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Massively busy few days for Appledore RNLI

Lifeboats News Release

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

RNLI/Terry Mathews

Thirteen emergencies for Appledore RNLI in as many days.
Since Monday 12 July the volunteers of Appledore RNLI have been involved in thirteen different emergencies including five different incidents of people being stuck in the mud in Skern, near Appledore Lifeboat House; a swimmer in trouble by the lifeboat slip 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 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.

They add: ‘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’.

At 10 pm Sunday evening, 18 July, a crew member raised the alarm after he had seen three girls on one paddle board trying to get back downstream to the lifeboat station slip against the tide and being pushed upstream. They were seen to have one paddle between them and one of the girls had got into the water to try and help push the paddle board along, but it was a losing battle. The crew were paged and the Coastguard alerted. The boarding boat was launched and the girls, complete with paddle board were brought safely back to the lifeboat station.

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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Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

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