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Dunmore East RNLI prepare to welcome new state of the art Shannon class lifeboat

Preparations are well underway to bring the RNLI’s latest lifeboat for the Irish fleet to its new home at Dunmore East next month. The €2.4 million vessel will be the first Shannon class lifeboat to be based in the south-east.

Shannon Class Lifeboat William and Agnes Wray 13-41. Photo: RNLI

It’s a bittersweet moment for the lifeboat crew and fundraisers at Dunmore East RNLI, as the arrival signals the end of the station’s current Trent class lifeboat, Elizabeth and Ronald, which has been saving lives at sea there since October 1996.

The name of the new lifeboat will be William and Agnes Wray 13-41. Dunmore East RNLI crew will bring the lifeboat home the week commencing 20th September, with arrival expected in Dunmore East Harbour on Sunday 26th September at 13.41hrs to coincide with the lifeboats number.

William and Agnes Wray entered the water for the first-time last month at the RNLI college in Poole, where the charity’s All-Weather Lifeboats are built. During the build the station are kept up to date on the progress of their lifeboat, although the Coxswains and mechanics have been unable to visit due to Covid restrictions. The arrival of the new lifeboat means a demanding training schedule for the entire station as they learn how to launch and operate the new vessel. The first crew to be trained onboard the new lifeboat will depart for Poole on the 23rd of August, with the mechanics following in September. Training will continue for some weeks until the entire station is familiar with their new lifeboat and they officially inform the Coast Guard that the William and Agnes Wray is on service and the Elizabeth and Ronald has been stood down.

Shannon Class Lifeboat William and Agnes Wray 13-41. Photo: RNLI

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.

Commenting on the news Dunmore East RNLI Coxswain Roy Abrahamsson said, ‘This is a very proud moment for the crew 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. This will help us to continue to save lives at sea for generations to come.’

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