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Kayaker rescued from rough sea by Ilfracombe RNLI volunteer crew

Lifeboats News Release

The Ilfracombe inshore lifeboat, the Deborah Brown II, was called to launch at 3.51pm on Saturday 19 August to aid a kayaker who was in the water at Hele Bay, near Ilfracombe.

The sea conditions were exceptionally rough and the casualty had been in the water for almost 30 minutes.

The inshore lifeboat crew were quickly on scene, with the all-weather lifeboat remaining on standby as the conditions were such that the inshore lifeboat may have needed assistance.

The volunteer crew were able to pick up the kayaker, a man in his 30s, and also his kayak.

On their return journey to Ilfracombe they encountered 2-3m waves, with a rough sea and a large swell.

There was no doubt in the casualty's mind that his life jacket had saved his life.

Inshore lifeboat Helm Stuart Carpenter said: 'It was good to see that he had all the appropriate safety equipment. You should always check the weather conditions and if you are at all unsure please check with your local harbourmaster.'

The casualty was brought to the boat house to dry off and given appropriate medical advice.

RNLI media contacts

For more information please contact Jade Dyer, Communications Student Placement, on 01752 854485 or email You can also contact Amy Caldwell, RNLI Public Relations Manager (South), on 07920 818 807 or by emailing

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