Appledore RNLI's Matt Rowe passes out as lifeboat mechanic

North Devon Gazette

Appledore RNLI is congratulating volunteer crew member Matthew Rowe, who was passed out as a fully qualified RNLI mechanic for the Tamar all-weather lifeboat this month.

This pass out was made even more difficult due to the extreme heat we have been experiencing this month.

Matt, an Environmental Health Officer at Torridge District Council, joined Appledore RNLI in 2016. Â

At first, like all crew members, he spent time as shore crew, moving to boat crew the following year.

Since then, he has become a fully-fledged crew member on both the inshore and all-weather lifeboat.

With a natural mechanical instinct, Matt has always had an interest in cars and engines, and it was therefore natural that he became interested in the mechanics of the lifeboat and progressed down this route.

While at sea, it is the mechanic’s job to keep the boat operating safely, monitoring all of the different systems. The mechanic is also responsible for all radio communications.

It takes years of dedicated hard work and training to become a mechanic and as a volunteer, of course this is all done in Matt’s own time.

Some is carried out at the RNLI College in Poole, but much is carried out in Appledore on our own boat Mollie Hunt.

When asked about his pass out he explained: “When we got on the boat the assessor had effectively ‘booby trapped’ it. I was tasked with getting her ready for sea, working through various faults to the hydraulic, electrical and fire suppression systems to name but a few.

“Once this task had been completed, we went to sea and I was put through a number of emergency scenarios, such the loss of an engine and its associated systems, flooding of the bilges and a fire in the engine room.

“These all had to be dealt with in accordance with RNLI operational procedures, keeping the boat and crew safe at all times.

“The assessment was challenging, and I really want to thank my fellow crew mates for the support and help they have shown me over the last couple of years as I worked towards becoming an all-weather lifeboat mechanic.”