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Sedgewell Cove RNLI lifeguards rescue trapped kayaker in choppy conditions

Lifeguards News Release

Senior RNLI lifeguard Mike Mapson and RNLI lifeguard Sam Sheridan were on duty at Sedgewell Cove on Sunday 6 August when they were alerted to a kayaker who had become trapped on a rock after his kayak had capsized in rough sea conditions at 3pm.

It was a sunny day but there were strong onshore winds and the sea was very choppy with a 0.6m ground swell. The lifeguards were first alerted by the pub on Burgh Island and then by the coastguard, who informed them that a man had been spotted in trouble by members of the public. He had climbed onto a rock behind Burgh Island after capsizing and losing his kayak. Due to the surf and currents he had been unable to get himself off the rock and back to safety.

The lifeguards launched in the inshore rescue boat and requested support from the Hope Cove independent lifeboat due to the casualty’s location. After locating him it became apparent that due to the proximity of the rocks and rough sea conditions the inshore rescue boat would be unable to reach him.

Lifeguard Sam Sheridan entered the water, swam to the casualty and climbed onto the rocks. He secured the casualty with a rescue tube and swam him back to the inshore rescue boat, where senior lifeguard Mike Mapson was waiting to pull him aboard. The casualty was taken back to the shore where he was reunited with his friend who had been kayaking with him and returned to raise the alarm. All of their equipment was also recovered after the rescue.

Kate Doison, RNLI Lifeguard Supervisor, said: ‘The casualty was wearing a lifejacket however neither he or his friend had any means of calling for help, meaning his friend had to leave him on his own to raise the alarm. Luckily this had already been done by members of the public who had seen the incident unfold and the lifeguards were already on the way to respond.’

RNLI safety message

Of the 16 analysed kayaking and canoeing fatalities from 2010-13, none were able to call for help themselves. In most cases of capsizing, the casualty could not get back in and they remained in the water for over an hour. Most are reliant on someone else raising the alarm. The RNLI advises that kayakers should always carry a means of calling for help and keep it within reach. To find out more about the different means of calling for help and how to stay safe while kayaking visit

Notes to editors

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For more information please contact Jade Dyer, Communications Student Placement, on 01752 854485 or by emailing

RNLI/Sedgewell Cove Lifeguards

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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