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Displaying items by tag: Cork Harbour

The Government has assigned responsibility for the remediation of the former factory site on Haulbowline Island in Cork Harbour to the Department of Defence.

Minister Simon Coveney stated that with the successful remediation of the East Tip site into a 22-acre Public Park, the way is now clear for the remediation of the rest of the Island. The Minister paid tribute to the collaborative work carried out by Cork County Council and the Department of Agriculture, Food & Marine in turning the disused site into a public amenity, encompassing 4km of waterside paths and a 1km jogging circuit, complete with wildflowers areas and hundreds of new trees.

Haulbowline Amenity Park includes 4km of harbour side walkways, a 1km jogging circuit and numerous seating areas to stop and take in the views of Cork Harbour. The park has also been extensively landscapedHaulbowline Amenity Park includes 4km of harbour side walkways, a 1km jogging circuit and numerous seating areas to stop and take in the views of Cork Harbour. The park has also been extensively landscaped Photo: Cork County Council

There are spectacular views of Cork Harbour from Haulbowline Island(Above and below) There are spectacular views of Cork Harbour from Haulbowline Island Photo: Bob Bateman

Cobh as seen from Haulbowline Island Photo: Bob Bateman

The park has already become a significant community asset, which will continue to benefit the people of the harbour and environs into the future.

The highly anticipated recreational area will be a welcome addition for the Cork Harbour region and in particular for residents of RingaskiddyThe highly anticipated recreational area will be a welcome addition for the Cork Harbour region and in particular for residents of Ringaskiddy Photo: Bob Bateman

The project was undertaken in partnership with the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine in response to the need to remediate the East Tip. This remediation project was completed at a cost of €25m.

A nod to the Island's industrial past - the Blacksmith's hammer has been preserved on site(above and below) A nod to the Island's industrial past - the Blacksmith's hammer has been preserved on site Photo: Bob BatemanBlacksmith Hammer sign on Haulbowline island

The Minister emphasised that the continued participation of Cork County Council in overseeing the implementation of the remaining remediation works with his Department is crucial and welcomed the recognition that Government has given to the local authority’s expertise in this area.

Haulbowline Amenity Park includes 4km of harbour-side walkways, a 1km jogging circuitHaulbowline Amenity Park includes 4km of harbour-side walkways, a 1km jogging circuit Photo: Bob Bateman

The Minister indicated that he has already had preliminary discussions with senior officials in Cork County Council on the way forward and is looking forward to working with them in completing the final remediation project.

Bob Bateman's photo gallery below shows views of Haulbowline Island during the initial remedial works

Published in Island News
Tagged under

Sixty-one years after the first Rankin came off a mould in Cobh, a new one has been built from the same mould.

"From the roots of this revered dinghy class in Cork Harbour, a new boat has been built," the Class announced.

This is part of the rebuild and restoration project through which Rankin enthusiasts have rekindled interest in the class.

The roots of the Rankins are to be found in the mid-1950s when Eddie Twomey and Eric Rankin produced the line drawings of the Rankin prototype. The first two prototype boats were built in July 1956 in Eric's workshop on Lynch's Quay, Cobh.

They were an integral part of the RCYC when it was based in Cobh. The boats proved extremely popular. Their light construction made them easy to handle and "effortless to row, motor or sail, so they were an ideal family boat for Cork Harbour conditions," the Rankin enthusiasts say. When the RCYC club moved to Crosshaven, "they became a choice mode of river transport, for commuting ashore long before the days of RIBs and the club marina was built," according to one of the leaders of the revival, Conor English in Crosshaven.

Like other dinghy classes over the years, collective sightings of Rankins sailing in Cork Harbour became a rare sight, but in 2014 a group of like-minded enthusiasts from Crosshaven, Cobh and Monkstown came together to see what could be done to revive interest in the Rankins.

Conor and Maurice Kidney in Cobh drove the revival strongly and garnered strong support. "They are a great boat and the support we've got since we started has been tremendous."

Plank 14 (the Whiskey plank) is fitted to the new RankinPlank 14 (the Whiskey plank) is fitted to the new Rankin dinghy Photo: Rankin Class Association

The result has been a big revival, which we've been following on Afloat and which has led to racing in Cove SC events, participation in the Traditional Sails events in the harbour and the Rankin ''World'' Championships as part of Cork Dinghy Fest in which 21 raced.

