Rescue for first-time paddleboarders

Lifeboats News Release

Two beginner paddleboarders have discovered there is a lot more to the sport than meets the eye. For just hours after acquiring their boards they found themselves perched on a rock awaiting rescue by Minehead RNLI volunteer lifeboat crew.

RNLI/Nigel Millard

Minehead RNLI stock photo from 2017.

The pair started their maiden voyage from Bossington Beach, near Porlock this afternoon.

But after watching them fall off several times onlookers saw the tide rapidly carry the pair eastwards around Hurlestone Point. And when they failed to return they called 999.

Both Minehead lifeboats were launched just before 6pm and quickly located the pair just east of the point.

Atlantic 85 helm Phil Sanderson said: 'As soon as they saw us they began waving their paddles – and it was clear they were hugely relieved to see us.

'There was a really fierce current running round the point, it’s a big tide tonight and even an experienced paddle boarder would have a job to make any way against it, let alone someone new to the sport.'

The crew of Minehead’s D class nosed into the rocks and recovered the couple who were put aboard the Atlantic 85 and quickly returned to their departure point.

Phil Sanderson said: 'They were very fortunate someone was keeping an eye on them all the time they were out there. They were only wearing swimming kit and she was already shivering by the time we reached them.

'If they hadn’t been spotted and we hadn’t been called it would have been a couple of hours before they would have had any chance of getting back to the point where they had launched.

'We would always advise paddleboarders to wear buoyancy aids and certainly to carry some means of attracting attention or calling for help, no matter how close to the shore they intend to stay.'

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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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