Good news comes in twos! PLB alert helps HM Coastguard coordinate rescue of two kayakers

HM Coastguard's Mission Control Cente in Fareham
where the PLB alert was picked up.
Two kayakers have been safely rescued after triggering their PLB when one of them ended up in the water in Scotland.
The male and female kayaker were 2nm off Port Seton, near Edinburgh when they got into difficulty in rough seas.  The male kayaker was hit by a wave which knocked him into the water.  Unable to self rescue, the female kayaker remained with him whilst they triggered their Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) just before 12pm today (Sunday 10 March).
The PLB alert was picked up by our Mission Control Centre at the National Maritime Operations Centre in Fareham.
Aberdeen Coastguard Operations Centre then coordinated the rescue operation and sent out the Kinghorn, Dunbar and North Berwick RNLI Lifeboats, alongside the South Queensferry North Berwick and Fisherrow Coastguard Rescue Teams and the HM Coastguard Prestwick helicopter.   
HM Coastguard also issued a Mayday Relay broadcast to all vessels in the area, alerting them to join the search for the missing kayakers.
The two kayakers were picked up by Kinghorn RNLI Lifeboat, who arrived quickly on scene  because they'd given an exact location by HM Coastguard which was obtained from the beacon alert.  They were promptly returned to shore to meet the Scottish Ambulance Service.  The kayaker is believed to have been in the water for 50 minutes but despite his ordeal he is safe and well, just suffering from the effects of the cold.

Jonathan Mustard, Senior Maritime Operations Officer for HM Coastguard said:  ‘This is a great example of how a Personal Locator Beacon, when properly used and registered, can save a person’s life. These kayakers ensured that, should they get into difficulty whilst out at sea, they had the right equipment to give them the best chance of being located and rescued.
‘This is another incident could so easily have turned into a really tragic one. The quick thinking action of these kayakers undoubtedly helped save their lives today and we wish them both a speedy recovery.’
When taking to the sea we would always advise people to tell someone at home their passage plan including points of arrival and departure, timescale, the number in your group and other relevant information. Check the weather forecasts and tidal conditions and ensure that your skill levels are appropriate for where you are kayaking. Wear a buoyancy aid and check that equipment is functioning properly, that your distress flares are in date and are stowed where you can reach them. We also recommend carrying a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) especially in the more remote locations.  Carry a VHF marine band radio (fitted with DSC if possible) and learn how to use it. Where there is good network coverage then it is worth carrying a mobile phone in a waterproof bag. Remember to call the Coastguard if you get into difficulty, preferably via channel 16 on your radio or if not by calling 999 and asking for the Coastguard.

The Coastguard recommends the RYA SafeTrx app which is a FREE tracking smartphone application for owners and skippers of all types of leisure and small craft that monitors your journey and alerts your emergency contacts should you fail to arrive on time.  The app allows you to directly contact HM Coastguard in the event of an emergency and could potentially cut vital minutes off the time taken to pinpoint your location.  Signing up to SafeTrx will give HM Coastguard the information that they need – including a description of your vessel, shore contact details, and other relevant information - to get you an even swifter response in an emergency.

HM Coastguard would also strongly recommend using ID stickers on your equipment, which includes all your basic information and allows others to raise the alarm and find you if they find your boat or equipment unattended.  Likewise, if you lose your gear whilst you’re out paddling please inform the Coastguard.  That way we’ll know that you’re safe and we won’t launch a search operation for you.

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