Reliability, Performance, Compliance


Final flare saves kayaker’s life


A kayaker’s life has been saved off the Welsh coast, after his craft overturned and his final flare was spotted on the shore.

Vigilant walkers on Anglesey coastal path saw a red distress flare one afternoon in late January to the north of Moelfre.

The volunteer crew of Moelfre RNLI was already at the station after routine training, so launched the lifeboat within seven minutes of being alerted by Holyhead Coastguard.

The all-weather Tamar-Class lifeboat, Kiwi, under command of coxswain Robin Baker conducted a search and spotted a man clinging to an upturned sea kayak.

The man was suffering from confusion and exhaustion and was barely able to hold himself above water.

Crew member Daniel Lewis entered the water to support the man and he was lifted on board the lifeboat.

The man explained he had been overcome by the squally conditions and capsized. Although he had some safety equipment on-board his kayak, he was unable to self-recover due to the strong offshore winds and choppy seas.

Once fatigue kicked in, he attempted to raise the alarm, but lost his first flare into the water and his mobile phone didn’t operate. The red distress flare spotted ashore was his final hope of raising the alarm.

“I knew I was in a life-threatening situation… I thought I was going to die,” the kayaker said.

The man was taken to the lifeboat station, where a waiting ambulance crew assessed him and later released him.

The man later explained that he had been in the water for approximately 40 minutes. Although he was an experienced kayaker, he was overcome with fatigue and cold-water shock.

The kayaker had not informed anyone of his trip, plans or location and praised the vigilant walker for spotting his distress flare.

RNLI crew at the station remind water users that although experience and training is essential when venturing into open or coastal waters, they should notify a family member or the coastguard of their trip and carry suitable distress equipment and means of communication.

The stock image is courtesy of RNLI/Phil Williams LPO.

Feb 19, 2018