Massively busy time for Appledore RNLI


Photo: Appledore RNLI’s recently passed out Tamar Mechanic Matt Rowe

By the RNLI Appledore, Devon

Appledore RNLI warns people of the dangers of the tide and mud following fifteen calls in almost as many days.

Since Monday 12 July the volunteers of Appledore RNLI have been involved in fifteen different emergencies including five different incidents of people being stuck in the mud in Skern, near Appledore Lifeboat House; a swimmer and paddle boarders in trouble near the lifeboat station who did not appreciate the strengths of the tides in the area; two kayakers whose lost their kayaks when they were washed away from the beach on a rising tide; an unmanned cabin cruiser floating down the river; a broken down yacht and children lost by their parents last seen at the water’s edge on Woolacombe Beach.

On Wednesday 14 July, for example, a family of seven were cut off by the tide at Appledore.  Five adults and two young children went walking out over the sands from Appledore towards Instow an hour and a half after low tide.  They were seen from Appledore Quay as the tide was rising and they were all fast becoming cut off on the sand bank.  The launch authority for the day was notified by a member of the public, saw the problem first hand from the Quay and immediately launched the Appledore boarding boat who quickly rescued all seven as they were surrounded by rapidly rising water on a very small bank by very fast flowing tide.


People trying to walk across this central sand bank are becoming more common.  Appledore RNLI asks: ‘PLEASE, however lovely the sand looks, this is a fast flowing tide and you will get cut off if you walk out onto the banks.  It may look as if you can enjoy the vast area of lovely clean empty sand but please don’t as you will almost certainly get cut off. There are also undulations you cannot see once underwater and there are very muddy areas you can get trapped in.

‘The tides at Appledore can rise 8.5 metres at times and regularly rise 6-7 metres in six hours causing strong tidal flows, fast rising water, back eddies and rip currents on the beach.  Please always go to a Lifeguarded Beach like Woolacombe, Croyde or Westward Ho! but also remember the water is a dangerous place so please always keep an eye on your children.  If you do lose your children the lifeguards will help you find them, and will ask for lifeboat back up if they need it. If you see someone in trouble, on or near the water, please phone 999 and ask for the Coastguard’.

Congratulations go to Skern Activity Centre for winning the Atlantic challenge trophy kindly sponsored by Atlantic Kitchens and Bathrooms in the fundraising boat pull completion on Saturday 24 July on the beach at Westward Ho!  Although final figures are not in yet it is thought over £1000 has been raised from the Boat Pull Event, with an extra £236.00 from the Summer Raffle tickets sold on the day.  Many thanks go to all who took part and all who helped.

The Summer Treasure Hunts have started for Appledore, Westward Ho! and Instow.  Clues are different for each location and can be obtained from Appledore Quay Gift Shop, The Beach Shop in Westward Ho! and The Quay Inn in Instow.  Children’s and Adults’ clues are both available. Donations for the RNLI are requested and the event goes on until 31stAugust.

The next big fundraising event, ‘Tea at Tapley’ takes place on Saturday 21 August.  Enjoy cream teas, garden entry, musical entertainment and much else. Tickets are available from the Guild Chairman, Pat Hughes, Tel: 01271346560.

Massive congratulations go to volunteer crew member Matt Rowe who has recently passed out as a full time mechanic for Appledore’s all-weather Tamar class lifeboat. It has taken much hard work, training and dedication but is 100% well deserved.

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