One hundred yachts and motorboats have signed up to take part in a tribute flotilla in memory of Irish Coast Guard helicopter R116 crew.

The event in Carlingford Lough in Ireland will be held this Sunday, 30 July in tribute to R116- the Coast Guard helicopter that crashed in March 2017 with the loss of four crew lives.

A lone piper will performed as the first boats travel up the Lough, from Warrenpoint to Rostrevor Bay.

A memorial service will be held in the bay, with wreaths laid in memory of Capt Dara Fitzpatrick, co-pilot Capt Mark Duffy, winch operator Paul Ormsby and winchman Ciaran Smith.

Each boat will lay either a white or red rose in the water as R116 flies past.

R116 crew

Events will include a dinghy race in Rostrevor Bay at 1pm finishing around 3pm. The Coast Guard and RNLI will have stalls on the beach and will have demonstrations. The Silver Band will start around 3.30pm.

A lone Piper will play from 4.15pm on the Green as the first boats come up the Lough.

In Carlingford Marina, there will be a safety briefing for families and passengers at 1pm. If you wish to join a boat as a passenger, you must let the organisers know in advance.

Boats will leave the marina from 2pm and return to the strains of a Lone Piper at 6pm. Dinner will be served in the Sitar restaurant for pre booked diners only at 7pm.

Organiser Sheila Fitzgerald said: ‘In terms of the water, we now have 100 yachts and motorboats now registered. I have established three zones for holding areas until the flotilla starts.

‘The flotilla will leave Warrenpoint at the area of the Baths at 3.30pm promptly. We will be led by the Slieve Ban and proceed up the Lough to Rostrevor Bay. There will be no sail and no bunting and boats will proceed in single file

‘The Memorial Service will start at 4.30pm as the boats assemble in the Bay. There will be two readings and some music played. We will lay four wreaths in memory of Ciaran, Mark, Paul and Dara.

‘Each boat will lay either a white or red rose in the water as R116 flies past. Red roses symbolise love, white roses valour and the two together stand for unity. This demonstrates that we stand united as a Marine community in love and respect for our valiant heroes. May their souls rest in peace.’

The event is scheduled to finish at 5.15pm.

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There will be water marshals at five points on the water and all participating boats are kindly requested to follow their instructions. The RNLI, Irish and HM Coast Guard, Civil Defence, Irish Navy, Dundalk sub aqua SAR, Carrick on Suir SAR, NI SAR dogs, an Garda Siochana and PSNI will all be present in a tribute capacity but on hand to help if needed.

Sheila added: ‘This is a truly unique event as it is cross-border and cross-community. And I don’t know, but probably also the largest non-racing flotilla to have happened in Ireland. The Irish and UK services are working very closely together to support this in a way we haven’t seen before, so it has really drawn people together’