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Coast Guard Rescue News from Ireland
NI First Minister Highlights Need for Local Knowledge Over Clyde Coastguard Closure Threat
Northern Ireland's First Minister has highlighted the need for local knowledge in light of the threatened closure of the Clyde coastguard station in Scotland. http://www.afloat.ie/safety/coastguard/ As previously reported by Afloat.ie, the control centre at Greenock is set to be scrapped…
Many Angling Boats Suffer Engine Failure - UK Coastguard
Mario Siano is the Maritime and Coastguard Agency's national liaison officer for angling. He has been analysing the Coastguard's angling search and rescue incidents over the course of this year and has noticed some interesting trends: "Many of our angling-related…
Online Petition Challenges Cuts to UK Coastguard Network
A campaigner on Twitter is encouraging supporters to sign an online petition against the closure of coastguard stations across the UK. http://afloat.ie/safety/coastguard/ So far almost 7,000 signatures have been added to the petition started by Twitter user @Coastguard_SOS in protest…
Two Fishermen Rescued After an Hour in the Water
Two fishermen in the Irish Sea were rescued from the water this afternoon after drifting for an hour in the water before their cries for help were heard. Liverpool Coastguard received a 999 call from a member of the public…
Clyde Campaigners Hope for U-Turn on Coastguard Closure Proposal
Scottish campaigners have made their final pleas to save the Clyde coastguard station from closure, the Greenock Telegraph reports. http://www.afloat.ie/safety/coastguard/ Under the UK government's plans to streamline Britain's coastguard network, the control centre at Greenock is set to be scrapped…
Tourist Saved By Light of Mobile Phone
A tourist was rescued from some of Ireland's tallest sea cliffs in Co Donegal yesterday when a coastguard team spotted the light from her mobile phone. http://afloat.ie/safety/coastguard/ The Irish Independent reports that the 24-year-old German woman had gone missing in…
Angler Rescued after Fall from Cliff
An angler was rescued from the sea this afternoon after he fell from a cliff. At just after 1pm Liverpool Coastguard received a 999 call from a member of the public who had witnessed the person fall in to the…
Irish Vessels Asked to Keep Lookout for Missing Yacht
Ships off Ireland's south and west coasts have been asked by the French coastguard to keep a lookout for a yachtsman who has gone missing on a transatlantic voyage. In a report that has echoes of missing yacht The Golden…
Coast Guard Chopper Rescues Couple in Galway Bay
The Irish Times reports that a man and a woman were rescued in Galway Bay yesterday afternoon after their sailing dinghy capsized. http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2011/0927/1224304800796.html http://afloat.ie/safety/rescue/ The pair were winched to safety by the Shannon-based Irish Coast Guard helicopter off the Co…
70 Year Old Man Falls Over Cliff
A 70 year old man was  rescued last night from the bottom of the cliffs at Llangrannog, West Wales. Milford Haven Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre was alerted at just before six o'clock by a member of the public who was…
Wet, Shocked but Unharmed, Two Crew Plucked from Liferaft off Ardglass
The safety equipment carried on fishing vessel 'Islander' proved its worth this evening after it was used to alert rescue services after the vessel capsized in rough weather. At 4.40pm Belfast Coastguard were notified through MRCC Clyde that Falmouth Coastguard…
Missing Bermuda Yacht Arrives Safely in Co Kerry
A yacht that was reported missing in the Atlantic between Bermuda and Ireland sailed safely into port in Co Kerry this afternoon. As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the Golden Eagle has been at the centre of an air and sea…
Search for Yacht Missing Between Bermuda and Ireland
An air and sea search operation is underway for a yacht missing en route from Bermuda to Ireland, The Irish Times reports. http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/breaking/2011/0920/breaking12.html The Golden Eagle has been out of contact since leaving port on 21 August. It was due…
Ireland Bidding for European Coast Guard Secretariat
Ireland is bidding to bring the proposed Europe-wide coastguard secretariat to Dublin, The Irish Times reports. http://www.afloat.ie/safety/coastguard/ Irish Coast Guard director Chris Reynolds is in charge of setting up the new office as chair of the EU Heads of Coast…
Seven New Coast Guard Boats in €2M Safety Programme
Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport Leo Varadkar has announced a €2 million safety investment programme for the Coast Guard to purchase seven new boats, along with new vehicles and equipment: €1.5 million has been allocated for 7 new Coast…
Award for Helicopter Crews 'Outstanding Service' to Irish Maritime Search and Rescue
CHC Helicopter rescue crews have been recognised for their brave, sustained, professional and outstanding service to maritime Search and Rescue (SAR) in Ireland. One of the world's leading helicopter services company, CHC has built up an unparalleled reputation for excellence…

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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