Cumbria Crack

Barrow RNLI Lifeboats launched to rescue kayakers

Grace Dixon
Grace Dixon

[T]HE volunteer crew from the RNLI’s Barrow station launched both their lifeboats this afternoon, Saturday 13 May 2017, to rescue two kayakers whose boats had capsized in choppy seas off the south end of Walney Island.

The request to launch the Lifeboat came from HM Coastguard at Holyhead shortly after 3:30pm this afternoon. The alarm was raised by two kayakers from a group of four who had managed to reach the shore at the south end of Walney Island having paddled for some 20 minutes after becoming separated from the other two kayakers who were now missing. It was also reported to the Coastguard that one of the two missing kayaks had capsized and that both were drifting out towards the offshore windfarms.

It was decided to launch both Barrow lifeboats and the crews were paged accordingly. The inshore lifeboat, Vision of Tamworth, was launched at 3:50pm with Dave Kell at the helm and two crew on board. The all-weather lifeboat, Grace Dixon, was launched at 3:55pm under the command of Coxswain, Shaun Charnley, with a further four volunteer crew on board.

At 4:02pm the Coastguard broadcast a radio message for all vessels in the area to keep a look out for the missing kayakers. However, just a couple of minutes later, the crew of the Grace Dixon established visual contact with the two kayakers who were both in the water just off Hilpsford Point at the south end of Walney Island.

At 4:06pm the crew of the inshore lifeboat had located the casualties and proceeded to recover them both from the water. It was clear that they were suffering from the effects of exposure to the cold water and one in particular was in a poor condition. At 4:16pm, the casualties were transferred to the all-weather lifeboat and brought back to the lifeboat station where they arrived at 4-35pm. The casualties were then put into the hands of a waiting ambulance crew who took them to Furness General Hospital for further assessment and care.

The inshore lifeboat recovered one of the kayaks from the water and brought it back to the lifeboat station. The other was recovered by Furness Coastguard who had also attended the incident.

High water had been at 1-48pm earlier in the afternoon with a predicted height of 8.7 metres.

Both lifeboats were rehoused at the lifeboat station by 5:15pm and made ready for the next launch.

With warmer weather and lighter evenings, the sea temperature remains low and it is a timely reminder for everyone to “Respect the Water”. More information about this can be found at:

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