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Displaying items by tag: Tokyo 2020

World Sailing’s preparations for the rescheduled Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games are firmly on track following discussions with the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee and the Summer Olympic International Federations to ensure the Games proceed in a safe environment for the athletes, officials, locals and spectators.

So far one Irish sailor has been nominated to participate in Tokyo, and that is Rio silver medalist Annalise Muphy in the Laser Radial class. Two other Irish boats are scheduled to compete for the last nation places in both the 49er skiff and the men's Laser in March and April respectively

In order to safeguard the Games, the IOC, International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and Tokyo 2020 have taken proactive steps to produce a robust series of Playbooks which outline the responsibilities of all Games participants – Federations, Press, Broadcasters, Athletes and Officials - and the rules that must be followed to ensure the Games remain safe.

The Playbooks have been developed jointly by the IOC, the IPC and the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee and are based on the extensive work of the All Partners Task Force, which also includes the World Health Organisation, Government of Japan, Tokyo Metropolitan Government, independent experts and organisations from across the world.

The Playbooks can be viewed and downloaded here.

To further underline the safety-first approach to the Games and reassure all International Federations that the Games will be going ahead, Tokyo 2020 Sports Director, Mikako Kotani, and IOC Sports Director, Kit McConnell, recently led a detailed briefing and Q&A session to discuss the protocols and strengthen COVID counter-measures.

World Sailing President, Quanhai Li, commented, “World Sailing is fully committed to adapting and working with the IOC, the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee and Japanese authorities to ensure a safe and successful Olympic Games. We thank the Olympic Family, the IOC and our friends from Tokyo 2020, for their ongoing efforts in organising a safe Olympic Games.”

David Graham, Chief Executive Officer, added, “This joint mission to hold the Games safely embodies the values of the Olympic Games through courage and determination. With the eyes of the world on Tokyo 2020 to deliver an uplifting, inspiring and spectacular Games, the International Federations appreciate the positive approach, commitment and dynamic leadership of IOC, ASOIF and Tokyo 2020 to safeguard the event and prioritise the health and wellbeing of everyone involved.”

Alastair Fox, Director of Events, commented, “The emphasis on safety at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 will mirror the safe ‘bubble’ environment that major sports around the world have created over the past year to keep athletes, coaches, officials and media personnel safe. It has been proven to work and we are confident that this year’s Olympic Games will be an incredible success.”

World Sailing and all of the Summer Olympic International Federations have been in regular communication with IOC President Thomas Bach, the IOC Sports Department and Tokyo 2020 regarding safety procedures. The comprehensive safety plan will be strictly enforced and President Bach informed attendees that while it is not obligatory for athletes to take the vaccination, he strongly urges them to do so.

Tokyo will welcome 350 sailors from 60 nations to race across the ten Olympic sailing events on Sagami Bay in Enoshima, Japan. Despite the delay, sailors around the world have maintained focus and sharpness by continuing their preparations with training camps and competitions as the clock ticks down to the first event on 23 July 2021.

Andrew Lewis of Trinidad and Tobago qualified for his third Olympic Games just over one year ago at the Hempel World Cup Series Event in Miami. After a period of training in his home country, Lewis will head to the Canary Islands, where he had previously completed a training camp, and remain there before travelling to Japan.

Like all of the sailors preparing, Lewis has high hopes for Tokyo 2020, “Seeing many, many other big sports creating bubbles, creating environments that are safe, has proven over and over, since the pandemic started, that it is possible.

“I am in full support of the Olympic Games happening and I know that the International Olympic Committee and the country of Japan have the ability to shine and showcase to the world a light at the end of the tunnel.”

Published in Tokyo 2020
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49erfx crew Saskia Tidey from the Royal Irish Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire Harbour will be among the British Sailing Team’s Tokyo 2020 athletes attractions at the RYA Dinghy Show as it goes virtual for the first time over the weekend of February 27 and 28.

