Ilfracombe RNLI launch to kayakers struggling against tide
The Ilfracombe inshore lifeboat was paged at 10.35 a.m. on 4 August to assist two kayakers near Hazle Bushes Bay a mile and a half west of Ilfracombe. This was the fifth launch in six days for the Ilfracombe RNLI crew.
The volunteer crew launched the D Class inshore lifeboat The Deborah Brown II at 10.40 a.m. following a Coastguard emergency 999 call, to assist two kayakers who were in difficulties. Conditions were good with a calm sea with only a slight swell so the crew were able to make best speed from Ilfracombe harbour to Hazle Bushes Bay to arrive 5 minutes later.
The kayakers had been out paddling and had attempted to make their way back to shore when they found that they were unable to do so due the strong tide. They then raised the alarm using their mobile phone to call the Coastguard.
On arrival the crew quickly found the two kayakers and were able to pull both the kayakers and their kayaks onto the lifeboat. The lifeboat then returned to Ilfracombe lifeboat station and brought the kayakers to safely back to land. The lifeboat was then recovered back to the boathouse ready for another service by 11.06 a.m.
RNLI Volunteer Helm Leigh Hanks says: ‘the kayakers did the right thing in calling for the Coastguard when they found they were unable to paddle against the tide. We would encourage anyone heading out to sea on a kayak to carry a means of calling for help and making sure it is accessible. Today was one of the highest tides of the year at 9.6 metres and so the speed of the tide was extremely strong.’
This was the fifth call out for Ilfracombe RNLI in six days. On the 30 July both lifeboats were paged by the Coastguard at 2.45 p.m. to assist people cut off by tide, however the lifeboat was stood down before it arrived on scene as the people were picked up by another boat. Again on 30 July, the lifeboat was launched just after 5.00 p.m. to assist Police with a man who had run into the sea off Wildersmouth beach in Ilfracombe. The man was safely brought back to shore by the Police using a throw line. On 2 August both lifeboats were launched at 6.10 p.m. to assist three people and their dog stranded on rocks near White Pebble Beach. The people were brought to safety by the inshore lifeboat and were then assisted by the Coastguard. Again on 2 August the inshore lifeboat was launched at 8.05 p.m. to assist with a car partially submerged by the rising tide at Watermouth harbour, however the lifeboat was stood down before they arrived on scene.
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 142,700 lives.