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Displaying items by tag: Belfast Lough

A multi-agency response was launched last night (Monday 12 July) to battle a fire on board a Stena Line ferry in Belfast Lough.

As BBC News reports, the fire broke out in the engine room of the Superfast VIII around 9pm as the ferry was sailing to Northern Ireland from Cairnryan in Scotland.

All passengers were safely disembarked amid a “relatively calm” atmosphere as RNLI lifeboat crews from Bangor, Donaghadee and Larne dealt with what’s being described as “a small fire”.

Travel Weekly has an update on the story HERE.

Published in Ferry
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Several rescue teams went to the aid of a man trapped in mud near Holywood on the south coast of Belfast Lough this morning. (13th July).

The tide was flooding, and Mud Rescue Technicians worked rapidly to free the man, who was by then up to his waist in water. Once free from the mud, he was evacuated from the water by stretcher, in a hypothermic state.

Mud Technicians from Bangor and Portaferry Coastguard Rescue Teams attended as well as Lagan Search and Rescue from Belfast Harbour Marina, and the Police and Ambulance Services. The man, who was in his late 70s, was treated until the arrival of the Ambulance and then taken to hospital.

Published in Belfast Lough
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Last Saturday (10th July) saw the resurrection of the famous Pickie to Pier swim in Bangor Bay after its cancellation last year due to Covid. Pickie is the previous site of the original sea water swimming pool on the west side of the Bay, which was demolished in the late 1980s to be replaced by a heated indoor pool, and the Pier is the old North Pier, now named Eisenhower Pier in memory of June 1944 when General Eisenhower inspected American troops gathered in Belfast Lough.

The 2019 event was held after a 30-year absence.

First home and taking the Women’s title was Jessika Robson in just seven minutes, followed by Gary Robinson winning the men’s section for the second time in a row.

Jessica Robson centre, first Woman in the Pickie to Pier race with Gary Robinson, first Man and (left) Caroline McCoubrey Seaside Revival Co-ordinator and (right) Alan Whyte, Ballyholme YCJessica Robson centre, first Woman in the Pickie to Pier race with Gary Robinson, first Man and (left) Caroline McCoubrey Seaside Revival Co-ordinator and (right) Alan Whyte, Ballyholme YC

As told in Afloat.ie in January last year, the swim to the pier pre-dates the Bangor swimming club – the 18th annual swim was organised by Donegall Amateur Swimming Club based in Belfast IN 1910. But the Men’s trophy went missing and has never been found.

The Swim organisers from the Seaside Revival Vintage Festival said;  “We're still grinning from ear to ear after yesterday's epic Pickie to Pier Swim. So many smiles, and whoops and cheers of encouragement for the 200 intrepid swimmers who took part in our 2021 Pickie to Pier Swim. The sun shone, the water was calm and clear, and the swimmers and spectators were all very happy people”.

RNLI Bangor after duty at the Pickie to Pier swimRNLI Bangor after duty at the Pickie to Pier swim.jpg

The swimmers swam the 800m course from Skippingstone Beach beside Pickie, to the RNLI slipway at Eisenhower Pier and were sent off and greeted at the finish by huge crowds of spectators.

Paddle board safety volunteers at the Pickie to Pier swimPaddle board safety volunteers at the Pickie to Pier swim

Seaside Revival thanked Alan Whyte and Ballyholme Yacht Club, Marina Manager Kevin Baird and all the volunteers who secured the swimmers on boats, kayaks and paddle boards; the RNLI, and Spar Ballyholme, Spar Gransha Road and Spar Abbeyhill for their support.

Published in Sea Swim

The 56 strong fleet of Laser sailors competing for the Ulster Championships was greeted last weekend with steady northerly winds of 12-18 knots on Saturday and 18-25 knots and sunshine on Sunday, for the first The ILCA (Laser) regional event of the year.

The Ulster championships were hosted by County Antrim Yacht Club in the beautiful village of Whitehead on the north shore of Belfast Lough. Competitors contended with strong tidal currents on a trapezoidal championship course managed by race officer, Sheela Lewis.

