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The Royal Irish Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire Harbour is launching its Virtual Regatta for members this Saturday with an online presentation by RIYC's round the world sailor Enda O’Coineen.

O'Coineen, whose Vendee Globe race bid to be the first Irishman to sail the world non-stop singlehanded ended when he was dismasted off New Zealand three years ago, will demonstrate how fellow RIYC sailors can compete for the inshore eSailing championships.

The tutorial starts online 14:30 hours followed by racing 15:30hrs

It's the latest in a series of online initiatives by the RIYC using software called ZOOM, each talk is presented by a RIYC Member or invited speaker.

Published in Royal Irish Yacht Club

No Alibis on Botantic Avenue in Belfast was the venue for the launch of Enda O’Coineen’s latest book, Journey to the Edge writes Betty Armstrong.

This cosy venue owned by David Torrans was filled with friends and the several large panels depicting aspects of the book were an eye-catching feature among the hundreds of other books in the store.

Enda told of his inspiration and motivation to undertake the challenging Vendee Globe, and the book is a captivating account of life before and after the event. (I had 30 pages read on the train home!)

The book is dedicated to the Atlantic Youth Trust Charity, founded by Enda with a mission to connect young people with the ocean, adventure and environment.

Journey to the Edge: An Amazing Story of Risk-Taking in Business and Adventure, by Enda O’Coineen, is available from the Afloat shop at €14.99.

Published in Vendee Globe
Tagged under

On RTE's Nationwide programme this Monday evening at 19:00, Donal Byrne meets Enda O'Coineen to talk about his attempt to sail solo around the world and how it almost ended in disaster.

The programme features some dramatic and poignant footage from that Vendee Globe voyage and tracks O'Coineen's progress from the starting line in France to the South Island in New Zealand, near which he lost his mast in a mini hurricane.

O'Coineen also talks of what drove him to complete the voyage and how he managed to acquire another boat to do so. And Joan Mulloy also speaks of her ambition to raise enough sponsorship to follow in O'Coineen's wake to become the first woman to sail solo around the world.

Enda O'Coineen's book Journey to the Edge is available here 

Published in Maritime TV
Tagged under

The World Premiere of the Irish sailing documentary 'Journey to the Edge' will be screened as part of the IFI Documentary Festival on Sunday, September 29th at 13.00 in Temple Bar, Dublin. The docu covers Irish sailor Enda O'Coineen's bid to compete in the Vendee Globe single-handed non-stop race around the world.

Every four years, an elite group of sailors endeavour to sail single-handed, non-stop in a circumnavigation of the planet, through the most unpredictable and perilous conditions imaginable. They are the competitors in the Vendee Globe Race – one of the most arduous, challenging and dangerous events in sport. These sailors know the real adversaries are the waves and the weather, the ice and isolation.

The 2016 race had an Irish skipper competing for the first time, as Galway businessman Enda O’Coineen sailed the Kilcullen Voyager into the history books. But this grand solo voyage did not go according to plan as Afloat documented at the time here.

This screening will be followed by a Q&A with director Peter Kelly and O’Coineen.

Screening as part of the 2019 IFI Documentary Festival, 25th – 29th September. Full details are here.

Published in Vendee Globe

#Cruising - Vendée Globe challenger Enda O’Coineen will be part of the Royal Galway Yacht Club’s inaugural cruise in company from Galway Docks to the new marina in Rossaveal this Sunday 8 July.

BIM seafood ambassador and Figaro contender Joan Mulloy will lead the cruise on board her on board the 30ft racing boat Taste the Atlantic, departing from Galway Docks on the tide at 12pm and aiming to arrive in Rossaveal about four-and-a-half hours later

Other boats taking part are Evolution, a 60ft motorboat skippered by John Killeen, one of the club’s three commodores, and Kilcullen Team Ireland, the IMOCA 60 on which O’Coineen completed his solo global circumnavigation.

All boat owners in the area are invited to join the first of what’s hoped to be an annual event. O’Coineen promises some esteemed company — including Riverdance composer Bill Whelan, who hopes to sail down from Roundstone to meet the fleet.

The cruise is also a great opportunity to meet Joan Mulloy and show support for her Figaro campaign, as well as her own future Vendée Globe ambitions in 2020.

