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RNLI Set to Smash World Record in Derry City for the Longest Riverdance Line

19th April 2010
RNLI Set to Smash World Record in Derry City for the Longest Riverdance Line

The charity that saves lives at sea is planning a major event in the city of Derry on Sunday 9 May 2010. The RNLI want to smash the current world record for the number of Irish dancers dancing in a line for five continuous minutes. The event is being planned to raise funds for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution and to raise awareness of the life-saving work of the volunteer lifeboat crews in Ireland.

The current Guinness World Record stands at over 300 dancers in Rocklands, New York and the RNLI is hoping to have double that number of dancers on the day. Interest in the event has been huge and Derry City Council will be providing valuable support in staging the unique performance in the city.

MC on the day will be TV presenter Julian Simmons, who will keep the dancers motivated during the attempt and the crowds entertained. Dancers will be travelling to the city from counties Mayo, Donegal, Cavan, Kildare, Dublin, Down, Antrim and Derry. All the major Irish dancing schools were contacted some months ago to see if they were interested and the response was phenomenal.

The idea for the record attempt came from RNLI Area Fundraising Manager Tony Hiney after Riverdance selected the RNLI as their chosen charity last year on their Irish tour. “ Seeing that famous line of dancers performing together and the effect it had on the audience gave me the idea of trying to break the record while at the same time trying to raise funds and awareness for the work of the RNLI. It started as a tiny idea but when I made contact with some Irish dancing teachers around the country I realised it had the potential to be huge. Now the event is around the corner and the excitement is growing. I would love the public to join with us on the day and see if we can break the record.”

Each dancer taking part in the record breaking attempt has agreed to raise a minimum of £20/€20 to secure their place in the line. Every penny and cent raised will go to the RNLI.

The Mayor of the city Cllr Paul Fleming has given his seal of approval to the attempt and hopes it will help the city in its bid for UK City of Culture in 2013. “Derry City Council are delighted to be involved in this excellent event and we are confident we will break the record as well as help raise the profile of the excellent work carried out by the lifeboats. I would encourage as many people as possible to come along on the day and support the dancers and help put the city in the record books,” he commented.

The dancers will be taking their place from 11am on Sunday 9 May along the Foyle river starting from outside the Derry City Council offices and stretching along the bank of the river and the official attempt will begin at noon. Any dancer who does not continuously dance the agreed steps for five minutes will be asked to step back to let the record attempt continue. The remaining dancers will be officially recorded and the RNLI are hopeful that the record of 317 dancers will be beaten.

Portrush RNLI lifeboat crew will bring their lifeboat to the city for the event. They along with Foyle Search and Rescue will be on the river for the duration of the attempt.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats Team

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Royal National Lifeboat Institute (RNLI) in Ireland Information

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is a charity to save lives at sea in the waters of UK and Ireland. Funded principally by legacies and donations, the RNLI operates a fleet of lifeboats, crewed by volunteers, based at a range of coastal and inland waters stations. Working closely with UK and Ireland Coastguards, RNLI crews are available to launch at short notice to assist people and vessels in difficulties.

RNLI was founded in 1824 and is based in Poole, Dorset. The organisation raised €210m in funds in 2019, spending €200m on lifesaving activities and water safety education. RNLI also provides a beach lifeguard service in the UK and has recently developed an International drowning prevention strategy, partnering with other organisations and governments to make drowning prevention a global priority.

Irish Lifeboat Stations

There are 46 lifeboat stations on the island of Ireland, with an operational base in Swords, Co Dublin. Irish RNLI crews are tasked through a paging system instigated by the Irish Coast Guard which can task a range of rescue resources depending on the nature of the emergency.

Famous Irish Lifeboat Rescues

Irish Lifeboats have participated in many rescues, perhaps the most famous of which was the rescue of the crew of the Daunt Rock lightship off Cork Harbour by the Ballycotton lifeboat in 1936. Spending almost 50 hours at sea, the lifeboat stood by the drifting lightship until the proximity to the Daunt Rock forced the coxswain to get alongside and successfully rescue the lightship's crew.

32 Irish lifeboat crew have been lost in rescue missions, including the 15 crew of the Kingstown (now Dun Laoghaire) lifeboat which capsized while attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme on Christmas Eve 1895.


While the number of callouts to lifeboat stations varies from year to year, Howth Lifeboat station has aggregated more 'shouts' in recent years than other stations, averaging just over 60 a year.

Stations with an offshore lifeboat have a full-time mechanic, while some have a full-time coxswain. However, most lifeboat crews are volunteers.

There are 46 lifeboat stations on the island of Ireland

32 Irish lifeboat crew have been lost in rescue missions, including the 15 crew of the Kingstown (now Dun Laoghaire) lifeboat which capsized while attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme on Christmas Eve 1895

In 2019, 8,941 lifeboat launches saved 342 lives across the RNLI fleet.

The Irish fleet is a mixture of inshore and all-weather (offshore) craft. The offshore lifeboats, which range from 17m to 12m in length are either moored afloat, launched down a slipway or are towed into the sea on a trailer and launched. The inshore boats are either rigid or non-rigid inflatables.

The Irish Coast Guard in the Republic of Ireland or the UK Coastguard in Northern Ireland task lifeboats when an emergency call is received, through any of the recognised systems. These include 999/112 phone calls, Mayday/PanPan calls on VHF, a signal from an emergency position indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) or distress signals.

The Irish Coast Guard is the government agency responsible for the response to, and co-ordination of, maritime accidents which require search and rescue operations. To carry out their task the Coast Guard calls on their own resources – Coast Guard units manned by volunteers and contracted helicopters, as well as "declared resources" - RNLI lifeboats and crews. While lifeboats conduct the operation, the coordination is provided by the Coast Guard.

A lifeboat coxswain (pronounced cox'n) is the skipper or master of the lifeboat.

RNLI Lifeboat crews are required to follow a particular development plan that covers a pre-agreed range of skills necessary to complete particular tasks. These skills and tasks form part of the competence-based training that is delivered both locally and at the RNLI's Lifeboat College in Poole, Dorset


While the RNLI is dependent on donations and legacies for funding, they also need volunteer crew and fund-raisers.

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