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Displaying items by tag: Kilmore Quay

As details emerge on the full negative impact of Brexit on the Irish fishing industry, two Wexford skippers have called for the appointment of a dedicated minister for marine. 

Scallop skippers Will Bates and Seamus Molloy who fish from Kilmore Quay have welcomed Taoiseach Micheál Martin’s appeal for “progressive ideas” from the fishing industry. 

However, they have said the government must have a Cabinet member whose sole task is to provide leadership in relation to the difficulties facing the Irish marine sector.

Seamus Molloy - Kilmore Quay fishermanSeamus Molloy - Kilmore Quay Scallop fisherman. Screenshot: Sean Moroney

Ireland must start “taking back”, given that it will represent some 12 per cent of EU waters – but with “30 per cent of fishable waters”, the fishermen have said.

"Ireland should seek a share of the bluefin tuna quotas allocated to other EU member states"

As a first step, Ireland should seek a share of the bluefin tuna quotas allocated to other EU member states, given that the migratory fish spend up to four months off this coast, they say.

Under the Brexit deal finalised on Christmas Eve, the EU is handing back 25 per cent of its share of the catch in British waters. 

There will be a five-and-a-half-year transition period, after which both sides will hold annual negotiations on some 100 shared stocks from 2026.

Seán O'Donoghue, chief executive of the Killybegs Fishermen’s Organisation (KFO), said the deal demonstrated the “duplicitous nature of the protracted negotiations” and that the “repeated guarantees” given to Irish fishermen had effectively been shredded.

The four and a half years of agreements have for all intent and purposes been “dishonoured by the negotiators” the KFO leader has said.

The reaction of the Kilmore Quay skippers can be heard on Wavelengths below

Published in Fishing

A Wicklow Port based tug has completed a six day towage operation from Rotterdam, The Netherlands when it arrived off the coast of Kilmore Quay in Co. Wexford yesterday afternoon, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The 18.5 tonnes bollard pull AMS Retriever operated by Alpha Marine, the tug and workboat marine services company, deployed the Dutch shipyard built Damen Shoalbuster 2409 series tug to tow the split hopper-dredger barge B302.

It would appear the tug has at least served under two previous names, Marineco Akela with Leith in Scotland as the port of registry and as the C M Kurok when working in the Caspian Sea.

Both the Belfast registered tug and the Dutch barge will be assigned to work with Marine Specialists Ltd on the dredging of the south Wexford coast harbour which is to take place throughout this month. The shallow draft tug which has a crew of 5 will prove ideal option for such near coastal works.

Kilmore Quay is homeport to a fishing fleet and a 60-berth marina. In addition the location over the years has been popular for leisure users, angling-hire craft and ferry boat trips out and to the nearby Saltees Islands.

As Afloat previously reported Alpha Marine's other tug, Husky was deployed last year to the former Stena Line ferryport at Dun Laoghaire Harbour having towed a barge laden with granite from Cornwall. This project was to replenish rock armour following Storm Emma of 2018 that mostly inflicted the East Pier and the project also involved use of a landing craft to convey heavy machinery by sea due to access issues.

Returning to the sunny south-east, where the O'Flaherty family has major fishing operations in the Wexford harbour which is homeport to their fleet of 10 beam white fish trawlers. They also have 3 twin riggers for prawns and a pelagic vessel. In addition to their fish wholesaler business, Saltees Fish has a cold storage plant located at the harbour.

Notably, the O'Flaherty's established Celtic Link Ferries in 2005, having acquired P&O Ferries Rosslare-Cherbourg route which they withdrew operations the previous year. In the deal, this included the route's ro-ro freight ferry European Diplomat (1978/16,776grt) with space for some 80 truck units and around the same capacity for passengers. This enabled the O'Flaherty's maintain their vital fishing exports to markets in mainland Europe.

CLF continued the business of providing freight hauliers on the Ireland-France link where truck drivers (including those for liverstock) were also part of the trade. Truck drivers on board the renamed Diplomat also shared dining facilities with a limited capacity of (motorist-only) passengers. This combination made the ferry operation unique on Ireland-France routes, with exception of Seatruck Ferries on their route network across the Irish Sea.

Celtic Link also had competitive rates for holidaymakers based on a 'no frills' basis compared to the more established ferry rivals, Irish Ferries and Brittany Ferries though they also have their 'économie' services soon to be operating from Rosslare this month.

When making a trip in 2009 as a guest of CLF, and notably as an exception having travelling as a 'foot' passenger which provided an opportunity to observe.On that related note the aft observation lounge however was not open on that particular crossing (see Ships Monthly, Nov.2009). This feature otherwise afforded excellent views was located at the highest passenger deck of the ship's superstructure and aft over the stern.

