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Displaying items by tag: rowing

A Greystones County Wicklow-based challenge to row from Ireland to Iceland next Spring made a preliminary call into Dun Laoghaire Harbour last week.

Led by James Murray, the expedition aims to "safely get from Ireland to Iceland under human power alone. No motors, no sails".

The schedule is to set off from Dublin, Ireland in Spring 2021 and for different crew members to join for legs on the way to Iceland. 

As Murray explains on his website, row to iceland.com, "each team member has their own reasons for joining, but we all share an appreciation for the beauty of the places in-between and that seemingly extraordinary thing are possible". 

Departing Dublin in April, the 3000km route will follow up Ireland's east coast before crossing to Scotland.

Following the Scottish coast, the plan is for the rowing boat to stop into fjords and towns along the way. 

The plan then is to cross to the Orkney Islands and Shetland Islands before preparing for the big push to the Faroe Islands and then Iceland.

The trip is expected to take three to six months

Murray also asks on the campaign website that if you have experience with part of this route "we'd love to hear from you to help inform our plans".

Published in Greystones Harbour

Irish Olympic rowing is enjoying an all-time high with four crews already set to compete in Tokyo next year. The boats that have secured berths so far are the Women’s Single (W1X), Women’s Pair (W2-), Men’s Double Scull (M2X) and Men’s Lightweight Double Scull (LM2X). Note that the athletes will not be selected for these crews until closer to the Games, and competition is tight for all spots.

In rowing, there are just two opportunities to qualify for the Olympics – at the World Championships the year prior to the Games (2019), where the majority of spots are available. And also at the European Qualifier which take place two months before the Games.

Ironically, at the European qualifier crews from Australia, New Zealand, Canada and USA can also compete at this regatta (AUS, CAN and USA already have qualified), and for the Women’s Four there are just two spots available. Should they qualify, the crew that competes at the European Qualifier in Lucerne next May must remain the same for the Olympic Games.

There is also an outside chance that Ireland can qualify a Lightweight Women’s Double Scull (LW2X) at the same regatta. Note that this will be the last year that there will be lightweight events in rowing at the Olympic Games, a boat type that Ireland is historically successful at.

Meanwhile, the Olympic Federation spoke with Aifric Keogh from the Women’s Four (W4-), the Galway rower who is based in Cork at the National Rowing Centre. She spoke about what the World Championships Bronze medal has meant to her, and life in lockdown at the National Rowing Centre.

Published in Rowing
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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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Sanita Puspure won the Gold medal in the Women’s Single Sculls and retained her European Rowing Championship title in Poznan today.

Seven Irish crews were competing in the final day at the 2020 European Rowing Championships. Five crews were competing in the A Finals and two boats competed in the B Finals.

The other Irish medal winners, Fintan McCarthy (LM1x), Ronan Byrne and Daire Lynch (MX2), Fiona Murtagh, Eimear Lambe, Aileen Crowley and Aifric Keogh (W4-) all won Bronze Medals in their A Finals.

A Final Results

Fintan McCarthy won Bronze in the Lightweight Men’s Single A Final. Fintan competed with crews from Norway, Italy, Greece, Hungary and Belgium. Kristoffer Brun from Norway took the Gold and Niels Torre from Italy finished second. Fintan finished third with a time of 07:02.150.

The W2- crew of Tara Hanlon and Emily Hegarty finished fifth in the A Final. The Irish pair were competing with crews from Romania, Spain, Greece, Denmark and Italy. The crew finished with a time of 07:28.280.

Ronan Byrne and Daire Lynch won Bronze in the A Final in the Men’s Double Sculls. The Irish crew competed against crews from Lithuania, Romania, Netherlands, Switzerland and Poland. Daire and Ronan finished third with a time of 06:41.210.

Aifric Keogh, Eimear Lambe, Aileen Crowley and Fiona Murtagh won Bronze in the Women’s Four A Final. The Women’s Four competed in their heat alongside boats from Denmark, Italy, Netherlands, Romania and Russia. The Irish Women’s Four finished third just behind the Italian crew with a time of 06:41.210 and just narrowly missed out on the Silver to the Swiss crew.

Sanita Puspure retained her European Championship by winning Gold in the Women’s Single Scull. Sanita won the race ahead of Magdalena Lobnig and Anneta Kyridou. Sanita was competing against crews from the Austria, Denmark, Germany, Greece and Switzerland. Sanita finished with a time of 07:36.040. Sanita is now a Double World and European Champion in the Women’s Single Scull.

