Concerns for inflatables and paddleboarders prompts callouts for Troon RNLI

Lifeboats News Release

At 4.12pm on Saturday 10 June 2023, Belfast Coastguard activated the lifeboat crew pagers after reports of 2 paddleboarders in difficulty in the water and shouting for assistance at South Beach, Ardrossan.

Troon RNLI Coxswain Joe Millar at the helm onboard Trent class all-weather lifeboat


Troon RNLI Coxswain Joe Millar onboard Trent class all-weather lifeboat
The volunteer crew began to assemble at the lifeboats station when a further tasking came through at 4.17pm reporting concerns after an inflatable was spotted drifting out to see at Irvine.

RNLI Trent class all-weather lifeboat RNLB Jim Moffat launched and headed for the incident at Ardrossan while D Class inshore lifeboat Sheena made its way towards Irvine.

Heading towards Ardrossan, an update came through from the Coastguard helicopter, Rescue 199 who was returning from an earlier tasking and offered further support.

The helicopter was on scene within a matter of minutes and after liaising with the Ardrossan Coastguard Rescue Team confirmed that the persons were ashore and were no longer in need for assistance.

As the all-weather lifeboat crew arrived on scene, all that was required was to recover a drifting inflatable before they were able to stand down.

The helicopter had made its way to Irvine and located the drifting inflatable which the inshore lifeboat was able to recover. The immediate vicinity of the inflatable towards the shore was checked by the inshore lifeboat and helicopter crews but nothing was found.

Information wasn’t clear as to if there were any persons with the inflatable, but concerns were raised that there may have been a child onboard.

In conjunction with the Ayr and Ardrossan Coastguard teams liaising with Police and Ambulance crews on scene, a search was undertaken by the all-weather and inshore lifeboats.

After searching, and with no reports of any missing people, the search was stood down by Belfast Coastguard and the lifeboats were able to return to station where they were made ‘ready for service’ with the assistance of the shore crew.

Speaking after the callout, Troon RNLI lifeboat Coxswain Joe Millar said, ‘All of the emergency callouts we have responded to this week have involved inflatables and that is a key reason why we strongly advise against taking them to the beach.

'Inflatables are not designed for open water and it takes very little breeze for them to be swept out to sea much quicker than you can swim or paddle back to the beach. What may seem fun at first can turn into an extremely serious situation, in a matter of seconds.

'We are urging everyone to take care whenever they are in or near the water and to please leave inflatables at home.’

If you do see someone in difficulty at sea on along the coastguard, please dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard.

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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