Four men prone paddle from RNLI Campbeltown to RNLI Red Bay for charity

Lifeboats News Release

Two charities have been chosen to receive a donation from the Channel 38 challenge. Prone paddling 38 miles from Campbeltown to Cushendall to raise funds for two charities that save lives.

Campbeltown RNLI

The four fundraisers with a volunteer from Campbeltown RNLI, Carla Jackson

Today (Thursday 11 August) a group of four men from Northern Ireland are starting their challenge called Channel 38 for two charities: Air Ambulance Northern Ireland and RNLI.

Carl Russell and Jamie Russell, two brothers, are joined by friends Connel McBrearty and Colm Watters on this epic challenge. They will be prone paddling from our station, RNLI Campbeltown, to Red Bay RNLI Lifeboat, which is 38 miles in distance!

Carl Russell, organiser, has chosen Air Ambulance Northern Ireland after the touching story of John and Maura McAuley. Mr and Mrs McAuley sadly lost their son, Ronan, due to adult death syndrome a few years ago. Carl, an ex-RNLI lifeguard, has chosen the RNLI as their second charity as he has seen first-hand how the charity saves lives at sea.

Like us in Campbeltown, the Air Ambulance is a lifeline to Northern Ireland and can make an enormous difference to the outcome of a medical emergency. If we do not have the use of the air ambulance in Campbeltown, it is around a three-hour journey by road.

If you can donate any money to this fantastic cause then please do so, any donation small or large can help raise money for the two charities that save lives. The group have a target of £10,000 and you can donate here.

Carla Jackson, Lifeboat Press Officer, met with Carl Russell before they prepared to head off. He had some time for questions that can help you if you are visiting local beaches or planning water sport events.

As an ex-RNLI lifeguard, what are they key safety tips for visiting a beach that is un-guarded?

“Get advice before visiting the beach, visit the local RNLI lifeboat station and ask them for recommendations and advice. If you are unsure ask local people for their knowledge on the area too. Look at conditions of the sea, weather, and wind. Take plenty of water for hydration, the correct PPE with you and sun cream if necessary.”

How do you feel right now?

“A little nervous, but not about or physical condition or abilities. I know things can change, like the tidal stream, weather, wind, and the sea. I have been in contact with the coastguard and other RNLI lifeboat stations. We are not advising that anyone can or should attempt this. We have been training hard for six months and know the risk. We all have experience in and sea too.”

What kind of kit do you have with you?

“We have two safety boats with us both with VHF radios, we also have a VHF radio. GPS tracking which shows the depth and gives us waypoints, lifejackets, some spare buoyancy aids, rescue tubes, strobe lights, lights on our boards, glowsticks for when darkness comes in, three first aid kids, a major and minor first aid kit, wet suits, head protection for the sun which will protect us, sun cream, face and body protection, electrolyte drinks and carbs, approximately 60 litres of water and some actual food.”

For people with water sport hobbies like paddleboarding, would be some tips you would give them?

“If you can, visit a lifeguarded beach. Get advice from the local RNLI station. Know what your own abilities are, do not go beyond your limits. Never use inflatables if the orange windsock is flying at a lifeguarded beach, this indicates offshore wind conditions.”

Finally, how will you celebrate your success once you arrive at RNLI Redbay?

“The lifeboat crew at Cushendall are going to meet them once they arrive. A long stretch and a lay down! We will celebrate with our family and friends, John and Maura McAuley are going to meet us too.”

Notes to editors

Campbeltown RNLI

The four fundraisers beginning their challenge for the RNLI and Air Ambulance NI.

Key facts about the RNLI

The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.

Learn more about the RNLI

For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.

Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or by email.