B Final Results

Lydia Heaphy won the B Final in the Lightweight Women’s Single. Lydia beat crews from Germany, Hungary, Czech Republic and Slovenia on Sunday morning. Lydia finished the race with a time of 08:03.280.

The Lightweight Women’s Double of Margaret Cremen and Aoife Casey finished 2nd in the B Final. They competed against crews from the Switzerland, Greece, Denmark, Latvia and Spain and finished with a time of 07:18.780.

Rowing Ireland’s High-Performance Director, Antonio Maurogiovanni said ”I wish to congratulate all crews, coaches and support staff on the excellent performances and results at the European Rowing Championships. Winning four medals, One Gold and three bronze is a brilliant accomplishment for Irish Rowing this weekend. Out of our seven crews entered, five reached the A Final in their category, and two achieved excellent results in the B Finals.

These results have continued our success this year at U23 and Junior European Championships. We now have nine medals from three competitions at three different levels.

We are not considered the underdog anymore, and we all need to do better and push the bar higher to keep our current level of international competitiveness.

One of Rowing Ireland's High-Performance's ambition was to have a system able to offer to all our athletes the chance to be competitive in making finals and ultimately winning medals across all the categories including Senior, U23, Junior, Male, Female, Lightweight and Heavyweight. We are in the right direction, but a lot needs to be done.

I want to thank all of the athletes, coaches, support staff and clubs for all their continued hard work and dedication. A big thank you to all of the national coaches Dominic Casey, Giuseppe De Vita, Fran Kean, John Armstrong, Ciro Prisco. These results would not be possible if it wasn't for everyone working together as a team with passion and enthusiasm.

We are grateful to be able to compete in tournaments given the current health situation, and we thank World Rowing for organising this event. We now look forward to 2021 and the opportunity to qualify more boats for the Olympics next summer. "

Irish Final Results at European Rowing Championships

Lightweight Women’s Single Scull (LW1x) – 1st Place – B Final

Lightweight Women’s Double Sculls (LW2x) – 2nd Place – B Final

Lightweight Men’s Single Sculls (LM1x) – 3rd Place – A Final

Women’s Pair (W2-) – 5th Place – A Final

Men’s Double Scull (M2x) – 3rd Place – A Final

Women’s Four (W4-) – 3rd Place – A Final

Women’s Single Scull (W1x) – 1st Place – A Final

RTE Highlight Show

RTE will also be showing a highlight show on RTE2 tonight at 6:30 pm.

Published in Rowing
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The second day of the 2020 European Rowing Championships featured seven Irish crews racing in repechages and semi-finals, setting themselves up for a day full of finals tomorrow.

The first crew of the day were the W2- pair of Tara Hanlon and Emily Hegarty. The pair raced in their repechage with big competition from Belarus, the Netherlands and Denmark. Tara and Emily finished first with a time of 7:16.67 and will race in the A Final tomorrow.

Daire Lynch and Ronan Byrne started their day in the M2x Semi-Final. They faced competition from the Netherlands, Belgium and Serbia. Daire and Ronan finished third in their Semi-Final with a time of 6:21.66, securing their place in the A Final tomorrow.

Lydia Heaphy raced in the Lightweight Women’s Single Sculls (LW1x) repechage. She faced competition from the Russian and Polish crews and finished fourth with a time of 7:58.49. Lydia will race in the B Final tomorrow.

Fintan McCarthy raced in the Lightweight Men’s Single Sculls (LM1x) A/B Semi-Final. Fintan rowed in a tough race with crews from Italy, Belgium and the Czech Republic. Fintan finished second with a time of 6:57.10 and will race in the A Final tomorrow.

Margaret Cremen and Aoife Casey raced in the Lightweight Women’s Double Sculls (LW2x) Semi-Final. The pair faced competition from Italy, Belarus and Switzerland. Margaret and Aoife finished fifth with a time of 7:08.98. The pair will race in the B Final tomorrow.

The W4- crew of Aifric Keogh, Eimear Lambe, Aileen Crowley and Fiona Murtagh raced in the Women’s Four Repechage. The crew comfortably finished first with a time of 6:26.96. They will race in the A Final tomorrow.

Sanita Puspure raced in the Women's Single Sculls (W1x) Semi-Final to finish off the day. Sanita raced with the Austrian and Danish crews either side of her, with the three crews securing their places in the A Final tomorrow. Sanita finished second with a time of 7:37.84.

