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Displaying items by tag: Cork Harbour

Cork Harbour’s traditional boat fleet got a new gaff rig arrival this season when Crosshaven trawler skipper Gus O’Donovan launched his refurbished 1998 pilot cutter.

Gus bought the reproduction cutter on the east coast last year and was busy over the winter restoring her that included a new paint job.

Cork Harbour's newest Pilot Cutter was refurbished over the winter and now afloat at Crosshaven Photo: Bob BatemanCork Harbour's newest Pilot Cutter was refurbished over the winter and now afloat at Crosshaven Photo: Bob Bateman 

Gus buys paint in barrels for his trawler, so now she’s the same colour as the Majestic IV, part of Crosshaven’s fishing fleet.

Gus O'Donovan's Fishing Trawler, the Majestic IV at Crosshaven PierGus O'Donovan's Fishing Trawler, the Majestic IV at Crosshaven Pier Photo: Bob Bateman

Uile-Ioc swinging peacefully on her Cork Harbour mooring Photo: Bob BatemanUile-Ioc swinging peacefully on her Cork Harbour mooring Photo: Bob Bateman

The 18-footer was originally named Panacea when she came from Dun Laoghaire. Gus told Afloat that although it can be considered bad luck to change a ship's name, a translation can be acceptable so the fishing smack is now known as Uile-ioc, as Gaeilge.

The plans for Uile-ioc designed by Steve Prout and built in 1998The plans for Uile-ioc designed by Steve Prout and built in 1998 - she sails with one ton of ballast

Regular readers will recall that last week Gus, who is a former RNLI crewman, rescued two men last week when out at sea fishing off Cork Harbour. He spotted the two young men in a supermarket inflatable boat/toy with no lifejackets approximately 1 mile south of the Daunt Rock buoy. That story is here.

Onboard Uile-Ioc, the pilot cutter is fun to sail, according to new skipper Gus O'DonovanOnboard Uile-Ioc, the pilot cutter is fun to sail, according to new skipper Gus O'Donovan

Gus is keen to use the new purchase to teach his sons how to sail and even though he admits his hull is GRP, he didn’t want his kids to learn the ropes in a 'plastic fantastic’.

The overhauled inboard diesel engineThe overhauled inboard diesel engine

Sailing the 28' LOA Uile-Ioc in Cork Harbour Photo: Bob BatemanSailing the 28' LOA Uile-Ioc in Cork Harbour Photo: Bob Bateman

Gus also plans local trips with his family and friends in the Steve Prout design and has already been a couple of hours west of Cork Harbour on day sails and is enjoying handling the gaff rig.

Published in Historic Boats
Tagged under

While other clubs have found it a big enough challenge simply resuming sailing in a regulation-compliant way, the 101-year-old Cove Sailing Club in Cork Harbour has also been bringing its new marina on stream, and in addition to resuming club sailing, it staged the first open event of the delayed 2020 season, the Squib Southerns, on July 25th-26th. It has been a superb team effort, but all teams need effective leadership, and CSC Commodore Kieran Dorgan has been providing it in a family tradition - his father Barry was in the same role, while on the water Kieran himself is no stranger to the front of the fleet with his First 36.7 Altair.

Published in Sailor of the Month

A win for Michael McCann in tonight's fifth and final race of the Union Chandlery July League at Royal Cork Yacht Club gives him the overall win of the IRC Spinnaker Division. McCann sailing the Etchells, Don't Dilly Dally had a single point lead over Annamarie and Denis Murphy's Grand Soliel 40, Nieulargo in a 14-boat fleet.

In a 12-boat White Sail division, the Grand Soliel 37 Prince of Tides (Frank Caul and John Molloy) wins by two points overall from the Sun Light 30 Expression.

Full results are here. Bob Bateman's Photo slideshow is below

Published in Royal Cork YC

Irish boats come, Irish boats go. And while some will always be remembered, others leave barely a twirl of wake in the communal memory. The best-remembered has to be Conor O’Brien’s world-girdling Saoirse. Yet it could reasonably be claimed that Harry Donegan’s Gull was the boat that made the difference, for she was there in Ireland when it mattered, whereas Saoirse was away, performing on the global stage.

