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Displaying items by tag: Scotland

Rescuers reports that a pod of around 60 pilot whales at risk of beaching in shallow waters off Scotland's Western Isles appear to be out of danger.
According to The Guardian, the whale pod alarmed conservationists by swmming into Loch Carnan in a remote part of South Uist last Thursday.
The whales have since moved into open water heading south, but Dave Jarvis of British Divers Marine Life Rescue said they were not yet in the clear, as the rocky coastline hosts a number of inlets and bays that could present dangers to the pod.
Some of the whales have injuries to their heads which are believed to be caused by striking the loch's jagged shoreline.
The Guardian has more on the story HERE.

Rescuers reports that a pod of around 60 pilot whales at risk of beaching in shallow waters off Scotland's Western Isles appear to be out of danger.

According to The Guardian, the whale pod alarmed conservationists by swmming into Loch Carnan in a remote part of South Uist last Thursday.

The whales have since moved into open water heading south, but Dave Jarvis of British Divers Marine Life Rescue said they were not yet in the clear, as the rocky coastline hosts a number of inlets and bays that could present dangers to the pod.

Some of the whales have injuries to their heads which are believed to be caused by striking the loch's jagged shoreline.

The Guardian has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife
The union representing coastguard staff in the UK has expressed its fears over the loss of air rescue services when a number of helicopters are transferred to Ireland next year.
Under CHC's €500m contract to provide search and rescue services for the Irish Coast Guard, four helicopters will be withdrawn from England and Scotland for redeployment in Ireland.
However, HeraldScotland reports that the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) has are no plans to replace these helicopters, which currently service Scotland's Isle of Lewis and Shetland Islands, as well as the Solent and Portland in England.
The recent collapse of the privatisation deal for UK search and rescue services has meant there is no new operator lined up to replace CHC.
Jeremy Gautrey of the PCS union said that the situation "has now potentially left the coastguard service stranded without the guarantee that it will have sufficient helicopters to carry out search-and-rescue operations when the current helicopters retire."
HeraldScotland has more on the story HERE.

The union representing coastguard staff in the UK has expressed its fears over the loss of air rescue services when a number of helicopters are transferred to Ireland next year.

Under CHC's €500m contract to provide search and rescue services for the Irish Coast Guard, four helicopters will be withdrawn from England and Scotland for redeployment in Ireland.

However, HeraldScotland reports that the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) has no plans to replace these helicopters, which separately service Scotland's Isle of Lewis and Shetland Islands as well as the Solent and Portland in England.

The recent collapse of the privatisation deal for UK search and rescue services has meant there is no new operator lined up to replace CHC.

Jeremy Gautrey of the PCS union said that the situation "has now potentially left the coastguard service stranded without the guarantee that it will have sufficient helicopters to carry out search-and-rescue operations when the current helicopters retire."

HeraldScotland has more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastguard
Scotland's west coast will be home to the world's largest tidal power facility, it has been announced.
The £40 million (€45.9 million) 10MW tidal array, to be developed by ScottishPower Renewables in the Sound of Islay, will generate power for more than 5,000 homes.
Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Finance John Swinney, who signed off on the deal, described the project as "a milestone in the global development of tidal energy".
"Scotland's seas have unrivalled potential to generate green energy, create new, low carbon jobs, and bring billions of pounds of investment to Scotland," he said.
The project comes in tandem with the consultation process for the Scottish government's National Marine Plan, intended to highlight the best opportunities for investment across all marine industries.
Energy & Environmental Management has more in the story HERE.

Scotland's west coast will be home to the world's largest tidal power facility, it has been announced.

The £40 million (€45.9 million) 10MW tidal array, to be developed by ScottishPower Renewables in the Sound of Islay, will generate power for more than 5,000 homes.

Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Finance John Swinney, who signed off on the deal, described the project as "a milestone in the global development of tidal energy".

"Scotland's seas have unrivalled potential to generate green energy, create new, low carbon jobs, and bring billions of pounds of investment to Scotland," he said.

The project comes in tandem with the consultation process for the Scottish government's National Marine Plan, intended to highlight the best opportunities for investment across all marine industries. 

