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Sister of kayaker who died at sea urges others to Respect the Water

Lifeboats News Release

Ellie Jackson, the sister of Dominic Jackson – the kayaker who died at sea earlier this year – is sharing the story of her family’s tragedy and calling on other kayakers to remember vital safety advice which could save lives.

Working with the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), whose lifeboats from Macduff, Buckie, Fraserburgh and Wick were involved in the search for Dominic, Ellie is calling on kayakers to always carry a means of calling for help and, most importantly, to keep it on them at all times while at sea.

In February this year Dominic Jackson lost his life when he got into trouble while kayaking around the coast of Scotland. He was wearing a buoyancy aid but was unable to call for help when he got into difficulty because his phone was stored in his kayak in a place he couldn‘t access whilst paddling

Now his sister Ellie is sharing the story of her family’s loss, and is supporting an RNLI kayaking safety campaign so that others can learn from Dominic’s death and increase their chances of survival in life-threatening situations.

Ellie says:

‘Dom was always adventurous and very fit so was keen to take up sea kayaking. It was very hard to know that he was out there somewhere and there was nothing I could do about getting him back. I will be forever grateful to the brave and wonderful people who helped to find him.

‘I wouldn’t want anyone else to go through what our family have been through. I want people to learn from Dom’s death and understand that taking a few extra steps before going on the water can make the difference between life and death.’

In the past five years, RNLI lifeboats have saved the lives of 145 people who have got into trouble when kayaking and there have been ten kayaking fatalities1.

Jon Oxenham, Community Safety Manager, said:

‘We are very grateful to have Ellie’s support with our safety campaign to try and prevent kayakers from getting into the potentially life-threatening situation of being in the water but having no way of calling for help.

‘Our lifeboat volunteers and lifeguards are there to help, but we can’t come to the rescue if we don’t know you’re in trouble.

‘Our advice for kayakers is to always carry a means of calling for help, and keep it on you at all times when you’re kayaking. This means that if you capsize and get into trouble, you can call for help and increase your chances of survival.

‘Remember also to wear a personal floatation device (Buoyancy aid) and check the weather and tides before you go out. Tell someone where you are going and when you expect to be back, and get the appropriate training or experience so you can enjoy your time on the water and stay safe.’

The campaign forms part of the RNLI’s work to halve the number of accidental coastal deaths by 2024. For more information go to


Notes to editor:

  • RNLI spokespeople and Ellie Jackson are available for interview. Please contact RNLI Public Relations on the numbers below to arrange interviews.
  • 1 Coastal fatality data taken from the National Water Safety Forum’s Water Incident Database (WAID) 2012-2016. The figures quoted are for kayaking-related fatalities from accidents and natural causes in UK tidal waters.

Media Contacts:

For more information, please contact Oliver Wrynne-Simpson, National Media officer, on 07795127351 or RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789 /

Dominic Jackson

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