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Displaying items by tag: Rambler 100

28th November 2013

Rambler We Hardly Know You....

Last time the Irish maritime community were paying full attention to the super-maxi Rambler 100, she was white all over, she'd no keel, and she was upside down after her capsize near the Fastnet Rock during the race of 2011 writes WM Nixon.

Now she's sailing again in full racing trim. But Rambler, we hardly know you. You're right way up. Your canting keel is presumably very securely in place. And you're black, black, BLACK.

The new campaigner who has undertaken the massive refurbishment – if that's the right word – is Australian owner-skipper Anthony Bell. The restoration was done in New Zealand, where the big Juan K-designed machine was built by Cookson's in the first place, but everything about the boat's current career will be Australian-centred.

Her official launch earlier this month was performed by the Oz Prime Minister Tony Abbott, and the boat is now Perpetual LOYAL in a sponsorship linkup between two leading Australian brands. And of course the Sydney-Hobart Race on December 26th will be the debut par excellence, for despite being around for quite a few years now, even while being constantly up-dated the big lady has never done the dash to Tasmania.

So naturally the battle for line honours between current record-holder, the 100ft Wild Oat XI (owned by 35th America's Cup Challenger of Record Bob Oatley) and Perpetual Loyal is going to grab the headlines. But Wild Oats' current up-grade programme suffered a recent serious setback with the "catastrophic failure" of a new large lighter mast.

However, for Perpetual LOYAL aka Rambler Re-born, it's all systems go. Although Anthony Bell is himself has a CV of three Hobart races, he has signed on 29-races veteran Michael Coxon as sailing master, legendary American techno-ace Stan Honey is navigator, and the afterguard includes Olympic Gold Medallist and America's Cup superstar Tom Slingsby.

With entries looking to surge comfortably over the hundred mark, it has all the makings of a vintage Sydeny-Hobart, as there'll be a particularly good turnout among the biggies. Further down the fleet, Irish interest will also focus on the boats of the Round-the-World Clipper Fleet, taking part in the Hobart race for the first time. This a good move as it makes the Knox-Johnston project much more part of mainstream sailing, and the man himself will be navigating a former clipper boat in the race too.

But each Hobart race proves to be very much a case of horses for course, and over the years former CYCA Commodore Matt Allen (a veteran of 23 races) has concluded that a potent 60 footer offers the best all-round chance for the Tattersall's Cup, the prized troiphy for the overall handicap win. His new Carkeek 60 Ichi Ban is barely out of the wrappers after arriving from the Matt Allen-owned building facility in Dubai. With the looks of an up-dated and enlarged TP52, and current Australian champion offshore skipper Gordon Maguire on the helm, Ichi Ban might well be worth a flutter over Christmas.

Published in Offshore

#TOWAGE – The tug Ocean Bank that righted the capsized US entrant Rambler 100 following the Rolex Fastnet Race 2011, arrived in Dublin Bay recently with a barge under tow, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The Rambler 100 had overturned in force-five winds off Fastnet Rock arising from "dramatic and catastrophic" failure of the keel triggered events that ultimately delayed the rescue of the majority of her 21-strong crew, according to the official report by the MCIB into the capsize.

After the rescue of Rambler 100's crew, the yacht remained adrift but eventually was recovered by the Bere Island based tug Ocean Bank to the shelter of Barley Cove, west Cork. From there the 30 tonne bollard pull tractor tug operated by Atlantic Towage & Marine successfully up-righted the yacht.

This week's operation by the Ocean Bank involved towing a completely different type of vessel, the construction barge Skerchi from the south-west coast to a berth alongside Ocean Pier in Dublin Port.

Published in Ports & Shipping

#RAMBLER 100 - The "dramatic and catastrophic" failure of the keel on the Fastnet Race yacht Rambler 100 triggered a series of events that ultimately delayed the rescue of the crew, according to the official report into the capsize.

Among the conclusions of the report by the Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB) were that the upturned vessel would have been visible from a much greater distance by rescue crews had the hull been painted with a bright colour.

The report also advised yachtsmen to look out for signs of keel failure on one-off design yachts, many of which in previous cases were found to be caused by weld fractures.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the Rambler 100 capsized shortly after rounding Fastnet Rock during the 2011 edition of the Fastnet Race on 15 August last year.

