General Coast Guard Information

Remember - If you spot someone in trouble at sea or on the cliffs or coast or even if you 'think' that someone may be in trouble , dial 112/999 and ask for the Coast Guard, or if you are in trouble at sea, call on VHF Channel 16, MF 2182 KHz or use DSC

Taking our seabed area into account, Ireland is the third largest EU state in the North Atlantic; with exclusive sovereign rights over the largest marine to land ratio (10:1) of any EU State. Ireland consists of 90,000 km2 of a land resource, and 900,000 km2 of a marine resource.  Our extensive coastline of 7,500km in length is longer than most European countries. Marine tourism and leisure is estimated to represent 7% of the overall tourism and leisure sector and contributed €453 million to the Irish economy in 2007.  Sea-based transport accounted for 99% of the total volume (45 million tonnes) and 95% of the value (€128 billion) of the goods traded (imports/exports) through Irish ports in 2010. The sea, for all its riches and potential for development, can be one of the most hostile and dangerous environments on the planet. The Irish Coast Guard (IRCG) is the nation-wide marine emergency organisation and is a Division of the Department of Transport, Tourism & Sport.  Its headquarters is in Leeson Lane in Dublin. 

The overall objective of the IRCG is the reduction in the loss of life on Ireland’s seas and rivers, coastal and remote areas, lakes and waterways; to prevent or minimise damage the marine environment within the Irish Exclusive Economic Zone, harbours and maritime local authority areas and to preserve property.

To deliver this IRCG has in place a best practice rescue, security and pollution control regimes to minimise deaths and pollution incidents in the sector. It also ensures that where incidents do occur, there is a high level of emergency preparedness and response to rescue and save life and to protect the quality of the marine environment.

The following gives an indication of the scale of activity, related initiatives to safety at sea, carried out by the Irish Coast Guard in any one year. We expect to:

• handle 2,000 marine emergencies;

• assist 3,500 people and save about 180 lives;

• task Coast Guard helicopters on missions around 500 times (40 times to assist mountain rescues), Coast Guard volunteer units will respond 900 times and RNLI and community lifeboats will be tasked by our Coordination Centres about 850 times;

• evacuate medical patients off our Islands to hospital on 100 occasions;

• assist other nations Coast Guards about 200 times;

• make circa 6000 maritime safety broadcasts to shipping, fishing and leisure craft users;

• carry out a safety on the water campaign that targets primary schools and leisure craft users including at sea and beach patrols;

• investigate approximately 50 maritime pollution reports.

Our target is to reduce all the above figures taking into account the level of maritime activity.

Currently National Manager of the Volunteer Branch is Mr. Gerard O'Flynn. Mr. Declan Geoghegan is SAR Operations National Manager and Ship Casualty acting Manager is Hugh Barry.

Coast Guard Director Chris Reynolds

For further information, please see our General Information Booklet


Related publications

Publication date
IRCG Maps and Graphics 02/12/2008 - 15:36