IRISH COAST GUARD
VS&T MEMORANDUM 52/03
DEPUTY DIRECTORS (2)
DIVISION MANAGERS (3)
VS&T OPERATIONS & TRAINING OFFICERS (2)
DIVISIONAL CONTROLLERS (3)
AREA OFFICERS (51)
CG ADMINISTRATION (1)
IRCG CORK (1)
COAST GUARD CODE
Voluntary Services & Training Manager
Dated: 28th March 2003.
COAST GUARD CODE
1. Volunteers Coast Guard Code.
To work without prejudice, bullying, harassment or discrimination against any
To work for the well being of members of the public and the Coast Guard.
To maintain, within the law, strict confidentiality in relation to all dealings
with members of the public and the Coast Guard.
To further the best interests of the Coast Guard at all times and not to bring the
Service into disrepute.
To maintain an objective professional relationship with members of the public
and with each other.
To advise my superior at any time if I am unfit, for whatever reason, to safely
carry out a task assigned to me.
Not to make a claim, statement or allegation knowing such claim, statement or
allegation to be false or misleading.
Not to make any applications directly or indirectly for personal concessions in
my favour on foot of my membership of the Coast Guard.
To wear my uniform in a smart and neat manner and in the fashion prescribed
by Coast Guard instructions.
To attend Exercises at the times and places fixed by my Superior Officers.
To obey the orders of my Superior Officers, abide by Coast Guard
Memoranda and to comply with all requirements applicable to Coast Guard
Units as long as I remain an enrolled member.
To show proper respect to my Superior Officers.
During Exercises and on service to discharge my duties as readily, safely and
efficiently as possible.
To remain ready at short notice to render assistance at an incident and to carry
recall equipment. If I am to be unavailable for any extended period of time to
inform my Superior Officer.
2. Habitual Tasks Of IRCG Units
Rescue of persons stranded on the coast, sea cliffs or cut off by tide;
coastal search and surveillance;
preventative SAR(through foot, vehicle and boat patrols, and specially
targeted preventative initiatives;
assistance to other Government Departments/Agencies;
assistance to other Emergency Services in the form of communications,
transport and trained manpower in the event of major threats to public safety.
on scene presence and co-ordination when required by the rescue centre;
reporting and arranging the safeguarding of hazardous objects;
Public Safety Operations/Assistance to civil authorities, e.g. Counter pollution
activities, flood relief, searches in remote areas, etc.;
assistance at PR events;
manning of remote aerial sites and local VHF communications;
service to the local community.
All IRCG CU’s should have the ability to make an Initial Response to a call for
assistance and reach any part of their area within 60 minutes. There are identified
areas where because of the remoteness and inaccessibility it is recognised that this
may not always be possible. If the circumstances require extra manpower, or Coast
Rescue Equipment, then additional Rescue Team should be tasked to provide back up.
3. Role of the Area Officer
In addition ad hoc tasks as directed by their Supervisor, Area Officers (AO) may be
required to perform the following tasks:
The management and supervision of IRCG CU, both during routine and
training activities, and during SAR incidents;
being responsible for ensuring that the team and its individual members meet
laid down response criteria;
equipment care and maintenance;
care of premises;
maintaining effective call-out methods;
recommending potential recruits;
ensuring that the SMC/co-coordinating centre is kept informed of all relevant
local information and developments;
maintaining appropriate records appertaining to their stations;
operational control will normally remain with the Area Officer/Deputy Area
Officer or the most senior and appropriate rescue team member present. The
appearance of an Incident Manager or other senior officer does not
automatically indicate a change of command. The requirements of the
incident will dictate whether or not control needs to be handed over. If a
change of control is deemed necessary then a proper handover brief must be
sought and provided.
4. Role of the Deputy Area Officer
The Deputy Area Officer (DAO) is a designated member of the IRCG CU who
will act as duty Area Officer in their absence.
5. AO/DAO Tenure
The tenure of AO’s & DAO’s shall be seven years from date of appointment
when applicants will be re-interviewed. Retirement is at 60 years of age.
