Reliability, Performance, Compliance


Flares would have quickened kayaker rescue, says RNLI


Carrying flares would have hastened the rescue of a kayaker in trouble off the Isle of Man, say rescuers.

St Bees RNLI were asked to locate and rescue the kayaker who got into trouble attempting to cross from St Bees, near Whitehaven on the North-West English coast to the Isle of Man.

Colleagues from Workington, Barrow, Douglas and Ramsey RNLI, as well as the Coastguard’s Search and Rescue helicopter and Maryport's Inshore Rescue boat, soon joined them early one September morning.

They searched for the lone kayaker who had capsized in choppy seas five miles west of St Bees Head.

St Bees and Workington RNLI were the first lifeboats to arrive in the area where the casualty estimated his position to be, they started a search pattern co-ordinated by Belfast Coastguard.

Unfortunately, the kayaker did not carry a VHF radio or any distress flares making it very difficult to locate him.

Following an extensive search of a wide area lasting nearly two hours, the helicopter located the kayaker and his boat, and proceeded to winch him aboard.

The fortunate kayaker did not require any medical attention. He was taken by helicopter to Workington RNLI’s lifeboat station. Workington’s new Shannon lifeboat picked up his kayak and reunited it with its owner back at their station.

Dick Beddows, St Bees RNLI Operation Manager says, “It was great to see five lifeboats, the Coastguard and an independent lifeboat all working together to achieve a great outcome; it could have ended very differently.

“It was good to see that the kayaker was wearing all the correct safely equipment which undoubtedly helped save his life, but a VHF radio and a small pack of distress flares would have made locating him a lot quicker.”

The image shows St Bees Lifeboat launching to the capsized kayak and is courtesy of RNLI/Colin Wadey.

Sep 27, 2017