Busy times for Appledore lifeboat

AFTER a busy period of 11 emergency call-outs in eight days – five on Saturday alone - Appledore RNLI is heading for another record year. Already this year the Appledore boats have been called out on 61 occasions, compared with last year s record of 83, w

AFTER a busy period of 11 emergency call-outs in eight days - five on Saturday alone - Appledore RNLI is heading for another record year.

Already this year the Appledore boats have been called out on 61 occasions, compared with last year's record of 83, which was the highest number since the lifeboat was first operational there in 1925.

It reinforces the station's status as the busiest in the Bristol Channel and the need for its new state-of-the-art Tamar Class lifeboat, which is due next year.

The latest calls ranged from missing drunken swimmers to broken down boats and jet skis and naughty children, said a station spokeswoman.


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The spate of emergencies started in the early hours of Sunday, August 16, and the search for two Saturday night revellers who were reported missing after being seen going for a swim off Croyde beach. They were found safe and well on shore, but not until after a search and rescue mission had been started for them.

The volunteer crew were recalled just after 5am the same morning to a 20-foot fishing boat, the Sea Witch, with two people on board, which had broken down in Bideford Bay with a split fuel pipe. The boat was towed to safety.

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Despite little sleep, the crew members still took part in the Appledore Carnival that evening, raising money for local charity.

Next call came on Wednesday, August 19, when the inshore lifeboat went to the aid of a man sitting on an upturned dinghy off Appledore Quay. He was taken aboard the lifeboat and his dinghy was towed to Appledore car park.

Friday, August 18, saw the inshore lifeboat called out to help the police and ambulance service at Bideford Longbridge. Two children had become stuck when climbing on the bridge's temporary repair scaffolding. Luckily they managed to climb off by themselves.

Last Saturday was the lifeboats' busiest day, starting at 9.30 am when a man fell from his tender whilst trying to get aboard his boat at Instow. Luckily he was wearing a lifejacket and the inshore lifeboat managed to rescue him and take him ashore.

Just before one o'clock, while the station's boarding boat was already out in the estuary, it was diverted to Zulu Bank in the river mouth where a jet ski had broken down and was aground. The jet skier managed to walk away and the broken down jet ski was retrieved.

As soon as the jet ski was made safe, the boarding boat was diverted again to search for a missing person off Crowe Point, who was found on the beach safe and well.

At 7 pm that night the main lifeboat was called to help retrieve a large yacht, Tiger Moth, which had broken its moorings and was in imminent danger of getting entangled with boats moored off Instow.

While this rescue was still in progress, the inshore lifeboat was called to another broken down jet ski, this time off Airy Point in the river mouth. It was towed back toAppledore.

Deputy Coxswain and lifeboat mechanic Owen Atkinson reminds all jet skiers that they should carry the same flares and VHF radios as all water craft should, to carry sufficent fuel for their needs and to wear lifejackets.

At low tide on Sunday the lifeboat was called to help search for a 12-year-old child missing off Saunton Sands, a beach not manned by lifeguards. She was found safe and well on the beach.

On Monday this week it was an Environmental Agency rib in trouble. The vessel, on fish patrol, was broken down off Westward Ho! and had to be towed in to Appledore

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