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Displaying items by tag: Drogheda

Independent.ie reports that a man has died in an incident while fishing on the River Boyne near Townley Hall, outside Drogheda yesterday afternoon, Saturday 27 June.

It’s understood that a man in his 30s was taken from the river two hours after he was reported in difficulty and later pronounced dead in what is being regarded as “a tragic accident”.

Published in Angling

Drogheda Coast Guard had a prehistoric mystery on their hands earlier this week with what the station is calling “probably the most unusual tasking we ever had or ever will have”.

The coastguard team were tasked on Tuesday (26 February) after an emergency call reporting ‘dinosaur bones’ in the River Boyne close to Drogheda town centre.

And indeed when they arrived the volunteers discovered what appeared to be the skeletal remains of a Tyrannosaurus rex half-submerged in the mud.

But on closer inspection, the bones were revealed to be “a very impressive imitation”.

Drogheda Coast Guard officer in charge Dermot McConnoran told TheJournal.ie that the plaster-cast bones were covered in silt suggesting they’d been in the river for some time.

Further research has turned up images of the same skeleton “in a less river-worn state” from a little over a year ago. It’s not yet known who is responsible for its creation.

Published in Coastguard

Drogheda Port's Captain Martin Donnelly have invited a wonderful new fleet of ships to visit Drogheda for the Irish Maritime Festival 2017 on 10-11th June.

“The visiting ships are the focal point of The Irish Maritime Festival and it is always wonderful to see people of all ages climbing aboard to explore these magnificent vessels. It’s so important that we offer a selection of ships each year to interest and excite our audience and this is our biggest offering of Tall Ships yet.” explains Capt. Donnelly, Harbourmaster of Drogheda Port.

He was speaking this week as he unveiled the line-up of ships visiting Drogheda this year.

“We’re delighted to welcome the Brian Boru, a sail training vessel based in Waterford. Drogheda’s first crew of sail trainees will arrive at the end of their voyage on Friday while the second crew will depart Drogheda on Monday.”

Perhaps the most impressing of all the ships sailing into Drogheda this summer will be the “Shtandart”. Commissioned by Tsar Peter I of Russia in 1703, the modern day “Shtandart” is an exact replica. Built in 1999, this magnificent 128m long vessel carries 10 officers and 30 trainees. The elegant masts will play host to the Peter Pan aerial acrobatic show during the Irish Maritime Festival.

He continued “We’ve an unusual new addition to the festival for 2017. Coming into service in 1965, the motor tug “Brocklebank” served for 23 years as a tug assisting cargo ships, passenger liners and naval vessels to their berths. She really has been a workhorse of the maritime industry. Now, in retirement, she resides at Albert Dock as part of the Liverpool Maritime Museum and we’re delighted that she’s making the journey to Drogheda for the festival.”

Captain Donnelly concluded “Others visiting Drogheda for the festival include “La Malouine”, an elegant Polish brigantine, the Danish schooner “Soteria” and the stunning “Phoenix”. “The Earl of Pembroke” a magnificent three-masted sailing ship will also dock at Drogheda Port and play host to the Stowaway Sessions, two intimate music gigs on Friday and Saturday night.”

Keep your eye out for the beautiful tall sailing ship “Maybe”, which was built in 1929, which will make a short appearance with another crew of sail trainees. This year there is a big focus on sail training at the festival with no less than three vessels carrying trainees. A special gathering and presentation is taking place at 6.00pm on Friday 9th June at Millmount Tower. Anyone interested in future voyages is welcome to attend.

Find out more about each of the ships by visiting www.MaritimeFestival.ie/Ships. The Irish Maritime Festival is hosted by Louth County Council and Drogheda Port Company in association with Virgin Media. Find out more by visiting www.MaritimeFestival.ie and follow on Facebook and Twitter for competitions, news and festival updates.

Published in Tall Ships

#Coastguard - Three people are “extremely lucky to be alive” after their boat upturned on the River Boyne last night (Monday 17 April), as TheJournal.ie reports.

The three casualties rescued east of Mornington, Co Meath were found to be not wearing lifejackets when they were rescued by volunteers from Drogheda Coast Guard.

Clogherhead RNLI also attended the incident, which occurred east of Drogheda Port, after a member of the public raised the alarm around 9.30pm.

“Only for the quick thinking of the caller and the rapid response from all agencies involved were we able to bring this incident to a successful conclusion,” said an Irish Coast Guard statement.