They’ll feature within two days of talks, demonstrations and coaching sessions from some big names in sailing.

As regular Afloat readers will know, Tidey sailed for Ireland in Rio four years ago before deciding to move to Team GB for Tokyo 2020 due to lack of opportunities at home.

With just five months until the rescheduled Tokyo 2020 Olympics is set to begin, Tidey and the team will take visitors behind the scenes of the Olympic campaigns.

Taking to the main stage, reigning 470 Olympic and world champion Hannah Mills will be chatting with show host Hannah Diamond about her preparations for Tokyo 2020 and revealing how she’s dealt with the challenges over the last year.

In a separate session, Team GB 49er sailors Dylan Fletcher and Stu Bithell will be joined by Olympic test event 49erFX class runners up Charlotte Dobson and Saskia Tidey to talk about their roads to Tokyo 2020.

For windsurfing fans, BST coach Sam Ross interviews Team GB RS:X stars Emma Wilson and Tom Squires, plus Olympian Dave Hackford joins them to discuss the new watersports – including wing foiling – that have taken off in the UK.

iQFOiL athlete Saskia Sills talks sustainability with The Green Blue’s Kate Fortnam, looking at how all water users can ‘protect their playground’, while Stu Bithell will make his much-anticipated return to the microphone to provide commentary for the eSailing Winter Club Championship.

Meanwhile, RYA Racing Director Ian Walker will hear from Rio 2016 Nacra 17 gold medallist Santiago Lange, London 2012 Laser Radial gold medallist Xu Lijia, 1984 Finn gold medallist and America’s Cup star Russell Coutts and double gold medallist Shirley Robertson.

Over in the Knowledge Zone, two-time Olympian Ali Young will be joined by her fellow Tokyo 2020 Team GB ILCA sailor Elliot Hanson and European Championship bronze medallist Lorenzo Chiavarini to reveal their top racing tips.

British Sailing Team meteorologist Simon Rowell returns for another of his hugely popular talks about weather. For those interested in race strategy, top tactician Mark Rushall will disclose his secrets for getting round the course quicker.

And British Sailing Team performance psychologists Suze Burton-Wylie and Chelsea Orme will reveal how to stay calm on the start line in their talk, Decision Making Under Pressure.

The full Dinghy Show schedule is online.

Published in Royal Irish Yacht Club
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Irish Olympic Sailing boss James O’Callaghan was in climes sunnier than the team’s Dun Laoghaire Harbour Olympic Sailing HQ when he reported back to the Olympic Federation of Ireland last week on successful results achieved at January's training regatta in the Canary Islands.

As Afloat reported previously, Annalise Murphy took fifth overall in the ILCA Six class and Finn Lynch seventh in the ILCA Seven class at the Lanzarote Winter Series, a regatta that grew in significance in the pandemic. As the international calendar is disrupted for a second year, the January event gave Murphy, Lynch and other Irish campaigners the chance to be back on the race course for the first time since October's European Championships in Poland.

It is reported that conditions in Lanzarote are very similar to those the sailors will face in Hiroshima, Tokyo, where the sailing events of the next Olympic Games will be held in late July. So much so, that even Japanese teams have decided to change their home for the Canary Islands to prepare for the big event. "Lanzarote is very similar to Hiroshima, with a lot of wind and big waves. Moreover, here we have sun, good weather every day and a lot of activities that allow us to prepare ourselves outside of the water as well. That is why we decided to come to the Canary Islands," says Eri Hatayama, a Japanese Nacra 17 sailor.

The Team Ireland Performance Director for Sailing said it was a ‘great opportunity to continue the training’ and to 'keep the sailors busy and focussed on the job'.

O’Callaghan said there was some ‘uncertainty in the air’, as the Olympic circuit was curtailed by COVID. It's a situation made even more uncertain by the fact that Ireland has only one boat qualified (Laser Radial/ILCA Six) for Tokyo so far. The two other berths Ireland still seeks are totally reliant on Euro qualification regattas, one of which was postponed last week.

