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Displaying items by tag: Dun Laoghaire Harbour

Without the prospect of a major commercial development, as had been proposed by the now-defunct Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company, the debate as to the future use of Dun Laoghaire Harbour is very much now focussed on its use as a public amenity.

Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council (DLRCoCo) has commissioned a €100k report into the 200-year-old harbour, asking economic consultants Indecon to provide a blueprint for its improved use.

Water sports, culture and heritage themes dominate the Strategic Local Objectives for Dun Laoghaire identified in the draft development plan for the county.

But rather than fighting for the scraps left over by terminal development, the various groups and organisations seen as stakeholders in the future of the harbour should be able to take comfort that the space available can now cater for all or nearly all the identified needs.

Afloat has identified areas that could be developed in a sustainable manner that caters for the aspirations of these sectors. Afloat suggests that the two key areas, currently undesignated, could be developed to cater for water-sports, culture and heritage that would not only not have any negative impact on current activities, but would considerably enhance Dun Laoghaire's attraction to locals and visitors alike.

National Watersports Centre - St Michael's Wharf/Ferry Terminal

The opportunity to install an all-tide access point is one that should not be missed, and the old Ferry marshalling area not only has the space but has already been developed to an extent that will reduce construction costs. A slipway and associated breakwater will complete this area. The key elements here are the slipway, the apron/slipway approach, boat parking, boat collection/drop-off, changing and boat washing facilities, an event and administration centre which could be incorporated into the current structure that housed the ferry terminal.

Potential location for a slip and protective breakwater at St Michael's Wharf (former HSS facility)Potential location for a slip and protective breakwater at St Michael's Wharf (former HSS facility)

This view to the south-east from the marina breakwater shows a potential site for an all-tide slipwayThis view to the south-east from the marina breakwater shows a potential site for an all-tide slipway

The former HSS marshalling area shows that there is plenty of space to create boat access to the slipway suggested aboveThe former HSS marshalling area shows that there is plenty of space to create boat access to the slipway suggested above

Plenty of room in the former ferry terminal for an event and administration centre   Plenty of room in the former ferry terminal for an event and administration centre  

Dun Laoghaire Cultural and Heritage Centre - Carlisle Pier

Dun Laoghaire and its surroundings has a fascinating history coloured by many unique and interesting events, yet there is nowhere that recognises the totality of this. A purpose-built centre could bring all this together recognising the county's history from its many megalithic monuments, through the harbour construction, the building of the suburban railway, the development of leisure boating, the torpedoing of the Leinster to the Harbour's role in Irish emigration. The Carlisle Pier lends itself to the construction of a centre that celebrates this rich heritage. It could incorporate a classic boat restoration facility, with classic vessels moored alongside the pier, easily accessible to visitors. This artist's impression suggests a striking design that acknowledges the maritime heritage.

 The Carlisle Pier could be a wonderful site for a cultural, heritage and interpretive centre on the Carlisle Pier that would evoke the rich history of Dun Laoghaire. Impression by Marine Artist and Round the World Sailor Pete Hogan The Carlisle Pier could be a wonderful site for a cultural, heritage and interpretive centre on the Carlisle Pier that would evoke the rich history of Dun Laoghaire. Impression by Marine Artist and Round the World Sailor Pete Hogan

Such a centre would enhance Dun Laoghaire as a destination, encouraging the revitalisation of the town, and establishing the town as an entity in its own right, not just a dormitory suburb for the bigger neighbouring city.

A time to grasp the opportunities presented!

Ireland's largest sailing school, the Irish National Sailing School on Dublin Bay, has welcomed this week's announcement of new pontoon facilities near its base at the West Pier of Dun Laoghaire Harbour

School Principal Alistair Rumball told Afloat "we have long campaigned on safety grounds for the installation of a pontoon to give the school and other users direct access to the harbour waters at the West Pier and it's great to see this now approved".

The new pontoon, to be installed by Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Councill will be located at the public steps close to the DMYC at the West Pier.   The new pontoon, to be installed by Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Councill will be located at the public steps close to the DMYC at the West Pier. Photo: Google Earth  

The €40,000 pontoon is one of a number of approved harbour works under a €38m government scheme as Afloat reported here

The new pontoon, to be installed by Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Councill, will be located at the public steps close to the DMYC at the West Pier.

Local TD Cormac Devlin has also welcomed the new pontoon as part of a number of improvement measures for Dublin Harbours

Dun Laoghaire Harbour RNLI rescued a paddleboarder who got into difficulty after he could not get back to shore on Bank Holiday Monday evening.

