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Displaying items by tag: Search and Rescue

The public are encouraged to come and watch as Dunmore East is set to host some of Irelands principal Search and Rescue assets on Saturday the 2nd of September 2017. The event known as IMSARC Demo (Irish Marine Search and Rescue Demo) is co-ordinated by the Coast Guard and will feature a Coast Guard Helicopter, Naval ship LÉ Eithne, Air Corps Casa, Dublin Fire Brigade Marine Emergency Response Team, Volunteer Coast Guard units, CIL Ship Granuaile, the RNLI, HSE’s Marine Ambulance Response Team, Irish Underwater Council, Irish Water Safety, South East Mountain Rescue, Revenue Customs Cutter, and the Civil Defence.

The main event will commence at 10:30 with an off shore search demonstration, followed by an on-board emergency with the LÉ Eithne acting as a M/V in distress.

Demonstrations such as Cliff rescues, marine ambulance exercises and Casa Operations are at approx. 13.30 and will be visible from Dunmore East. A parade of all participating ships and boats supported by a Helicopter Fly past at 16;15 will present an interesting photo opportunity.

Published in Coastguard

#Missing - The search was set to resume this morning for a fisherman missing after going overboard from a three-man fishing vessel off the Wicklow-Wexford border yesterday morning (Wednesday 16 November).

As The Irish Times reports, RNLI lifeboats from Rosslare and Wicklow were tasked along with the Waterford-based Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 117 and later Rescue 116 from Dublin Airport to the incident some 6km east of Kilmichael Point in Co Wexford.

It's understood that the missing man is in his late 40s or eary 50s, according to BreakingNews.ie.

Published in News Update

#GalwayBay - A fisherman who was recovered from Galway Bay after a major search and rescue effort yesterday afternoon later died in hospital, as The Irish Times reports.

The alarm was raised after the man's 6m potting boat was found empty, with its engine still running, at Tawin Island off Oranmore around 3.30pm yesterday (Wednesday 7 September).

RNLI lifeboats from the Aran Islands and Galway Bay launched in tandem with the Irish Coast Guard's Shannon-based SAR helicopter and Casla Bay rescue boat for the three-hour operation that concluded when the missing man, who was wearing a lifejacket and showing signs of life, was recovered near the Blackrock buoy off Salthill.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in News Update

#Search - Two bodies have been found in the search for the missing crew of a fishing vessel that sank off Scotland's Western Isles early yesterday (Saturday 9 April).

One crew member was taken to hospital by helicopter as UK Coastguard teams from Stornaway and Prestwick joined the Barra RNLI lifeboat, local fishing vessels and Police Scotland in the search and rescue operation for three missing crewmates, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

One fisherman remains missing after two bodies were recovered yesterday afternoon off Mingulay. Next of kin are aware and police officers are in contact with the families.

Mark Rodaway, national maritime operations commander for the UK Coastguard, said: “Despite an intensive search including the helicopters, lifeboat and other fishing vessels in the area, we have been unable to locate the missing fisherman. Our thoughts are with all those involved.”

Chief Inspector Alastair Garrow of Police Scotland said: "At this time we can confirm that the bodies of two men have been recovered. A third man was rescued and was taken to hospital at Stornoway. He is not seriously injured.

"A fourth man was on the boat and is still missing. The next of kin of all the men have been informed.

Chief Insp Garrow added: "An investigation will be carried out in parallel with the police and the Marine Accident and Investigation Branch (MAIB) and a report will be submitted to the Procurator Fiscal.

"This has been a tragic incident which will impact on the local community. Our thoughts are with the families affected."

The search has now been scaled back pending further information.

Published in Rescue

#Diving - The UK Coastguard received a call just after 4.10pm yesterday afternoon (9 April) from a member of public reporting that a diver had not surfaced as expected in Strangford Lough near Ringhaddy, Co Down

Coastguard rescue teams from Portaferry and Bangor, the Portaferry RNLI lifeboat, the PSNI helicopter and the Irish Coast Guard's Rescue 116 helicopter based at Dublin were all sent to the area for the search.

Luckily the diver was found on the shore by local residents shortly after the coastguard were altered.