Energy & Environmental Management has more on the story HERE.

Published in Power From the Sea
The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) has announced the largest aggregation of killer whales to date in Irish waters.
As many as a dozen killer whales, or orca, were spotted close to an Irish Naval Service vessel on patrol 30 miles off Tory Island in Co Donegal late last month.
According to Lt Cmdr Paddy Harkin of the LE Niamh, the killer whales were feeding among large shoals of mackerel that also attracted a large number of fishing vessels.
He added that the whales had apparently followed the mackerel from west of the Hebrides in north west Scotland, according to several fishing skippers - who placed their numbers at over 100.
The IWDG has more on the story (including photos) HERE.

The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) has announced the largest aggregation of killer whales to date in Irish waters.

As many as a dozen killer whales, or orca, were spotted close to an Irish Naval Service vessel on patrol 30 miles off Tory Island in Co Donegal late last month.

According to Lt Cmdr Paddy Harkin of the LE Niamh, the killer whales were feeding among large shoals of mackerel that also attracted a large number of fishing vessels. 

He added that the whales had apparently followed the mackerel from west of the Hebrides in north west Scotland, according to several fishing skippers - who placed their numbers at over 100.

The IWDG has more on the story (including photos) HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife
Work has begun on a new visitor services building at Ballycastle harbour as part of a £7.4 million (€8.6 million) marine tourism project for the nothern part of Ireland and western Scotland.
Moyle District Council is one of 20 partners involved in the Sail West Initiative to develop boating, angling and marine tourism related infrastructure along the Northern Ireland coast north of Belfast Lough, Counties Sligo and Donegal, and a large part of Scotland's west coast.
The plan will see the demolition of the existing bungalow at the harbour, to be replaced with a new state-of-the-art marina building and harbourmaster's office with shower, kitchen and laundry facilities.
The council will also take part in an extensive marketing campaign along with the other Sail West partners to promote the region as an important sailing destination for sea-faring tourists.
The Ballymoney Times has more on the story HERE.

Work has begun on a new visitor services building at Ballycastle harbour as part of a £7.4 million (€8.6 million) marine tourism project for the nothern part of Ireland and western Scotland.

Moyle District Council is one of 20 partners involved in the Sail West Initiative to develop boating, angling and marine tourism related infrastructure along the Northern Ireland coast north of Belfast Lough, Counties Sligo and Donegal, and a large part of Scotland's west coast.

The plan will see the demolition of the existing bungalow at the harbour, to be replaced with a new state-of-the-art marina building and harbourmaster's office with shower, kitchen and laundry facilities.

The council will also take part in an extensive marketing campaign along with the other Sail West partners to promote the region as an important sailing destination for sea-faring tourists.

The Ballymoney Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Aquatic Tourism
Clyde Coastguard are currently co-ordinating a search for a missing male passenger after they were reported missing by a coach driver when the ferry, the 'European Highlander', docked at Cairnryan in Scotland after travelling from Larne in Northern Ireland. The Coastguard were notified a little after 10.00 am this morning. The ferry is now being fully searched.

The vessel had departed from Larne at 07.24 this morning and arrived at Cairnryan two hours later at a speed of approximately 18 knots. The master of the vessel has confirmed that one person is missing from the ships manifest.

The sea conditions are currently calm with a slight swell and good visibility with south westerly winds of 5 knots between the two locations.

A rescue helicopter, R 177, has been scrambled from the Royal Naval Air Station at Prestwick.

Clyde Coastguard are now organising a search throughout the area taking into account tidal drift and winds. Coastguard Rescue Teams have now been turned out ready to search the shores of Loch Ryan.

The Portpatrick, Stranraer and Larne RNLI lifeboats have all been requested to launch. A search has also begun from Cairnryan to Finnarts Bay. The Police Service of Northern Ireland has also been informed.

A mayday signal has now also been broadcast into the area by the Coastguard to alert passing shipping to the unfolding incident.

