Ilfracombe RNLI launched to report of upturned kayak

Lifeboats News Release

The volunteer crew were tasked by the Coastguard to launch the Ilfracombe RNLI lifeboat on Saturday 4 April just after 4 p.m. after a report of an upturned kayak at Crock Point, west of Lee Bay, near Lynton.

Shannon class lifeboat heading out to sea

RNLI/Nikki Bradshaw

Ilfracombe all-weather lifeboat launched to report of upturned kayak

The D class inshore lifeboat the Deborah Brown II was launched in fair conditions with a calm sea and a force three (8–12 mph) breeze. The lifeboat made good speed to Crock Point arriving on scene 25 minutes later. Inshore lifeboat Helm Gillian Cole, and crew Ben Bengey and Matt Glubb then proceeded to search the area where the orange kayak had been reported. The Lynmouth Coastguard Search and Rescue team were on scene at the cliff top and were able to direct the lifeboat in the search.

At 5.18 p.m. the Coastguard also requested the station’s all-weather lifeboat to launch to assist in the search. The station’s replacement Shannon class lifeboat Cassandra was launched and the volunteer crew arrived on scene 25 minutes later and proceeded to search further out to sea whilst the inshore lifeboat searched at the five metre and 10 metre contour lines from the shore. Despite a thorough search being carried out by the two lifeboat crews no sign of a kayak was found. The lifeboats were then stood down by the Coastguard and returned to station by 7 p.m.

RNLI Coxswain Leigh Hanks says: ‘On this occasion the lifeboats carried out a thorough search and no one was found. We would urge people to follow government advice and not to go out in kayaks or other water craft during the current Covid-19 emergency. Whilst we take every effort to protect our crews every launch increases the risk of spreading the virus. We would also however like to reassure the public that the lifeboat crews are ready and will always respond to an emergency to save lives at sea.’

Inshore lifeboat in harbour on a calm sea

RNLI/Andrew Bengey

Ilfracombe inshore lifeboat leaving harbour

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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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