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Dublin: 13 °C Friday 16 November, 2018
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Got what it takes? The Irish Coast Guard are hiring again

They’re looking for people with a very particular set of skills…

Image: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

THEY’RE A SELECT bunch. Outside of administration staff there’s less than 60 full time employees in the Irish Coast Guard.

That fact, coupled with the hiring freeze introduced in the wake of the downturn, means that that job vacancies don’t come up all that often.

However, as of this week, they’re on the look out for staff once again.

Ads for ‘Watch Officers’ went up on publicjobs.ie in the last few days. The rescue service is looking for two people straight away, and will also be forming a panel to recruit an additional ‘four to six’ officers within the next year or so.

Here’s the official job spec:

Watch Officers are responsible for watch-keeping on the emergency frequencies and are required to act as Marine Alert, Notification and/or SAR Mission Co-ordination Officers.

They also process marine communication traffic and respond to ship casualty, pollution incidents and vessel traffic monitoring.

They’re looking for candidates with a pretty specific skill set, according to Coast Guard Director Chris Reynolds.

“Basically we’d be looking for people who have experience driving ships at sea,” Reynolds says.

He says the senior roles will appeal to people with watch-keeping experience with the navy, merchant navy, and UK and other overseas coast guard services.

“The gene pool for these jobs would be quite small.”

Successful applicants will undergo an intensive training process if successful — including an eight month ‘Search & Rescue Mission Coordinator’ course at the National Maritime College in Cork.

There’s also an induction period at Coast Guard Headquarters to be served, after which the radio operators will be required to work at any of the three marine rescue centres — in Dublin, at Malin Head in Donegal or at Valentia in Kerry.

Interested? Reynolds isn’t joking about the specific skills set. A “knowledge of dangerous or pollutant cargoes” is on their ‘desirable’ list, for instance.

Staffing levels

Concerns have been raised over staffing levels in the Coast Guard service in recent months — with reports that a reorganisation of safety initiated last year by Transport Minister Leo Varadkar had been met with stiff opposition by both the service’s management and the Marine Safety Office.

Reynolds wouldn’t be drawn on the wider issue of staffing when speaking to the TheJournal.ie.

However, he said he was “delighted” that the vacant posts were at last being filled, and reiterated that that in terms of overall manning levels, the Irish service was “pretty lean” when compared to the UK or other overseas coast guard operations.

Read: Fisherman with crush injuries airlifted from trawler 250km west of Kerry

Read: “Lifesaving” call for Cork doctors as stabbed crewman airlifted off ship

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