Published in Cruising

Solo sailor Enda O'Coineen was honoured by HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco at the weekend in recognition of the Galway man's successful circumnavigation

Ireland had a strong presence in the principality on Saturday as the first Monaco Globe Series for the IMOCA 60 class got underway there.

O'Coineen is in Monaco to support his compatriot Joan Mulloy paired with Thomas Ruyant at the helm of Kilcullen Team Ireland.

Earlier that day, the Yacht Club de Monaco President greeted skippers at a brunch in honour of O’Coineen, who competed in the last Vendée Globe.

Kilcullen monaco IMOCAJoan Mulloy on board Team Kilcullen gets a great start in the new Monaco IMOCA series Photo: YCM

Nine 60-footers including County Mayo's Joan Mulloy are off on a double-hander, unassisted non-stop race, the first stage of the new IMOCA 2018-2020 world championship.

Organised by the Yacht Club de Monaco, the new race is a chance for participants to gain the maximum number of points towards qualifying for the Vendée Globe 2020.

The start gun was fired for the first Monaco Globe Series by Yacht Club de Monaco President, HSH Prince Albert II, from the elegant motor-yacht M/Y Pacha III (1936), on which were members of the royal family there to support Pierre Casiraghi competing with Boris Herrmann on Malizia II.

Prince Albert II of Monaco has strong connections to Ireland with Royal Cork Yacht Club. The Prince and RCYC's Gavin Deane signed a twinning agreement at YCM three years ago

List of competing boats:

Malizia-Yacht Club de Monaco – Pierre Casiraghi / Boris Herrmann
SMA – Paul Meilhat / Gwénolé Gahinet
Newrest Art & Fenêtres – Fabrice Amedeo / Eric Peron
Bureau Vallée 2 – Louis Burton / Arthur Hubert
Monin – Isabelle Joschke / Alain Gautier
4myplanet2 – Alexia Barrier / Pierre Quirogea
Groupe Setin – Manuel Cousin / Alan Roura
Kilcullen Team Ireland – Joan Mulloy / Thomas Ruyant
Boulogne Billancourt – Stéphane Le Diraison / Stan Maslard

Click All Afloat.ie's Vendee Globe News

Published in Vendee Globe
Tagged under

At 13:57 today off the west coast of France Irishman Enda O’Coineen passed through the finishing line of the Vendee Globe course to mark the end of his solo sailing lap of the planet, with just one stop.

On 6 November 2016 O’Coineen crossed the starting line of the solo non-stop race around the world From France to France. His world came crashing down around him on New Years Day 2017 when he broke his mast 180 miles south of New Zealand in one of the most remote parts of the planet.

Undeterred, the Irish team joined forces with a French entrant that was also forced to head to New Zealand for essential repairs. The new Team, Le Souffle du Nord Kilcullen Team Ireland emerged from a boat shed in Christchurch with a newly repaired and jointly branded yacht to complete the voyage.

Enda VendeeEnda O'Coineen in part mood after completing his solo circumnavigation

The second half of this epic adventure began on 26th January 2018 when O’Coineen sailed away alone from New Zealand with a destination some 13,000 miles away, through the Pacific Ocean, around Cape Horn, and back up the Atlantic and into Les Sables d’Olonne. This leg took 66 days alone at sea of nonstop sailing. The voyage saw him tackle ginormous seas off Cape Horn, becalmed waters along the coast of South America, and the last of the wild winter storms in the north Atlantic.

Enda IMOCA60 VendeeEnda O'Coineen sitting on the boom of his IMOCA 60 on arrival into the French port this afternoon

Speaking on arrival O’Coineen said:

"After 66 days alone at sea since New Zealand I am elated. It's incredible. I'm overwhelmed... and now I'm surrounded by thousands of people who gave me an amazing welcome into Les Sables d'Olonne. It's an honour to be here and to be representing Le Souffle du Nord Kilcullen Team Ireland. The support, interest and encouragement has been great.”

“This adventure really started in January 1st 2015 when we decided to 'Go for It' and to take on this challenge. Preparations have gobbled- up all the ranges of personal emotion, physical challenge, personal resource, fear and jubilation in between. There is no logic to the logic. And right to the finish line for the final week, rounding the Azores and the North West corner of Spain, the storm crossing the Bay of Biscay, kept me on edge."

