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#RNLI - Fresh from completing her 1,509-mile-long ‘Lap of the Map’ run around Ireland, inspirational marathon runner Mary Hickey has joined volunteers from Arklow  RNLI in the stunning setting of Glendalough in Co Wicklow to launch Mayday, the RNLI’s annual fundraising event.

This year the charity is asking people to ‘do your bit – fund our kit’ to help raise vital funds which will be used to supply essential kit for the charity’s volunteer lifeboat crews in Ireland.

The RNLI’s Mayday event begins on 1 May and will run for the whole month, with fundraising taking place across Ireland. People can support by the RNLI by buying a crew pin badge, holding their own fundraising event or supporting one of the many taking place across the country.

Speaking at the launch — and wearing the new all-weather lifeboat kit the RNLI’s volunteers will receive later this year — was Mary Nolan Hickey, who ran the entire coast of Ireland at the age of 65 to raise funds for the RNLI and who has completed 57 marathons in total.

“As a long distance runner, I appreciate the value of having and wearing the right clothing for performance. For RNLI volunteers, their specialist kit protects them against extreme conditions, giving them a firm footing on unsteady surfaces, allowing them to carry out their lifesaving work,” said Hickey.

“This Mayday campaign is the volunteers own call for help, as they rely on the generosity of the public to fund this vital kit that helps keep the crews safe when they help others. 

“On my travels some days were great and everything went right and some days were hell and everything went wrong but all along the way I saw first-hand how the RNLI works in communities and I’m so touched that people supported me in my fundraising. It really doesn’t matter how far you go or how much you raise, the RNLI appreciates every single cent, so get going.”

Arklow RNLI mechanic Michael Fitzgerald is one of many crew members across Ireland who will be receiving a new all-weather lifeboat kit. 

“The volunteers at Arklow are looking forward to receiving the new kit. When we are on a callout, sometimes for many hours in all weathers, the kit will allow for easier movement and will help with the heat or cold, depending on the weather. 

“It means we can focus on the job at hand and not be restricted in our movements, something that is especially important when trying to get a casualty onboard in extreme sea conditions.”

It currently costs €1,862 to provide one all-weather lifeboat crew member with all of the kit they need when responding to the call for help. The kit will still be the yellow colour that the RNLI crew are known for wearing throughout the institution.

Anyone who wishes to get involved can visit RNLI.org/mayday to register for a free Mayday fundraising pack. The pack provides a host of fundraising ideas, such as encouraging friends and colleagues to plan a wear-yellow fundraiser, getting sponsored to run, walk or cycle, cooking up some yellow-themed bakes to sell or even getting together to lift the weight of a lifeboat.

The charity is also encouraging people to show support on their social media, joining the conversation using the hashtag #MaydayEveryDay, or by donating online or buying a yellow crew member pin badge.

In 2017, RNLI lifeboat crews in Ireland launched 1,103 times, bringing 1,342 people to safety.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Rosslare Harbour RNLI all weather was launched by the volunteer lifeboat crew yesterday morningat 11.45am to respond to an EPIRB distress signal (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon).

The Irish Coast Guard alerted Rosslare Harbour RNLI to immediately launch following an EPIRB alarm, which usually indicates a vessel in serious danger. The signal was traced to an 18m yacht close to Carnsore Point off the Wexford coast, which was competing in the offshore Normandy Channel yacht race, as reported by Afloat.ie here.

The RNLI lifeboat and Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 117 were quickly on the scene. It was soon established that the 18m yacht was not in trouble and the EPIRB alarm had accidentally activated. Volunteer RNLI crew aboard Rosslare Harbour lifeboat deactivated the alarm system, returned the device to the yacht which then continued on with its race.

Conditions at the time were reasonably favourable with a brisk southerly wind.

Speaking after the incident Rosslare Harbour RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer Jamie Ryan praised the skill of the coxswain who brought the lifeboat alongside the yacht and the efforts of the RNLI volunteers who fixed the EPIRB and returned it to the 18m yacht.

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#RNLI - Vital funds have been raised for the RNLI following the annual Dunmore East lifeboat 'Dash & Splash' and yellow welly throwing competition.

The event, which took place at Councillor’s Strand in Dunmore East on Sunday 1 May, was run as part of Mayday, the RNLI’s national annual fundraising campaign.

Dunmore East RNLI fundraising branch volunteer Carol McGeary said: "I’d like to thank everyone who came and supported the Dash & Splash and yellow welly throwing competition.

