Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Marine Institute Banner Advert 2023

Displaying items by tag: Irish Coast Guard

As the full inquest into the death of Irish Coast Guard volunteer Caitríona Lucas continued on Tuesday (28 November), two survivors of the RIB capsize off Co Clare which claimed her life have described how the three were tossed into the sea.

The Irish Independent reports that survivor Jenny Carway told the inquest that had Lucas’ helmet not been ripped off by a freak wave, she might have survived the incident.

Fellow survivor James Lucey told the full inquest held by Limerick coroner John McNamara at Kilmallock courthouse that the sea was “like a washing machine”.

As reported, Lucas, a 41-year old librarian and mother of two, died after a Kilkee Coast Guard RIB capsized during a search for a missing man on 12 September 2016.

The highly experienced member of Doolin Coast Guard, who had been assisting the neighbouring unit at Kilkee in the search, was the first Irish Coast Guard volunteer to lose her life during a tasking.

When she was recovered from the sea by helicopter, having lost consciousness, she was not wearing her helmet, her lifejacket was not fully inflated and she had sustained an injury to her head.

The coroner and a jury of four men and three women were told that the Kilkee unit were short of volunteers for sea operations that day and had asked assistance from the Doolin unit.

The Kilkee RIB with Lucas, James Lucey and Jenny Carway approached Lookout Bay and Intrinsic Bay near Kilkee around 1pm on 12 September 2016.

The inquest was told that the crew had not been made aware of the fact that Intrinsic Bay could witness “peculiar” waves — and that vessels reversed into the inlet for safety reasons.

They were also unaware of any specific dangers posed by the waters involved, with sea conditions much better than the previous day.

Lucey said they were “moving along slowly” when they were hit by a wall of water and the RIB capsized. He was able to clamber onto a rock, was swept off, but then managed to reach a ledge in a sea cave which he was later rescued from.

He described seeing Lucas floating on her back with her face upwards, shouted to her to try to stand, and then saw her floating face down in the water when he looked again.

“Caitríona shouted ‘breaking wave’. I barely got to move my head around when I saw the water,” the newspaper quoted Jenny Carway as telling the inquest.

Carway managed to keep her helmet but the helmets of Lucey and Lucas had been ripped off by the force of the water. She described how her helmet was loose-fitting but she had used an inflatable bladder to tighten it and firmly adjusted the chin strap.

“It [the helmet] could have been the difference between her being here today and not,” Carway told the inquest.

Marine expert Michael Kingston, representing the Lucas family, put it to Carway that drone rescue footage which has been made available to the inquest shows what happened to Lucas without her helmet.

“Ms Lucas can be seen [on the drone footage] being struck by the boat and rocks, rendering her unconscious,” he said.

Read the Irish Independent HERE.

Published in Coastguard

The Irish Coast Guard (IRCG), a Division of the Department of Transport, has vacancies for Watch Officers at its three Marine Rescue Coordination Centres in Dublin, Valentia, Co. Kerry and Malin Head, Co. Donegal.

The IRCG provides a nationwide maritime emergency service as well as a variety of services to shipping and other government agencies.

Watch Officers are responsible for watch-keeping on the emergency communications systems, act as Search and Rescue Mission Coordinators, Marine Alert and Notification Officers, as well as tasking and co-ordination of Coast Guard aviation operations. They process marine communication traffic, monitor vessel traffic separation, and coordinate responses to, maritime casualty and pollution incidents and Coast Guard support for the other emergency services.
Full details of the role, including specific eligibility requirements is available on

The closing date for receipt of completed applications is 3pm on Thursday, 26th October 2023.

We are committed to a policy of equal opportunity and encourage applications under all nine grounds of the Employment Equality Act.

More information here

Published in Jobs
Tagged under

The Department of Transport has announced the appointment of the first Assistant Secretary-General for the Irish Coast Guard (IRCG) and a new Director to the Coast Guard.

These appointments were made to support the ongoing provision of emergency response services by the IRCG, which is committed to providing excellence in this area through a combination of volunteer and permanent staff.

Ms Joanna Cullen, a long-serving member of the Civil Service, has been appointed to the position of Assistant Secretary General. She has been with the Department of Transport for four years and has extensive experience in implementing organisational change and improving HR, governance, and procurement processes.

Meanwhile, Mr Micheál O’Toole has been appointed as Director of the Irish Coast Guard. Mr O’Toole has had a distinguished career in the Merchant Navy and has been with the IRCG since 2007. He has held various senior leadership roles in the Coast Guard, including in Voluntary Service, Preparedness and Response, and as Coast Guard Operations Manager.