By completing the solo lap of the planet Enda enters the history books of Irish sailing. Still to this day, 50 years since Sir Robin Knox-Johnston first sailed alone non-stop around the planet no Irish person has achieved this and only a handful have lapped the planet alone with just one stop.

O’Coineen finished by saying: “This really is an honour and I thank all who have followed the journey and supported us and our charity, the Atlantic Youth Trust.”

Read Afloat.ie's WMN Nixon: Enda O Coineen’s Latest Sailing Challenge Has Been an Inspiration For Us All

Published in Vendee Globe
Tagged under

In his latest update from the Atlantic Ocean, Solo sailor Enda O'Coineen tells how he took a call from President Higgins as he crossed the Equator on his long voyage back home from New Zealand

The President of Ireland's Office called on the Sat. phone. As per SOB I answered " South Atlantic Residents Association. How may I direct your call"

Confused, the man almost hung up until I got him back and clarified my mistake. I should, of course, have said the " North Atlantic Residents Association… " - since we have just crossed the Equator.

The crossing was a truly magical moment, early Friday 16th March after 48 days at sea. King Neptune and his Court who gave us a personal audience and a warm welcome, having remembered us from the outward journey.

Then President Higgins came on the line and congratulated us on the voyage. This was indeed a great honour - not just for your humble skipper but all our partners, friends and those who have supported the project.

tqlking with president
Enda talks with President Higgins

For those who have followed our ship's log through our Journey thanks for your interest. The Sunday Independent will be publishing the next Log so rather than my regular ' guff ' for those following the adventuure, I write about something special. Without shame ask to support. something incredible.

It can be small or large to help the Atlantic Youth Trust Charity We've had everything from £1 - £40,000 donated by individuals and companies so no amount is too small and it makes a difference.

To be clear, 100% of all funds will go to the Atlantic Youth Trust. And for the record the ATLANTIC Trust has not paid 1 cent towards the branding and promotion contributed through the Vendee. The Kilcullen Team Ireland Ocean project has in fact helped raise funds and profile both on the island of Ireland and internationally.

For me it is an honour to play a role in this initiative and thankfully, as business has gone well I have been able to support it financially myself. My late father, Lord rest him, always said " You should put something back in" here

I have been honoured to promote this charity. Will you actually do something? Now?

Atlantic's mission is clear to connect young people with the ocean and adventure.

As a child I was always in trouble at school and ' difficult" . I was fortunate to be selected to go on Asgard 1, a sail training vessel and it changed my life. Mind you many might say I am still difficult and in trouble - perhaps - one of another kind but this in not for me to judge.

Anyway Asgard II was lost, as was NI's vessel and the island of Ireland at the same time found itself rudderless in a tough recession. There was no appetite to rebuild.

It has been a tragedy for maritime youth development. We had no certified vessel or professional structure integrated to the education system to take youth to sea, introduce them to careers in the maritime and personal development.

As is often is the case with tragedy comes opportunity. Here the Atlantic Youth Trust saw is a once in a lifetime to look around the world with a 'clean-sheet" to see who did it best. Generous seed-funders came in and ATLANTIC in an independent project surveyed 16 countries and held Town Hall style meetings around Ireland to harvest views and build concensus for the best solution and value in a 30 year plus project,

This is a World Class, Youth Development Tallship. It will be professionally run but supported by a large Irish and Global volunteer based structure. Essentially the Maritime dimension to the Irish diaspora story - appropriate to think of on this St Patricks Weekend,

No matter who a child is, from any part of Ireland, they would have the opportunity to taste the ocean and adventure on this ship.

In our global research the New Zealand model stood out. With climate similarities in the South Island and similar populations. ATLANTIC their template, they are incredibly helpful and we have had several exchanges.

The economic model shows a massive return on investment for youth at risk, those following careers at sea, marine industry development, even tourism promotion and much more,

Incredible progress has been made. Teams in NI and ROI are working on details to move forward but the project urgently needs smart seed funding and public support to keep going. See www.Atlanticyouthtrust org.

