October 19, 2021

BREAKING: What suspension of Coast Guard services means for Waterford

Marine rescue services in Waterford are unlikely to be greatly affected by the sudden suspension of Coast Guard boat operations.

“The RNLI, Community Rescue Boats, and Naval services will continue to service these areas until the issue is resolved,” a statement from the Department Of Transport released to waterfordnow.ie said.

“All Coast Guard boat operations have been suspended with immediate effect. This includes any boat operations in the Waterford region.

“However all shoreline and cliff rescue services provided by the Coast Guard Units remain in place, along with the four Search and Rescue Coast Guard helicopters.”

Concerns were raised yesterday among coastal communities in the county after it was announced that the Irish Coast Guard had suspended all search and rescue boat operations because of concerns over the safety of volunteer’s lifejackets.

The order means that volunteers at 23 of the service’s 44 stations that are equipped with Delta RIBs (rigid inflatable boats) and smaller D-Class boats cannot launch for rescue operations until further notice.

“An investigation is under way into the recent malfunctioning of Rescue 400 lifejackets. Specifically, the 275N section of the lifejacket failed to fully function when when activated,” stated an email sent to unit officers-in-charge (OICs) around the country on Friday afternoon.

“In support of the investigation, a risk assessment of this critical piece of PPE (personal protection equipment) has determined that use of Rescue 400 lifejackets is to be suspended with immediate effect.

“This, in turn, means that all Coast Guard boat operations are also suspended with immediate effect. This includes all training and operations on Coast Guard boats.”

Claims has since emerged that serious concerns were raised with Coast Guard management about the inflation of volunteer’s lifejackets several years ago .

In a statement, the Irish Coast Guard confirmed: “The Irish Coast Guard has for safety reasons withdrawn the services of the in-shore rescue boats stationed at twenty three locations around the coast.”

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