Sunday 25 June 2017

Coast Guard safety must be a priority

A member of the Irish Coast Guard looks out towards a misty Achill as the search continues for Rescue 116 along the Blacksod coastline in Co Mayo Photo: Steve Humphreys
A member of the Irish Coast Guard looks out towards a misty Achill as the search continues for Rescue 116 along the Blacksod coastline in Co Mayo Photo: Steve Humphreys
Editorial

Editorial

The Irish Coast Guard, which has existed in various forms since the foundation of the State, provides an essential service over and above what might be ordinarily realised. As an island nation, Ireland relies heavily on the Coast Guard, to reduce loss of life on the country's seas, lakes, waterways and rivers, coastal and remote areas. Indeed, such missions form only part of the Coast Guard's broad range of functions, for which many people the length and breadth of the country have had cause to avail and occasion to be grateful.

In any given year, the Coast Guard can expect to participate in 2,500 marine emergencies; assist 4,500 people and save about 200 lives; task helicopters on missions around 800 times, of which 40 times to assist in mountain rescues and 150 times to carry out aeromedical missions on behalf of the HSE. Coast Guard volunteers also respond 1,000 times, and RNLI and community lifeboats will be tasked about 950 times in a year.

Further to that, the Coast Guard evacuates medical patients off our islands to hospital on around 100 occasions; assists other nations' Coast Guards about 200 times; makes around 6,000 maritime safety broadcasts to shipping, fishing and leisure craft users; carries out safety on the water campaigns that target primary schools and leisure craft users and, further to all of that, investigates approximately 50 maritime pollution reports.

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