One of the most recent high-profile tragedies took place in August 2010, when Mike Schmidt, Richard Harman and Wolfgang Schroder lost their lives.
The close friends had been aboard the 25-foot Castaway pleasure cruiser when it burst into flames just off the coast of Adrigole, West Cork.
Days later, the region was again struck by tragedy when 57-year-old Noel Daly, from Ardfield in Clonakilty, was swept into the water after being hit by a wave on the coast.
In January 2007, seven fishermen lost their lives in two separate trawler tragedies off Dunmore East in Waterford and Kinsale in Cork.
While they have resulted in less dramatic scenes, other lives lost to the Atlantic in Cork and the surrounding counties include people who were swept away after slipping or being struck by a wave during amateur fishing expeditions on coastline rocks.
In May 2010, a 29-year-old Polish man was swept off the Ross Bay rocks on the north shore of the loop head peninsula in Co Clare.
The previous November, a 34-year-old man was swept to his death in front of his wife, 10-year-old daughter and a friend, while fishing in Ballyreen, also in Co Clare.
Months earlier, in July 2009, a 42-year-old Frenchman fell off the rocks while fishing at the same location, the same month as a Polish man and his 13-year-old child were also swept into the ocean off the Beara peninsula.
Despite the deaths, other successful rescue operations have led to heart-warming scenes on the shores.
They include the dramatic rescue of the entire five-man crew of the 30-metre US yacht the Rambler 100, off Baltimore in Co Cork, in August 2010.