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History made at Abersoch Lifeboat Station as two new Helms appointed

Lifeboats News Release

History was made at Abersoch Lifeboat Station this week with the appointment of two new helmsman including the station’s first female helmsman.

Photograph of Guy Williams and Elissa Williams with Station LOM Andy Vowell

RNLI/Elissa Williams

Guy Williams, Andy Vowell, Elissa Williams, Abersoch Lifeboat Station

History was made at Abersoch Lifeboat Station this week with the appointment of two new helmsman including the station’s first female helmsman. Following months of training, practical assessments and study, Elissa Williams and Guy Williams passed their final assessments enabling them to take command of the Atlantic 85 at Abersoch RNLI.

Elissa is the first female helmsman to take command of Abersoch Lifeboat, which has been saving lives at sea in the waters around the small fishing village for 150 years following the inception of a lifeboat station in 1869.

Elissa, a crew of 14 years is also a member of the RNLI Flood Rescue team and is a solicitor and Director of a law firm in North Wales says, ‘ It feels amazing to have passed the final assessments. It feels like an immense responsibility and I am absolutely inspired by the high standards of professionalism of the other helms. I am honoured to be the first female helmsman at the station.’

Guy Williams, an Engineer joined the station in 2008 following in the footsteps of his father who was a volunteer crew at Abersoch Lifeboat Station in the 1960s. Guy is an integral part of his family’s business which has a long history in the village with roots as far back as 1896.

Guy says, ’It is a great sense of achievement after so many months of training, the commitment of the crew has been invaluable, with the volunteers at the station putting in many extra hours at weekends and after work to help Elissa and I in the preparation for the final assessments. I am now looking forward to putting my training into practice as a helmsman and helping to train the next generation of crew.’

Following their final assessment, Elissa and Guy when responding to a call out will be responsible for taking command of the lifeboat when at sea. The RNLI describes the duty of a helmsman, ‘to use utmost endeavours to safeguard and rescuer the lives of those in danger, whilst having regard for the safety of their crew’.

Andy Vowell, Abersoch RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager, says, ‘Guy and Elissa have been dedicated volunteers for a number of years and they have both worked very hard for some considerable time to complete their helm training. It is a fantastic achievement for them both. They join four established helms on station, Fritz Williams, Senior Helmsman, Simon Harris, Philip Woods and Andy Gunby.’


Guy Williams and Elissa Williams

RNLI/Elissa Williams

Guy Williams, Elissa Williams, Abersoch Lifeboat Station

Key facts about the RNLI

The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.

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