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Coast Guard Rescue News from Ireland
Coast Guard, RNLI Funding Escapes Cuts
#COASTGUARD – Funding for the Coast Guard and the RNLI will be protected at existing levels in 2012, Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport Leo Varadkar confirmed today (Saturday). Speaking during a New Year's Eve visit to thank volunteers at…
Queen Recognises Coastguard in New Years Honours List
#NEWYEARSHONOURS – The UK's Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) has congratulated Mark Rodaway, Wendy Wood and Paul Kelly who were honoured in the Queen's New Year's Honours List. All received their awards for their contribution to Maritime Safety. Mark Rodaway,…
Cargo Ready for Transfer from 'Cracked' Ship
#SHIPPING – Plans to remove the cargo of 54,304 tonnes of Vacuum Gas Oil from the merchant vessel 'Genmar Companion' have now been finalised. The transfer will start on 31 December 2011 (weather permitting). The vessel has been sheltering off…
New Helicopter for Irish Coast Guard is Completed
#COASTGUARD - Sikorsky has completed production of a new S-92 helicopter for the Irish Coast Guard under the rescue service's €500 million deal with CHC Ireland. The US-based helicopter firm and CHC formalised the purchase on Wednesday (21 December) with…
Coast Guard Issues Warning as Storms Forecast for this Week
#STORM – Members of the public have today been urged to heed the advice of the Irish Coast Guard as Met Eireann has forecast very windy or stormy conditions today with winds gusting 100 to 140km/hr, strongest along the North…
Go-Ahead for Killybegs Coastguard Station
#COASTGUARD - The Office of Public Works has given the go-ahead to a long-awaited new coastguard station for Killybegs, the Donegal Democrat reports. The multi-million-euro three-storey station - replacing the current 20-year-old building, which is deemed no longer suitable to…
Russian Ambassador Proposes Reward for Swanland Rescuers
#COASTGUARD - Russia's ambassador to Britain has proposed rewarding rescuers involved in the search for missing seamen in the Irish Sea last week following the sinking of the cargo ship Swanland. As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the cargo vessel -…
Couple Rescued After Failed Attempt to Board Yacht
#RESCUE– A couple in their sixties were rescued from the water in the River Teifi, Cardigan today after their attempt to climb aboard their yacht ended with them both in the water. Milford Haven Coastguard received a call from a…
Update on Search for Swanland Crew
#SWANLAND–Eleven coastguard rescue teams and an RAF helicopter have completed a search of the north Wales coast this morning, following the loss of the cargo carrier 'Swanland' in the early hours of yesterday morning. Although some additional wreckage including a…
Search for Missing Seafarers Finishes for the Night
#RESCUE–The search for the five merchant seafarers who are missing ten miles west of the Lleyn peninsula, Gwynedd has finished for this evening and will be reassessed at first light.Four lifeboats, four helicopters, three coastguard rescue teams, two merchant vessels…
Search Continues for Six Seafarers Missing on the Irish Sea
#RESCUE–Holyhead Coastguard is currently coordinating the search for six merchant seafarers who are missing in gale force weather 10 miles west of the Lleyn peninsula, Gwynedd. The 81-metre cargo  carrier, 'Swanland'  broadcast a mayday message at  2.00 am this morning.…
French Fishermen Rescued
#COASTGUARD–A call from a French fishing vessel to request the medical evacuation of a crew member became more complicated than usual because no-one on board spoke English. At 9.45am Belfast Coastguard received the report of a man with abdominal pains…
New Coastguard Command Vehicle For West Coast
#COASTGUARD - The Irish Coast Guard has received the keys to a new Mobile Incident Command Vehicle to be based in Sligo. http://afloat.ie/safety/coastguard http://afloat.ie/resources/organisations/irish-coast-guard/ Minister of State Michael Ring made the presentation to Irish Coast Guard director Chris Reynolds ahead…
It's Official - Bangor Coastguard Will Stay Open
#COASTGUARD - The UK's shipping minister has confirmed that Northern Ireland will retain its only coastguard station, the News Letter reports. http://afloat.ie/safety/coastguard/ http://www.newsletter.co.uk/news/local/coastguard_s_survival_is_confirmed_1_3271604 Mike Penning made the survival of Bregenz House official at the House of Commons yesterday, marking the…
Unconscious Man Rescued from Incoming Tide
#RESCUE – A lucky man was rescued from the estuarial mud at Penryndaedraeth this afternoon after he was found unconscious in the mud, with the tide coming in. He had been found lying in a muddy ditch in 10 inches…
Single Transport Safety Body Could Include Coastguard
#COASTGUARD – A critical review will be conducted into the feasibility of a single transport safety body, comprising the Road Safety Authority, the Railway Safety Commission and the Maritime Directorate that includes the Coastguard. The Maritime Safety Directorate (MSD) is…

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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