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Coast Guard Rescue News from Ireland
Water-Based Emergency Calls Will Go Directly To Coastguard
#Coastguard - All water-based emergency calls to 999 or 112 will be relayed directly to the Irish Coast Guard, as The Irish Times reports. The new measure – first considered by then Transport Minister Leo Varadkar in July 2013 –…
Coastguard Chopper Operator Hails 'Milestone' Year
#Coastguard - Shannon-based Rescue 115's "milestone" year has been highlighted by the operator of Ireland's coastguard helicopter fleet. In an interview with Aviation Today, CHC general operations manager Chris Hodson said 2014's "significant number of missions" was down to the…
Coastguard Rescues Two After Howth Cliff Fall
#Coastguard - The Irish Examiner reports on an Irish Coast Guard callout to rescue two men who got into difficulty on Howth Head yesterday evening (Friday 27 March). One of the men in their 20s had apparently fallen on the…
Irish Coast Guard Valentia MRSC Commemorated After 100 Years of Service
The Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Paschal Donohoe TD, today marked the commemoration of 100 years of services at the Irish Coast Guard Valentia Marine Rescue Sub-Centre (MRSC). A plaque unveiled by Minister Donohoe pays tribute to all the…
Minister Opens New Coast Guard Unit in Doolin
#coastguard – Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Paschal Donohoe T.D has opened the newly-built Coast Guard Station in Doolin, Co Clare. As one of the busiest Coast Guard Units in the country, this new facility provides the local Volunteer…
Volunteers' Time Wasted On Bray Head Hoax Call
#Coastguard - Search and rescue volunteers have expressed their frustration over a hoax call to Bray Head this past Monday night (2 March). As the Irish Independent reports, Greystones Coast Guard responded to a report that an elderly man had…
Fishing Boat Skipper Saves Crew With Swift Action
#holyhead – Holyhead Coastguard Operations Centre coordinated the rescue of three fishermen last night after their vessel started taking on water at the start of its fishing trip. At 22.22 yesterday the fishing vessel 'Cesca' reported that it was on…
Windsurfer Disappears in Foggy Conditions Near Morecambe Bay
#coastguard – HM Coastguard is coordinating a search for a missing windsurfer this evening near the mouth of the River Lune, Lancashire, after receiving a report at 4.30pm that four windsurfers had been out and three had made it back…
Howth Coast Guard Volunteers Rescue Dog Trapped On Cliff
#Coastguard - A dog trapped on cliffs at Balscadden Bay was said to be "in good form" after he was rescued by volunteers with Howth Coast Guard yesterday afternoon (Sunday 4 January). The dog, who became trapped while exploring the…
Stormy Autumn Contributed To Record 2014 Coast Guard Response Statistics
#coastguard – The Coast Guard has seen a record response for 2014, with it being particularly relevant to the Shannon SAR Helicopter who flew the Bases 300th mission last week. As Afloat.ie already reported two days ago, the Coast Guard…
Another Record Year For Irish Coast Guard In 2014
#Coastguard - The Irish Coast Guard has reported another record year for both missions flown and lives saved, according to the Irish Examiner. Among the stats announced by the rescue service for 2014 is a 72% increase in the number…
Surfer Found Safe And Sound In Lahinch Beach Search
#Coastguard - The Clare Herald reports on the happy outcome after a search for a missing surfer near Lahinch yesterday afternoon (Monday 15 December). Members of the Irish Coast Guard's Doolin unit began combing the beaches of Lahinch after an…
Holyhead Coastguard Operations Centre (CGOC) Becomes part of New HM Coastguard Network
#coastguard – Holyhead Coastguard Operations Centre (CGOC) is to become part of the new Coastguard national network for the very first time this week. Work has been carried out at the search and rescue coordination centre to upgrade the technology…
Howth Coast Guard Seeks New Recruits
#Coastguard - Howth Coast Guard in North Co Dublin has announced it is recruiting new members to volunteer in and respond to cliff and coastal emergencies in the local area. No experience is required and all training is provided, but…
Planning To Light Chinese Lanterns Tonight? Let The Coast Guard Know
#ChineseLanterns - With Halloween celebrations kicking off this evening as soon as the sun goes down, Bundoran RNLI has a timely reminder for anyone considering lighting Chinese lanterns. A simple courtesy call to the Irish Coast Guard to let them…
Search for Missing Boy off Holyhead
#coastguard – Coastguards are this afternoon searching for a 12-year-old boy who is believed to have been swept out to sea at Aberffraw. Holyhead Coastguard received a 999 call at around 12.30 this lunchtime reporting that three people were stuck…

Irish Coast Guard

The Irish Coast Guard is Ireland's 4th Blue Light service (along with An Garda Síochána, the Ambulance Service and the Fire Service). It provides a nationwide maritime emergency organisation as well as a variety of services to shipping and other government agencies.

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

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

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

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

Introduction

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

  • handle 3,000 marine emergencies
  • assist 4,500 people and save about 200 lives
  • task Coast Guard helicopters on missions around 2000 times (40 times to assist mountain rescues and 200 times to carry out aeromedical HEMS missions on behalf of the HSE), Coast Guard volunteer units will respond 1000 times and RNLI and community lifeboats will be tasked by our Coordination Centres about 950 times
  • evacuate medical patients off our Islands to hospital on 100 occasions
  • assist other nations' Coast Guards about 200 times
  • make around 6,000 maritime safety broadcasts to shipping, fishing and leisure craft users
  • carry out a safety on the water campaign that targets primary schools and leisure craft users, including at sea and beach patrols
  • investigate approximately 50 maritime pollution reports

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

List of Coast Guard Units in Ireland

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

The roles of the Irish Coast Guard

The main roles of the Irish Coast Guard are to rescue people from danger at sea or on land, to organise immediate medical transport and to assist boats and ships within the country's jurisdiction.

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

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

Each centre is responsible for search and rescue operations.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Coast Guard helicopters

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

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

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

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

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

Helicopter tasks include:

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

The secondary roles of the helicopter are:

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

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

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

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

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