Newcastle RNLI tasked to assist kayakers

Lifeboats News Release

Newcastle RNLI volunteer lifeboat crew were tasked by Belfast Coastguard Operations Centre to assist three kayakers who were in difficulties in Dundrum Inner Bay yesterday morning (Friday 26 March).

Newcastle RNLI inshore lifeboat on exercise

RNLI/Nick Leach

Newcastle RNLI inshore lifeboat on exercise

The kayakers, a mother, her daughter and a friend, had launched their kayaks at the slipway opposite Dundrum chapel on a falling tide and paddled towards the channel between Murlough Nature Reserve and Ballykinler Army Camp.

With the tide surging out of the Inner Bay and towards the open sea, the three kayaks were being swept towards the bar mouth. Conditions were rough at the time and the group were hailed on a tannoy by range controllers who observed them from the nearby army camp and who advised them to turn around. With the three kayakers caught in the grip of the tide, one of them managed to call Belfast Coastguard Operations Centre who immediately tasked Newcastle RNLI inshore lifeboat and Newcastle Coastguard team to the scene.

Newcastle RNLI Coxswain, Niall McMurray, said, ’Thankfully when we arrived on scene one of the kayakers had managed to make shore on the Murlough side of the channel while the other two had made shore on the Ballykinler side’

Two of the kayakers had spent some time in the water after capsizing before making it ashore. The range controllers took care of the two people in Ballykinler while the Coastguards from Newcastle picked up the third on Murlough beach and took her to the army camp to be reunited with her group.

‘We retrieved the kayaks from the water and returned to station’ said Niall McMurray.

All three kayakers were well equipped with lifejackets, radios and mobile phones but unfortunately got caught out by the strength of a surging tide which swept them towards the bar mouth which was rough because of the south wind.

The RNLI would advise all kayakers to always carry a means of calling for help and have it stored in an easy to reach location in case of emergency. Also, consider taking a mobile phone with the SafeTrx app.

Ends

RNLI media contacts
For more information please contact Tony Sutcliffe, Newcastle RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer on 07825289788, email Tony_Sutcliffe@rnli.org.uk or contact Nuala McAloon, RNLI Regional Media Officer on 00353 87 648 3547 or email Nuala_McAloon@rnli.org.uk or Niamh Stephenson, RNLI Regional Media Manager on 00353 87 1254 124 or Niamh_Stephenson@rnli.org.uk

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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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