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Off duty RNLI lifeguards assist kayaker in difficulty off Towan beach

Lifeboats News Release

RNLI lifeguards and a local surf instructor helped to assist a kayaker yesterday (Tuesday 26 April) who became overwhelmed in the conditions and was struggling to make it back to shore off Towan beach.

Nathan Wilmer, RNLI lifeguard supervisor, and Peter Rigo, who will return as an RNLI lifeguard later this summer, arrived at Towan beach around midday on Tuesday and were alerted by Mike Young from Escape Surf School to a kayaker in the water.

The kayaker had launched his kayak from the harbour but had been washed into the water while paddling out to sea. He was trying to swim back to shore but in strong winds and rough conditions he was in serious difficulty.

Mike, Nathan and Peter put their wetsuits on and made their way out to the casualty, who was by now up to his neck in water but being washed around by the waves. Mike arrived first and supported him and between the three, they swum him back to shore. On the beach the casualty was assessed and an ambulance was called for further care.

Nathan had arrived at the beach to carry out rescue watercraft training with lifeguards who are due to return to the area’s beaches on Saturday. He said: ‘The casualty was extremely lucky that Peter and I had just arrived at the beach, and that Mike had spotted him and was also in a position to help. Despite it being the end of April the weather continues to be unsettled with squally showers and winds, creating rough conditions in and on the water.

‘We strongly urge anybody using the water to be aware of the conditions and their capabilities and carry a means of calling for help. Our RNLI lifeguards will be back on patrol across the south west from Saturday helping to keep people safe.’

Notes to editors

Patrols will be begin on the following beaches in the Newquay area from Saturday (30 April): Towan and Watergate Bay

Patrols will begin on the following beaches in the Newquay area from May 21: Crantock, Great Western, Tolcarne, Porth and Mawgan Porth

RNLI lifeguards are on duty daily at Fistral.

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For further information, please contact either Emma Haines, RNLI Public Relations Manager, on 07786 668847 or email or Chloe Smith, RNLI Press Officer, on 07920 818807 or email

Key facts about the RNLI

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea. Our volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the United Kingdom and Ireland from 238 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen, Carrybridge and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 240 beaches around the UK and operates a specialist flood rescue team, which can respond anywhere across the UK and Ireland when inland flooding puts lives at risk.

The RNLI relies on public donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. As a charity it is separate from, but works alongside, government-controlled and funded coastguard services. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 our lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved at least 140,000 lives. Volunteers make up 95% of the charity, including 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew members and 3,000 volunteer shore crew. Additionally, tens of thousands of other dedicated volunteers raise funds and awareness, give safety advice, and help in our museums, shops and offices.

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The RNLI is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number 20003326 in the Republic of Ireland