Sixteen of the 21-strong crew managed to climb onto the upturned hull, while the other five were later picked up from the water after drifting away from the vessel. Photos of the rescue of the yacht's crew are available HERE.

The MCIB report found that the 100-foot racing yacht capsized very quickly once the keel had fractured, surprising the crew and leaving them no time to react other than to get to safety.

Because of this, a number of opportunities that may have hastened their rescue were missed, the report outlines.

Firstly, a 'Mayday' broadcast via the yacht's installed VHF received no response, possibly because the mast was quickly underwater. The navigator's handheld VHF radio was also lost while he was swimming out of the capsizing vessel.

It was noted that two grab bags containing EPIRBs were stored under the navigator's seats port and starboard which proved inaccessible once the boat was capsizing. The report concludes that had such equipment been located within reach of the companion way or by the helm, it would have proved easier for one of the crew to grab before leaving.

Two liferafts stored in containers on the aft deck were also inaccessible with the hull inverted. An alternate method of releasing them from their storage box would have made it possible to launch at least one of the rafts, the report asserted.

It was found that the leverage of the water ballast tanks contributed to the rapid inversion of the vessel once the boat lay on her side in the water. This left no time for the off-watch crew below deck at the time of the incident to reach either foul weather gear or personal flotation devices (PFDs).

The report also recommended that an escape hatch would have aided the off-watch crew's escape from the upturned hull, though thankfully they were able to remove themselves from below deck without becoming tangled in loose ropes or other equipment.

Although each crew member was issued with a safety pack containing a PLB and strobe light, only two were available to those on the upturned hull, and none to the five who drifted away. The report states that it "would have greatly aided the rescue services had each of the survivors carried their own PLB and activated it on entering the water".

Moreover, it was found that incomplete registration information for the two PLBs that were activated caused some confusion as to the identity of the vessel in distress, and led to a delay of around an hour before a full-scale search ad rescue operation was launched.

The report did not investigate the reason for the keel failure, only the fact that it caused the capsize, and that further analysis on the keel is being carried out by the appropriate authorities.

The MCIB also outlines a list of safety recommendations based on its conclusions which have been made primarily to the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) for inclusion in its special regulations for future offshore racing events.

The full report is available to download via the link below.

Published in MCIB
Fishermen and farmers make up more than half of all work-related fatalities in Ireland, according to the Minister for the Marine.
As The Irish Times reports, Simon Coveney TD decried it as an "absolute tragedy" in the Dáil.
He noted the progress being made in encouraging people to wear safety gear when on the water, but said there was "little or no progress in getting fishermen to wear lifejackets”.
"For some reason fishermen seem to think they will never fall in the water," the minister commented.
Cork South West TD Noel Harrington also raised the point of the Department of the Marine's refusal to use personal beacons that directly signal emergency services, rather than emergency position indicating radio beacons (EPIRB).
He referred to the capsizing of the Rambler 100 yacht in the Fastnet Race in August, saying that the latter did not go off to alert the coastguard as the boat had not sunk.

Fishermen and farmers make up more than half of all work-related fatalities in Ireland, according to the Minister for the Marine.

As The Irish Times reports, Simon Coveney TD decried it as an "absolute tragedy" in the Dáil. 

He noted the progress being made in encouraging people to wear safety gear when on the water, but said there was "little or no progress in getting fishermen to wear lifejackets”.

"For some reason fishermen seem to think they will never fall in the water," the minister commented.

Cork South West TD Noel Harrington also raised the point of the Department of the Marine's refusal to use personal beacons that directly signal emergency services, rather than emergency position indicating radio beacons (EPIRB).

He referred to the capsizing of the Rambler 100 yacht in the Fastnet Race in August, saying that the latter did not go off to alert the coastguard as the boat had not sunk.

Published in Water Safety
Search and rescue mapping software developed in Rhode Island was "instrumental" in efforts to retrieve crewmembers from the stricken Rambler 100 off Fastnet last week.
The SARMAP software, developed by ASA (Applied Science Associates, Inc) provides rapid predictions of the movement of drifting objects and missing persons at sea.
For search and rescue units it can provide search patterns and calculate the probability of containment, probability of detection, and probability of success.
As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the Rambler 100 capsized off the Cork coast while competing in last weekend's Rolex Fastnet Race.
The Rambler 100’s personal locator beacon activated when the yacht overturned, which alerted rescuers to the location of the 16 stranded crewmembers still with the vessel, but recovering the five lost at sea required a more advanced approach.
The Irish Coast Guard employed SARMAP’s sophisticated tracking capabilities to predict the movement of the drifting survivors and calculate a precise search area.
ASA President Eoin Howlett commented: “We have successfully worked with the Irish Coast Guard for many years; they are an innovative agency and have a history of implementing the latest in ocean technologies.
"We are very pleased that our software, combined with their rapid decision-making, resulted in such a positive outcome.”

