RNLI volunteers rescue an average of 20 people a week around the wild coasts of Ireland. This MAYDAY, we asked you to give it some welly and raise funds to save lives at sea.
MAYDAY is Ireland's national fundraising event for the RNLI, supported by John West.
Read the latest MAYDAY news stories. And join the conversation on Twitter using #RNLIMAYDAY
You really gave it some welly!
Thank you to everyone who got involved in RNLI MAYDAY.
We had a lot of fun at events all around Ireland, and our yellow welly keyrings were a big hit.
We're counting up the proceeds now and will publish the total here.
In the meantime, if you would like to contribute, you can still donate.
Thanks again - and have a great, safe Summer!
Your MAYDAY materials:
You can bank your MAYDAY takings online here.
Doing something amazing for MAYDAY? Ask people to sponsor you.
You've raised the money. Now it's time to send it in so we can put it to good use.
Show us your wellies ...
Add your photos to Instagram using #RNLIMAYDAY - we can't wait to see what you get up to!
1–6 May 2013 is Ireland’s MAYDAY. Will you answer the call for help?
Brave Irish lifeboat volunteers have responded to the mayday calls of fishermen and sailors in distress for more than 200 years.
Today, there are 44 lifeboat stations in Ireland, crewed entirely by volunteers, providing a ring of safety around the entire Irish coast and at three inland locations – Lough Derg, Enniskillen and Lough Ree.
In 2012, RNLI lifeboats in Ireland launched 939 times and rescued 1,041 people. This was only possible due to generous donations from the public. The RNLI is a charity, independent from government.
The Fastnet Race, 2011: Real mayday rescue
In 2011, Baltimore lifeboat was involved in one of the RNLI’s most dramatic rescue operations in recent years when the 30m yacht Rambler 100 capsized during the famous Fastnet Race with a crew of 21 onboard.
Mick Harvey, the boat’s Project Manager, told the Guardian: ‘I was down with the navigator, when we heard the sickening sound of the keel breaking off. It was instantaneous; there was no time to react. The boat turned turtle like a dinghy capsizing. Peter issued a mayday and we got out as quickly as we could. It was a scary moment, one I’ll never forget.’
Baltimore lifeboat rushed to the scene. The crew found the upturned yacht about 5 miles south of the Fastnet Rock with 16 people stranded on the hull. After a short, unsuccessful search for 5 more people who had drifted away from the yacht, the 16 casualties were brought aboard the lifeboat. They had been stranded for around 3 hours.
Meanwhile, station Mechanic Jerry Smith had gone out in his own dive boat to help with the search. He found that the missing five had linked arms in a desperate attempt to survive the surging waves. A severely hypothermic woman was airlifted to hospital for urgent medical attention, and the other four were returned to shore.
Coxswain Kieran Cotter recalled: ‘We were out on exercise in the area where they capsized and we must have just missed them by minutes. We saw a light in the distance and did not know what it was so we went closer to investigate it. When we got nearer we saw that it was a torch the casualties were flashing to attract attention. Our priority was to get them back to shore as quickly as possible.’
Read more rescue stories
'John West is continuing to support the RNLI’s MAYDAY campaign because bravery, crew mentality and respect are at the heart of John West's values – so it's little wonder we are proud to support and be associated with such an amazing organisation.
'At John West we know first hand the reality of the power of the sea, and we fully appreciate and support the work that the RNLI does in saving lives every day throughout Ireland.
'In 2013, the RNLI event MAYDAY (1–6 May) will give us the opportunity to develop an outdoor and radio campaign to raise awareness of the RNLI and help raise record money for the stations. All the money raised will be donated to the RNLI.
'The lifeboat crew counts 1,500 members in Ireland. In addition to this, 500 volunteers work as shore crew and 2,000 people are dedicated to raising money for the charity. These volunteers commit all this effort and time and for free. Whenever their pagers go, they have to abandon their family or work and just go, whether it is during the day or in the middle of the night.
'We are very much looking forward to a great campaign in 2013!'
- Brendan Murphy, CEO, John West
The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number CHY 2678 in the Republic of Ireland | RNLI (Trading) Ltd - 01073377, RNLI (Sales) Ltd - 2202240, RNLI (Enterprises) Ltd - 1784500 and RNLI College Ltd - 7705470 are all companies registered at West Quay Road, Poole BH15 1HZ. Images & copyright © RNLI 2013.