Sunday Races (IST)

Lightweight Women's Single Sculls (LW1x) Lydia Heaphy - B Final - 08:05

Lightweight Women's Double Sculls (LW2x) Margaret Cremen and Aoife Casey - B Final - 08:15

Lightweight Men's Single Sculls (LW1x) Fintan McCarthy - A Final - 09:31

Women's Pair (W2-) Tara Hanlon and Emily Hegarty - A Final - 10:46

Men's Double Sculls (M2x) Daire Lynch and Ronan Byrne - A Final - 11:31

Women's Four (W4-) Aifric Keogh, Eimear Lambe, Aileen Crowley and Fiona Murtagh - A Final - 11:46

Women's Single Sculls (W1x) Sanita Puspure - A Final - 13:31

Follow the rowing:

RTE TV Coverage

RTE will be covering the racing on the RTE Player tomorrow!

RTE will also be showing a highlight show on RTE2 on Sunday at 6:30 pm.

Published in Rowing
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Seven Irish crews were competing today at the 2020 European Rowing Championships. Four crews progressed to the A/B Semi-Final races on Saturday morning and three crews will race in the Repechage.

The W2-crew of Tara Hanlon and Emily Hegarty kicked off the Irish team’s racing this morning. The Irish pair were competing with crews from Russia, Italy, Greece and the Netherlands. The crew finished third with a time of 07:16.590. Tara and Emily will race in the Repechage.

Ronan Byrne and Daire Lynch competed in the Men’s double scull heat. The Irish crew competed against crews from Lithuania, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Finland and Serbia. Daire and Ronan finished second with a time of 06:22.020. Daire and Ronan have now progressed to the A/B Semi-Final on Saturday morning.

Lydia Heaphy raced in the Lightweight Women’s Single facing crews from Norway, Poland, Germany, Russia and Switzerland. Lydia finished sixth in her heat with a time of 08:01.550 and will race in the Repechage on Saturday morning.

Fintan McCarthy competed in the Lightweight Men’s Single, Fintan was competing with crews from Spain, Greece, Italy and Germany. Fintan finished third with a time of 07:05.980. Fintan moved into the Repechage later on Friday afternoon.

Fintan finished 1st in the Lightweight Men’s Repechage with a time of 07:07.35, Fintan will now compete in the A/B Semi-Final on Saturday.

The Women’s Four of Aifric Keogh, Eimear Lambe, Aileen Crowley and Fiona Murtagh competed in their heat alongside boats from Spain, France, Romania, Germany and Netherlands. The Irish Women’s Four finished second just behind the Netherlands crew with a time of 06:26.990. They will now race in the Repechage on Saturday morning.

Sanita Puspure raced in the Women’s Single Scull in Heat two. Sanita was competing against crews from the Netherlands, France, Serbia and Germany. Sanita finished second with a time of 07:35.510 and advanced to the A/B Semi-Finals on Saturday morning.

The Lightweight Women’s Double of Margaret Cremen and Aoife Casey finished 4th in their heat. They competed against crews from the Netherlands, Switzerland, Greece and Latvia and moved into the Repechage later on Friday afternoon.

Margaret and Aoife finished second in their Repechage with a time of 07:03.990. They will now compete in the A/B Semi-Final on Saturday.

Saturday European Rowing Races (IST) Irish interest

Women’s Pair (W2-) Tara Hanlon & Emily Hegarty – Repechage – 08:53

Men’s Double Scull (M2x) – Ronan Byrne & Daire Lynch – A/B Semi-Final – 09:13/09:18

Lightweight Women’s Single Scull (LW1x) – Lydia Heaphy – Repechage – 09:23

Lightweight Men’s Single Sculls (LM1x) – Fintan McCarthy – A/B Semi-Final – 09:33/09:38

Lightweight Women’s Double Sculls (LW2x) Margaret Cremen & Aoife Casey – A/B Semi-Final – 10:00/10:05

Women’s Four (W4-) Aifric Keogh, Eimear Lambe, Aileen Crowley and Fiona Murtagh – Repechage – 10:20

Women’s Single Scull (W1x) – Sanita Puspure – A/B Semi-Final – 10:45

Published in Rowing
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This weekend senior Irish crews will be looking to continue the successes of the U23 and Junior crews who brought home six medals from their European Championships in September. Ireland will have seven crews competing at the European Rowing Championships in Poznan from the 9th -11th October.

Sanita Puspure will be defending her Championship after winning Gold at last year’s European Rowing Championships in Lucerne. In 2019, Sanita also won her second consecutive World Championship and qualified the Women’s Single Scull for the Olympics at the 2019 World Rowing Championships in Austria. After Sanita’s World and European Championships in 2019, she was named as the Irish Times/Sport Ireland Sportswoman of the Year.

