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Bundoran RNLI Soapbox Race Returns For Fifth Year

2nd May 2016
Funds raised from the soapbox race will go towards the upkeep of the lifeboat and the ongoing training of the volunteer crew Funds raised from the soapbox race will go towards the upkeep of the lifeboat and the ongoing training of the volunteer crew Credit: RNLI/Shane Smyth

#RNLI - The eagerly anticipated Bundoran RNLI Soapbox Race makes its return to Bundoran’s Astoria Road on Bank Holiday Sunday 5 June.

Following last year’s cancellation of the event due to unfavourable weather conditions, the volunteer lifeboat crew are this year determined to make the fundraising event even better than ever.

The current holders of the title of soapbox champions are Bundoran’s Ward Automation and they are anxious to retain their title.

Spectators can expect the usual excitement that they have grown to expect since the event began back in 2012 with participants encouraged to begin the build of their soapbox so that it is ready on time.

The €1,000 ball race will also make a welcome return on the day with balls being sold for €5.

Each ball is numbered and then released down the hill. The first ball through the funnel at the end will win the €1,000 which has been donated by local businesses. Balls will be on sale on the day.

The event will kick off at midday with a skate competition as local longboarders display their skills in advance of the soapbox race. The soapbox race will follow with the day coming to a close with the ball race.

Bundoran RNLI event co-ordinator Cormac McGurren is encouraging all budding soapboxers to start building.

"The countdown is on and we want to see as many soapboxes taking part as is possible," he says. "We would love to see all the local businesses involved and competing against each other to have plenty of friendly rivalry on the day.

"We would also encourage locals and visitors alike to come along and enjoy a good day out. All proceeds raised will go to helping our volunteers in Bundoran to continue to save lives at sea."

All the details of the day, including registration forms, can be found online at www.bundoranlifeboatsoapboxrace.com

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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.

FAQs

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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