'Well over half' of people requiring Coast Guard assistance in 2016 were not wearing life jackets

Department of Transport says 405 of the people rescued or assisted this year were categorised as ‘lives saved’

'Well over half' of people requiring Coast Guard assistance in 2016 were not wearing life jackets

Image: RollingNews.ie

'Well over half' of those who needed the Coast Guard service in 2016 were not wearing life jackets, according to the end of year statement issued by the Department of Transport.

According to the figures, the Coast Guard coordinated around 2,500 incidents in 2016, while 405 of the people rescued or assisted were categorised as ‘lives saved’.

The statement notes an increase in kayaking and surfing related incidents, with a total of 45 incidents recorded.

Coast Guard units also assisted in the recovery of 45 bodies during the year.

The figures also show that adult males continue to be the most vulnerable group in relation to drownings.

The statement pays tribute to Caitríona Lucas - the first volunteer member of the Coast Guard to lose her life on operational service.

Caitríona died during a search operation off Kilkee on September 12th, and the statement says the tragic loss 'cast a dark shadow over all Coast Guard activities'. 

Acting Coast Guard Director Eugene Clonan said: “I would also like to thank the Naval Service, Air Corps, RNLI, Community Rescue Boats, Gardaí, Mountain Rescue teams, the National Ambulance Service, Fire Service, Irish Under Water Council and other statutory and voluntary services, who we have worked together so well throughout the year.

"I want to particularly recognise the many volunteers who responded with such professionalism, whether that be in the Coast Guard, RNLI, Community Rescue Boats (CRBI) or Mountain Rescue teams. Sadly – at this time we remember the family of Caitríona Lucas and recall Caitríona as a person who so embodied the volunteer ethos," he added.