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GARDA COSTA na hEIREANN

Chris Reynolds, Director IRCG
Crest of IRCG - harp and anchor

Cliff rescue drill

IRCG inshore rapid response

IRCG helicopter with RNLI larger rescue boat

UPDATE Thursday July 29, 2010: We have had a remarkable comment from Mr. Kevin Bennetts the fisherman who was rescued by HS Juan de la Cosa and the IRCG. It is in the comments to the "SPANISH HOSPITAL SHIP" Post. Mr. Bennetts was kind enough to send photos of his vessel which are now added to the Post.

Recently NAUTICAL LOG reported on the Spanish hospital ship assigned to fishing fleets combining with the Irish Coast Guard to transport a sick fisherman. Just who are the Irish Coast Guard ? see their website www.coastguard.ie/. As it happens there is an article in today's "Irish Times" that tells us something about them. Considering all the vital rescue work they do we thought a little publicity here would do them no harm. So acknowledging the "Irish Times" article by Laurence Mackin as our principle source plus some NAUTICAL LOG research here goes.

Being a small country Ireland combines its resources with the voluntary work of its citizens. The Irish Coast Guard is a vital, voluntary organization that serves the nation well. It consists of IRCG rhibs, the larger vessels of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), government dedicated helicopters. As needed the Irish Naval Service, Irish Air Corps, An Garda Siochana, Irish Mountain Rescue Association (IMRA), Irish Cave Rescue Organisation (ICRO) and all other national resources can be called upon. The IRCG units are stationed around the coastal fishing ports of Ireland and manned, as is the RNLI, by volunteers with a nucleus of salaried professionals. One of the key abilities of the IRCG units is cliff rescue, they are highly trained in cliff rescue as well as rescuing from the sea and have the ability to combine both as needed.

When a call comes in to the IRCG Marine Rescue Coordination Centre or local Unit number the response is immediate. The IRCG Duty Officer can assign the RNLI larger boats, a IRCG close inshore boat, a cliff rescue team, a helicopter or a combination of all or part. In the photo above one can see the inshore boats and a cliff rescue team working together in a rescue. Other photos show the equipment available. Units train to a basic plan with consideration for the local conditions and the volunteers are local men and women. Around the Irish coast there is a network of 55 stations all volunteer staffed.

If it is needed counselling is available because sometimes the job can be very difficult but largely these Irish volunteers prefer to talk about things amongst themselves and move on.

Currently there is a IRCG safety campaign named BELT UP:

B buy an approved lifejacket for everyone aboard.
E ensure equipment is well maintained.
L listen to the weather forecast.
T tell someone on land what time you are expected back. You can also inform IRCG.
U understand how your equipment works such as whistle and flares.
P prepare. Lifejackets, GPS, communication equipment NOT mobile/cell phones as they may not work at sea.

If this sounds familiar it should because here in the United States we have the same requirements and advice. However we call T filing a FLOAT PLAN.

Good Watch.

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