Having missed earlier qualification chances as far back as 2018 Ireland’s chances are now tied to the onset of the pandemic across Europe and the hope that the remaining places can be settled by racing rather than historical results as the staging of the Games itself comes under scrutiny.

For the moment, O'Callaghan says he is 'ploughing ahead' with team plans. 

See the youtube clip below.

Annalise Murphy's Lanzarote Winter Regatta

Meanwhile, the National Yacht Club's Murphy has given her own candid assessment of her Canary Island performance on social media.

In an honest review, uncomplicated by coach-speak, the Rio medalist declared "I am very happy with some aspects of my sailing but somehow I can still be a total idiot when racing, even though I feel that at 30 years of age I should be making less stupid mistakes!"

She signed off the Instagram self-appraisal by thanking the host club and congratulating Denmark's Anne Marie Rindom on her Lanzarote victory, a sailor Murphy beat in Rio to win Olympic silver four years ago.

Published in Tokyo 2020

The hope is that racing will decide the final Olympic berths in the 49er class in which Ireland is one of four countries hoping to progress to Tokyo but uncertainty surrounds this as COVID threatens to cancel the Princesa Trofeo Sofia qualification regatta in Palma de Mallorca, now just 56 days away.

Ireland is vying with Belgium, Sweden and Italy for the one remaining European place. Ryan Seaton and Seafra Guilfoyle and Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove both chasing the elusive Olympic place for Ireland. Form at the 2020 Worlds suggested that Irish sailors would be favourites having finished ahead of the other three candidates. 

Palma 2021 decision

Insiders are saying a decision on Palma is expected next week as organisers on the Spanish island look at options to separate the fleets into two shifts per day in order to keep a maximum number of sailors below the limit Spain sets for gatherings but that's easier said than done at a regatta that regularly attracts 1500 sailors from 30 countries or more.

Already the Abu Dhabi qualifier for the Asia and African qualification is cancelled and participants there say efforts are being made to see if Oman can host an alternative regatta in March.

In Europe, if Palma is cancelled there is no 'Plan B' as such, other than to try and redesignate the Olympic qualifier at France's Hyeres Regatta in April or the 49er European Championships in Greece, just two months ahead of the Games itself.

Historical results

If all that fails, World Sailing has said it will rely on historical results to decide the final berths as Afloat previously reported here.

It's all a long way from where everyone hoped they would be in 2021 in this fight against the pandemic.

Published in Tokyo 2020
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Annalise Murphy, Ireland's only sailor qualified for Tokyo so far, dropped back to fifth overall at the end of the ten race Lanzarote Winter Series Regatta today, having held second overall in the ILCA 6 fleet until the penultimate day. 

Lighter conditions did not suit the Dun Laoghaire Olympic silver medalist who had an ultra-consistent opening seven-race results of 3, 2, 2, 2, 1, 6, 4 before counting a 33, 17, 19 and 20.

Counting six race wins in her tally, Anne Marie Rindom of Denmark topped the training regatta and was followed home by 2017 Under-21 world champion Maria Erdi of Hungary. Third was Vasileia Karachaliou of Greece. 

Murphy's training partner, 16-year-old Eve McMahon of Howth Yacht Club was 24th in the 40-boat fleet.

Results here.

Published in Annalise Murphy

The National Yacht Club's Finn Lynch recovered to a strong sixth from his ninth overall position going into the final day of racing in the ILCA 7 (men's Laser) fleet of 31 boats at the Lanzarote Winter Series Regatta today.

After ten races plus today's light air medal race, the Rio Olympian ended the training regatta some 17 points off fifth overall but ahead of Dutch sailor Duko Bos, and Switzerland's Eliot Merceron both main rivals for one of the final Tokyo qualification berths.