6. Disciplinary Code
The objectives of this code are:
To ensure the Coast Guard Volunteers against whom allegations are
made are dealt with in a fair and equitable manner; and
To provide an adequate means by which impropriety can be dealt with
To dealt with matters of discipline in a manner that protects the dignity
of the volunteer.
All Coast Guard staff shall co-operate fully in the investigation of impropriety.
The IRCG is a high profile service that is well regarded by the public at large.
It is, therefore, of paramount importance that the exemplary standards of the
service, which enable the IRCG to serve the public and result in the
confidence of the public, are maintained.
Unsatisfactory service cannot be tolerated and may lead to loss of membership
in the IRCG.
The requirement for rescue team members to maintain a high standard of skills
and efficiency, commensurate with the varied tasks undertaken by those rescue
teams, is extremely important for both the safety of the team as a whole and
for those they assist and rescue.
The machinery must therefore be in place for Managers to exercise dismissal
procedures when it is considered that a situation exists, which may produce
risks and endanger other rescue team members and/or members of the public.
Unsatisfactory Service on the Grounds of Operational Inefficiency
Operational inefficiency, is when the Manager is aware of a situation
regarding a rescue team member, whereby that individual and/or others may
be placed in an unreasonable risk situation due to failure in maintaining a
declared skill or knowledge standard. Reasons for loss of membership in this
failure to maintain an acceptable attendance at training sessions;
failure to maintain a reasonable attendance at incidents throughout the
dangerous use of equipment including reckless or dangerous driving
and persistent abuse of road traffic laws;
negligence, which could result in loss, damage or injury.
Unsatisfactory Service on the Grounds of Behaviour
theft, fraud, deliberate falsification of documents;
refusal to obey an order from supervising officers;
assault, repeated disruptive behaviour;
deliberate damage to IRCG property;
drunkenness or abuse of drugs or solvents;
serious breach of IRCG’s security arrangements;
sexual or racial harassment or bullying.
The above lists are not exhaustive and are given as examples, in essence, of
any act of negligence or behaviour, which could bring the service into
disrepute and thus, may result in removal from the service.
Failure to attend
Failure to attend scheduled training exercises over a two month period will
require an satisfactory explanation from the volunteer. Failure to respond to a
request of an explanation or a notice of intention to dismiss will lead to
dismissal without further notice.
Where an allegation is made of misconduct, irregularity, neglect or
unsatisfactory behaviour as required by the Volunteer Services Coast Guard
Code at Para 1, or in any other matter, the following procedure shall apply:
The Area Officer shall investigate, or cause to be investigated, the facts of
If the Area Officer is satisfied that disciplinary action is warranted he will
submit a statement to the RC VS&T, including any evidence and
The volunteer concerned shall be furnished with a copy of these
documents at the same time and may submit his own case in writing.
Where the allegation concerns an Area Officer or Deputy Area Officer the
investigation shall be carried out by a member of full time staff. In an
event where the RC deems fit he may require the matter to be investigated
by a member of full time staff.
Where the RC VS&T feels that disciplinary action is required he may
carry out the following:
o Issue a written admonishment; or
o Suspension for a period not exceeding 6 months; or
Any penalty may be appealed to RC VS&T’s relevant superior.
7. Grievance Code.
Stage 1: Any complaint that arises should first (where appropriate) be the
subject of discussion between the complainant and his/her Superior.
Stage 2: If the matter cannot be resolved by appropriate discussion the
complainant must outline his/her grievance in writing indicating the nature of
the complaint and the corrective action sought. This grievance should be
forwarded to the Regional Controller RC VS &T together with any additional
information within two weeks.
Stage 3: The complainant will receive a reply in writing within two weeks. If
the matter needs further investigation the complainant will be advised of this
at this time.
Stage 4: If the complainant is not satisfied with the reply he/she may appeal
the matter to RC VS&T’s appropriate superior, but must do so within two
weeks of receiving the reply. This appeal is final.
