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Howth RNLI’s Volunteer Lifeboat Crew Join the Circus for Mayday Fundraiser

27th April 2022
Mickey Gerbola of Circus Gerbola with Howth Lifeboat Coxswain Fred Connolly (left) and Second Coxswain Ian Sheridan on a visit to Howth Lifeboat Station to promote a special gala performance at the Circus this Friday to fundraise for the RNLI
Mickey Gerbola of Circus Gerbola with Howth Lifeboat Coxswain Fred Connolly (left) and Second Coxswain Ian Sheridan on a visit to Howth Lifeboat Station to promote a special gala performance at the Circus this Friday to fundraise for the RNLI

The lifeboat crew at Howth RNLI are joining the circus for one night only to kick start their Mayday campaign to raise funds for the RNLI. Circus Gerbola, which is running at Howth Castle until 2 May is holding a special Gala performance this Friday, 29 April where 50% of the ticket sales will be donated to the RNLI.

The circus will feature a very special guest, Howth RNLI’s very own Ian Sheridan who will be the Circus Ringmaster on the night.

Speaking today, Second Coxswain of Howth Lifeboat (and trainee Ringmaster) Ian Sheridan said: ‘Friday night is going to be one to remember, as the RNLI take you ringside for a night of great family fun and entertainment!

It will be a great start to the May Bank Holiday weekend, and we hope a great start to the RNLI’s Mayday national fundraiser which runs for the entire month of May. Summer is our busiest time of the year, as people who spend more time by the coast and on the water can sometimes get into trouble and need our help. Mayday is our own call for help, as we rely on the generosity of the public to support events like the Circus fundraiser that raise funds to allow us to be there when we’re needed most.

‘We’d like to thank Circus Gerbola for their support of Howth RNLI in holding this special performance. I’m learning my lines and getting ready to entertain – let’s hope the pagers don’t go off mid-performance!’

Jane Murray, Event Producer of Circus Gerbola said: ‘The RNLI is an amazing charity with amazing volunteers who drop everything at a moment’s notice to save lives at sea. While in the beautiful coastal town of Howth, we at Circus Gerbola wanted to use our platform to help fundraise for a local charity – what better than Howth RNLI. The volunteer crew have been such great sports, especially Ian Sheridan who will join us as the Circus Ringmaster at this special gala performance on Friday, for great fun and entertainment, and some surprises thrown in as well!

We are donating 50% of our ticket sales from the show on Friday to Howth RNLI and the RNLI fundraisers will be on site shaking their buckets for any further donations that the public wish to make.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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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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