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The Dun Laoghaire Flying Fifteen fleet launched next week's Mitsubishi Motors Ireland 2015 Flying Fifteen Championships of Ireland at the National Yacht Club yesterday.

The Championships will be held next week-end 11 – 13 September on Dublin Bay. There will be seven races for gold, silver and bronze fleets are scheduled over the three days under International Race Officer Jack Roy.

Over 30 boats are expected to compete with visitors from Strangford, Whiterock, Killyleagh, Portaferry, East Antrim, Dunmore East as well as some UK visitors expected.

UK visitor Charles Apthorp sailing with Alan Green will be favourites after their fifth placing at the recent World Championships in France. Current National champions Andrew McCleery & Colin Dougan from Killyleagh as well as former champions Dave Gorman & Chris Doorly from the host club will be hoping to give them a run for their money.

The local Dun Laoghaire FF Committee under the command of Class Captain Ronan Beirne along with NYC Officers/Sailing Manager have been organising the event with one of the ‘off the water’ highlights being a visit to the Maritime Museum.

Published in Flying Fifteen

#ISAYOUTHNATS – Success on Friday 13th was not about luck but about consistency in the very light and variable winds which, once coupled with the strong tidal flow, made for a second mentally taxing day of racing at the ISA Mitsubishi Youth Nationals, raced on Dublin Bay from Dun Laoghaire.

For the very top tier Irish sailors among the armada of 285 competing boats in the six different classes, selection for July's Four Star Pizza ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships - to be hosted on these same waters - may be the ultimate goal from this four day championships which finishes on Sunday, but today most were keeping thoughts of rivalries and outcomes at the very back of their minds.

Clean starts were essential in order to make the best of the gains which were often to be found on the left of the first legs, but the brisk tides were dimension which was always important, as was staying in the best of the wind pressure which rarely topped 6 or 7 knots.

They may both be taking each race step by step, one at a time but in the Laser Radial Men's Class, the selection rivalry between National YC's local ace Finn Lynch and Strangford Lough's Robbie Gilmore is one of the tightest and most engaging of the Championship so far.

After today's three races, Lynch still holds the upper hand by a matter of just three points but he had to stage a comeback in the third contest today to scrape a ninth which is currently his discard score.

Gilmore also posted three top ten finishes – a 5,8,9 to Lynch's 3,8,9 - in the 68 boat international fleet to lie second overall as both of the Irish sailors head New Zealand's third placed Andrew McKennzie who is already selected for the worlds.

" I had a good day, three top 10's a 3,8,9 and so I am happy enough with that." Commented Lynch, " I could have done better. I think a clear start – it was different in every race – was essential, I had two good starts but in the third race I had to play catch up. I was happy with my speed though. It has all been pretty good so far allround."

So far at this regatta it has seemed two cornered duel between the Irish Sailing Association Academy's Laser Radial duo, but Lynch cautions that such thoughts are not a concern at this stage:

" The rivaly is not just with Robbie, there are a bunch of good Irish guys but so I am not thinking about anyone in particular, maybe if we get to the last race. But I am not thinking anything about selection or rivalries just now. " " We are on the same squad. We are close but we have been sailing together for a lot of years, in Toppers before this, so it is a good rivalry."

" I really have not thought too much about the Worlds being here to be honest, it is race by race day by day for me." Concludes Lynch.

Gilmore summarised:

" It was tough out there, very tough on the mind, you having to think a lot with a very light breeze and very strong current which added another variable to it all. I am just happy that I was consistent enough, I had a fifth and ninth and an eighth.

It is all good fun, we have trained all winter together and are pretty equal. I don't mind the conditions. I would rather have a little more breeze than today.

In both of the first two races the left side of the course seemed to pay a lot on the first beat and I missed out on that. But on the second race I made a good comeback on the second beat and then came back to ninth.

Such consistency appeared more elusive in the 420 Class where the French duo Guillaume Pirouelle and Valentin Saipan lead the Chilean duo Nadja Horwitz and Franisca Fuentes after a 3,6,1 today.

