The overall objective of the Coast Guard is to reduce the loss of life on Ireland’s sea’s, lakes, waterways and rivers, coastal and remote areas; to provide assistance to persons in danger at sea, on the coast, Islands or remote inland areas; to coordinate searches for missing persons at sea or on the coast; to provide support on request to statutory bodies or agencies particularly in emergency response; to intervene as necessary in marine casualties; to monitor maritime traffic within our EEZ, to prevent or minimise damage to the marine environment within the Irish Exclusive Economic Zone, harbours and maritime local authority areas and to preserve property when possible. To deliver this the Coast Guard has in place rescue, security, ship casualty and pollution response regimes and ensures that where incidents do occur, there is an appropriate level of emergency preparedness and response to save life and to protect the quality of the marine environment.
The following gives some 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 3,000 marine emergencies;
• assist 4,500 people and save about 200 lives;
• task Coast Guard helicopters on missions around 2000 times (40 times to assist mountain rescues and 200 times to carry out aeromedical HEMS missions on behalf of the HSE), Coast Guard volunteer units will respond 1000 times and RNLI and community lifeboats will be tasked by our Coordination Centres about 950 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; and
• investigate approximately 50 maritime pollution reports.