Altogether the revival has identified over 40 Rankins.

The new Rankin is a further step, built by Owen O'Connell in the workshop of his brother, Bud and with Dave O'Keeffe, the trio have been working on this 'lockdown' project for the past few months.

On this week's Podcast, Owen O'Connell tells me about the building of the new Rankin and that it is intended to have it on the water in May.

Published in Tom MacSweeney
Tagged under

The start of the sailing season with two events in March in Cork Harbour has been set back.

Two scheduled events have had to be cancelled due to the pandemic, both by the Royal Cork Yacht Club.

The first of these is the popular and very well-supported PY 1000 All-In Dinghy Race, which takes its name from the value of the cash prize.

Also cancelled is the keelboat March League for cruisers.

Published in Royal Cork YC

More than 120 crews from over 15 nations are expected in Cork Harbour at the Royal Cork Yacht Club when the 2022 5O5 World Championship is hosted in Crosshaven from 1st -13th August 2022.

This will be the fourth time the club will have hosted the 505 World Championships, having welcomed visiting crews previously in 1959, 1964 and 1982. 

Founded in 1720, the Royal Cork Yacht Club is the oldest yacht club in the world and the 505 World Championships will form part of the club’s continued Tricentenary celebrations.

The 505 has been established and racing around the world for over 60 years. However, combined with that rich history and past success the Class continues to surprise and remains one of the most successful two-person sailing choice in the world.

The 2022 505 World Championships at Royal Cork Yacht Club logo

Once one of the most popular dinghy classes in Ireland, there was a gathering of 505 sailors at the National Yacht Club on Dublin Bay in 2019 where the fiftieth anniversary of the staging of the European Championships was remembered.

The class is still raced at Monkstown Bay Sailing Club in Cork Harbour both on a one design and PY basis.

Home of the 505 Worlds - the picturesque village of Crosshaven in Cork is home to the Royal Cork Yacht Club, the oldest yacht club in the world Photo: Bob Bateman

Royal Cork says next year's event is likely to draw the world’s top sailors and past Olympians such as Howie Hamlin (Multiple World Champion in 18ft skiffs, 14 ft skiffs, 5o5s), Mike Martin and Adam Lowry (US Yachtsmen Of The Year 2020), Boris Herrmann (5th 2020/2021 Vendee Globe) and Ian Pinnell (multiple dinghy World Champion). 

Local 505 dinghy racing in Cork Harbour(Above and below) Local 505 dinghy racing in Cork Harbour Photos: Bob Bateman

Local 505 dinghy racing in Cork Harbour

Other notable events in Royal Cork's celebrations include the hosting of the Topper World Championships in July 2021 and the biennial, world-renowned, Cork Week which will take place in July 2022. Colin Morehead, Admiral of the Royal Cork Yacht Club, commented, “we are proud that such a prestigious regatta will return to Cork. Our priority is to make this an unforgettable regatta for the sailors and fans, leaving a lasting legacy on dinghy sailing in the club and country.”

The 60-year-old design of the 505 has proven to be timeless, with continued innovation and use of the most modern materials ensuring the 505 class remains one of the best dinghy racing fleets in the world. Image courtesy of 505 International Class/Christophe Favreau

Alex Barry, Event Chairman and 505 sailorAlex Barry, Event Chairman and 505 sailor

Alex Barry, Event Chairman and 505 sailor, commented, “it’s a privilege for us to be bringing the world’s best sailors to Cork. The event is already generating interest throughout the Irish sailing scene and the local fleet is beginning to build. With many members having sailed in the previous editions of the event in Cork, it’s a great opportunity for sailors young and old to come to Cork and be involved. The 1982 event was the springboard for our own Mark Mansfield who went on to represent Ireland four times in the Olympics, this event will inspire sailors of all abilities throughout the country.”

Published in Cork Harbour

Green Rebel Marine in Cork Harbour has acquired a majority stake in Limerick-based marine data firm IDS-Monitoring. The deal involves an investment of close to €7 million and will result in the creation of 30 jobs over the next two years.

