The Irish Coast Guard continues its bicentenary celebrations this year, marking its milestone 200 years of lifesaving service at an event in Louth recently at which special commemorative service tokens were awarded to 950 volunteers nationwide in recognition of their valued service.
Speaking at the bicentenary event at the Greenore Coast Guard Station in Louth in September, Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan TD said that the Irish Coast Guard Service continues to remain a critical part of Ireland’s emergency response system.
“Last year, the Coast Guard reported a 12% increase in the overall number of incidents co-ordinated during 2021. Hardly a day goes by without hearing of the extraordinary work carried out bravely and selflessly by its staff and volunteers.
“Whether it’s the rescue of someone from the sea, a cliff or mountain rescue, the provision of maritime safety broadcasts, ship casualty operations or the investigation of pollution reports, they provide a 24/7 service for, and on behalf of, the Irish people.”
Staff and volunteers from 44 Coast Guard units across Ireland provide a national maritime search and rescue service and a maritime casualty and pollution response service. Together, they respond to almost 3,000 callouts and save on average 400 lives a year. Approximately half the number of callouts are maritime incidents, while a quarter are inland search and rescue and another quarter involve assisting the National Ambulance Service.
Modern volunteer Coast Guard units provide a combination of Rescue Boat, Cliff Rescue, Shoreline Search Capabilities, and Emergency Community Support in conjunction with the other emergency services. The development in the use of small drones (Unmanned Aircraft Vehicles UAVs) provide the units with an enhanced search capability while Coast Guard helicopters provide 24/7 services out of four bases in Dublin, Waterford, Shannon and Sligo.