The 50ft ketch Betty Alan at Mullaghmore Regatta 2019 Gull’s ghost? The 50ft ketch Betty Alan – built more than a hundred years after Gull – at Mullaghmore Regatta 2019. Photo: Brian Mathews

In 1921, the Donegan family of Cork bought Gull, an 1896 Charles E Nicholson-designed and Camper & Nicholson-built 18-ton gaff cutter, with a notably large jackyard topsail. The patriarch of the family, solicitor Harry Donegan (1870-1940) sailed her until his death on St Patrick’s Day of 1940, which came after a sublime 1939 end-of-season sail from Schull back to Cork Harbour, the perfect final passage for a great sailor.

During his time with the well-loved boat, he was soon busy with Gull in the final stages of the Civil War in 1922, carrying a messenger (Michael Collins’ sister, as it happens) with dispatches for the Pro-Treaty Government from Cork for eventual delivery to Commander-in-Chief Collins in Dublin, a task made necessary by the Anti-Treaty rebels destroying all other means of communication – road, rail, whatever - between the two cities.

Harry Donegan aboard his beloved GullThe extraordinary Harry Donegan aboard his beloved Gull. During their 19 years together, he and Gull’s achievements were many and various

After peace of sorts had broken out in 1923, in addition to a programme of cruiser-racing in and from Cork Harbour, Harry Donegan was soon back to his hobby of surveying popular cruising anchorages for his privately-circulated cruising guide to southwest Ireland. And then when the call came for entries for the novel Fastnet Race of 1925, despite the fact that Ireland’s Fastnet Rock was only a mark of the course with the start eastward out of the Solent from Ryde, and the finish at Plymouth in Devon, he willingly entered Gull to be one of the seven starters. She was in the lead overall at one stage, and at the finish she placed third.

Thus Gull was present at the foundation of the Ocean Racing Club - soon to be the RORC – in Plymouth in 1925, and four years later she was present at the foundation in Glengarriff in 1929 of the Irish Cruising Club, a project which had long been dear to Harry Donegan’s heart.

During the eleven years he had with the ICC (of which he was Vice Commodore), Harry Donegan was one of the club’s keenest active members, regularly bringing his demanding cutter round to the Irish Sea for ICC East Coast events, while at the same time playing the leading role in Cork Harbour, and somehow finding space for the occasional RORC racing foray as well.

Poole Harbour in Dorset, where Gull ended her days Poole Harbour in Dorset, where Gull ended her days, and Betty Alan was born 102 years after Gull had been built

In his latter days, his son Harry Jnr was an active partner on the boat, but after Old Harry died, things weren’t quite the same, Young Harry was interested in trying other boat types, and as soon as World War II was over, Gull was sold – now considered quite old by the standards of the time – to the south of England. The word is that she ended her days in the 1950s in a mud berth in Poole Harbour, gradually mouldering away into the bottomless sludge.

Yet it seems that while the corporeal Gull may have disappeared into Poole Harbour’s primaeval ooze, her friendly ghost was soon haunting the place, quietly looking for an opportunity to resume sailing the sea with the gift of fresh youth. But it wasn’t until 1998, when the noted local boatbuilder Ken Latham was commissioned to build the hull of a classically proportioned 50-footer, that Gull’s necessary opportunity presented itself, and somehow her spirit became successfully enmeshed in the style and appearance of a dreamship which was supposed to represent a miniaturised version of the very Scottish Alfred Mylne-designed 120ft gaff ketch Thendara from the 1930s.

The Mylne-designed ThendaraThe Mylne-designed Thendara. Betty Alan was originally conceived as a miniature of this Scottish classic.

Certainly, this had been the design brief for the late Jeremy Lines, who was a startling example of nominative determinism, for what could somebody called Lines possibly be, other than the in-house yacht designer for Camper & Nicholsons in their final glory days?

It was after his retirement that he was given the commission in his own right as a yacht designer for this meticulously-detailed 50-footer. And while he may have conscientiously tried to re-create Alfred Mylne as asked, the shadow of the genius of Charles E Nicholson was at his shoulder, and Gull emerged again – fresh and new and exquisitely built - beside Poole Harbour.

