Elie Lifeguard Rescues Two Stand-Up Paddleboarders in Off-Shore Winds
While monitoring the busy harbour beach, lifeguard, Jake Muir spotted two young girls who were in obvious difficulty, attempting to return to shore in a strengthening off-shore wind.
Jake entered the water with his rescue board and quickly made his way towards the casualties. On arrival both were in the water and struggling to return to their board. After briefing them to stay low to avoid acting like a sail in the wind, Jake returned them safely to the beach.
Recalling the incident, Jake said:
'I was really pleased to see that the mother of one of the girls, who was also paddleboarding, did not try to rescue them herself. Instead she returned to shore to seek our assistance. Rescuing two casualties is certainly a lot easier than rescuing three.'
This rescue follows a very similar incident on Friday 2 July, when fellow lifeguard, Owen McQueenie, helped two paddleboarders drifting out of the bay, seemingly unaware that the strong off-shore winds would make it difficult for them to get back to the beach.
Stand-up paddleboarding is an increasingly popular water sport and can be a great way to explore our coastal waters. As with any water sport there are inherent dangers to be aware of before venturing out on the water and, in particular, off-shore winds pose a significant risk when paddleboarding. Even a light breeze can help push you along when heading out, however, when the time comes to turn around it can become incredibly difficult to get back to shore. RNLI advice for less experienced paddleboarders is to only venture out when the wind is blowing on-shore and to paddle parallel to the beach.
If you spot someone in difficulty on the coast, resist the urge to enter the water to help, call 999 and ask for the Coastguard. On a lifeguard patrolled beach, alert the lifeguards.
How to stay safe when paddleboarding:
- Always tell someone where you are going and when you will be back and carry a means of calling for help.
- Check the weather and tide times before you set out - they can change quickly.
- Wear suitable clothing: a wetsuit and lifejacket or buoyancy aid.
- In open water always wear a leash and hold onto your board if you get into trouble. It will help you float.
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.