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Displaying items by tag: Search and Rescue

#Search - RTÉ News reports on an ongoing search and rescue operation on Lough Ree this evening (20 March) as two men have been recovered from the water as RNLI lifeboat and Air Corps teams look for a third.

It's believed that the party of three are from Northern Ireland and may have got into difficulty in their boat close to Hodson Bay, near Athlone. One of the two rescued is said to be seriously ill, and both are being treated in hospital.

More on this story as it develops.

Published in Rescue

#Search&Rescue - Surfers haven't been the only ones benefitting from the recent stormy weather, as RTÉ News reports on a Cork-based boat builder that's been testing its top models in the wild Atlantic swell.

Youghal-based search-and-rescue (SAR) and pilot boat builder Safehaven Marine took its SAR vessels based at Roche's Point in Cork Harbour to the limit during sea trials earlier this week. Click HERE to see video of the sea trials in action

It follows similar trials of the company's pilot boat Interceptor 48 late last month as conditions turned for the worse off the Cork coast.

In waves reaching heights of 20 metres and winds breaking the 100km/h mark, the boats were tested in the extreme this week, but it was more than necessary for the hard work they'll be put through in service.

RTÉ News has more on the story HERE.

Published in Rescue

#Missing - The search was set to resume this morning for a man who fell into the sea off Co Clare yesterday afternoon (15 December).

As The Irish Times reports, the missing man, a Latvian national, is one of two anglers who has been fishing from rocks near Blackhead, on the south side of Galway Bay.

It's believed the second man left the scene to get help when his colleague went into the water, and could no longer find him on his return.

It's also thought the Latvian national could have been in the water for several hours before emergency services were alerted.

Doolin coastguard, Aran Islands RNLI and the Shannon-based coastguard helicopter were all dispatched for the search and rescue operation, which was called off at 6pm in poor light.

Published in News Update

#Coastguard - It was the end of an era yesterday (10 December) as the last remaining Sikorsky S61 search and rescue (SAR) helicopter in the Irish Coast Guard fleet stood its final SAR watch since services began in 1991 and was retired from active service.

According to the IRCG, the last stand by 'Alpha Romeo' was possibly the last ever watch by the world's oldest SAR S61, going on an impressive 52 years since its manufacture.

From today the chopper will be replaced by one of the new Sikorsky S92 aircraft, which as previously reported on Afloat.ie are currently being trialled as an air ambulance service, set to expand from Galway to Dublin in the coming weeks.

Published in Coastguard

#Rescue - Two coastguard units, the Portrush lifeboat and a Royal Navy helicopter from Scotland were involved in the rescue of a woman who had fallen 50 feet off a cliff on the Causeway Coast at the weekend.

As the Belfast Telegraph reports, the woman, believed to be in her 20s, had been walking along the top of the cliff between Ballycastle and Ballintoy in Co Antrim in the early hours of Saturday morning when she apparently slipped and fell.

Search and rescue teams jumped into action when a car was spotted near Carrick-a-rede rope bridge some hours later, and the woman as located at the base of a nearby cliff below Portaneevy Viewpoint just after 9am.

The woman has sustained multiple injuries and was suffering the effects of shock and hypothermia, but was successfully airlifted to Causeway Hospital in Coleraine where her condition was described yesterday as stable.

The Belfast Telegraph has more on the story HERE.

Published in Rescue

#MCIB - Various factors - including poor buoyancy, suboptimal lifejackets and a fateful late decision to swim to shore - have been identified in the official report into the death of a fisherman off the Waterford coast earlier this year.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, a major search and rescue operation was launched on 10 January when a 16-foot fishing punt capsized in a strong swell at the sandbar off Brownstown Head near Dunmore East, throwing its two-man crew overboard.

James Tate was able to swim to the nearby shore in the early morning darkness after some two hours in the water. But he became separated from his friend Johnny Flynn - a former member of the Dunmore East lifeboat crew - who was found unconscious in the water by coastguard helicopter before 8.30am.

Flynn was pronounced dead at Waterford Airport shortly after, with a post-mortem concluding that he cause of death was drowning.

The tragedy occurred six years to the day after the sinking of Dunmore East trawler the Pere Charles, which took five lives.

In the official report into the incident, the Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB) found that the fishing punt, already vulnerable to breaking waves as an un-decked open boat, was more susceptible due to its waterlogged condition, and the lack of adequate buoyancy.

It was also found that neither the vessel's handheld VHF radio nor GPS device, or indeed Tate's mobile phone, were available to the pair after the boat turned turtle.

Though both men were wearing lifejackets, they were of a kind that lacked a collar that would have kept the deceased's head above water, nor did they have a light or whistle. Only Tate was equipped with any kind of light, so he could not locate his friend in the dark.

