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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


General Information

The Irish Coast Guard (IRCG) is part of the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (DTTAS). It is responsible for:

  • Search and Rescue;
  • Pollution and Salvage response in the marine environment;
  • Marine communications network;

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Each year the Coast Guard co-ordinates thousands of incidents at sea and on the cliffs and beaches of Ireland. This website aims to provide insight into the work of the IRCG and how the service to the public operates.

The requirement for Department of Transport to maintain an effective Search and Rescue (SAR) organisation derives from;

  • The Irish Government's acceptance of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
  • The International Conventions of Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) 1974
  • The International Convention on Maritime search and Rescue (SAR) 1979
  • The Salvage and Wreck Act, Section 7 requires the national provision of Marine Emergency Management services to save shipwrecked persons, the vessel, the cargo and the apparel of the vessel.

By Government decision the Coast Guard is responsible for the aforementioned initiation and co-ordination of civil maritime Search and Rescue within the Irish Search and Rescue Region (IRSRR).

Search & Rescue

The IRCG, having been delegated the responsibility to provide search and rescue and preventative services for the Ireland internationally assigned search and rescue region, the littoral area, rivers, lakes, waterways, mountains, caves and offshore islands use search and rescue units and other available facilities for providing assistance to persons who are, or appears to be in distress.

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The IRCG co-ordinates Search and Rescue (SAR) through its Maritime Rescue Co-Ordination Centre (MRCC) in Dublin (located in Leeson Lane off Leeson Street) and Maritime Rescue Sub-Centres (MRSC) at Malin Head, Co. Donegal and Valentia Island, Co. Kerry. Each MRCC or MRSC is responsible for SAR operations and the day to day running of its allocated Division.

The IRCG, within in its area of responsibility and accountability, administers a search and rescue, medical advice and evacuation system which ensures efficient and effective mobilisation, availability and appropriate use of declared facilities and facilities of opportunity.

Within each Coast Guard Division there are many declared SAR resources such as;

  • Coast Guard Volunteer Coastal Units (CG CU's) capable of search, cliff and coastal rescue
  • Lifeboats provided by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) and Community Inshore Rescue Organisations
  • Three Search and Rescue helicopters under contract to the IRCG (Dublin, Shannon & Waterford) and one based in Sligo provided by the Aer Corps

The Coast Guard is one of the States four emergency service organisations in Ireland (excluding specialist organisations such as Mountain and Cave Rescue etc). The other services being An Garda Siochana, the Fire Service and the Ambulance Service.

There are also other resources ("additional" resources) which although not declared for SAR purposes, may be available to assist in any search and or rescue as required; examples of "additional" resources include vessels in the vicinity of a distress, the Naval Service, etc.

IRCG ensures that assistance is provided to any persons in distress within in its area of responsibility and accountability. They do so regardless of the nationality or status of such persons or the circumstances in which those persons are found.

Marine Environment

IRCG is responsible for developing and co-ordinating an effective regime for :

  • preparedness and response to spills of oil and other hazardous substances within the Irish Pollution Responsibility Zone; and also for
  • providing an effective response to marine casualty incidents; and
  • to monitor/intervene in marine salvage operations.

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It provides and maintains a 24hr marine pollution notification centres at the three marine rescue centres; develops approved pollution response plans in all harbours and ports, oil handling facilities, marine local authorities and offshore installations; provides and maintains a national stockpile of pollution equipment; and exercises and tests of national and local pollution response plans on an ongoing basis.

IRCG is the representative of the wider public interest in the protection of the environment following a marine incident where there is pollution or a significant threat of pollution.

IRCG's customers are the commercial and recreational users of the sea, Harbours and Local Authorities whose livelihood, property and amenities might be damaged in a pollution incident and/or their lives put at risk.

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SAR Ops:

SAR Ops Division is responsible for the operation of current search and rescue (SAR) operations, the Marine Rescue Centres at Dublin, Malin and Valentia, marine safety information, promotion of marine safety awareness, national SAR displays, maritime counties committees, the Irish Maritime SAR Committee (IMSARC), maritime gallantry and meritorious awards and for liaison with external agencies.

Voluntary Services & Training:

VS&T Division is responsible for the management of all IRCG Coastal Units, Community Inshore Rescue Service Units, other voluntary SAR organisations, mountain and cave rescue, logistics (stores, equipment, buildings, vehicles, etc.) and training of IRCG full-time and voluntary staff.

Pol/Salv Ops:

The Pollution and Salvage Division is responsible for maritime pollution control and salvage operations including associated training and liaison and the purchase and maintenance of the national pollution equipment stockpile.


IRCG Maps and Graphics
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2 December 2008









 AIS Image of traffic around Irish Coast  IRCG All Assets  IRCG All Units  

Image of the Irish Coast by the IRCG 's Automatic Information System (AIS)

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 IRCG all assets

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 IRCG all Units

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