Complaints may not be made on matters of promotion, obvious trivia,
operational matters or where rules of procedure are clearly laid out in Coast
During the above procedure the complainant will continue to work normally in
compliance with Coast Guard procedures. The time limits and arrangements
set out above are meant as a guide and should be interpreted by all parties in a
The Coast Guard will investigate any complaint by a member of the public
about the behaviour of a Coast Guard member. The Unit Area Officer will
where appropriate, carry out an initial investigation. If such investigation fails
to lead to a resolution of the issues RC VS&T will appoint a member of full-
time staff to investigate. RC VS&T will notify the appropriate individuals of
the findings and any action to be taken. Dissatisfaction with the findings can
thereafter be treated by the internal grievance procedure.
Any complaint whether internal or external where the individual is unhappy
with the result may be taken to the Customer Services Manager, Department
of Communications, Marine & Natural Resources, Leeson Lane, Dublin 2
which in general will be handled within 20 working days.
Any investigation or disciplinary procedure will follow the principles of
natural justice and the relevant Coast Guard instructions.
The Coast Guard is committed to treating all persons equally.
9. Acceptance of Gifts Rewards and Hospitality
Although outside organisations may regard offers of hospitality as normal
business practice, IRCG Units must exercise the utmost discretion in deciding
whether or not you should accept such offers.
Gifts are often offered as a token of appreciation of the successful outcome of
an incident. Such gifts of an extremely modest nature that may be accepted.
Under no circumstances may personal gifts of cash be accepted regardless of
circumstances. Should any such offer be made, a suitably worded covering
letter should be written to the prospective donor explaining that you are bound
by Civil Service policy which forbids the acceptance of gifts. Any gifts or
hospitality must be refused if either you or the Department is in any doubt
about the propriety of accepting them.
If you are approached by an outside organisation about to offer an award or
prize which is in any way connected with your official duty you must consult
your line manager.
10. Political Activities
All members of the IRCG owe their allegiance to the State All members must,
therefore, discharge loyally the duties, which are given them by the
Government of the day. It is important that personal views are not reflected in
the discharge of official duties. All staff are barred from any form of political
activity whilst on duty, in uniform or on official premises.
If you wish to take part in an outside activity, which involves the disclosure of
official information, or use of official experience, you must obtain prior
authority from your full-time line manager. The request must be made in
sufficient time to allow proper consideration. Failure to obtain the necessary
permission before undertaking any such activity is a disciplinary offence.
The following principles cover all activities in which official information or
experience is used. This includes the publication of books or articles, contacts
with the press, broadcasts, speeches or lectures, and participation in outside
The principles apply not only during your period of active service with the
IRCG, but also when you leave the Service. They are that you must not:
a. Discuss matters of current or potential political controversy;
b. comment on individuals or organisations in terms that the IRCG would
c. takes part in activities, which conflict with the interests of the IRCG or
bring the good name of the IRCG or Department into disrepute.
11. Equal Opportunities and Racial and Sexual Harassment
The IRCG aims to recruit, remain and promote the best available people. All,
regardless of gender, ethnic origins, disability, marital status or sexual
orientation will receive fair treatment throughout their Service.
Discrimination on the grounds of race, sex and marital status is unlawful.
Harassment includes a range of behaviour which, whether intentional or not,
creates feelings of unease, humiliation, intimidation or discomfort, causes
offence or threatens or appears to threaten a persons position with the team.
racially derogatory or stereotyped remarks and statements;
innuendo, mockery or racist “jokes” and remarks;
the display or circulation of racially offensive material;
an offensive manner of communication or attitude, which is not used
with other colleagues;
unwarranted, intrusive or persistent questioning about a person’s racial
or ethnic origin, including their culture and religion;
victimisation of a person because of their race or ethnic origin.
verbal or physical advances;
ridicule, innuendo or embarrassing remarks;
the display or circulation of sexually offensive material e.g. “pin-ups”
unwarranted, intrusive or persistent questioning about a person’s
marital status, sexual interests or orientation;
less tangible forms of behaviour such as staring or leering.
Uniform falls under two main categories,
1. Working Uniform and
2. 2. Dress Uniform.
