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Organisational Analysis of the Irish Coast Guard

Info: 7534 words (30 pages) Dissertation
Published: 16th Dec 2019

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Tagged: Health and Social CarePublic Sector



Brief History


Legal Form-


Fethard on Sea Coast Guard:

Products and services



Planning and Organising

Letter writing and post

Dealing with Queries


Financial accounting

Management accounting

Human resources-

Staff planning

Health & Safety



Volunteer safety and Training (VS&T)-



Organisational Chart

Fethard Coast Guard Organisation Chart

Administration Functions

Storing and protecting data


Processing and communicating information






Electronic Diary


Health & Safety at Work Act 2005- 2010

Terms of Employment Act 1994-2014

Redundancy Payments Act 1967-2014




In this report it will talk about Irish Coast Guard as an organisation. This particular organisations headquarters is operating from Dublin. It has many units dotted around the country all are which are manned by volunteers. This organisation has three MRCC (Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre) units- Dublin, Malin and Valentia. They are call takers and take the calls from volunteers, Helicopter crew and member of the public. This report will talk about the organisation –legal form, sector, location, products & services and size. It will describe four departments within the organisation and what they do. It will have a flow chart that breaks down the staff. It will describe administration functions and  pieces of equipment used. It will take you through three pieces of legislation stating its aims and objectives.

Image result for irish coast guard emergency contact  number

Brief History

In the early days it was known as “Water Guard” (Transport, 2018)and it was run by the naval service. It main role then was to keep an eye on the coast from watch towers that were along the coast. It changed several names before becoming known as Irish Coast Guard. In the 1990’s it was known as IMES-Irish Maritime Emergency Service. (Transport, 2018) Coast Guard is two separate words in the Republic of Ireland- this is to distinguish it for UK version. In 2000 it was established as Irish Coast Guard. It is the 4th blue light emergency service in the country. “In 2006 the Coast Guard fell under the Department of Transport, Tourism & Sport”, (Lee, 2016) previous to this they were under the Department of Defence. There are four helicopter bases in Ireland which are used for SAR-search and rescue and three call centres and three MRCC (Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre) centres around the country with the main one based in Dublin.

On average 10,000 man hours per year, 24-7, 365 days a year, putting their lives at risk to help others.”(Lee, 2016) All the volunteers are on call 24 hours a day 365 days a year. Once the pager goes off the volunteers must attend to the call out.

Sector-This Organisation fall into the Voluntary sector, but it is also a State Body. As this organisation is mainly made up of volunteers. A voluntary organisation is an organisation that is manned by volunteers and gets funding form the government. In this case the organisation gets funded from the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport. The volunteer’s equipment for the stations are paid for by the department. Without this help the unit would not be able to do what they need to do.

Legal Form-This organisation is a partnership is that is run in connection with the IMA (Irish Maritime Administration), this means that the government have their say in what way it is run. A partnership is where two or more people are needed to set up the organisation. With setting up an organisation like this, legal agreements had to be arranged that if the IMA was to run out of funding the Coast Guard would go, as there would be no more funding available. This organisation is classed as a general partnership in that the director has the dealing with how it is run on a daily basis, but he in turn has to report to the DTTAS.

Location- Its headquarters are based in The Department of Transports office in Leeson Lane, Dublin 2. It is within this building that they have the various different departments. Nationwide there are 49 units, with 1000 volunteers.

Image result for irish coast guard unitsThe image shows the Coast Guard unit around the country and also shows the breakdown of the units. This image has not been updated since 2006 but in 2012 some units amalgamated. As an example Rosslare and Carne amalgamated as did Courtown with Arklow. The idea of this was to get rid of smaller units and just have more active units there.

These units vary in size and uses. In Wexford there are four units-Fethard, Kilmore Quay, Rosslare, Curracloe- all are search units. Meanwhile our flanking stations in Waterford are boat and climbing units. Dunmore East is a boat and search unit while the likes of Tramore and Bunmahon are climbing units. Each Unit is manned by volunteers and headed by an OIC- officer in charge.

