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Displaying items by tag: Scotland

#MCIB - Protocols for SAR helicopter rescues and the use of emergency portable pumps should be included in safety training for fishing vessels.

Those were among the recommendations from the Marine Casualty Investigation Board's (MCIB) report on the sinking of the trawler Iúda Naofa off Scotland a year ago.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the Aran Islands registered trawler sank suddenly off the Outer Hebrides on 20 January 2015 after it began taking on water.

The boat's five crew were rescued immediately by an accompanying vessel and the UK coastguard, and none required medical attention, according to the MCIB.

But the board's report into the incident highlighted the lack of knowhow regarding hi-line protocols for helicopter operations among the crew, with only one fisherman on board having any prior knowledge.

As a result the crew were unable to release the emergency pump dropped from the helicopter from its standard clasp, nor determine how to operate it despite the instructions being included – though in this particular situation the flooding was too great for the pump to be of use.

The MCIB was unable to determine the cause of the water ingress without physical evidence from the trawler, which could not be recovered.

It was noted that the vessel had adequate stability for normal working conditions, and that the crew made every effort to save the vessel – but were hampered by flooding in the compartment with the pumps and generators, which rendered them useless.

Also noted was that the while the crew were not all wearing lifejackets or fully zipped up in survival suits, after expressing difficulty working on rescuing their boat with them on, they evacuated the vessel without panic and looked after each other.

The release of the report coincides with a new campaign by Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) to encourage all in the fishing industry to wear personal flotation devices – or PFDs – where appropriate, according to The Irish Times.

BIM's statistics show that more than half of all fishermen in Ireland do not wear a lifejacket or PFD while at sea, despite the availability of free safety gear on subsidised training courses.

It's also despite 36% of fishermen reporting that the know of a colleague who has died at sea.

The Irish Times has much more on the story HERE.

Published in MCIB

#MarineWildlife - The killer whale found beached on a Scottish island last weekend likely died after getting entangled in fishing gear for days, say experts.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the orca known as Lulu to researchers, who have been tracking her unique pod since the early 1990s, was discovered on the island of Tiree in the Inner Hebrides last Sunday 3 January.

Lulu's "evolutionary significant" group has been under threat for years due to the absence of calves among its number since scientists began monitoring them around the Scottish and north Irish coasts.

But according to The Press and Journal, Lulu's death was not down to natural causes – with a post-mortem report from experts at the Scottish Marine Animal Strandings Scheme claiming "convincing evidence that she had become chronically entangled" in fishing gear, with deep wounds consistent with a rope wrapping around her tail.

“There were no ropes or gear left on the carcass," said the scientists in a statement. "We’re assuming all this from the lesions we found on her body, so we don’t know if this was due to active fishing gear, abandoned or ‘ghost’ gear, or other marine debris."

The Press and Journal has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#MarineWildlife - One of the last remaining members of a unique pod of killer whales has been found dead on a Scottish island.

As STV News reports, the orca known as Lulu to marine researchers was found beached on the island of Tiree in the Inner Hebrides on Scotland's west coast on Sunday 3 January.

Like John Doe, who is believed to have survived an altercation with a shark a year ago, Lulu was one of a familiar family of orcas that's regularly seen off Scotland and even as far west as the Donegal coast.

It's a pod that's piqued the interest of marine science due to its genetic distinctiveness from other orcas in the North Atlantic, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

But the "evolutionary significant" group's numbers have been dwindling in recent years due to the absence of calves since scientists started tracking them more than two decades ago.

"It is particularly sad to know that another one of these killer whales, unique to the British and Irish Isles, has died," said the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust. "There may be as few as eight individuals remaining in this population."

STV News has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#Submarine - RAF aircraft have been joined by French and Canadian counterparts as well as a Royal Navy frigate in the search for a Russian submarine reported to have been seen off the Scottish coast.

According to The Scotsman, it's believed the search has been ongoing for more than a week after a vessel was detected north of Scotland, though the UK's Ministry of Defence would neither confirm nor deny such a search was taking place.

The news comes some three months after a Donegal crab boat reported a near-miss with a submarine off Tory Island on Ireland's North Coast.

