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Displaying items by tag: Royal Cork Yacht Club

After four races sailed at Royal Cork Yacht Club's Optimist Dinghy Class Burns Trophy Alana Twomey leads the 24-boat main fleet in the month-long series.

Lying second overall is JP Curtin with third place taken by Oisin Pierse. 

RCYC's Burns Trophy is now in its 26th year and this year's edition has had some ideal racing conditions so far. 

Two races, plus one for fun, is the format under the stewardship of PRO Andrew Crosbie. 

Bob Bateman's photo gallery is below and results are here.

Published in Optimist

Royal Cork Yacht Club Admiral Colin Morehead was aboard Royal Cork's Jap for some pre-race preparations before next Saturday's big race from Cobh to Blackrock. 

'She's So light, so responsive, an absolute joy to sail' was the verdict from the Admiral as the immaculately restored but engineless Cork Harbour One Design was put through its paces just south of Spike Island.

As Afloat previously reported the yacht that has been gifted to RCYC was originally built in Cork Harbour at Carrigaloe in 1897.

Jap is stored ashore by RCYC in its own special container and launching trailer. Plans are afoot to introduce more people to the historic craft over the course of the winter and next season.

See Bob Bateman's Jap photo slideshow below

Published in Historic Boats

It is unusual to have two leading figures sharing the "Sailor of the Month (Services to Sailing)" award. And it surely unique when one is Admiral of the world's oldest yacht club, the Royal Cork at Crosshaven, in its Tricentenary Year, while the other is Commodore of the National YC in Dun Laoghaire as it marks its 150th Anniversary.

Yet both have shared an indomitable spirit in encouraging and leading their members in whatever sailing and club activity is possible through the COVID-19 crisis, and both, in turn, have seen their members support with a sense of responsible community which is a credit to both clubs, and to Irish sailing generally.

This was celebrated by a very special occasion on the morning of Saturday, August 22nd, when a small but select and carefully-choreographed gathering, hosted by Commodore Martin McCarthy at the National YC, marked the imminent start of the Fastnet 450 Race to the Fastnet Rock and Crosshaven. Afloat and ashore, it was to be a very special event which cemented the links between the clubs and their senior flag officers, and provided Irish sailing with a much-needed highlight in a difficult year.

Admiral Morehead attended from Cork – as did his predecessor Thomas G French for the first such race 160 years ago, in 1860 - and there too was the new Cathaoirleach of Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, Councillor Una Power, to show her support for the increasingly important role sailing fulfills in the harbour.

ISORA Chairman Peter Ryan and SCORA Commodore Johanna Murphy at the National YCISORA Chairman Peter Ryan and SCORA Commodore Johanna Murphy at the National YC

Also, there were former NYC Commodore and current ISORA Chairman Peter Ryan - whose organisational support and loan of Yellowbrick Trackers was vital to the success of the race – and current SCORA Commodore Johanna Murphy of Cobh who, together with RCYC Rear Admiral Annamarie Murphy and Mark Mansfield, formed the core trio that put this very successful pop-up race into place.

As for the Guests of Honour, they emphasised the long and healthy links between the two clubs. One was Clayton Love Jnr, who amalgamated the Royal Cork and Royal Munster in 1967 to give it full strength for its Quarter Millennium fifty years ago, when he served as Admiral RCYC while at the same time being President of the Irish Yachting Association, which he guided into national authority status from being the Irish Dinghy Racing Association.

At the National YC for the start of the Fastnet 450 were Clayton Love Jnr – Admiral of the Royal Cork YC for its Quarter Millennial Celebrations in 1969-70, and founding President of the Irish Yachting Association – with the National Yacht Club's Carmel Winkelmann, who in the 1960s was involved in founding the NYC's Junior Section, and then played a major national role in junior training for the IYA.

And the other was the National Yacht Club's own indomitable Carmel Winkelmann, who in the 1960s led the way in setting up the pioneering junior training section in the National YC, and from that went on to play a major national role in Junior Training through the IYA.