Minister Chambers, who is responsible for the Irish Coast Guard, expressed his satisfaction with the appointments, stating that he is confident that both Ms Cullen and Mr O’Toole will work alongside the Irish Coast Guard Community to implement changes that will enable the organisation to continue to lead in maritime search and rescue and support those who are committed to saving lives at sea.

The Minister also thanked Mr Eugene Clonan and Mr. Gerard O’Flynn for their work in acting as Director and Assistant Director of the Coast Guard over the past few years. Their dedication and commitment were vital in leading the IRCG through a challenging period.

Published in Coastguard
Tagged under

Killybegs Coast Guard in Co Donegal has appointed its first ever female coxswain.

Amay Conneely takes up the new role alongside fellow new designated boat coxswain Conor O’Donoghue, both of whom are fully qualified to helm the Irish Coast Guard unit’s RIB.

The pair passed their assessments conducted last week by operations and training officer Jason Connery, the coastguard unit said in a statement on social media.

“Many years of hard work, a lot of training and countless courses have all paid of and we could not be happier for you two. We salute you,” the statement said.

It added: “Conor and Amay joined the same day with the Killybegs Coast Guard team here and it’s only fitting they crossed this milestone together.”

Published in Coastguard

The Irish Coast Guard, RNLI and Water Safety Ireland have issued a joint water safety appeal as people are expected to enjoy the water this June Bank Holiday weekend.

Even in good weather, water temperatures remain cold, and the organisations have advised that those taking part in any water-based activity should make sure they have the proper equipment and know how to do it safely.

They advise to always carry a means of calling for help and to keep it within reach at all times. When kayaking or paddleboarding close to shore, conditions can turn quickly and wearing a buoyancy aid or lifejacket can make the critical difference. If you unexpectedly find yourself in the water and are wearing a lifejacket, you have given yourself vital time to be brought to safety.

While the good weather is set to continue, always check the forecast, tide times and sea conditions before setting off. Get regular updates if planning to be out for any length of time. And be prepared to change your plans or cancel the trip if the forecast is unfavourable.

For those swimming, remember to acclimatise slowly, wear a bright swim cap and consider a tow float to increase visibility. Never swim alone and always ensure that your activity is being monitored by a colleague. Swim in areas that are lifeguarded or are known locally to be safe.

Micheál O’Toole, Irish Coast Guard operations manager said: “We appeal to everybody to plan for and attend to their personal safety. We again are warning on the dangers of using inflatable toys such as lilos on or near the water, be it seaside, lake, or river. Please do not bring such items with you.

“We express our thanks to all members of the emergency services who will be on duty over the weekend, in particular volunteer members of the coastguard, RNLI, community inshore rescue boats and mountain rescue teams. Have a safe and enjoyable weekend.”

RNLI water safety lead Linda-Gene Byrne added: “The fine weather and brighter evenings will encourage more people onto the water and it’s great to see people out and about and enjoying it.

“If you fall into the water unexpectedly, remember to Float to Live — tilt your head back with ears submerged and try to relax and control your breathing. Use your hands to help you stay afloat. It’s okay if your legs sink, we all float differently. Keep floating until you feel your breath coming back before calling for help or swimming ashore if nearby.

“Taking a few minutes to check you have taken all the necessary equipment and advice for your activity and knowing what to do in an emergency will give peace of mind and help prevent accidents.”

Roger Sweeney, Water Safety Ireland’s deputy chief executive said: “This weekend, please remember that although air temperatures have risen, our waterways are still too cold for extended swims. A full moon on Saturday will make the coastline more precarious and rip currents will be stronger. Swim within your depth at the lifeguarded waterways listed at

“A full moon also creates lower low tides that will expose even greater areas of the coastline which often tempts walkers to explore sandbanks. Be aware of being trapped by incoming tides, carry a fully charged mobile phone, and please provide constant uninterrupted adult supervision for any children in your care.”

If you see somebody in trouble on the water or along the coast, or you think that they are in trouble, dial 112 or use marine VHF radio Channel 16 and ask for the coastguard.

The Irish Coast Guard, RNLI and Water Safety Ireland have also expressed their condolences to the families and friends of those who lost their lives in recent jet ski incidents on Carlingford Lough last week and most recently on Lough Derg in Co Clare.

Published in Water Safety

As the May Bank Holiday approaches, the Irish Coast Guard, RNLI and Water Safety Ireland are issuing a joint water safety appeal asking people to take precautions to ensure their safety whether in, near or on the water, both at the coast and inland.

As the weather improves, more people will participate in coastal and water-based activities. The three organisations say that while these activities are enjoyable, they should be properly planned.

