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How the lifeboat is launched

The lifeboat is usually launched at the request of the Irish Coastguard Service. They have responsibility for SAR in Irish waters. A distress message can be received by "Mayday" call on VHF/HF, or via the 999 system. Valentia Coastguard MRSC control the Search And Rescue ("SAR") area which we operate in.

  • If you see someone in difficulty in the water, dial 999 or 112 and ask for Marine Rescue.
  • Valentia will receive the call by phone or radio and task the appropriate rescue unit.
  • If Crosshaven Lifeboat is the most suitable, they will page our Lifeboat Operations Manager and request us to launch to the incident.
  • Once authorised by the LOM, Valentia Coastguard will activate the crew pagers (click image to listen):
  • On hearing the pagers, all the crew will make their way to the station immediately where they will meet the LOM. The first three crew usually man the boat, and the others help to get the boat away.
  • As the lifeboat is launching, the shorecrew used to fire two maroons to let the village, and the casualty, know the boat has been launched. A maroon is a rocket which shoots up to 1,000 feet and then explodes with a white flash and a loud bang. Before telephones, these were the main way of calling the crew. Due to health & safety concerns, use of these has stopped until the RNLI find a safer solution to also alert the casualty, other water users and friends and family of the crew the lifeboat is putting to sea.

    Making a hoax distress call, by phone, radio or any other means, is a criminal offence which carries a fine, jail sentence or both. It also puts the lives of rescuers at risk, as well as diverting resources away from other genuine casualties.