Ulster Championships Laser racing at Whitehead Yacht Club on Belfast Lough Photo: Kathryn AndersonUlster Championships Laser racing at Whitehead Yacht Club on Belfast Lough Photo: Kathryn Anderson

In the prizegiving, Sean Craig paid tribute to the friendly welcome offered by the CAYC, a sentiment that was greeted with enthusiastic applause by all participants. The impeccable hospitality was certainly a highlight of the event.

Royal Cork Yacht Club sailor, Ed Rice Kathryn AndersonRoyal Cork Yacht Club sailor, Ed Rice Photo: Kathryn Anderson

Youth sailors entering the ILCA 7 fleet are a challenge to the senior sailors

Finlay Tulett, a youth sailor from Dalgety Bay SC in Fife in Scotland, won the ILCA 7 (Laser Standard) fleet of 13 boats. RCYC sailor, Ed Rice, placed second, and third place was awarded to RstGYC sailor, Ross O’Leary. It was good to see youth sailors entering the ILCA 7 fleet and challenge the senior sailors.

Finlay Tulett, a youth sailor from Dalgety Bay SC in Scotland Photo: Kathryn AndersonFinlay Tulett, a youth sailor from Dalgety Bay SC in Scotland Photo: Kathryn Anderson

Irish Laser Association is expecting to see a growing number of youth sailors entering the ILCA 7 (Laser Standard) fleet and this opening event of the season gave a glimpse of the challenge that the younger sailors pose!

Christian Ennis of the National YCChristian Ennis of the National YC Photo: Kathryn Anderson

Gruelling beats and fast downwind surfing

The ILCA 4 (Laser 4.7) fleet was won by Christian Ennis of the National YC in a tightly contested event, where conditions made for gruelling beats and fast downwind surfing. Mark Henry of the RStGYC placed second and Zoe Whitford of East Antrim BC in 3rd. Further congratulations to Zoe Whitford who was also the first-placed girl in the ILCA 4 fleet. In the prize-giving, a special mention was made of RstGYC sailor, Krzysztof Ciborowski who was in 2nd place after day 1 but had to retire due to injury.

Whitehead sailor Ellen Barbour Photo: Kathryn AndersonWhitehead sailor Ellen Barbour Photo: Kathryn Anderson

Sean Craig of the RstGYC finished in first place overall in the ILCA 6 

The Radials made up the biggest fleet (28 entries) and it was great to see ILCA 6 sailors from all corners of Ireland of all ages, coming together for the first serious racing for almost two years. First female overall was local Whitehead sailor Ellen Barbour, who counted two excellent third place finishes. Following his recent Master Nationals win in Dun Laoghaire, Sean Craig of the RstGYC finished in first place overall in the ILCA 6 but was pushed extremely hard by many younger, rising stars. Chief amongst them was 2020 RYANI Youth Champion Tom Coulter from East Antrim BC in Larne, who showed a lot of speed and was just edged out of first place in a few races. This performance gave Coulter second overall, a few points ahead of 2018 Topper Worlds runner-up Hugh O’Connor (National Yacht Club). Each day, O’Connor won the middle race in the tough six-race series, sailed in super conditions with great downwind surfing and tough beats, into the tide. RO Sheela Lewis had to contend with many general recalls, and there were black flag casualties when the tide turned, and the ebb started flowing hard out of Belfast Lough.

RYANI Youth Champion Tom Coulter from East Antrim BCRYANI Youth Champion Tom Coulter from East Antrim BC Photo: Kathryn Anderson

After the success of the Ulsters and the return of many top sailors from international events, the Irish Laser Association are expecting an excellent turnout for the ILCA (Laser) Connaught Championships, which will be hosted by Wexford Harbour Boat and Tennis Club on the weekend of 17/18 July. 

Additional reporting from the Irish Laser Association

Published in Laser
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Despite a strong showing by the Killyleagh Yacht Club visitors from Strangford Lough on the first day of the Squib Northerns at Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club on the south shore of Belfast Lough, in the end it was the local crew, Greg Bell and Jayne Kearney in Prodigal who stamped their authority on the 17 strong fleet posting an emphatic run of low scores to win from the Killyleagh team of Steven Bridges and Colin Dougan in Firecracker.

