Dunmore East RNLI brought their €2.4 million Shannon-class lifeboat the ‘William and Agnes Wray’ to its new home in Waterford. Photo: RNLI/Patrick Browne
A new addition to lifesaving in the South-East of the country, arrived yesterday, Sunday 26 September 2021, when Dunmore East RNLI brought their €2.4 million Shannon class lifeboat to its new home.
A six-person lifeboat crew from Dunmore East RNLI travelled to collect the state-of-art lifeboat from the RNLI’s All-Weather Lifeboat Centre in Poole earlier in the week, before making the journey home onboard the new vessel.
A warm welcome awaited the crew as lifeboats from Kilmore Quay and Fethard RNLI formed a guard of honour, alongside the station’s retiring Trent class lifeboat Elizabeth and Ronald, which has been on service since 1996. Irish Coast Guard Helicopter Rescue 117 was also in attendance overhead as was Dunmore East Coast Guard and the local Fire Service.
The new lifeboat is to be named William and Agnes Wray and it’s the first of its class to be based in the south-east. Its arrival was a particularly special day for two of Dunmore East’s lifeboat crew. Coxswain/Mechanic Roy Abrahamsson brought the new Shannon class lifeboat into Dunmore East harbour, just as his late father, Coxswain/Mechanic Walter Abrahamsson, did before him, when he was onboard the Trent class lifeboat which came to Dunmore East in 1996. This is also the third all-weather lifeboat that Brendan Dunne, a volunteer crewmember with the RNLI for 36 years, will have served on. Brendan was lifeboat crew on the Waveney Class St. Patrick and the Trent class Elizabeth and Ronald.
The arrival of the new lifeboat means a demanding training schedule for the entire station in the weeks ahead. The Trent class lifeboat Elizabeth and Ronald will remain on call until lifeboat crew are familiar with their new lifeboat, and they officially inform the Coast Guard that the William and Agnes Wray is on service, and that Elizabeth and Ronald has been stood down.
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 maneuverable all-weather lifeboat in the RNLI’s fleet. The naming of the Shannon class of lifeboat follows a tradition of naming lifeboats after rivers and it’s the first time an Irish river has been chosen. It was chosen by the RNLI to reflect the commitment and dedication of Irish lifeboat crew over generations.
Commenting on the arrival, Dunmore East RNLI Coxswain Roy Abrahamsson said, “This is a very proud moment for the lifeboat crew, the station’s fundraisers and the community of Dunmore East. While we have huge affection for our current Trent class lifeboat, which has served us so well and brought many people home, we are thrilled to receive a state-of-the-art Shannon class lifeboat, the first of its type to be based in the South-East. It’s a huge investment by the RNLI in lifesaving for this area and will help us to continue to save lives at sea for generations to come.”