The RNLI is calling on the public to ‘give it some welly’ and support Mayday, the charity’s upcoming fundraising campaign in Galway.
The public are being asked to buy and wear a yellow welly pin badge or keyring, or to hold a welly-themed event to raise funds for the lifeboats.
RNLI yellow welly keyrings and pin badges will be sold by volunteers in the Eyre Square Shopping Centre on Thursday May 1 and on the streets of Galway on Saturday May 3.
Lifeboat volunteers have responded to mayday calls of those in distress around Ireland’s coastline for 190 years. Lifeboat crew members, who are on call 24/7, 365 days a year, have spent an average of 137 hours at sea over Mayday weekends for the last 10 years. Most have a full-time job, but they carry a pager and, when it goes off, they rush to the lifeboat station and launch the lifeboat to rescue those in danger.
Last year Galway RNLI launched its inshore lifeboat 31 times and brought 24 people to safety. Clifden RNLI launched 14 times, bringing 25 people to safety, while Aran Islands RNLI launched 25 times, bringing 30 people to safety.
The theme of this year’s campaign, the yellow welly, is an essential piece of RNLI crew kit. Waterproof with steel-capped toes, the specially-designed boots keep the volunteer crew’s feet warm and dry while also protecting them in dangerous conditions on deck. During gale force winds, rain and ice, keeping a sure footing can mean the difference between life and death for the volunteers. A pair of yellow wellies for a volunteer costs €50, but supporting the RNLI’s Mayday campaign and buying a yellow welly key-ring or pin badge will cost €2.
James Mullen, Clifden RNLI volunteer lifeboat crew member, says: ‘We are delighted to be associated with the RNLI’s Mayday campaign. I am one of 1,500 volunteer crew members in Ireland, each of us needing crew kit and regular training. We rely on the support and the generosity of the public to ensure the lifeboat crews based around Galway and Ireland can continue to save lives at sea.”
The RNLI is celebrating its 190th anniversary this year and during that time 144,000 lives have been saved by the charity.
For more ideas on how to get involved and to see what is going on in different areas visit www.rnli.org/MAYDAY or call 01-8951837. People can also show their support on social media by sharing fundraising and welly photos using the hashtag #YellowWelly.