With alcohol being a contributory factor in around one third of drownings in Ireland, they are also appealing to the public to stay away from waterways if alcohol has been consumed.

It is important to be summer ready and ensure that boats and other water vessels, including kayaks and canoes, are checked after the winter to ensure that everything is in good working order and that engines have been serviced, with all equipment — particularly lifejackets — in good condition.

If out on a boat, or other water vessel, wear a lifejacket and carry a reliable means of communication: a VHF radio and ideally a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) or Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) with a mobile phone as back-up. Ensure that you tell someone where you are going and when you plan to be back.

Micheál O’Toole from the Irish Coast Guard is reminding everyone of the need to check the weather and tides before heading out on the water or visiting the coast.

“We would advise people that the water is still cold at this time of the year, and cold-water shock can affect everyone,” he said. “We recommend exercising caution if entering the water for the first time this year, to wear brightly coloured swimming caps and use tow floats to improve visibility.

“Never ever swim alone and always make sure that your activity is being monitored by a colleague. Things can go very badly wrong in a very short time, so we all need to be aware of potential dangers and be well prepared before engaging in water-based activities. ‘

“The Be Summer Ready website at provides good advice about water safety and we would urge all those involved in water activities to take some time to read the material available on the site before venturing out on the water.”

Roger Sweeney, Water Safety Ireland’s deputy CEO said: “Swimmers should be aware of rip currents which are a leading hazard at our beaches. They are often difficult to spot and can quickly weaken even the strongest swimmers and take them away from shore.

“Never swim against a rip current. Instead, swim parallel to shore until you escape the narrow current and then swim back to shore at an angle. Learn more at”

Killian O’Kelly, RNLI water safety education manager added: “If you’re going out on the water using a stand-up paddleboard, sit on top kayak, or personal watercraft, it is important to consider the direction of the wind. Offshore winds, ie winds blowing out to sea, are not suitable for these activities as they can push you further out to sea.

“Plan your route considering sheltered locations, wear a personal flotation device and have a suitable means of contact on your person that is easily accessible in any emergency.

“If you see somebody in trouble on the water or along the coast, or think they are in trouble, dial 112 or use VHF Channel 16 and ask for the coastguard.”

Published in Water Safety

New recruits in the Irish Coast Guard as well as search and rescue teams on loughs Neagh and Foyle are featured in a new four-part Irish-language TV series following the next generation of emergency workers.

999 Faoi Oiliúint debuted on RTÉ One last week with new team volunteer Martin O’Neill out on patrol with Foyle Search and Rescue, while the latest episode from this past Monday (24 April) follows Ruaidhri Ó Domhnaill during his first year of training with Killybegs Coast Guard in Co Donegal.

Filmed over the course of a year, the documetary series accompanies the cadets as they navigate an intense training regimen and deal with real-life emergencies callouts.

The next episode of 999 Faoi Oiliúint is on RTÉ One next Monday 1 May at 8pm and previous episodes are available on RTÉ Player for viewers in the Republic of Ireland.

Published in Maritime TV

An inquest into the death of Irish Coast Guard volunteer Caitriona Lucas is expected to be adjourned today (April 12), following an application by legal representatives for the Lucas family for a number of witnesses and documentation.

Lawyers for Ms Lucas’s family have requested that former ministers of transport, including Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Paschal Donohoe and Shane Ross, be called before the hearing.

The Lucas family lawyers have also applied to Limerick city coroner John McNamara for a number of other witnesses to be called.

These include the former head of the Irish Coast Guard, the State’s chief surveyor, Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB) members, several senior Department of Transport officials, and Coast Guard personnel present on the day Ms Lucas died.

In addition, the legal team has asked if the whereabouts of Ms Lucas’s lifejacket can be established and if it will be produced at the inquest.

The Limerick coroner’s office has confirmed that the inquest in Kilmallock, Co Limerick “will take the form of a preliminary hearing with an adjournment to a later date”.

It is over six years since Ms Lucas (41) lost her life after a RIB attached to the Kilkee Coast Guard unit, which she was crewing on, capsized during a search for a missing man on September 12th, 2016.

The 41-year-old mother of two, a highly experienced member of Doolin Coast Guard and librarian, was the first Irish Coast Guard volunteer to die during a tasking.

Two investigations were completed some time ago into the circumstances surrounding her death, including an MCIB report released in December 2018.

After a separate investigation was completed by the Health and Safety Authority (HSA), Ms Lucas’s husband, Bernard, was informed by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) that no criminal charges would be brought.

