Visit us at Portaferry Lifeboat Station
RNLI Lifeboat House, The Strand, Portaferry, Co Down, Northern Ireland



As a Blue Peter lifeboat station we especially welcome groups of school children and their teachers, or other youth groups, to visit the home of Blue Peter V and learn about Water Safety, the lifesaving work of the RNLI and that of Portaferry Lifeboat.

We also welcome visits by adult groups and organisations.

If you are a group who wish to visit our Lifeboat Station to learn about 'Water Safety' and about the life-saving work of the RNLI please click on the e-mail address below and provide our Community Safety Officer, Ian Harrison, with your contact information and details of your request. We will normally respond to you within 48 hours.

Please contact us at:

If you are a group (such as a yacht club, youth organisation etc) who want us to visit you and learn about Water Safety, including checks on lifejackets, please contact our Community Safety Officer, Ian Harrison, at:

Each year we have a few 'Station Open Days', usually during the summer months, when the station is open to children, their parents and the public. When decided, the date of our next 'Open Day' will appear on our Fundraising Events page.

RNLI Presenters can also give talks about the lifesaving work of the RNLI to adult groups/organisations by arrangement.

In addition, approved RNLI Education Volunteers can, on request, visit schools, youth groups, etc, to give audio/visual presentations about the life-saving work of the RNLI.  Visits to schools and youth groups can be tailored to suit the age of those involved (4 to 18) and can also include information about sea, beach and water safety.  Presenters can also offer help to teachers and group leaders to link their visit to class projects through many of the RNLI's free educational resources.

There is no charge for presentations given by RNLI Education Volunteers.  

If you wish to have, or discuss, a visit by one of our presenters please click on the 'education' e-mail address above and provide us with your contact details.

If you just want to find out more about RNLI presentations/visits to lifeboat stations please click here.

If you are a teacher or a youth group leader, the RNLI provides over 100 free downloadable teaching resources. These are available in English, Welsh and Gaelic.  To go to this RNLI resource page please click here.

There are also many ways for 1425 year olds to get involved with the lifesaving work of the RNLI.  The RNLI has a 'Youth Advisory Board' made up of young people who help the RNLI to develop interesting and relevant opportunities. There are a host of modules to support 14-25 year olds in their Duke of Edinburgh or President's Award.  Click here for further information.

Please note that our lifeboat station is manned solely by volunteers and is only opened by prior arrangement, so it really is vital that you contact us to arrange a suitable date and time for any visit.

We look forward to welcoming you to our Blue Peter lifeboat station sometime in the future.

Some information before you visit our 'BLUE PETER' Lifeboat Station

Portaferry is one of seven 'Blue Peter' RNLI Lifeboat Stations, and the only one in Ireland, whose lifeboats have been sponsored by the world's longest running television programme for children, the BBC's "Blue Peter", first broadcast sixty years ago.

The programme's name, 'Blue Peter', was chosen to reflect a ship preparing to leave port on a voyage.   In this case, a 'voyage of discovery'.  

In days past, the 'Blue Peter' flag (signal flag P) would be hoisted (often with the simultaneous firing of a cannon or gun) and flown from the head (the top) of the fore or main mast of sailing ships to advise the crew to report on board for duty, preparatory to the vessel leaving port.  

BBC 'Blue Peter' over the past sixty years has helped to launch many children on their own voyage of discovery through life.

The 'Blue Peter' - Signal Flag P

Today, the signal flag P remains a very important signal and it is used world-wide in almost every yacht race.   The P flag is hoisted as a 'prepartory signal' with a short sound (using a starting cannon, a horn or a whistle, etc), in compliance with the International Yacht Racing Union rules, to advise those participating in a yacht race 'to prepare' for the start.   The P flag is quickly lowered with a long sound (using a horn or a whistle) 1 minute prior to the start of a yacht race to advise that the race is due to start in exactly 1 minute.  At the final count-down, and precisely after this minute has elapsed, the 'class' or other designated signal flag is quickly lowered, accompanied by a short sound (using a starting cannon, a horn or a whistle, etc) and the yacht race begins.

The importance of all signal flags used in yacht racing is such that they take absolute precedence over the making, timing or absence of any associated sound(s).

Photo: RNLI - Colin Watson

'Blue Peter V' flying a 'blue peter' (signal flag P) following her naming ceremony in 2010

RNLI lifeboats in Portaferry have been sponsored by CBBC 'Blue Peter' since 1986 through the monies raised by children from the Blue Peter 'Pieces of Eight' appeal that began in 1966 and has now sponsored 25 RNLI lifeboats over the past 60 years resulting in the saving of hundreds of lives at sea.

All of our Blue Peter lifeboats have been named 'Blue Peter V'.

Our first Blue Peter V lifeboat was presented to the Station in 1986 and was an 'Atlantic 21' lifeboat. It was named, using a bottle of milk, by a 'young' girl aged 10, Paula Trainor, who was a decendant of the Young family from Cloughey that had been much involved with the former Cloughey Lifeboat for several decades.  Karon Keating from Blue Peter attended the naming ceremony.

Our second Blue Peter V was presented to the Station in 1994 and was a larger lifeboat, an Atlantic 75.  The lifeboat was named by Blue Peter presenter Tim Vincent.

Our third, and current Blue Peter V, was presented to the station on 5 June 2010 and is an Atlantic 85 lifeboat.  Blue Peter V was named by Blue Peter presenter, Andy Akinwolere.  

Photo: RNLI - Jim Brown

The new lifeboat is housed in a new modern and enlarged Boathouse that was specially designed to accommodate the Atlantic 85 with its launching carriage and tractor.  The new Boathouse was opened at the naming of our new Blue Peter V.   Please click here for more information and photographs of the naming and opening ceremony.

Blue Peter V in action on Strangford Lough

Photo: Colin Watson

Our 2nd 'Blue Peter V' on exercise

Last update: 22/04/19


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