New Brighton RNLI lifeboat crew diverts from exercise to rescue capsized kayaker
RNLI lifeboat volunteers on training recovered a man from the water after spotting him displaying the distress signal beside his upturned kayak in the Rock Channel on 22 July 2018.
On their second crew change of the Sunday morning exercise, RNLI lifeboat crew caught sight of the capsized kayak and a person in difficulty in the channel near New Brighton lighthouse.
Reaching the scene in seconds, the RNLI lifeboat volunteers were told by the male casualty that the kayak had overturned a couple of times and he was unable to get back in.
RNLI Helm Jim Garland said: ‘We were about to head back to shore when we spotted the kayak with the casualty alongside and both hands over his head signalling he needed help. As he was no more than 100 metres away, we were with him very quickly.
‘Having taken on water, the kayak was partly submerged. Fortunately, the man had only been in the water for a few minutes but it was a strong ebb tide which was carrying him out sea quite rapidly. If we hadn’t seen him, the tide would have taken him right out towards Burbo wind farm.’
The kayaker was accompanied by a fellow paddler who was not in difficulty and made his own way back to shore.
‘There was little the casualty’s companion could have done, so we checked that he was happy kayaking himself back in,' Jim said. 'Then with the agreement of the gentleman we recovered from the water, we brought him onboard our lifeboat. Once on shore, we took both casualty and kayak back to the boathouse.'
No medical treatment was needed and the casualty left the RNLI lifeboat station with his kayaking friend shortly afterwards.
The RNLI lifeboat team advised UK Coastguard of the incident and outcome.
At the time there was a force three or four westerly wind creating a slight swell on the water.
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.