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St Agnes RNLI lifeboat crew launch in challenging conditions to kayak

Lifeboats News Release

The volunteer crew of St Agnes RNLI launched the inshore lifeboat this evening to reports that a kayak had been spotted with nobody onboard at Porthtowan.

Photograph of recovered kayak.

RNLI/Paul Kimberley and Emma Roberts

The lifeboat was launched at 7.50pm on Thursday 31 June to reports of a red kayak with no occupant in the Porthtowan area.

The crew of helm Gavin Forehead and crew members Ed Schwarz, Paul Fisher left Trevaunance Cove following a high tide bank launch, under challenging conditions, which were executed with tremendous skill and impressive teamwork by the shore and lifeboat crews.

The sea state was 3-4 ft, visibility clear, overcast conditions.

The lifeboat proceeded to Porthtowan, where they liaised with the St Agnes Coastguard Search and Rescue Team and the HM Coastguard Rescue Helicopter, Callsing 924.

The lifeboat quickly located the kayak approximately 500 yards offshore, to the East of Porthtowan. Further information leaded to the discovery that the kayaker had arrived safely ashore a little while earlier.

The kayaker had sensibly not attempted to retrieve his kayak, and it had washed into the rocks. As the incoming tide rose, the kayak had refloated and been washed back out to sea, which activated the alert from passers by.

The lifeboat proceeded to recover the kayak and transported it back to St Agnes.

The access hatch of the kayak was missing and the vessel had filled with water. It is not clear if this was the cause of the kayaker abandoning the kayak, but it is worth any kayakers considering fitting an inner seal or bag to any kayak which has a compartment hatch which leads directly into the hull space. Should the need arise to any kayaker to open the hatch whilst afloat, the compartment can easily flood and make the kayak unstable, or been sink.

On this occasion, thankfully, the kayaker was safe and no harm or injury sustained.

The St Agnes Lifeboat was rehoused and ready for service at 9.30pm.

The RNLI has extensive safety advise for kayakers and canoeists, which can be found at this link:

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 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