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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.

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RNLI media contacts

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

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