The Irish Coast Guard helicopter landed, with assistance from the UK Coastguard rescue teams. The diver was checked over by the on-board paramedic and after advice from a specialist doctor the diver was given the all-clear and allowed to make his own way home.

Graham Edgar, senior maritime operations officer with Belfast Coastguard, said: “This is a great outcome for all involved, the other diver’s in the group did exactly the right thing, they called us as soon as they realised he was missing.

"Fortunately the diver was found safe and well. We would urge all divers, as this diver did, to let someone know where they are planning to dive, when they are planning to come back and if possible dive within a group.

"Also keep a close eye on the weather and sea conditions and always dive within your limits."

Published in Diving

#Search - One crew member from a fishing vessel has been rescued as the search continues for three others after the boat sank off Scotland's Western Isles in the early hours of this morning (Saturday 9 April).

The UK Coastguard received a distress alert just before 3:45am when the fishing vessel with four crew on board has its emergency positioning beacon (EPIRB) activated near Mingulay.

The coastguard search and rescue helicopter based at Stornoway has since been searching the area along with the Barra RNLI lifeboat.

One crew member has been taken to hospital by the helicopter. The lifeboat remains in the area and the coastguard helicopter from Prestwick has taken over so the search can continue.

Published in Rescue

#Missing - On New Year's Day emergency teams entered the third day of a search and rescue operation on the north Down coast for a woman missing from her Bangor home since Monday 29 December.

According to the Belfast Telegraph, a member of the public reported that the woman – in her early 30s, and believed to have experienced a recent bereavement – had swum out into open water, leaving a bag of clothes at a pier in the town on the southern shore of Belfast Lough.

A major search operation was launched with the coastguard and RNLI lifeboats joined by Lagan Search and Rescue, a fishery patrol and a PSNI helicopter, but this was scaled back on Wednesday to two search boats and a team of coastguard volunteers searching on land.

Elsewhere in Northern Ireland, the search for a missing Monaghan man in Enniskillen entered its 17th day yesterday (2 January), with the Belfast Telegraph highlighting the "extraordinary" level of community support behind the volunteer effort.

Kieran McAree is thought to have entered Lough Erne after abandoning his car in the Fermanagh town in the early hours of 17 December, and now the search is focused on recovering his body.

But even as recently as last weekend more than 300 people joined in the search in their own boats and kayaks to cover a wide area of the lough, with PSNI Constable Gavin Huey telling the Impartial Reporter: "This is the biggest search I have ever witnessed on Lough Erne."

Published in News Update

#Diving - RTÉ News is reporting on a major search and rescue operation for a missing diver after another was airlifted to hospital from the West Cork coast this morning (Wednesday 2 July).

It's thought that the two were diving at a wreck site off Baltimore when they got into difficulty. The condition of the hospitalised diver is not yet known.

Update 12.01pm: RTÉ is now reporting on Twitter that the hospitalised diver has died. The search continues for the missing diver.

Published in Diving

#LoughRee - The News Letter in Belfast has a report from an eyewitness to the tragedy on Lough Ree yesterday (20 March) that claimed one life today, with another man critically ill and one still missing.

Tommy Byrne told how his dogs "got a bit spooked" by the sudden squall on the lough that capsized the boat the three Co Armagh anglers were travelling in.

“It just appeared to me that the squall got them, hit their boat and sank them," he said. "It was just a random freak accident."

Byrne, who joined in with the search and rescue operation, said conditions on the lough yesterday afternoon "were nasty enough, but it wasn't particularly wild."

The News Letter has more on the story HERE.

Published in News Update

#LoughRee - RTÉ News is reporting this morning (Friday 21 March) that one of two men recovered from Lough Ree last night has died in hospital.

The second man is still in critical condition while the search resumed this morning for a third man missing after the boat carrying the party of three capsized in strong winds near Hodson Bay outside Athlone, as reported yesterday on Afloat.ie.

It's since emerged that the three men were part of a group of six from a Co Armagh angling club.

Local anglers have joined the Lough Ree RNLI lifeboat, the Garda Water Unit and and the Athlone and Lanesborough Sub Aqua Club in the search and rescue operation, which is concentrating on a debris trail stretching some 3km along the eastern side of the lough.