Search and rescue mapping software developed in Rhode Island was "instrumental" in efforts to retrieve crewmembers from the stricken Rambler 100 off Fastnet last week.

The SARMAP software, developed by ASA (Applied Science Associates, Inc) provides rapid predictions of the movement of drifting objects and missing persons at sea. 

For search and rescue units it can provide search patterns and calculate the probability of containment, probability of detection, and probability of success.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the Rambler 100 capsized off the Cork coast while competing in last weekend's Rolex Fastnet Race.

The Rambler 100’s personal locator beacon activated when the yacht overturned, which alerted rescuers to the location of the 16 stranded crewmembers still with the vessel, but recovering the five lost at sea required a more advanced approach.

The Irish Coast Guard used SARMAP’s sophisticated tracking capabilities to predict the movement of the drifting survivors and calculate a precise search area.



ASA president Eoin Howlett commented: “We have successfully worked with the Irish Coast Guard for many years; they are an innovative agency and have a history of implementing the latest in ocean technologies. 

"We are very pleased that our software, combined with their rapid decision-making, resulted in such a positive outcome.”

Published in Fastnet
An injured man fisherman airlifted to hospital yesterday from a boat off Kerry coast, The Irish Times reports.
The Shannon-based Irish Coast Guard helicopter was dispatched to assist the crewmember on the UK-registered fishing vessel Achieve, some 110 miles southwest of the Blasket Islands.
He was airlifted to Tralee Regional Hospital, where he is being treated for serious injuries.
The incident marked the fourth time that the Shannon helicopter has been called into action this week.
This included its assistance of the crew of the yacht Rambler 100, which capsized near Fastnet Rock while competing in this year's Rolex Fastnet Race last weekend.

An injured man fisherman airlifted to hospital yesterday from a boat off Kerry coast, The Irish Times reports.

The Shannon-based Irish Coast Guard helicopter was dispatched to assist the crewmember on the UK-registered fishing vessel Achieve, some 110 miles southwest of the Blasket Islands. 

He was airlifted to Tralee Regional Hospital, where he is being treated for serious injuries.

The incident marked the fourth time that the Shannon helicopter has been called into action this week. 

This included its assistance of the crew of the yacht Rambler 100, which capsized near Fastnet Rock while competing in this year's Rolex Fastnet Race last weekend.

Published in Coastguard
The capsized Rolex Fastnet Race entrant Rambler 100 was not the only vessel that got into difficulties yesterday as an Aran Islands ferry became stranded off Doolin Pier, according to a report in today's Irish Times.
Rose of Aran, a passenger ferry operated by Aran Doolin Ferries stranded on rocks for three hours, just metres off Doolin Pier when making an approach at 11.30 am to collect passengers travelling to the islands. The ferry was between Crab Island and Doolin pier when it ran aground about 25m from the shore.

According to ferry operator Kevin O'Brien, there were no passengers on board at the time and the vessel got under way again when it was lifted from the rocks with the tide. Mr O'Brien added "this was a very minor incident and there was no damage to the ferry. Doolin is tidal so these things do happen. Even a few inches of water can make a difference".

The Irish Coast Guard was notified of the incident at midday, and its marine rescue co-ordination centre in Dublin requested that members of the local Coast Guard unit board the vessel to assess if there was a pollution risk.

Doolin Coast Guard personnel carried out an inspection and confirmed the ferry had not been damaged and there was no risk of pollution. At about 2.15pm the ferry got under way again with the tide. The company was able to operate services to and from the Aran Islands with its second vessel.