The lifeboat crew were paged following a report made to the Irish Coast Guard by a member of the public who had sighted the paddleboarder in the water about 150 metres from shore at Blackrock on Dublin Bay.

The inshore lifeboat was launched by the lifeboat crew of three at 6.37 pm just minutes after the crew had been paged.

Weather conditions at the time were quite rough with a squall causing strong offshore wind gusts, along with a changing outward tide and choppy waters. Visibility at the time was okay with the crew being able to locate the casualty quickly with the help of Dun Laoghaire Coastguard Unit from shore.

On arrival at 6.47 pm the lifeboat crew found the casualty exhausted having tried to paddle and swim back to shore. The crew quickly came alongside and brought the person onboard. They then carried out a casualty care assessment and observed that the casualty was showing signs of hyperthermia due to a long period in the cold sea.

The lifeboat transferred the person to land as quickly as possible at the Martello tower in Blackrock with help from the Dun Laoghaire Irish Coast Guard Unit. The casualty was then handed over to a waiting National Ambulance service crew for further medical care.

Speaking following the call-out, Alan Keville, Dun Laoghaire RNLI's inshore lifeboat Helm at the time said: ‘ The crew and I are very happy with the outcome of this evening’s callout having safely returned the casualty to shore and into the care of the National Ambulance service’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Dublin harbours are set to receive over €8.4m in funding for harbours in Fingal (Loughshinny Harbour, Skerries and Balbriggan Harbours) with Howth Harbour receiving €8.2m for specific improvements and two harbours in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council (Dún Laoghaire Harbour and Coliemore).

As Afloat reported earlier, the allocation of €38.3 million by Minister for the Marine, Charlie McConalogue TD is to repair, maintain and upgrade Ireland's publicly owned harbour network has been warmly welcomed.

Welcoming the announcement, Fianna Fáil Dublin Spokesperson Cormac Devlin TD (Dún Laoghaire) noted that funding of €75,000 for Coliemore Harbour in Dalkey and an allocation of €63,750 to install a pontoon in the Coal Harbour and upgrade facilities for local fishermen at Trader's Wharf in Dún Laoghaire Harbour were especially welcome.

Commenting, Deputy Devlin said "Coliemore Harbour is one of Ireland's oldest harbours dating back to the 13th century, when it was the leading port on the East Coast. The harbour has been in continuous use for hundreds of years, but was damaged by a rockfall in August 2020 and has been partially closed since. This funding will enable Dún Laoghaire - Rathdown County Council to carry out the estimated €100,000 works to repair and reopen the harbour."

Local Fianna Fáil councillor for Dalkey Justin Moylan commented "I am extremely grateful to my Party colleagues; Minister Charlie McConalogue and Deputy Cormac Devlin for their support for this important funding. Unfortunately having part of our harbour closed hampered the activities of local boatman, Ken The Ferryman as well as our award-winning Dalkey Rowing Club. Hopefully now with this funding they can all resume their activities for summer 2021"

The funding formed part of overall funding of €38.3m announced by Minister McConalogue who said, “This capital investment package in our 79 Local Authority owned piers and harbours around our coast which underlines the importance this Government places on the contribution of the wider seafood sector to Ireland’s economy and to rural coastal communities in particular.”

The Local Authority programme forms part of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marines’ 2021 Fishery Harbour and Coastal Infrastructure Development Programme, whereby the Department co-funds up to 75% of the total cost of approved projects with the Local Authority providing the balance.

In regard to the Local Authority scheme, the Minister stated, “It was important to me to place added importance on the Local Authority scheme this year and I am pleased to be to in a position to announce an enhanced €4.2 million programme in 2021 to assist Coastal Local Authorities in the repair and development of fishery and aquaculture linked marine infrastructures under their ownership. This year I have redirected savings due to Covid limitations on other projects to increase the monies available to the Local Authorities resulting in a 35% increase in 2020 allocations. Together with funding from Local Authorities, the total amount to be invested in local piers and harbours in 2021 under this scheme comes to €5.6 million.”

Published in Dublin Bay

Dun Laoghaire Harbour’s strategic location as an EU port in the middle of the Irish Sea may have been overlooked by commercial fishing fleets for years but since Brexit, it appears Belgian fishermen have been quick to see the advantage of the Dublin Bay port.

Not only did two Belgian trawlers take shelter from today’s forecasted south-easterly gale but both 38-metre boats also offloaded catch at the harbour’s number two-berth on the Carlisle Pier.

It brings to four the number of big Belgian vessels using the port this month, more than doubling the sporadic arrival of such visits last year.

Is it a possible positive Brexit spin-off for the Victorian harbour that is itself the subject of its regeneration plans?

