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Dunmore East RNLI’s New Shannon Class Lifeboat Goes into Service on the South East Coast

7th November 2021
The Dunmore East RNLI Shannon Class Lifeboat 13-41 'William and Agnes Wray
The Dunmore East RNLI Shannon Class Lifeboat 13-41 'William and Agnes Wray

Dunmore East RNLI’s Shannon Class lifeboat 13-41 ‘William and Agnes Wray’ officially went on service today (Saturday 6 November 2021). The Shannon class lifeboat arrived in Dunmore East Harbour on Sunday 26th September, and since then the volunteer lifeboat crew have trained tirelessly, becoming familiar with the new electronic technology and jet propulsion system of the vessel. The €2.4 million all-weather vessel is the first state of the art Shannon class lifeboat to be based in the south-east.

The Irish Coast Guard was informed by the RNLI that the ‘William and Agnes Wray’ is officially on service from 6 pm Saturday 6, November, replacing the station’s Trent class lifeboat.

"The €2.4m vessel is the first state of the art Shannon class lifeboat to be based in the south-east"

It’s a bittersweet moment for the lifeboat crew and fundraisers at Dunmore East RNLI, as the introduction of the Shannon class lifeboat signals the end of an era for the station’s current Trent class lifeboat, Elizabeth and Ronald, which has now departed Dunmore East harbour for the last time under the watchful eyes of a crowd who came to pay their respects and say goodbye. The lifeboat has been saving lives at sea there since October 1996.

Thankfully, it is not the end for Elizabeth and Ronald, as she will get an electronics upgrade and will go into the Trent class relief fleet for Ireland where she will continue to save lives at sea when and where ever she is needed.

Dunmore East RNLI Coxswain Roy Abrahamsson said ‘This week our crew were put through their paces by RNLI assessors where they demonstrated their ability to operate the new lifeboat effectively and safely. Everyone at the station is now ready and fully trained to operate this new lifeboat.’

‘The Shannon Class lifeboat is the most advanced lifeboat in the RNLI’s fleet, it means we can get to a casualty safer and faster than ever before. I am immensely proud of our volunteer crew who put in a huge effort by giving up their time and being away from their families to complete the training to enable the ‘William and Agnes Wray’ to go on service.’

"The Elizabeth and Ronald has served us well here in Dunmore East and she will be dearly missed"

The Shannon class lifeboat is the first modern all-weather lifeboat to be propelled by waterjets instead of traditional propellers, making it the most agile and manoeuvrable all-weather lifeboat in the RNLI’s fleet. The naming of the Shannon class of lifeboat follows a tradition of naming lifeboats after rivers but it's the first time an Irish river has been chosen and was done so to reflect the commitment and dedication of Irish lifeboat crew for generations.

Coxswain Abrahamsson continued ‘The Elizabeth and Ronald has served us well here in Dunmore East and she will be dearly missed, she is a fine lifeboat, and I am glad she will continue to save lives and serve the people of Ireland in the relief fleet’.

End of an era - the Waterford Harbour station’s current Trent class lifeboat, Elizabeth and Ronald has now departed Dunmore East harbour End of an era - the Waterford Harbour station’s current Trent class lifeboat, Elizabeth and Ronald has now departed Dunmore East harbour

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Royal National Lifeboat Institute (RNLI) in Ireland Information

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is a charity to save lives at sea in the waters of UK and Ireland. Funded principally by legacies and donations, the RNLI operates a fleet of lifeboats, crewed by volunteers, based at a range of coastal and inland waters stations. Working closely with UK and Ireland Coastguards, RNLI crews are available to launch at short notice to assist people and vessels in difficulties.

RNLI was founded in 1824 and is based in Poole, Dorset. The organisation raised €210m in funds in 2019, spending €200m on lifesaving activities and water safety education. RNLI also provides a beach lifeguard service in the UK and has recently developed an International drowning prevention strategy, partnering with other organisations and governments to make drowning prevention a global priority.

Irish Lifeboat Stations

There are 46 lifeboat stations on the island of Ireland, with an operational base in Swords, Co Dublin. Irish RNLI crews are tasked through a paging system instigated by the Irish Coast Guard which can task a range of rescue resources depending on the nature of the emergency.

Famous Irish Lifeboat Rescues

Irish Lifeboats have participated in many rescues, perhaps the most famous of which was the rescue of the crew of the Daunt Rock lightship off Cork Harbour by the Ballycotton lifeboat in 1936. Spending almost 50 hours at sea, the lifeboat stood by the drifting lightship until the proximity to the Daunt Rock forced the coxswain to get alongside and successfully rescue the lightship's crew.

32 Irish lifeboat crew have been lost in rescue missions, including the 15 crew of the Kingstown (now Dun Laoghaire) lifeboat which capsized while attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme on Christmas Eve 1895.

FAQs

While the number of callouts to lifeboat stations varies from year to year, Howth Lifeboat station has aggregated more 'shouts' in recent years than other stations, averaging just over 60 a year.

Stations with an offshore lifeboat have a full-time mechanic, while some have a full-time coxswain. However, most lifeboat crews are volunteers.

There are 46 lifeboat stations on the island of Ireland

32 Irish lifeboat crew have been lost in rescue missions, including the 15 crew of the Kingstown (now Dun Laoghaire) lifeboat which capsized while attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme on Christmas Eve 1895

In 2019, 8,941 lifeboat launches saved 342 lives across the RNLI fleet.

The Irish fleet is a mixture of inshore and all-weather (offshore) craft. The offshore lifeboats, which range from 17m to 12m in length are either moored afloat, launched down a slipway or are towed into the sea on a trailer and launched. The inshore boats are either rigid or non-rigid inflatables.

The Irish Coast Guard in the Republic of Ireland or the UK Coastguard in Northern Ireland task lifeboats when an emergency call is received, through any of the recognised systems. These include 999/112 phone calls, Mayday/PanPan calls on VHF, a signal from an emergency position indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) or distress signals.

The Irish Coast Guard is the government agency responsible for the response to, and co-ordination of, maritime accidents which require search and rescue operations. To carry out their task the Coast Guard calls on their own resources – Coast Guard units manned by volunteers and contracted helicopters, as well as "declared resources" - RNLI lifeboats and crews. While lifeboats conduct the operation, the coordination is provided by the Coast Guard.

A lifeboat coxswain (pronounced cox'n) is the skipper or master of the lifeboat.

RNLI Lifeboat crews are required to follow a particular development plan that covers a pre-agreed range of skills necessary to complete particular tasks. These skills and tasks form part of the competence-based training that is delivered both locally and at the RNLI's Lifeboat College in Poole, Dorset

 

While the RNLI is dependent on donations and legacies for funding, they also need volunteer crew and fund-raisers.

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