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Congratulations to Appledore RNLI volunteers Matt Rowe and Lucy Lo-Vel

Lifeboats News Release

Massive Congratulations to Matt Rowe who passed out as a fully qualified helm for Appledore’s Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat last night, Tuesday 10 October, and to Lucy Lo-Vel who passed out as a fully competent Atlantic 85 crew member the same night.

RNLI/Niki Tait

Appledore RNLI volunteers Lucy Lo-Vel and Matt Rowe pass out as Atlantic 85 crew and helm respectively
It takes years of hard work, training, experience and commitment to become a helm whose role is to take command of the Search and Rescue Unit when at sea, in Matt’s case, the Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat and D Class boarding boat, used extensively at Appledore for estuary shouts, particularly during low tide. The helm is in command and has a duty to do their utmost to safeguard their crew, the vessel, and rescue those in danger, whatever the conditions, day or night.

Following extensive practical and theoretical training, both in Appledore and at the RNLI’s training centre at Poole, the final practical pass out, examined by an external Divisional Trainer / Assessor, is based on how well the person copes with a whole series of scenarios thrown at them on the night. In Matt’s case he was first tasked to a casualty with a suspected broken leg somewhere between Down End and Baggy Point, on the rocks. A shoreline search located the casually and the lifeboat had to veer down towards the rocks to enact the rescue. Other scenarios included freeing the anchor trapped firmly in the rocks, a fire on board, man over board, lost steering and bringing the boat back onto the launch trolley under emergency steering. Matt flew through the whole assessment with flying colours.

Lucy Lo-Vel, one of Matt’s crew members on board throughout this assessment, was also being assessed as to her competency as an inshore lifeboat crew member. Lucy also passed out with high praise.

Rob Ward was the third crew member with Lyle Stantiford, the external assessor.

To quote Appledore RNLI Coxswain, ‘Both Lucy and Matt have worked and trained extremely hard and all the crew are delighted that they passed out in their different roles last night. This was made especially special as they have been close friends for almost 25 years, most of these before they ever joined the RNLI. But we also have to say thank you to the whole crew, whether boat, shore or management based, who have given so much time to help support and train Matt and Lucy. All pass outs are a real team effort. Congratulations Matt and Lucy’.

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.