Published in News Update
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The Irish Coast Guard

The Irish Coast Guard is Ireland's fourth 'Blue Light' service (along with An Garda Síochána, the Ambulance Service and the Fire Service). It provides a nationwide maritime emergency organisation as well as a variety of services to shipping and other government agencies.

The purpose of the Irish Coast Guard is to promote safety and security standards, and by doing so, prevent as far as possible, the loss of life at sea, and on inland waters, mountains and caves, and to provide effective emergency response services and to safeguard the quality of the marine environment.

The Irish Coast Guard has responsibility for Ireland's system of marine communications, surveillance and emergency management in Ireland's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and certain inland waterways.

It is responsible for the response to, and co-ordination of, maritime accidents which require search and rescue and counter-pollution and ship casualty operations. It also has responsibility for vessel traffic monitoring.

Operations in respect of maritime security, illegal drug trafficking, illegal migration and fisheries enforcement are co-ordinated by other bodies within the Irish Government.

On average, each year, the Irish Coast Guard is expected to:

  • handle 3,000 marine emergencies
  • assist 4,500 people and save about 200 lives
  • task Coast Guard helicopters on missions

The Coast Guard has been around in some form in Ireland since 1908.

Coast Guard helicopters

The Irish Coast Guard has contracted five medium-lift Sikorsky Search and Rescue helicopters deployed at bases in Dublin, Waterford, Shannon and Sligo.

The helicopters are designated wheels up from initial notification in 15 minutes during daylight hours and 45 minutes at night. One aircraft is fitted and its crew trained for under slung cargo operations up to 3000kgs and is available on short notice based at Waterford.

These aircraft respond to emergencies at sea, inland waterways, offshore islands and mountains of Ireland (32 counties).

They can also be used for assistance in flooding, major inland emergencies, intra-hospital transfers, pollution, and aerial surveillance during daylight hours, lifting and passenger operations and other operations as authorised by the Coast Guard within appropriate regulations.

Irish Coastguard FAQs

The Irish Coast Guard provides nationwide maritime emergency response, while also promoting safety and security standards. It aims to prevent the loss of life at sea, on inland waters, on mountains and in caves; and to safeguard the quality of the marine environment.

The main role of the Irish Coast Guard is to rescue people from danger at sea or on land, to organise immediate medical transport and to assist boats and ships within the country's jurisdiction. It has three marine rescue centres in Dublin, Malin Head, Co Donegal, and Valentia Island, Co Kerry. The Dublin National Maritime Operations centre provides marine search and rescue responses and coordinates the response to marine casualty incidents with the Irish exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

Yes, effectively, it is the fourth "blue light" service. The Marine Rescue Sub-Centre (MRSC) Valentia is the contact point for the coastal area between Ballycotton, Co Cork and Clifden, Co Galway. At the same time, the MRSC Malin Head covers the area between Clifden and Lough Foyle. Marine Rescue Co-ordination Centre (MRCC) Dublin covers Carlingford Lough, Co Louth to Ballycotton, Co Cork. Each MRCC/MRSC also broadcasts maritime safety information on VHF and MF radio, including navigational and gale warnings, shipping forecasts, local inshore forecasts, strong wind warnings and small craft warnings.

The Irish Coast Guard handles about 3,000 marine emergencies annually, and assists 4,500 people - saving an estimated 200 lives, according to the Department of Transport. In 2016, Irish Coast Guard helicopters completed 1,000 missions in a single year for the first time.

Yes, Irish Coast Guard helicopters evacuate medical patients from offshore islands to hospital on average about 100 times a year. In September 2017, the Department of Health announced that search and rescue pilots who work 24-hour duties would not be expected to perform any inter-hospital patient transfers. The Air Corps flies the Emergency Aeromedical Service, established in 2012 and using an AW139 twin-engine helicopter. Known by its call sign "Air Corps 112", it airlifted its 3,000th patient in autumn 2020.

The Irish Coast Guard works closely with the British Maritime and Coastguard Agency, which is responsible for the Northern Irish coast.