The Jasmine alongside at Dun LaoghaireThe Jasmine alongside at Dun Laoghaire

The trawlers, that catch Whitefish, on Cardigan Bay off the Welsh coast used to land in Liverpool but current Brexit arrangements are causing difficulties leading to the requirement for deepwater alternatives.

The six-metre draft of the trawlers is just too deep for other east coast ports (other than Dublin) so Dun Laoghaire Harbour is proving a convenient and well-serviced location.

The Carlisle Pier provides easy access for trucks to take the catch to market. And it's not the only port the Belgians are accessing, they are also landing fish in Cork, according to local sources.

The main fishing grounds of the Belgians are the southern and central North Sea, accounting for 44 per cent of total catches. Other important fishing grounds are the English Channel (26 per cent), the Celtic Sea (18 per cent) and the Irish Sea (8 per cent).

July’s Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta 2021 has been cancelled due to the ongoing "uncertainties" over the Covid-19 pandemic.

The scrubbing of Ireland's biggest regatta, scheduled for the first two weekends of July, comes after careful consideration of the latest government announcement and discussion with event stakeholders at Dun Laoghaire Harbour.

The biennial event, which had attracted a bigger than expected fleet of 385 boats to date, will not now be sailed in 2021 but returns on schedule in July 2023.

"Despite the very positive news about the easing of government restrictions, we are still facing many uncertainties this summer, especially for an event the scale of VDLR, event chairman, Don O'Dowd said.

Dun Laoghaire's Don O'Dowd - too many uncertainties to proceed with VDLR 2021 RegattaDun Laoghaire's Don O'Dowd - too many uncertainties to proceed with VDLR 2021 Regatta

The government's new measures gave a green light for sailing last Friday but unfortunately, the scale of the Dun Laoghaire event means extra issues for organisers, especially ashore.

"Everyone believes it is important that the event should run safely and without compromise in the way we remember past regattas and with a full programme on and off the water. This year, sadly, that's not possible", he said.

"We want to thank everyone for their support and understanding. While it is disappointing, it is the safest thing to do in the community."

It's a testament to the regatta's successful formula that all our sponsors and supporters are already discussing the next edition. "We hope to see everyone again from July 6 to 9 2023, for a massive party!", O'Dowd added.

The regatta, now one of the biggest in Europe, is organised jointly by the four Dun Laoghaire waterfront yacht clubs (the Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club (DMYC), the National Yacht Club (NYC), the Royal Irish Yacht Club (RIYC) and the Royal St George Yacht Club (RStGYC).

2021 entry fees will be fully refunded to competitors this month.

The regatta had, in anticipation of dealing with social distance measures, hatched a plan a year ago that included separating the event over two separate weekends in order to reduce numbers and also moved to stagger sailors coming ashore. 

The event was to host 11 separate national championships and feature a debut offshore doublehanded class.

Published in Volvo Regatta

Boating activity returned to Dun Laoghaire Harbour yesterday on Dublin Bay as fine April weather ushered in the start (officially or unofficially) of the 2021 boating season with a range of sailing and boating underway at the country's biggest boating centre. 

With lift-in completed a fortnight ago, more and more sailing cruisers are venturing out of the harbour for the first shakedown sail of the season. The yacht club forecourts are now filled with dinghies in anticipation of a return to racing both inshore and offshore, a pursuit attracting over a 1,000 yachts and dinghies in the summertime.

The Government has announced the phased easing of some Covid-19 restrictions during the month of April. They plan to continue this cautious approach, gradually easing restrictions, while a substantial level of the population are vaccinated during April, May and June, after which, it should be safe to reopen society more widely.

Single handed sailing at Dun Laoghaire Harbour (above and below) Single-handed sailing at Dun Laoghaire Harbour

RS dinghy INSS

Dun Laoghaire's four waterfront clubs expect the country's biggest racing organisation, Dublin Bay Sailing Club will be able to start racing in May and DBSC is launching its race marks in anticipation of this. 

Likewise, coastal racing with ISORA whose counterparts on the other side of the Irish Sea at Pwllheli in North Wales, are already underway.

Yesterday's bright sunshine and perfect sailing breezes saw a special launch of the very latest in Flying Fifteen technology, up to a dozen Laser dinghies practising (what they have been learning online this month), along with sailing school activity all being carried out in a socially distant and compliant fashion. 

There were also over two dozen sailing cruisers out and about for day sails or sail testing in anticipation of next month's first races.

After three months of lockdown, numerous SUPs, kayakers, divers, snorkelers, jet skis, angling boats, RIBS, coastal rowers and a host of sea swimmers at the nearby Forty Foot all added to the positive healthy picture at the 250-acre harbour.

