Irish Coast Guard


The Irish Coast Guard is the national maritime emergency response service. It is a civilian agency made up of paid employees and volunteers.

They attend emergencies at sea and on inland waters, mountains and caves. It is the 4th blue light service in the State along with An Garda Síochana, the ambulance services and the fire services.

The Coast Guard also promotes safety and security at sea, monitors marine traffic and protects the ocean from pollution. It is a division of the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport.

If you need the Coast Guard in an emergency, call 112 or 999.

Roles of the Coast Guard

The main roles of the Coast Guard are:

  • Rescue people in danger at sea or on land
  • Organise immediate medical transport for those rescued
  • Assist ships and boats within the jurisdiction of the State

The Coast Guard also has responsibility for Ireland's system of marine communications and surveillance infrastructure. This includes the maintenance of radio and transmitter sites and a national digital paging system.

The Coast Guard Unit and Support section is responsible for training Coast Guard volunteers and the management of all coastal units.

Search and rescue

The Irish Coast Guard co-ordinates search and rescue missions from its three marine rescue centres:

  • Dublin
  • Malin Head, Co Donegal
  • Valentia Island, Co Kerry

The centres operate a 24-hour service that includes the monitoring of international emergency frequencies. They also broadcast maritime safety information and weather warnings.

Depending on the nature of the emergency, the Coast Guard has a range of resources at its disposal. They include:

  • Search and rescue helicopters
  • Lifeboats supplied by the RNLI and Community Rescue Boats Ireland
  • Volunteer units capable of search, cliff and coastal rescue

Volunteer units are strategically positioned around the coastline. They are equipped with search vehicles with blue lights, first aid equipment and marine radios. Certain units are also trained to assist in cliff and mountain rescues.

Protection against pollution

The Coast Guard plays an important role in protecting the State’s oceans and coastlines from pollution.

It is responsible for:

  • Preparation for and response to an oil spill or accident involving hazardous substances
  • Providing an effective response to marine casualty incidents
  • Monitoring or intervening in marine salvage operations

They also provide and maintain 24-hour marine pollution notification at the three marine rescue centres.

Further information and contact

For further information on the Irish Coast Guard, visit their website.

If you need the Coast Guard in an emergency, call 112 or 999.

Department of Transport (Head office)

Department of Transport (Head office)
Leeson Lane
Dublin 2
D02 TR60

Tel: (01) 670 7444
Page edited: 22 August 2022