History has been made at Abersoch Lifeboat Station 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 inshore lifeboat.

Elissa is the first female helmsman to take command of Abersoch Lifeboat, which has been saving lives at sea in the waters around the village for 150 years.

Elissa, a crew member of 14 years standing is also a member of the RNLI Flood Rescue team and is a solicitor and director of a North Wales law company said: “It feels amazing to have passed the final assessments. It is an immense responsibility, and I am 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, follows in the footsteps of his father who was a volunteer crew member at Abersoch Lifeboat Station in the 1960s.

Guy said: “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, said: “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.”