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Strong offshore winds keep Looe RNLI volunteers busy

Lifeboats News Release

Paddleboarders were caught out by the strong offshore winds earlier this afternoon with Looe RNLI volunteers launching to two separate incidents. Both casualties were picked up and returned safely to shore

Stock image Looe RNLI D Class Ollie Naismith II

RNLI/John Baldry

Stock image Looe RNLI D Class Ollie Naismith II

Deputy Launch Authority Brian Bowdler’s pager first sounded at 1.06 pm this afternoon, Saturday 29 July 2023, after Falmouth MRCC received reports of a paddleboarder waving to attract attention off Millendreath. Shortly afterwards the Charity’s D Class inshore lifeboat Ollie Naismith II under the command of Jack Spree, on his first shout as a newly qualified helm, arrived on scene to find an exhausted paddleboarder being assisted by a passing kayaker. The paddleboarder who was not wearing a buoyancy aid or carrying any method of calling for help was unable to make any headway against the offshore winds back to the beach and found himself getting tired. Thanking the kayaker for their assistance, our crew, Jack, Clive and Vicky bought the grateful paddleboarder and his board into the lifeboat, and returned him safely to his family waiting on Millendreath beach. Shore crew for this launch were Simon, John, Stuart, Tom, Toby and Goron.

Brian was in the Sailing Club following the Saturday afternoon sailing when his pager sounded for the second time at 5.36 pm, several of our crew, who were also in the sailing club, quickly made their way to the station only to find Matt, Richard and Alex who were closer to the station packing up their sailing dinghies, as the pagers sounded, already getting changed into their drysuits. Within three minutes the D Class was launched to go to the assistance of a female paddleboarder reported to be in difficulties off Looe beach. Whilst tasking our crew, Falmouth MRCC alerted Matt Richard and Alex to keep a lookout for a swimmer who was reported to be swimming out to assist the paddleboarder. Quickly arriving on scene our crew learnt the paddleboarder’s 2-piece paddle had broken and she was unable to return to the beach. Our crew took the paddleboarder and swimmer onto the D Class and returned them safely back to the beach with the paddleboard. The swimmer commented that even though he was an open water swimmer, he was finding it difficult to swim against the wind and with the paddleboarder, were both grateful to our crew coming out to help.

As the Ollie Naismith II returned to the lifeboat station our Launch Authority, Brian, commented that this may have been one of our shortest duration shouts, with just 14 minutes from the pagers sounding to the lifeboat being back on its trailer after assisting a casualty. Brian goes on to say “both paddleboarders had said they struggled to make any headway back to a beach in the strong offshore winds, which is a timely reminder to check the wind strength and direction before setting off, and think about your ability to paddle in these conditions. Always check the tide times, wear a suitable buoyancy aid and carry a means of calling for help. The paddleboarders were lucky that they were spotted from the shore and the first informants called 999 to alert the coastguards,


Notes to editors


· Stock image Looe RNLI D Class Ollie Naismith II
Photo credit Looe RNLI / John Baldry


· Re-established as an inshore lifeboat station in 1992, Looe RNLI operate two inshore lifeboats
An Atlantic 85 Sheila and Dennis Tongue II and a D Class Ollie Naismith II

· For further information on Looe RNLI Lifeboats please visit our website

· Looe RNLI Facebook page

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For more information please telephone

Ian Foster, RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer for Looe Lifeboat Station, on 07902 753228 or [email protected] or [email protected]

or Amy Caldwell, RNLI Regional Media Manager, on 07920 818807 or [email protected]

or Emma Haines, RNLI Regional Media Officer, on 07866 668847 or [email protected]

Alternatively you can contact the RNLI Duty Press Officer on 01202 336789

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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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