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Coast Guard Rescue News from Ireland
Capt Dara Fitzpatrick as pictured in a 1994 issue of Afloat magazine
#Rescue116 - British SAR contractor Heli Operations has named its latest helicopter in tribute to Capt Dara Fitzpatrick, who died in the Rescue 116 tragedy earlier this year. The Westland Sea King HAS.5, codenamed ZA116, will bear the name Dara…
Caitriona Lucas was posthumously awarded the State's highest honour for bravery earlier this month
#Coastguard - Irish Coast Guard management faced a protest march at the weekend over Kilkee’s lack of a full rescue service — and one restricted further since the death last year of coastguard volunteer Caitriona Lucas, as The Irish Times…
Rescue 116 pictured over Wicklow in August 2015
#Rescue116 - Lifejackets worn by the crew of the downed Rescue 116 were not fit for purpose — and the operators of Ireland’s coastguard rescue helicopter service knew five years beforehand. That’s according to a report set to be broadcast…
Caitriona Lucas was awarded a Posthumous Gold Medal and Certificate of Bravery at yesterday's National Bravery Awards
#Coastguard - The late Irish Coast Guard volunteer Caitriona Lucas has been recognised in this year’s National Bravery Awards. The Posthumous Gold Medal and Certificate of Bravery were presented to Lucas’ family at Farmleigh House yesterday (Friday 20 October) a…
The Queen Mary 2, pictured here in Norway, was en route to Southampton from New York at the time
#Medevac - Shannon’s Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 115 was involved in a medevac from the cruise liner Queen Mary 2 some 60 nautical miles off West Cork on Thursday morning (12 October), as BreakingNews.ie reports. An elderly passenger understood…
Dun Laoghaire Coast Guard were called to assist a sick sailor off Malahide last Thursday afternoon
#Coastguard - Castletownbere’s Irish Coast Guard team was alerted on Friday night (29 September) by Valentia Coast Guard to a medevac scheduled for the early hours of Saturday. FV Argeles, a French fishing vessel, had an injured crewman onboard and…
Items Found On Mayo Beach Could Belong To Missing Rescue 116 Crew
#Rescue116 - A lifejacket and helmet washed up on a beach near Blacksod in Co Mayo this weekend may belong to one of the two missing crew from the Rescue 116 tragedy earlier this year, as RTÉ News reports. The…
Rescue 118, based in Sligo, was tasked for the long-range medevac some 190 miles west of Erris Head this morning
#Coastguard - The Sligo-based Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 118 conducted a medevac for a passenger on board the cruise liner Marco Polo this morning (Wednesday 27 September). Malin Rescue Coordination Centre received an early morning request from the UK…
Coastguard Chief Speaks Of Sorrow Over Lost Colleagues Ahead Of Return From EU Secondment
#Coastguard - Irish Coast Guard director Chris Reynolds has paid tribute to the lives lost in the Rescue 116 and Kilkee tragedies ahead of his return from secondment in Somalia. “The Coast Guard has lost five colleagues to accident and…
Fall From Helicopter Winch ‘Unlikely’ To Have Led To Death In Hook Head Rescue Tragedy
#Coastguard - The Irish Coast Guard crew winching two teenagers from the sea when one fell from her harness had never lifted two casualties at the same time before, as BreakingNews.ie reports. Aoife Winterlich, 14, was one of four teenagers…
Wind predictions for Galway on Sunday evening show gusts over 50mph
The Coast Guard advises caution to public as Met Éireann warns of heavy swell on Atlantic Coast later on Sunday. Members of the public have been urged to heed the advice of the Coast Guard as Met Éireann has issued…
Coastguard Helicopter Air Ambulance Service Is Scaled Back
#Coastguard - Irish Coast Guard helicopter crews will no longer be expected to fly inter-hospital transfers from this week, according to The Irish Times. It’s understood that the move by the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) to withdraw coastguard helicopters from…
Le Eithne was involved in a top cover exercise
Dunmore East in County Waterford was a hive of Search and Rescue activity this weekend, as the Irish Coast Guard co-ordinated a very successful day of Marine Search and Rescue demonstrations. The exercise involved Ireland’s principal Search and Rescue (SAR)…
The main event will commence at 10:30 with an off shore search demonstration, followed by an on-board emergency with the LÉ Eithne (above) acting as a M/V in distress.
The public are encouraged to come and watch as Dunmore East is set to host some of Irelands principal Search and Rescue assets on Saturday the 2nd of September 2017. The event known as IMSARC Demo (Irish Marine Search and…
Coastguard In Ongoing Search For Missing Diver Off Donegal
#Coastguard - Sligo’s Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 118 is involved in an ongoing multi-agency search for a diver missing since yesterday afternoon (12 August) off the Donegal coast. According to TheJournal.ie, the man was part of a group diving…
Rescue 116 pictured over Wicklow in August 2015
#Rescue116 - Favourable conditions this weekend will aid a fresh search of the waters around Black Rock for the two Irish Coast Guard personnel still missing after the Rescue 116 tragedy four months ago. Winch operator Paul Ormsby and winchman…

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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