Also some great member trustees have got in behind the organization and mission. Thee are led by the Chairman Peter Cook, David Beattie, Sean Lemass, John Killeen, John Coyle, Jerry Dowling, Sean Lemass, Gerard O'Hare to mention just a few It is a professionally run charity. Neil O'Hagan is the CEO and ite offices are kindly sponsored by Irish Lights, the North-South navigation authority.

You'll find ways to donate online here

ATLANTIC have gifts small and large for all donations over £30 and I am happy to consider any corporate speaking type activities in return for a donation to the Trust.

Now, in theory the circumnavigation is complete. The Equator marks the beginning of the End in what has been an extraordinary adventure and very tough challenge. Also TEAM Ireland Ocean want to keep going and would like people to get in behind Gregor McGuickan's entry in the Golden Globe Around the World Challenge and Joan Mulloy in the FIGARO this year and Nin O'Leary's Vendee plans with IOR.

However its not over. Now its north through the Doldrums, the North Easterly Trade Winds past the Caribbean and up the North Atlantic leaving the Azores High to starboard to finish in early April. Now that's an excuse for a great party.

But please pleaae make a contribution to the ATLANTIC Youth Trust. Every bit counts. 

Published in Vendee Globe

Ireland’s solo star Enda O Coineen has successfully rounded Cape Horn through the weekend in his combined-resources Open 60 Team Ireland/Soufle du Nord writes W M Nixon. In doing so he has transformed his sailing conditions from a severe 49-knots plus nor’wester west of the Horn in his final miles in the Pacific Ocean, into more gentle conditions as he shapes his course into the Atantic.

In traditional maritime parlance, the Galway veteran has “doubled the Horn”. And the extremes of weather relatively late in the season have tested his skill and resolve even further after an often very rugged passage from New Zealand.

Ireland’s Cape Horn pioneer Conor O’Brien – sailing with a crew in the 42ft Saoirse in 1924 – rounded Cape Horn in relatively benign conditions early in December. But in his much later approaches to Cape Horn, it was like winter for O Coineen.

The latter half of February is already getting late in the preferred time window, and as he neared “The Big One”, the Irish skipper and boat were tested again and again. Now this ultimate of headlands is safely astern, and though there are still thousands of miles to sail to his finish port of Les Sables d’Olonne, the most demanding hurdle of all has been safely negotiated.

Published in Solo Sailing
Tagged under

In the coming 24 hours, Enda O’Coineen is on course to sail solo around the notorious Cape Horn as he endeavours to complete his solo sailing lap of the planet.

Enda restarted his voyage in late January a little over a year since his Vendée Globe challenge came to an abrupt end, when his mast came crashing down some 180 miles south of New Zealand.

Having sailed more than half-way around the world from Les Sables in France, Enda was determined to finish what he started.

Initial plans to repair his boat changed when the opportunity arose to combine his efforts with another retired Vendée Globe team and merge as Le Souffle du Nord Kilcullen Team Ireland, with the mission to sail back to France and unofficially finish the race.

This weekend will be only one of a few recorded times that an Irish sailor has rounded the southern tip of the South American continent.

Enda OCoineen Cape Horn

Speaking about historic event, Enda O’Coineen said: “Cape Horn is one of, if not, the most feared pieces of land to round on the planet. And it is certainly living up to its reputation as I approach with 60kph winds and roaring seas hurtling me towards the great cape.

“This will hopefully be the coldest and wildest weather I will encounter as I then turn north and start the final leg up the Atlantic Ocean and into Les Sables d’Olonne to finish what I started.

“It’s hard to explain why I put myself in this position, alone, cold, and exhausted as the bottom of the earth but as any sailor or adventurer knows as soon as you reach your destination and accomplish your goal you quickly forget about the hardship.”

Enda added: “Right now I am living on the edge, moment by moment. Having the joint backing of two teams and flying both the Irish and French flags is an honour. The work of Le Souffle du Nord and the Atlantic Youth Trust keeps me motivated during the lows.”

The timing of the rounding coincides with summer in the Southern Hemisphere, but the latitude and converging seas make Cape Horn a daunting prospect year-round.

For live tracking of Enda’s voyage visit www.teamireland.ie.

Published in Solo Sailing
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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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