Not that anybody noticed at the time. In fact, it was upwards of twenty years later, at Mullaghmore on the Sligo coast, that a photo taken by Race Officer Brian Mathews at Mullaghmore Regatta 2019 rang a bell. And it wasn’t until a week or so ago, when were assembling a few photos to back up the Mullaghmore Regatta 2020 poster, that the mysterious ketch re-appeared, when it immediately clicked that regardless of the rig - which is indeed a quirky miniature of Thendara’s sail-plan – we were looking at the sweet sheerline and restrained stem of Gull all over again, even if they’re set in a beamy shoal-draft centreboard-carrying hull, whereas Gull was slim and deep.

When seen from more directly ahead, Betty Alan’s extra beam is much in evidenceWhen seen from more directly ahead, Betty Alan’s extra beam is much in evidence

Betty Alan’s commodious accommodationBetty Alan’s commodious accommodation makes for a refreshing change from extreme racing-programmed boats

Be that as it may, now we hear that not only is this cleverly-disguised Ghost of Gull haunting the Irish coast, but she has found herself a long-term mooring in Glengarriff, where Harry Donegan’s most-cherished dream of an Irish Cruising Club became reality ninety-one years ago.

It’s all a bit too much, but then a state of things being just a bit too much seems to be normality when you get into the orbit around Ed Maggs, who has owned this “genuine fake” (his own words) with his wife Frances since 2011. The ketch is now called Betty Alan after his parents, and somehow he finds the time to use her as she should be used, despite the attention-consuming occupation of being a Maggs brother in the almost absurdly blue chip antiquarian booksellers Maggs Brothers in the fashionable part of London. There, they’ve been selling rare or very rare or indeed invisibly rare books at splendid prices since 1853, while additionally purveying some extremely odd items of exceptional historic interest which, alas, we cannot specify in a website with a family readership.

Be that as it may, Ed’s talents and endeavours as an antiquarian bookseller are no more than a displacement activity. For his real calling – would he but allow it - is as a sailing writer, and more specifically a cruising writer. It may be a good old reliable cliché, but his quirky take on the things that happen in and on and around the Betty Alan to himself and Frances and their friends (a credibility-stretching lineup of characters in themselves) is what Myles might have called that familiar inhalation of clear oxygen and nitrogen and some spots of hydrogen and other gases, best known as a breath of fresh air if that’s what you’re having yourself.

Man among the merchandise – Ed Maggs at work Man among the merchandise – Ed Maggs at work. Photo: Maggs Bros

But as the very special bookshop is there to keep the show on the road, Ed has no need to turn himself into some sort of internet star or performance artist, which is the only way a modern cruising writer could afford a boat like Betty Alan. So instead, his fans can enjoy his works in semi-private club and association publications with words and thoughts to be savoured in leisurely style, instead of having your head blown off and your mind melted by electronic overload.

Thus we’ve been catching up in recent weeks through various sources on the great adventure, which was meant to be a two years (or thereabouts) circuit cruise round Britain and Ireland from Betty Alan’s home port of Burnham-on-Crouch in Essex, which is about as different a place from Glengarriff as you’ll find on this planet.

On this planet, misplaced or displaced intentions often produce the best cruise yarns. Betty Alan got as far as southwest Ireland, and then began significantly slowing down. When she got as far as Donegal, she came to a stop with a stay-for-a-while mooring at Teelin, and then laid up for the winter with the excellent services of Mooney Boats at Killybegs. And when she launched again, it was irresistible to revisit places back south, which may explain that star turn at Mullaghmore. But what with one thing and another, she now has a fulltime mooring in Glengarriff, and Ed and Frances have found themselves spending the Lockdown in the latest bright idea.