It may have been a socially-distanced gathering of very restricted numbers, but in national sailing terms – both current and historical - it certainly packed formidable firepower, and well illustrates why we feel honoured to celebrate Colin Morehead and Martin McCarthy as our "Sailors of the Month (Services to Sailing)" for August 2020.

Published in Sailor of the Month

Alex Barry, Sandy Rimmington and Richard Leonard sailing Aquadisiacs were the overall winners of an 11-boat National 18 Southern Championships at Royal Cork Yacht Club last weekend.

The Royal Cork/Monkstown Bay trio won by a margin of three points over Barry's older brother Ewen steering FOMO crewed by Stanley Brown and Dion Barrett on 14 points. Two points back was third overall, Fifty Shades sailed by Laser ace Nick Walsh, Rob Brownlow and Eddie Rice. 

The  Aquadisiacs crew sailed a consistent seven-race series on Cork Harbour dipping only once out of the top three in a scoreline that included two race wins.

National 18 Southern Championships 2020 Results

National 18 Southern Championships 2020 ResultsNational 18 Southern Championships 2020 Results

See National 18 Southerns photo slideshow by Bob Bateman below

Published in Cork Harbour

Minister of Foreign Affairs and of Defence Simon Coveney TD marked the Royal Cork Yacht Club's 300th birthday at a small ceremony on Haulbowline island this weekend (Saturday 29 Aug), the Irish Naval Headquarters and home of the original 'Water Club of the harbour of Cork', as it was known back in 1720.

He was joined by the Chief of Staff of the Irish Defence Forces, Vice Admiral Mark Mellett, Flag Officer Commanding Naval Service Commodore Michael Malone, and the Admiral of the Royal Cork Yacht Club Colin Morehead.

The Minister also visited a new Royal Cork Yacht Club Exhibition, supported by AIB, at the Sirius Arts Centre in Cobh, another former home of the sailing club from 1854 to 1966. The exhibition, which will run until December, looks back on the history of the club over 300 years, and what life was like during its time in Cobh.

The Minister also visited a new Royal Cork Yacht Club Exhibition, supported by AIB, at the Sirius Arts Centre in Cobh, another former home of the sailing club from 1854 to 1966The Minister also visited a new Royal Cork Yacht Club Exhibition, supported by AIB, at the Sirius Arts Centre in Cobh, another former home of the sailing club from 1854 to 1966

The Royal Cork, which is the oldest sailing club in the world, had to rescheduled most of its Cork300 events series planned to celebrate its 300th birthday until July 2021, as a result of Covid-19.
The National 18 Southern Championships and the AIB 1720 Southern Championships went ahead this weekend, with activity limited to the water.

The hope is to truly mark the significant occasion next summer with a Tricentenary Maritime Parade in Cobh, a Tricentenary at Home Weekend Regatta, a Powerboat Festival, an exciting world-record attempt, A Family Race to the City, a Cork300 Gala Dinner in Cork City Hall, a Wild Atlantic Way Cruise in Company along the Cork and Kerry coastline, and more events yet to be announced.

The celebrations will coincide with the Irish Navy's 75th anniversary and the final year of Seafest in Cork, making it a significant year for maritime celebrations in the county.

Commenting at the ceremony at Haulbowline, Minister Simon Coveney said, "It is a real pleasure to mark the 300th birthday of the Royal Cork Yacht Club. This is the oldest sailing club in the world and it all began here on Haulbowline Island, where the headquarters for the Irish Naval service is today, 300 years ago. The Club has grown and expanded since then - starting in Haulbowline, then moving to the Sirius in Cobh, before it's current home in Crosshaven. It is a huge part of Cork harbour's history and it is a history we are all very proud of.