It's not known what country's military that submarine represented, but it is feared that Russian subs might be secretly surveying undersea internet cables for potential strategic advantage.

However, searches for such rogue submarines have been blamed by environmentalists for prompting significant whale strandings, as reported on Afloat.ie earlier this year.

The Scotsman has more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastal Notes

#Tourism - Ireland is lagging behind our Scottish neighbours when it comes to strategy for growing marine tourism.

That's according to Dun Laoghaire Marina, which today (Friday 20 November) tweeted on the impending announcement in Edinburgh of a five-year action plan to grow Scotland's marine tourism industry by £90 million (€128.7 million).

Connected with that are moves to boost sailing tourism by nearly 50% of its current £100 million value to the Scottish economy, as STV News reports.

"Providing authentic experiences, improving the customer journey and building industry capabilities" are the three themes identified in the Scottish plan to develop both infrastructure and facilities for coastal and waterway attractions, and events and initiatives highlighting the same.

While local strategies are being devised in Ireland, such as Galway City Council's recent six-year tourism blueprint to take advantage of the successful Wild Atlantic Way initiative, Dun Laoghaire Marina laments that there is nothing in this country comparable to Scotland's national plan, nor the Scottish Parliament's Cross-Party Group on Recreational Boating and Marine Tourism.

That's despite the focus on the marine sector and the 'blue economy' championed at this summer's second Ocean Wealth Conference.

What do you think? Does Ireland need a clearer roadmap towards making the most of our marine resources for tourism? Let us know in the comments below

Published in Aquatic Tourism
Tagged under

#Windfarm - Scotland is set to host the first floating offshore windfarm in British and Irish waters, as the Guardian reports.

Backed by Norwegian energy giant Statoil, the Hywind Scotland project will comprise five 6MW turbines interconnected by cables and anchored to the seabed, generating energy to power as many as 20,000 homes.

Construction is set to begin off mainland Scotland's easternmost point at Peterhead in the new year, and is expected to see reduced generating costs well below £100MWh.

It's also hoped that the pioneering scheme will lead to the use of more remote and deeper water sites for the windfarms of the future.

The Guardian has more on the story HERE.

Published in Power From the Sea

Sightings of juvenile minke whales off Scotland’s west coast increased in 2015 to the highest ever recorded within a survey season, during marine research expeditions carried out by Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust – indicating either a significant increase in actual numbers or an influx of minke whales from elsewhere.

The charity’s 2015 research season also recorded the highest annual number of common dolphin sightings since its expeditions began, with 723 individuals observed over 63 encounters. The common dolphin was once uncommon in the Hebrides, but the trust’s encounter rate with the species has more than doubled over the past 12 years, also for reasons that remain unclear.

Kerry Froud, Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust Biodiversity Officer, said: “These intriguing changes in Scotland’s marine life highlight the importance of long-term monitoring of cetaceans – so that we can better understand what is happening in our waters, and then make management recommendations to better protect this world-class area of marine biodiversity.”

The studies were carried out between May to October by scientists and volunteers on board Silurian, the trust’s dedicated research yacht. The research forms part of the trust’s unique long-term monitoring of whales, dolphins and porpoises – collectively known as cetaceans – in the Hebrides. Information on basking sharks is also collected during the surveys.

A steady increase in the encounter rate with minke whale juveniles since 2011 was particularly marked this year, with the highest rate of young whales recorded since the trust started boat-based surveys in 2003. The 2015 surveys documented an encounter rate of 1 young minke whale per 286 km – three times the average over the trust’s entire dataset.

The minke whale is the smallest of the baleen whales – species which utilise baleen plates rather than teeth to feed – in the North Atlantic, measuring up to 10 metres in length, and is the most commonly sighted baleen whale species in the UK. Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust holds an identification catalogue of 125 minke whales known to have visited the Hebrides – of which some individuals return to the same areas annually, while others may only be passing through.

While an increase in the encounter rate with young minke whales is encouraging, there are still very serious issues regarding the conservation of this migratory species. To the north of Scotland, both Iceland and Norway still hunt minke whales. It remains unknown whether or not the minke whales that swim through Scottish waters frequent the waters where they risk being hunted.