Fethard on Sea Coast Guard:

This unit is located on the main street in the village of Fethard. The building itself is an old rocket house which dates back to the early 1900’s. The station is uniquely identified in that is a red brick building. It is situated between the Post Office and the local take away. This station currently has an OIC, DOIC-Deputy officer in charge, and nine other members. The station has two 4 wheel drive jeeps and a Polaris ATV. Every volunteer has their own PPE, which consists of Grey combat trousers, black polo shirt, orange Hi Vis jacket, wet gear and safety boots. Each volunteer is trained in first aid, search skills, manual handling and VHF (very high frequency) radios.

Pictured here is Curracloe and Fethard Coast Guard Units in a training exercise in Raven forest Curracloe, Co. Wexford. For this exercise the units had to do a search for a missing person who had fallen. Once the casualty was retrieved it was found that he had a broken leg. The first aid teams had to work together to evacuate him from this area to a safer area for ambulance transfer. Fethard unit train every second Tuesday of a month but schedule other training exercises with flanking units and other services such as RNLI. It is vital that the units keep training as they never know what they will be faced with when they get a call out.

Products and services

IRCG main purpose is to provide a service to the public. All volunteers are manned with PPE and a pager. Some units attend various showImage result for Irish coast guard servicess such as the National Ploughing Match, Bloom and other water related events. At these events they do provide the public with information on water safety, give children products such as wristbands, pens and pencils. In some locations such as the BT Young Scientist Exhibition they give out goody bags to winner of competitions. The aim of the competition is to promote water safety.

Image may contain: one or more people and outdoorIrish Coast Guard at The National Ploughing Championships – this is where they bring some of their equipment and event tent. The ideas behind these events is to promote Coast Guard and what they do. A lot of people did not know what they did until tragedy hit them in September 2016. It is only when tragedy occurs the organisation is in the limelight and people are more aware of what they do. It has taken a lot for this organisation to build up a good name for themselves after a blast of tragedies in such a short space of time.

Been the 4th blue light service, if the unit is tasked to someone in an emergency they must attend. The Fethard unit can get calls such as MP (missing person), kayaks floating, missing adolescents and people in danger around the cliffs. There in a thing called the golden hour in which we have an hour to locate our casualty. Once the casualty is located you have a platinum ten in which you have ten minutes to evacuate them from the scene to safety. The Fethard unit attends primary schools promoting water safety to children in the hope that they will listen. The main message to get across to the public is the number to ring in in need of help –112.  The message that they have put on their wristbands are stay afloat- stay in contact (Guard, End of Year – Coast Guard Cordinated Events, 2018) in that this means that you wear a lifejacket and let someone know where you are going and what time you will be expected back to shore.



The Admin Department is the department that keeps all the other units running smoothly. They take on all the clerical work that needs to be done. In this organisation there is a lot of paper to do both on the ground level and in HQ.  The Admin Department is the department in which all the other departments liaise with. Some of the main functions of Administration department would be:

Planning and Organising- This is a vital part of the Admin Department as they look after all the clerical work they need to be prepared for the day ahead.

  • Use to-do lists- A list of duties that they need to do in order of priority. Each department send all their clerical work to the Admin Department for processing. This will help them prioritise lists of tasks that have to be done that day.
  • Sending emails of upcoming events/ time sheets:  Emails are sent out if spaces come available on courses that need to be filled. Once spaces are filled, an email has to be sent to confirm spaces gone. They also email saying that they need copies of invoices for last month’s expenditure.
  • Organising- They have to be able to sort out files and folders in order. For example the training logs will have to be filed under the unit’s name so it is done in alphabetical order. They have to be able to arrange conference rooms for meetings.

Letter writing and post-

  • In the office letters will have to be typed up to be sent out to OIC’s in the unit about upcoming events and training. These letters will have to be put into the correct size envelope. In this particular company they send it down to the postal department with the DTTS.
  • Once post arrives for this organisation it has to be sorted in the Administration Department. The office sort it into in trays, each section will have a tray. The post is opened and stamped with the date it is received. Only post that is clearly marked private and confidential is not opened.