Even on their home waters the Irish pairings at times struggled to keep their scores all in single figures today. Howth YC duo Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove returned to shore long faced after a disappointing 18th in their third race, even believing they would no longer be top of the Irish nationals fleet, but they retain that honour by a single point.

" We really did not have a good day." Reported helm Dickson, "We went the wrong way a couple of times. In every race the left paid and a couple of times we did not go far enough left. If you wanted to be in the top three in each race then you really had to invest a lot in the left. We had a bad last race but are still in the hunt."

The French leaders admit they are more used to finding light wind speeds in the choppy conditions of their native English Channel or 'Le Manche' off their native le Havre.

" It was not easy the wind was shifty and irregular, and usually the pressure was coming in from the left of the course." Said Pirouelle, "It was complicated tactically and so making a good start was essential. But we had good speed and that let us mostly do what we wanted tactically. We got a second, sixth and first. It is more choppy at home off Le Havre. It will be interesting here in July I am not sure that this weather is representative of what we will see, but it is interesting to learn the current."

In the Laser 4.7 Class, Welsh helm Matt Whitfield has eked out a a seven points lead with Baltimore's Mark Hassett the top Irish sailor in third after four races.

A perfect scoreline of three wins from three starts in the RS Feva's sees Conor Totterdell and Conor Maguire from the host clubs now with a comfortable overall lead while in the Topper fleet it is Liam Glynn of Ballyholme YC who leads by a single point after four races from National YC's Nicole Hemeryck.

The big Optimist fleet is split between Championship and Trials fleets. Peter Fagan of the National YC has a three points margin over the pursuing Kinsale duo of Michael O'Suilleabhain on 8pts and Michael Carroll on 9pts. The Trials are being lead by Royal Cork's Douglas Elmes who has won two of their three races.

ISA Mitsubishi National Youth Championships DAY TWO RESULTS:

420 Class after 4 races inc 1 discard:

1 G Piroulle/V Sipan (FRA, SNPH) 11pts, 2 N Horowitz/F Fuentes (CHI) 11pts, 3 J Poret/L Chevet (FRA, SNPH) 12pts. Irish: 8th: R Dickson/S Waddilove (Howth YC) 32pts, 10th P Crosbie/G Roberts (Royal Cork YC) 33pts, 11th A Hyland/B Staunton (Royal St. George YC) 35pts.

Laser Radial after 4 races inc 1 discard:

1 F Lynch (IRL, National YC) 19pts, 2 R Gilmore (IRL, Strangford Lough

YC) 22pts, 3 A McKenzie (NZL, Tamkai YC) 23pts, 4 C O'Regan (IRL, Kinsale YC) 26pts, 5 S Guilfoyle (IRL, Royal Cork YC) 27pts.

29er Class after 5 races inc 1 discard

1 T Rippey/A Munro (NZL/Tauranga YC) 6pts, 2 J Hawkins/C Thomas (GBR, Restronguet SC) 7pts, 3 O Bowerman/M Peach (GBR/Hayling Island SC) 9pts.

Laser 4.7 Class after 3 races:

1 M Whitfield (GBR/Penarth YC) 8pts, 2 R Auger (FRA/CN Claouey) 15pts,

3 M Hassett (Baltimore YC) 18pts

RS Feva Class after 3 races:

1 C Totterdell/C Maguire (IRL/Royal St George YC, National YC) 3pts, 2 N Henry/I Cahill (IRL/Royal St George YC) 8pts, 3 D Johnston/L Flynn-Byrne (IRL/Howth YC) 11pts.