The record number of common dolphin sightings – coupled with the most northerly sighting of the species ever recorded in September this year, off Tromso in Norway – suggests that changes are underway within our seas and oceans. The causes, and wider effects on the marine environment and other species, are still unclear – underlining the importance of on-going research.

Additionally, the number of white-beaked dolphin encounters almost doubled in comparison to 2014, although many of these encounters were made during one particular day of survey around the Butt of Lewis. This rarer, colder water species is confined to the north Atlantic and prefers temperate to sub-Arctic waters – meaning that the warming of Hebridean seas, at a rate of 0.5°C per decade, is expected to exert increased pressure on the populations found off Scotland’s west coast.

White-beaked dolphins have been the focus of acoustic research by Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust, with a study in 2013 discovering that white beaked dolphin populations off the east and west coasts of Scotland have distinct acoustic signatures, almost like accents.

Alongside warming seas and climate change, human activities causing increasing stress on cetaceans and basking sharks include fisheries by-catch, pollution, underwater noise and habitat loss.

Cetacean entanglement in litter and fishing gear can cause mobility problems, injury and even death, and the trust is working cooperatively with the fishing industry and other researchers in the UK to better understand this problem so that it can be addressed. This year, ironically whilst the Silurian crew was celebrating a volunteer’s 60th birthday, a bunch of balloons was retrieved from the water – a reminder that celebratory balloons, even if marketed as ‘biodegradable’, can have lasting consequences for our wider environment.

Silurian – previously used in filming of the BBC’s The Blue Planet series – covered more than 4,000 nautical miles in 2015, its crew of volunteers and marine scientists documenting more than 1,200 encounters with cetaceans and basking sharks, and recording almost 625 hours of underwater detections of cetaceans using specialist listening equipment.

Despite less than favourable weather conditions, the overall encounter rate remained steady, with eight sightings of cetaceans per 100 km recorded, compared to nine per 100 km in 2014 and five per 100 km in 2013.

The annual surveys depend on paying volunteers. In 2015, 69 dedicated volunteers clocked up 760 survey hours – working with marine scientists to conduct visual surveys and acoustic monitoring with hydrophones (underwater microphones) monitored by computers, and identifying individual cetaceans through photography of dorsal fins.

The trust – based in Tobermory on the Isle of Mull – is recruiting volunteers for its 2016 surveys, to live and work as citizen scientists onboard Silurian for expeditions of one to two weeks from April to September. Participation costs cover boat expenses, support the trust’s research programme and include accommodation, training, food and insurance. For details, contact Morven Russell at [email protected], call 01688 302620, or visit www.hwdt.org.

Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust has been monitoring marine mega fauna in the Hebrides for 13 years, and is the only organisation collecting long-term data on such a large scale on Scotland’s west coast. A short film about its marine surveys is above.

Western Scotland’s seas are one of Europe’s most important habitats for cetaceans and one of the UK’s most biologically productive areas. So far 24 of the world’s 83 cetacean species have been recorded in the region, many being national and international conservation priority species.

Published in Marine Wildlife
Tagged under

#ROWING: The Ireland senior team for the Home International Regatta in Strathclyde in Scotland on July 25th has been named. Justin Ryan, who was a senior Ireland international in 2013, will compete in the lightweight single sculls. The selection was based on performances at Cork Regatta, but the times used were from the manual system, as there were problems with the automatic system. The athlete levy will be €400.

 

