Appledore prepares to welcome new lifeboat

APPLEDORE'S new RNLI lifeboat Molly Hunt is due to be welcomed to her home station for the first time on Monday - ready for Easter and the new boating and holiday season. Assuming the continuing success of her sea trials, the �2.7 million state-of-the-

APPLEDORE'S new RNLI lifeboat Molly Hunt is due to be welcomed to her home station for the first time on Monday - ready for Easter and the new boating and holiday season.

Assuming the continuing success of her sea trials, the �2.7 million state-of-the-art lifeboat will be met in the Taw-Torridge estuary between 9.30am and 10.30am by Appledore's current lifeboat George Gibson, which has put in 22 years service at the station, and by the inshore lifeboat Douglas Paley.

Molly Hunt is a new Tamar class all-weather lifeboat that combines the latest in RNLI technology and design.

She has a top speed of 25 knots, giving a vastly improved response time over that of the existing lifeboat at Appledore. She boasts new safety features which include an advanced seat design to reduce stress on the backs of the volunteer crew members when they are at sea. New onboard computer controls mean remote management of many of the lifeboat's functions and better task sharing among the crew.


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Wendy Dale, RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager at Appledore, said: "Appledore is the busiest lifeboat station in the Bristol Channel. This new �2.7 million lifeboat represents a huge investment in the life saving work of the RNLI in the area. It is a safer, faster, better equipped boat that will enable the volunteer crews to reach casualties more quickly than we can with our current Tyne class lifeboat.

"Molly Hunt's arrival, although coincidental, is very timely in the light of consultations, not only to reduce the emergency cover provided by the RMB Chivenor helicopter, but also to turn off the lighthouse at Hartland."

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Some of the Appledore crew volunteers have already started their training on the new lifeboat and a full compliment of Appledore crew in training on board will bring her to Appledore from Poole. Then she will be out again for the rest of next week on further training exercises.

Martin Cox, RNLI Coxswain at Appledore said: "The Molly Hunt is a lovely lifeboat, handles well in all conditions and has already shown she is up to the job of saving lives and rescuing people in trouble. Her first rescue was two weeks ago while she was on sea trials, when she responded to a nearby Mayday call and towed a distressed yacht into Plymouth. Not many lifeboats get the opportunity to do their first rescue before they are even officially fully commissioned, but Molly Hunt just could not wait."

Appledore's full time mechanic Owen Atkinson said after his first sea trial with her: "The boat and the equipment performed well above expectations. She behaves like a true lady."

Once the crew training is complete she will be officially signed over to the Appledore RNLI and they will say "thank you" and "goodbye" to the Tyne class lifeboat George Gibson.

The new Appledore boat will be the fifth Tamar class vessel to go on station in the South West. The others are based in Padstow and Sennen Cove in Cornwall, Salcombe in Devon and St Helier in Jersey,

The main contribution for Molly Hunt came from the late Miss Evelyn Mary Hunt of Budleigh Salterton who left a legacy providing more than �1.3 million towards her cost. Other gifts and legacies have also been put towards the total cost.

The Appledore lifeboats cover a coastal area from Welcome Mouth on the Devon Cornwall border to Morte Point and out to sea up to 100 miles, or half way to Wales.

During its 180-year history Appledore RNLI lifeboat crews have been presented with 31 awards for gallantry. The current crews are made up of people from all walks of life, including shipwrights, electricians, builders, bar staff, care workers, paramedics and council employees

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