IDS-Monitoring designs, manufactures and supports state-of-the-art data acquisition systems that monitor key parameters offshore. Working together as a team since 1996, their proprietary technology has been deployed for use on hundreds of data buoys in over 30 countries.

The IDS-Monitoring team joins the Geophysics Division, the Aerial Survey Team, Vessel Operations and other GRM specialist groups to provide a well resourced, one-stop solution for detailed marine surveying off the Irish coast.

Green Rebel Marine founder Pearse Flynn says: “Through our series of strategic acquisitions, Green Rebel Marine is now well placed to meet the surveying needs of any provider looking to place power generation equipment offshore. The acquisition of IDS-Monitoring means that we continue to build a wholly owned Irish solution, bringing together the best experience on the island to help undertake hugely detailed and precise survey work. I look forward to working further with the team at IDS-Monitoring to develop and deploy their proprietary technology as Ireland looks towards a greener and more sustainable future”.

“We will be bringing on board an outstanding team with leading and most importantly proven technology. The senior management team in the GRM group will greatly benefit from the addition of John to the team as he has more than 30 years experience collecting and processing data at sea.”

The waters around Ireland are set to become a major source of energy generation, and the quality survey work being undertaken by Green Rebel Marine is designed to both protect that resource and harness its potential.

John Wallace of IDS-Monitoring said: “Last year IDS-Monitoring and Green Rebel Marine began discussions and from the outset it was clear that there was a perfect synergy with aligned ambitions. The discussions that followed culminated in IDS-Monitoring joining the Green Rebel Marine Group, creating an ambitious single point of contact for all marine data requirements. We already deliver data on many marine projects in Ireland and abroad and with this new investment we will very significantly build capacity and greatly expand our fleet of Floating LIDAR solutions.”

Thousands of square miles of ocean are due to undergo ecological assessment as part of the planning process for offshore wind farms. Green Rebel Marine recently announced the €1.5 million purchase of a DA42 multi-purpose aircraft to conduct aerial surveys off the Irish coast.

Green Rebel Marine was established last year to service the future needs of offshore wind farms. The company has already acquired Crosshaven Boatyard in County Cork, and the first in a fleet of survey vessels, the Roman Rebel.

Plans for offshore wind farms are at an advanced stage with a number of potential fixed and floating operators examining sites along the coast from Dundalk in County Louth, to the Cork coast and beyond. Their construction will not only increase Ireland’s ability to produce renewable energy, it will also create an entire new sector dedicated to servicing their operation.

Published in Power From the Sea

Cork Harbour Festival’s flagship Ocean to City race will be going ahead this June with an altered format.

Collaborating with national rowing associations in Scotland and Wales, this year’s Ocean to City will be part of a unique, international time trial series called the Five Miles From Home Series 2021.

The Ocean to City – Five Miles From Home is the second leg in the Series, and will take place 4-6 June 2021. The challenge can be joined from anywhere in the world; rather than asking participants to travel, Ocean to City invites people to participate in this international challenge from their home waters.

Taking part is simple! Just form a crew, plot a 5 mile (8047meters / 4.345nm) course, cover the distance as fast or as stylishly as possible during the designated time windows, submit your times and join the online celebration afterwards.

Coastal Rowing crews at the Ocean to City Race in Cork HarbourCoastal Rowing crews at a previous Ocean to City Race in Cork Harbour

The Five Miles From Home Series has a ‘Main’ and an ‘Alternative’ Challenge. The Main Challenge is open to fixed-seat rowing boats such as currachs, skiffs, gigs and yawls. The Alternative Challenge is open to kayaks, SUPs, canoes, dragon boats, offshore sliding-seat boats and outriggers. Incorporating a dedicated Under-19s youth category, the organisers are also keen to involve and celebrate young people on the water.

The full Five Miles From Home Series includes the Scottish Castle to Crane leg on 7-9 May and the Welsh Sea Rowing leg on 9-11 July. Participants can take part in the whole series, allowing them to compare and improve on their results as they progress, or just in one single leg. Each leg in the series has a 48-hour window during which the challenge has to be completed.

With covid-19 constraints making large events off-limits, it is hoped that by the summer restrictions will be relaxed sufficiently to allow clubs from across Cork Harbour, Cork County and beyond to organise their own Ocean to City - Five Miles From Home micro-events.

