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Wednesday 27 September 2023 Dublin: 10°C
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The Coast Guard saved 260 lives this year
It was a very busy year for the Coast Guard. Here are all the details.

IT HAS BEEN a hugely busy year for the Irish Coast Guard, which saw a record response for 2014.

Overall, the total incidents involved 47 fatalities, 18 of which were on Gardaí assists.

But while the Coast Guard has seen hoax calls fall by 52%, nuisance calls have risen 119% to 2,300.

The Coast Guard’s year

The number of total incidents at 2628 is up 3% on 2013, which had been the busiest year since the foundation of the modern Coast Guard in 1991.

There was a drop in the numbers of people assisted, which stood at 4,000.

But there was an increase in the number of people saved, which at 260 was up 74%. The Coast Guard says this was due in part to its increased air ambulance work.

Here’s more information on the incidents it dealt with this year:

  • Powered pleasure craft are up 8% at 245
  • Sailing vessels down 30% at 86
  • Merchant vessels 69 incidents (up 17%) show an increase partially due to the major storms at the start of the year
  • Fishing vessels down 11% at 188. These were mainly tows for engine difficulty
  • The highest riser is the punt/tender at 41, up 116%
  • Two other categories showing significant rises are surfer requiring assistance (+92%) and kite surfer (+64%). The Coast Guard says these can be attributed to a couple of factors; rising popularity, high winds coming into Autumn and extended warm weather during the summer
  • Mountain rescue assists were up 28% at 96
  • Canoe/kayak at 59 up 23%. This increase is possibly due to its rising popularity and warmer summer.

It attributes the rise in the number of incidents to:

  • Prolonged warm weather during the summer
  • More people taking holidays in Ireland (which are normally taken near water)
  • Additional work undertaken by the Coast Guard helicopters assisting the national ambulance service, particularly with medevacs of patients
  • Storms and high winds in the early part of the year and coming into autumn

But it also believes that the rise in the number of incidents “shows a greater willingness of the community to seek assistance early”, which it says is to be welcomed.

Another feature of the last number of years is the growing assistance it gives to An Garda Síochána in missing person searches in coastal and remote areas. There were 220 missions this year, representing a 38% rise.

Coast Guard bases

Shannon has seen a new base record, with 300 missions completed by last weekend, and the figure now stands at 311, representing a 9% rise on its busiest year in 2013.

Sligo (R118) has seen a 16% rise with 275 missions, but showing the biggest rise is Waterford (R117) with a 33% increase (188 missions) due to the good weather. Dublin had 140 missions this year.

  • Coast Guard volunteer units were called out 1, 269 times (13% rise), RNLI lifeboat tasked 819 times (-5%) and community rescue boats 210 (47% rise). There were 44 minor pollution incidents managed.
  • The coordination centres also broadcast 61,600 marine safety broadcasts – a rise of 25%, received 27,000 ferry traffic reports, 1,800 fishing vessel traffic reports and 6,000 leisure vessel traffic reports.

Chris Reynolds, Director of the Irish Coast Guard, paid tribute to “the consistently high levels of mission availability that the Coast Guard have achieved in partnership with our service provider CHC Ireland”.

He also thanked the crews at the Coast Guard bases in Dublin, Waterford, and Sligo for their work throughout the year.

Eugene Clonan, Assistant Director, thanked all Coast Guard staff and volunteers, as well as the RNLI, CRBI, Gardaí, Mountain Rescue teams, the National Ambulance service, and Fire Brigade.

Need their help?

The Coast Guard encourages people to call 112 when they think they’re in trouble, saying “if you wait until you are in trouble it might be too late”.

If you do see someone in difficulty in the sea, on the shore, cliffs, lakes or rivers dial 112 or 999 and ask for the Coast Guard.

Read: The Coast Guard rescued a sheepdog yesterday>

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