Causeway Chronicle

Cushendall RNLI volunteers highlight water safety at Croke Park semi-final

Cushendall RNLI volunteers from Red Bay lifeboat station 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. 

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. RNLI Trustee and Coxswain Paddy McLaughlin and crew member Patrick O’Hagan were among the RNLI representation. 

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 the island of Ireland to deliver water safety talks to all age groups. 

Speaking about Sunday’s event in Croke Park, Paddy McLaughlin, Red Bay RNLI Coxswain said: ‘This 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 us in Cushendall 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.’ 

Patrick added: ‘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.’ 

Paddy McLaughlin, far left pictured with some of the RNLI and GAA delegation in Croke Park.

Patrick O’Hagan in full RNLI gear

Causeway Chronicle

Causeway Chronicle