"We should have been celebrating with one of the most significant maritime festivals in the history of Cork harbour this summer, certainly in my lifetime, but because of Covid-19 none of that has been possible. I am delighted we could hold a small ceremony here with the Admiral of the Club Colin Morehead, the Chief of Staff of the Irish Defence Forces Vice Admiral Mark Mellett, and the Flag Officer Commanding Naval Service Commodore Michael Malone, to recognise this very important day."

Admiral of the Royal Cork Yacht Club Colin Morehead said, "I am really proud to stand here today at the original home of the Water Club of Cork, 300 years on from when it was founded by 25 pioneering individuals, alongside Minister Coveney, the Chief of Staff of the Irish Defence Forces and the Flag Officer Commanding Naval Service. It is with deep regret that we had to reschedule our celebratory events, but public health must come first. We hope that by 2021 we will be in a much better position to truly celebrate the momentous feat of having the oldest sailing club in the world here in Cork.

"I hope the public will visit the excellent exhibition at the Sirius over the coming months. As branch manager of AIB in Cobh, I am proud to have this exhibition in the town and to have it sponsored by AIB. I would like to sincerely congratulate the team at Sirius."

A number of sailing events are currently still scheduled to take place from September to November 2020, including the AIB Cork300 Autumn League which will be held over 5 weekends leading up to the October Bank Holiday. This is expected to be the largest yacht racing event on the South Coast of Ireland this year. Sailing teams from across the country also hope to compete in Cork Harbour for the title of AIB Irish Team Racing National Champion 2020 from 21-22 November.

Published in Cork300

Robert O'Leary's Dutch Gold Baltimore Sailing Club crew add the AIB Southern Championship title to their 1720 sportsboat trophy haul after an emphatic six-point win at Cork Harbour today. 

O'Leary counted a tally of eight results inside the top four to win the Royal Cork Yacht Club hosted event. The Cork ace had one poor result scored in race eight today where he finished 12th, a result that he later discarded.

The winds for the 14-boat championships came in like a lion for the opening races on Friday with some big breeze but then went out like a lamb as forecast today with the final two races sailed in light airs. O'Leary however, managed to prove himself across the wind range by making a strong recovery in today's final race nine to win it, his fourth race win of the weekend.

Second overall was Royal Cork's T-Bone (Durcan/O'Shea). Third was the Royal Cork and Howth Yacht Club entry Ropedock/Atara (Ross McDonald/English) who held second place throughout the championships until a disqualification from the final race.

1720 Southern Championships Results Overall1720 Southern Championships Results Overall

1720 Southern Championships at Royal Cork Yacht Club Day Three Slideshow

Published in 1720

The overnight AIB 1720 Southern championships leader Robert O'Leary has built a five-point winning margin after five more races were sailed today at the Royal Cork Yacht Club hosted event. 

The Baltimore Sailing Club crew sailing 'Dutch Gold' are putting in a consistent performance, similar to that of three weeks ago at the 1720 Baltimore Cup which they won on countback against O'Leary's father, Anthony. 

Tight racing for Southern Championships honours in the 14 boat 1720 sportsboat fleetTight racing for Southern Championships honours in the 14 boat 1720 sportsboat fleet Photo: Bob Bateman

Dutch Gold has not been outside the top four in any of the seven races sailed so far this weekend. Today, the West Cork sailing team earned four top three results (and two wins) from five races sailed in the 14-boat fleet.

Conditions were not as windy as Day One but there were still some big gusts. Photo: Bob BatemanConditions were not as windy as Day One but there were still some big gusts. Photo: Bob Bateman

Staying second overall, Howth Yacht Club's Ross McDonald in Ropedock -Atara trails by five points and is a similar margin ahead of third-placed T-Bone (Tom Durcan/).

Racing continues tomorrow and the forecast is for lighter winds.

1720 Southern Championships Overall after Seven Races Sailed

1720 southern championships results

1720 Southern Championships Photo Gallery Day Two By Bob Bateman 

Published in 1720

It's very tight at the top of the 14-boat fleet after a breezy first day of the AIB 1720 Southern Championships at Royal Cork Yacht Club yesterday.

