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Harwich Lifeboat crews rescue paddleboarder in challenging conditions

Lifeboats News Release

On 24 September 2023 the volunteer crews of the Harwich RNLI lifeboat station responded to a distress call to rescue a paddleboarder in difficulty off Felixstowe Pier.

Harwich ILB returning from the shout

RNLI/Peter Thurston

Harwich ILB returning from the shout

The call came in at 5:27pm, with the wind at a southerly 26 knots, creating rough sea conditions off Felixstowe. Despite the sea conditions, the inshore lifeboat (ILB) Tierney, Harvey and Sonny Reid was operating well within its capabilities and the volunteer crew wasted no time in launching to assist the distressed paddleboarder.

Upon reaching the scene, the ILB crew coordinated efforts with the local Coastguard Rescue Team and initiated a thorough search based on the last reported sighting of the paddleboarder. With daylight diminishing rapidly and the sea conditions remaining challenging, an additional asset was deployed, and the all-weather lifeboat (ALB) The Duke of Kent joined the operation.

Fortunately, before the ALB arrived at the scene, the paddleboarder was located ashore and found to be safe. This welcome news allowed both lifeboats to stand down at 6:35pm and return to the Harwich lifeboat station. After a quick refuelling operation, they were once again ready for service at 7:10pm.

Stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) is one of the fastest growing water sports. Whether it’s on an inflatable SUP or a solid one, SUPing is a great way to have fun on the water and to get fit. Do it often enough and people can improve their overall fitness, in particular core body strength, which is where the most of the paddle power will come from.

Whether a complete beginner, new to SUPing or more experienced, it’s always useful to know a few tips and tricks to help improve the SUP experience.

The best way to learn and enhance time on the water is to have a lesson and learn the right techniques including tips to help get back on the board and develop skills and knowledge of how to understand the environment such as wind and tidal information.

Information on how to stay safe in the water can be found here:

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For more information, please contact Adam Prescott, RNLI volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer: [email protected]

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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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.