In addition on board was a plaque dedicated to then named Baltic Ferry, which served in the Falkland's Task Force in 1982 where the war involved RAF Harrier Jump-jets (VTOL) aircraft use the freight-ferry.

Unlike conventional ferries, Diplomat like many ro-ro freight ferries had the superstructure all located aft, with the uppermost vehicle deck exposed on the weather deck ahead of the bridge. The ship was built originally for Stena as one of their successful 'Searunner' series built in South Korea and for their charter market which saw these ships deployed worldwide on deep-sea routes.

After CLF ended its Irish career of Diplomat they chartered the ro-ro to the Carribbean. Replacement tonnage saw a succession of two Visentini-built passenger ropax's, Norman Voyager (of LD Lines short-lived Rosslare-Le Havre run) and Celtic Horizon (Ships Monthly, Feb.2013) which was renamed as outlined below.

CLF's (farewell) operations proved tempting as Stena Line made a bid to take over the Ireland-France route, which in 2014 became the company's first ever such direct route connecting mainland Europe. This saw the ropax renamed Stena Horizon and compete with the then presence of Irish Ferries running to Cherbourg in addition the summer-only Roscoff service (see, yesterday's story: Rosslare's Manager Says Europort can Take One Fifth of Dublin Port Activity).

It was at the 'Europort' in 2005, the first year of CLF operations, when a fleet of scallop trawlers based from Kilmore Quay held a fisheries related protest at the Wexford ferryport. The blockade prevented all ferries of the port, though when they departed the 'unaffected' Diplomat arrived afterwards.

As for Irish Ferries cruiseferry Isle of Inishmore, this ferry was less fortunate as not only was it subject to the blockade at the Irish ferryport but had the misfortune for a second time in the same year to be embroiled in a strike and siege incident (albeit in Pembroke Dock). On that occasion the ferry was centre-stage in the protracted and bitter Irish Ferries dispute over the replacement of Irish crew with lower-cost personnel from overeas.

Published in Coastal Notes

Brian Kehoe, station mechanic at Kilmore Quay RNLI, has retired from his position as full-time station mechanic and coxswain after serving over 50 years with the RNLI, half as a volunteer and half as an employee.

Brian went afloat for his last exercise on Tuesday (31 December) as station mechanic. He was joined by crew from the flanking lifeboat stations of Rosslare Harbour, Fethard-on-Sea and Dunmore East.

Kilmore Quay Coast Guard was also on hand while the Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 117 joined the exercise and Brian was winched from the lifeboat onboard the search and rescue aircraft.

Back ashore after the exercise, Brian’s family gathered at the harbour for some photos and the people of the village came to wish him a happy retirement.

An official night to mark Brian’s retirement will take place at Coast Hotel Kilmore Quay on Saturday 25 January, and all are welcome to attend. Everyone at Kilmore Quay Lifeboat Station wishes Brian and his wife Theresa a long and healthy retirement.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
Tagged under

A man was taken to hospital with hand injuries by Irish Coast Guard helicopter after a Mayday call on a yacht off Kilmore Quay on Saturday (29 June).

The local RNLI lifeboat crew were en route to another vessel that had requested a tow when the call came in from a 12m yacht some 13 miles south-west of the Co Wexford village.

It was reported that as the yacht’s crew were adjusting a sail, a piece of rigging had parted and seriously injured the skipper’s hand.

The lifeboat arrived just after the Waterford-based coastguard helicopter Rescue 117, whose crew determined the best course of action was to transfer the casualty to the lifeboat for pain relief.

He was subsequently winched to the helicopter and flown to Waterford University Hospital for further treatment.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

It was a busy weekend for RNLI lifeboats in Arklow, Larne and Kilmore Quay which each had callouts over the Easter period.

Arklow RNLI launched on Sunday afternoon (21 April) to assist a jetski in difficulty following a launch request from the Irish Coast Guard at 3.15pm.

The volunteer lifeboat crew left their families on Easter Sunday to answer the callout, bringing the all-weather lifeboat Ger Tigchlearr just north of Arklow Harbour where the casualty vessel had been reported adrift and without power.

The jetski, with two people aboard, was quickly located off the back of Arklow's North Pier, dangerously close to the rocky shoreline.

The two people aboard were immediately recovered onto the lifeboat and a line was secured to the jetski to tow it back to shore.

In Larne, RNLI volunteers were called out twice on Sunday evening to people in difficulty.

In the first callout, both the all-weather and inshore lifeboats were called to aid two kayakers who had overturned near Browns Bay just off Islandmagee.

