This time, we are introducing you to Bideford Coastguard Rescue Team member Jennifer Moore.
Bideford is a historic port town on the estuary of the River Torridge in north Devon, south-west England. The team cover Bideford and the surrounding areas from Barnstaple to Hartland.
The team is made up of 13 people, ranging in age from late 20s to early 60s - a really varied group. Jennifer said that two of the team are new recruits, and that there is something special about watching the two find their feet and learn how to be search and rescue experts.
Why did you join HM Coastguard?
I spend a lot of time on the coast and in the sea already, so I really get why people enjoy our coasts so much, they’re beautiful – but I also understand how dangerous they can be.
I like to challenge myself and learn new skills and there’s plenty of that in the Coastguard as well.
What do you enjoy most about being a member of the team?
We never really know what we’re going to face when we get a call out and coming together as a team to overcome whatever challenge is in front of us can be incredibly rewarding.
What is the most unusual incident you have attended?
People get caught out by the tides all the times, so it wasn’t unusual to get a call that someone had got stuck at Appledore. But we got to the scene to see that one vehicle owner had got really stuck – their van was fully submerged at the bottom of the slipway with just the roof poking out of the water!
The owners were on holiday in the area and had gone out for the day in the boat, but they’d not checked the tides before they went and so left their van in the tidal zone, obviously not expecting to come back to the sight of their van underwater.
They arranged for their vehicle to be recovered and stayed in a nearby B&B. Not an ideal holiday story for them really.
Read about tricky tides and how to avoid getting caught out.
Which local beach is your favourite and why?
Westward Ho! I can see the surf from my bedroom and it’s a great beach. It’s lifeguarded too: https://rnli.org/find-my-nearest/lifeguarded-beaches/westward-ho-beach
What new skills have you learned as a Coastguard Rescue Officer?
Everything was new to me! And every time I train with the team or attend a call out, I’m still learning new things.
What is the most challenging part of your role?
Leaving my cosy bed when it’s raining and cold outside.
What is the most unusual place you've been when your pager has gone off?
Less of an unusual place but, in the summer, you can be driving home from one incident to get a call to go straight back for another.
When you're not working or volunteering as a Coastguard, what do you enjoy doing?
I like being outdoors, in the sea, fresh air. I’m currently learning to wing foil which is very challenging.
What do you do for a living?
I manage a family Service station.