Elsewhere, DublinLive reports on Howth Coast Guard’s rescue of two kayakers stranded at Ireland’s Eye on Saturday afternoon (15 April).

The coastguard volunteers were on exercise when by chance they happened upon the kayaking duo, who had set out with no means to call for help.

Published in Coastguard

Drogheda Port Company welcomed the Irish Cruising Club Rally to Drogheda on the weekend of Saturday 4th June for the first time in 41 years. The club last visited Drogheda in September 1975. The recent promotion and popularity of the river Boyne and the Irish Maritime Festival as key tourist attractions for visiting leisure boats was fundamental in attracting the club back to the Boyneside to have their annual rally.

The club visit consisting of 17 yachts and 60 visitors arrived from all parts of Ireland, north and south and were welcomed into the port on saturday morning on the high tide by the acting port Chairperson Gail McEvoy. The yachts were accommodated on the steampacket quay inside the town port.

Specially designed Drogheda burgees, with the eight pointed star and crescent from the port emblem of 1770, were presented to the captain of each of the visiting yachts as a memento of their visit by acting port chairperson Gail McEvoy, to spread the word to the yachting community that Drogheda is open to leisure tourism.

A welcoming hamper was also put on board each of the visiting yachts with samples of the best of local produce. The port company wishes to acknowledge the generous involvement of Dan Kelly’s Cider, Jack Cody’s Beer, Boyne Valley Foods, East Coast Bakehouse, Clarkes Fresh Fruit and Gerry’s Fresh Food, all playing their part to promote the region through Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives such as this.

The visitors had a full itinerary organised for their stay and enjoyed the historic town with a walking tour arranged through the Old Drogheda Society and finishing with an evening meal in the town centre.

Tom Fitzpatrick Rally Captain thanks Drogheda port for the warm welcome the club received from Drogheda Port and commented on the lovely sail into Drogheda along Boyne which had surpassed everyone’s expectations. He presented a copy of the club burgee and annual from 1975 commemorating the last time the club visited.

Paul Fleming Drogheda Port CEO in welcoming the visitors agreed with the rally Captain that the most attractive way to arriving to Drogheda is on the Boyne on a sunny day, a pleasure few people get to experience, but thankfully this is changing. He also thanked the local food producers who all contributed to extending a local welcome which will be remembered.

The club was founded in 1929 and initially arranged offshore races as well as cruising activities and into the 1960s was organising the Irish Admiral’s Cup teams for their biennial foray to Cowes. Since the 1970s the focus of the club has been to promote cruising under sail and to provide publications and services for members and for the cruising community.

Published in Cruising

#droghedamaritime – The third annual Irish Maritime Festival took over Drogheda last weekend. The flotilla of ships sailed into Drogheda on Friday afternoon and from that moment on the sun shone. The Festival, hosted by Louth County Council and Drogheda Port Company, saw over 40,000 visitors come through the gates and enjoy all the fun.

"The 2015 Irish Maritime Festival was bigger and better than ever before. Our aim is to grow the Festival to become recognised on the national calendar of events and this year moved us ever closer to that aim." explained Mary T. Daly of Louth County Council "Working with Drogheda Port Company, we bring the structure and the organisation but the local community bring the personality, fun and action. It was just brilliant to see so many community groups involved in making the Festival such a success."

Speaking about the action on, in and above the water Chair of Drogheda Port Company Denis Moynihan continued "The Festival featured a number of epic battles including the Boyne Swim, The Boyne Boat Race, Howth-Drogheda Yacht Race, the Battle Over The Boyne Tug of War and The East Coast Chowder Championship. We were delighted to welcome athletes and vessels from all over the country to compete here at the Festival. The victories were hard won and well done to one and all."

All weekend the kids laughed, the pirates battled, the chefs cooked and the huge ferris wheel spun.

Karen Healy, event organiser continued "There was a wonderful atmosphere all weekend. We loved seeing so many visitors from near and far enjoying all that Drogheda has to offer. The music stages were a huge hit with bands, singers and dancers from all over the North East creating a soundtrack for the Festival. The beautiful ships were the focal point and, as always, the pirates brought action and adventure to the water."

