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 / [email protected]

Dominic Jackson

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 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.

Learn more about the RNLI

For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.

Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or by email.