"We were especially delighted to have Senator Grace O’ Sullivan taking part and leading the swimmers into the water.

"We all had great fun with the welly throwing competition and the crew even challenged our supporters to a beach soccer match. The funds raised will help the RNLI continue to save lives at sea’.

McGeary added that RNLI volunteers in Dunmore East and around Ireland "are willing to drop everything to go and save lives at sea when their pagers beep.

"Mayday is the RNLI’s own call for help, as we rely on the generosity of the public to continue our lifesaving service, which we operate day and night, 365 days a year."

Many of the Mayday fundraising events that have taken place across the country have had a yellow welly theme, in a nod to the essential kit that the RNLI’s lifeboat crew members wear on their feet when they go out to sea to save lives.

Money raised through the Mayday campaign – which ran from Tuesday 26 April to Monday 2 May – will support the RNLI’s lifesaving work. It could be used to fund crew training, contribute towards the running costs of a lifeboat station or buy new crew kit like the yellow wellies.

There is still time to support Mayday. Visit RNLI.org/Mayday to donate.

The RNLI operates 45 lifeboat stations around Ireland. Last year, RNLI lifeboat crews in Ireland launched 1,098 times bringing 1,244 people to safety.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - An eight-foot-tall yellow welly at the top of Grafton Street in Dublin was unveiled yesterday (Friday 1 May) to mark the launch of the RNLI's Mayday fundraiser.

The larger-than-life Wellington boot – which represents the yellow wellies worn by the charity’s volunteer lifeboat crew members – was one of a number that touched down at 9am in Dublin, London, Cardiff and Edinburgh to mark the start of the RNLI’s flagship fundraising campaign.

The charity is now issuing its own call for help and is asking people to support its Mayday fundraising campaign across the May bank holiday weekend.

Dedicated RNLI fundraisers will be out in force and a host of welly-themed events will be happening across Ireland and the UK till Monday 4 May.

Fundraisers and volunteer lifeboat crew members will accompany each giant yellow welly to collect donations and talk to members of the public about the RNLI’s lifesaving work.

The RNLI operates 45 lifeboat stations in Ireland and relies on 1,500 volunteer lifeboat crew to be on call to respond to those in trouble at sea or on the water.

Last year RNLI lifeboat crews launched 1,089 times in Ireland, rescuing 1,414 people and saving 44 lives. They are on-call 24/7, every day of the year, ready to respond emergencies.

Speaking at the launch yesterday morning, Howth RNLI crewmember and mechanic Ian Sheridan said: "We have been very busy with lifeboat callouts in Howth this year already. I would call on the public to support the RNLI this Mayday to ensure Irish lifeboats continue to save lives at sea. 

"The Mayday campaign is vital for our charity to raise funds and awareness for the work we do." 

Also present at the launch was Michelle Noone from the RNLI, who added: "We picked the lifeboat crew’s yellow welly as a symbol for the Mayday campaign and already this morning people have been stopping to photograph our eight foot welly and taking selfies with it.

"As well as being lots of fun we hope it will also make people stop and consider the work our volunteer lifeboat crews do and donate to our Mayday campaign this weekend."

To donate, visit RNLI.org/Mayday or text RNLIMAYDAY to 50300 to donate €4. Funds raised through the Mayday campaign will help fund the RNLI’s lifesaving work in Ireland.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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#rnli – A Donegal woman who lost her father in a fishing tragedy when she was just six weeks old is lending her support to Mayday, the RNLI's national fundraising campaign which runs from 1-4 May.

Almost 28 years on from the tragedy, Eimear McDaid recently met with Anthony Chambers, a volunteer lifeboat crew member from Portrush in county Antrim, who can remember the day when he joined in the search for two missing fishermen from a crew of five, off the coast of Donegal.

It was on the 20 September 1987, that 27-year-old David McDaid from Glengad in Malin said goodbye to wife Sally and baby daughter Eimear and went fishing for crab on the Boy Shaun, from Portleen Pier, on what was an idyllic day for fishing. The weather was mild and the water was calm as the boat headed for Inishtrahull Island just off the coast of Malin Head.

Around lunchtime, another boat which had been in recent contact with the Boy Shaun, noticed that the vessel was no longer in view.

Eimear takes up the story: 'From what I have learned, the skipper then attempted to contact the Boy Shaun by radio but got no response. Fearing the worst, he steamed off in the direction of where they had last seen the boat and discovered a small amount of debris and oil slick on the water where they had last seen the Boy Shaun. They had just a short time earlier spoke to the crew of the boat about them both heading back to land to get home in time to watch the All-Ireland GAA football final.'