Dealing with Queries-

  • The administrator will take and answer calls from the public. In this organisation they will be taking calls form the other departments and OIC’s.
  • When taking messages they have to be able to take accurate messages, in that if they have to be passed on to another department it will clearly be stated. For example if VS&T department rang Admin to pass a message onto Finance Department. If they had took the wrong message down and passed it on, it could cause problems. In this it is vital to have excellent commination skills. You must have good active listen when taking messages from your team members.


This department is responsible for looking after how the organisation is run and where the grants are paid out. The department was given funding of 10,000 last year to put towards the volunteers equipment and improving PPE. This Department has to work out how they are going to allocate this funding. They also have to work out long term how they can invest into different resources. For example they have invested that all units will eventually be trained in ATV use.

Financial accounting- This section is responsible for doing the day to day book keeping for the organisation.

  • Recording purchase invoices- This is when the units order something from the suppliers or else and the invoices have to be recorded. The local unit has to supply paper work –form 33 for expenses stating what they purchased, where, price and what it is to be used for.
  • Produce end of year accounts- This shows where the organisation is spending its money and where they can make improvements. From these the department will know which unit is spending the most and which ones are more active.

Management accounting- This section is responsible for deciding where the money is to be spent within the organisation and whether it is to be spent on extra equipment or other things.

  • Budgeting- They must be able to figure out how much funding they are going to get from the budget and how it is to be used.
  • Analyse spending- They look at this in detail to see where they have spent their money and was it useful or could they be putting it into something more useful. Last year they invested huge money into providing training for ATV’s and getting the ATV’s made. This alone for each unit was going to cost approx. €20,000.

Human resources-

This is the department that is responsible for looking after staff and making sure that they are treated properly. In this they maintain that the staff are looked after well, maintain good internal relationship and monitor health and safety.

Staff planning-

  • Recruitment- They hire new staff, make sure that they advertise for new positions on Public jobs.ie. Most of the staff within this organisation are there for a long period of time. When they are coming up for retirement this department must put up their job on a public site. All OIC’s are notified about these post so that any volunteer can apply for the position.
  • Staff audit- This looks at are all staff, to see if they are up to date for the job that they are in. If they have been there for a long time are they willing to keep up to date with current needs.
  • Performance Appraisal- When all volunteers join coast guard they are all put on probation for a year. At the end of this year the OIC and CUSM will decide if this person was suitable for the position of volunteer. By doing so they look at how often they attended training, were they a good team player, did they play their part in the organisation, did they attend the compulsory training.

Health & Safety –

The organisation is working on getting a full time Health and Safety officer. They will look at the health and safety of staff and volunteers. Every station has to have a health and safety statement on display at all times. All volunteers must obey to these regulations. It is this department that comes up with these rules. Every station has to fill out a Health and Safety report every three months. The VS&T Manager processes these until they have a new H&S officer.

Production –

This department contains purchasing and warehousing sections. They look after sourcing supplies from around the country and outside Ireland. Stores will keep all stock in stores and is dispatched from there to the local units.

Stores/Warehouse- This is where they keep all there supplies for the organisation.

  • Source equipment from around the country and outside Ireland- The company is always sourcing new stock and put out tenders for companies for equipment and PPE.
  • Liaise with Product and Event manager
  • Send out invoices to OIC’s- When an order has come in from a unit the Store staff has to print off invoices for OIC’s to sign and date to say that they receive order.
  • Process orders-When OIC’s place orders for their unit, the Stores Department process it, pack it and send it out via courier.

Volunteer safety and Training (VS&T)-

This section is broken down into a manager and CUSM’s. The main function of this department is to look after volunteers.