Race win for Tom Higgins

The regatta saw a return to the water for Royal St. George's Tom Higgins after an absence of two days and a what a return he made, winning race ten of the series to beat among others Brazilian legend Robert Scheidt. Scheidt, the holder of two gold medals, two silver medals and a bronze from five Olympic Games, finished second overall to France's Jean-Baptiste Bernaz.

Howth Yacht Club's Ewan McMahon who lost a day due to injury finished 26th.

The regatta takes the Irish men's Laser team a step closer to Hyeres Regatta in April where there are two final Olympic spots available at the planned European Sailing Cup. Up to six countries are in the running – Slovenia, Switzerland, Spain, Netherlands and Belgium and Ireland with Ireland finishing behind all of these at the latest World Championships but, significantly, top of those competing this week in Lanzarote. 

Results are here

Published in Tokyo 2020
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The Olympic Federation of Ireland (OFI) continue to plan for a “very different type” of Olympic and Paralympic Games experience in Tokyo this summer.

The OFI released a statement on Friday night after hosts Japan and the International Olympic Committee earlier stood firm on their commitment to host the Tokyo Olympics this year and denied a report of a possible cancellation.

From an Irish Olympic sailing point of view, the planning for the Tokyo Olympic Regatta this July therefore also continues.

Ireland's Annalise Murphy is the only Tokyo qualified sailor at this point. The Rio silver medalist gave an update on training in lockdown to the Irish Laser class agm late last year as Afloat reported here.

Despite four year campaigns under their belts, both the Irish men's Laser and 49er crews are rueing earlier missed chances to qualify in their respective classes.

As a result, two Irish Olympic dinghy berths in Tokyo hang on last-minute bids to secure berths at European qualifiers this Spring.

European Qualification for Irish Laser and 49er?

As Afloat previously reported, four nations are in contention for just one 49er place, including Ireland. In the Laser, two places are available with a 'bunch of five or six nations' including Ireland chasing them.

Adding more doubt to qualification, however, are questions now also being expressed about whether these last qualifiers can be held. The venues are scheduled for Palma, Mallorca for the 49ers and Hyeres, France for the Lasers at the same time as stronger lockdowns emerge in both countries.

As Afloat reported recently, the Irish Laser men were training in Malta this January. They plan to go on to Lanzarote in the Canaries at the end of the month for more competition, and then there’s a further diversion for a challenge on Croatia in the buildup to the final Olympic qualifier in Hyeres in April.

Historical results

World Sailing says the sport aims to complete its outstanding qualification events for Africa, Asia and Europe before the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in 2021 but if that proves unworkable the world body also said it would allocate the remaining 15% of quota places using 'historical results' as Afloat previously reported here.

Statement from the Olympic Federation of Ireland

RECENT COMMENTS IN THE MEDIA ABOUT TOKYO

Friday 22 January 2021: The IOC and Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee has made a very strong and clear statement that they are fully committed to the successful delivery of the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo this year.

Overnight media reports claimed incorrectly that a private decision had been made by the Government of Japan to cancel the Olympic Games.

The Japanese Government has stated categorically that this is not true.

The Olympic Federation of Ireland has also been very clear on this subject in recent weeks. We remain fully of the view, based on regular updates from the Tokyo organisers, that the Games will go ahead in July this year. We do feel that the Games will be very different, with stringent countermeasures in place to safeguard athletes.

Our focus remains on ensuring that our athletes are prepared and ready for this different type of games experience, accounting for the numerous Covid-19 countermeasures, along with vaccination programme.

Our intention is to circulate the most accurate and up to date news as it comes to us and to detail how that impacts the preparations of Team Ireland’s athletes and support staff. To this end we will be scheduling further briefings in our series of Tokyo Ready updates for the media in coming weeks.  

In addition, the IOC will be holding a briefing for members of the media on 27 January.

Published in Tokyo 2020
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The head of the organising committee for the London Olympics in 2012 has said the Tokyo Games scheduled for this summer look “unlikely” to go ahead.

