Five paddleboarders who found themselves in trouble in the Bristol Channel have been rescued by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI).
The group, all in their 20s and from south Wales were paddling off Minehead, Somerset on Sunday (26th June), when they found themselves being blown offshore by strong south-westerly winds.
Minehead RNLI volunteers had just returned from a routine training exercise when they spotted the group struggling and launched to their assistance.
Volunteer Helm Phil Sanderson said, “We launched in calm conditions, but the further we got offshore it was evident how strong the wind really was, and the sea conditions got rougher.
“As we made our way towards the paddleboarders, we could see they were all in the water.
“As we pulled them onboard it was clear some of the group were upset and beginning to feel the effects of the cold water.
“We returned all five ashore for further assessment, it was good to see they were wearing wetsuits and buoyancy aids which certainly helped them in this frightening situation.
“In addition to this safety equipment, we would always recommend when heading out on the water to check the weather forecast and carry a means of calling for help. Many people these days carry a phone in a waterproof pouch which gives them the ability to dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard.”
On the same weekend in Scotland, Anstruther RNLI rescued two teenage girls three-quarters of a mile out to sea who were found clinging to the same paddleboard.
RNLI safety tips for paddleboarding:
- Avoid going alone, where possible
- Always tell someone where you are going and when you’ll be back
- Check the weather forecast and avoid offshore winds
- Wear a suitable personal floatation device and clothing for the time of year
- Get the appropriate level of training
- Use a paddleboard with an appropriate leash