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Coast Guard Rescue News from Ireland
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…
Warning Issued as Logs Fall from Vessel off South East Coast
The Irish Coast Guard are currently investigating the loss of logs from a cargo vessel off the south eastern coast. The incident occurred early this morning. The Waterford-based Coast Guard helicopter has already investigated and some of the cargo has…
Coast Guard Urges Public Not to Go Out on Exposed Piers
The Irish Coast Guard service today issued an important warning to the public about high winds, gales and flooded areas. This warning comes following a weather warning and a strong gale warning issued by Met Eireann today. Southwest winds veering…
Woman Airlifted to Cliff Top
Earlier this afternoon Milford Haven Coastguard were alerted by local Police to an unfolding incident at Lydstep beach in Pembrokeshire, Wales involving a woman and two children. The woman who is not local to the area was walking with her…
RNLI Hovercraft in Rescue of Girl
At 5.30 pm last night Liverpool Coastguard were alerted to a local 15 year old girl in difficulty by the Leasowe Lighthouse on Moreton Common, Wirral, on Merseyside on the far side of the Irish Sea . She was completely…
Woman Airlifted From Beach After Fall
Milford Haven Coastguard on the far side of the Irish sea coordinated assistance yesterday afternoon to a 30 year old woman who had fallen at Skrinkle Haven near Tenby in Wales, and suffered what appeared to be a broken wrist…
Drifting Yacht Starts Shannon Search And Rescue Operation
A Shannon Estuary search and rescue operation was mounted early yesterday (Wednesday) after a yacht was reported adrift and at risk of entering a busy shipping and ferry lane. The alarm was raised shortly after 8.30am after a member of…
Two Men Rescued from Welsh Cliffs
Two men, who became stranded on an Irish sea beach at the bottom of cliffs due to heavy sea conditions, have been recovered by Welsh coastguard rescue officers. Milford Haven Coastguard received a 999 call at 7.15 pm this evening…
Helicopter Rescues Man Who Fell off Howth Head
A man who was critically injured when he fell 100ft off a cliff in Howth has been rescued by the Coastguard helicopter. At 17.30 this evening Howth Coast Guard were requested by Gardai to assist with the search for a…
HM Coastguard Wins GAA Match
You know they'll always be there when you need them, but some of the guys from HM Coastguard serving County Down had the opportunity recently to talents of a different kind as they took part in the fifth annual Security…
Dempsey Applauds Irish Coast Guard as new TV Series Showcases Vital Rescue Service
Minister for Transport Noel Dempsey TD today applauded the Irish Coast Guard service as a new TV series on Ireland's national search and rescue service begins on RTE 1 this evening. Speaking today, Minister Dempsey said: "This exciting new series…
Tanker Assists Dismasted Yacht
At quarter past eight this morning, Falmouth Coastguard was contacted by the master of the Motor Tanker Sea Marlin. The crew of the tanker had received on their VHF radio a pan pan urgency call. They were able to identify from…
Welsh Coastguard Evacuate Walkers
At twenty minutes past one this afternoon, Swansea Coastguard received a call from ambulance control requesting assistance to the aid of an injured walker. The lady had called 999 and requested the Welsh ambulance service, after they had taken the…
Go Ahead for New Doolin Coastguard Station
Clare County Council granted planning permission for a €1.9 million coastguard station at Doolin. The new station will have capacity for three boats will be one of the biggest of its kind in Ireland. More from the Clare People HERE. 
Coastguard to Carry Out Irish Sea Windfarm Exercise
The UK's Maritime & Coastguard Agency in conjunction with RWE npower renewables, the RNLI and RAF Search and Rescue, are due to exercise communications, co-ordination and response to a series of mock-maritime incidents in and around the wind turbines at…
Search for Missing Man on Valentia Island
A search is underway on Valentia Island, Co Kerry this afternoon for a 28-year old man who has been missing since last night. The man was one of a party-of-four who were taking photographs in the area.The alarm was raised when…

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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