The skipper immediately raised the alarm. The area of the oil slick was searched and one survivor was discovered clinging to a short plank of wood from the stricken vessel. Two bodies, one of which was David's, were subsequently found.

Portrush RNLI was requested to launch and began a search with their colleagues from the Coast Guard, and fishermen and volunteers who were in the area, for the two men who were still missing. Sadly however, it was not until a few months later that their bodies were found on the coast of Scotland.

'None of the five fishermen were wearing lifejackets that day,' Eimear continued, 'I was told the crew would have found them to be too cumbersome to work with. Thankfully, lifejackets have much improved since then, and they are now neater and easier to wear.

'It was a tragedy that changed the course of life for my mother and me. I have grown up without a father and without answers as to what caused the boat to sink on what was described as such an idyllic fishing day. As a result of the tragedy however, we both have a healthy respect for the sea. It is a powerful force and one not to be reckoned with.

'Four very experienced fishermen paid the ultimate price 28 years ago. We can only hope by sharing our story that we can encourage others to respect the water too, to wear lifejackets and to support those who work to help save lives at sea.'

Anthony Chambers, Portrush RNLI mechanic can recall the tragedy: 'It was a Sunday and what I can remember vividly is that the water was very calm. We responded to the call as we still do by rushing to the station and preparing ourselves within minutes for the lifeboat to launch. Once on scene we searched with many others for the two remaining fishermen but unfortunately we couldn't bring them home. It was a terrible tragedy for the families involved.

'In the 28 years that have passed, our lifeboat crews have been on many call outs in all sorts of weathers and have faced many different types of conditions. Thankfully, we have been able to save lives and bring many people to safety and that is always rewarding. However, it still remains just as difficult for us now as it did then, if we have to return to shore knowing that a family has lost a loved one and this tragedy serves as a poignant reminder of that.'

Eimear and Sally have come together with the RNLI's volunteer lifeboat crews to show their support for this year's RNLI Mayday fundraising campaign. From Friday 1 May until Monday 4 May, collections and fundraising events will be taking place throughout Ireland. The events will have a welly theme, in a nod to the yellow wellies – an essential piece of kit – worn by the RNLI's volunteer crew members. The charity is encouraging people to show their support by donating, buying and wearing a yellow welly pin badge or by using the hashtag #YellowWelly on social media.

'My mother and I are supporting the RNLI Mayday campaign because we know first-hand the importance of having a dedicated lifeboat service. My father wasn't saved that day, but thousands of other fathers, men and women have been brought home safe through their bravery. Each person they have brought back is a family member brought home.'

The yellow welly was chosen for the Mayday campaign as it is an essential piece of RNLI crew kit. Waterproof with steel-capped toes, the specially designed boots keep the volunteer crew's feet warm and dry while also protecting them in dangerous conditions on deck. During gale force winds, rain and ice, keeping a sure footing can mean the difference between life and death for the volunteers.

Lifeboat crews are on call every day, all year round. Many have full-time jobs and carry a pager with them at all times to alert them to a lifeboat call out.
Last year, RNLI lifeboat crews from Ireland's 45 lifeboat stations launched 1,089 times, rescuing 1,414 people.

To donate and for ideas on how to get involved with Mayday visit www.rnli.org/MAYDAY.

You can also text RNLIMAYDAY to 50300 to donate €4 if you are in the Republic of Ireland.*

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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#RNLI - Crew members from the training ship Astrid that sank on 24 July 2013 visited Kinsale RNLI lifeboat station to thank volunteer crew and support the RNLI’s Mayday campaign.

Some 30 young people were brought to safety by RNLI lifeboat Miss Sally Anne Baggy when the tall ship hit rocks between Oysterhaven and Kinsale.

Volunteer crew members Liam O’Connell, Nick Searls and Jim Grennan, who were on the Kinsale RNLI lifeboat on the day Astrid sank, were on hand to welcome the visitors and present them with iconic Yellow Welly key rings to mark the occasion.

Undeterred by their experience last summer, the youngsters were taking part on a training exercise on 70ft schooner Spirit of Oysterhaven, the flagship of The Oysterhaven Centre.

The Astrid rescue was just one of more than 40 rescue missions launched by Kinsale RNLI last year.

Voice of Ireland judge and former Westlife member Kian Egan has lent his support to the Mayday campaign which runs from this Thursday 1 till Monday 5 May, when the charity’s volunteers will be selling yellow welly pin badges and key rings for a €2 donation, in cities, towns and villages throughout Ireland.