Women’s Four

The crew of Fiona Murtagh, Aileen Crowley, Eimear Lambe and Aifric Keogh will be competing in the Women’s Four. Fiona has won the Head of Charles two years in a row and won at the Irish Rowing Championships. Aileen, alongside Monika Dukarska, qualified the Women’s Pair for the Olympics at the 2019 World Rowing Championships. Eimear has been competing internationally since 2015 and won Silver at the 2019 U23 World Rowing Championships. Aifric has been a member of the high-performance team for several years has won at the Irish Championships and set new World Records on the erg this year.

Fintan McCarthy will be competing in the Lightweight Men’s Single after a successful 2019. Fintan competed at the 2019 European Championships in Lucerne alongside his brother, Jake, in the Lightweight Men’s Double Sculls. Fintan then competed alongside Paul O’Donovan, winning Silver at the World Cup III in Rotterdam. Fintan and Paul went on to win Gold at the 2019 World Rowing Championship and qualify the Lightweight Men’s Double boat for the Olympics.

After a successful U23 European Championships, a number of our medal winners will be competing this weekend. Ronan Byrne and Daire Lynch look to continue their success after winning Gold in the Men’s Double at the U23 European Championships in September. In 2019, Ronan won Silver alongside Phil Doyle at the World Rowing Championships and the World Cup III; Ronan also won Gold in the Men’s Single at the 2019 U23 European Championships.

Margaret Cremen and Aoife Casey will be racing in the Lightweight Women’s Double in Poznan after winning the Silver Medal in the same category in Germany last month. Margaret and Aoife have competed together for several years and won Silver in this event at the Junior European Championships in 2017.

Lydia Heaphy will be competing in the Lightweight Women’s Scull, after winning Gold alongside Cliodhna Nolan in the Women’s Lightweight Pair last month. Lydia has experience competing in the Lightweight Single Scull having raced in the boat at the 2019 World Rowing Championships.

Tara Hanlon and Emily Hegarty won Bronze at last month’s U23 event, competing together in the Women’s Pair. Tara and Emily won Silver in the Women’s Four alongside Eimear Lambe and Claire Feerick at the 2019 U23 World Rowing Championships in Sarasota.

Irish Crews Competing

W1x

Sanita Puspure (OC)

M2x

Ronan Byrne (UCC)
Daire Lynch (Clonmel)
John Kearney (UCC)- Reserve

W4-

Fiona Murtagh (NUIG)
Aileen Crowley (OC)
Eimear Lambe (OC)
Aifric Keogh (UCC)

W2-

Tara Hanlon (UCC)
Emily Hegarty (UCC)

LM1x

Fintan McCarthy (Skibbereen)

LW2x

Margaret Cremen (UCC)
Aoife Casey (UCC)

LW1x

Lydia Heaphy (UCC)

Published in Rowing
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Texaco has launched a support for sport initiative which sets aside a fund of €130,000 for distribution to sports clubs on a twenty-six, county-by-county basis, with successful applicants receiving €5,000 each.

At a time when many sports clubs may be experiencing financial strain, the initiative is one that Valero hopes will recognise the important contribution that sports clubs make to communities and throughout Irish society as a whole.

Open to sports clubs across the 26-counties of Ireland – irrespective of sporting discipline, size, membership, age, cultural appeal or gender – it is expected to attract all whose activities, goals and ambitions can, in the view of adjudicators, be materially advanced through the receipt and proper use of funding.

Speaking at the launch of the Texaco Support for Sport initiative, James Twohig, Director of Ireland Operations, Valero Energy (Ireland) Limited, described Irish sports clubs as a unifying element and a focal point for good in our communities. “In our cities, towns and villages, sports clubs are the magnets to which so many of us are drawn, homes-from-home where we meet and enjoy the friendship and camaraderie that sport offers and that all members and supporters share,” he said.

“By offering a new and innovative route to funding, we believe that the Texaco Support for Sport initiative will help uphold the unique values and characteristics that countless numbers of dedicated club members work so hard to preserve, whilst giving new expression to the cherished relationship that exists between the Texaco brand and generations of Irish sports enthusiasts,” James Twohig added.

