Hoylake RNLI lifeboat was requested to launch by the UK Coastguard at 12.45pm on Sunday 29 September after four kayakers were reported to be in difficulties west of Little Eye in the Dee Estuary.
Visibility was poor in the River Dee with a moderate sea and force 7 wind blowing. Three of the kayakers were being towed by a Wirral RNLI Lifeguards Rescue Watercraft (RWC) but a fourth was still adrift and in danger of capsizing.
The all-weather Shannon class lifeboat Edmund Hawthorn Micklewood was being washed down following a training exercise at Hoylake Lifeboat Station when the alarm was raised. With the volunteer crew already on board, the lifeboat re-launched immediately and sped to the scene.
When the lifeboat arrived in the River Dee, the RNLI Lifeguards RWC had put three of the kayakers ashore onto Little Eye and had returned to sea to assist the fourth, who was soon also brought onto the small island. The group had by now secured their equipment but were feeling the effects of the cold and wet.
West Kirby RNLI lifeboat had also launched and the D class inshore lifeboat
Seahorse arrived on scene. Two West Kirby RNLI volunteer crew members were transferred onto Little Eye and the four casualties were brought on board the inshore lifeboat to be taken to the shore at West Kirby.
Given the very poor weather conditions, Hoylake RNLI lifeboat was asked by the Coastguard to provide safety cover for the inshore lifeboat and its crew on Little Eye.
With the four casualties soon safely ashore and passed to the Coastguard, West Kirby RNLI lifeboat returned to Little Eye to allow her two crew to re-board. Hoylake and West Kirby Lifeboats were then stood down and returned to their stations to be made ready for service again.
Hoylake RNLI Coxswain Andy Dodd said: ‘This incident shows just how quickly the weather conditions can change around our coast and why it is always important to respect the water.'
'The Wirral RNLI Lifeguards did a fantastic job getting the kayakers safely to Little Eye with the RWC in very difficult conditions. The first informant also did the right thing by dialling 999 and reporting the situation to the Coastguard, which led to a safe outcome for the four kayakers.’
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.
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