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Dunmore East RNLI Celebrates Roy Abrahamsson’s 24 Years of Lifesaving Service

2nd February 2024
A presentation to Roy Abrahamsson from Dunmore East RNLI crew and Irish Coast Guard Helicopter R117
A presentation to Roy Abrahamsson from Dunmore East RNLI crew and Irish Coast Guard Helicopter R117 Credit: Neville Murphy

Marking the end of an era, Roy Abrahamsson, Coxswain and Mechanic of Dunmore East RNLI lifeboat station, has embarked on a new venture in Sweden. Roy's distinguished 24-year tenure with the RNLI, 13 of which he served as Coxswain, has been a reflection of his total dedication to lifesaving at sea. This was a trait inherited from his father, Walter Abrahamsson, who was the esteemed Coxswain of Dunmore East’s Waveney class lifeboat, the ‘St. Patrick’, stationed in the fishing village from 1975 to 1996.

Roy's earliest memories are intertwined with the RNLI, having spent cherished moments aboard the lifeboat with his father. This early exposure forged a deep-seated commitment to the life cause, which he upheld throughout his service. In a poignant echo of history, just as Walter was pivotal in welcoming the arrival of the Trent class lifeboat, Elizabeth and Ronald’, in 1996, Roy subsequently took the helm of Dunmore East's latest Shannon class lifeboat ‘William and Agnes Wray’ in 2021, underscoring the family's long-standing relationship with the RNLI.

Roy Abrahamsson, Coxswain and Mechanic of Dunmore East RNLI lifeboat stationRoy Abrahamsson, Coxswain and Mechanic of Dunmore East RNLI lifeboat station

Roy Abrahamsson's relocation to Sweden represents not just a personal milestone but also the continuation of a storied family legacy with his grandfather, Stig Abrahamsson. Stig, a native of Sweden, also had a deep-rooted relationship with the sea with connections to the Irish fishing industry. This profound maritime heritage was passed down to his son, Walter Abrahamsson, and then to Roy, weaving a rich tapestry of service to the sea-going community.

Numerous achievements have highlighted Roy's service with the RNLI, none more so than the 'Lily B' rescue operation in 2020 that saved nine lives and prevented a 100m cargo ship from hitting rocks at Hook Head in treacherous seas. For his remarkable leadership during this mission, Roy was awarded the RNLI Bronze Medal for Gallantry, an honour that celebrates his exceptional contribution to lifesaving.

Roy's approach to the maintenance of the lifeboat was not just a duty, but a passion deeply ingrained in his ethos. His meticulous attention to detail and unwavering commitment to safety have been exemplary, even by the high standards of the RNLI. He understood that the safety of his crew and the effectiveness of their life-saving missions hinged on the reliability of their vessel. As a result, the lifeboats under his care were maintained to the highest possible standards, ensuring that every component, no matter how small, functioned flawlessly.

A unique farewell exercise afloat recently took place, which saw him joined by the close-knit RNLI family from neighbouring Kilmore Quay RNLI station and crew from the Irish Coast Guard Helicopter R117. This sea salute was a powerful expression of the teamwork essence that defines the RNLI community and the collective commitment to saving lives at sea.

Reflecting on Roy's journey, Liz Power, Dunmore East RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager, said: ‘Roy's dedication has been the backbone of our lifesaving efforts. His bravery, expertise, and steadfast leadership have not only saved lives but have also inspired all of us. He carries not only the legacy of his family's commitment to the RNLI but also the gratitude and respect of the local community he served so well. We would like to recognise the unwavering support from Roy's wife, Caroline, and their children. The families of lifeboat crews are the unsung heroes who play a crucial role in the RNLI's lifesaving mission.’

Now, as Roy starts a new career abroad, he is not only tracing the path of his grandfather but also honouring the legacy of his father, Walter. This move symbolises a full circle, uniting the past and present of the Abrahamsson lineage. Roy carries with him the lessons and values instilled by both his father and grandfather, bridging the maritime traditions of Dunmore East and Sweden.

Roy's time at Dunmore East RNLI has been marked by bravery, expertise, and a passion for maritime safety, a legacy passed down from his father. As he looks towards the future, the lifeboat crew and fundraising and operations team express deep gratitude for his service and have confidence that his impact will resonate for years to come.

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.


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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