Published in Ferry
An Australian crewmember on the stricken Rambler 100, which capsized in high winds during yesterday's Rolex Fastnet Race, has told reported that he feels "lucky to be alive".
Mike Motti was one of five crew who were separated from the yacht when it overturned near Fastnet Rock off the Cork coast.
He and his fellow crewmembers spent two hours adrift on a liferaft before they were rescued in foggy conditions which made the search all the more difficult.
“I’m feeling lucky to be alive, happy to be here and it’s great to see the local people here to greet us,” Motti told The Irish Times.
Fellow crewman Michael van Beuren said the yacht capsized within 30 seconds when its keel fin snapped in heavy seas.
All 21 crew were rescued from the yacht last night in an operation led by the Baltimore RNLI lifeboat and the Irish Coast Guard.

An Australian crewmember on the stricken Rambler 100, which capsized in high winds during yesterday's Rolex Fastnet Race, has told reported that he feels "lucky to be alive".

Mike Motti was one of five crew who were separated from the yacht when it overturned near Fastnet Rock off the Cork coast. 

He and his fellow crewmembers spent two hours adrift on a liferaft before they were rescued in foggy conditions which made the search all the more difficult.

“I’m feeling lucky to be alive, happy to be here and it’s great to see the local people here to greet us,” Motti told The Irish Times.

Fellow crewman Michael van Beuren said the yacht capsized within 30 seconds when its keel fin snapped in heavy seas.

All 21 crew were rescued from the yacht last night in an operation led by the Baltimore RNLI lifeboat and the Irish Coast Guard.

Published in Fastnet

Antoher competing yacht in the Fastnet race captured dramatic photos of the stricken 100-footer. Team Phaedos' media personnel who were at the Fastnet Rock last night waiting for photogrpahs of their big catamaran passing 'the Rock' when they got a call from the Irish Coastguard for all ships in the area to be on standby.
The media crew immediately abandoned the photography project and called in to the Coasguard to offer help. They found all crew on the up-turned hull of Rambler were fine and well, but 5 crew had drifted off from the upturned hull and were no longer in sight. They searched the area were they had received a personal EBIRB transmission from and miraculously found the missing 5 crew after they had been in the water for 3 hours.
"We pulled aboard our dive vessel owner George David and his four crew members who had all been strapped together, cold, but healthy, happy, safe, and well" said Team Phaedo's Rachel Jasperson.  Dramatic Photos below.

Rambler_rescue_pheado_2

rambler_rescue_phaedo1

rRambler_rescue_phaedo_4

Published in Fastnet

Baltimore RNLI lifeboat crew were involved in the major rescue operation this evening (Monday 15 August 2011) when a 100 ft yacht capsized during the famous Fastnet race with a crew of 21 onboard.  Five of the crew were missing when the lifeboat arrived on scene while the remaining sixteen were huddled together on the upturned hull.

Ramblercrewrescue

Baltimore lifeboat finds crew clinging to a daggerboard. Photo: RNLI

The Baltimore RNLI lifeboat was out on exercise near the Fastnet rock when they were alerted by Valentia Coast Guard that an emergency signal had been picked up. The lifeboat volunteer crew under Coxswain Keiron Cotter proceeded to the area and started a search. About sixteen miles southwest of Baltimore and five miles south of the Fastnet the lifeboat crew spotted the upturned yacht with the sixteen crewmembers on the hull.  They told the lifeboat volunteers that five of their crew had drifted away from the yacht.  After a short search the Coxswain returned to the scene and recovered the casualties onboard.  They had been there for approximately three hours since their yacht capsized shortly after 5.30pm.

The other five crewmembers who were missing had managed to tether themselves together and were spotted in the water by the Baltimore deputy mechanic Jerry Smith who had taken out his own Dive boat to join in the search. One of the five was airlifted by the Irish Coast Guard helicopter to receive medical attention.

ramblercrewrejoice

Rescued crew rejoice that all are safe, some spent three hours in the water. Photo: RNLI

The remaining twenty were brought ashore at Balimore Harbour and taken to the local sailing club to be assessed.

Baltimore RNLI Coxswain Keiron Cotter said, "We had no idea what we were looking for and it was extremely hard to spot the upturned yacht in the water.  They had been there for about three hours with other vessels in the race passing nearby but not being able to see them.  We were out on exercise in the area where they capsized and we must have just missed them by minutes.

We saw a light in the distance and did not know what it was so we went closer to investigate it.  When we got nearer we saw that it was a torch the casualties were flashing to attract attention.  Our priority was to get them back to shore as quickly as possible."

More photos and latest news in our Fastnet Coverage here

Published in Fastnet
Page 1 of 2

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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