The Irish Maritime Festival, in association with Maxol, is a massive undertaking but the outcome of all the plans was a fun, lively festival that was enjoyed by so many. "The support of sponsors, both local and national, is of vital importance in helping us grow The Irish Maritime Festival. We are so grateful to sponsors, media and event partners who helped us to deliver this huge event. And of course, the event wouldn't exist without the support of the public who make all the months of planning and hard work so worthwhile. Roll on The Irish Maritime Festival 2016 ..." concluded Louth County Council's Mary T. Daly.

Arrival_of_the_Morgenster.jpg

Arrival of the Morgenster

Arrival_of_the_RNLI.jpg

Arrival of the RNLI

Boats_on_the_Boyne.jpg

Boats on the Boyne

Duetting_Pirates.jpg

Dueting Pirates

Iron_Man_in_Action.jpg

Iron Man in Action

Piper_leads_Sailors_to_Maritime_Blessing_in_St._Peters.jpg

Piper leads Sailors to Maritime Blessing in St. Peters

Wakeboarders_-_A_Pair_in_Action.jpg

Wakeboarders

Published in Maritime Festivals

#tallships – The countdown to The Irish Maritime Festival is well and truly on. The ships have set sail from their respective home ports and are fast approaching Drogheda for the Festival from 19-21st June.
In association with Maxol, The Irish Maritime Festival is one of the largest festivals in the North East and attracts visitors from Dublin, Belfast and all across the country. Situated in the historic port of Drogheda, the event is staged by Louth County Council and Drogheda Port Company.
The ships will arrive in a parade of sail up the River Boyne on Friday 19th June beginning at 1.30pm and everyone is welcome to be there. "It is such a wonderful sight to see these magnificent vessels sailing up the river. We invite and encourage everyone to be there. The parade of sail and opening event on Friday is free to attend and children and families are particularly welcome." explained Festival Organiser Mary T. Daly of Louth County Council
This family friendly festival features a huge range of off and on shore activities. The off-shore schedule includes over 250 swimmers competing in the challenging Boyne Swim, a 2.7km long swim finishing in front of cheering audiences. Check out the fleet of vintage lifeboats courtesy of the RNLI and learn about their adventures at sea. Board the beautiful classic ships or marvel at the 100ft long Class A Tall Ship "The Morgenster", so tall that it won't even fit under Drogheda's iconic viaduct. Watch out for the Boyne Regatta and the Howth to Drogheda yacht race.
Seasonal favourites such as the Pirate Battles and Extreme Sports displays will also return to the River Boyne as part of the 2015 Irish Maritime Festival.
Another new challenge this year is the heroic "Battle Across the Boyne" Tug of War taking place on Sunday at noon at the DeLacy Bridge. Teams from the near side and the far side will compete for glory.
On-shore there is lots to do and see. "The Irish Maritime Festival truly allows the local community here in Drogheda and the Boyne Valley to shine" Mary T. Daly continued. "The Festival is made up of so many brilliant community groups and businesses who bring so much to the Festival and are helping to grow it into a truly national event. There will be sand castle competitions, adults and kids cookery demos, maritime themed walking tours, artisan food producers, skills displays by the Scouts and much more. Two live music stages will be going all weekend with singer songwriters and bands from all over the North East. Chill out in the pop up cinema and catch up on some maritime themed family movies. Visit the aquarium. Meet the whale and dolphin experts and see their life sized models. Take part in the art competition in the Art and Photography zone. Compete for the chance to be crowned the East Coast Chowder Champion. And there's more, much more to see and do."

Iron_Man.jpg

See the Iron Man in Drogheda

Car lovers won't want to miss the 5th Annual Drogheda Motor Show also taking place at The Irish Maritime Festival. Shiny new cars with beautiful interiors and great sales promotions are the order of the day at the Motor Show. Watch out for the "Design a Car" challenge. This competition is a collaboration between local primary schools, local motor dealers and the team at Drogheda Men's Sheds and the results promise to be some pretty innovative car designs.
It's not too late to volunteer to be part of the Festival. Mary continued "We are expecting 40,000+ visitors to the Festival over the weekend so we are delighted to have such a brilliant team of volunteers on board. Become part of the Festival Volunteer team by visiting www.maritimefestival.ie/volunteer, complete your details and one of the volunteer co-ordinators will be in touch."
Tickets for all this family fun are surprisingly affordable at just €5.00 for 1 adult and up to 2 children or €10 for a family ticket of 2 adults and up to 4 children. Tickets are available at the gate or avail of a 20% saving when you book online at www.MaritimeFestival.ie.
"The long range weather forecast is good and the ships are on their way. We've lots of fun, family friendly activities planned for everyone and we can't wait to welcome you all. Ahoy there – see you at the Irish Maritime Festival!" concluded Mary T. Daly.

