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Falmouth RNLI crew rescue kayaker from the Carrick Roads.

Lifeboats News Release

On Sunday 27 January, both RNLI Lifeboats were tasked to search for a kayaker following a personal distress beacon signal received.

Falmouth's all-weather and inshore lifeboats. Image shows both boats out training.

RNLI/Simon Culliford

Falmouth's all-weather and inshore lifeboats

Whilst on routine Sunday training, the all-weather lifeboat and crew were over at the Helford when the Coastguard tasked them and the inshore lifeboat to respond to a distress beacon alert in the Carrick roads.

The all-weather lifeboat Richard Cox Scott proceeded at once to the area, with Deputy 2nd Coxswain Carl Beardmore and crew Adam West, Luke Wills, Dave Nicoll, Joe Amps and Lloyd Barron. The inshore lifeboat also launched from the lifeboat station at 10.50am with Helm Jonathon Hackwell, Tamara Brookes and Tom Bird.

The all-weather lifeboat proceeded at once over to the area, commencing a creeping line search from Black Rock up to the Carrick roads. With the tide going out and a strong Northerly wind, it was also uncertain if the casualty would be with the kayak or separated from it.

On turning towards Mylor, the casualty was sighted, upon which they were picked up out of the water and onto the all-weather lifeboat. It is believed the kayaker hit his head and was knocked unconscious. When he came round, he had drifted away from sheltered waters and subsequently capsized from the kayak into the water. Despite multiple attempts, the casualty was unable to right and get back into the kayak, and wisely held onto the kayak, using his personal distress beacon and mobile phone that he was carrying to call for help.

The all-weather lifeboat crew administered casualty care, and returned to the lifeboat station to await an ambulance, with the casualty suffering from suspected hypothermia. The inshore lifeboat retrieved the kayak from the water and also returned to the station.

Deputy 2nd Coxswain Carl Beardmore highlighted not only the excellent response of the volunteer crew, but also the vital importance of carrying the correct equipment when out on the water:

“This is a clear example of the right kit, right response and crew training all kicking into gear; leading, without a doubt, to the saving of someone’s life. As soon as the alert signal went off, our well trained crew had the skills and training to find and get this individual out of the water and administer casualty care. We can’t emphasise enough the importance of carrying the right kit; it was the casualty’s distress beacon and holding onto the kayak that led to the crew being able to spot them and get them to safety.”

The casualty’s sister Nash was keen to make her appreciation for the crew’s fast response known: “[My brother] was very lucky today and just goes to show no matter how prepared you can be, things can go wrong so quickly. You guys are amazing. Thank you.”

Notes to editors:

  • When heading out onto the water, you need to be able to call for help. Having the appropriate means to tell the coastguard exactly where you are is the quickest way to save your life. Whether its a VHF radio, a personal locator beacon, a tracker or a mobile phone, always carry a suitable means for calling help and keep it attached to your person and within reach.

  • A Personal Locator Beacon, as used in this instance, can send a distress message to the coastguard from anywhere in the world, providing there is a clear view of the sky. The distress message and your location will be sent to the coastguard, who will launch a rescue service to your GPS position.

  • You can also use a PLB anywhere on land, so they can be used as safety kit for other outdoor pursuits.

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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 230 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and has more than 180 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK. 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 140,000 lives.

A charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SCO37736). Charity number CHY 2678 in the Republic of Ireland

Marine traffic tracking of Falmouth's all-weather lifeboat on training near the Helford and the search pattern from Black Rock up the Carrick Roads

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Marine tracker of Falmouth's all-weather lifeboat

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