Volunteers are provided with PPE, which must be worn for Health and Safety
and operational reasons at all times when on exercise and/or responding to
incidents. There are occasions for indoor exercises, seminars or training
courses when a working uniform is worn. This at the present time consists of
white shirt, black tie, trousers, woolly pully and a baseball cap. There can be
other occasions when a working uniform could be worn.
There are many occasions, i.e. Station House Openings, Funerals and local
functions when a dress uniform would be more suitable and would ensure a
well-dressed presence at such functions similar to the dress code of other
a. Blue V Neck Jumper (woolly pully)
b. Black Poly/Wool Trousers
c. White shirt long sleeve
d. White shirt short sleeve
e. Cap peaked with white top
f. Tri-corn with white top
g. Cap badge
f. Black tie
g. Black laced leather shoes
h. Black socks
i. Black leather belt
j. Black Poly/Wool skirt
(Optional for females)
k. Black double breasted uniform
Poly/Wool (2 pairs trousers)
l. Uniform overcoat
m. Black Baseball Cap with Coast
Guard Crest embroidered
n. Blue working shirt
o. Blue Combat trousers
Volunteer’s uniform jackets to have 8 silver buttons, silver sleeve ranking and
Silver Shoulder flashes with Irish Coast Guard. Volunteers will be allowed
wear the stripe after they have completed their New Entrants Course.
V-neck Wolly Pully to have Irish Coast Guard and Garda Costa na hEireann
on the left shoulder patch.
13. AO/DAO Insignia
In order for people (particularly those from other emergency
services/authorities) to recognise the Most Senior Officer present at the scene
of an incident, the following insignia are to be worn by those entitled:
Epaulettes Three silver stripes with the IRCG logo above,
Deputy Area Officer
Epaulettes Two silver stripes as above.
Epaulette One Silver Stripe as above.
IRCG Uniform is to be worn in a smart and neat manner at all times. Buttons
should not be left undone, ties at half-mast, etc. The Uniform is not to be worn
in locations unconnected or unsuitable to IRCG duty.
At no time when wearing Coast Guard Uniform, whether on or off duty, is the
Service to be brought into disrepute. Dismissal from the service will result in
any person failing to comply with this direction.
At no time is part uniform, part normal clothing to be worn. The general
appearance of any uniform wearer shall always be clean.
Smoking and drinking in public is not allowed in uniform.
The Area Officer shall decide what uniform shall be worn for any particular
occasion. Mixes of working and formal uniforms is not allowed. Groups of
IRCG Personnel when working together shall wear the same uniform.
Medal Ribbons shall be worn with the formal uniform. Medals shall be worn
in accordance with the following:
a. PRECEDENCE OF MEDALS
Precedence shall accord with the order in which the medals are mentioned in
OP. Memo 37/99 ‘Awards’. When worn with the uniform, precedence shall be
reckoned from the wearer’s right to left and shoulder downwards.
Medals shall be worn 1.5 inches (38 mm) over the left breast pocket.
Medals may be worn from a single suspension bar without overlapping
of medals. Where more than five medals are worn a second row of
medals shall be worn in the precedence set out above.
b. OCCASIONS FOR WEAR
Personnel entitled to do so shall wear medals on the following
Any ceremonies attended by An tUactaran, An Taoiseach or Minister
for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources.
Any commemorative service attended in uniform as a group.
As Pall Bearers and Marshals at State or IRCG funerals.
During formal visits and inspections by the Director of IRCG.
On any other occasion as authorised by the RC VS&T of IRCG.
c. OCCASIONS WHEN MEDALS MAY NOT BE WORN
By an individual to whom an award of a medal is about to be made.
At a social occasion, unless indicated by the host.
When attending court.
Only non-uniformed full time IRCG Staff or retired volunteer members
may wear decorations on civilian attire in accordance with the normal
occasions for wear.
d. MEDAL RIBBONS
Ribbons shall be worn in the same precedence and position as medals.
Ribbons shall be mounted on a strip of metal and attached to the
garment of the wearer.
A complete row of ribbons shall consist of three ribbons. Where
another row is needed it shall commence centrally over the lower row
taking precedence into account.
When medals are not worn then the appropriate ribbons shall be worn, except
on working dress or personal protective equipment (PPE) dress.