RNLI volunteers at Croke Park to highlight water safety partnership with GAA

Lifeboats News Release

RNLI volunteers across the island of Ireland took to the pitch during Sunday’s (9 July) All-Ireland senior hurling championship semi-final at Croke Park, to promote the charity’s water safety partnership with the GAA.

RNLI volunteers unfurl flags at Croke Park

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RNLI volunteers unfurl flags at Croke Park

Before the throw-in at the Clare and Kilkenny decider and in front of thousands gathered at the stadium, RNLI volunteers dressed in their full lifeboat kit, unfurled a giant flag showing an all-weather lifeboat in action.

A second group of RNLI crew wearing county jerseys unfurled a flag with a water safety message, calling on everyone to Float to Live.

Then at half-time, the crew took to the pitch once again as interviews were done by Ballygunner and Waterford GAA’s Dessie Hutchinson, alongside Lisa Hollingum, RNLI Area Lifesaving Manager.

Six years on, the RNLI and GAA water safety partnership serves to raise awareness of drowning prevention and to educate communities on how to stay safe in and around the water. The partnership is part of the GAA Healthy Clubs’ programme and has seen RNLI lifeboat crew visiting GAA clubs around Ireland to deliver water safety talks to all age groups.

Speaking about Sunday’s event in Croke Park, Lisa Hollingum, RNLI Area Lifesaving Manager said: ‘Our partnership highlights the shared values between ourselves in the RNLI and the GAA, notably volunteerism and the importance of communities. It was a privilege for our RNLI crew to be invited to Croke Park on such a big day in the GAA’s championship calendar and to have the opportunity to promote a key drowning prevention message, float to live.

‘If you find yourself struggling in the water unexpectedly, your instinct will tell you to swim hard. But cold water shock could make you gasp uncontrollably. Then you could breathe in water and drown. Instead, we want you to float to live. Tilt your head back with ears submerged, Relax and try to breathe normally. Move your hands to help you stay afloat. It’s ok if your legs sink. Spread your arms and legs to improve stability.’

Commenting on the partnership, Dessie, a native of Dunmore East where the RNLI has a Shannon class lifeboat said: ‘Growing up along the coast in Dunmore East, the sea surrounded me, and I have watched over the years as fishermen and visitors use it for both business and leisure. It has always been so reassuring for everyone in the community to have a lifeboat station powered by a dedicated team of volunteers who we know in any given moment will drop what they are doing to respond to their pager and go to the aid of someone in need. That’s why I am so delighted to see the GAA and RNLI come together in a water safety partnership as our shared values of volunteerism and pride in where we belong can make a real lifesaving difference.’

Ends

RNLI crew at Croke Park

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RNLI crew at Croke Park
Lisa Hollingum, Dessie Hutchinson and Paul Collins

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Lisa Hollingum, Dessie Hutchinson and Paul Collins

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RNLI crew at Croke Park
RNLI crew at Croke Park

Sportsfile

RNLI crew at Croke Park

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RNLI crew at Croke Park

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.

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