Coastguard gets new helicopter as rescues jump 33pc in a year
THE Coastguard dealt with 2,627 incidents last year -- representing a 33pc increase in just 12 months.
Safety personnel were involved in 808 helicopter missions, the majority of which took place on the west coast.
A total of 253 aeromedical missions were launched throughout the year along with 159 offshore island medical evacuations, according to the Coastguard's annual figures.
And 26 incidents involving jet-skis were recorded last year -- the majority of which took place in busy leisure areas.
It is hoped that a new Maritime Registration Bill, which will require jet-ski owners to register their vehicles, will make the pursuit safer.
The yearly figures were revealed as Transport Minister Leo Varadkar announced the addition at Dublin's Weston Airport of a fourth Sikorsky S92 helicopter to the coastguard fleet.
The helicopter, which is valued at €40m, is being leased by the Coastguard.
Coastguard director Chris Reynolds said the helicopter would "greatly enhance" the ability of his officials to deal with emergencies.
"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 Coastguard. The new helicopter fleet will greatly enhance our capacity to provide a first-class response to all emergencies," Mr Reynolds said.
According to Mr Reynolds, the helicopter will reduce the time of a trip from Galway to Dublin by 75pc.
"It means that the helicopter can get there quicker, they can find you more efficiently, they can rescue you out of the water or off a cliff quicker.
"And basically when you are getting back into a helicopter, it's like a flying ambulance, so we can look after you better before you get to hospital," he added.