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.