Adrienne Rodgers, Director of Services at Cork City Council said: ‘We have been very proud to be involved in the Ocean to City Race, as part of the Cork Harbour Festival, over the years. Although like a lot of other events, it is not as we know it this year, we’re concentrating on the positive and congratulate the organisers on the wonderful alternative concept of Five Miles from Home. It won’t replace the elation of an actual race, but it will give us all a focus, to work safely towards a great event.’

Not only will the altered format encourage rowers and paddlers to get back training and competing on the water, but participants will also be part of a big international challenge connecting boating communities from across the world. Welcoming a variety of human-powered, sea-going craft, Ocean to City aims for the event to be as inclusive, adaptable and enjoyable as possible!

Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr. Mary Linehan Foley said: ‘Cork County Council is especially proud to be a major sponsor of the Cork Harbour Festival, which has a strong legacy of celebrating seafaring culture, synonymous with Cork’s position as Ireland's ‘Maritime Haven'. We are delighted that our sponsorship of the ‘The Five Miles from Home’ initiative will help to sustain the festival despite COVID-19 challenges. Festivals and events strengthen the fabric of our communities and celebrate the very best of what our county has to offer, such as our spectacular coastline and rich maritime history. The Council’s continued support of festivals plays a key role in strengthening our tourism industry and ensuring Cork County is best placed to welcome visitors when safe to do so.’

Entries for Ocean to City – Five Miles From Home open on the 1st of March 2021 and participation costs €10 per boat per leg, or €20 for all three legs. For kayaks and SUPs it is €5 for one leg, or €10 for all three.

The organisers encourage rowers and paddlers to enter the Five Miles From Home Series with optimism and confidence. If, for whatever reason, participants are unable to complete the course on water, they can transfer their entry to the ‘Land Challenge’ and walk, wheel or run the 5 miles.

Paddlers at the Ocean to City Race in Cork HarbourPaddlers at the Ocean to City Race in Cork Harbour

Conor Mowlds, Chief Commercial Officer at the Port of Cork said: ‘During these challenging times, it’s really refreshing to hear that the Cork Harbour Festival’s flagship event, Ocean to City will go ahead, albeit in a different and exciting new format. The Ocean to City – Five Miles From Home is completely achievable and we would urge people to take part. Congratulations to all the team at Cork Harbour Festival, we are delighted to support this great event once again.’

Published in Cork Harbour

Crosshaven RNLI Lifeboat crew in Cork Harbour went to the assistance of two anglers today (Saturday, 6 February) after their vessel had mechanical problems, one and a half miles South East of Roches Point.

The volunteer lifeboat crew were paged at 9.42 am this morning and made their way to the 32' angling vessel in reasonably calm seas, before attaching a tow line for the four-mile journey back to Crosshaven. The vessel was made secure at Salve Marine pontoons before the crew returned to station at 11.35 am.

The crew on this shout were Ian Venner in command with Molly Murphy, Peter Lane and Richie Leonard. Commenting after the event, Helm Ian Venner said, ‘The casualty crew
did exactly as they were meant to, and called the Coast Guard as soon as they had a problem.. The engine problems meant they were dead in the water and at the mercy
of the tides. Fortunately, there was only a 10 to 12 Knot Northerly wind blowing them away from the land.’

The lifeboat was recovered, washed down, refuelled and declared ready for service once more at 12.15 pm

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Annamarie Fegan and Ross Deasy will co-chair Cork Week 2022, Royal Cork Yacht Club has announced.

Deasy who has raced as part of many RCYC keelboat campaigns in the last 25 years, including a Commodore’s Cup win onboard Antix, will chair Cork Week's racing committee. Fegan who has been campaigning the family Grand Soleil ’40 both inshore and offshore in recent years, including a win in this year’s inaugural Fastnet 450 Race, will chair the shore-side events. 

As Afloat previously reported, the date has been set for Cork Week 2022 from Monday, July 11th to Friday, July 15th 2022.

With Volvo Cork Week 2020 having been cancelled as a result of the global pandemic, RCYC is extending its Tricentenary celebrations with a number of significant events in the coming years, including Cork Week 2022.

