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Dunbar lifeboat launched to paddleboarders ‘in difficulty’

Lifeboats News Release

Dunbar RNLI’s lifeboat launched last night (Friday 28 July) after reports that two stand-up paddleboarders were in difficulty and making slow progress to shore near Belhaven Bay.

Dunbar inshore lifeboat (ILB) leaves Dunbar Harbour.

RNLI/Douglas Wight

Dunbar ILB launches after reports of paddleboarders in difficulty.
The inshore lifeboat (ILB) launched at 7.25pm and the volunteers were on scene five minutes later. The paddleboarders – two females on the same board – had managed to get to shore by themselves, did not require assistance and were suitably equipped with buoyancy aids and a mobile phone.

ILB helm Alan Blair said: ‘This was a false alarm with good intent and we were pleased to see the paddleboarders had all the necessary equipment. We would urge all stand-up paddleboard (SUP) users to follow the RNLI’s safety advice before heading out onto the water.’

The RNLI’s advice for SUP users is:

· Wear a buoyancy aid – A Personal Floatation Device (PFD), will provide extra floatation in the water to help keep you afloat and help give you time to recover should you fall in – and chances are you will! Buoyancy aids come in different sizes and it is important that you have the correct size as this will help when getting back on to the board; a common problem when learning. Make sure you check the weight range and chest size when buying a buoyancy aid as well as choosing one that is comfortable and allows plenty of movement so you can paddle freely.

· Carry a phone in waterproof pouch – As well as being able to take photos of your paddle you can also use your mobile phone in an emergency to raise the alarm. Make sure you carry this on you (e.g. in a buoyancy aid pocket or around your neck) so that you can get it easily if are in trouble – it is no good in a dry bag attached to your board!

· Wear the correct leash – There’s nothing more frustrating than having to swim after your board if you fall off. The leash will also help you stay connected to your board if you get into trouble and help you float.

· Avoid offshore winds – Offshore winds are winds that are blowing from the beach or shore out to sea. Often with offshore winds the water looks idyllic and calm however this can be deceptive as offshore winds will quickly blow you and your paddleboard far out to sea, which can make it extremely tiring and difficult to paddle back to shore. If you are on a lifeguarded beach, keep an eye out for the orange windsock to see which way the wind is blowing.

In a coastal emergency call 999 and ask for the coastguard and if you are inland ask for the Fire & Rescue service.

Additional tips to keep you safe:

· Have a lesson. This will develop your skills and knowledge making you time on the water more enjoyable in the future.

· Be aware of your environment and hazards. Understand the location you are supping in – does it change the equipment you need? Strong tidal currents could make it difficult to paddle in your chosen direction or even be unpredictable making you tire quickly. It's always advisable to understand the location you are paddling in as this will really help your SUPing experience.

· If you can, always go with a friend. It’s more fun, and they can help you if you get into difficulty.

· Remember to Float to Live. If you end up in the water unexpectedly or are in trouble in the water without your board then float on your back.

· 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. If in doubt don’t go out.

· Tell someone where you're going and when you'll be back. Don't leave the house without a mobile phone or communication device.

· Wear suitable clothing for the time of year. In the winter, you will want to use a wet or dry suit. In the summer although it may feel warm the water is often still very cold and if you fall in unexpectedly you might experience cold water shock so consider wearing a wetsuit.

· 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.

RNLI media contacts


Douglas Wight, Dunbar RNLI volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer, [email protected]

Natasha Bennett, RNLI Regional Media Officer for Scotland, 07826 900639, [email protected]

Martin Macnamara, RNLI Regional Media Manager for Scotland, 07920 365929, [email protected]

RNLI Press Office, 01202 336789, [email protected]

RNLI online

For more information on the RNLI please visit rnli.org. News releases and other media resources, including RSS feeds, downloadable photos and video, are available at the RNLI News Centre rnli.org/news-and-media.

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 over 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 142,200 lives.

Paddleboarders showing suitable safety equipment on water.

RNLI/Nathan Williams

Paddleboarders showing suitable safety equipment on water.

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.

Learn more about the RNLI

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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