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Displaying items by tag: Dublin Bay

Last night Dun Laoghaire Harbour RNLI lifeboat station’s inshore lifeboat was requested to launch by the Irish Coast Guard to respond to reports of two missing divers near Bullock Harbour

The volunteer crew of three launched swiftly into the darkness at 11:06pm and made their way in the direction of Bullock Harbour arriving on scene at 11:15pm. The crew quickly assessed the situation and started to search the area around the outside of the harbour. The two casualties, who had been carrying out night diving training, were quickly located exhausted and trying to make their way back to shore having been caught by fast flowing currents.

The two divers were transferred on board and casualty care assessed by the volunteer crew. They confirmed that they were both very cold but in good health, they were taken ashore in Bullock Harbour aided by Dun Laoghaire Coast Guard Unit and then taken into the care of the National Ambulance Service.

Weather conditions at the time were described as calm with good search visibility.

Speaking following the call out, Nathan Burke Dun Laoghaire RNLI Helm said: ‘It has been Dun Laoghaire lifeboat stations busiest year to date, having been launched over 90 times with a dedicated crew turning up in numbers to every request. Tonight, was no different and our crew’s speedy response was a major factor in ensuring the outcome of this situation was a positive.’

‘The two divers and the other members of the group who were on shore did the right thing tonight by quickly contacting the Coast Guard when the two divers did not return to shore. The group also had the correct equipment for their training. Fortunately, both casualties are in good health. Our crew are very pleased with the outcome and happy to have safely returned them to shore’.

Richard Brydges-Beechey was one of those multi-talented people that the 19th Century produced in droves. Maybe they’d the time to be multi-talented because they didn’t have to spend time watching TV or using mobile phones or commuting or whatever, but the Monkstown, Co Dublin resident was such a good sailor and marine surveyor that he rose to the rank of Admiral in the Royal Navy, and he was such a dab hand with the artist’s paintbrush that he was elected to the Royal Hibernian Academy.

Noted Dublin maritime lore specialist Cormac Lowth is a Beechey fan, and he hopes to convey his enthusiasm in a zoom talk with the Howth Peninsula Heritage Society tomorrow (Tuesday) evening, but you’ve to be signed up by this evening – it's time to get the skates on.

Richard Brydges Beechey lecture

Published in Dublin Bay

The alarm was raised shortly after 8 am this morning at Sandycove on Dublin Bay when a male was found unresponsive in the water at the Forty Foot Bathing Place.

Coast Guard, Ambulance Service & Gardaí are at the scene and the Garda has a cordon in place at the popular sea swim spot.

A Garda spokesman told Afloat 'No further details are currently available'.

Published in Dublin Bay

Preparations for Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta 2021 next July on Dublin Bay are off to a flying start with nine of the expected 22 racing classes already declaring regional or national championships to be held as part of the biennial sailing festival.

It has been confirmed that Dragons will race for national honours and so will Beneteau 211s, Beneteau 31.7s and Shipmans.

As regular Afloat readers will know, in order to facilitate social distancing and be Covid-19 compliant, a new regatta format will comprise a One Design Championship (2nd – 4th July 2021) specifically tailored for sailors in the one-design keelboat and dinghy classes. This is to be followed by an Open Cruiser Championship (8th – 11th July 2021) catering for the full range of Cruiser Handicap classes. 

The Dublin Bay based Shipman keelboat class will sail for national championship honours as part of Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta 2021The Dublin Bay-based Shipman keelboat class will sail for national championship honours as part of Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta 2021 Photo: Afloat

The special changes, announced in September, have been met with a strong seal of approval from competitors with the following early adopters: 

  • Beneteau 211 National Championships
  • Beneteau 31.7 – National Championships
  • Shipman – National Championships
  • GP14 – Leinster Championships
  • Fireball Leinster Championships
  • Dragon – Irish National Championship
  • SB20 Western Championships
  • RS200 Leinster Championships
  • RS400 Leinster Championship

The Beneteau 211s will also race for National Championship honours Photo: AfloatThe Beneteau 211s will also race for National Championship honours Photo: Afloat

Royal Dee ISORA Championships

In addition, in the cruiser classes,  the Royal Dee Irish Sea Offshore Championship will be held as part of VDLR 2021. These offshore races will be held together with the Lyver Trophy Race from Liverpool to Dun Laoghaire on Friday 1st July 2021, to make it a highlight of next year's Irish Sea Offshore (ISORA) season. 

ISORA racing will be incorporated into Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta 2021ISORA racing will be incorporated into Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta 2021

It's a satisfying early result for the VDLR Committee under Chairman Don O'Dowd who meets again with his committee tonight to finalise the Notice of Race document due for release shortly. 