Topper Class after 3 races:

1 L Glynn (IRL/Ballyholme YC) 7pts, 2 N Hemeryck (IRL/National YC) 8pts, 3 D Power (IRL/Waterford Harbour SC) 11pts

Optimist Championship Class: after 3 races:

1 P Fagan (IRL/National YC) 5pts, 2 M O'Suillebhain (IRL/Kinsale YC) 8pts, 3 M Carroll (IRL/Kinsale YC) 9pts

Optimst Trials, after 3 races:

1 D Elmes (IRL/Royal Cork YC, Waterford Harbour SC) 8pts, 2 R Coumane (IRL/Royal Cork YC/Kinsale YC) 14pts, 3 H Durcan (IRL/Royal Cork YC) 17pts.

Published in Youth Sailing

Royal Cork Yacht Club sailors have lifted two national titles at the 2011 Mitsubishi National Youth Sailing Championships this afternoon in a series cut short today by gale force winds on Dublin Bay. SCROLL DOWN FOR THIS AFTERNOON'S PRIZEGIVING PHOTOS.

Local knowledge offered no advantage as Dun Laoghaire co-hosts the Royal St. George YC, the National Yacht Club and the Royal Irish YC won none of the five national titles inspite of strong turnouts fielded by each of the waterfront clubs.

With winds gusting up to 25-30 knots and easterly winds causing a big swell, sailing for the final day of the ISA Mitsubishi National Championships was cancelled leaving the 300 sailors ashore. However all classes had completed sufficient races to complete the series.

The event was an important test event for Dun Laoghaire organisers of the Youth Worlds which will be held in the same venue from 12 -21 July 2012.

In a show of strength from the regions the three other titles went to other east coast clubs at Howth, Ballyholme and Courtown.

Immediately after the prizegiving, (photos below) Olympic Team Manager James O'Callaghan named the Irish team for the 2011 ISAF Youth World Championships in Croatia in July based on the weekend results. Listen to the podcast with the team manager, talking about the stand out performances of the weekend,  the current strength of youth sailing in Ireland and the prospect of a top finish in Croatia.

Royal Cork YC achieved two national titles with Laser 4.7 event favourite Seafra Guilfoyle winning the title having previously dominated the Optimist fleet in previous years.

Brother and sister team Patrick & Chloe Crosbie also from Royal Cork won the 420 National title and Patrick was awarded the Training Grant for the most promising sailor at the event.

This event was the national trials for the Optimist class which was won by Tralee Bay sailor Sophie Browne who will travel to New Zealand in December to compete in the Optimist World Championships.

Irish optimist sailors are performing well internationally at the moment finishing fourth and fifth at the Braassemermeer Easter regatta. Other events during 2011 where there will be Irish representation include the European Championships in Portugal and the National Championships in Germany and the UK.

Top three results below. Click the links for full results class by class.

Laser Radial - full results here
National Champion: Philip Doran (Courtown Sailing Club)
2nd  Robbie Gilmore (Strangford Lough YC)
3rd Eoin Keller (Lough Derg YC)
1st Girl Sophie Murphy Quoile Yacht Club

Laser 4.7 - full results here
National Champion: Seafra Guilfoyle (Royal Cork YC)
2nd Darragh O'Sullivan (Kinsale YC)
3rd Finn Lynch (NYC/Blessington SC)
1st Girl: Sian Kneafsey (National YC)

420 - full results here
National Champions:  Patrick Crosbie & Chloe Crosbie (Royal Cork YC)
2nd Aodh Kennedy & Daniel Browne (Kinsale YC & Tralee Bay SC)
3rd Emma Geary & Niamh Connolly (Royal Cork YC & Baltimore SC)

Feva - full results here

National Champions: D Johnston & L Flynn Byrne (Howth YC)

2nd C Totterdell & S Craig (National YC/Royal St. George YC)

3rd  C Mollard & J Harris (Howth YC)

Topper - full results here
National Champion:  T Brow (Ballyholme YC)
2nd Laura Gilmore (Strangford Lough YC)
3rd  Andrew Penney (East Antrim BC)

Optimist (Championship fleet)
1st Ben Walsh (Skerries SC)
2nd Ross Quirke (National YC)
3rd Colin O'Sullivan (Malahide YC)

Optimist National Trials
Sophie Browne (Tralee Bay SC) won the trials and took the option of travelling to New Zealand in December 2011 to represent Ireland at the Optimist World Championships.

