At 1.30pm on Monday September 2nd the crew of Doolin Ferry Co’s Doolin Express spotted something floating in the water on their route to Inis Oirr. They went to investigate further and found a boat! Later we sent one of our crews and ferry to tow the boat, (with the help of a local fishing boat), to the beach at Inis Oirr. Lots of islanders helped to bring it to the beach and we began to wonder where it had come from.

It had two engines still attached but we could see from the length of the goose barnacles that were on the boat that it had been in the water from some time.


Our original investigations led us to believe that it was a rapid rescue boat belonging to the US Coast Guard. We launched an appeal on our social media for more information and after thousands of shares, national news coverage and many phone calls and suggestions we think we have gotten to the bottom of this intriguing mystery!

We believe the boat originated in Norfolk Virgina and its not actually a rescue boat but actually a High Speed Maneuverable Surface Targets, or HSMST. Essentially, they are remotely operated and used as target practise by the US Navy!

Check out this video below that shows them in action:


This boat was built in 2015 and its likely that it was lost during a training exercise and it remained in the water drifting until it ended up in the water close to Inis Oirr and was discovered by the crew of the Doolin Express!

How cool is that?!

If you would like to visit Inis Oírr to see this discovery for yourself you can book tickets online here and save up to 30%.