Volunteers run bulk of Coast Guard
Published 13/09/2016 | 02:30
An army of volunteers who live locally make up the bulk of staff at the Irish Coast Guard.
Some 950 male and female volunteers comprise 99pc of the Coast Guard's staff at more than 40 units or station houses around the country.
"It's very much a volunteer operation in which at the drop of a hat when the beeper goes off, they put their lives at risk all around the country," a Transport Department spokesman told the Irish Independent.
A skeleton staff of fewer than 50 full-time staff are employed at the Coast Guard's operations headquarters in Dublin's Phoenix Park as well as the Marine Rescue sub-centres located at Malin Head in Co Donegal and Valentia in Co Kerry.
But the vast majority of the men and women who operate the station houses are local residents who have been trained by the Coast Guard to coordinate cliff, coast and sea rescue and recovery operations, he said.
The volunteers are on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year and are expected to be within a 10-minute range from their local station houses.
The station houses or "rocket houses" as they are known locally, are positioned at strategic locations around the country.