Larne RNLI launched into a calm sea at 5,45pm with the inshore lifeboat, Terry, tasked to bring the kayakers safely to shore, while the all-weather lifeboat Dr John McSparran was tasked to recover the kayaks left behind.

After a successful recovery of both casualties and their equipment, Larne RNLI helm Pamela Leitch noted: “The two kayakers were wearing buoyancy aids; they also remembered to stay with their kayaks which made it easier for us to identify them and bring them ashore.”

The second callout involved the all-weather lifeboat towing a 26ft sailing boat which had run aground at the East Maidens lighthouse.

One of the two people onboard had asked to dock close to the Maidens so they could have a look around. However, while they were the docked the tide ebbed and the boat was left on rocks.

The remaining crew member was able to use their VHF radio to call for assistance from Belfast Coastguard, who requested the launch of the all-weather lifeboat.

When Larne’s volunteers reached the boat, they found that it had moved off the rocks and that no damage had occurred to the hull.

However, it was suggested that the casualty boat follow the all-weather lifeboat into Larne to assess any further damage.

As both boats were making their way into the Port of Larne, a tow line was established as the casualty vessel was experiencing some engine troubles. The vessel was then towed to a mooring at East Antrim Boat Club.

Meanwhile, in Kilmore Quay, the local RNLI lifeboat was alerted by Dublin Coast Guard at 5.25pm that an 11m boat with two people on board had lost engine power three-and-a-half miles south of Bag-N-Bun Head to the west of Kilmore Quay.

Conditions were near calm at the time with restricted visibility due to coastal fog. Visibility was down to one tenth of a mile at times.

The volunteer crew made best speed towards the casualty vessel, arriving alongside twenty minutes later. A tow line was passed over and the vessel was towed back to Kilmore Quay, which took just under an hour to complete.

The four Easter Sunday callouts came after Saturday launches for Courtmasherry RNLI, to a Spanish-bound yacht in distress, and Carrybridge RNLI, to two boats in difficulty on Upper Lough Erne.

“Given the fantastic weather we’ve had this weekend, we’ve seen higher numbers of people coming back to the beaches and putting their boats and other craft back in the water, earlier than usual,” said Mark Corcoran, community safety officer at Arklow RNLI.

“We’d like to remind people to always respect the water, wear a lifejacket and carry a means of calling for help when going out on the water.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#MarineWildlife - A young pilot whale was saved by a group of quick-thinking Wexford men after stranding on a beach at Kilmore Quay, as the New Ross Standard reports.

When Neil Bates spotted the 3m whale at Ballyteige Burrow and saw its blowhole move, he enlisted two other local men, John and Michael O'Flahery, to help refloat the animal.

And while it was it some distress for a time, it was soon out of the shallows and swimming in the direction of Hook Head.

In other marine wildlife news, the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group is seeking to recruit a new general manager, based out of the Shannon Dolphin Centre in Kilrush, Co Clare.

Details are on the IWDG website HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife

Billy Roche, Cat Hogan and Paul O’Brien are among an impressive list of Wexford literary names already confirmed for the inaugural Write By The Sea, a festival of writing and reading set to take place in Kilmore Quay, Co Wexford from September 23 to September 25, 2016.

A packed schedule of workshops, readings, conversations and interviews will also feature such established local writers as A.M. Cousins, Margaret Galvin, Jackie Hayden, Margaret Hawkins, Daithi Kavanagh, Jim Maguire, Peter Murphy and Fiona O'Rourke.

Billy Roche will read from his writings as well as delivering a workshop on Playwriting. Margaret Hawkins will talk about Journalism, and Paul O’Brien will be interviewed on-stage about his best-selling trilogy of novels Blood Red Turns Dollar Green.

A.M. Cousins will direct a workshop on writing for radio, Margaret Galvin’s workshop will focus on participants’ personal memories and stories , and Jackie Hayden will talk about how he discovered the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas through The Beatles and Bob Dylan.

Cat Hogan will discuss what writers need to do after they’ve completed a new work, and she’ll also talk about her acclaimed debut novel They All Fall Down. Novelist and spoken word performer Peter Murphy is scheduled to read from his works, as well as offering invaluable advice for aspiring writers. Daithi Kavanagh will explore the world of e-books, Jim Maguire will hold a workshop on “the journey home’ and Fiona O’Rourke will explore ways of kick-starting your writing creativity.

Published in Maritime Festivals
Tagged under

#MCIB - The lack of a handheld VHF radio or float-free EPIRB potentially delayed the rescue of passengers from a capsized vessel off the Saltee Islands last August.

