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Dun Laoghaire Lifeboat Crewman Will Don Full Kit For Reindeer Run

16th November 2013
Dun Laoghaire Lifeboat Crewman Will Don Full Kit For Reindeer Run

#RNLI - Dun Laoghaire RNLI volunteer crewmember Damien Payne has vowed to complete the popular Reindeer Run charity event on the 5km course in his full RNLI crew kit.

Payne hopes to both fundraise for the lifesaving charity and to show people the kit that the money they raise can buy.

Originally from Cork but now works in Dublin with a healthcare company, Payne has been a volunteer at the busy Dun Laoghaire RNLI lifeboat station for two years.

The lifeboat kit he will be running in consists of the distinctive yellow oil skin jacket and dungarees with the red RNLI lifejacket that all crew must wear when they go to sea. 

The only concession he's making is to leave the steel-capped yellow wellies at the starting line and to don a pair of trainers instead. An RNLI lifejacket costs €420 and the special yellow wellies cost €50.

Payne explained his reasons for taking part in the run wearing his lifeboat kit: “I want to wear the RNLI lifeboat crew kit to show people where the funds they raise are going and how vital our equipment is in the work we do. 

"One of the first callouts I took part in was late one Friday afternoon to four children who were cut off on a sandbank by the incoming tide in Sandymount. They had no lifejackets and they couldn’t swim. 

"When we recovered the children onto our lifeboat we learned it was the first time they had been on a boat and they had no knowledge of water safety."

Payne added: "The equipment and training we use in the RNLI is essential to the work we do and without we would not have been able to bring those children to safety."

As previously reported on, year's Reindeer Runs are being held on Sunday 1 December at Marlay Park in Dublin and on Sunday 24 November at Fota House and Gardens in Carrigtwohill, Co Cork with a 5km and 10km walk or run, and a 1km Santa Saunter for younger participants.

Registration is now open and costs €10 for the saunter, €21 for the 5km and €23 for the 10km run or walk. There are also family and group rates available. All participants receive a limited edition RNLI Reindeer Run t-shirt and a pair of antlers. 

Further information and registration details are available at or by emailing [email protected] for Dublin or [email protected] for Cork. 

MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy is a contributor covering all things on the water, from boating and wildlife to science and business

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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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