Two races were sailed outside Cork Harbour to the South West of Roches Point in 15 - 28 knots of wind under Race Officer Ciaran MacSweeney with Interantional Race Officer Jack Roy also on board the Committee Boat.

Race One was sailed on small sails to ease the fleet into it and Rope Dock Atara had a storming victory.

Overall leaders - Rob O'Leary and his crew in Dutch Gold from Baltimore Sailing Club lead but are tied on three points with Ropedock AtaraOverall leaders - Rob O'Leary and his crew in Dutch Gold from Baltimore Sailing Club lead but are tied on three points with Ropedock Atara Photo: Deirdre Horgan

Race Two saw the Q flag lowered, a strengthening tide and an unexpected increase in the breeze. With big sails on it was a monster of a race and with all bar one boat falling over, there was plenty of action.

Ropedock Atara (Ross McDonald/English) Photo: Deirdre HorganRopedock Atara (Ross McDonald/English) Photo: Deirdre Horgan 

This time Robert O'Leary and crew took a convincing first with Atara second and they now share the points lead with a one, two each but with O'Leary winning the final race of the day he sits on top of the scoresheet under the tie-break rule.

T-Bone (Durcan/O'Shea) from RCYCT-Bone (Durcan/O'Shea) from RCYC

An early start this morning at 10:25 will see up to four races for the fleet.

A start at the 1720 AIB sponsored Southern Championships off Cork HarbourA start at the 1720 AIB sponsored Southern Championships Photo: Deirdre Horgan 

Results are here

1720 Southern Championships Day One Photo Gallery below

Published in 1720

Sailing in Cork took a hammering in the past week, from Storm Ellen and COVID 19, the combined effects of which destroyed a lot of work by four of the major clubs on the South Coast.

Disheartening for the sport and for club members who voluntarily put many hours of work into keeping within Government guidelines while preserving major events in the sailing calendar, but all of which effort came to naught.

Sailing Event Cancellations

Two Cork Harbour clubs, the Royal Cork Yacht Club at Crosshaven and Monkstown Bay Sailing Club, with the support of Cork Port at its new leisure boat launching facility at Ringaskiddy, made late changes to running the Laser Nationals, which were brought to an end when the Government imposed further restrictions. Those also stopped the RCYC Tricentenary Parade salute to the club's history and its planned 'At Home' this coming weekend. The RCYC had already suffered several wipe-outs of its 300th celebration plans that will now take place in 2021.

That was followed by the cancellation of Dragon Week at Kinsale which had been arranged to replace the previously cancelled international Gold Cup.

The village of Crosshaven in Cork Harbour where so many plans to celebrate Royal Cork's 300th Birthday have been postponed til 2021. Photo: Bob BatemanThe village of Crosshaven in Cork Harbour where so many plans to celebrate Royal Cork's 300th birthday have been postponed unttil 2021. Photo: Bob Bateman

Diligent Sailing Clubs

The three clubs stayed diligently within new Government restrictions though my question to Government about the contradiction in allowing more people to congregate internally than at outdoor events, a contradiction which challenges the benefits of sport and outdoor activity, goes unanswered so far. The anger expressed privately when the Golfgate scandal was revealed, was considerable and justified, in my view.

Added to this was the situation for Cove Sailing Club, hit hard by Storm Ellen causing considerable damage to its recently-opened marina.

West Cork Whale 'Boomerang'

A bad week for sailing on the South coast, so I was looking for something to lift spirits, which came when the best-known whale in Irish waters was discovered back in West Cork. This is Boomerang, pictured here in a stunning photograph by Ronan McLaughlin, provided by courtesy of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group.

Boomerang is back in Irish watersBoomerang is back in Irish waters Photo: Ronan McLaughlin, courtesy IWDG

Boomerang likes the waters of Cork and Waterford, but seemingly not Kerry! Identified by the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group, he is an adult male humpback whale, first seen off the West Cork coast nineteen years ago this month - in August of 2001.