Most importantly, it was found that the boat had overturned within 100 metres of the shallows, so that if the pair had attempted to swim to shore earlier - rather than tire themselves out trying to climb onto the upturned hull - the chances of both men surviving the incident "would have been greatly enhanced".

The full report into the incident is available to download below.

Published in MCIB

#Coastguard - Last weekend 8-9 June was the Irish Coast Guard's busiest since 1991 for search and rescue indigents, as reported yesterday on Afloat.ie.

Today's Irish Examiner goes deeper into the figures, which show more than 53 coastguard search and rescue incidents took place around the country last Saturday and Sunday - ranging from missing persons to swimmers in difficulty, vessels broken down, missing children, personal watercraft and speedboats operating in a hazardous way and urgent medical evacuations. 

In addition, the Irish Coast Guard's rescue helicopter fleet – not including any of the other IRCG units – was tasked a massive 18 times over the weekend alone.

The fleet was this week bolstered by the arrival of two Sikorsky S-92s previously flown by the British Coastguard.

Set to operate from Shannon, the choppers join the state-of-the-art Rescue 115 which has been operational since last year, and was last week on course to conduct the Irish Coast Guard's longest range mission ever.

Published in Coastguard

#Coastguard - The Irish Coast Guard (IRCG) has launched its new 'Stay Safe on the Water' TV advertising campaign aimed at families, leisure users and the fishing industry during the busy summer months. 

This is the coastguard’s first TV advertisement, having its premiere on RTÉ One television this evening after 6pm. 

The IRCG was motivated to launch its first TV water safety campaign following the success of the Road Safety Authority (RSA) TV campaigns. The new 20-second adverts will run from now until the end of August.

Coastguard statistics have recorded 11 deaths by drowning in Irish waters so far this year, and last weekend was the Irish Coast Guard's busiest since 1991 for search and rescue incidents. 

Speaking at the launch, IRCG manager Declan Geogheghan said: “This summer we began our 2013 safety awareness campaign in May and we want to strongly get across the safety message to families, leisure users and the fishing industry about going out on the water.  

"We want everyone to enjoy the outdoors this summer weather but remember to heed our advice to ensure that you and your family and friends stay safe.”

Last Saturday and Sunday saw more than 53 coastguard search and rescue incidents taking place around the country. Of these, 21 were co-ordinated by the Dublin Marine Rescue Co-ordination Centre (MRCC), 18 by Valentia MRCC and 14 by Malin MRCC.

These incidents ranged from missing persons, swimmers in difficulty, vessels broken down, missing children, personal watercraft and speedboats operating in a hazardous way and urgent medical evacuations. 

Coastguard helicopters alone – not including any of the other IRCG Units – were tasked a massive 18 times over the weekend.

“The pleasant, warm weather brings thousands of people to our coastlines, to our beaches and the outdoors," said Geoghegan. "We want everyone to enjoy the outdoors but to remember to take simple, basic advice about staying safe on the water and along cliff paths, when hill walking and enjoying the outdoors. 

"Time and again, we see people ignoring basic safety advice, taking risks and then getting into difficulty, sometimes leading to loss of life. The coastguard is a 24/7 service but we must again advise caution as too many people are taking risks and ignoring our advice.

For specific advice and information on any water and coastal activity, visit www.safetyonthewater.ie.

Throughout the summer, as at other times of the year, Irish Coast Guard units throughout Ireland will patrol our waterways and coastlines issuing safety advice and information to holidaymakers, tourists and marine users.

The following are general safety tips and advice from the IRCG to help enjoy the water and coastal activities in your area this weekend and throughout the summer:

Swimming

Only swim at beaches and waterways that have lifeguards on duty and pay attention to the safety flags. Ask the lifeguard for advice about safety and water conditions and adhere to their instructions. Avoid using inflatable toys, such as li-los and rubber rings, on the water.

Cliff Walking

There is safety in numbers, so never be alone if possible. Let somebody know when and where you are going and what time you will be back. Stay well away from the cliff edge, both top and bottom. Don’t attempt to rescue people or pets if they fall over the edge. If assistance is required dial 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.

Water Sports and Coastal Activities

Before going to sea check local weather conditions and tides in the area. Wear correctly maintained and fitting lifejackets that are suitable for the activity. Lifejackets are of no use unless they are worn. Ensure your craft is fit for purpose. Always advise someone as to where you are going and the time of your intended return. Do not overload the craft. If you are in difficulty or see someone in difficulty and requiring assistance dial 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.

Finally, under no circumstances should anyone ever engage in water activities under the influence of alcohol.

Published in Coastguard

#News - UTV News reports that a body recovered from the River Foyle on Thursday 9 May is that of missing Dublin teenager Kieran McKeon.

The 18-year-old was reported missing two months ago along with a friend, 21-year-old Alexandra O'Brien, whose body was found in the water close to Foyle Bridge in Derry on 14 March, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

It's thought that the two took their own lives in a suicide pact, after eyewitness reports described two people falling into the river from the bridge.

