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Displaying items by tag: RNLI

Working for the Department of Agriculture Food and Marine, Dunmore East Fishery Harbour Centre and liaising closely with the RNLI, Inland and Coastal Marina Systems (ICMS) has designed, manufactured and installed a new berth for Dunmore East RNLI’s all-weather Trent class lifeboat.

Installed in December 2020, the new berthing facility has been built to service the RNLI as well as provide safe and secure access ashore for various users, including cruise ship passengers.

The shared 27m long x 7m wide steel tubular pontoon is a new product from ICMS, employing waterproofing and paint system technologies not previously used on its other projects. Moored on piles, it has a 32m access gangway and is surfaced with durable Glass Reinforced Plastic (GRP) decking with excellent anti-slip properties, offering all users confident footing on a stable platform.

“Weighing in at 90 tonnes, we fabricated the tubular pontoon in six pieces to make it less challenging to manoeuvre,” says Oliver Shortall, Managing Director at ICMS. “We then joined the pieces together in the dry dock at New Ross Boat Yard in Co. Wexford prior to floating the massive structure and towing it to its new home at Dunmore East.”

Cormac O Donoghue from the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine comments: “Working closely with us to fully understand the brief and what needed to be achieved, Inland and Coastal developed a bespoke solution catering for all stakeholders.

“The RNLI now has somewhere secure for its crew to launch from, allowing them to provide a safe environment for anyone out on the water in the area, while the cruise ship passengers can easily access the bustling fishing village, increasing footfall to local businesses during the tourist season.”

To find out more about Inland and Coastal’s pontoon ranges and unique decking options visit here

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Dun Laoghaire Harbour's RNLI lifeboat crew came to the rescue of a dog that slipped off the Dun Laoghaire Marina Pier and onto the rocks below this morning.

The volunteer crew of three launched swiftly at 11:35am and made their way to the scene arriving in minutes.

The crew quickly assessed the situation finding Archie the dog on rocks near the water’s edge. The lifeboat crew made their way towards him and on to the rocks and helped lift him back up onto the pier above. Archie was in good health and happy to see his owners after his ordeal as our picture shows below.

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

Dog rescued by Dun Laoghaire RNLI

Speaking following the call out, Liam Mullan Dun Laoghaire RNLI Lifeboat press officer said: ‘Our crew today were very happy to reunite Archie with his owners and that he wasn’t injured from his fall. Archies owners did the right thing by calling the Irish Coast Guard and asking for help. It was much safer for our crew to approach rocks on a day like today by sea when compared to the risks associated with slips and falls from a person trying to make their way down to the water’s edge to help’.

Dog rescued by Dun Laoghaire RNLI

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Last Saturday (23rd) Donaghadee's Trent class lifeboat, Saxon, with RNLI Doctor Andrew Jackson on board answered a call by HM Coastguard to attend a cargo ship at the mouth of Belfast Lough. Donaghadee lies on the north County Down coast about 23 miles from Belfast

The coastguard was contacted by the ship requesting medical assistance for a crew member on board.

In a slight to moderate swell and excellent visibility, the lifeboat was able to maintain top speed to the ship which the Captain had repositioned to allow the lifeboat to come alongside in calmer conditions and bring the ill seaman onboard the lifeboat for assessment by its Doctor.

On return to Bangor Harbour, the casualty was transferred to the care of Bangor Coastguard Rescue Team and the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service.

Crew on board for the second call out of the year were Coxswain Philip McNamara, Mechanic Shane McNamara, Navigator Mark Nelson, Crew members Michael Field, John Petrie, Nicky Butler and Iain Kaleda, all wearing appropriate PPE equipment.

The crew wished the cargo ship crewmember a speedy recovery.

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Skerries RNLI’s volunteer crew had a busy weekend responding to calls to stranded walkers on Friday (22 January) and a missing swimmer today (Sunday 24 January).

Shortly before 4.30pm on Friday afternoon, Dublin Coast Guard tasked Skerries RNLI following a call from An Garda Síochána reporting that a number of people had been cut off by the rising tide on Barnageeragh beach.

The lifeboat was launched and proceeded to the area indicated, where the crew quickly spotted one adult and three children at the base of the cliff above the waterline.

While the casualties were uninjured, conditions underfoot in the area were very poor due to a large number of submerged rocks covered in seaweed and algae.

Following a consultation with members of the Skerries Coast Guard unit who were at the top of the cliff, it was decided that due to the falling temperatures and rapidly fading light, the safest option would be to request the assistance of the Dublin-based Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 116.

A crew member stayed with the casualties to reassure them and keep them calm until the helicopter arrived and winched them aboard.

Then today, Sunday 24 January, the volunteer crew were paged shortly after 12.30pm following a call from a concerned family member when a swimmer in Skerries had not returned at the expected time.

The lifeboat launched immediately and made its way around the headland to the swimming platform known locally as The Springers.

Upon arrival it was quickly established that the swimmer had since made it safely ashore. They were well equipped for cold water swimming and required no assistance. The lifeboat was stood down and returned to the station.

Speaking about the callouts, which came a week after the town’s first of the year, Skerries RNLI’s Gerry Canning said: “Friday afternoon was a fantastic example of how well all the emergency services work together, with full-time emergency service personnel and volunteers working alongside each other seamlessly to get the best possible outcome.

“Thankfully the call for the swimmer on Sunday was a false alarm with good intent. We encourage anyone who thinks someone may be in difficulty in or near the sea to dial 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard. The earlier they make that call the better.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Youghal RNLI Volunteer lifeboat crew were paged and tasked at 5.57 am this morning by the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) to a report of a missing person in Youghal Harbour.

