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#coastguard – Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport Leo Varadkar officially launched the Coast Guard's new state-of-the-art S92 search & rescue helicopter for the Dublin region in Weston Airport today.

This is the fourth and final Sikorsky S92 helicopters to come into operation for the Coast Guard and means the entire fleet has now been upgraded. It replaces the Sikorsky S61 which was in use until recently at Coast Guard bases in Dublin, Shannon, Sligo and Waterford.

Speaking at the launch Minister Varadkar said: "This new helicopter means the Irish Coast Guard now has one of the most modern and effective helicopter fleets in the world. The S92 is tailored specially for search & rescue operations. It has an extended range of 270 nautical miles, is faster and safer, can carry more casualties, and can fly at higher altitude and in much worse weather.

"I'm delighted that the entire Coast Guard helicopter fleet has now been upgraded. It comes after one of the busiest years ever for the Coast Guard which responded to 2,627 incidents involving fishing craft, leisure vessels and mountaineers. A well-equipped and well-resourced Coast Guard can represent the difference between life and death for anyone in trouble at sea or on land.

"The new helicopters also allowed the Coast Guard to expand its role in providing emergency medical transport for the HSE. Last year the Coast Guard performed 253 aeromedical missions and 159 offshore island medical evacuations.

"This is a good occasion to pay tribute to the dedicated helicopter crews who work tirelessly to rescue lives all year round, and also the hundreds of volunteers on Coast Guard and RNLI vessels, mountain and cave rescue teams. It wouldn't be possible to provide the same level of emergency response without these volunteers. That's also why we have the highest ever allocation of €67.9 million for the Coast Guard in 2014 to finance the provision of critical search & rescue services."

Coast Guard Director Chris Reynolds said: "This has been an exceptional year in terms of the number of incidents, but there has been significant progress in terms of modernising and further developing the Coast Guard. The new helicopter fleet will greatly enhance our capacity to provide a first-class response to all emergencies in the year ahead, whether off-shore and inland."

The Coast Guard also announced a competition to name all four of the new helicopters. The nationwide competition will kick off next week and will be featured on Clare FM, Ocean FM, FM104, Q102 and WLR, including their Facebook sites. Listeners will be invited to send in their suggestions to these radio stations. The aim is to raise awareness locally of the new Coast Guard helicopters, and to inform people about how best to alert the Coast Guard or other emergency services in the event of an incident.

Enhanced medical capacity of Sikorsky S92

The S92 and its well-trained crews including State-registered paramedics can now provide a first class medical service in emergencies and for medical transfers.

Inter-hospital transfers, donor organ recipient transfers, specialist medical teams can now be transported in this modern, reliable and safe aircraft which with its large multi role cabin and rear access ramp which can accommodate stretchers, hospital trolleys, incubators, equipment and personnel .

It can also transfer specialised Ambulance Response and Mountain Rescue teams to an incident anywhere in the country at very short notice, for example train or bus crash or RTA (road traffic accident) requiring multi casualty evacuation.

The Coast Guard has surveyed over 50 landing sites countrywide but has focused mainly on needs in areas where road transport may not benefit the patient if urgent transport was required, especially in terms of transferring people to a centre of excellence within the 90 minute window which is the requirement in the majority of cases when a casualty needs immediate medical attention at a nominated medical centre as directed by HSE staff.

The area of operation in the Irish EEZ (Economic Exclusion Zone) will also be expanded to nearly 300 miles offshore and using the S92's satellite communications, long-range and discreet communications suite, which means that casualty information can be transmitted to the receiving hospital.

Technical information on Sikorsky S92

The capability to be on-scene to a maritime incident in any weather conditions in a shorter time period is largely enhanced due in the main to four main attributes of the aircraft:

Speed: Up to 150kts and doesn't lose speed at altitude, will carry 22 casualties at max range with twin engines each delivering 2500 SHP.
Range: Will have an ROA of 270mls from Waterford and can enhance that with auxiliary tanks.
De-icing: In adverse weather where rotor icing is an issue this aircraft can fly at 10.00ft in conditions of minus 40dgs C.
Performance: Modern reliable engines which deliver more power coupled with three programme linked navigational software , searchlight capability of 30 million candle power , dual high speed winches, high resolution picture zoom, memory mapping, adjacent aircraft detection capability, hi-tech communication systems, large multi role cabin, HEMS licenced, 8 passenger seats, reliable single engine performance, enhanced hover performance and in-flight homing equipment.