One man died by drowning but nine others were rescued after a five-hour ordeal at sea when their leisure craft was swamped in the channel between the islands, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

According to the official report on the incident by the Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB), the 21ft Dory named 'Jillian' was already low in the water when it set out from Kilmore Quay in Co Wexford on the afternoon of Saturday 29 August 2015 with its owner-skipper and nine passengers on board.

Shortly before 7pm, as the boat passed through the channel in what are commonly choppy waters towards fishing grounds south of Great Saltee, witness reports said that a wall of water came over the bow, forcing through the acrylic glass windows of the wheelhouse and flooding the cabin.

Before efforts could be made to bail out the boat or use the fixed VHF radio in the wheelhouse, the engine stopped and more water flooded in, causing the vessel to capsize quickly.

One passenger was trapped under the hull but was rescued moments later by one of the others, and all but one managed to climb onto the upturned hull.

With no handheld radio or EPIRB on the boat, the skipper and his passengers were unable to call for help. A flare found by one of the survivors was discarded as none knew how to operate it and feared injury in doing so.

Many hours later at midnight, as the group were having difficulty staying on the upturned hull, they attracted the attention of the Saltee Islands ferry which had joined the search party with the Kilmore Quay and Fethard RNLI and the Irish Coast Guard minutes before.

Within 20 minutes all 10 casualties had been taken aboard the ferry, but one was quickly transferred to the Kilmore Quay lifeboat when his health appeared to be failing.

Despite the swift actions of the lifeboat crew and the personnel of coastguard helicopter Rescue 117 who continued CPR, the man was pronounced dead on arrival at Wexford General Hospital.

The investigation later determined that the skipper did not know the maximum load capacity of his vessel, though it was built before such information was made mandatory for the maker's name plate.

It was therefore judged likely that the additional passenger weight caused the boat to sit low in the water, making it vulnerable to breaking waves in the rougher waters between the Saltees.

In addition, if the boat had carried a handheld radio or EPIRB, or had anyone on board knowledge of how to use a flare, it's likely that the party could have been rescued earlier, the report concluded.

The complete MCIB report into the 'Jillian' incident is available to read or download HERE.

Published in MCIB

#RNLI - Kilmore Quay RNLI's volunteer lifeboat crew were alerted at 1.43am yesterday morning (Thursday 19 May) to reports of an injured fisherman 40 miles offshore.

The injured crewman was on board a 20m stern trawler fishing for prawns at the Smalls fishing grounds south-southeast of Kilmore Quay. He had fallen and was in chronic pain suffering with a suspected dislocated shoulder.

The all-weather lifeboat departed a short time later with weather conditions described as good with a slight swell from the Southwest and clear visibility, enabling the lifeboat make 25 knots towards the casualty.

With the fishing vessel making seven knots towards the lifeboat, they rendezvoused at 3:30am. The fair conditions made for a quick transfer of the injured crewman to the lifeboat and once on board the lifeboat he was made comfortable.

The journey back to Kilmore Quay took just under 90 minutes and on return the injured man was handed over to paramedics for transfer to Wexford General Hospital and treatment to his injuries.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
Tagged under

#RNLI - Kilmore Quay RNLI assisted four fishermen to safety in the early hours of this morning (Friday 8 January) after they feared their vessel was in danger from taking on water.

The volunteer crew was requested to launch their all-weather lifeboat at 11.10pm last night following a Mayday call that a 13m steel fishing trawler was taking on water at Baginbun to the east of Hook Head in Co Wexford.

The four crew onboard were fishing for herring when they got into difficulty and raised the alarm. Weather conditions at the time were challenging, with a Force 8 fresh gale, a rough sea and driving rain.

The all-weather lifeboat, under coxswain Eugene Kehoe and with six crew on board, launched within minutes and made its way to the scene around 8.5 nautical miles from Kilmore Quay.

Once on scene, the lifeboat crew observed that the vessel wasn’t taking on water but that in the challenging weather conditions, some of the pound boards used to keep the fish from moving freely, had given way.

This caused a substantial amount of herring to move towards the stern of the vessel, forcing it down so that the deck level ended up in the water.

The lifeboat crew assessed the situation and contemplated transferring the fishermen onto the lifeboat. However, a decision was made to closely monitor the situation with the lifeboat moving to the weather side of the vessel to create a lee and provide shelter to the vessel before escorting it to Kilmore Quay.

The Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 117 was also on scene providing essential light overhead to guide the vessel into the harbour at Kilmore Quay.

Speaking following the callout, Kilmore Quay RNLI mechanic Brian Kehoe said: "The fishermen rightly raised the alarm when they got into trouble and, taking our advice, they made a good decision given the weather conditions, to change their passage, turn around and head for Kilmore Quay with our escort.

"This was a slow process which took just over two hours in severe weather conditions but thankfully everyone was returned safely to shore."

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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