Brighton RNLI issue safety advice after paddle boarders get into trouble

Lifeboats News Release

RNLI Brighton is reminding beach users about Stand Up Paddle Boarding (SUP) safety after being called to the aid of two people that found themselves in difficulty in strong offshore winds at Brighton beach.

The Random Harvest out in Brighton on 27/3/2022

RNLI/sussexincidents

The Random Harvest out in Brighton on 27/3/2022

The volunteer crew in Brighton were called on Sunday night to reports a man and a woman who were in difficulty onboard one paddle board, 400 metres east of Brighton Palace Pier.

The pair were struggling to make it to the shore.

The Random Harvest launched at 7.33pm; in a failing light and a breezy offshore wind.

An initial sweep of the coast found no casualty. On the return leg of the search a paddle board was seen on the beach, with two people packing it away.

A crew was put ashore and it confirmed the pair been afloat and they had been struggling in the wind.

Brighton Lifeboat Operations Manager Roger Cohen said: ‘We are pleased that both paddleboarders were OK. When there is an offshore wind you can quickly find yourself a long way from the shore and it can be extremely difficult to get back as this lady found out.

‘We understand that Stand Up Paddleboards are very popular at the moment and we are expecting to see many of them on the beaches this summer. We hope that people will take the proper precautions and steps to ensure that they can enjoy them safely on the water.

‘If you are planning on using a paddleboard at the beach please make sure to:

  • Always choose a lifeguarded beach
  • Always check the tide and weather conditions before heading out
  • Always carry a means of calling for help on your person in case of an emergency’

Stand up paddle boarding can be a lot of fun, but it is important to remember that as with any watersport it can be potentially dangerous as well if not taken seriously.

The RNLI is reminding people of the simple steps they can take to stay safe and reduce their chances of getting into trouble such as taking time to plan their paddle, tell a friend where they are going, and prepare well before taking to the water.

Simple tips to improve your time paddleboarding

  • If you can, always go with a friend. It’s more fun, and they can help you if you get into difficulty
  • If you are going out alone, always tell someone where you're going and when you'll be back. Don't leave the house without a mobile phone or communication device
  • Bringing your phone to take some photos? Make sure you keep it in a waterproof pouch. That way it won’t get wet, and you can use it to call for help in an emergency too
  • Check the weather forecast and tide times before you set out. If the water is too choppy, you might find it difficult, especially if you are a beginner. And be aware, the conditions can change quickly
  • Avoid offshore winds. They will quickly blow your paddleboard far out to sea, which can make it extremely tiring and difficult to paddle back to shore
  • You should wear a suitable personal flotation device. This can be a buoyancy aid or a lifejacket. Choose one that still allows you plenty of movement so you can paddle freely. Not only will it keep you afloat, but it will also help give you time to recover should you fall in – and chances are you will
  • Wear suitable clothing for the time of year. In the winter, you will want to use a wet or dry suit. In the summer, you might be able to get away with a swim suit. But if you are going to be in the water for a long time, you might want to upgrade to something that keeps you warm
  • You should always use a paddleboard with an appropriate leash. There’s nothing more frustrating than having to swim after your paddleboard if you fall off. The leash will also help you stay connected to your board if you get into trouble and help you float
  • If you are launching on a lifeguarded beach, make sure you launch and recover between the black and white chequered flags. There should be less swimmers in this area, giving you more room to manoeuvre. Consider other water users by learning the rights of way in the surf. This can save you and others getting injured
Notes to editors:

RNLI media contacts

For more information please contact Lotte Ikonen on 07576870669.

For the latest RNLI safety advice on a range of activities visit: https://rnli.org/safety

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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