Busy weekend for Appledore lifeboat

APPLEDORE lifeboat crews have had a busy weekend , with three launches in 24 hours. They were called on shortly before 4.30pm on Saturday after coastguards at Swansea received a 999 call from a person in a small boat, which had run aground near Airy Point

APPLEDORE lifeboat crews have had a busy weekend , with three launches in 24 hours.

They were called on shortly before 4.30pm on Saturday after coastguards at Swansea received a 999 call from a person in a small boat, which had run aground near Airy Point at the entrance to the Taw/Torridge estuary.

It is thought that the boat, with two people on board, had tried to cross the Bideford Bar too early and outside of the main channel, causing it to hit a sandbank. The boat's engine stalled and, in broken seas, began to fill with water.

Appledore's inshore lifeboat was launched and manoeuvred in the shallow water to get close enough so that a crew member could enter the water and pass a tow rope. The station's boarding boat, normally used to transfer crew to and from the main lifeboat, was also launched to try and assist from the shore.


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The ILB took the vessel into deeper water and towed it to Appledore.

Another launch came at 1.30am, when a 999 call was again received from Swansea Coastguard.

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The owner of a vessel who was camping at Crow Point reported his boat was dragging its anchor and heading out of the estuary, leaving him stranded.

As the volunteer crew were launching Appledore's inshore lifeboat, the vessel was sighted approximately half-a-mile from the lifeboat station.

The crew again secured a tow line to the vessel and towed it back to Crow Point and its owner.

Martin Cox, coxswain at the Appledore Lifeboat Station, said: "The calls received over the weekend highlight the importance of knowing the area, using charts and having a means of calling for help. Also, ensuring that boats are moored securely."

It is also pointed out that while 999 calls can be made to communicate distress at sea, they will not work when far away from land, or when wet! A VHF radio is the preferred method of communication.

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