As the Guardian reports, Sir Keith Mills told the BBC he “would be making plans for cancellation” if he were in charge of this year’s Olympics, postponed from 2020 over the coronavirus pandemic that has shown little sign of dissipating as a slow vaccine rollout begins.

Japan is currently under a state of emergency prompted by a surge in Covid-19 cases, just six months before thousands of athletes are set to converge for the Olympiad.

A significant number of competitors have yet to qualify for Tokyo 2020, including the likes of Irish Laser sailor Ewan McMahon, Rio rep Finn Lynch as well as Liam Glynn all vying for one fo the last Tokyo berths along with Ireland’s two 49er campaign duos.

Despite the present situation, World Athletics president Sebastian Coe said he was confident the Games will go ahead “but they will look different”.

Last week a spokesperson for the Tokyo organising committee insisted there had been no discussion about a cancellation or extended delay.

The committee’s head Yoshiro Mori said postponing the Games a second time would be “absolutely impossible”.

The Guardian has more on the story HERE.

As Ireland's two 49er campaigns prepare for their last chance to win an Olympic berth in Tokyo, details of the final major championship of the 2020 Quadrennial have been announced in Greece.

After four years of campaigning, minds have been focussed in the Irish camp with the news that the 49er’s Tokyo Olympic qualifier has been confirmed as the Princesa Sofia regatta in Palma, Spain – 26 March – 3 April 2021.

As Afloat previously reported, there are four nations in contention for just one skiff place, including Ireland.

Two Irish boats are up against Sweden, Italy and Belgium. Ryan Seaton and Seafra Guilfoyle and Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove both chasing the elusive Olympic place.

The teams are currently training at the Irish winter base in Villamoura, Portugal with the Princesa Sofia crunch regatta just 70 days away.

If either of the Irish boats is successful in Palma, there is no doubt they will be heading to Thessaloniki, Greece from May 4-9, 2021 for the 49er, European Championships. Just two months ahead of the Tokyo Olympics, it is expected to be the final chance for Olympians to get into racing form and for the next generation of aspiring Olympians to catch the favourites before they head onto the World Stage.

The regatta will be hosted by the Nautical Club of Thessaloniki is the oldest Nautical club in all of Greece, a country rich a rich history at sea. The club has sent members to the Olympics as long ago as 1948 and more recently has been a centre of 470 and Tornado sailing in Greece. In hosting the 49er, 49erFX, and Nacra 17 European Championship, NCTH will continue this Olympic spirit in the modern double-handed classes.

It is expected that most Olympic contenders will attend, while the Organising Authority understands the need to be careful in bringing people together and of the many travel restrictions in place globally. Onshore activities will be limited and done electronically for the most part, while on water racing activities will simulate the regular racing environment as much as possible.

Path to Paris 2024 Regatta

2021 initiates the Path to Paris, and many new and younger teams are expected to join the racing aiming toward the 2024 Olympics. Four years out from the Olympics is typically when many sailing campaigns get started, and 2021 should be no different.

Published in Tokyo 2020
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In an update from the Olympic Federation of Ireland, Rowing has qualified a record number of boats for the 2021 Olympics, with four boats heading to Tokyo, and still a good chance to get one or two more in the final qualification regatta before the Games.

The boats are:

Women’s Single Scull – Sanita Puspure finished first in the World Championships 2019

Men’s Lightweight Double Scull – Paul O’Donovan and Fintan McCarthy finished first in the World
Championships 2019

Men’s Double Scull – Philip Doyle and Ronan Byrne finished second in the World Championships 2019

Women’s Pair – Aileen Crowley and Monika Dukarska finished eleventh in the World Championships 2019

Rowing Ireland are still targeting two boats in the European qualifying regatta next year:

Women’s Four (W4-) there are two spots available.

Women’s Lightweight Double (LW2X) there are two spots available

Published in Rowing
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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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