Unoccupied kayak prompts massive land, sea and air search in Moelfre Bay
At 1.52 pm the Volunteer crew of RNLI Moelfre Lifeboat Station launched the Inshore Lifeboat ‘Enfys 2’ (ILB) after an observant crew member walking along the Moelfre coastal path, spotted what appeared to be an unoccupied kayak approximately a mile offshore.
Whilst the ILB was making its way to the drifting kayak a passing yacht had also spotted the kayak and had managed to secure it. The crew of the ILB went alongside the yacht so that they could check the kayak for any signs that it had been recently occupied, they also needed to get the kayak onboard the ILB and take it back to the RNLI boathouse.
After inspecting the kayak for any clues, the ILB volunteers found a water bottle and one shoe. With no evidence to suggest that the kayak owner was onshore, the Holyhead based UK Coastguard communicated that the Moelfre All-weather Lifeboat ‘Kiwi’ also needed to be launched. Additionally, the Coastguard Helicopter Rescue 936 was tasked in searching a large area that included the coastline from Penmon to Lligwy.
The search was made even more difficult when a weather front reduced visibility to a quarter of a mile. As the sea, shoreline and air search were being conducted, there were unconfirmed reports that the owner of the kayak had been located at Traeth Bychan. The search continued for another thirty minutes whilst the Moelfre Coastguard Team investigated this new information.
After confirmation was relayed to the UK Coastguard that the kayak owner was safe and well, the search parties were then stood down. The ILB was back on the slip 3:52 pm and was soon followed by the ALB.
Deputy Coxswain Martin Jones (Bonty) said “We urge people to tell the coastguard if they abandon or lose any sort of small craft at sea. With the absence of such information the worst has to be assumed, leading to the extensive tying-up of resources which may be needed elsewhere.”
In an emergency in the UK, dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard.
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, in a normal year, 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.