Coast Guard units could be back on the water this week

Coast Guard units could be back on the water this week


Photo: © Pat Flynn 2019

Five of the twenty-three Irish Coast Guard units who have been barred from launching their rescue boats in recent weeks could resume water-based operations as early as next weekend.

These include two of the three units here in Clare.

On November 15th, the Irish Coast Guard (IrCG) withdrew in-shore rescue boats stationed at twenty-three locations around the coast following the reported malfunction of “a key piece of personal protective equipment (PPE).”

This has meant that twenty-three of the forty-four volunteer units, who operate Delta RIBs (rigid inflatable boats) or smaller D-Class boats, have been banned from launching for rescue or training operations.

In the meantime, Coast Guard volunteers have been tasked to incidents but have been only allowed operate on the shore for which members wear a different type of personal flotation device. The RNLI has already responded to a number of incident which would have been previously been dealt with by Coast Guard units.

However, it’s now understood that five stations affected by the nationwide ban on boat operations could return to the water as early as next weekend.

Irish Coast Guard management has told volunteers that a ’new lifejacket’ will be introduced in a ‘phased approach’ based on a ‘risk assessment’ undertaken by the service.

It’s understood ‘compatibility testing’ of the new lifejacket has been taking place this weekend before the lifejacket can be approved for use by members.

Units have been told that “familiarisation training” will be held to highlight the differences between the Rescue 400 and (new) Crewsaver 380N lifejackets.

“Subject to any necessary operational changes and on successful completion of the compatibility testing, it is proposed to commence with the rollout of the lifejackets and putting units back on the board from Thursday December 5th 2019,” Coast Guard units have been told.

The five ‘priority’ stations who will be first to receive the new lifejackets first are understood to be Mulroy and Greencastle in Donegal; Doolin and Kilkee in Co Clare and Drogheda Co Louth.

Photo: © Pat Flynn 2017
Chief Reporter Pat Flynn has worked as a journalist for almost 30 years. His career began during the late 1980s when, like many aspiring radio presenters of the time, he worked for local pirate radio stations in Clare and Limerick. Pat joined Clare FM in 1990 where he worked as researcher initially and later presented several different programmes including the station's flagship current affairs programme. He was also the station's News Editor and Deputy Controller of Programmes. Despite leaving in 2003 to pursue a career as a freelance journalist, he continues to work with the station to this day. As well as being the Clare Herald’s Chief Reporter Pat is also freelance journalist and broadcaster, contributing to Ireland’s national newspapers and is a regular contributor to national broadcasters.