  • Organise and plan training courses for volunteers. Every unit has to have so many courses completed every year and it is up to this department to organise them.
  • Keep records of up to date qualifications held by volunteers. If the records are not kept on site here by this department they do not have proof that the volunteers have done the courses.
  • Plan events- They plan sector meetings and conferences in which they attend. These are the meetings in which they get to see all the OIC’s from around the country. This is where they can keep all units up to date with what is going to and explain what is going to happen for the next year.


  • Do up health and safety policies for volunteers- this is updated on a regular basis.
  • Make sure that volunteers safety is foremost. They organise to have at least one volunteer in each unit as a health and safety officer. In order for them to become that they must do the three day training course.

Organisational Chart

Title: Vehicle & Event Co-ordinator-

  • Organise promotional events around the country to help promote Coast Guard, such events are the National Ploughing Match, Bloom, and Emergency Services Day in Trinity College.
  • Drop and pickup vehicles from stations to stores
  • Inspect vehicles for any damage or deformities, make sure that they have a valid DOE certs.
  • Regular meetings with water safety committee to make sure that they are doing what they are supposed to be doing- school visits, promote Coast Guard at events.
  • Sources products for stores and liaise with managers.

Title: Sector Managers-CUSM

  • Deal with issues OIC’s may have such as problems with equipment not working properly.
  • Liaise with VS&T manager for up to date training for volunteers.
  • Plan training events with local units such as a search exercise or search management.
  • Source equipment for units from stores.
  • Source funding for additional training for volunteers.

Fethard Coast Guard Organisation Chart

All members in this unit are volunteers

Administration Functions

This office will look after all clerical activities that need to be done.

Receive and sort information- This this where they go through paper work when it is received. The Admin Department in HQ will do the following:

• Process the training records and file them in order of unit received.

• Log the amount of calls received in MRCC, and see where the most active unit is.

On the ground level in local unit the admin officer will:

• Process sign in sheets taking into account volunteers attendances at training and other events.

• Sort out invoices received

• Sort out stock for the station

• Process school visits

Storing and protecting data- Under the Data Protection Act 1988-2003 all information must be stored in a safe manner. In May 25th 2018 the GDPR will replace this act. This will mean big changes when it comes to data protection.

In HQ the staff do the following to maintain this-

• All the volunteer records from all the around the country in stored on a database in the main office.

• They store all paper files in storage till the day the volunteers leave, these are locked away in a filing system.

In the local unit the volunteers do the following to follow protocol-

• All the volunteer’s information is stored in a locked filing cabinet.

•  If a volunteer requested to see the information held in their file the administrator has to provide them with the information.

Filing- This a method of keeping things in order, whether it is stored in alphabetical, numerical or geographical. In HQ the staff –

• Stamped and date all records received. This helps the organisation know when they have received post from the units on the ground.

• All paper they file in order in that some paperwork will be training logs, while others could be store orders, medical supplies.

In the local unit they –

• File everything in an alphabetical order.

• Everything that is received from HQ is dated.

Processing and communicating information-This is how the departments communicate with each other and the units. Communication can come in several different methods. There is verbal communication – this is speaking. There is paraverbal- this is where you look at the pitch and tone used to express words. Non-verbal communication is the body language used. In HQ

• Information is received they have to acknowledge it and record it on the system. Sometimes this does not always go according to plan and documents do get lost.

• They have to be able to answer queries from the volunteers and reply to emails.

In the local unit the administrator-

• Processes all post that comes to the unit and records it on a log sheet

•  They have to prioritise it in how quickly it needs to be responded to. Some of this information will have to be passed onto other volunteers or to the OIC.

• Uses verbal and non-verbal communication to make contact with other volunteers.

Planning- This is something that is used on a regular basis. It has to be used daily in order to do the tasks that needs to be done. In HQ they –

• Use to-do lists, planners and diary to help them plan their tasks.

• The department may have to organise meetings with other departments.

In the local unit –

• The admin Officer will plan meetings with the OIC and DOIC.

• Use to do lists to do their tasks for training and event planning.