Meeting the COVID-19 challenges in 2021

Dun Laoghaire is unique in being able operate in this pandemic because of the extensive area within the harbour site and facilities provided by the waterfront clubs and organisations. The Regatta will utilise the full infrastructure of Dun Laoghaire Harbour venue to the best advantage and bring certainty to a calendar that has been hugely dictated by Covid-19 and the constraints imposed due to social distancing.

Due to the forecasted Southerly winds issued by Met Eireann for Sunday 15th and Monday 16th November 2020 combined with approaching high spring tides of 4.3m and a possible tidal surge of 0.45m which may pose a risk to walkers Dublin Port Company will temporarily close public access to the Great South Wall from the following times:

  • Saturday, 14th November 20.30hrs – Sunday 15th November 00.45hrs
  • Sunday, 15th November 21.15hrs – Monday 16th November 01.30hrs

The Great South Wall closure is due to tide height and dangerous winds on the exposed wall surface.

High Spring Tides

Meanwhile, Dun Laoghaire Coastguard has warned that The Forty-foot and along the Dublin Bay coastline today and over the next few days, will have high Spring tides which will make it very difficult for swimmers.

"Please take heed of any warnings and don’t take risks", the Coastguard has urged. 

High Water, Dublin 

  • Sunday 15 November 11.10am
  • Monday 16 November 11.54am

See south shore, Dublin Bay webcam at Sandycove here

Published in Dublin Port
Tagged under

The recent 2020 Annual General Meeting of the Dublin Bay Old Gaffers Association was a successful exchange of proposals and decision-making among enthusiasts who share a delight in classic and traditional craft which set rigs of the most ancient style.

This makes it something of an irony that such people often turn out to be folk who are right on top in the IT department. Thus – like other organisations - the proceedings of the DBOGA have for some time now been conducted through Zoom and other sessions of similar type. But within the Dublin Gaffers, those who might find themselves confused very quickly discover that they can tap into the advice and assistance of some of the hottest technological brains in town.

Except that often they're not in town, for inevitably this expertise in technology, in turn, means that actually being in or near Dublin is no longer a primary requirement, as everyone operates on the WFH approach. So when we talk of the DBOGA spreading their wings, what it really means is that the new lineup of officers and committee in some instances has only a very tenuous link to the Poolbeg Yacht & Boat Club, which in pre-COVID days was thought of by most of us as being the heart and soul of the DBOGA.

And come to that, although all of those involved have at some time had a very close relationship with gaff rig and wooden boats and ships, some of those on this list have moved on to newer construction materials in craft where four-sided mainsails are conspicuous by their absence.

Adrian Spence's Vagabond 47 ketch at PoolbegAdrian Spence's Vagabond 47 ketch at Poolbeg. Normally the boat is based in Strangford Lough, but he is a current member of the DBOGA Management Committee as his previous boat was the 1873-built gaff-rigged Pilot Cutter Madcap, with which he voyaged to Greenland and Spain. Photo: W M. Nixon

Adrian Spence's 1873-vintage Pilot Cutter Madcap off Greenland in 1998Adrian Spence's 1873-vintage Pilot Cutter Madcap off Greenland in 1998. Photo: Frank Sadlier

Be that as it may, we're dealing with an association of like-minded souls who are never happier than when they're communicating with each other, whether electronically or in person. And in retaining Johnny Wedick of Poolbeg as President, they've maintained their sense of location even if these days he's seen afloat on a Moody Carbineer, a 44ft deck saloon cruiser of a certain vintage which certainly exudes character, yet she manages to do so without a gaff rig.

DBOGA Committee Member Sean Walsh has become Kinsale-based, home port for his Heard 28 Tir na nOgDBOGA Committee Member Sean Walsh has become Kinsale-based, home port for his Heard 28 Tir na nOg. Photo: Dave Owens

Dennis Aylmer's Mona in Dun LaoghaireDennis Aylmer's Mona in Dun Laoghaire

His fellow officers reflect how the DBOGA has become - like the Shaw's department stores of yesteryear - "almost nationwide", as Honorary Secretary Darryl Hughes has now made his Irish homeport in Crosshaven. And though Honorary Treasurer Jimmy Murphy is Dublin-based, the Managing Committee of Adrian Spence, Dave Neilly, Michael Weed, Sean Walsh, Negley Groom, Dennis Aylmer, Paul Keogh, Gerry Keane, John Elston, Mark Sweetnam, Joe Foley and Cormac Lowth can include counties Down, Donegal, Wicklow, Wexford and Cork among their home places, even if the majority are in the Greater Dublin area.

