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Coast Guard Rescue News from Ireland
Coast Guard Advises Caution as Met Éireann Issues Gale Warning
#coastguard –  The Coast Guard advises the public to be careful on exposed westerly coasts, cliffs, piers, harbour walls, beaches, and promenades this weekend especially Sunday due to forecasted strong gale force westerly winds. Met Éireann has a gale warning…
Coastguard Locates Stricken Irish Sea Vessel & Tows to Safety
#coastguard – A vessel that first reported suffering steering problems off the south west of Scotland early this afternoon has now been found and towed to safety.Liverpool Coastguard received a 999 call from one of the two people on board…
Merseyside Man Wins Maritime & Coastguard Agency Trainee Officer of the Year
#coastguard – A 21-year-old man from Crosby, Merseyside, has been awarded this year's UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) Trainee Officer of the Year award. Philip Cave, from Fleetwood Nautical College, whose training company is Princess Cruises, has been recognised…
HM Coastguard Modernisation Programme Announced
#coastguard – The timetable for completing the modernisation of Her Majesty's Coastguard has been announced. The new national network is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2015, with the National Maritime Operations Centre (NMOC) operating from autumn 2014.…
Fisherman Rescued By Portaferry Lifeboat After Boat Capsizes off South Rock
#capsize – A man has been taken to hospital after his fishing boat capsized near South Rock, Northern Ireland. Belfast Coastguard received a Mayday call at around 12:30pm today from the man on board the boat, who reported it was…
Belfast Coastguard Search for Missing Fisherman off Portrush
#coastguard – At 4.05pm yesterday Belfast Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre received a 999 emergency call from a member of the public who had witnessed a shore based fisherman entering the water at Ramore Head, Portrush. Belfast Coastguard immediately requested helicopter…
Coast Guard Warning on Jet Ski Dangers
#coastguard – HM Coastguard is again warning people of the dangers of jet skis and personal watercraft (PWC) after a busy summer in North Wales. Between 1 May and 1 September this year, Holyhead Coastguard dealt with almost 30 incidents…
First For Coastguard As All-Female Crew Pilots Shannon Rescue Chopper
#Coastguard - Last Friday 9 August, the Shannon-based search and rescue helicopter Rescue 115 flew its first missions with an all-female flight crew in pilot Captain Dara Fitzpatrick and co-pilot Captain Carmel Kirby.   Capt Fitzpatrick is the chief pilot…
Government Approve Merger of Irish Coast Guard and Marine Survey Office
#Coastguard - Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar has met with cabinet approval to the re-organisation of maritime safety and marine emergency which will combine the Irish Coast Guard (ICG) and Marine Survey Office (MSO). According to today's Irish Times, the…
RTÉ's Mooney Show Checks In With Howth Coast Guard
#Coastguard - RTÉ presenter Mary Kingston recently paid a visit to Howth Coast Guard for Radio 1's The Mooney Show as they patrolled Dublin Bay. Among the people they met along the way were a couple who sprang into action…
Coast Guard Recover Boy from Welsh Cliffs
#coastguard – Just before 9pm last night Milford Haven Coastguard received a 999 emergency call reporting a 12–year old boy who had been cut off by the rising tide at Saundersfoot on the Welsh coast. The boy climbed up the…
Spanish Fisherman Airlifted To Hospital in Coastguard Medivac
#Coastguard - Galway Bay FM reports that a man was airlifted by the coastguard from a Spanish fishing trawler off the Galway coast last night (5 August). The Irish Coast Guard's Shannon-based Rescue 115 helicopter was dispatched to the trawler…
Concerns Over Staffing Levels At Belfast Coastguard
#Coastguard - The UK's Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) has attempted to assuage concerns over Northern Ireland's only coastguard control centre as a major union accused the service of staffing shifts below safe levels. As the News Letter reports, this…
17 Canoeists Rescued on Lough Neagh
#rescue – A group of 17 people, including 14 children, involved in a canoeing trip have been rescued after they became stranded on Lough Neagh.Belfast Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) was first contacted just after 6.45pm this evening by one…
Two Bodies Recovered, Search Called Off for Missing Isle of Man Anglers
#coastguard – Liverpool MRCC has called off the search for two missing anglers off the Isle of Man coast after two bodies were recovered from the sea to the North of the island this afternoon. Liverpool MRCC (Maritime Rescue Coordination…
Irish Coast Guard To Be Merged With Marine Survey Office
#Coastguard - The Irish Coast Guard is to be merged with the Marine Survey Office, as The Irish Times reports. Cabinet approval has been granted for Transport Minister Leo Varadkar's reorganisation plans, which will see the creation of a new…

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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