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Dunmore East RNLI to Officially Name Shannon Class Lifeboat ‘William and Agnes Wray’

24th June 2022
Dunmore East RNLI’s Shannon class all-weather lifeboat
Dunmore East RNLI’s Shannon class all-weather lifeboat will be officially named this Sunday Credit: RNLI/Dunmore East

An all-weather Shannon class lifeboat for Dunmore East RNLI is to be officially named William and Agnes Wray during a ceremony at Dunmore East Lighthouse at 2pm this Sunday 26 June. 
 
The lifeboat, which went on service in September last year, is named after William and Agnes Wray from Manchester. The couple were happily married for over 60 years and had three children, all of whom have had a proud connection to the sea.

The lifeboat which is now stationed in the popular Co Waterford fishing village is the first Shannon class in the RNLI fleet to be based in the south-east of Ireland.
 
It replaces the station’s Trent class lifeboat Elizabeth and Ronald, which was on service in Dunmore East since 1996. During those 25 years, the lifeboat launched 412 times, brining 821 people to safety, 20 of whom were lives saved.
 
Speaking ahead of the naming ceremony, Eddy Stewart-Liberty, Dunmore East RNLI lifeboat management group chair said: “This is a very special occasion for our station, and we are most grateful for the legacy left to the RNLI in William and Agnes Wray’s name.

“We know the family had a strong connection to the sea and our volunteers are delighted and proud to be the custodians of this lifeboat named after the couple which will help us to continue to save lives at sea for generations to come.”

Dunmore East RNLI welcomed the new €2.4 million Shannon class lifeboat in September 2021 | Credit: Patrick BrowneDunmore East RNLI welcomed the new €2.4 million Shannon class lifeboat in September 2021 | Credit: Patrick Browne
 
William and Agnes Wray entered the water for the first time at the RNLI college in Poole in August last year where the charity’s all-weather lifeboats are built.

During the build, volunteers at Dunmore East RNLI were kept up to date on the progress. Ahead of its arrival home, the lifeboat crew had to meet a demanding training schedule as they learned how to launch and operate a new class of lifeboat.
 
The Shannon class lifeboat is the first modern all-weather lifeboat to be propelled by water jets instead of traditional propellers, making it the most agile and manoeuvrable all-weather lifeboat in the RNLI’s fleet.

And its naming of the class of lifeboat follows a tradition of naming lifeboats after rivers. When the Shannon was introduced to the RNLI fleet, it became the first time an Irish river was chosen, and it was done so to reflect the commitment and dedication of Irish lifeboat crew for generations.

Dunmore East RNLI was established in 1884. Since then, the crews have received 18 awards for gallantry.

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.

© Afloat 2020

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