RNLI lifeguards rescue kayaking family at Tolcarne

Lifeguards News Release

RNLI lifeguards rescued a family of five on Thursday (11 August) when they got into difficulty kayaking at Tolcarne beach, Newquay.

At 5.40pm, Senior RNLI Lifeguard Will Giles was on foot patrol at the water’s edge when he spotted a group of five kayakers drifting across the bay from the harbour. A large wave then capsized all five kayaks, throwing all five people into the water. The tide was going out and waves were around 1-2ft. 

Will responded immediately with a rescue board and paddled out to the group. Another RNLI lifeguard, Will Holmes, from neighbouring beach Great Western also responded and followed Will Giles into the water on another rescue board.

Marie Bennetts from Plymouth was one of the kayakers. She said: ‘We started off kayaking in the harbour and then we ventured out to sea. We were all happy and having a fantastic time. Conditions changed quickly though and the wind picked up. It started to get choppy so I decided we should all head back in.

‘A huge wave hit us side on and capsized us all in to the water. We were all wearing lifejackets but my kids were being taking out to sea and I was trying to swim against the current to get to them. I started panicking and I was exhausted trying to get to the children. The lifeguards were there instantly and I was shouting ‘my kids!’.’

The lifeguards rescued and returned the family back to the beach and assessed their condition. All the casualties were uninjured and had not inhaled any water.

RNLI Lifeguard Supervisor, Nathan Wilmer, said: ‘It’s vital to wear a lifejacket when kayaking as it will help keep you afloat while you wait for help to arrive. If you’re heading out on the water, enjoy yourself but be sure to check weather and tides before leaving and tell someone where you are going and when you expect to return.’

Marie added: ‘The RNLI lifeguards were fantastic. The situation escalated quickly and they were brilliant to respond. If it wasn’t for them, I don’t know what would have happened.’

To find out more, go to respectthewater.com/kayaking 

Notes to editors
•           From 2011 to 2015, the RNLI’s lifeboat crews in the south west launched 406 times to kayakers and canoeists, rescuing 298 people and saving 39 lives.

RNLI media contacts
For further information, please contact either Aysha Bryant, RNLI Communications Student Placement, on 01752 854479 or aysha_bryant@rnli.org.uk or Emma Haines, RNLI Public Relations Manager, on 07786668847 or email emma_haines@rnli.org.uk.

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 over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and, in a normal year, 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.

Learn more about the RNLI

For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.

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.