The 300th anniversary of the oldest yacht club in the world is a momentous occasion and the Royal Cork welcomes members, guests and visitors to join them for world-class racing and shore-side entertainment.

Cork Week organisers have committed to publishing an advanced notice of race by Easter 2021, thus giving boat owners and captains plenty of time to make plans to attend this very special event in Cork which organisers hope will achieve the 300+ boats expected for Volvo Cork Week 2022.

Honorary life member and former Admiral of the Royal Cork, Anthony O’Leary, joins the committee as an advisor for 2022. 

The committee will be supported by Alex Barry in communications, General Manager of the Royal Cork, Gavin Deane, and Rear Admiral of Keelboat racing in the Royal Cork, Daragh Connolly.

Published in Cork Harbour

UHL Focus, the second of two heavy lift vessels has loaded four of eight RTG cranes in the Port of Cork for discharge in Berbera, Somaliland.

As Afloat reported earlier, the heavy-lift operations have been ongoing at Cork Dockyard in Cork Harbour this month when the first shipment was loaded on to UHL Future, 

This week's second sister ship arrival will load the other half of the Liebherr cargo. The vessel, a General Cargo Ship was built in 2019 and is sailing under the flag of Madeira.

As regular readers will recall, the consignment for Somaliland arrived at the Cork Docks in October.

Published in Port of Cork
Tagged under

Green Rebel Marine with a base at Crosshaven Boatyard in Cork Harbour has announced the €1.5 million purchase of a DA42 multi-purpose aircraft to conduct aerial surveys off the Irish coast.

Thousands of square miles of ocean are due to undergo ecological assessment as part of the planning process for offshore wind farms

The new aircraft will be based at Cork Airport, and will result in the creation of fifteen new jobs. These jobs are in addition to the eighty announced by Green Rebel Marine in September. 

With the purchase of its own survey aircraft, Green Rebel Marine will be the only domestic Irish company offering digital aerial surveys for offshore wind development companies. 

The twin-engined DA42 MPP is rated as best in class in terms of fuel efficiency and emissions, and is equipped with high-performance aerial cameras to conduct ecological surveys. 

Green Rebel Marine was established earlier this year to service the future needs of offshore wind farms. The company has already acquired Crosshaven Boatyard in County Cork, and the first in a fleet of survey vessels, the Bibby Athena.

Plans for offshore wind farms are at an advanced stage with a number of potential fixed and floating operators examining sites along the coast from Dundalk in County Louth, to the Cork coast and beyond. Their construction will not only increase Ireland’s ability to produce renewable energy, it will also create an entire new sector dedicated to servicing their operation. 

Sarah Kandrot, Head of Aerial Surveys with Green Rebel Marine, says, “Off-shore energy is part of the green revolution, however the granting of licences for these wind farms is dependent on detailed surveys of the ocean to catalogue the ecology of the target areas. The purchase of this aircraft means that large sections can be digitally surveyed over a shorter period of time, with the aircraft flying at heights that will not disturb birds or marine megafauna. Ultimately, the information we compile will ensure that offshore wind farms are built in the best locations to protect the ecology of the ocean.” 

Green Rebel Marine founder Pearse Flynn says, “The purchase of the survey aircraft, along with the first in our fleet of survey vessels, means that Green Rebel Marine is leading the charge towards sustainable and renewable energy off the Irish coast. This is an industry that will sustain thousands of jobs while transforming Ireland into a net generator of electricity. The oceans around Ireland are a vital resource, and the quality survey work being undertaken by Green Rebel Marine will help to both protect that resource while harnessing its potential.” 

The Green Rebel Marine aircraft will be permanently based at Cork Airport once it enters full-time operation early next year.

Niall MacCarthy, Managing Director at Cork Airport, said: “2020 has been a tough year for everybody so it’s great to be starting 2021 with a good news story. Recovery and jobs will be THE theme for 2021 and an aircraft based with us in Cork which helps create new jobs particularly in the green energy sector is very welcome. The Green Rebel Marine Diamond Aviation 42 aircraft will be based at the Weston General Aviation Hangar at Cork Airport and we wish them every success in this exciting new offshore wind venture.”

Published in Crosshaven Boatyard
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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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