Lymington RNLI lead campaign to Label Your Kit
Identify your water equipment to help the RNLI and Coastguard.
The appearance on Saving Lives at Sea documented the voluntary Lymington RNLI crew searching for a missing kitesurfer in the Solent. Back in March 2020, the Coastguard had received multiple calls about a kitesurfer in difficulty and the Lymington RNLI lifeboat was launched.
A few hours into the search, a kite rig was recovered, but the kitesurfer was not with the rig and therefore presumed to have drifted away with his board. The helm, Kevin Coster, continued with various search patterns considering tide and wind direction, hoping to locate the kitsurfer.
After appeals from HM Coastguard on social media, it quickly became apparent that the kitesurfer had made it ashore, before walking to his car, safe and well. The Lymington crew were stood down after being at sea for six hours and had also involved other search teams. Fortunately, the conditions were in the kitesurfer’s favour otherwise there might have been a different outcome.
The helm Kevin Coster said 'It can be a traumatic situation if you get into difficulty, but it is important to let the Coastguard know that you are safe and well if you lose any equipment at sea. Whatever the situation, the lifeboat will always launch to anyone thought to be in difficulty.'
This incident highlights the need for watersports equipment to identify the name and contact details of the owner. Lymington RNLI have started a social media campaign to help reach water users and to ask for their support. Specific labels can be ordered free from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency website.
The Lymington crew have produced a video to support the campaign, 'pass the pen and label your kit.' This has also been supported across the world with the German Stand up Paddleboard Association and the German Life Saving Association, wanting to support our campaign.
The crew's children have also been getting behind the campaign during half term, by painting and decorating stones and placing them in key places around the coastline.
Our sea safety team have also been working closely with the local community and one local company, New Forest Paddle Sports, has become an RNLI ambassador. They said 'This simple sticker could save RNLI crews hours of searching by just having your contact details on your kit. We give out RNLI phone cases, paddling guide and a sticker with every board sold and we can also supply stickers when the shop re-opens after lockdown.' At the very least, some users simply write their mobile number on their equipment with a permanent marker.
As more people are using the local waters for sporting activities, it is important to educate and ensure the safety messages are getting out to the public. This could save valuable time and emergency services’ resource, not to mention owners being reunited with their equipment in the event they are separated from it!
If you do see anyone in trouble, always dial 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard.
Suzanne Brown, Lifeboat Press Officer, Lymington Lifeboat Station (07711) 393910
Paul Dunt, Regional Media Officer, SE and London (07785) 296252 firstname.lastname@example.org
For enquiries outside normal business hours contact the RNLI duty press officer on (01202) 336789
RNLI online: For more information on the RNLI please visit http://www.rnli.org/. News releases and other media resources, including RSS feeds, downloadable photos and video, are available at the RNLI News Centre.
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.