A distinct change of style from Burnham-n-Crouch in Essex – Betty Alan’s current base in Glengarriff at the head of Bantry BayA distinct change of style from Burnham-n-Crouch in Essex – Betty Alan’s current base in Glengarriff at the head of Bantry Bay

It’s a little old farmhouse that they’ve bought, with a bit of land - most of it heavily wooded - hidden away in the Roughty Valley midway between Kenmare and Kilgarvan. Thus they’ve the remarkable yet smooth life force of the Brennan brothers at Kenmare and Drumquinna to the southwest, and the forces of nature in the raw in the rugged frontier village of Kilgarvan, Kilgarvan of the Riding Clans, to the northeast, where ordinary folk run the danger of becoming the hyphen in Healy-Rae.

It is in the little farmhouse during this Lockdown that Ed Maggs has been writing for a select few of the woodlands and oddities of this place called Kilgortaree, and he does it with the same lively and totally frank frame of mind that he brought to describing the joys and hazards of cruising the coasts of Kerry and Connemara in detail.

And it all seems part of a perfectly natural and sensible process, when set in the story of how the Ghost of Gull has come to be happily haunting Glengarriff in recent weeks.

Published in Historic Boats
Tagged under

Kinsale overnight leader Colm Dunne at the helm of Allegro held off a strong Northern Ireland Challenge to win the Squib Southern Championships at Cove Sailing Club this afternoon.

As reported earlier, 13 boats contested the championships in Cork Harbour but no one was able to overhaul Dunne who counted three race wins on the windward-leeward courses.

Second place after five races sailed in the one-design keelboat competition went to Royal North of Ireland's Gordon Patterson. Third place went to Patterson's Belfast Lough club-mate Peter Wallace, skipper of Toy for the Boys.

Results are here

Bob Bateman's Day Two Photo Gallery below

Published in Squib

The volunteers of Crosshaven RNLI lifeboat were paged at 5.51 pm this evening (Saturday 19 July) to go to the aid of a broken-down vessel, East of Power Head at the entrance to Cork Harbour.

The lifeboat with Ian Venner in command and with Claire Morgan, Derek Moynan and Jonathan Birmingham on board made best speed towards the Casualty in good conditions and a slight sea.

First reports were that the 23' powerboat with two persons on board had broken down and was at anchor awaiting help.

Enroute, the lifeboat crew was informed by the Coast Guard that the casualty had managed to restart their engine and was slowly making for Ballycotton and would be obliged for the lifeboat to escort the vessel into the harbour.

The lifeboat crew were happy to oblige and saw the vessel safely moored in the harbour at Ballycotton.

Commenting on the incident, helm, Ian Venner said the vessels owner had 'done everything by the book and called the problem into the Coast Guard immediately and then anchored the vessel.'

Launch crew on this call out were Sandra Farrell, Susanne Deane, Richie Leonard and Caomhe Foster. The lifeboat returned to station at 8 pm.

Published in Cork Harbour

The National 18 crew of Colin Chapman, Owen O'Keefe and Eddie Rice were yesterday's winners of the AIB sponsored PY 1000 cash Prize at the Royal Cork Yacht Club in Cork Harbour.

With only the lightest harbour breeze available Race Officer John Crotty set the mixed dinghy fleet off on a course that involved all points of sailing from a beat,a run and reaches before heading home for refreshments on the RCYC lawn at Crosshaven.

Royal Cork Race Officer John Crotty had to contend with some fickle winds for the 2020 PY RaceRoyal Cork Race Officer John Crotty had to contend with some fickle winds for the 2020 PY Race Photo: Bob Bateman

The PY1000 2020 dinghy course set in Cork Harbour covered all the angles Photo: Bob BatemanThe PY1000 2020 dinghy course set in Cork Harbour covered all the angles Photo: Bob Bateman

Other cash prizes went to second overall to Tom, Cloe and Patrick Crosbie. Third place went to Andrew Crosbie, all sailing National 18s.

AIB PY 1000 Winners AIB PY 1000 Winners - Colin Chapman, Owen O'Keefe and Eddie Rice Photo: Bob Bateman

Chris Bateman won the Lasers and Shane Collins, the Topper division.

Knox Kohl was the youngest sailor and first female home was Sophie Crosbie.