Kayakers out and about in Dun Laoghaire HarbourKayakers out and about in Dun Laoghaire Harbour

As Afloat reported previously, sailing and boating is not the enemy at the gate. On the contrary, it is a low risk, non-contact outdoors activity which is what boaters and clubs are keen for the Government's Sport Expert Group to be told. 

Such is the extent of the activity in fact it has prompted new owners of the harbour, the local County Council to trial a new Harbour Water Safety Patrol as Afloat reports here.

If the weekend is anything to go by, it certainly looks like that whenever the refurbished Baths site (that has small boat facilities) is complete and the harbour's National Waterports Campus plans are finalised, then there will be plenty of demand for these new waterside facilities. 

Work continues on the refurbishment of Dun Laoghaire Baths at the back of Dun Laoghaire's East PierWork continues on the refurbishment of Dun Laoghaire Baths at the back of Dun Laoghaire's East Pier

The busy sea swimming scene at Sandycove on Dublin BayThe busy sea swimming scene at Sandycove on Dublin Bay

Tagged under

The return of anti-social behaviour at Ireland's biggest recreational boating centre by some powered watercraft users has led Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council to introduce a trial of a Harbour Water Safety Patrol service this weekend.

In an advisory letter to harbour users, Harbour Master Captain Simon Coate says the patrol will "involve a responsible adult in a RIB, providing an advisory and reporting service on the water within Dun Laoghaire Harbour between 14:00 and 20:00 This Saturday, Sunday and Monday"

The boat will be identifiable as it will be flying a yellow flag, with DLRCC branding. 

"in recent months there has been a significant increase in the number of kayakers and stand up paddleboarders using the Harbour, in groups along with individuals and families. Increasing participation in all water-based activities is something that DLRCC strongly supports", Captain Coate says. 

The patrol service will assist with the collection of marine-based litter from the Harbour water, a constant problem in the 250-acre enclosed area.

Tagged under

Saturday’s Lift-in of yachts and boats at the Royal St. George Yacht Club and National Yacht Club at Dun Laoghaire Harbour is an important milestone in the opening of the 2021 sailing season on Dublin Bay.

Despite the continuing lack of clarity surrounding the easing of lockdown measures, sailing is heading into its second season of adapting and coping with Covid 19.

The Government has announced the phased easing of some Covid-19 restrictions during the month of April.

They plan to continue this cautious approach, gradually easing restrictions, while a substantial level of the population is vaccinated during April, May and June, after which, it should be safe to reopen society more widely.

After the weekend lift-in, the summer sailing season is to commence on Dublin Bay with ISORA Golden Jubilee coastal racing sometime after April 26th and for DBSC to start its summer season sometime in Mid-May depending on Govt restrictions.

Read more here from WM Nixon on why Sailing in Ireland Looks to April 20th for Some Real Clarity

Dun Laoghaire Harbour RNLI rescued a swimmer in difficulty yesterday (Tuesday 30 March) who could not get back to shore.

The volunteer lifeboat crew were paged following a report made to the Irish Coast Guard that a swimmer was believed to be in difficulty and finding it hard to get back to shore.

The inshore lifeboat was launched immediately by a crew of three at 3.21 pm and made its way to the scene arriving at 3.26 pm.

Weather conditions at the time were described as having an easterly breeze causing a moderate sea state with a slight swell, visibility at the time was good.

On arrival the lifeboat crew found the casualty exhausted and holding on to rocks about 50 metres southeast of Forty Foot. After quickly assessing the situation, the crew came alongside and brought the person onboard. They then carried out a casualty care assessment and observed that the casualty was very cold from the long exposure to the cold sea temperature but otherwise in good health. The lifeboat transferred the person to land in Sandycove Harbour with help from the Dun Laoghaire Irish Coast Guard unit and into the care of an awaiting National Ambulance service crew for a secondary medical assessment.

Mark McGibney, Dun Laoghaire RNLI's Lifeboat CoxswainMark McGibney, Dun Laoghaire RNLI's Lifeboat Coxswain

Speaking following the call-out, Mark McGibney, Dun Laoghaire RNLI's Lifeboat Coxswain said: ‘ The crew and I are very happy that the outcome of this call-out was a positive one as things in situations like that can change very fast for the worst. We are glad the person involved was brought back to shore safely and in good health'

'I would like to ask everyone planning on entering the water to check the weather and sea conditions at the time and to never underestimate the sea. The sun may be shining and air temperatures rising but the Irish sea temperature in our area is just above 7 degrees at this time of year. Please be aware that cold water shock is always a risk for people in Irish waters even as we come into the summer'

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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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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