IT is really good news for Appledore RNLI that the retirement age for crew members has been raised by five years, writes Appledore RNLI spokesman Niki Tait.
THIS means we can keep using their tremendous experience, knowledge and training for longer.
This has been brought about by improvements in lifeboat designs and on-board technology, meaning the crew do not take quite the tremendous battering in rough water.
The age for the inshore lifeboat crew has been raised from 45 which could be extended with yearly medicals, to 50-55, and from 55 for crew on the All-weather boat to 60 with possible extension to 65.
This has meant that over the summer bronze medal winner Gary Stanbury, who was retired from the inshore rescue boat last year, is now back as helm for a few more years.
It is also really good news that Appledore RNLI crew member Stuart Moles has been selected to join the national RNLI flood rescue team and starts training soon.
The work these volunteers do as part of the Flood Rescue Team is very different to their RNLI sea rescue role, so specialist training is essential.
This additional training includes operating boats in fast flowing water in narrow spaces similar to the streets of a town, performing rescues from weirs, dealing with submerged hazards and negotiating swift and rising flood water.
We all know from the local flooding last year how important these teams are.
The team was formed in 2000, and we now have six divisional teams, totalling 250 team members, strategically positioned to respond anywhere in the UK or Ireland within six hours.
Fifty of these team members form the International Flood Rescue Team, who can deploy anywhere in the world within 24 hours.
Our own sea rescue crew has been busy again this month with a further six emergency shouts.
These ranged from people and dogs cut off by the tide to windsurfers in trouble and boats adrift, tangled up in moorings and running aground.
However, the most notable was during the evening of August 19.
On an ebbing tide an elderly man had been rowing out to his boat in a dinghy.
The dinghy became swamped and the casualty was in the water off the Gaiety Slip.
The inshore lifeboat crew quickly found him and took him to Churchfields car park to waiting coastguards.
Luckily he was fine and in no need of medical attention. The dingy was then recovered and also made safe.
However, all these rescues need paying for and as a voluntary organisation we are always indebted to the teams of fund-raisers who also give their time, on a voluntary basis.
Organisation is well underway for the RNLI Station to Station 16-mile sponsored walk on September 28 between Clovelly and Appledore Lifeboat Stations.
Also, this year there is a shorter, circular walk which is 4.5 miles and relatively flat, starting from Appledore Lifeboat Station.
Both walks end with a barbecue at Appledore.
If you would like to join in with this RNLI fundraising event, it is not too late.
Contact Rachel Hannam on 07989747163 for details.
We would also like to welcome back Pat Hughes's boat Sea Sense to Appledore following an extended stay in Ilfracombe due to major engine problems.
We congratulate Pat and her team on completing their circumnavigation of Ireland, a trip sponsored for the RNLI, during which she raised more than £3,000, mainly for the Appledore and Ilfracombe stations.