Adjudication

Leading the adjudication process will be Texaco Support for Sport ambassador, acclaimed broadcaster and former Irish rugby international, Donncha O’Callaghan. “From my knowledge of sports clubs, gained at junior, senior and international level, I know how beneficial the Texaco Support for Sport initiative will be by bringing a much-needed benefit to clubs when it is least expected. Now more than ever, our clubs and volunteers need our support. I am really looking forward to reviewing the online applications, which provides clubs with the opportunity to showcase their importance to their local communities, and then seeing the recipients enjoy the benefit of this great initiative,” he added.

Application

Sports clubs can apply for funding from the Texaco Support for Sport from the 1 October 2020, the only requirement being that they be properly constituted and hold a valid Games & Sports Number (GS Number) issued by the Office of the Revenue Commissioners.

Those wishing to apply are invited to submit full details of their sporting activity, the purpose for which the funding is sought and the use to which it will be put. Full details of the scheme and its operation - together with registration, application, validation, adjudication and terms and conditions - are available to view at www.TexacoSupportforSport.com

Closing date for applications is the 31 December 2020 with adjudication taking place in January 2021.

Published in News Update
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Two extraordinary men are set to row a currach from the Aran island of Inis Oírr to Galway city this morning to highlight their bid to cross the Atlantic in 2022.

Extreme adventurer and former professional rugby player Damian Browne and his lifelong friend Fergus Farrell aim to set a new Guinness world record in an unsupported row some 4,937km across the Atlantic in two years’ time.

Weather permitting, their 40 km (25-mile) row today (Tues 27th) launches the project’s crowdfunding campaign and symbolises the last leg of their Atlantic traverse.

The two men from Renmore, Galway city, and Athenry, Co Galway respectively have been friends and rugby players with Connacht and Galwegians Rugby Football Club since they were young.

Two years ago, Farrell became paralysed after a workplace accident and was diagnosed with a serious spinal cord injury.

After treatment in the National Rehabilitation Hospital (NRH) in Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin, he walked 206 km from the place of his accident to the NRH.

Farrell raised 70,000 euro in his “Toughest Trek” for the hospital in late October, 2019.

Browne has completed the six day, 257km-long Marathon des Sables across the Sahara Desert - also known as “The Toughest Footrace on Earth” - and successfully rowed across the Atlantic solo in late 2017-early 2018.

One of just 60 people to complete the crossing alone, he endured nine-metre high swells, deep lacerations on his head, and a complete steering system failure. His boat capsized in a storm and was almost destroyed by an oncoming cargo ship.

He had lost 28 kilos when he completed the crossing in 63 days, 6 hours and 25 minutes. Browne is also multi-time Irish indoor rowing champion and currently holds the all-time records for the 500m and 1000m distances.

To date, he has raised over €100,000 for Irish and African based charities through his extreme adventures and is a founder and leader of Freezbrury, an international group challenge held annually every February .

He has also climbed five of the seven summits or highest peaks on each continent, and aims to tackle Everest in April/May 2021.

The record for an Atlantic crossing from New York to the Scilly isles still stands since set by George Harboe and Frank Samuelsen in 1896 - taking 55 days and 13 hours.

They had no water makers or satellite phones, GPS, emergency position indicating radio beacons ( EPIRBs) or even a life raft on board, Browne and Farrell note.

Some 11 pairs have attempted to better it, but failed, with six of the 11 completing the crossing.

There have been 52 previous attempted crossings in an unsupported row, with 18 successfully making land in some part of Europe.

Browne and Farrell have initiated Project Empower, which they describe as a “24-month studied endeavour in human empowerment”.

Their ocean rowing boat will be built by master builder Justin Adkin of Seasabre, who also constructed Browne’s vessel for his transatlantic row. The craft will be a “classic design”.

Published in Coastal Rowing
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Rowing Ireland has issued a statement confirming that David McGowan has resigned from his position as High-Performance Coach effective immediately, due to personal reasons.

David took up the position in 2018.

Speaking of his departure, David Mc Gowan said “I would like to thank the whole Rowing Ireland family for their support throughout my coaching time. I was made welcome by the people of Ireland and the family of rowers. Thank you to the athletes, parents and all those who work so hard behind the scenes to support this small rowing organisation to fight well above its weight. The team at Rowing Ireland have become my family and friends over the last three years, and I wish Antonio, the athletes and crews every success in these challenging times”.

Rowing Ireland’s High-Performance Director, Antonio Maurogiovanni said “David has coached, inspired and supported our athletes to deliver their best results. He has the vision and worked tirelessly to achieve it, culminating in our success at the 2018 and 2019 World Championships. He has been my colleague and my friend, and we will hugely miss him as part of the team”.

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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