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Displaying items by tag: Co Clare

Breaking News reports that a woman has been rescued after getting into difficulty while swimming at Spanish Point on the Co Clare coast this morning (Sunday 28 November).

It’s understood that the woman, in her 60s, found herself out of her depth in the water off Black Rock. She was reportedly recovered ashore by a passer-by who entered the water.

A multi-agency rescue operation was subsequently stood down but coastguard volunteers from Kilkee and other crews attended the scene, where the woman was treated at the scene. Breaking News has more HERE.

Published in Rescue
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The surfer who died after getting into difficulty off the Co Clare coast on Monday (5 July) has been named locally, according to the Irish Examiner.

And tributes have been paid by the community to 20-year-old Fionn O’Brien, a GAA standout “blessed with great skill and lightning speed”.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the young man was pronounced dead hours after he was airlifted to University Hospital Limerick from Lough Donnell in Quilty on Monday morning.

Clare County Council has opened a book of condolences for the young man ahead of his funeral tomorrow in Roslevan.

The Irish Examiner has more on the story HERE.

Published in Surfing

BreakingNews.ie reports that a surfer has died in hospital after he got into difficulty off the Co Clare coast this morning, Monday 5 July.

The Irish Coast Guard’s Kilkee unit and Rescue 115 helicopter from Shannon were among the emergency services to attend the scene at Lough Donnell in Quilty, where off-duty lifeguards in the area helped bring the surfer ashore.

The casualty was subsequently airlifted to University Hospital Limerick in critical condition.

This story was updated at 6.05pm on Monday 5 July.

Published in Rescue

Dusty the dolphin last weekend treated two SCUBA diving sisters to an encounter they will never forget, as RTÉ News reports.

Jessica and Jennifer Smith were diving with their father Finbar as part of a group with the Burren Sub Aqua Club last Saturday (1 May) when they were approached by the inquisitive bottlenose, who has been a fixture of the West Clare coast for some 20 years.

Previous encounters have been mixed — in particular an incident reported in Doolin some years ago in which a woman was hospitalised.

But the teens were delighted to meet a much calmer Dusty, who may have been surprised to find humans in the water after months of restrictions prevented group dives.

RTÉ News has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#Creeragh - Independent.ie reports that a man has died after he was swept into the sea by an unexpected wave near Kilkee in Co Clare yesterday (Saturday 13 January).

The 30-year-old man, believed to be a Hungarian national resident in Galway, is understood to have climbed down to the base of a cliff in Creeragh to take photos when he was washed away.

Emergency services were alerted immediately, and the Shannon-based Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 115 quickly located the casualty and winched him from the water.

However, the man was later pronounced dead at University Hospital Limerick.

Published in News Update
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#Rescue - Kayakers paddled to the rescue of a man in his 60s spotted floating in the sea off Co Clare on Saturday morning (31 October).

According to The Irish Times, the man – thought to have fallen into the water from Seafield Pier near Quilty – was semi-conscious when he was retrieved by the kayakers.

The casualty was subsequently airlifted to hospital by the Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 115, which was on a training exercise nearby.

The incident occurred just days after the body of local man Stephen Mungovan was recovered from the sea after what's believed to be an accidental fall late last Sunday night (25 October).

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Rescue

#Surfing - One of big wave surfing's best kept secrets off the Clare coast has seen the area named among the top surf spots in the UK and Ireland, as the Clare Herald reports.

Easkey in Co Sligo and The Peak in Bundoran, Co Donegal also made the grade alongside Aileens, a renowned offshore swell only accessible to those in the know, in the list put together by Surfholidays.com.

The Clare Herald has more on the story HERE.

Published in Surfing
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#Missing - Searching resumed this morning (Tuesday 27 October) for a 19-year-old Clare man feared to have fallen into the sea.

The Irish Times reports that the man from the Quilty area was last seen on Sunday night (25 October) at the rear of his coastal home.

A cross-agency emergency response began yesterday (Monday 26 October) after the alarm was raised in the morning, covering the coastline between Quilty and Spanish Point in Co Clare.

Conditions have been hazardous in recent days, and Kilkee Coast Guard advises the public to "exercise extreme caution" by the sea till the weather improves. The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in News Update
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#Missing - Rescue services have formally stood down their search for a missing Japanese tourist off Co Clare after three weeks, the Irish Examiner reports.

As of yesterday (Tuesday 15 September) there has been no sign of Ushio Azaki (61), who went missing in Kilkee on 22 August with her companion Eiji Takagi (63), whose body was found by divers on 30 August.

Published in News Update
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#Missing - The search was set to resume this morning for a man who fell into the sea off Co Clare yesterday afternoon (15 December).

As The Irish Times reports, the missing man, a Latvian national, is one of two anglers who has been fishing from rocks near Blackhead, on the south side of Galway Bay.

It's believed the second man left the scene to get help when his colleague went into the water, and could no longer find him on his return.

It's also thought the Latvian national could have been in the water for several hours before emergency services were alerted.

Doolin coastguard, Aran Islands RNLI and the Shannon-based coastguard helicopter were all dispatched for the search and rescue operation, which was called off at 6pm in poor light.

Published in News Update
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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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