Image result for computerA computer is a device that has a VDU (Visual Display Unit), CPU (Central Processing Unit), output and input devices such as a mouse and a keyboard. A computer will allow you to receive information in a form of data. With the likes of the computer you use the input device i.e. the keyboard to type up documents. The computer may have packages on it such as Office. This allows you to do various things such as doing Databases, Spreadsheets, PowerPoints, and using Word. In Spreadsheets you can do up statements, do accounts if you do not have a package to do so. Database is an application that allows you to create tables that you can store all the volunteers’ information on. With PowerPoint you can use it to do up presentations. In this case that Admin Officer may use it to do up a presentation for the school visits. Sometimes it is easier to have this tool for presentation instead of just talking to a group and having nothing there to help. The VDU will display you information that you are typing or working on. This is a very useful piece of equipment as it helps you to do a lot of things that need to be done on a regular basis.


This is an output device that can come in many different shapes and sizes. Some smaller printers will have options that you can print and scan documents. Image result for printerBigger industrial printer would do a lot more work. With the likes of the printer in the image here, it is used in the everyday office. It prints both colour and black and white documents. This is useful in the office in that you can print off your documents whether it is a word document or a report in Database. A printed document is a visual piece of information. When the Admin Department are doing up letters it is extremely useful to have a printer to print them off and the labels to put on the envelopes. Some of the printers are wireless in that once you are connected to Wi-Fi and out of the office you can print your documents.


Image result for photocopierThis device is so useful in that they have become a very modern piece of equipment. These have modernised with technology. They can vary in size. Some copier will only do black and white where others will do both colour and black and white. With modernisation you can send documents from your computer to the photocopier. Some of the copiers will give you the options of printing both side and stapling without having to turn the pages each time you want to copy something. With the click of a few buttons you can punch, staple and copy your documents. All of this helps as it speeds up time if the Admin Department were in a hurry to get documents out in the post.

Electronic Diary

This a diary that allows you to record your daily events. With this it can be given to other members of staff. You can set the levels of access in that only you can change the times and dates of events. The receiver will only be able to see the diary in a read only format. This can Image result for Electronic diarya table or an IPad for example.  As you can see in the image this is a form of an electronic diary. It displays the diary and meetings that need to be attended. This is useful for the administrator to use as they can set up appointments for the different managers and hand it to them in the morning. By having this they know what they have for the day ahead. Some uses of this could be:

  • It can be synched to your emails- if you are out of the office you are still able to view your appointments on your Gmail account.
  • Restrict the level of access to your diary- Read only available to the staff, only the Admin Department could change it.
  • Easier to record things- in that you have unlimited space compared to a few lines in a regular diary.


Health & Safety at Work Act 2005- 2010

This Acts has the following aims-

  • Maintain a safe working environment- you have feel safe and be safe in your work place.
  • Employers have to report accidents to HAS- they are obliged to report accidents to this authority and can’t brush things under the carpet.
  • Employees must comply with employers regulations- they must follow that health and safety policy set out by the employer.


Both the employee and the employer have a duty to do under this act. The employer has to comply with the following duties:

  • Make sure all equipment is safe to use and the workplace is a safe place to be in.
  • To reduce risks of anything happening.
  • To prevent any behaviour that may put another employee at risk.
  • Have a safety officer.
  • Provide up to date training for their employees.
  • Provide PPE.

The employee must obey the following duties:

  • Protect themselves and other employees.
  • Not to behave badly in a way that could cause harm to other employees.
  • Can not be under the influence of any drug or alcohol substance.
  • If equipment is faulty you must report it to the employer.

The employer must also carry out a risk assessment to see the work that is been carried out and what the risks are associated with it are. It is law to have this completed. Employees have the right to view this and employers must update this on a regular basis.

The employer must notify the employee about PPE and what is necessary for what job. For example the VS&T manager will not allow a volunteer out on training or a call out if they do not have their hard helmet on, steel cap boots, Hi Vis jackets and life jackets. All of this is needed to keep them safe. In the local unit it is the OIC role to make sure that all of this PPE is in working order and that they were explained what all of it was for. In this case no training was needed on how to use this PPE but in some other organisations you may need the employer to explain to you how to use the PPE.

