Sky Lanterns Advice

These airborne Chinese lanterns have become increasingly popular in recent years as a way of marking special events. However, they do pose a significant danger to aviation traffic and can cause the deployment of Irish Coast Guard resources on false rescue missions. Chinese lanterns, drifting across a night sky, are commonly mistaken by the public for marine distress flares.

If you are intending to release sky lanterns:

You must, before the release date, obtain permission in writing from the Flight Operations Dept of the Irish Aviation Authority. You can contact them at or by phone at 01 603 1148

Just before releasing the lanterns:

To ensure your lanterns are not confused as a sighting of a distress signal, you must contact the following agencies just prior to releasing the lanterns:

  • Irish Coast Guard
  • Nearest Air Traffic Control unit
  • Nearest Garda station

The detailed advice and all contact phone numbers are contained in the IAA’s Sky Lantern safety leaflet, available from their website or by clicking here.


Skerries Coast Guard – a voluntary search & rescue unit of the Irish Coast Guard

Live surface to air firing at Gormanston Range – November 2014

Live firing Gormonston

The Defence Forces have advised that they will conduct live Surface to Air firing practices at Gormanston Ranges on the 4th and 5th November between the hours of 10:00 – 14:30.

The danger area comprises the lands of Gormanston Aerodrome and the Air and Sea areas contained within a radius of 3 nautical miles centred on Gormanston Aerodrome, with an additional area contained within a segment centred on Gormanston Aerodrome and bearing of 015º degrees true, through Mosney Railway Station and 106º degrees true, through Gormanston Railway Station seawards for a distance of 10 nautical miles. For the periods whilst the Range is active the sea zone within the danger area is excluded to all vessels.

A Naval Service patrol vessel will enforce the exclusion zone. The exclusion zone ‘D1’ is indicated on British Admiralty Chart No. 44. All vessels are advised that they are required to remain outside of the exclusion zone whilst the Range is active. All vessels in the area are recommended to carefully monitor the Radio Navigation Warnings that will be broadcast during the firing period.


Further details on this Marine Notice #62 is available from the Department’s website

Remember – if you spot someone in difficulty on the coast, even if you only think they might be in difficulty, dial 999 or 112 and ask for the COAST GUARD. Your call could save a life.

Pyrotechnics training at Hampton Cove, Balbriggan

Hampton Cove, Balbriggan

This morning, the Skerries Coast Guard team conducted a pyrotechnic training exercise at Hampton Cove, Balbriggan approximately 5 miles north of Skerries. The team regularly undertake training in the handling, preparation and firing of these white parachute flares. Weather conditions on scene were excellent, with prevailing light offshore winds and good visibility.

Typically, the Skerries Coast Guard team deploy these white parachute flares during night incidents when they are very effective at illuminating large areas of the shoreline.

Remember – if you spot someone in difficulty on the shore, or even think that someone might be in difficulty, dial 999 or 112 and ask for the COAST GUARD. Your call could save a life.


Report of flare off Rush – 11th October 2014

Shortly after 21:00 this evening, the Skerries Coast Guard team were tasked to investigate a flare report off the coast of Rush, approximately 4 miles south of Skerries. A flight crew member of a passing passenger jet reported seeing one yellow flare off the Rush coast. The Skerries team carried out a shoreline search of the area with nothing further to report. No further flares were observed or reported.

No further action was required and the Skerries team returned to base.

Remember – if you spot someone in difficulty on the coast, dial 999 or 112 and ask for the COAST GUARD. Do not assume that someone else will make that call.

White parachute flare

Exercise with Coast Guard helicopter – 24 August 2014

Rescue 116

Early this morning the Skerries Coast Guard team were out in force at Red Island, Skerries for a routine training exercise with the Coast Guard’s Dublin based Sikorsky helicopter. The team selected and prepared the landing site, deploying smoke flares to assist the helicopter crew with wind speed/direction assessment. The Sikorsky S92 helicopter, EI-ICR, landed on at Red Island at 09:30, having made the trip from its base at Dublin Airport in approximately 10 minutes.

The Skerries team were also joined by their fellow volunteers from the neighbouring station of Clogherhead Coast Guard. All members took part in a briefing and practical exercise, covering key SAR operational procedures.

The helicopter departed shortly before 12:00, after completing a winching exercise at the Red Island site. The Skerries Coast Guard team would like to thank all the public fo complying with the directions of Coast Guard personnel while this exercise took place.

Photos of this and earlier exercises will be shortly available in our online gallery.

Skerries Coast Guard – a voluntary rescue unit of the Irish Coast Guard. 

Jetskis at Skerries – 3 August 2014

This evening, the Skerries Coast Guard team were tasked to investigate reports of Jetskis acting in a wreckless manner near designated swimming areas on the Skerries coast. Several concerned members of the public had contacted the Coast Guard’s Operations Centre on 999 to report the three jetskis.

The Skerries Coast Guard team quickly located the jetskis upon arrival at the harbour area. The three were signalled to return to the slipway and duly complied. Members of the Skerries Coast Guard team and Gardai from Balbriggan spoke with the 3 jetski operators and reminded them of the provisions of the Fingal County Council Bye-Laws governing the use of Jetskis in the area. A copy of these bye-laws are also available from the Council’s website

Remember – if you spot any jetskis or powerboats being operated in a manner or area that might cause a nuisance or danger to other water users including swimmers, contact the Coast Guard on 999 or 112.