Don't miss a story sign up to the North Devon Gazette's FREE daily newsletter CLICK HERE

Paddlers pulled from perilous seas

PUBLISHED: 15:03 17 August 2012 | UPDATED: 15:08 17 August 2012

The Ilfracombe all weather lifeboat Spirit of Derbyshire returns to harbour with its cargo of kayakers and their hired kayaks. Picture: Ilfracombe RNLI.

The Ilfracombe all weather lifeboat Spirit of Derbyshire returns to harbour with its cargo of kayakers and their hired kayaks. Picture: Ilfracombe RNLI.

Ilfracombe RNLI

Ilfracombe RNLI averts kayak hire calamities after helping 11 people in the space of a few hours.

Ilfracombe lifeboat crew use the small inflatable X boat as a breeches buoy to rescue trapped kayakers from under Hangman cliffs near Combe Martin.  Picture: Ilfracombe RNLI. Ilfracombe lifeboat crew use the small inflatable X boat as a breeches buoy to rescue trapped kayakers from under Hangman cliffs near Combe Martin. Picture: Ilfracombe RNLI.

ILFRACOMBE lifeboat crews spent a hectic afternoon yesterday (Thursday) ‘collecting kayakers’ with 11 people and their boats plucked from rough seas.

Four groups, all aboard hired kayaks, were safely gathered in by the all weather and inshore lifeboats after strong winds built up large swells along the coast.

Just after 2pm an angling boat reported two adults and two children with kayaks that appeared to be in trouble on a beach under Hangman Cliffs near Combe Martin.

The four were stranded, with two metre-plus surf preventing them from getting off the beach and the inshore lifeboat was unable to get close enough.

So the small inflatable X boat was used to rig a ‘breeches buoy’ and the casualties were pulled out to the lifeboat onboard the little inflatable two at a time, with a lifeboat crew member the last off the beach.

They said another two of their party had been swept further up the coast and the lifeboats immediately set off to search. Fortunately, they were found a mile away and taken onboard.

Then the coastguard called to say two more kayakers were overdue – the RNLI soon found them trapped by surf on Wild Pear Beach near Combe Martin. They had managed to refloat their kayaks when the lifeboats arrived and were escorted back to the harbour.

RNLI volunteers were called out again as yet more kayakers were reported missing to the west of Combe Martin. They were found off Watermouth Harbour and were fine, but paddling in a large swell so the crew decided to escort them back.

Ilfracombe lifeboat coxswain Andrew Bengey paid tribute to the hard work of the crews and said it was vital people checked the forecast and local conditions before going out on the water.

“These incidents prove just how easy it is to get caught out by bad weather and big surf,” he said.

“Always check weather and tides before setting off, and ask for local information. This is especially important if you hire a kayak while on holiday as you won’t necessarily be aware of the local conditions and how they can change. You can get this from the harbour office, coastguards, RNLI lifeguards and indeed the lifeboat station.

“We recommend people wear a lifejacket when going on the water, carry a means of calling for help and if possible, get proper training before going out to sea.”

Other News Stories

Police are appealing for witnesses after a collision involving a motorcycle, two cyclists and a Jaguar X-Type near Combe Martin.

Read more
13:57

Barnstaple was buzzing for North Devon’s annual celebration of everything delicious on Sunday

Read more

Filming is taking place at Saunton Sands today (Monday) for a new BBC drama starring Hollywood icon Hugh Grant.

Read more

Find out how North Devon secondary schools ranked in the latest provisional Progress 8 league tables, and how their scores compared to last year.

Read more

A new PoundStore in Bideford promising giveaways to the first 205 people in the queue has delayed its opening by 24 hours at the eleventh hour.

Read more
Yesterday, 14:58

Police say there is slow traffic between the Roundswell and Lake roundabouts.

Read more
Yesterday, 13:18

Motorists advised to avoid Long Lane area between Combe Martin and A39 junction.

Read more
Yesterday, 09:25

Traffic is coping well say police

Read more
Saturday, October 21, 2017

Weather warning issued as 70mph winds whip up massive waves in North Devon

Read more
Saturday, October 21, 2017

Police have reported a fallen tree on the road near Landcross as Storm Brian hits the region.

Read more

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 16°C

min temp: 14°C

Most Read News

Useful Links

Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Subscribe to the paper
Competitions
North Devon Football League
Order Photos
Family notices
iwitness24
Facebook
Twitter
Google Plus Page
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Read Online

Image
Read the North Devon Gazette e-edition E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter
HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Local business directory

North Devon's trusted business finder

Find planning applications