The Coast Guard helped save 474 lives last year, according to the organization’s year-end statement released Thursday.
The press release records an overall increase of 12% in the number of coordinated incidents in 2021 with the largest increases in activity in April and July.
In April, crews responded to 249 incidents compared to 139 in April 2020. In July, crews responded to 469 incidents, up from 339 for the same period in 2020. As of September, activity was similar to 2020.
The total number of coordinated incidents is expected to reach 2,970 compared to 2,665 in 2020. Incidents can include prepared flight transfers between hospitals as well as the more recognized rescue of people at the seaside or cliffs.
One of the most notable incidents of the year was the successful rescue by the Waterford-based R117 coastal helicopter of seven crew members from a sinking fishing vessel off the south coast. west in March. This operation, which was supported by Naval Service and the RNLI resulted in the presentation of National Bravery Awards to the four helicopter crews. In addition, Sarah Courtney, a member of the R117 crew, received a silver medal for her role and actions as a “winch” in extremely difficult weather conditions.
The Coast Guard was also told of 68 drownings in 2021, a reduction of seven from 2020 figures.
The Coast Guard‘s 44 volunteer units were posted on more than 1,400 occasions during the year.
The subsequent development in the use of drones provided Coast Guard units with improved search capability, according to the year-end release.
Coast Guard helicopters provide day and night services from Dublin, Waterford, Shannon and Sligo and have been assigned to a total of 886 missions compared to 794 missions in 2020.
The RNLI is classified as a declared resource to the Coast Guard, which means that each individual station can be directly called upon to respond to individual incidents. RNLI lifeboats were affected on 911 occasions while inshore rescue boat services were involved in 117 different incidents.
The Rescue at Sea Coordination Center (MRCC) in Dublin processed 171 satellite beacon alerts, including EPIRB beacons, the emergency position indicating radio beacon used by fishing vessels; PLB (Personal Locator Beacons) and ELT (Emergency Locator Transmitters).
In 2021, the Coast Guard conducted two major interagency emergency exercises, titled Blue Mist in April off the East Coast and Blue Kingdom in September off the South West Coast. Both exercises required a multi-agency response led by the Coast Guard in collaboration with other emergency services, local authorities and other support organizations.
Coast Guard Director Eugene Clonan said “the ability to sound the alarm and stay afloat” was “at the heart of preventing drowning at sea or on inland waterways”. He said the Coast Guard’s main safety message was Stay Afloat – Stay in Touch.
“We are indebted to the men and women who make up our search and rescue community, for the discipline and commitment they have shown in meeting the challenge presented by Covid and in maintaining the availability of services throughout. ‘year, ”Mr. Clonan said.