Islay’s all-weather lifeboat in search for missing kayakers

Lifeboats News Release

The volunteer crew of the Islay lifeboat was called out by the UK Coastguard when three kayakers were reported missing off Gigha on the evening of Sunday 5 May.

RNLI/Heather Dewar

Stock image of Islay all-weather lifeboat

A concerned member from Muasdale caravan park told the coastguard that the three had left Muasdale to kayak to the island of Cara and Gigha and he had expected them back by that evening, but they had failed to return.

Belfast Coastguard asked for the RNLI’s Helmut Schroder of Dunlossit II and the coastguard helicopter from Prestwick to go to the area to make a search. Gigha, Tarbert, Southend and Campbeltown coastguards also joined in the search on shore. The kayakers were eventually located by the powerful beam of the helicopter’s searchlight safely camped on the north end of Gigha.

The coxswain, David MacLellan, said afterwards that this was a false alarm with good intent and that the concerned caller did the right thing.

The RNLI is a charity that saves lives at sea and runs a drowning prevention campaign. The RNLI’s Community Safety Key Message highlights the importance of kayakers informing someone of their plans; where they are going and when they expect to arrive there.

This incident highlights the importance of following this advice and having a suitable means of communication with which to do so, bearing in mind that a mobile phone may not be able to receive a signal in many of our secluded or remote beaches and islands.

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.

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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.