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Dart RNLI volunteers save life of kayaker

Lifeboats News Release

A 27 year old experienced kayaker was rescued from the River Dart as dusk fell on Sunday (8 May).

The 27 year old experienced kayaker from Somerset had been kayaking alone on the Dart for most of the day.

As he was returning to Dittisham in the dusk he capsized in the gusty conditions and was unable to reboard the boat. He swam it the 500m to the nearest shore but was unable to climb through the trees to the field above.

After 30 minutes waiting for another boat to pass and up to his waist in the water fending his boat off the rocks, he called the Coastguard on his mobile phone. They ordered an immediate launch of the RNLI Dart inshore lifeboat.

The D class crew did not see him on their upriver search due to the overhanging branches but spotted the strobe light on his boat on their return pass. He was lifted into the lifeboat and the kayak was secured across the sponsons.

Haydn Glanvill, the paramedic crewman on board, established that he was hypothermic and he was wrapped in a thermal blanket and reflective sheet for the return to the lifeboat station. At the warmed station he was given a change of dry clothing and hot drinks. By the time the paramedic ambulance arrived to give him a formal check up his temperature had returned to normal.

He was given overnight accommodation at the Ship in Dock Inn, owned by a member of the crew and returned to his car the next day.

Rob Clements, Lifeboat Operations Manager said: ‘This man's life was saved by his having the right safety equipment and clothing and by the quick professional response of the RNLI volunteers.’

Lifeboat crew; Buster Hart, helmsman. Haydn Glanvill and Jamie Mathys, crew.

Shore crew; Stuart Millard, tractor driver.

RNLI media contacts

For more information contact John Fenton, Dart Lifeboat Press Officer, on 07970921504 or or Emma Haines, RNLI Public Relations Manager, on 07786 668847 or

Key facts about the RNLI

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea. Our volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the United Kingdom and Ireland from 238 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen, Carrybridge and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 240 beaches around the UK and operates a specialist flood rescue team, which can respond anywhere across the UK and Ireland when inland flooding puts lives at risk.

The RNLI relies on public donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. As a charity it is separate from, but works alongside, government-controlled and funded coastguard services. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 our lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved at least 140,000 lives. Volunteers make up 95% of the charity, including 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew members and 3,000 volunteer shore crew. Additionally, tens of thousands of other dedicated volunteers raise funds and awareness, give safety advice, and help in our museums, shops and offices.

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Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 or by email.


The RNLI is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number 20003326 in the Republic of Ireland