The Irish Coast Guard is a State-funded service, with both paid management personnel and volunteers, and is under the auspices of the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport. It is allocated approximately 74 million euro annually in funding, some 85 per cent of which pays for a helicopter contract that costs 60 million euro annually. The overall funding figure is "variable", an Oireachtas committee was told in 2019. Other significant expenditure items include volunteer training exercises, equipment, maintenance, renewal, and information technology.

The Irish Coast Guard has four search and rescue helicopter bases at Dublin, Waterford, Shannon and Sligo, run on a contract worth 50 million euro annually with an additional 10 million euro in costs by CHC Ireland. It provides five medium-lift Sikorsky S-92 helicopters and trained crew. The 44 Irish Coast Guard coastal units with 1,000 volunteers are classed as onshore search units, with 23 of the 44 units having rigid inflatable boats (RIBs) and 17 units having cliff rescue capability. The Irish Coast Guard has 60 buildings in total around the coast, and units have search vehicles fitted with blue lights, all-terrain vehicles or quads, first aid equipment, generators and area lighting, search equipment, marine radios, pyrotechnics and appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE). The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) and Community Rescue Boats Ireland also provide lifeboats and crews to assist in search and rescue. The Irish Coast Guard works closely with the Garda Siochána, National Ambulance Service, Naval Service and Air Corps, Civil Defence, while fishing vessels, ships and other craft at sea offer assistance in search operations.

The helicopters are designated as airborne from initial notification in 15 minutes during daylight hours, and 45 minutes at night. The aircraft respond to emergencies at sea, on inland waterways, offshore islands and mountains and cover the 32 counties. They can also assist in flooding, major inland emergencies, intra-hospital transfers, pollution, and can transport offshore firefighters and ambulance teams. The Irish Coast Guard volunteers units are expected to achieve a 90 per cent response time of departing from the station house in ten minutes from notification during daylight and 20 minutes at night. They are also expected to achieve a 90 per cent response time to the scene of the incident in less than 60 minutes from notification by day and 75 minutes at night, subject to geographical limitations.

Units are managed by an officer-in-charge (three stripes on the uniform) and a deputy officer in charge (two stripes). Each team is trained in search skills, first aid, setting up helicopter landing sites and a range of maritime skills, while certain units are also trained in cliff rescue.

Volunteers receive an allowance for time spent on exercises and call-outs. What is the difference between the Irish Coast Guard and the RNLI? The RNLI is a registered charity which has been saving lives at sea since 1824, and runs a 24/7 volunteer lifeboat service around the British and Irish coasts. It is a declared asset of the British Maritime and Coast Guard Agency and the Irish Coast Guard. Community Rescue Boats Ireland is a community rescue network of volunteers under the auspices of Water Safety Ireland.

No, it does not charge for rescue and nor do the RNLI or Community Rescue Boats Ireland.

The marine rescue centres maintain 19 VHF voice and DSC radio sites around the Irish coastline and a digital paging system. There are two VHF repeater test sites, four MF radio sites and two NAVTEX transmitter sites. Does Ireland have a national search and rescue plan? The first national search and rescue plan was published in July, 2019. It establishes the national framework for the overall development, deployment and improvement of search and rescue services within the Irish Search and Rescue Region and to meet domestic and international commitments. The purpose of the national search and rescue plan is to promote a planned and nationally coordinated search and rescue response to persons in distress at sea, in the air or on land.

Yes, the Irish Coast Guard is responsible for responding to spills of oil and other hazardous substances with the Irish pollution responsibility zone, along with providing an effective response to marine casualties and monitoring or intervening in marine salvage operations. It provides and maintains a 24-hour marine pollution notification at the three marine rescue centres. It coordinates exercises and tests of national and local pollution response plans.

The first Irish Coast Guard volunteer to die on duty was Caitriona Lucas, a highly trained member of the Doolin Coast Guard unit, while assisting in a search for a missing man by the Kilkee unit in September 2016. Six months later, four Irish Coast Guard helicopter crew – Dara Fitzpatrick, Mark Duffy, Paul Ormsby and Ciarán Smith -died when their Sikorsky S-92 struck Blackrock island off the Mayo coast on March 14, 2017. The Dublin-based Rescue 116 crew were providing "top cover" or communications for a medical emergency off the west coast and had been approaching Blacksod to refuel. Up until the five fatalities, the Irish Coast Guard recorded that more than a million "man hours" had been spent on more than 30,000 rescue missions since 1991.

