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Coast Guard Rescue News from Ireland
Black Rock, northwest of Achill Island, where the Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 116 went down on 14 March 2017
#Rescue116 - RTÉ News reports that a lifejacket and helmet thought to be from the Rescue 116 crash last year have been recovered off Achill Island. Local gardaí confirmed that the items were brought ashore by fishermen about a mile…
The yacht beached near Waterville, Co Kerry, as seen earlier today
#StormHector - One sorry yacht owner felt the wrath of Storm Hector today (Thursday 14 June) when their vessel was founded beached near Waterville in Co Kerry, as RTÉ News reports. The Hanse yacht, named Seabiscuit, broke its mooring in…
The NI Ambulance Service also attended the scene at Castlerock
#Coastguard - Coleraine Coastguard headed to the rescue of a man and three children caught in a rip current at Castlerock over the weekend following the Portrush Raft Race. According to BBC News, the four were on bodyboards when they were…
Rescue 116 pictured over Wicklow in August 2015
#Rescue116 - Transport Minister Shane Ross has appointed an international team to review Irish SAR operations in the wake of last year’s fatal Rescue 116 crash, as The Irish Times reports. The team, led by former European Aviation Safety Agency…
Video Of Coastguard Cliff Rescue In Dingle
#Coastguard - The Irish Coast Guard’s Facebook page has shared video of a dramatic cliff face rescue near Dingle earlier this week. Dingle Coast Guard and the Irish Coast Guard’s Shannon-based helicopter Rescue 115 joined paramedics at the scene where…
James Larkin (centre) presented with a canvas by new Greenore Coast Guard OIC George Campbell and deputy OIC Shay Gormley
#Coastguard - Greenore Coast Guard congratulate their retiring officer in chief James Larkin, who is stepping down after 21 years in the post. Larkin now takes up a full-time role as section manager for the Irish Coast Guard’s Eastern Region.…
Keith Swanick (left) and John Gallagher, representing the Erris Community, pictured with Chris Reynolds, Director, Irish Coast Guard, after they received a People of the Year Award at the 43rd Rehab People of the Year Awards, in St Stephen’s Green, Dublin. The winners, who are nominated by members of the public, were revealed live on RTÉ One television at a star-studded black-tie ceremony hosted by Gráinne Seoige and Aidan Power, from Dublin’s Mansion House. Ireland’s longest-running and most prestigious awards event, the Awards recognise people for their heroic deeds and remarkable achievements
The community of Erris and Irish Coast Guard have been jointly honoured at the People of the Year Awards, with special recognition for the crew of Rescue 116 which was lost off the Mayo coast in March of last year.…
The late Capt Dara Fitzpatrick at the beginning of her coastguard pilot career, as photographed for Afloat in June 1994
#Rescue116 - The 43rd annual People of the Year awards tomorrow night (Sunday 15 April) will see honours go to the Irish Coast Guard as a tribute to the crew of Rescue 116, as BreakingNews.ie reports. In addition, the people…
Caitriona Lucas will be recognised alongside the crew of Rescue 116 in next year’s stamp programme
#Coastguard - Next year’s commemorative stamp programme from An Post will feature a tribute to the four coastguard crew lost in the Rescue 116 tragedy one year ago. RTÉ News reports that Caitriona Lucas, the coastguard volunteer who died during a…
Rescue 116 pictured over Wicklow in August 2015
#Rescue116 - The Air Accident Investigation Unit has called for “a thorough review of search and rescue aviation operations in Ireland” in the wake of the Rescue 116 tragedy one year ago. Four Irish Coast Guard crew — Capt Dara…
 Sir Alan Massey of the UK's Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA)
After eight years at the helm, the Chief Executive of the UK's Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) Sir Alan Massey has announced his intention of retiring from the role towards the end of 2018 and is looking forward to taking…
Black Rock off the Mullet Peninsula in Co Mayo, where the Sikorsky S-92 helicopter went down a year ago
#Rescue116 - Today, Wednesday 14 March, marks one year since the Rescue 116 tragedy off Co Mayo. Relatives of the four Irish Coast Guard crew lost in the crash attended a midnight vigil in Blacksod, as The Irish Times reports.…
Coastguard helicopter 116 lands at the Carlisle Pier, Dun Laoghaire in 2017
The AAIU Investigation into the accident involving the loss of R116 and its four crew members at Blackrock, Co. Mayo on 14 March 2017 is still in the process of gathering factual and background information and is making steady progress.…
Young Scientists Hopefuls Flag Coastguard Navigation Chart Errors In Helicopter Project
#Coastguard - Secondary school students taking part in this week’s BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition at the RSD have identified a list of errors in navigational charts used by the Irish Coast Guard’s helicopter crews. As the Irish Independent…
Irish Coast Guard Saved 335 Lives In 2017
#Coastguard - The Irish Coast Guard saved 335 lives and assisted more than 3,300 people in 2017, as RTÉ News reports. Among the details of its end of year review, the coastguard said its volunteer units and helicopter SAR crews…
SAR Pilots Asked To Help Correct Navigation Chart Revised After Rescue 116 Tragedy
#Rescue116 - The Irish Aviation Authority has appealed to SAR and other pilots to help correct its latest aeronautical chart introduced this past summer, as The Irish Times reports. The updated visual flight rules chart was published in response to…

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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