The MCIB report was critical of the Irish Coast Guard’s safety management and catalogued a number of systems and equipment failures in relation to the Kilkee Coast Guard unit.

However, Mr Lucas said that he “very disappointed” that the published MCIB report had failed to address questions over equipment his wife was wearing, and both he and members of the Kilkee Coast Guard unit queried the location for the incident given in the report.

The Lucas family lawyers have applied for documents, including a copy of an internal Irish Coast Guard investigation of February 2015.

This report was compiled but not circulated to Coast Guard personnel after an incident in August 2014 where a Coast Guard RIB capsized off Kerry in a shallow “surf zone”.

The incident was similar to that which occurred off Kilkee.

Maritime lawyer Michael Kingston, who is representing the Lucas family on the instruction of solicitor Ronan Connolly, said a number of other key documents had been applied for as part of the inquest hearing, but had not yet been provided by the Department of Transport.

Mr Kingston said that former transport ministers, including Mr Varadkar and Mr Donohoe, were being called as witnesses due to their role in transposing a European directive into Irish law.

The directive provided for the establishment of an independent maritime investigation system and was not transposed correctly. This led to a European Court of Justice judgment issued against Ireland in July 2020, he noted.

New legislation for an independent maritime investigations unit is currently before the Oireachtas.

Mr Kingston said that it was “extremely important that the full facts of Ms Lucas’s death are established”.

He said it was “critically important in the public interest in relation to the safety of Irish Coast Guard personnel, and all Irish citizens involved in maritime activities”.

The coroner’s role as an independent officeholder is to inquire into the circumstances of sudden, unexplained, violent and unnatural deaths.

The Lucas family lawyers are seeking assurance that legal costs will be paid for by the State, given that she died while on active Irish Coast Guard duty.

Published in Coastguard
Tagged under

Ahead of St Patrick’s Day festivities around Ireland, the Irish Coast Guard, RNLI and Water Safety Ireland have issued a joint water safety appeal, asking people to stay safe when in, near or on the water.

The organisations are also urging the public to stay away from waterways if consuming alcohol. There are an average of nine drownings in Ireland every month and alcohol is a contributory factor in one third.

A lifejacket that has a correctly fitting crotch strap should always be worn on water and when angling from shore. If engaging in any boating activity it is essential to have a means of communication such as VHF radio or personal locator beacon with a mobile phone as a backup.

Water temperatures are still cold, meaning cold water shock and hypothermia are risks that can affect everyone. To avoid this while swimming, people should acclimatise to the water slowly to get used to the cold and warm up quickly upon exiting the water.

The Irish Coast Guard, RNLI and Water Safety Ireland advise everyone intending to take part in any water-based activity or coastal walks to make sure they check in advance what they should do to keep safe.

If heading out on the water or visiting the coast:

  • Never mix alcohol with water activities
  • Always check the weather and tides
  • Carry a reliable means of raising the alarm (VHF radio or personal locator beacon, with a fully charged mobile phone as backup)
  • Tell someone where you are going and what time you will be back
  • Wear a suitable personal flotation device when boating or angling
  • Watch out for incoming tides to avoid getting cut off

If you are swimming:

  • Water temperatures are still cold at this time of the year; consider wearing a wetsuit to stay warm
  • Acclimatise slowly
  • Wear a bright swimming cap and consider a tow float to increase your visibility
  • Never swim alone and always ensure that your activity is being monitored by a colleague

Irish Coast Guard operations manager Micheal O’Toole says: “St Patrick’s weekend is a traditional start to the holiday season and with extended daylight people will be keen to get out and about. Always carry a means of communication. If engaging in coastal walks, only use routes with which you are familiar or routes that are well marked and in regular use. Be attentive to erosion or changes that may have occurred over the winter period.“”

RNLI head of region Anna Classon adds: “As the evenings get longer, the water temperature is at its coldest at this time of year. Cold water shock is still a risk and we ask people to take care when entering and exiting the water. Acclimatise slowly and never swim alone.”

Water Safety Ireland’s deputy chief executive Roger Sweeney cautions that people should stay away from water if consuming alcohol.

“At this time of year many people will enjoy family trips to waterways nationwide. However, it is important people remember to supervise children closely and not to drink alcohol when supervising children near water,” he says. “Alcohol is a contributory factor in over 30% of drowning incidents and an individual’s judgement and reaction times can be significantly impaired.”

If you see somebody in trouble on the water or along the coast, or think they are in trouble, dial 999 or 112 or use VHF Channel 16 and ask for the coastguard.

Published in Water Safety

Both Clifden lifeboats were launched on Monday morning (13 March) to conduct a search after an EPIRB distress signal was detected by Malin Head Coast Guard in the area around Letterfrack in Co Galway.

