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Allianz and Afloat - Supporting Irish Boating

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Coast Guard Rescue News from Ireland
Campaign to Preserve NI Coastguard Service
Supporters of Northern Ireland's coastguard control centre have launched a campaign to prevent any reduction of its service. As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre at Bangor faces the axe under proposals to streamline coastguard services across…
Cameron Dodges Issue of Bangor Closure
British Prime Minister has dismissed concerns over the potential loss of Northern Ireland's Coastguard centre. The Belfast Telegraph reports that when questioned on the future of the Bangor control centre by DUP MP Jim Shannon, David Cameron replied that he…
Coast Guard Statistics Show more than 3,500 people assisted, a 20% increase on 2009
Today, the Irish Coast Guard published details of incidents responded to in 2010, which show the following important trends: A total of 3,570 persons were assisted last year, a 20% increase on the 2009 figure. Total number of incidents responded to…
Coast Guard Rescues Woman in Clontarf
A Coast Guard helicopter was dispatched to rescue a woman from the water close to Bull Bridge in Clontarf on Sunday night, The Irish Times reports. http://news.ie.msn.com/article.aspx?cp-documentid=155746525 Four Coast Guard search teams were deployed to the area after a passer-by…
Fishermen Rescued From Sinking Vessel off Ardglass
Four fishermen have been rescued last night from a 58 foot wooden Fishing Vessel 'Karen', after hitting rocks near the entrance to Ardglass Harbour and taking on water. The crew of the Fishing vessel had prepared their liferaft, as the…
Coastguard Rescue Teams Assist NHS in Snow Affected Areas
Welsh Coastguard Rescue Teams along the Irish Sea coast are assisting the NHS in North Wales today as heavy snow affects the area. Cemaes Coastguard Rescue Team transported critical staff from Llanddeusant to Cefni Hospital, Llanerchymedd and Llangefni to Ysbyty…
NI Coastguard Centre Faces Scale Back, Possible Closure
The UK's shipping minister has announced proposals that would see a reduction in operational hours or even the closure of Northern Ireland's coastguard command centre. Earlier this week news emerged that the rescue command centre at Bangor was under threat…
Single Handed Yachtsman Caught in Gale Calls for Assistance
Liverpool Coastguard have been coordinating assistance to a small yacht 'The Tern' since 3.00 am this morning at Whitehaven on the Irish Sea Coast. The yacht owner had been seeking permission to come into the harbour seeking a safe haven…
New World Class Coast Guard National Marine Operations Centre Opens
This morning Minister for Transport Noel Dempsey TD opened the new Irish Coast Guard National Marine Operations Centre in the Irish Coast Guard headquarters, Leeson Lane, Dublin 2. The Irish Coast Guard National Maritime Operations Centre houses Ireland’s Maritime Rescue…
Stornoway Helicopter Reports Busiest Year Ever
Scottish Coastguard rescue helicopter based in Stornoway has recorded its busiest ever year after clocking up in excess of 200 callouts in 2010. It is the first time the rescue helicopter team has reached the milestone figure for missions in any…
NI Coastguard Centre May Face Closure
Public spending cuts in the UK could see the closure of Northern Ireland's only coastguard rescue command centre, the News Letter reports. The coalition government is expected to announce phasing out of a number of the UK's 19 coastguard centres…
An attempt to rescue an injured crewman off the Co. Cork coast for the second time has proved successful according to a report today on RTE.ie The Shannon-based Coast Guard Helicopter reached the boat shortly before 2pm and succeeded in…
Tributes have been paid to one of the Irish Coast Guard's longest serving and most experienced air-sea rescue crew member, according to Lorna Siggins of The Irish Times. Noel Donnelly (55), who is retiring after more than 30 years' service,…
At 17.05 pm last night Belfast Coastguard received a 999 call from an angler reporting that he was in difficulty.The man who is on holiday in the area was out angling on Lough Erne in his 2.4 metre open boat, when…
A man has been pronounced deceased at Lancaster Hospital after being rescued from the River Lune in Lancaster this afternoon. At 2.12 pm a member of the public called Liverpool Coastguard to report that they could see a man in…
Two lifeboats proceeded to the Stena Pioneer this afternoon after crew on the ferry issued a mayday call reporting a fire in their engine room whilst they were on passage to Fleetwood on the Irish Sea.  A helicopter was also…

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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