Kayaker rescued by Courtmacsherry RNLI after capsizing off Old Head of Kinsale

Lifeboats News Release

Courtmacsherry RNLI was called out this evening (Friday 1 October) at 5.45pm, to go to the immediate aid of a lone kayaker that was spotted in trouble off the Old Head of Kinsale in West Cork.


Courtmacsherry RNLI

The all-weather lifeboat, Frederick Storey Cockburn under Coxswain Mark John Gannon and a crew of six were away quickly from their moorings, when Valentia Marine Rescue Co-Ordination Centre paged for immediate action after golfers on the Old Head of Kinsale Golf Links saw a person in trouble near the rocks on the western side of the lighthouse.

The kayaker had left The Speckled Door pier earlier in afternoon and came through the passage at Hole-Open and was attempting to round the lighthouse when the weather worsened and he was thrown off the kayak and was unable to re mount because of high swells.

Golfers immediately called the rescue services and Courtmacsherry RNLI was away within minutes. Reaching the area at 6.14pm, two members of the crew, Ken Cashman and Donal Young used the lifeboat’s small inflatable boat to traverse into the rocky inlet under the lighthouse and pluck the casualty from the water and brought him back to the main lifeboat where he was assessed and warmed up after a frightening ordeal. Unfortunately the kayak could not be recovered and all his belongings including mobile phone and keys were left to the mercy of the sea.

The conditions at sea this evening included 4m swells and a strong westerly wind. The casualty was then brought by the lifeboat to the safe surrounds of the Courtmacsherry Pontoon. Crew and Station officers assessed him further at the Station House and provided him with a change of clothes and hot drinks before Station officers were able to take him back to meet his friends who came from North Cork to meet him.

Also tasked in today’s call out was the Irish Coast Guard helicopter, Rescue 117 from Waterford and the Old Head / Seven Heads Coast Guard unit.

Courtmacsherry RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager Brian O'Dwyer said: 'We are all so relieved that the kayaker was rescued so quickly in tough seas off the Old Head this evening and we want to praise the golfers on the Old Head for making that quick 999 call when they realised something was amiss. Thanks to the voluntary crew at the station who quickly assembled and with great skill that they regularly train for, prevented a serious incident at sea this evening.'

Courtmacsherry RNLI's crew involved in this evening's call out were Coxswain Mark John Gannon, mechanic Stuart Russell and crewmembers Ken Cashman, Evin O'Sullivan, Ciaran Hurley and brothers Kevin and Donal Young.


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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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