In the case of an accident happening on scene, the incident has to be recorded in the incident book. In the case where an employee is missing 3 or more days work due to the accident, the employer has to report it to the HSA (Health and Safety Authority).

Terms of Employment Act 1994-2014

This act is here to protect those working. The main aims of this law is to:

  • Outline the terms of employment to reduce issues that may arise later on.
  • Written statement within 2 months

The objectives of this law is to – cover employees as if anything did happen they have their contract there.

  • Protect all employees who are on a contract, an apprenticeship or state employee.
  • Employees have to be working within organisation for a month

Written statement: This is a statement that the employer must give you within 2 months of employment and it must contain all the details about your work. If the employer does not give you this written statement you can then take them to court.

The statement should have the following;

  • Name and address of employer
  • Place of work
  • Contract type – fixed/ permanent/ casual
  • Job title- e.g.: Junior Administrator
  • Hours to work-eg:39 hours weekly
  • Sick pay/holiday pay
  • Pension
  • Notice of termination- how much notice you have to give if you were to leave the job.
  • Wage/salary details

The employer must sign and date this statement before giving it to you.

If the employer decided to change something in the statement they must notify the employee immediately, and give a month for the changes to take place. If however there were changes to the law the employer does not have to notify the employee.

An employer may decide to put in pay terms in the written contract. Such as whether they are getting a weekly wage of €800 instead of an hourly rate. On this it could also state hourly rates, time in lieu and over time if the employee is entitled to it.

Redundancy Payments Act 1967-2014

This act is about where employees are let go as there job no longer exists. Employers are supposed to pay them a redundancy package if they are been let go. Redundancy may occur:

  • If the business will cease to trade anymore.
  • If the business if losing money and is unable to keep positions open.
  • If the job is been taken over by a machine- the job will no longer be there.


  • Employers to pay a package to employees
  • This payment is worked out on the amount of time they worked there.
  • A cap of €600.


  • Employees have to be over the age of 16 years and have worked in the organisation for 2 years before they are entitled to this payment.
  • Part time employees who are on Class J are not entitled to this.
  • Employees have to be notified about been made redundant.
  • Payment based on their gross pay

This payment is non-taxable if it is the first time redundancy. Voluntary redundancy is where the company give you the options if you would like to stay or go. You may decide to take this up, the company is not forcing you to go you take it on your own back to leave.

Calculation: The max ceiling of Gross Pay is €600

2 weeks’ pay for every year you have worked in the company.

Example: Your Gross Pay is €650.00 weekly. You worked for the company for 10 years.

€600 x 2 = €1200 – multiply this by amount of years worked there



€12,000.00 plus you add one weeks wage to this.

€12,000 + 650.00 = €12,650.00 =Total Redundancy package


From doing this report, I have learnt a lot more about this service. This is a very busy voluntary organisation, in that they get a lot of calls. They work around the clock to help save the lives of others. 2017 was one of its busiest years in that they helped save 355 lives. With all 49 units dotted around the coast of Ireland, the volunteers do an amazing job. They go out there to save someone, while doing so they are putting their own lives at risk. For example when Storm Emma hit the country this year, all emergency services were out helping others to get to the work and to hospital appointments. In Howth Coast Guard had to help DFB (Dublin Fire Brigade) up a hill to help a sick patient. In Waterford, the Fethard unit liaised with Dunmore East to help transfer staff to the hospital and bring dialysis patients to their appointments. We do not know how valuable the likes of this emergency service is until we need their help.

From doing this report, I have learned more about the organisation, the different departments how they work, the different equipment that they may use in the administration department. Also covered in this report is three pieces of legislation.


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Guard, I. C. (2009, June ). Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport . Retrieved from Voluntary Services & Training : http://www.dttas.ie/sites/default/files/coast-guards/57%2009%20Coast%20Guard%20Code.pdf

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