More than 5,000 people were saved from Irish waters by coast guard rescue teams last year. Figures from the Irish Coast Guard revealed 5,016 people were helped or rescued from seas and waters around Ireland. The figures showed members from the 53 Irish Coast Guard coastal units were called out on 594 occasions, a drop of 9.73%, from 658 call outs in 2003. The coast guard helped 857 vessels last year, compared to 817 in 2003. This was mainly down to a 12% jump in incidents involving pleasure craft. Call-outs to fishing vessels went up by a small number, while merchant vessel incidents were down 12% from 68 to 60. Helicopters in Shannon, Dublin, Waterford and Sligo were tasked 374 times – an increase of over 20% from the 310 missions in 2003.
The number of RNLI Lifeboats called out dropped slightly from 703 in 2003 to 698 in 2004, while the number of Community Inshore Rescue boats tasked moved from 76 in 2003 to 77 in 2004. Pat ‘the Cope’ Gallagher, Marine Minister, said “I think we are all aware of the tremendous work carried out by the coast guard and the statistics bear out the huge volume of tasks undertaken in the year, They also demonstrate the diversity of challenge facing coast guard personnel from incidents involving fishing vessels, pleasure craft and merchant vessels to their involvement in pollution and salvage incidents and also their important role in conveying the water safety message."
Erin Go Bragh, Lads! Go raibh maith agat, Cath ar!