The youngest crewed boat was sailed by Ethel and Olin Bateman and the oldest combined Crew was Tommy Dwyer and Willy Healy

RCYC AIB PY1000 Photos

See the full slideshow of images from the event below by Bob Bateman

Published in Royal Cork YC

The first major Class championships this season and the first in Cork Harbour will go ahead at Cove Sailing Club next weekend. The Squib Southerns will be based at the new Cove SC clubhouse and marina at Whitepoint.

The event and the marina are a big boost for the harbour town. Cobh has long-needed facilities for visiting boats. Several previous attempts to build a marina there failed. Cove Sailing Club, which celebrated its centenary last year, undertook its own project. It was not without difficulties and financial pressures which did create some internal club difficulties. At one stage another club, the Great Island Sailing Club, was formed and organised cruiser racing while remaining club members devoted their attention to getting the marina built. They succeeded, the new marina is now in operation, the clubs have re-united, with Great Island ceasing activities and members back in Cove Sailing Club which is a busy place at present.

Race Officers get the first race away from Cove Island Sailing Club's new marina pontoonsRace Officers get the first race away from Cove Island Sailing Club's new marina pontoons Photo: Bob Bateman

There is also a new clubhouse and dinghy sailing is resuming, with training courses also going ahead.

Kieran Dorgan is Cove Sailing Club’s Commodore and is my Podcast guest this week, discussing the developments and the economic boost which the marina will provide to the town of Cobh. I started by asking him about the Squibs Southern Championships next weekend, with racing on Saturday and Sunday, July 25 and 26:

Cove Sailing Club’S first evening league of the season was won by Commodore Dorgan’s Altair, a First 36.7 David Doyle’s Sigma 33, Musketeer, was second and Norman Allen’s Impala, Nadia, third. Twelve yachts raced.

Published in Tom MacSweeney

The new public recreation area at Paddy's Point in Cork Harbour now has a new floating pontoon added to the existing marine leisure facilities at Ringaskiddy.

The pier and slipway, that opened in May 2019 is located adjacent to the Beaufort Building in Ringaskiddy and is managed and maintained by the Port of Cork.

The substantial new facilities replace the existing Ringaskiddy slipway and pier and were completed as part of the Cork container terminal development.

This new marine leisure facility is free for the public to use and includes a pontoon to launch leisure craft and a secure trailer park along with picnic benches in a landscaped area for all to enjoy.

Paddy's Point new Marine Leisure facilties in Cork Harbour at Ringaskiddy Photo: Bob BatemanPaddy's Point new Marine Leisure facilties in Cork Harbour at Ringaskiddy Photo: Bob Bateman

Published in Cork Harbour

Cork harbour could become central to Ireland’s development as an international centre for hydrogen energy technology, a new offshore wind blueprint by the Eirwind consortium forecasts.

As The Irish Examiner reports today, Ireland could be exporting bulk hydrogen as part of an offshore renewable expansion.

The Eirwind strategy to 2050 identifies a number of challenges, and calls for Government commitment to specific incentives, marine planning legislation and “transparent” decision-making.

Eirwind is an industry-led, collaborative research project involving University College Cork (UCC) which has been working on a 30-year strategy for harnessing offshore wind energy.

It describes floating offshore wind technology as a “game changer,” and the period 2020 to 2030 as a “defining decade” for investing in green hydrogen and grid reinforcement.

The new Programme for Government has raised a target of 3.5 gigawatt (GW) energy production from offshore wind to five GW by 2030, and specifies the Irish Sea and Celtic Sea for development. It also signals that 30 GW could be derived from the Atlantic coast.

The Eirwind blueprint identifies three “production zones” - the Irish Sea, Celtic Sea and Atlantic Coast- and is expected to recommend master plans for ports from Rosslare, Co Wexford round to Killybegs, Co Donegal,to support offshore wind and wave development.

The report identifies the fishing industry as “the primary stakeholder”,and is expected to recommend that a joint forum between the fishing and offshore wind sectors be established .

It says the recently completed Marine Planning and Development Management Bill, along with the related Maritime Jurisdiction Bill, need to be prioritised.

Eirwind, based at the MaREI centre in UCC is supported by Science Foundation Ireland, and companies include Brookfield, DP Energy, ESB, Equinor, Engie, EDPR, Enerco, Simply Blue, SSE and Statkraft.

