Transition Year students at Moville Community College are urging people to stay safe on the sea by telling them “Don’t slack it, wear a life jacket’.
The students who are taking part in the ‘Latitude Project, recently took part in a catwalk with a difference at Moville Pier as they donned their newly customised life jackets in a bid to promote sea safety awareness in the coastal town.
Buncrana artist Mheiri Sutherland hasbeen working with the Moville Community Resource Centre in conjunction with the school to help the students create and develop their ideas.
After playing around with several different ideas, the teenagers finally decided upon car stickers, which will now be distributed locally and nationally to Coast Guard stations with the aim of getting the message across in an accessible and eye catching form.
“The kids tried a lot of different ideas, but the stickers were the clear winner. I helped them customise and brain storm their ideas. They had a lot of information on sea rescue, but I handed over the responsibility to the young people to create the design themselves.
“It’s been a great experience for them and now the coastguard has agreed to send them to Galway in a safety awareness event in March, putting them on a national stage. It’s brilliant for the young people to see their creation come together and go into the wider local community.”
Mhairi believes there is an important message to be learned from the project, especially in a town like Moville.
“There is a huge tradition of sea activities in Moville and Greencastle, so it’s great the kids can learn more about being safe. A lot of them were involved in the local rowing and kayaking clubs, and I believe is a lot of people who take part in pier jumping, so it’s vital they learn about being safe whilst at sea.”
The students were also involved in various other activities during the Latitude Project including a simulated sea rescue session at Greencastle Coast Guard, historical research at the Greencastle Maritime Museum, and a presentation at their school assembly.
“The team from ICR were also on hand to help the students with their presentation skills. It’s good for them to have the experience of conducting and going to the National Schools to talk to the kids there, it can’t have been easy for them to do that.”
Mhairi, who worked alongside the other facilitator Audrey Crawford has worked on various projects such as this when she was director of Artlink.
“I took a particular interest in this project, as I live in a coastal area myself, and I have a huge interest in the sea, so I was very keen to offer any guidance I could on the project.
“It’s all about making life jackets, and wearing life jackets at sea as common as putting on your seat belt in a car.”
The project was encouraged by Greencastle Coast Guard area officer Charlie Cavanagh. “If a campaign can save even one life, it’s worth it,” he said.
The Latitude Project has been supported by Leargas Youth in Action programme and is presented through the Moville and District Family Resource Centre, with support from Greencastle Coast Guard and Moville Community College staff and students.