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Double shout for Appledore RNLI – Saturday 9th May.

Lifeboats News Release

On Saturday 9th May Appledore RNLI were called out for what turned out to be a double emergency shout.

RNLI/G&R Photography

Photo: Appledore RNLI's Atlantic 85 'Glanely'. Appledore RNLI Library Photo. Copyright G&R Photography

On Saturday 9th May HM Coastguard recorded the highest number of incidents since the UK was put into lockdown in late March, despite the safety warnings put out by themselves and the RNLI to keep off the sea during the pandemic. Yesterday saw 97 incidents around the county, one of which required the help of Appledore RNLI.

The call came in at around 7.15 in the evening. A kayaker and paddle boarder had been spotted in trouble off Baggy Point. They had reportedly left the paddle board and kayak in the water and were climbing up the cliffs. They then apparently decided to climb back down the cliffs to retrieve the inflatable paddleboard and kayak. Due to this potential danger, not only of cliff climbing but also the very strong rip currents off Baggy, Appledore’s inshore lifeboat, Glanely, together with Croyde Coastguards, were tasked to help.

By the time the RNLI volunteers arrived on scene, the casualties were found to be safely with the coastguards at the top of the cliffs. One of the RNLI crew managed to rescue the deflated paddle board from the cliffs. The kayak was found around 5-600 metres off shore half full of water. This was also rescued and taken to Croyde beach where the coastguards and casualties were waiting for the RNLI crew. The board and kayak were reunited with the owners and safety advice was given.

On the way back to station the lifeboat was diverted to a second call. This time to Westward Ho! A member of public has reported a large object in the water looking like the wing of a light aircraft. When the lifeboat arrived on scene, as confirmed by the first informant who was still in view on the beach, the object turned out to be a massive tree, complete with branches, which must have washed into the water with the very large tides we have experienced in the last few days. In Devon speak: ‘It were proper huge’. The crew reported seeing an awful lot of other debris in the water from the high tides, including a large metal box, 2ftx2ftx18”, which they recovered preventing it being a hazard to any boats on the water.

Given the current COVID-19 outbreak, the RNLI is urging everyone not to use the sea for exercise or recreation, and to follow the clear Government instructions: stay home, protect the NHS and save lives. As they explain: ‘While you are allowed out for daily exercise, we do not recommend that this exercise is on or in the sea. Our charity’s lifeboat service is still available but every time a lifeboat crew is called to an incident, it puts additional pressure on RNLI volunteers and other front line emergency services as well as potentially exposing them to COVID-19.

‘You could be fully competent and never needed rescue but by going out on the water you could encourage others who are less proficient to take part in similar activities.

‘We know people who live at the coast still want to exercise by the sea, but when you do this, please think of the potential impact of your actions on RNLI lifeboat volunteers and other emergency services’.

You can read more about the RNLI’s advice at

Key facts about the RNLI

The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.

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Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or by email.