Five paddleboarders rescued by RNLI after blown offshore by strong winds

Lifeboats News Release

Five paddleboarders who found themselves in trouble in the Bristol Channel have been rescued by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI).

RNLI/Minehead

Minehead RNLI pulling one of the paddleboarders onboard

The group, all in their 20s and from south Wales were paddling off Minehead, Somerset on Sunday (26 June), when they found themselves being blown offshore by strong south-westerly winds.

Minehead RNLI volunteers had just returned from a routine training exercise when they spotted the group struggling and launched to their assistance.

Volunteer Helm Phil Sanderson said: ‘We launched in calm conditions, but the further we got offshore it was evident how strong the wind really was, and the sea conditions got rougher.

‘As we made our way towards the paddleboarders, we could see they were all in the water.

‘As we pulled them onboard it was clear some of the group were upset and beginning to feel the effects of the cold water.

‘We returned all five ashore for further assessment, it was good to see they were wearing wetsuits and buoyancy aids which certainly helped them in this frightening situation.

‘In addition to this safety equipment, we would always recommend when heading out on the water to check the weather forecast and carry a means of calling for help. Many people these days carry a phone in a waterproof pouch which gives them the ability to dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard.’

On the same weekend in Scotland, Anstruther RNLI rescued two paddleboarders three-quarters of a mile out to sea who were found clinging to the same paddleboard.

RNLI safety tips for paddleboarding:

· Avoid going alone, where possible

· Always tell someone where you are going and when you’ll be back

· Check the weather forecast and avoid offshore winds

· Wear a suitable personal floatation device and clothing for the time of year

· Get the appropriate level of training

· Use a paddleboard with an appropriate leash

Notes to editors

· Images of the five paddleboarders being rescued by Minehead RNLI available

· For further RNLI guidance on how to stay safe when paddleboarding please visit: https://rnli.org/safety/choose-your-activity/stand-up-paddle-boarding

· To support RNLI lifesavers, please visit RNLI.org/Go Donate

RNLI media contacts

For more information please telephone Dave Riley, RNLI National Media Officer on 07795 015042 or [email protected] or RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789.

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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For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.

Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or by email.

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