An EPIRB, or emergency position indicating radio beacon, is a device to alert search and rescue services in case of an emergency out at sea.

Deputy launching authority Saul Joyce launched Clifden RNLI’s Shannon class all-weather lifeboat St Christopher under the command of coxswain Alan Pryce with mechanic Joe Acton, navigator Dan Whelan and crew of Andy Bell, Chris Nee and John Heffernan.

The all-weather lifeboat made best speed to the search area of Mullaghloss on the Renvyle peninsula. While that boat was en route and with more information becoming available, Clifden RNLI’s Atlantic 85 was launched with Thomas Davis at the helm and crew of Kevin Ryan and Shane Conneely.

The Irish Coast Guard’s Sligo-based helicopter Rescue 118 was also tasked to search along with Cleggan Coast Guard units.

An extensive search was carried out of the reported areas by all assets with a large portion of the north Connemara coast searched. With all involved satisfied that there was no vessel in distress in the area, the coastguard stood down all assets and the volunteer crews returned to station.

Clifden RNLI coxswain Alan Pryce said Monday’s call “demonstrates how a well coordinated multi-agency search can cover a very large area thoroughly and efficiently.

“Thankfully there was no vessel in distress on this occasion but we remain ready to respond every time the pager goes.”

Speaking about EPIRBs, Pryce added: “Emergency beacons are a lifesaving piece of equipment, I would encourage any boat owners to check the service status and registration details of any beacons on board. If you don’t have an EPIRB you should consider getting one because they will help search and rescue services to pinpoint the location of a vessel in distress.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
Page 2 of 37

Marine Science Perhaps it is the work of the Irish research vessel RV Celtic Explorer out in the Atlantic Ocean that best highlights the essential nature of marine research, development and sustainable management, through which Ireland is developing a strong and well-deserved reputation as an emerging centre of excellence. From Wavebob Ocean energy technology to aquaculture to weather buoys and oil exploration these pages document the work of Irish marine science and how Irish scientists have secured prominent roles in many European and international marine science bodies.


At A Glance – Ocean Facts

  • 71% of the earth’s surface is covered by the ocean
  • The ocean is responsible for the water cycle, which affects our weather
  • The ocean absorbs 30% of the carbon dioxide added to the atmosphere by human activity
  • The real map of Ireland has a seabed territory ten times the size of its land area
  • The ocean is the support system of our planet.
  • Over half of the oxygen we breathe was produced in the ocean
  • The global market for seaweed is valued at approximately €5.4 billion
  • · Coral reefs are among the oldest ecosystems in the world — at 230 million years
  • 1.9 million people live within 5km of the coast in Ireland
  • Ocean waters hold nearly 20 million tons of gold. If we could mine all of the gold from the ocean, we would have enough to give every person on earth 9lbs of the precious metal!
  • Aquaculture is the fastest growing food sector in the world – Ireland is ranked 7th largest aquaculture producer in the EU
  • The Atlantic Ocean is the second largest ocean in the world, covering 20% of the earth’s surface. Out of all the oceans, the Atlantic Ocean is the saltiest
  • The Pacific Ocean is the largest ocean in the world. It’s bigger than all the continents put together
  • Ireland is surrounded by some of the most productive fishing grounds in Europe, with Irish commercial fish landings worth around €200 million annually
  • 97% of the earth’s water is in the ocean
  • The ocean provides the greatest amount of the world’s protein consumed by humans
  • Plastic affects 700 species in the oceans from plankton to whales.
  • Only 10% of the oceans have been explored.
  • 8 million tonnes of plastic enter the ocean each year, equal to dumping a garbage truck of plastic into the ocean every minute.
  • 12 humans have walked on the moon but only 3 humans have been to the deepest part of the ocean.

(Ref: Marine Institute)

Featured Sailing School

INSS sidebutton

Featured Clubs

dbsc mainbutton
Howth Yacht Club
Kinsale Yacht Club
National Yacht Club
Royal Cork Yacht Club
Royal Irish Yacht club
Royal Saint George Yacht Club

Featured Brokers

leinster sidebutton

Featured Webcams

Featured Associations

ISA sidebutton
isora sidebutton

Featured Marinas

dlmarina sidebutton

Featured Chandleries

CHMarine Afloat logo

Featured Sailmakers

northsails sidebutton
uksails sidebutton
watson sidebutton

Featured Blogs

W M Nixon - Sailing on Saturday
podcast sidebutton
BSB sidebutton
wavelengths sidebutton

Please show your support for Afloat by donating