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Ilfracombe RNLI rescue seasick casualty and trapped kayaker

Lifeboats News Release

Ilfracombe RNLI has had a busy few weeks on the coast, responding to incidents involving paddle boarders, seasickness and a kayaker.

On 22 May the volunteer crew received two call outs. The first involved the inshore lifeboat (ILB) and all-weather lifeboat (ALB). The crew were tasked to conduct an inshore search towards Morte Point for a paddle boarder reported to be in difficulty. Fortunately, they were located by the ALB crew as safe just off Lee Bay so both lifeboats were stood down.

Later in the day the ALB and ILB crew were tasked to another paddle boarder after two separate 999 calls were made raising concerns for him. The man was spotted close to the shore near Appledore Rocks at Lee Bay, and confirmed that he’d come from Woolacombe but was in no difficultly, so they were stood down. On the return journey the volunteers spotted a group of young people cut off from the tide at Blyth’s Cove. After approaching them, they explained that they were ok and happy to wait for the tide to drop in 30 minutes time. The crew issued safety advice and then returned to the station.

On 27 May, the ALB was tasked to locate and assist a 32ft trimaran that was disabled and drifting two nautical miles west of Saunton Sands with a seasick crewman. The Appledore ILB arrived on scene prior to Ilfracombe’s ALB and was able to tow the vessel towards open water. On arrival, an RNLI crewman was transferred from the lifeboat to the trimaran and after assessing the health of the crew, administered seasickness pills to the boat’s skipper. The stricken vessel had a shredded foresail and the main sail lines were cut away, with the sheets around the rudder. The yacht was towed into Ilfracombe Harbour, rafted alongside the lifeboat and then secured to a mooring in the outer harbour. The seasick crew member had been taken aboard the lifeboat to land him ashore safely.

On 6 June the ALB and ILB crew were called out to two 10 year old children who seemed to be trapped on rocks at Wildersmouth Beach. As the lifeboat arrived on scene it was reported that the children had managed to make their own way ashore, so the crew were stood down and returned to the station.

The following day on 7 June, a kayaker had been reported as stranded on the rocks in the Wild Pear Beach area, after struggling in the water and getting himself ashore. He had been unable to relaunch due to the sea conditions at the location. The ALB crew navigated to the location and a crewman was sent ashore in the onboard inflatable lifeboat (X boat), with a line secured to the ALB. The kayak was secured to the line from the lifeboat and the male kayaker was placed in the X boat to be towed out to sea, where it was then safe to transfer him to the lifeboat. He was safely returned to shore on Coombe Martin Beach, where the Coastguard and his family were waiting for him.

To find out more about how to stay safe in and near the water, visit www.rnli.org/RespectTheWater .

RNLI media contacts

For more information, please contact Jane Perrin, Ilfracombe RNLI Lifeboat Press Officer, on 01271 855565.

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 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.

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