SENIOR MEN
The following Senior Men have been selected to compete for Rowing Ireland at the
Home International
Regatta 2015
SENIOR
MEN SCULLING
1
x
Luke Keating
Carlow RC
Lwt 1
x
Justin Ryan Skibbereen RC
2x
Fionnan Groome Commercial RC
Ronan Allen Garda BC
Lwt 2x
Declan O’Connor St Michaels RC
Raymond O’Mahony Waterford BC
4x
Justin Ryan Skibbereen RC
Declan O’Connor St Michaels RC
Luke Keating Carlow RC
Fionnan Groome Commercial RC
SENIOR
MEN SWEEP
2
-
Neil Gahan Commercial RC
Colm Dowling Commercial RC
Lwt 2
-
TBD
4
-
Max Murphy UCD BC
Niall Farrell UCD BC
Ken McCarthy Skibbereen RC
Murray Connolly Skibbereen RC
4+
Andy Harrington UCC RC
Alex O’Riordan UCC RC
David O’Leary UCC RC
Sean O’Sullivan UCC RC
Gavin Connolly - Cox Commercial RC
8+
Neil Gahan Commercial RC
Colm Dowling Commercial RC
Max Murphy UCD BC
Niall Farrell UCD BC
Ken McCarthy Skibbereen RC
Murray Connolly Skibbereen RC
Andy Harrington UCC RC
Alex O’Riordan UCC RC
Gavin Connolly - Cox Commercial RC
The crews listed above are not listed in seat order in t
he boats
Page 2 of 3
SENIOR WOMEN
The following Senior Women have been selected to compete for Rowing Ireland at
the Home International
Regatta 2015
SENIOR
WOMEN SCULLING
1
x
Julia Vascotto Castleconnell
BC
Lwt 1
x
Sarah Quinn Belfast BC
2x
Olivia Blundell Belfast BC
Chloe Deyermond MCB RC
Lwt 2x
Phoebe Mulligan Belfast BC
Kirstie Turner Belfast BC
4x
Sarah Quinn Belfast BC
Phoebe Mulligan Belfast BC
Kirstie Turner Belfast BC
Julia Vascotto Castleconnell
BC
The crews listed above are not listed in seat order in t
he boats
SENIOR
WOMEN SWEEP
2
-
Michelle Lonergan Shannon RC
Helen Ryan Shannon RC
Lwt 2
-
TBD
4
-
Aoife Gilligan Shannon RC
Karen Joy Shannon RC
Dineka Maguire QUBLBC
Aine De Baroid QUBLBC
4+
Anne O’Leary Commercial RC
Edel Garry Commercial RC
Martina Bracken Commercial RC
Emma Feerick Neptune RC
Shauna Fitzsimons – Cox Commercial RC
8+
Michelle Lonergan Shannon RC
Helen Ryan Shannon RC
Anne O’Leary Commercial RC
Edel Garry Commercial RC
Aoife Gilligan Shannon RC
Karen Joy Shannon RC
Martina Bracken Commercial RC
Emma Feerick Neptune RC
Shauna Fitzsimons - Cox Commercial RC
The crews listed above are not listed in seat order
 
Published in Rowing

#Shipping - Stricken cargo ship the Lysblink Seaways was set to be moved to a safe haven yesterday afternoon (25 February) in advance of poor weather.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the 120m-long vessel ran around near Ardnamuchan Point in Scotland's West Highlands a week ago while en route from Belfast to Norway.

The ship later refloated in high tide a day after her hull was lifted onto the rocky shore near Kilchoan.

Divers began inspections for damage as the Lysblink Seaways dropped anchor near the grounding spot in Mingary Bay.

But according to Practical Boat Owner, severe weather forecast for the next few days prompted quick action to pump out more than 150 tonnes of fuel from the ship.

She was then scheduled to be towed to a safe anchorage at Scallastle Bay in the Sound of Mull, some 17 miles away.

Practical Boat Owner has more on the story HERE.

Published in Ports & Shipping

#aquatictourism – The British Marine Federation is launching a Marine Tourism Strategy in March at the Scottish Tourism Week National Conference. Over 500 decision makers and key players in the tourism industry will be attending the event.

By 2020, the BMF say they want Scotland to be: "A marine tourism destination of first choice for high quality, value for money and memorable customer experience delivered by skilled and passionate people."

The Marine Tourism Strategy is an initiative led by a working group of industry leaders and user groups together with public agencies and enterprise bodies to focus on the sustainable growth of Scotland's marine leisure sector. 'With your help we can build the economic benefits of marine tourism for Scotland as a whole, and for all of our individual businesses, teams, employees and families' says BMF. 

Scotland's marine environment is one of its crown jewels and encompasses some of the world's most beautiful and varied boating waters. Whether visitors seek adventure, wildlife, family boating experiences, day or extended visits, coastal, offshore or inland waters, Scotland's marine offer is complete, varied and of the highest standard.

 

Published in Aquatic Tourism
Page 4 of 11

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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