Published in Coastguard

Plans to operate the first passenger-only ferry service between Northern Ireland and Scotland are scheduled to start in late May, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Kintyre Express is to operate a Ballycastle-Campbeltown service on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays between 27 May and 26 September. Three daily return trips are scheduled on the service though the 1200hrs sailing from Campeltown and the corresponding 1400hrs sailing from Ballycastle will only operate on customer demand.

The passage time is scheduled to take approximately 1 hour 30 minutes between County Antrim and the Mull of Kintyre which is a distance of some 50 kilometres / 30-miles. Ticket fares for a single journey are £30 and the return is £55. On the remaining days that the route is not operated on, the boat is available for private charter.

In addition the new venture is to include an on-demand Campbeltown-Troon route running between April and September. This second service, linking Argyll with Ayrshire, will operate on Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays. The journey time is somewhat shorter with a scheduled time of 1 hour 15 minutes. The on-demand service must be booked in advance with singles fares costing £50 and a return ticket at £80. For further information click www.kintyreexpress.com

Like the recent proposals announced for a passenger-only ferry service across Galway Bay click here, the Kintyre Express operation will also use a fast-ferry in the form of rigid inflatable boats (RIB). The two routes from Campeltown will be served by Redbay Stormforce 11 metre RIBS which have centrally heated fully enclosed cabins for about 10 passengers. The Redbay Boats are built in Cushendall, Co. Antrim, for further information about the type of RIB to be used on the new routes click here.

The Ballycastle-Campbeltown route will be unique in that it will be the sole passenger-only ferry operator serving between the island of Ireland and the UK.

When the second route opens between Campbeltown-Troon, the company will be able to provide their boat service linked in with a train journey to Glasgow which they claim can be completed in less than two hours. Trains between Troon and Glasgow Central Station operate every 30 minutes and with a journey time of approximately 40 minutes.

For those who are car-free and time-free, this most northerly of travel routes is arguably the most scenic way to travel between Northern Ireland and Scotland and will appeal also to the intrepid traveler.

On both ferry services bicycles are carried for free and currently there is a special offer with all ferry tickets that can also be used for a free-day pass on the local Kintyre bus network for up to 24-hours. The bus operator is Craig of Campbeltown which trades as West Coast Motors and which owns Kintyre Express. The bus operator also serves on routes throughout Argyll and the island of Bute.

The next nearest cross-channel operator to the Kintyre Express Ballycastle-Campbeltown service is the car-carrying catamaran fast-ferry seasonal service between Larne and Troon operated by P&O (Irish Sea). The same company operates the year-round conventional car-ferry service on the North Channel between Larne and Cairnryan. Also operating to Loch Ryan is Stena Line which operates both ferry and HSS fast-craft services on the Belfast-Stranraer route.

Over the years there have been several attempts to revive the ferry between Ballycastle and Campeltown following a service that catered for vehicles too. For three summer seasons starting in 1997 the service was operated by the Argyll and Antrim Steam Packet Company, using the Claymore (1978/1,632grt) which could accommodate 500 passengers and 50 vehicles.

In 1996 the vessel was chartered to carry out tender duties for visitors and crew of the aircraft-carrier USS John F. Kennedy (displacement 82,655 tons full load) which was at anchor off Dun Laoghaire Harbour.

Published in Ports & Shipping
Scottish fishermen have taken exception to a new ban on fishing for scallops in the Irish Sea around the Isle of Man.
Authorities on the island introduced the bylaw in reaction to what they perceive as dangerous levels of overfishing and are "keen to conserve and protect its scallop beds", according to The Guardian.
It has been claimed that so many undersized juveniles are fished by trawlers in the two-week season each November "that the population is being put at risk".
However, Scottish fisheries minister Richard Lochhead was quoted as describing the new measure as "unnecessary and unwarranted" and a "war" against Scots.
"There's been no scientific case to back up the bylaw that's been put in place, which blatantly just excludes Scottish vessels," he said.

Scottish fishermen have taken exception to a new ban on fishing for scallops in the Irish Sea around the Isle of Man. 

Authorities on the island introduced the bylaw in reaction to what they perceive as dangerous levels of overfishing and are "keen to conserve and protect its scallop beds", according to The Guardian.