Personal items said to belong to O'Brien and McKeon were found on the bridge which sparked off the search operation led by Foyle Search and Rescue, which had continued every evening since at low tide, with a full search once a week.

UTV News has more on the story HERE.

Published in News Update

#Coastguard - The Irish Coast Guard may lead open-sea searches for American space bosses when manned space flights resume, according to the Irish Examiner.

Coastguard chiefs have reportedly been in informal discussions with a senior official from Nasa regarding search and rescue procedures should a manned capsule come down in the North Atlantic.

Nasa's planned launch trajectory for rockets to the ISS or the moon, scheduled to resume in 2016, passes the south coast of Ireland within range of the new Shannon-based helicopter Rescue 115.

This means that if a Nasa vehicle were to ditch in those waters, the Irish Coast Guard would take the lead in any search and rescue effort.

The Irish Examiner has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastguard
Page 2 of 12

Irish Coast Guard

The Irish Coast Guard is Ireland's 4th 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.

Introduction

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 around 2000 times (40 times to assist mountain rescues and 200 times to carry out aeromedical HEMS missions on behalf of the HSE), Coast Guard volunteer units will respond 1000 times and RNLI and community lifeboats will be tasked by our Coordination Centres about 950 times
  • evacuate medical patients off our Islands to hospital on 100 occasions
  • assist other nations' Coast Guards about 200 times
  • make around 6,000 maritime safety broadcasts to shipping, fishing and leisure craft users
  • carry out a safety on the water campaign that targets primary schools and leisure craft users, including at sea and beach patrols
  • investigate approximately 50 maritime pollution reports

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

List of Coast Guard Units in Ireland

  • 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

The roles of the Irish Coast Guard

The main roles of the Irish Coast Guard are 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.

Each year the Irish Coast Guard co-ordinates the response to thousands of incidents at sea and on the cliffs and beaches of Ireland. It does this through its Marine Rescue Centres which are currently based in:

  • Dublin
  • Malin Head (Co Donegal)
  • Valentia Island (Co Kerry).

Each centre is responsible for search and rescue operations.

The Dublin National Maritime Operations Centre (NMOC) provides marine search and rescue response services and co-ordinates the response to marine casualty incidents within the Irish Pollution Responsibility Zone/EEZ.

The Marine Rescue Sub Centre (MRSC) Valentia and MRSC Malin Head are 24/7 centres co-ordinating search and rescue response in their areas of responsibility.

The Marine Rescue Sub Centre (MRSC) Valentia is the contact point for routine operational matters in the area between Ballycotton and Clifden.

MRSC Malin Head is the contact point for routine operational matters in the area between Clifden and Lough Foyle.

MRCC Dublin is the contact point for routine operational matters in the area between Carlingford Lough and Ballycotton.

Each MRCC/MRSC broadcasts maritime safety information on VHF and, in some cases, MF radio in accordance with published schedules.

Maritime safety information that is broadcast by the three Marine Rescue Sub-centres includes:

  • navigational warnings as issued by the UK Hydrographic Office
  • gale warnings, shipping forecasts, local inshore forecasts, strong wind warnings and small craft warnings as issued by the Irish Meteorological Office.

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.

The Coast Guard can contract specialised aerial surveillance or dispersant spraying aircraft at short notice internationally.

Helicopter tasks include:

  • the location of marine and aviation incident survivors by homing onto aviation and marine radio distress transmissions, by guidance from other agencies, and by visual, electronic and electro-optical search
  • the evacuation of survivors from the sea, and medical evacuees from all manner of vessels including high-sided passenger and cargo vessels and from the islands
  • the evacuation of personnel from ships facing potential disaster
  • search and or rescue in mountainous areas, caves, rivers, lakes and waterways
  • the transport of offshore fire-fighters (MFRTs) or ambulance teams (MARTs) and their equipment following a request for assistance
  • the provision of safety cover for other search and rescue units including other Marine Emergency Service helicopters
  • pollution, casualty and salvage inspections and surveillance and the transport of associated personnel and equipment
  • inter-agency training in all relevant aspects of the primary role
  • onshore emergency medical service, including evacuation and air ambulance tasks
  • relief of the islands and of areas suffering from flooding or deep snow

The secondary roles of the helicopter are:

  • the exercise of the primary search, rescue and evacuation roles in adjacent search and rescue regions
  • assistance to onshore emergency services, such as in the evacuation of high-rise buildings
  • public safety awareness displays and demonstrations
  • providing helicopter expertise for seminars and training courses

The Irish Coast Guard provides aeronautical assets for search and rescue in the mountains of Ireland. Requests for Irish Coast Guard assets are made to the Marine Rescue Centres.

Requests are accepted from An Garda Síochána and nominated persons in Mountain Rescue Teams.

Information courtesy of Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (July 2019)

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