And as previously reported on Afloat.ie, there will also be a number of welly-themed events held to raise funds for the lifesaving charity in Ireland. 

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - The RNLI is calling on the public to ‘give it some welly’ and support Mayday, the charity’s major fundraising campaign in Dublin.

People are being asked to buy and wear a yellow welly pin badge or keyring which they can buy for €2 or hold a welly-themed event to raise funds for the lifeboats in their communities.

The yellow welly is an essential piece of RNLI crew kit. Waterproof with steel-capped toes, the specially designed boots keep the volunteer crew’s feet warm and dry while also protecting them in dangerous conditions on deck.

During gale force winds, rain and ice, keeping a sure footing can mean the difference between life and death for the volunteers.

A pair of yellow wellies for a volunteer costs €50. and supporting the RNLI’s Mayday campaign and buying a yellow welly keyring or pin badge will cost just €2.

Mayday will run from next Thursday 1 to Monday 5 May, with yellow welly keyrings and pin badges being sold by volunteers in locations around Dublin.

Badges and keyrings will be on sale in Dublin city centre on Thursday 1 May and Saturday 3 May, and will also be available at Northside Shopping Centre, Dundrum Town Centre and at selected train stations.

A special Yellow Welly Fare Day is also being held in Skerries in North Co Dublin on Sunday 4 May.

Volunteer lifeboat crew have responded to the Mayday calls of those in distress around Ireland’s coastline for 190 years. Lifeboat crew members who are on call 24/7, 365 days a year have spent an average of 137 hours at sea over Mayday weekends for the last 10 years.

Most have a full-time job, but they carry a pager and, when it goes off, they rush to the lifeboat station and launch the lifeboat to rescue those in danger.

Last year RNLI lifeboat stations in North and South Dublin launched 124 times and brought 158 people to safety.

Supporting Mayday, Howth RNLI crew member Ian Sheridan said: "We are delighted to be supporting the RNLI’s Mayday campaign. Each time our lifeboats launch in Howth, it is only possible through the generosity of the public.

"Callouts can range from a sinking yacht to an overdue fishing boat or a swimmer in trouble. Every call is important and could potentially be a life saved."

Skerries RNLI volunteer lifeboat crew member Gerry Canning added: "I am one of 1,500 volunteer crew members in Ireland and each of us receive valuable crew training, equipment and kit.

"We rely on the support and the generosity of the public to ensure the lifeboat crews based in Dublin and around Ireland can continue to save lives at sea."

Dun Laoghaire RNLI volunteer crew member Dave Farrell said: "Our lifeboat station in Dun Laoghaire is busy all year round and we train for every type of emergency.

"The RNLI Mayday appeal will help the charity raise funds for volunteer lifeboat crew so they can continue carrying out life-saving work."

RNLI community fundraising manager Pauline McGann added that the RNLI "is celebrating its 190th anniversary this year and during that time 144,000 lives have been saved by the charity.

"For some ideas on how to get involved and to see what is going on in your area please visit rnli.org/MAYDAY or call us on 01 895 1837. You can also show your support on social media by sharing your fundraising photos and using the hashtag #YellowWelly."

People can also support the campaign by texting Welly to 50300 to donate €4 – 100% of the text cost goes to the RNLI across most network providers. Some providers apply VAT which means a minimum of €1.63 will go to the RNLI. Please ask permission from the bill payer before you text.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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#rnli – The RNLI is issuing its own call for help, appealing for volunteers to help with 'Mayday' – the charity's forthcoming national fundraising event in Ireland – which will be taking place from 1–5 May this year.

The charity is calling on people to show their support by volunteering to help with street collections and a range of other fundraising events, which will be taking place across Ireland during the five days.

The charity is asking if people can give just a couple of hours of their time – maybe to get involved with a street collection or to help run an event.
Events will have a 'welly' theme, in a nod to the iconic yellow wellies – an essential piece of kit – worn by the charity's volunteer lifeboat crew members. Welly walks and 'Wear your wellies to work' are just two examples.

Last year, RNLI lifeboat crews from Ireland's 44 lifeboat stations launched 1,087 times, rescuing 1,278 people. They are on-call 24/7, every day of the year, ready to respond to emergencies at sea.

Emma Gibson, RNLI Community Fundraising Area Manager, says:

'The RNLI's dedicated volunteer lifeboat crews around Ireland are always ready to respond to the Mayday calls of those in distress at sea. We're now hoping people will respond to our call for help, by volunteering a bit of their time to help run some of the great events we have planned for the five days spanning the Mayday bank holiday weekend.

