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Displaying items by tag: drowning

#WaterSafety - Irish Water Safety, the Irish Coast Guard and RNLI have issued a joint appeal reminding the public to stay alert to the risk of drowning at all times and especially in the current hot weather.

On average, five people drown in Ireland every fortnight — and the risks increase during July and August, the most popular months for swimming and other water-based activities.

The joint appeal includes the following water safety advice to avoid summer tragedy:

  • Swim within your depth and stay within your depth. Never swim alone.
  • Wear a lifejacket or personal floatation device when on or near the water and make sure that it has a correctly fitting crotch strap. This applies when boating but equally to both experienced and once-off casual anglers fishing from shore.
  • Supervise children closely and never use inflatable toys in open water. The recent multiple rescue off Fethard is testament to the dangers of using inflatables where a sudden current can put lives under threat.
  • Swim at lifeguarded waterways listed by Irish Water Safety, or in areas that are known locally as safe and where there are ring buoys present to conduct a safe rescue.

 If you see someone in difficulty, these simple steps may save a life:

  • Shout to the casualty and encourage them to shore. This may orientate them just enough.
  • Reach out with a long object such a branch or a piece of clothing but do not enter the water yourself.
  • Throw a ring buoy or any floating object, call 112 and ask for the coastguard.

Waterways Ireland is also running a campaign with Irish Water Safety to encourage the wearing of lifejackets and personal flotation devices on the Shannon Navigation during the 2018 summer boating season.

The awareness campaign will aim to emphasise the importance of wearing lifejackets at key focal points along the Shannon.

You may notice some new signage which will be erected at key locations – locks and marinas — encouraging water safety. Information leaflets will also be distributed to water users at these key locations on the water.

Waterways Ireland encourages the safe use of its waterways by all. The wearing of lifejackets and personal flotation devices is not only an effective way of enhancing water safety, it is also a legal requirement on all pleasure craft in Ireland.

Published in Water Safety
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#LoughErne - BelfastLive reports that a man has been charged with the murder of a woman whose body was found in Lough Erne earlier this year.

Lu Na McKinney was recovered from the water by emergency services in the early hours of Thursday 13 April.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the 35-year-old mother of two from Donegal was believed to have slipped from the deck of a boat while checking it was tied to the jetty.

Yesterday a PSNI spokesperson confirmed that a 41-year-old man had been charged with her murder and was due before Omagh Magistrates’ Court this morning (Tuesday 5 December).

The man is also charged with possession of a Class C controlled drug, a classification which includes a number of tranquilisers.

Published in News Update

#Shannon - Tributes have been paid to a Longford teen who drowned at a marina on the River Shannon yesterday afternoon (Tuesday 18 July), as RTÉ News reports.

Damola Adetosoye, 17, was among a group of 20 teenagers who were swimming at a marina near Termonbarry when he got into difficulty.

The tragedy comes less than a month after Irish Water Safety (IWS) issued its annual summer advisory to the public for National Water Safety Awareness Week (19-25 June).

IWS noted that the majority of drownings — some 62% — occur inland in Ireland’s lakes and rivers, while 80% happen within the victim’s home county.

“Such statistics reinforce the importance of learning how to stay safe in, on and around water,” said the water safety body.

Published in News Update
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#LoughErne - A Donegal woman drowned after a boating accident on Lough Erne late on Wednesday night, as RTÉ News reports.

The woman is believed to have fallen overboard from a hired vessel she and her husband and children has been using for the Easter holidays.

It’s thought the 35-year-old slipped from the deck while checking the boat was tied to the jetty at Devenish Island, near Enniskillen, in the early hours of Thursday 13 April.

The Belfast Telegraph adds that the woman’s husband dived into the lough to attempt a rescue after hearing a splash but could not find her in the dark.

Her body was recovered by emergency services 40 minutes later just metres from the stern of the boat. CPR was attempted at dockside but she was later died in hospital.

The Belfast Telegraph has more on the story HERE.