The following sailors were selected by the trial process to represent Ireland at the European Championship which will be held in Portugal in July 2011: Sean Donnelly, HYC, Peter McCann RCYC, Harry Whitaker RCYC, Eoin Lyden RCYC, Jil McGinley RCYC  Cliodhna Ni Shuilleabhain KYC and Megan Parker SSC

The team selected to travel to the German National Championships include Robert Dickson HYC , Daire Cournane KYC, Sean Waddilove Skerries SC,  Richard Hogan HYC, Adam Hyland RSGYC, Ronan Cournane KYC, Sean Gambier Ross KYC and Fergus Flood HYC, Aoife Hopkins and Alacoque Daly Tralee Bay SC.

In addition 10 sailors were chosen for the Irish under 12 squad who will compete in the Optimist UK National Championships.

All our youth sailing news aggregated here

Prizegiving photos by Gareth Craig below. For daily on the water action: Day one photos here. Day two photos here. Day three photos here.

Published in Youth Sailing

More testing, ideal sailing conditions greet youth sailors this morning on Dublin Bay for the fourth and final day of competition at the Mitsubishi Youth Championships.

Up for grabs are places on the national youth team to represent Ireland at the World Championships in Croatia in three months time.

Yesterday started with ideal sunny conditions with winds 10-12 knots dropping during the day. Day three photos from Gareth Craig here. The overall results are as follows:

Yellow Course (Laser Radial, Laser 4.7, 420)

Laser Radial : (8 races completed) 1. Philip Doran (Courtown SC)  2. Robbie Gilmore (Strangford Lough YC) 3. Eoin Keller (Lough Derg YC)

Laser 4.7: (8 races completed) 1. Seafra Guilfoyle (Royal Cork YC)  2. Darragh O'Sullivan (Kinsale YC)  3. Finn Lynch (NYC/Blessington SC)

420: (8 races completed) 1. Aodh Kennedy & Daniel Browne (Kinsale YC & Tralee Bay YC)  2. Emma Geary & Niamh Connolly (Royal Cork YC & Baltimore SC) 3. Patrick Crosbie & Chloe Crosbie (Royal Cork YC)

Blue Course ( Optimist National Trials, First leg completed in Kinsale )

Optimist (11races completed) 1. Sophie Browne (Tralee Bay SC) 2. Sean Donnelly (National YC) 3. Peter McCann (Royal Cork YC)

Orange Course (Topper & Optimist & Feva)

Feva: (6 races completed) 1. D Johnston & L Flynn Byrne (Howth YC) 2. C Totterdell & S Craig (National YC/Royal St. George YC) 3. C Mollard & J Harris (Howth YC)

Topper: (8 races completed) 1. T Brow (Ballyholme YC) 2. Laura Gilmore (Strangford Lough YC) 3. Andrew Penney (East Antrim BC)

Optimist: (Championship fleet, 5 races completed) 1. Ben Walsh (Skerries SC) 2. Ross Quirke (National YC) 3. Colin O'Sullivan (Malahide YC)

Published in Youth Sailing
Typically the start of the Dublin Bay Sailing Club (DBSC) is a traditional season highlight on the capital's waters but there's so much sailing slated for Dublin Bay the weekend it's hard to know where to start.

There could be anything up to 500-boats afloat for events right across the bay and out in to the Irish Sea.

Joining the 390 boat DBSC fleet for its 128th season is a gathering of over 300 dinghies in Dun Laoghaire for the Mitsubishi Youth National Championships at the Royal St. George and National Yacht Clubs. It's an important event because it is a dry run for next year's ISAF Youth Worlds on Dublin Bay.

The National Yacht Club is also host for the first race of the 2011 ISORA offshore season. Up to 17 starters from a possible ISORA entry list of 40 are confirmed for the first race to Holyhead. First gun for ISORA is at 0755. An Early one!