Launching at 6.08 am in freezing conditions, the lifeboat crew conducted a thorough search of the harbour area and down towards Youghal bridge, assisted by the Youghal Coast Guard unit and Youghal Gardaí.

MRCC stood down the lifeboat at 7.34 am after the person was found safe and well.

Speaking after the call out Mark Nolan, Youghal RNLI Deputy Launching Authority said: ‘I would like to thank everybody involved in this morning’s call out, weather conditions were very cold and frosty’.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Howth RNLI launched the all-weather lifeboat to rescue a 21-foot fishing boat with two people onboard after it suffered mechanical failure just off Rush Co. Dublin

The RNLI pagers sounded at 2.52 pm on Monday 18th January to reports of a small fishing boat with 2 people aboard with mechanical problems. The all-weather lifeboat was launched and travelled to the stricken vessel which had managed to drop an anchor 400 metres off the coastline of Rush in North Dublin. 

The volunteer lifeboat crew promptly took the vessel in tow and returned the 21-foot boat along with its two occupants back to its homeport of Malahide marina.

The Howth Lifeboat and volunteer crew returned to Howth station and stood down at 4.35 pm.

Speaking following the callout, Colm Newport, Howth RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager said: ‘Our volunteer lifeboat crew were pleased to be able to quickly respond and tow the small fishing boat to the safety of Malahide Marina'.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Skerries RNLI carried out their first rescue of the new year in the early hours of yesterday morning (Saturday 16 January), towing a razor fishing boat with two men on board to safety.

Shortly before midnight on Friday, Dublin Coast Guard requested Skerries RNLI to launch their Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat following a distress call from a razor fishing vessel that had suffered mechanical failure off the north Co Dublin coastal town.

The lifeboat was launched and the volunteer crew navigated to the GPS position provided by the vessel. A tow was established and the vessel was towed back to the safety of the harbour in Skerries.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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The volunteer crew of Youghal RNLI were tasked this evening (16 January 2021) to reports of people seen on the rocks near Easter point, while conducting the search they were tasked to reports of kayakers in trouble near Capel Island.

Launching at 6 pm in calm conditions, the inshore lifeboat began a search of the area around Easter point with the Ardmore and Youghal Coast Guard units searching on land. During this search, the crew received a report of kayakers in trouble near Capel Island.

Youghal lifeboat was then tasked to go to Capel Island, along with Ballycotton RNLI, Youghal Coast Guard unit and Rescue helicopter 117. On arrival, the crew could see flickering lights coming from the Island.

Two crew members from Youghal RNLI went onshore and found four members of the public safe and well and planning to camp on the Island. The call-out was treated as a false alarm with good intent and the crew were stood down from this call and asked to return to Easter point to continue the original search.

After a thorough search of the Easter point area with nothing found the crew were stood down at 7.38 pm and returned to the station.

Speaking after the call outs, Derry Walsh, Youghal RNLI volunteer Lifeboat Operations Manager said: ‘Although both call outs this evening proved to be false alarms with good intent, I would urge the public to always call 112/999 and ask for the Coast Guard if they think they see someone in trouble, it is always better to be safe than sorry’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Wicklow RNLI brought three fishermen to safety this morning (Wednesday 13 January), after their vessel got into difficulties off the Wicklow coast.

The all-weather relief fleet lifeboat RNLB Joanna and Henry Williams put to sea shortly before 9:15 am under the command of Coxswain Ciaran Doyle and a volunteer crew.

The alarm was raised after the skipper of the fishing vessel reported that a rope was fouled in his vessel’s propeller and they had lost all propulsion.

The lifeboat crew located the 12metre fishing vessel at 9:55 am three miles north of the Codling Buoy. Conditions on scene were sea state moderate, with wind northwesterly force 2 and good visibility.

A towline was quickly established, and a course was set for Wicklow harbour. The fishing vessel with three crew was brought safely alongside the South Quay shortly before midday.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Howth Lifeboat Station Community Safety Officer John McKenna has been awarded a long service medal by the RNLI.

In 2020, McKenna (73) reached a milestone: 21 years of volunteering for the RNLI and saving lives at sea. 

He has been telling the RNLI’s own magazine about his decision to join the RNLI in the first place, his role and how influencing people’s behaviour can be a skilful and powerful tool in lifesaving.

John works as part of a team of six in the Community Safety Team at Howth, one fo Ireland’s busiest stations.

“We all work together to educate and give free water safety advice to everyone who visits the coast in our local communities, from walkers to sailors. As the Community Safety Officer, I lead and help coordinate the team, he told the magazine.

Every lifeboat station has a Community Lifesaving Plan which identifies the most popular water activities within a community so that volunteers like me can give relevant water safety advice to those most at risk. 

John told the RNLI “ I was at sea in a big cargo ship on the night of 9 December 1981 when the Penlee lifeboat Solomon Browne and her crew perished. It was one hell of a night. We made a collection from all onboard and sent it to Penlee. The tragedy also inspired me to become an Offshore RNLI member. 

Then 14 years later, on 16 November 1995, I was driving home from Belfast after spending a week on a ferry as senior officer. As I was coming into Howth, I could hear a helicopter. I drove along the harbour and saw the trawler Scarlet Buccaneer being thrown up and down the harbour wall and the lifeboat crew trying to save the fishermen onboard. It was horrendous. There was a full gale blowing. The next day I saw the wreck of the Scarlet Buccaneer in two halves. Thankfully, the lifeboat crew managed to rescue all four fishermen but sadly one died on the way to the hospital. I decided there and then that if I ever got a shore job, I would become an RNLI volunteer.  

More of the interview with John McKenna is here

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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