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RNLI’s warning to boat owners following Good Friday death

PUBLISHED: 12:00 22 April 2014 | UPDATED: 12:17 22 April 2014

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Appledore lifeboat coxswain urges boat owners to always wear lifejackets, even on the calmest of days, after death near Bideford Bar.

"The loss of a life in a boating incident on Good Friday off Bideford Bar saw a demonstration of this truth with the professionalism, dedication, compassion and selflessness of our lifeboat crew here in Appledore."

Reverend Andrew Littlejohn

APPLEDORE lifeboat station has issued a safety warning to boat owners to wear lifejackets after a man died in the estuary on Friday.

The man, believed to be in his 30s, was pronounced dead after the boat he was in capsized and another man was found suffering from shock.

Niki Tait, of Appledore RNLI, said: “The Good Friday incident was a tragic accident; an accident which happened on what appeared to be a beautiful, flat, calm, harmless day, a day which looked perfect for fishing.

“However Bideford Bar and the sea are dangerous beasts.

“However innocuous it looks, it needs respecting. Rogue waves can seemingly come from nowhere. Swell can build up in an otherwise flat sea.”

Warning to boat owners

Martin Cox, coxswain of Appledore RNLI, has pleaded with boat owners to put on lifejackets at all times.

He said: “Even on the calmest of all days you never know when a problem might arise, and by that time it is too late to find them and put them on, even if they are in the boat with you.

“Although a powerful engine seems a good idea to hep counteract the tide, if it is too heavy for the boat, the boat can be weighed down and become unstable, or waves can be shipped.

“If you are going to anchor, anchor from the front of the boat, this is shaped to pass through the waves rather than come over the top of the boat.

“Make sure your anchor chain and ropes are long enough.

“You need four metres of chain for every metre depth of water, and eight metres of rope per metre depth, but remember to let more out as the tide rises.”

Praise for rescuers

The Reverend Andrew Littlejohn, chaplain to the lifeboat crew, praised members of the RNLI for Good Friday’s rescue.

He said: “Tragedy so often brings out the very best in people.

“The loss of a life in a boating incident on Good Friday off Bideford Bar saw a demonstration of this truth with the professionalism, dedication, compassion and selflessness of our lifeboat crew here in Appledore.

“Because of their courage and determination the vast majority of RNLI rescues result in successful outcomes, but occasionally as was the case on Good Friday, even their best efforts could not prevent this tragic loss of life.

“The crew deal with bereavement in different ways, but it always impacts them.

“We are privileged in Appledore to have a fantastic and dedicated lifeboat crew, who are always willing to risk their lives to save others.

“Thank you each and every one of you.”

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