The Department of Transport and Coast Guard are members of the Marine Safety Working Group which promotes the importance of water safety for professional and leisure users.

Initiatives launched in 2013 included:

• Slipway signage advising people to use a Personal Flotation Device (lifejacket).
• Launch of new safetyonthewater.ie website
• New Poster Campaign promoting the use of Personal Flotation Devices and communication/alerts devices.
• Promotion of Water Safety on RTE's Search & Rescue show and a new Coast Guard water safety advertisement for TV.
• Wristband IDs for children using the beach or other recreational facilities.

The Marine Safety Working Group comprises:
Irish Coast Guard (IRCG),
Irish Maritime Administration of the Department of Transport, Tourism & Sport,
Irish Water Safety,
Waterways Ireland,
Health and Safety Authority,
Royal Lifeboat Institution,
Bord Iascaigh Mhara
Met Eireann
Irish Sailing Association(ISA).

Published in Coastguard
Tagged under

#COASTGUARD - The Irish Coast Guard has taken delivery of its new search and rescue helicopter at its Shannon base, The Irish Times reports.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, Sikorsky completed production of the new S-92 helicopter for the Irish Coast Guard last December under the rescue service's €500 million deal with CHC Ireland to revamp the aircraft fleet.

The deal will also see the coastguard's remaining four Sikorsky S-61s replaced by second-hand S-62s from Scotland over the coming months.

Training with crews at Shannon is set to begin shortly ahead of the S-92's first public demonstration at the centenary of the Titanic’s departure from Cobh in Cork Harbour.

Meanwhile, it is expected that the Air Corps may be offered an upgraded air ambulance role, after they were ruled out as contenders for search and rescue work amid some controversy.

The Department of Health has reportedly been in exploratory talks with private firms regarding the provision of an inter-hospital emergency air transfer service, as called for by the Roscommon Hospital Action Group.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastguard

The Half Ton Class was created by the Offshore Racing Council for boats within the racing band not exceeding 22'-0". The ORC decided that the rule should "....permit the development of seaworthy offshore racing yachts...The Council will endeavour to protect the majority of the existing IOR fleet from rapid obsolescence caused by ....developments which produce increased performance without corresponding changes in ratings..."

When first introduced the IOR rule was perfectly adequate for rating boats in existence at that time. However yacht designers naturally examined the rule to seize upon any advantage they could find, the most noticeable of which has been a reduction in displacement and a return to fractional rigs.

After 1993, when the IOR Mk.III rule reached it termination due to lack of people building new boats, the rule was replaced by the CHS (Channel) Handicap system which in turn developed into the IRC system now used.

The IRC handicap system operates by a secret formula which tries to develop boats which are 'Cruising type' of relatively heavy boats with good internal accommodation. It tends to penalise boats with excessive stability or excessive sail area.

Competitions

The most significant events for the Half Ton Class has been the annual Half Ton Cup which was sailed under the IOR rules until 1993. More recently this has been replaced with the Half Ton Classics Cup. The venue of the event moved from continent to continent with over-representation on French or British ports. In later years the event is held biennially. Initially, it was proposed to hold events in Ireland, Britain and France by rotation. However, it was the Belgians who took the ball and ran with it. The Class is now managed from Belgium. 

At A Glance – Half Ton Classics Cup Winners

  • 2017 – Kinsale – Swuzzlebubble – Phil Plumtree – Farr 1977
  • 2016 – Falmouth – Swuzzlebubble – Greg Peck – Farr 1977
  • 2015 – Nieuwport – Checkmate XV – David Cullen – Humphreys 1985
  • 2014 – St Quay Portrieux – Swuzzlebubble – Peter Morton – Farr 1977
  • 2013 – Boulogne – Checkmate XV – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1985
  • 2011 – Cowes – Chimp – Michael Kershaw – Berret 1978
  • 2009 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978
  • 2007 – Dun Laoghaire – Henri-Lloyd Harmony – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1980~
  • 2005 – Dinard – Gingko – Patrick Lobrichon – Mauric 1968
  • 2003 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978

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