Several investigations were initiated into each incident. The Marine Casualty Investigation Board was critical of the Irish Coast Guard in its final report into the death of Caitriona Lucas, while a separate Health and Safety Authority investigation has been completed, but not published. The Air Accident Investigation Unit final report into the Rescue 116 helicopter crash has not yet been published.

The Irish Coast Guard in its present form dates back to 1991, when the Irish Marine Emergency Service was formed after a campaign initiated by Dr Joan McGinley to improve air/sea rescue services on the west Irish coast. Before Irish independence, the British Admiralty was responsible for a Coast Guard (formerly the Water Guard or Preventative Boat Service) dating back to 1809. The West Coast Search and Rescue Action Committee was initiated with a public meeting in Killybegs, Co Donegal, in 1988 and the group was so effective that a Government report was commissioned, which recommended setting up a new division of the Department of the Marine to run the Marine Rescue Co-Ordination Centre (MRCC), then based at Shannon, along with the existing coast radio service, and coast and cliff rescue. A medium-range helicopter base was established at Shannon within two years. Initially, the base was served by the Air Corps.

The first director of what was then IMES was Capt Liam Kirwan, who had spent 20 years at sea and latterly worked with the Marine Survey Office. Capt Kirwan transformed a poorly funded voluntary coast and cliff rescue service into a trained network of cliff and sea rescue units – largely voluntary, but with paid management. The MRCC was relocated from Shannon to an IMES headquarters at the then Department of the Marine (now Department of Transport) in Leeson Lane, Dublin. The coast radio stations at Valentia, Co Kerry, and Malin Head, Co Donegal, became marine rescue-sub-centres.

The current director is Chris Reynolds, who has been in place since August 2007 and was formerly with the Naval Service. He has been seconded to the head of mission with the EUCAP Somalia - which has a mandate to enhance Somalia's maritime civilian law enforcement capacity – since January 2019.

  • Achill, Co. Mayo
  • Ardmore, Co. Waterford
  • Arklow, Co. Wicklow
  • Ballybunion, Co. Kerry
  • Ballycotton, Co. Cork
  • Ballyglass, Co. Mayo
  • Bonmahon, Co. Waterford
  • Bunbeg, Co. Donegal
  • Carnsore, Co. Wexford
  • Castlefreake, Co. Cork
  • Castletownbere, Co. Cork
  • Cleggan, Co. Galway
  • Clogherhead, Co. Louth
  • Costelloe Bay, Co. Galway
  • Courtown, Co. Wexford
  • Crosshaven, Co. Cork
  • Curracloe, Co. Wexford
  • Dingle, Co. Kerry
  • Doolin, Co. Clare
  • Drogheda, Co. Louth
  • Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin
  • Dunmore East, Co. Waterford
  • Fethard, Co. Wexford
  • Glandore, Co. Cork
  • Glenderry, Co. Kerry
  • Goleen, Co. Cork
  • Greencastle, Co. Donegal
  • Greenore, Co. Louth
  • Greystones, Co. Wicklow
  • Guileen, Co. Cork
  • Howth, Co. Dublin
  • Kilkee, Co. Clare
  • Killala, Co. Mayo
  • Killybegs, Co. Donegal
  • Kilmore Quay, Co. Wexford
  • Knightstown, Co. Kerry
  • Mulroy, Co. Donegal
  • North Aran, Co. Galway
  • Old Head Of Kinsale, Co. Cork
  • Oysterhaven, Co. Cork
  • Rosslare, Co. Wexford
  • Seven Heads, Co. Cork
  • Skerries, Co. Dublin Summercove, Co. Cork
  • Toe Head, Co. Cork
  • Tory Island, Co. Donegal
  • Tramore, Co. Waterford
  • Waterville, Co. Kerry
  • Westport, Co. Mayo
  • Wicklow
  • Youghal, Co. Cork

Sources: Department of Transport © Afloat 2020

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