This means that a fleet assembly of genuinely gaff-rigged boats registered with the DBOGA would present quite a logistical challenge with – to take a few examples – Darryl Hughes' 1937-built Tyrrell ketch based in Crosshaven, Sean Walsh's Heard 28 Tir na nOg in Kinsale, Dennis Aylmer's Mona in Dun Laoghaire, and Michael Weed's new Bray Droleen in Bunbeg in Gweedore in Donegal.

DBOGA Committee Member Michael Weed's Bray Droleen nearing completionDBOGA Committee Member Michael Weed's Bray Droleen nearing completion. Photo: Michael Weed

The new Droleen – seen here sailing off the coast of Dorset – is now based in Gweedore in Donegal The new Droleen – seen here sailing off the coast of Dorset – is now based in Gweedore in Donegal

And of course, the mention of a new gaff-rigged boat to an ancient One-Design class design such as the Droleen is a reminder that boats with rigs involving gaff booms are in fact thriving in numbers throughout Ireland, it's just that where their primary purpose is the provision of racing, people think of them as racers first and gaffers second.

Thus if we were to add the Shannon ODs, the Howth 17s, the Dublin Bay Water Wags, the Cork Harbour ODs, the Castlehaven Ettes, the Ballyholme Waverleys, and the Lough Erne Fairies to the grand total of Irish gaffers, we'd be looking at a sizeable fleet of gaff-rigged boats of impeccable vintage and ancestry.

Idyllic summer evening racing for the Fairy Class on Lough Erne.Idyllic summer evening racing for the Fairy Class on Lough Erne. Though a perfectly-setting gunter rig may look Bermudan to the casual eye, these 1906 boats are in fact old gaffers.

And that is before we even presume to consider the wonder and the numbers of the Galway Hookers and the Achill Yawls in Connacht, and the traditional sailing fishing craft of West Cork. That's sacred territory, and while the various clubs and organisations involved with the Galway Hookers - with the revered GHA in its central role – will look on the OGA in a friendly way, the fact is that they're so dynamically involved with their own boat type that it's their own associations which are their organisational focal point. So in the final analysis, the Old Gaffers Association is seen as being for those boats which otherwise have no natural homes to go to - which is all part of its charm.

Galway Hooker racing in Connemara, where these traditional craft thrive with an active regatta programmeIn a league of their own. Galway Hooker racing in Connemara, where these traditional craft thrive with an active regatta programme. Photo: Richard Kennedy

Published in Dublin Port

The popular Dublin Bay Winter sailing series may be postponed due to Level 5 restrictions but DBSC Turkey Shoot organiser Fintan Cairns believes there is still scope for a resumption of sailing before Christmas

On the day the 2020 Turkey Shoot Series should have started last Sunday it was heartening nevertheless to see boats back on the water at Dun Laoghaire and going for a sail on the Bay in a good outdoor healthy atmosphere without contaminating themselves or others.

Hopefully, the powers that be and the civil servants will support us and can see their way to let us go sailing again?

As the Government advertisements say, such activity is good for our personal and collective resilience and well being:- "Outdoor activity is important for physical and mental health. Sport Ireland will support people to stay active through the winter"!

#Join the Turkey Shoot!

Published in Dublin Bay

Dublin Bay Sailing Club (DBSC) will launch its AIB sponsorship with a sailing psychology evening featuring some of the country's top sailors online.

RTÉ's Fergal Keane from Seascapes will host a live chat with top professional sailors Tom Dolan, Annalise Murphy and Damian Foxall as well as leading sports psychologist, Dr Kate Kirby.

Annalise Murphy training in her Laser dinghy in Dun Laoghaire Harbour Photo: AfloatAnnalise Murphy training in her Laser dinghy in Dun Laoghaire Harbour Photo: Afloat

The sailors will outline their own approaches to sport psychology and how resilience forms an essential part of their make-up.

Sports psychology has traditionally been viewed as only having application to high performance or professional sports. However, many of the techniques in sport psychology have just as much relevance for recreational athletes and also can be applied to our personal and professional lives.

The free DBSC virtual event to highlight its partnership with AIB is on Thursday 12 November at 19.30hrs.

Published in DBSC

Dublin Port Company has today reported its third-quarter trading figures for 2020. The latest figures show an increase in overall port tonnage of 1.2% for Q3. After nine months, volumes are down by -6.9% compared to the same period last year. 

Having seen a decline of -4.8% in Q1 (which had been attributed to Brexit stockpiling in the first quarter of last year), there was a further and steeper decline in Q2 of -17.0% as Covid-19 impacted the country. Since then, monthly trade volumes have been comparatively strong culminating in growth of 1.2% in the third quarter from July to September.