Published in Inland Waterways

#Drowning - A post-mortem was expected today (Monday 11 July) on the body of a woman who drowned off the Co Clare coast yesterday morning.

RTÉ News reports that the 53-year-old woman from Eastern Europe but living in Co Tipperary was with a fishing group at Ballyreen when a wave swept her into the sea.

She was recovered some time later around 1km from the spot where she was washed in.

Despite best efforts by volunteers and Irish Coast Guard crew to save her, she was pronounced dead after she was flown to University Hospital Galway.

Published in News Update
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#Galway - BreakingNews.ie reports that two people are dead after separate drowning incidents in Galway city yesterday afternoon (Saturday 11 June).

North of the city, the body of a 19-year-old man was recovered from the River Corrib near NUI Galway around 2pm.

At the same time, the body of a woman thought to be in her 40s or 50s was discovered in Galway Docks. BreakingNews.ie has more HERE.

Published in News Update

#Drowning - Newstalk FM reports that a teenage boy has died after drowning in the River Liffey near Dublin city centre yesterday afternoon (Saturday 14 May).

The body of the 13-year-old boy was recovered by the Garda Water Unit from the stretch of the Liffey between Islandbridge and Chapelizod.

Irish Water Safety has previously warned of the dangers of playing in, on or near the water, noting that 30 children aged 14 and under have drowned in the last decade.

Published in Water Safety
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#Baltimore - A verdict of accidental death was returned at Clonakilty courthouse today (Tuesday 26 April) in the deaths of a Penney's retail scion, his son and his son's girlfriend, all three of whom drowned off Baltimore in West Cork last summer.

According to RTÉ News, the inquest heard coroner Frank O'Connell describe Barry St John Ryan (51) as an "extremely brave and courageous man" for entering the water to attempt to rescue his son Barry Davis Ryan (20) and Niamh O'Connor (20) after they were swept into the sea from the rocks by an unexpected wave on 30 June last.

The bodies of Ryan Sr and O'Connor were recovered soon after, while Ryan Jr was found by divers 10 days later, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

The court heard an emotional statement from Ryan Sr's daughter Charlotte, who was 12 years old at the time, and who recalled how an afternoon out fishing from the shore at a popular beauty spot suddenly turned to tragedy.

RTÉ News has more on the story HERE.

Published in News Update
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#Tragedy - A couple from Northern Ireland have drowned in South Africa just days after their wedding, as RTÉ News reports.

The bodies of 28-year-old John Rodgers and his 26-year-old wife Lynette from Holywood, Co Down were found on Friday evening (24 October) some 200 metres apart in shallow surf on a beach near Plettenberg Bay in South Africa's Western Cape province.

It's believed that they got into difficulty while swimming on what was the first day of their honeymoon. Strong rip currents are common in an area known for rough seas.

RTÉ News has more on the story HERE.

Published in News Update

#Tragedy - A descendent of the Penney's retail empire has been hailed as a hero after attempting to save the lives of his son and his son's girlfriend in a tragedy off West Cork yesterday (Tuesday 30 June).

As the Irish Independent reports, 51-year-old Barry Ryan dived into the sea off a popular Baltimore beauty spot to try to rescue his son Barry Davis Ryan (21) and his son's girlfriend Niamh O'Connor (20).

Davis Ryan had himself entered the water to save his partner after she was apparently swept out to sea from the rocks near Baltimore village yesterday evening around 6pm.

With all three in difficulty, Ryan called for his daughter Charlotte (14) on shore to raise the alarm, and Baltimore RNLI was on scene within 10 minutes.

However, despite the best efforts of lifeboat crews from Baltimore and Union Hall and local search and rescue units, the bodies of Ryan and O'Connor were soon recovered and pronounced dead shortly after being airlifted to Cork University Hospital.

The search for Davis Ryan was expected to resume at first light this morning after poor conditions hindered efforts last night. The Irish Independent has more on the story HERE.

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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