Portaferry and Peel RNLI rescue kayaker who gets into difficulty
Portaferry and Peel RNLI came to the aid of a kayaker who got into difficulty in the Irish Sea late this afternoon (Wednesday 8 June).
The man who had been kayaking from the Isle of Man from early morning and was making his way to Northern Ireland became fatigued and when he couldn’t see land, raised the alarm for help.
Both the inshore lifeboat from Portaferry RNLI and the all-weather lifeboat from Peel RNLI were requested to launch.
The pagers at Portaferry RNLI sounded shortly after 5pm as the station’s operational and fundraising volunteers were enjoying a visit by the RNLI’s Chief Executive Mark Dowie.
The inshore lifeboat helm by Chris Adair and with three crew members onboard, launched immediately and made its way to the scene some 14 miles out from the Strangford Narrows to the Irish Sea. The Irish Coast Guard helicopter, Rescue 116 from Dublin was also tasked.
Weather conditions at the time were drizzly but there was good visibility. The sea was calm and there was a Force 3 easterly wind blowing.
Once on scene at 5.58pm, the crew faced a Force 4 wind, fair visibility and a rough sea state. The volunteer crew assessed the situation before helping the casualty out of his kayak and bringing him onboard the lifeboat. The crew then transferred the casualty to Peel RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat where he was brought inside the wheelhouse to be warmed up. Both Portaferry and Peel lifeboat crews made their way to Portaferry with the casualty, who was checked over to ensure he was safe and well before he got warmed up with pizza and tea at the station.
Speaking following the call out, Philip Johnston, Portaferry RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager said: ‘The casualty was wearing the appropriate gear for kayaking and made the right decision to call the Coastguard for help once he found the conditions too much. We would like to wish him well and thank our fellow volunteers from Peel and our colleagues in the Coast Guard who were also on scene.
‘The pagers went off as our volunteers were having a meeting with Mark Dowie, our Chief Executive who was visiting from England. We were delighted to update him on our lifesaving work at Portaferry RNLI and were equally delighted to be brought up to speed from him on the various work that is happening across our charity that we are all so passionate about. As the pagers went off, Mark commented that out of the 124 stations that he has visited so far, we were the fourth station to have a call out during his visit.’
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 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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