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Displaying items by tag: Rescue 118

Sligo’s Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 118 was tasked yesterday (Friday 28 August) for a medevac from a container ship west of Tory Island.

The Sikorsky S-92 completed the 190-nautical mile round trip to retrieve the sick crewman from the MSC Sao Paulo for treatment on land.

Published in Coastguard

A woman rescued after falling from a cliff at Mullaghmore Head yesterday afternoon (Thursday 13 August) was “very lucky that she was spotted”.

The casualty was found unconscious at the bottom of the cliff on the Co Sligo headland by concerned passers-by who alerted the Irish Coast Guard.

Bundoran’s RNLI lifeboat volunteers and the Sligo-based coastguard helicopter Rescue 118 were both called out to the scene.

And the woman was treated by helicopter and ambulance crew before being airlifted to Sligo University Hospital.

Bundoran lifeboat crew member Rory O’Connor commented: “The casualty was very lucky that she was spotted and that the alert was raised so quickly.

“We would remind anyone that if they see anyone in trouble on the coast to ring 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Calls have been made for people rescued from the water while going against safety advice and weather warnings to be “handed the bill” for their rescue, after two surfers were saved off the Sligo coast during Storm Jorge at the weekend.

The Irish Times reports that the two surfers were winched aboard the Sligo-based Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 118 on Saturday morning (29 February) after one had lost his surfboard and another on shore had attempted to rescue him.

Storm conditions such as those presented by Storm Jorge — which prompted a Status Red marine warning for all Irish coastal waters — create the swells sought after by the big wave surfers regularly attracted to the Sligo coast, particularly at Mullaghmore, over the winter months.

But the situation on Saturday did not sit well with members of the public commenting online, who branded the surfers’ actions as “selfish” and “nonsense” and demanded they foot “the bill” for the launch of emergency services, or even face criminal prosecution.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Weather

Four people have been rescued from an island off the Sligo coast after their vessel washed up on rocks.

Bundoran RNLI’s volunteer crew launched to the incident at Inishmurray Island yesterday afternoon (Sunday 3 November) along with the Irish Coast Guard’s Sligo-based helicopter Rescue 118, which airlifted the casualties to hospital

The RNLI says the lifeboat made efforts to recover their boat from the rocks but due to a three-metre swell, it was decided to leave it in place.

Later, volunteer helm Rory O’Connor said: “The four casualties were lucky on this occasion and we are thankful that they alerted the coastguard when they did. This was another callout with a good outcome.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

RTÉ News reports that 15 young people were rescued from the sea off Donegal yesterday afternoon (Tuesday 13 August).

Ten were airlifted to hospital in Letterkenny after the group got into difficulty while swimming by the pier at Magheroarty in north-west Donegal, according to the Irish Coast Guard.

Several emergency calls were reportedly made by onlookers at the scene, where the Mulroy coastguard unit and Tory Island ferry Queen of Aran also stood by to assist.

A spokesperson for the Irish Coast Guard acknowledged the fortunate outcome, and singled out the crew of the Sligo-based SAR helicopter Rescue 118 “for their efficient response to a difficult challenge”.

Published in Coastguard

The Irish Mirror reports that a man has died after a fishing boat capsized off the Mayo coast yesterday afternoon (Tuesday 10 April).

It’s understood that the deceased was a man in his 50s from North Mayo. He was one of three men recovered from a life raft some 16 miles off Eagle Island after their vessel sank.

Ballyglass RNLI and the Irish Coast Guard’s Sligo-based helicopter Rescue 118 were immediately tasked to search the area when a Mayday broadcast was picked up shortly after 12.30pm.

Rescue 118 spotted flares less than an hour later and proceeded to airlift the casualties for transfer to Sligo University Hospital.

Published in News Update

#Coastguard - The Sligo-based Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 118 conducted a medevac for a passenger on board the cruise liner Marco Polo this morning (Wednesday 27 September).

Malin Rescue Coordination Centre received an early morning request from the UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA), who requested the Irish Coast Guard to assume coordination of the operation.

The rendezvous with the ship took place around 190 miles west of Erris Head shortly before 8.30am. Rescue 118 was expected to arrive with the casualty at University Hospital Galway before midday.

An Air Corps Casa maritime patrol aircraft was made available to provide communications and surveillance back up, known as ‘top cover’ but had to be redeployed to conduct two separate patient transfers to UK on foot of a request from the National Ambulance Service. This role was reassigned to the Dublin-based coastguard helicopter Rescue 116.

Weather conditions at the time were described as reasonable.

Published in Coastguard

#Rescue - Malin Head Coast Guard has issued a warning over changing tides after a series of rescues off the Donegal coast yesterday (Sunday 23 July).

The most serious of these involved a six-year-old girl whose inflatable was swept out to sea at Gweedore, as Independent.ie reports.

The Irish Coast Guard’s Sligo-based helicopter Rescue 118 was quickly dispatched to bring the girl to safety.

Coastguard officials have blamed the changing tide combined with high winds for conditions that also saw three kayakers require assistance in two separate incidents.

Last week Bundoran RNLI gave their own warning over rip currents after a group of GAA players were pulled out to sea.

Published in Rescue

#RNLI - Volunteers from Lough Ree RNLI had a successful training exercise with the Sligo-based Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 118 yesterday (Sunday 11 June).

The lifeboat and helicopter crews came together for a joint training exercise at Lough Ree Yacht Club amid changeable weather conditions, with winds Force 4-6 and frequent rain showers blowing through.

On arrival, Rescue 118 landed at the yacht club grounds where the pilot and crew briefed the Lough Ree RNLI volunteers, after which they invited the RNLI crew, family members and yacht club members to have a tour of the helicopter.

The exercise got underway with the lifeboat crew members being winched between their inshore lifeboat The Eric Rowse and the helicopter. The strong winds enabled easier hovering for the helicopter, and provided the lifeboat crew with an invaluable experience.

Speaking following the exercise, Lough Ree RNLI volunteer deputy press officer Sarah Bradbury said: “Joint training exercises such as today’s allows our crews to develop their skills, work with and share learning experiences with our colleagues in the Irish Coast Guard and most importantly prepare for working effectively with each other when the time comes and we need to help someone in need.”

The exercise came days after a busy bank holiday weekend for the Lough Ree lifeboat, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#Coastguard - Early this morning the Sligo-based Irish Coast Guard helicopter completed the medical evacuation of an injured crewman from a large tanker some 350km off Eagle Island in Co Mayo.

The overnight operation was jointly co-ordinated with the UK Coastguard who had initially been alerted by the tanker, which is on a transatlantic voyage to the Orkney Islands.

Weather conditions on scene were described as reasonable with northwesterly winds of up to 40km per hour.

The injured crewman was airlifted by Rescue 118 shortly before 8am, and the helicopter was due back in Sligo before 10.30am for transfer of the casualty to Sligo University Hospital.

Published in Coastguard
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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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