Published in Tall Ships
Tagged under

#TallshipsDrogheda - The Irish Maritime Festival in Drogheda which has drawn thousands of visitors to Boyneside received a major boost with the official announcement that Maxol, has come on board as the festival's main sponsor.

Last year over 37,500 people of all ages visited the festival which offered many attractions along Drogheda Port, including vintage vessels, the Drogheda Motor Show, artisan food market, maritime history, live entertainment, pirate battles and the Boyne Swim.

Expectations are high that this year's festival, which takes place in Drogheda from Friday-Sunday, June 19-21, will surpass that attendance figure with full programme details to be announced later this month.

Involved since its establishment, Louth County Council, is now a main funder and programme manager of the Festival which is hosted in conjunction with Drogheda Port. Both the Council and Port warmly welcomed Maxol's major commitment to The Irish Maritime Festival.

Denis Moynihan, Chairman of the port, said "On behalf of Drogheda Port Company, I welcome the Maxol Group to the growing Irish Maritime Festival family. In playing a vital role in this annual festival, Drogheda Port welcomes the renewed focus on the town's unique maritime culture and heritage.

He added, "the Festival is a considerable co-operative undertaking each year and we look forward to what will be the biggest and best festival yet."

Published in Tall Ships

#Fishing - Drogheda is hosting the 30th annual meeting of the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organisation (NASCO) this week till Friday 7 June.

The prestigious fisheries conference will take place in the Westcourt Hotel and will be attended by delegates from Canada, Denmark (in respect of the Faroe Islands and Greenland), the European Union (representing its 27 member states), Norway, Russia and the USA.

Welcoming the conference to Drogheda on Tuesday 4 June, Minister Fergus O’Dowd said it "will continue the key work of NASCO, using the best scientific information, and international co-operation to conserve and manage Atlantic salmon populations.

"I wish the many delegates a friendly and intellectually stimulating stay in Drogheda where the meeting programme will no doubt provide insights and an outstanding platform for dynamic networking to ensure the continued conservation of our precious salmon stocks."

Based in Edinburgh, NASCO is an international organisation established by an intergovernmental convention in 1984. Its main function is to conserve, restore, enhance and rationally manage Atlantic salmon through international cooperation taking account of the best available scientific information.

NASCO is the only intergovernmental organisation with this mandate, which it implements through international consultation, negotiation and co-operation.

Ireland is at the forefront of salmon conservation internationally, according to Inland Fisheries Ireland, which adds that Irish participants at the conference include a Government delegation of managers and scientists and representatives of a number of Irish-based NGOs, including Salmon Watch Ireland.

The cross-border Loughs Agency, which has responsibility for salmon conservation and protection Foyle and Carlingford Loughs, will also be represented as part of the Irish delegation.

Published in Fishing

#tallships – Drogheda hosted its very first Maritime Festival at the weekend. The Tall ships arrived on the 3rd of May and sailed on the 6th of May with over 30,000 people having visited the port and ships over the period and the event was hailed as a tremendous success.
The ships were welcomed by His Excellency Turkish Ambassador Mr Necip Egüz as well as the Mayor of Drogheda Mr Paul Bell.
In the welcoming ceremony each of the visiting captains was presented with a copy of 'Portraits', which is a historical collection of films about 19 European seaports including Drogheda Port by the CEO of Drogheda Port Mr Paul Fleming.
Each of the Captains in return presented the Mayor of the town with a symbolic cargo, representing the main trades in Drogheda Port during the Sail Era. Captain Rob Salvidge of the Irene of Bridgewater presented a ball of Yarn, which was manufactured and exported for many years from Drogheda. Cpt Chris Rose of the Prolific presented Barley, an export which was grown in the fields locally. Captain Chris Wren of the Soteria presented Flour another popular export. Captain Topsy Toner of the Ruth presented some fine Bordeaux wine and lastly Captain Rodger Barton of the Johanna Lucretia presented a typical french import from this Era, Soap.
The Prolific had on board 16 local trainees from schools in Drogheda which had receive bursaries organised by the Port and Sail Training Ireland in conjunction with a number of local companies. The trainees had participated in a 6 day voyage from Liverpool to Drogheda.

Published in Tall Ships
Tagged under
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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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