Irish Lifeboats

The definitive guide to the Irish lifeboat service

Community Rescue Boats Ireland (CRBI)

Community Rescue Boats Ireland (CRBI) are a nationwide group of independent voluntary rescue boats which are trained and administrated by Irish Water Safety. 


They are declared resource and available to the Coast Guard, who respond to emergencies in their area of responsibility on a 24/7/365 basis. 


These teams have traditionally been set up following drowning tragedies in their communities.


At present CRBI boats are based at Ballinskelligs County Kerry, Ballybunion County Kerry, Ballyheigue County Kerry, Banna County Kerry, Bantry County Cork, Bonmahon County Waterford, Cahore County Wexford, Corrib/Mask Lakes County Galway, Derrynane County Kerry, Limerick City (River Shannon), Tramore County Weterford, Waterford City River Rescue, Waterford Marine Search & Rescue.


The section below contains information on some of the CRBI units. For further information visit the Irish Water Safety website.

Ballinskelligs Inshore Rescue

Ballinskelligs Inshore Rescue is a voluntary organisation set up to provide an emergency lifeboat service in Ballinskelligs Bay and surrounding area.


BIR currently operate a former RNLI D Class inflatable and a new 7 metre RIB delivered to the station in 2008. The boats are based at Reen Pier, Ballinskelligs in a new boathouse which was built during 2008.

Ballybunion Sea & Cliff Rescue

Ballybunion Sea & Cliff Rescue was founded in 1986 to provide a rescue service to the locality of North Kerry and are a declared resource to the Irish Coast Guard.

The unit, manned by volunteers, is situated on the Ladies Beach in Ballybunion.

Ballybunion Sea Rescue are equipped with a D class inflatable boat and an Atlantic 75 boat, covers the coast and Shannon Estuary from Ballyheigue, Co Kerry to Foynes, Co. Limerick, and inland to Abbeyfeale, Co Limerick.At present Ballybunion CRBI is one of the busiest marine rescue services in the country, averaging 30 or so calls per year.

Ballybunion Rescue has strived to provide the best rescue cover available to the community, under taking courses in all aspect of rescue throughout all the levels. Members have completed courses in boat handling at the RNLI training centre in Poole, UK, sea survival, driving courses and medical courses up to and including PHECC EMT.

In March 2010 a new Atlantic 75 rescue boat (a 7.5 meter RIB) arrived in Ballybunion at a cost of of €150,000.

Ballyheigue Inshore Rescue Service

Ballyheigue Inshore Rescue Service is a non- profit Charity which was founded in 1993. They operate within 3 miles of the coastline around Ballyheigue Bay and the Kerry Head area. 

Their aims are to provide a comprehensive search, rescue & recovery service to the immediate area around Ballyheigue.

Banna Community Sea Rescue

In 1981 and 1982 two tragic drownings occurred at Banna when two local young people lost their lives. It was with a view of trying to prevent any more tragedies that Banna Sea Rescue was formed. 


Tramore Sea Rescue provided training to the Banna Sea Rescue crew and the old Tramore lifeboat was purchased for use at Banna.


Initially working out of two donated steel containers in 1988 they built the present boathouse with the assistance of FAS. In 1993 Banna Sea Rescue became whats known as a declared facility. All this could not have been possible without the assistance of Tramore Sea Rescue, Kerry County Council, RNLI, various companies and individuals and the local community.

Bantry Inshore Search and Rescue Association

The volunteers of Bantry Inshore Search & Rescue on standby at the Atlantic Challenge Oars and Sails race, Inner Harbour, Bantry. Photo: Ian Vickery

Bantry Inshore Search and Rescue Association is a voluntary group set up to provide an emergency lifeboat service to the Bantry Bay community. 


The BISRA was formed in 1987, after the tragic drowning of two young people in the upper bay area.  The local community set about establishing a rapid response unit to cover the area from Shot Head to White Horse Point.


The BISRA currently operate an MST 750 Rescue Craft. Powered by two 150 HP Evinrude V6 2-stroke outboard engines, she achieved a top speed of 46 knots during acceptance trials and has an estimated 5 hours endurance at full speed.

Bonmahon Lifeguard Club & Inshore Lifeboat

Founded in 1986 the primary role was to provide a voluntary lifeguard service at Bonmahon Beach in Co. Waterford.


In July 1990, following a drowning of a young boy at Bonmahon the committee decided we needed to upgrade the service. In 1991 they put in place a full time lifeguard service at Bonmahon which continues to this day backed up by the volunteer service at weekends. It is fully funded by the club. 


