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Kayaker is rescued by RNLI lifeguards after getting into difficulty

Lifeguards News Release

A young kayaker has been rescued by lifeguards at Sedgewell Cove near Kingsbridge after his kayak began to take on water and he was at risk of capsizing.

Lifeguard Sam Sheridan went to the man’s aid after spotting him in difficulty on Friday 7 July. He used a rescue board to paddle out to the man and the inshore rescue boat (IRB) was launched by lifeguards James Borne and Theo Stoppard.

Sam said: ‘The man had been visiting the area and decided to borrow his mother’s kayak. It was a sunny day and the sea was flat, however due to a fair wind the kayaker drifted out and was unable to return to the shore. Water began to flood the kayak, which could have put him at risk of capsizing. Luckily I’d already been alerted to the man and had reached him on my rescue board by that point and it is good that the man was wearing a buoyancy aid, which we always recommend.’

The relieved kayaker was returned safely to shore where he thanked the lifeguards for their help. He was given safety advice and reunited with his kayak which the lifeguards had gone back to retrieve for him.

The RNLI has seen an increase in the number of kayakers and canoeists who get into trouble and need to be rescued.

Lifeguard Supervisor Becky Fox said: ‘Kayaking is great fun and one of the most popular boating activities in the UK. Even the most experienced kayakers can get into difficulty and it’s important that people recognise their own capabilities as conditions can change quickly. The RNLI advises kayakers to always carry a means of calling for help and to keep it within reach. They should check the weather and tides before they head out and let someone know where they are going and when they’ll be back. It’s also important to wear appropriate clothing for the conditions and your trip and to wear a personal flotation device.’

As part of the RNLI’s Respect the Water campaign those who find themselves in cold water unexpectedly are being told to fight their instinct to swim hard and instead to do as little as possible, by floating on their back to regulate their breathing until the cold water shock passes. For more information visit

Note to editors

  • Video of the rescue. Credit RNLI
  • Sedgewell Cove is patrolled by RNLI Lifeguards between 10am and 6pm every day until October 1
  • For more information around the RNLI’s safety advice for kayakers follow this link

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RNLI lifeguards rescued a kayaker in difficulty

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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