First and second places were fairly well scattered among the fleet, but it was the Bell crew's consistency that rewarded them the Championship.

Greg Bell (left) with Commodore RNIYC Nigel Carson and Jayne Kearney Photo: Lindsay NolanGreg Bell (left) with Commodore RNIYC Nigel Carson and Jayne Kearney Photo: Lindsay Nolan

Race 1, started in an eight to ten knot northeasterly and a choppy sea. Hot out the blocks was Firecracker from Killyleagh (Bridges and Dougan) showing a clean pair of heels and disappearing over the horizon to win that race. Behind were Toy for the Boys with Peter Wallace and Martin Weatherstone on board, fighting it out with the Eccles/Wright duo in Inshallah to finish that order. Race 2 went to another Killyleagh boat, Slipstream crewed by Neil Logan and Robert Marshall, with Firecracker second. Toy for the Boys pulled back to win Race 3 with Bell's Prodigal securing runner up.

Jumini (702) on a run credit Photo: Jen DicksonJumini (702) on a run Photo: Jen Dickson

On Sunday a lengthy postponement until the wind filled in meant an anxious wait for the five boats vying for the title. Race 4 got underway in a light shifting breeze, with the Howth boat, Durt sailed by Fergus O'Kelly and Dave Cotter from Howth hot out the blocks, but after a position shifting race, it was the host club's Greg Bell in Prodigal in the first slot, followed by clubmate Ross Kearney in Jumini and the Killyleagh crew in Firecracker third

Prodigal took Race 5 to stamp Bell's authority on the event even further, but this time runner up went to Douglas and Mellor in Inismara, with Jumini 3rd. In the shifty breeze for Race 6, there were new faces to the front with locals Gordon Patterson and Ross Nolan's Fagin leading the fleet and Gizmo (Park and Stinson) second.

Published in Squib
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Last weekend Lagan Search and Rescue were made aware of a video circulating on social media of a young man encouraged to enter the water off the Lagan Weir footbridge as a dare.

Lagan SAR is a provider of Belfast's Independent Lifeboat and Water Search, Rescue and Recovery Service. It operates on the seaward River Lagan, Belfast Harbour Estate and Belfast Lough.

Lagan Weir Footbridge is a five-span structure across the River Lagan Weir on Belfast's waterfront. Developed as part of a wider regeneration project for the city, it is 120m in length, and its deck width varies from 4m to 10m at its widest.

Noel Keenan, a member of the Operational Management Committee of Lagan SAR, said, "To say we were disappointed to see the footage is an understatement. The actions of the men involved were hazardous and could have ended in a loss of life". Lagan Search and Rescue is involved in multiple emergency callouts for people entering the water close to this location throughout the year. He added, "Unfortunately, no matter how hard we try, we can't save everyone. Don't become a statistic".

Published in Belfast Lough
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 Just before midnight on Thursday 10th June, Lagan Search and Rescue, along with Bangor Coastguard Rescue Team, Portmuck CRT, the Police Service and a PSNI spotter plane, were all called to Hazlebank, Newtownabbey.

Hazlebank Park lies on the northern shore of Belfast Lough about six miles east of Belfast city.

There were reports of a small inflatable dinghy without navigation lights heading out into Belfast Lough with two persons onboard.

Members of the public reported the inflatable leaving but not coming back. The teams quickly found a vessel close to the shore with an inflatable alongside. Contact was made with the people on board, and it was established that they were safe and well and that they owned the inflatable.

Safety advice was given and about the lack of lights on both vessels and with everyone accounted for the team stood down.

Published in Belfast Lough
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We can only hope that next week's up-grading of our sailing from training events to official racing will hold up through a steadily developing season, despite the many challenges to continuing emergence from the pandemic. If it does, then when the full story of the sailing season of 2021 is finally analysed, it will be seen that the victory of John Minnis with his First 31.7 Final Call in last weekend's Scottish Series is in fact the first major "official" racing success this year, and a worthy "Sailor of the Month" winner for May.