They also put on station an Inshore Lifeboat and quickly became part of the Irish Coastguard System as a Declared Resource under the CRBI banner manned 24hr a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

Cahore Inshore Rescue Service

The Cahore Inshore Rescue Service was formed in 1994 following the  tragic drowning of a local woman. 


Cahore Inshore Rescue Service is completly independent from the RNLI operates through local donations, and a grant from the Irish Coastguard through the Department of Transport. 


The new Cahore Inshore Rescue Service lifeboat 'Suil na Farraige' is a D class Inshore Lifeboat (ILB). The new boat arrived on station in August 2009 and cost £14,500 stg. The boat was purchased entirely through local fundraising.

Corrib Mask Search and Rescue

Corrib Mask Search and Rescue is a voluntary Search and Rescue organisation participating in Search, Rescue and Recovery Operations on Lough Corrib, Lough Mask and surrounding areas. Corrib Mask SAR operate under the umbrella of the Irish Coast Guard, Irish Water Safety and Irish Red Cross.


The current fleet contains 2 D-Class Boats, 2 RIB (Rigid inflatable Boats) and an Ambulance Jeep that are crewed entirely by volunteers.


These specially trained volunteers are supported by our other services as required and are a trusted auxiliary to agencies such as the Coastguard, HSE and An Garda Siochána.


Corrib Mask Search and Rescue was awarded the 2017 Irish Red Cross Branch of the Year.


In 2019 Corrib Mask Search and Rescue was set to receive €42,000 for the replacement of its current rescue vessel on Lough Corrib with a new rigid inflatable boat, under the latest round of funding from the LEADER programme.

Derrynane Inshore Rescue

Founded in 1995, the Derrynane Inshore Rescue service cover Derrynane and the outer Kenmare Bay area of Co. Kerry.


The current rescue boat Aghamore II a four-seat boat is self-righting and equipped with twin 115 horsepower Yamaha engines that allow the boat reach speeds of up to 45 knots. The purchase of the boat was made possible by local fund-raising events. 


A new slipway was built in 2002 by locals at a cost of 27,000 Euro. The Current boathouse was donated and renovated by Lord and Lady Dunraven for the rescue service’s use.

Limerick Marine Search & Rescue

Limerick Marine Search and Rescue was established in 1986 by Jimmy Connors and Tony Cusack who were both sports divers at the time. They were asked to help search for a young boy who had lost his life in the waters of Parteen. The two men decided afterwards that there was a necessity for a Marine, Search and Rescue unit in Limerick. Following a meeting on December 6, 1986, Limerick Marine Search and Rescue was established.


The organisation has grown from that initial meeting to a full blown headquarters at Atlas Avenue on the Dock Road housing state of the art equipment to help keep the people of Limerick safe in unpredictable waters. It also holds pontoons along the waters of Limerick equipped with boats which were established with the help of donations. As a result from these, Limerick Marine Search and Rescue are incredibly responsive in an emergency call due to their quick accessibility to the water.


LMSR has become an increasingly respected organisation across Limerick over the last 30 years. All the 26 volunteers dedicate their time to aid their community. They also dedicate time to hold Summer Camps to help teach adults and children about water safety in a positive environment. 

Tramore Sea Rescue Association

Tramore Sea Rescue, based at Tramore Pier, was founded in 1962 after a tragedy in which three young men lost their lives in a boating accident.

Waterford City River Rescue

Waterford City River Rescue (WCRR) are a non-profit organization which operates a voluntary Search and Rescue Service on the River Suir from Mount Congrieve to Checkpoint.


WCRR are a member of the Community Rescue Boats of Ireland (CRBI) and affiliated to the Irish Coast Guard, having successfully completed their stringent assessments and examinations of crew and equipment. The WCRR provide this essential service on a 24 hour basis, 365 days a year. 


February 2013 has started on a high note for the WCRR with the arrival of the new lifeboat " Trisha Nell 2" a 6.5metre purpose built Rescue boat. The new lifeboat will now serve the City of Waterford for many years to come thanks to the continuing support from the local community.

Waterford Marine Search and Rescue

The Waterford Marine Search and Rescue (WMSAR) service was set up in January 2010 by Declan and Darryl Barry to provide Waterford city and county with a 24 hour, 365 days-a-year search, rescue and recovery service. 


Since January 2010 the service has grown to 50 volunteers. WMSAR are also part of the Community Rescue Boats of Ireland (CRBI). The WMSAR is a ISA - Irish Sailing Association Power Boat Training Centre.


WMSAR have 3 Boats ready to be launched. This includes a 6.3 Meter RIB as the primary rescue boat, two 4 meter Steady 400's for search and recovery. WMSAR also have a flood rescue boat and a 3 meter inflatable for small lakes and rivers.