The Irish Coast Guard saved almost 400 lives in 2020 with a substantial rise in incidents over the summer months.
According to its end of year statement the volunteer rescue service reflected on a “relatively busy year” despite the impact of Covid-19.
Overall, the Coast Guard coordinated 2,643 incidents in comparison with 2,490 incidents in 2019.
Activity over February, March and April was the lowest recorded for each of those months over recent years but noticeably picked up in May with August and September proving to be exceptionally busy.
Some 464 incidents were recorded in August in comparison with 369 for August of 2019, and 307 incidents recorded in September with a corresponding figure of 239 in in 2019.
Coast Guard Director Eugene Clonan said that the key challenge was to ensure the 24/7 delivery of Coast Guard SAR services, as coordinated by the three Rescue Coordination Centres in Malin, Valentia and MRCC Dublin.
He said: “I want to thank all the men and women that make up our SAR community, for the discipline and commitment they have demonstrated in maintaining service availability through the most challenging of times.”
In 2020, the Coast Guard recorded that 391 individuals were categorised as Lives Saved. It noted an increase in two activities giving rise to concern – the number of incidents involving people using inflatables on beaches and a rise in open water swimming in autumn and winter.
RNLI lifeboats were tasked to 783 missions while Community Inshore Rescue Boats responded to 84 missions.