"He is by far the best-known whale in Irish waters and his annual return most years to our local waters, is the strongest evidence we have of the importance of our inshore waters for these gentle giants," Padraig Whooley, Sightings Officer of IWDG reported on my radio programme, THIS ISLAND NATION. "Interestingly," Padraig said, "Boomerang, despite over 53 sightings in almost 20 years has never once been recorded in Kerry, only Cork and Waterford."

Maybe, I wonder, he doesn't want to challenge Fungi in Dingle?

Padraig Whooley of IWDG has more about Boomerang on the Podcast below

Published in Tom MacSweeney

The Royal Cork Yacht Club has rescheduled the biggest weekend of its Cork300 tricentenary celebrations, planned for 28-30 August, in light of new government restrictions on outdoor and sporting events announced last week.

Many of the events, which included a Tricentenary Maritime Parade in Cobh, a Tricentenary at Home Weekend Regatta, and the Fastnet Powerboat Challenge, an exciting world-record attempt, had already been pushed back from earlier in the summer. A Family Race to the City on 12-13 September has also been put on hold. This follows on from the recent cancellation of Volvo Cork Week, the Great Gathering, and the inaugural Powerboat Festival.

The Crosshaven based sailing Club hopes to be in a position to reschedule most of these events, in addition to others that were previously cancelled like the Cork300 Gala Dinner in Cork City Hall and Cork300 Wild Atlantic Way Cruise in Company along the Cork and Kerry coastline, to July 2021.

The events will coincide with the Irish Navy’s 75th anniversary and the final year of Seafest in Cork, making it a big year for maritime celebrations in the county.

Small ceremony at Haulbowline

A number of small activities will still take place to mark the anniversary this weekend. Minister of Foreign Affairs and Defence Simon Coveney TD and Flag Officer Commanding Naval Service Commodore Michael Malone will join the Admiral of the Royal Cork Yacht Club Colin Morehead for a small ceremony at Haulbowline, the Irish Naval Headquarters and home of the original ‘Water Club of the harbour of Cork’, as it was known back in 1720.

A new Royal Cork Yacht Club Exhibition, supported by AIB, will also open at the Sirius Arts Centre in Cobh this Saturday, another former home of the sailing club from 1854 to 1966. The exhibition, which will run until December, will look back on the history of the club over 300 years, and what life was like during its time in Cobh.

The National 18 Southern Championships and the AIB 1720 Southern Championships will go ahead over the weekend, but activity will be limited to the water, with the clubhouse closed to visitors.

Commenting on the rescheduled events series, Admiral of the Royal Cork Yacht Club Colin Morehead said, “It is with deep regret that we have to yet again reschedule our celebratory events, but public health must come first. We hope that by 2021 we will be in a much better position to truly celebrate the momentous feat of having the oldest sailing club in the world here in Cork.

“I am delighted to be joined by Minister Coveney and Commodore Malone at Haulbowline to mark the actual anniversary of the Royal Cork in some small way, and I hope the public will visit the excellent exhibition at the Sirius over the coming months. As branch manager of AIB in Cobh, I am proud to have this exhibition in the town and to have it sponsored by AIB.”

A number of sailing events are currently still scheduled to take place from September to November 2020, including the AIB Cork300 Autumn League which will be held over 5 weekends leading up to the October Bank Holiday. This is expected to be the largest yacht racing event on the South Coast of Ireland this year. Sailing teams from across the country also hope to compete in Cork Harbour for the title of AIB Irish Team Racing National Champion 2020 from 21-22 November.

As the event only takes place every other year, the Royal Cork has also announced dates for its 2022 Volvo Cork Week Regatta, which will be held from 11-15 July 2022. Strong interest is already being received from several one design classes to hold their championships as part of the event.

Published in Cork300
Page 3 of 46

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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