More from the Examiner here

Published in Power From the Sea
Page 1 of 77

Irish Coast Guard

The Irish Coast Guard is Ireland's 4th 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 around 2000 times (40 times to assist mountain rescues and 200 times to carry out aeromedical HEMS missions on behalf of the HSE), Coast Guard volunteer units will respond 1000 times and RNLI and community lifeboats will be tasked by our Coordination Centres about 950 times
  • evacuate medical patients off our Islands to hospital on 100 occasions
  • assist other nations' Coast Guards about 200 times
  • make around 6,000 maritime safety broadcasts to shipping, fishing and leisure craft users
  • carry out a safety on the water campaign that targets primary schools and leisure craft users, including at sea and beach patrols
  • investigate approximately 50 maritime pollution reports

The Coast Guard has been around in some form in Ireland since 1908.

List of Coast Guard Units in Ireland

  • 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

The roles of the Irish Coast Guard

The main roles of the Irish Coast Guard are 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.

Each year the Irish Coast Guard co-ordinates the response to thousands of incidents at sea and on the cliffs and beaches of Ireland. It does this through its Marine Rescue Centres which are currently based in:

  • Dublin
  • Malin Head (Co Donegal)
  • Valentia Island (Co Kerry).

Each centre is responsible for search and rescue operations.

The Dublin National Maritime Operations Centre (NMOC) provides marine search and rescue response services and co-ordinates the response to marine casualty incidents within the Irish Pollution Responsibility Zone/EEZ.

The Marine Rescue Sub Centre (MRSC) Valentia and MRSC Malin Head are 24/7 centres co-ordinating search and rescue response in their areas of responsibility.

The Marine Rescue Sub Centre (MRSC) Valentia is the contact point for routine operational matters in the area between Ballycotton and Clifden.

MRSC Malin Head is the contact point for routine operational matters in the area between Clifden and Lough Foyle.

MRCC Dublin is the contact point for routine operational matters in the area between Carlingford Lough and Ballycotton.

Each MRCC/MRSC broadcasts maritime safety information on VHF and, in some cases, MF radio in accordance with published schedules.

Maritime safety information that is broadcast by the three Marine Rescue Sub-centres includes:

  • navigational warnings as issued by the UK Hydrographic Office
  • gale warnings, shipping forecasts, local inshore forecasts, strong wind warnings and small craft warnings as issued by the Irish Meteorological Office.

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.

The Coast Guard can contract specialised aerial surveillance or dispersant spraying aircraft at short notice internationally.

Helicopter tasks include:

  • the location of marine and aviation incident survivors by homing onto aviation and marine radio distress transmissions, by guidance from other agencies, and by visual, electronic and electro-optical search
  • the evacuation of survivors from the sea, and medical evacuees from all manner of vessels including high-sided passenger and cargo vessels and from the islands
  • the evacuation of personnel from ships facing potential disaster
  • search and or rescue in mountainous areas, caves, rivers, lakes and waterways
  • the transport of offshore fire-fighters (MFRTs) or ambulance teams (MARTs) and their equipment following a request for assistance
  • the provision of safety cover for other search and rescue units including other Marine Emergency Service helicopters
  • pollution, casualty and salvage inspections and surveillance and the transport of associated personnel and equipment
  • inter-agency training in all relevant aspects of the primary role
  • onshore emergency medical service, including evacuation and air ambulance tasks
  • relief of the islands and of areas suffering from flooding or deep snow

The secondary roles of the helicopter are:

  • the exercise of the primary search, rescue and evacuation roles in adjacent search and rescue regions
  • assistance to onshore emergency services, such as in the evacuation of high-rise buildings
  • public safety awareness displays and demonstrations
  • providing helicopter expertise for seminars and training courses

The Irish Coast Guard provides aeronautical assets for search and rescue in the mountains of Ireland. Requests for Irish Coast Guard assets are made to the Marine Rescue Centres.

Requests are accepted from An Garda Síochána and nominated persons in Mountain Rescue Teams.

Information courtesy of Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (July 2019)

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