn’t happen, so we have been waiting for this and the regatta has not disappointed us one bit,” commented US Marine’s Skipper Peter Quinn. “We have had such a fantastic welcome by everybody at the Royal Cork Yacht Club and we have been given great accommodation at hospitality at the Navy Barracks. A great moment came today when we were racing past Cobh. It was a beautiful setting, but it required team work and concentration to get around the short course. We only came together as a team on arrival in Cork, but we really came together there and sailed really well. Being part of a team is as central to sailing as it is when you are in service, racing here has brought that back.”

Published in Cork Week
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Arklow RNLI launched to the aid of five people on Wednesday evening (13 July) after their sailing vessel got into difficulty.

Volunteers were paged at 8.45pm after reports that a vessel had become entangled in fishing gear close to shore near the harbour in Arklow Bay.

The all-weather lifeboat launched shortly thereafter in calm seas with slack winds, quickly locating the casualty vessel with five people onboard.

Upon arrival, a lifeboat crew member was put aboard the vessel to assist with freeing the entanglement. Once this had been cleared, the yacht was towed back into Arklow Harbour where everybody came ashore safely.

Speaking later, Mark Corcoran, Arklow RNLI community safety officer said: “Our volunteers are always on call — huge thanks to them and their families for the amazing work they do in our community.”

The crew for this callout were coxswain Ned Dillon, Brendan Dillon, John Bermingham, Craig O’Reilly and Geoff Kearnes.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Seven people were rescued from their 60ft vessel after it took on water and began sinking in Lough Derg yesterday afternoon, Monday 11 July.

Lough Derg RNLI, Killaloe Coast Guard and the Irish Coast Guard’s Shannon-based helicopter Rescue 115 were all tasked to the location south of Mountshannon Harbour on the Co Clare shore around 2.30pm.

While the rescue teams were en route, a passing vessel came alongside the casualty boat to safely evacuate all seven of its occupants and bring them to Mountshannon.

Shortly afterwards Lough Derg RNLI’s inshore lifeboat arrived and found that strong southwesterly gusts had pushed the casualty vessel deep into an area known locally as the Nook of Pages on the County Clare shoreline.

The lifeboat crew assessed the situation and came alongside the vessel using an anchoring and veering technique. A crew member transferred across and confirmed there was significant water ingress and that the electrics are still on but he was unable to access them. There was no evidence of a fuel leak.

The casualty vessel’s anchor was subsequently deployed to prevent it drifting ashore or into the navigation channel and the lifeboat returned to station.

Peter Kennedy, deputy launching authority at Lough Derg RNLI advises boat users: “If in danger on the lake please call 999 or 112 and ask for marine rescue or using your VHF radio request assistance on Channel 16.”

The callout came just hours Lough Derg RNLI’s late-night launch to search for three people and their dog on a white speedboat reported missing on the lake, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Published in Rescue
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Page 4 of 269

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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