'Mayday is the RNLI's national fundraising event for Ireland. Last year we raised over €114,000 and we're hoping we can exceed that this year, with people's help. We're encouraging anyone who can spare some time to help us to get in touch. We have some fun events planned, so hopefully people will enjoy themselves while also doing their bit to support this lifesaving charity.'

All money raised through Mayday fundraising events in Ireland will support the RNLI's work in Ireland – it will be used to fund crew training, buy new crew kit, or contribute towards the running costs of a lifeboat station.

Stan Bradbury, Lough Ree RNLI crew member, pictured, said: 'Thanks to the money raised through campaigns such as Mayday, the RNLI's volunteer crew can continue to train so we are highly skilled and efficient to carry out our lifesaving work. There are many ways to get involved with Mayday and no matter how small, your generosity will help'.

Anyone interested in getting involved can see what is going on in their area and sign up to volunteer at www.rnli.org/Mayday or call 01 895 1837.

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#RNLIMayDay - Sligo Bay RNLI in Rosses Point is counting down this week to Mayday, the charity’s annual national fundraising campaign in Ireland.

Now in its second year and running nationwide, from this Wednesday 1 to Bank Holiday Monday 6 May the RNLI is asking the public to 'give it some welly' and help its volunteers to continue to save lives at sea.

Encouraging the people of Sligo to support their local lifeboat station this week is one man who experienced first-hand the lifesaving work of the RNLI volunteers based in Rosses Point, when he was rescued in 2011.

"I guess it is always nice to know the orange boat will be coming up the bay looking for you if you get into difficulty," he said, "so remember to call as soon as you know you are in trouble."

With a fun theme in mind, the Mayday appeal is calling on people to lend their support by either purchasing a special RNLI Mayday yellow welly key ring which will be on sale for €2 in various schools in Sligo during the campaign, or by organising their own yellow welly fundraising event.

The yellow welly is an essential piece of the RNLI volunteer lifeboat crew member’s kit. Waterproof with steel-capped toes, the specially designed boots keep the volunteer crew’s feet warm and dry while also protecting them in dangerous conditions on deck.

During gale force winds, rain and ice, keeping a sure footing can literally mean the difference between life and death for volunteers. A pair of yellow wellies for crew members costs €50.

The public can also join in the social media campaign and help the RNLI raise awareness of its lifesaving work this Mayday.

All you have to do is take a photo of yourself holding an RNLI Mayday yellow welly key ring and tweet the phrase ‘I am giving it some welly for the RNLI this Mayday’ including the hashtag #RNLIMAYDAY and mentioning @RNLI.

For more information on how you can get involved or where you can purchase a key ring, log on to rnli.org/mayday

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
A Mayday alert prompted the immediate launch of both RNLI lifeboats based in Baltimore to avert a life threatening situation at sea when a 21 ft  potting boat with two persons on board was disabled and drifting down on a lee shore in the open waters of Roaring Water Bay in West Cork.

Valentia Coast guard first raised the alert at 08:48 this morning requesting the launch of the all weather lifeboat Hilda Jarrett, 3 minutes later the inshore life boat Bessie was tasked too and with it's superior engine power was first on scene. They found the potting boat within 50 metres of the rocks at the North West point of the Western Calf Island. The fishermen had set an anchor in an attempt to keep the boat off the rocks, but the anchor had dragged and they were  left holding into their pot lines for safety. A difficult task in Force 5 westerly winds with a 2 metre swell running.

Helm John Kearney manoevred the lifeboat into position and his crew threw a line to the fishermen. The lifeboat then towed the boat upwind and with the assistance of Schull inshore rescue removed the fishing boat from immediate danger.

The allweather lifeboat arrived on scene and stood by until it was clear that there was no further danger. The inshore  lifeboat then towed the pot boat to the safety of Schull harbour. The fishermen were unharmed. Helm John Kearney commented ' it was fortunate we arrived when we did another  5 minutes and we would have been pulling the men out of the water'.

Inshore lifeboat Crew : Helm John Kearney, crew Ronan Callanan & Tadhg Collins

Allweather Lifeboat : Coxswain Kieran Cotter, crew Aidan Bushe, Jerry Smith, Cathal Cottrell, Anthony Sheehy, Sean Mc Carthy, Colin Whooley. Slip crew Rianne Smith, Simon Duggan, Gerard Sheehy

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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