The growth of 1.2% in Q3 has been export led. Exports for the three months grew by 6.6%, more than offsetting the -2.4% decline in imports.

Unitised trade (trailers and containers combined) grew by 3.1% to 384,000 units during Q3 with Ro-Ro growing by 4.1% to 276,000 units and Lo-Lo by 0.2% to 192,000 TEU.

Imports of new trade vehicles through Dublin Port in Q3 decreased marginally by -0.6% to 12,400 units. For the nine months to September, 53,000 new trade vehicles have been imported through Dublin Port, a decline of -29.3% compared to last year.

Bulk liquid volumes, primarily petroleum products, declined by -20.4% to 972,000 tonnes during the quarter and are down by almost the same level (-18.4%) year to date.

Bulk solid commodities (including animal feed, ore concentrates from Tara Mines, bulk cement products and scrap metals) grew by 56.0% to 515,000 tonnes 

Ferry passenger numbers decreased by -66.2% to 264,000. This figure includes HGV drivers. The number of tourist vehicles fell by -64.6% to 79,000.

There were no cruise ship calls to Dublin Port in Q3 and none is anticipated for the remainder of the year.

Commenting on the Q3 figures, Dublin Port’s Chief Executive, Eamonn O’Reilly, said:

“We had a weak start to the year with volumes down in the first quarter by -4.8% because last year began so strongly due to Brexit stock-piling. The second quarter was very poor with volumes down by -17.0% as Covid-19 hit. To see growth of 1.2% in the third quarter is remarkable and the outlook for the full year is nowhere near as bad as we had feared it might be just a few months ago.

“At the rate we are going, we could end the year down by not much more than -6.0%. By comparison, after the peak of 2007, we saw declines of -4.4% in 2008 followed by -10.4% in 2009. Importantly, our monthly volumes during this recession are a million tonnes ahead of where they were at the corresponding point in the previous recession. 

“We have seen growth in export volumes in each of the last four months and strong growth in unitised volumes (Ro-Ro and Lo-Lo combined) of 3.1% in the last three months.

“The most dramatic impact from the recession has been the decline of one-fifth in petroleum imports both in the third quarter and year to date. One-third of all of the country’s energy requirements are met by petroleum imports through Dublin Port. We now have planning consents in place to redevelop what is, today, nationally critical energy infrastructure for other cargo handling purposes as the country moves away from hydrocarbons. Covid-19 has given us an insight into the coming energy transition, and we have prepared for it 

“While the impact of Covid-19 is a continuing challenge, we are now also facing into the uncertainty and unknowns of Brexit in less than three months’ time. On the plus side, there has been a significant addition of new services and capacity on direct routes to Continental Europe in recent months - including to Rotterdam, Zeebrugge, Santander and Leixões - giving more options to the landbridge route for shippers who can cope with longer transit times. In addition, we have been working intensively over the last two years with the OPW to provide infrastructure for border control and inspection services by State agencies and very substantial facilities are now in place and ready to go. 

“However, Brexit, and how it will impact trade flows and port volumes, remains a major unknown. Like everyone else, we hope that a trade deal is done which obviates the need for much of the infrastructure that has had to be provided to mitigate this risk. Dublin Port Company alone has invested €30m to prepare for Brexit.”

Published in Dublin Bay
Tagged under

Dun Laoghaire Harbour WASZP sailor Charlie Cullen is in pole position to win the first prize of two spectator tickets to a Sail GP event and a ride on an F50 catamaran following his own foiling exploits in the class’s global GPS racing series.

WASZP sailors, including Cullen, have been competing over an event window from September 14th – October 12th and the Dublin Bay teenager is currently top of the rankings with just three days left to sail.

The beauty of this initiative by WASZP is that sailors from every corner of the globe can race against each other and continue to compare themselves against the best. This, say the promoters, is using the best aspects from windsurfing and kitesurfing and integrating it into the more traditional racing/event formats. 

Waszp Sailor Charlie Cullen with his top speeds recorded by GPSWaszp Sailor Charlie Cullen with his top speeds recorded by GPS

Because of the nature of the event, sailors are not scored just on the fastest speed. The sailors are scored on three categories:

  • Average top speed
  • Best 250m run
  • Total distance sailed in 1/2 an hour (calculated off your average 1/2 hour speed.)

Charlie's winning runs clocked the following: 

  • Sailed a total distance of 52km
  • Max 2sec at 24.53 knots.
  • Half hour average speed of 16.01 knots

Will this be the winning time by the deadline?

More details on his rise to the top here

Page 1 of 92

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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W M Nixon - Sailing on Saturday
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