Across the bay in Howth there is a competitive fleet assembled for the SB3 Eastern Championships. A notable feature of the event is the inclusion of Olympic campaigner Annalise Murphy.

Ashore, Réalt na Mara Dun Laoghaire RNLI's new D-class lifeboat is to be officially named during a ceremony on the East Pier in Dun Laoghaire this Saturday at 12 noon. The lifeboat is to be named by Mr and Mrs Pat and Kathy Kenny. RTE presenter Pat Kenny and his wife Kathy have been long-standing supporters of the Dun Laoghaire RNLI lifeboats.

Mid week forecasts show good sailing winds for the weekend. Met Eireann is forecasting Southeast to east force 2 to 4 breezes, light enough for a gentle start to the season but there's still a chance of stronger for Saturday afternoon. Listen to Eddie English's weather prediction from Cork Harbour.

 

Published in Dublin Bay

Dun Laoghaire's Royal St. George Yacht Club has announced that its inaugural Junior Spring Open, sponsored by Craftinsure, will be held on the 19th & 20th of March 2011. This event promises to be a great kick start to the Junior Sailing Season for the Optimist, 420, Feva and Laser Classes.

There will be both Regatta and Main Fleets, Regatta Coaches on the courses and the event will count as an Optimist Pre-Trials and Pre-Regional event. With the ISA Mitsubishi Youth National Championship being held in the same sailing area at the end of April, this event is a great opportunity for sailors from all around the country to get some practise in the local waters.

There will be entertainment for sailors and parents on both evenings, evening dinners and, of course, full Six Nations Rugby coverage on the Saturday throughout the Club. There will also be live-tweeting from the water throughout the event - follow this live action unfold at www.twitter.com/rsgyc.

For further information and to enter online please visit www.rsgyc.ie. The Entrance Fee is €85 for Fevas & 420s and €55 for Oppies & Lasers.

Published in RStGYC

May Bank Holiday weekend (29 April – 02 May) over 300 sailors will compete in Dublin Bay in seven different classes (Laser Radial, Laser 4.7, 420, Feva, Topper, SL16 and Optimist). For youth sailors, this event is the most crucial in the annual calendar as it is the decider for the top Irish sailors to compete internationally during 2011 and is the pathway for future Olympic sailors.
Not only will the ISA Mitsubishi Youth Nationals over the May weekend be an important event for youth sailors it is also a major milestone for the organisers of the ISAF Youth Worlds 2012 as it offers them the opportunity to test drive the logistics of managing such a large event incorporating three clubs, three race courses and hundreds of volunteers.
'Dun Laoghaire has a proud reputation for hosting international events such as the biennial combined clubs Dun Laoghaire Regatta and numerous world championships. However in 2011 the ISA Mitsubishi Youth Nationals is of more significance as it gives us an opportunity to test our systems in advance of the ISAF Youth Worlds 2012.' stated Event Chairman Brian Craig.
Dun Laoghaire won the bid to host the ISAF Youth Worlds 2012 from 12-21 July when, in excess of 300 sailors and windsurfing champions from over 60 nations will participate. The granting of this prestigious sailing event to Ireland is a major boost to the sport and secures Ireland's position as an ideal location for hosting world class sailing events. It also establishes Dun Laoghaire as one of the prime major racing locations in the world, capable of running multiple classes and courses to the highest international standard.
'The Youth Nationals is a significant event on the racing calendar. It involves young sailors from all of the 'Olympic Pathway' classes, some of whom are competing for places on the team that will represent Ireland in the ISAF Youth Worlds later this year.  In recent years Ireland has had successes at youth level with winner of the girls Laser World Championships a top 10 at the 2010 ISAF Youth Worlds and wins at the British National Optimist Championships.

Three hundred sailors from around the country are expected to compete for national youth and junior pathway titles and the Mitsubishi coaching grant during the event.

Published in Youth Sailing

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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