Largs RNLI lifeboat tasked to assist two paddleboarders

Lifeboats News Release

Strong easterly winds meant two paddleboarders required the assistance of Largs volunteer lifeboat crew on Friday 22 April.

RNLI/Nick Mailer

Largs Lifeboat
Largs RNLI volunteer crew members were alerted by their pager at 4.56pm this afternoon. On arrival at the boathouse the assembled crew were advised that two paddleboarders were unable to make headway back to their place of launch due to winds gusting to 35mph from the east. The paddleboarders were being pushed by the winds towards Little Cumbrae Island.

With this information the Atlantic 85 lifeboat R A Wilson launched and made best speed to the location. After 10 minutes passage through very choppy seas the lifeboat crew arrived on scene. After a short search the two boarders were located on the shore of the Island in a position that made the rescue tricky.

The lifeboat helm advised his crew that the safest way to approach the shore was to use a well trained technique called veering - this is where the lifeboat would deploy its anchor and by carefully letting out the anchor rope would get into a position that would allow the casualties to wade out to the lifeboat.

On successful completion of this the two boarders were seated safely along with their kit on the lifeboat, the helm then asked his crew to recover the anchor and stow this safely.

Once the anchor was secured the lifeboat crossed the channel back towards Hunterston Power station as this is where the boarders stated their car was located.

The helm carefully approached the shore and requested one of his crew jump onto a ledge so they could hold the lifeboat off the rocky shore enough to allow the casualties to safely return to dry land.

After informing the Coastguard that the casualties were now safely ashore the lifeboat was released from service and made best speed back to the lifeboat station where it was recovered, refuelled, washed down and made ready for the next service call.

Commenting on this rescue, Largs Lifeboat Operations Manager John Griffiths said: `Although when the boarders launched the wind strength was manageable and they were enjoying a good day on the water, however as is know on the Clyde this can change very suddenly as it did this afternoon.

`The casualties knowing they were in difficulty did the correct thing by using the wind to blow them onto the shore of Little Cumbrae. Thankfully they had a means of alerting the Coastguard of their distress as Little Cumbrae is usually uninhabited and they could have been there much longer trying to summon assistance from any passing vessels.

`It is always advisable to check the full day's forecast and ensure you always have a means of alerting the authorities if in need of assistance.'

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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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