It has been claimed that so many undersized juveniles are fished by trawlers in the two-week season each November "that the population is being put at risk".

However, Scottish fisheries minister Richard Lochhead was quoted as describing the new measure as "unnecessary and unwarranted" and a "war" against Scots.

"There's been no scientific case to back up the bylaw that's been put in place, which blatantly just excludes Scottish vessels," he said.

Published in Fishing

After community consultation in Scotland, brokered by The Crown Estate, agreement has been reached on the allocation of moorings in Glenuig Bay, on the Sound of Arisaig south of Mallaig.

The issue of moorings in the Bay had been contentious since Glenuig Inn Ltd. applied to position 10 moorings within the Bay. At a public meeting held in Glenuig Village Hall, on Thursday 30 September The Crown Estate and the local community came together to discuss a way forward. Through consultation with existing users an agreement was reached that will provide for most existing moorings to remain in place. Areas for commercial moorings have been set aside to be laid by Glenuig Inn Ltd. and Glenuig Community Association will act as a Moorings Association to manage the remaining moorings within both Glenuig Bay and Samalaman Bay. The new arrangements will allow the Glenuig Inn to expand its business into the leisure sailing market as well as the watersports market, and the local community to keep their boats in the Bay as they have for many years.

Alasdair Carmichael, Chair of the Glenuig Community Association said: "We are grateful to Paul Bancks of The Crown Estate and P.J. Korbel from their managing agents, Bidwells, for taking the time to meet with the various parties and to attend meetings in Glenuig Hall to enable these issues to be resolved. Without their help and patience it would not have been possible for these issues to be resolved to the satisfaction of all parties."

Paul Bancks, coastal manager for Scotland at The Crown Estate said: "This is an excellent example of our day-to-day management and facilitation that goes largely unnoticed, but which plays a vital role in managing the limited marine resource around Scotland's coast. We are delighted to be able to assist the local community at Glenuig and look forward to working with them in the future as they manage the local moorings resource for the benefit of the whole community."

Fishermen and boat owners have moored in Glenuig Bay in Moidart without consent for a number of years. Then, in 2008, the new owner of the Glenuig Inn applied to The Crown Estate and Scottish Government for 10 commercial moorings in the Bay to attract new business and provide facilities for visiting yachts.

The local community were very concerned that they would be 'evicted' from the Bay and would no longer be able to keep their boats close to their homes and businesses.

As owner of the seabed, The Crown Estate commissioned a survey in August 2010 to look at the optimum arrangement for moorings within the bay. The subsequent report, by local company Wallace Stone, identified a number of locations that would accommodate additional moorings and allow access to the important jetty and slipway in the Bay.

Published in Coastal Notes

With just over a week to go until the Brewin Dolphin Scottish Series sets sail, double Gold Olympic medalist Shirley Robertson, is calling on sailors from across the UK, and further a field, to sign up to this year’s event.  

Shirley Robertson OBE, event ambassador, said: “The Brewin Dolphin Scottish Series is Scotland’s premier sailing regatta and I would encourage all enthusiasts to take up the challenge and be part of the successful event. 

“Tarbert, Loch Fyne, is a fantastic location with perfect conditions for a challenging and exciting sailing experience.  Scotland’s west coast has a lot to offer on the water but also shoreside socially, and I urge those thinking about entering the Scottish Series this year to do so as it’s a great weekend had by all who attend.”

Over 130 boats from across UK and beyond have already signed up, including previous competitors Fiona Hicks, Gery Trentesaux and Anthony O’Leary. As well as regular participants such as Chris Tiso on Thunderbird of Rhu and Boyd Tunnock on his boat Lemarac.

Event organiser, Jeremy Glen, said “A number of past competitors are returning again this year and we have a number of new boats on board which is testament to the success of the event. 

“Sailors who sign up will experience an action packed weekend of sailing and shoreside activity in Tarbert where there is never a dull moment. It’s a fantastic way to spend the bank holiday weekend, so here’s hoping for some sunshine to top off the weekend experience.”

Published in Boating Fixtures
Page 10 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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