Skipper Minnis and his keen crew are no strangers to being in the frame both in First 31.7 and handicap racing. But it took a special level of enthusiasm for a flotilla of cruiser-racers from Belfast and Strangford Loughs to cross the North Channel for a very controlled Scottish series in which the racing was certainly real and officially recognised, but just about everything else was virtual and socially distanced, with three different venues being used in the eastern Firth of Clyde.

Thus it wasn't felt appropriate to declare an overall winner, but had they done so, Final Call's very impressive scorecard and clear class win would have made her the favoured contender for the top title.

Final Call racing in the First 31.7 Class in the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta 2019, when she finished second overall in a class of 14 boats. Photo: Afloat.ie/David O'BrienFinal Call racing in the First 31.7 Class in the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta 2019, when she finished second overall in a class of 14 boats. Photo: Afloat.ie/David O'Brien

Published in Sailor of the Month

It was multi shout four days for Bangor Coastguard Rescue Team on Belfast Lough when they covered calls some of which resulted in rescue action.

On Thursday (20th) the team attended a yacht offshore reported to have a broken mast and no sign of anyone on board. Thankfully, it was found that the vessel was moored, and no further action was required. Then on Friday (21st), there was a report of an unmanned paddleboard in the Ballyholme Bay area, but it was discovered that it belonged to a BYC member and had blown into the water in the high winds.

The vessel towed to Bangor MarinaThe vessel towed to Bangor Marina

On the Saturday, the team answered a call about possible ordnance near Crawfordsburn Beach east of Bangor on the Belfast Lough coast. Again, there was no danger as it turned out to be a rusted fire extinguisher.

Yesterday (Sunday 23rd), Bangor Lifeboat towed a small broken-down vessel from near the Copeland Island off Donaghadee on the Down coast to Bangor Marina. They headed to Bangor, shadowed by the Coastguard. From the beach at Ballyholme, one of the CRT team spotted what looked like an upturned paddleboard in the water, and the Lifeboat was requested to drop the tow and make best speed to the area. They located the object, and thankfully on this occasion, it was driftwood. The Lifeboat re-established the tow back to the marina, where they were met by Coastguard personnel.

Published in Belfast Lough

It could be construed as an encouraging sign that half of the twelve-boat entry for the inaugural Royal Ulster Yacht Club on Belfast Lough to Strangford Lough Race was from that destination. Boats from the local fleet which would have been expected to enter were Sigma 33s, not yet launched due to the inclement spring weather.

Winner of both classes were visitors with the IRC fleet top prize going to Shaun Douglas's Beneteau 40.7 Game Changer from Cockle Island Boat Club at Groomsport on the North Down coast, in a corrected time of 3hrs 51mins ahead of Michael Eames' Sun Fast 3200 All or Nothing from Strangford Lough YC. And All or Nothing featured again, winning the NHC Unrestricted fleet in a corrected time of 3hrs 47mins in the NHC fleet ahead of Jay Colville's First 40 Forty Licks from Strangford Lough YC.

An interesting entry was the MGRS Juno which Myles Lindsay of Royal Ulster raced in Belfast Lough in the 90s. She languished in Arklow for some years and is now racing again in the North thanks to Terence O'Neill of Portaferry SC. She turned in a very respectable 4th place in the NHC fleet.

The course was from Bangor south along the Ards Peninsula coast to the finish on an imaginary East/West line at the Bar Pladdy South Cardinal buoy in the entrance to Strangford Sound.

The weather played its part in this race with a forecast of 10 knots early on and then an increase to 18 knots later which meant that with a Covid Restriction of 80% crew limit the two-sail fetch became a procession.

John Harrington in the IMX38, Excession was enthusiastic about the race even though as he said, they "didn't make a particularly good show of it competitively". He said " The sailing committee and the battery teams laid on a fantastic event for us. It was great to see so many visiting boats come for this new challenge. And the customary warm welcome in Portaferry brought back memories of events of old and an indication of a great summer of sailing ahead of us. We eagerly await the next race in the series".

Published in Belfast Lough
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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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