Safety Spotlight – Paddleboarders in a Pickle, Teens in Trouble, In a ‘mud’dle?
In the last week around our coasts, we’ve helped hundreds of people including people in a 'mud'dle, teens in trouble and paddleboarders ‘in a pickle’ when they were caught out by winds and waves.
We've put together this safety spotlight as just a small snapshot of our 24/7 work to help people in difficulties around our coasts, from co-ordinating search and rescues to assisting authorities and our emergency services partners.
‘in a pickle’: Wind and waves. Even the most experienced of paddleboarders can be caught
out by fast-changing weather conditions.
Tip: Wear a flotation device and a leash so you don’t become separated from your board, avoid going out when the wind is blowing offshore. Don’t forget to take a fully charged mobile phone in a waterproof pouch.
Paddleboarding is one of the fastest growing watersports and a great way to enjoy the water and keep fit. But it’s so easy to get into trouble, as two people found out in the last week. See how we helped paddleboarder Alfie last summer in the video below.
- Aberdeen: At the mouth of the River Don last Saturday (13 March), several quick-thinking people on the beach called us on 999 to report a paddleboarder who’d been caught out by winds and strong currents. Within a minute of the first call, we’d asked the Aberdeen RNLI lifeboat to launch and the team quickly brought her back to shore to be met by our Aberdeen coastguard team and her husband. A local vessel was asked to stand by and Scottish Ambulance also attended.
- Bridlington: Earlier on the same day, another paddleboarder was also caught out by an offshore wind. Bridlington and Hornsea Coastguard rescue teams and the Bridlington RNLI lifeboat were sent. The coastguard teams used a specialist water rescue technique to bring the paddleboarder safely ashore.
Mark Ellis, Senior Maritime Operations Officer from HM Coastguard said: “The team had to use its skill in water rescue techniques - They put in the training for moments just like these. The man was rescued by the Coastguard team and was checked over.
“We love the coast and we want everyone to enjoy it safely and carefully. Even the most experienced of people can find themselves in trouble or get caught out by weather or tide. It is important to remember if you get into difficulty or see someone who is, dial 999 and ask for the coastguard.”
Teens in Trouble: Cut off by the tide. Tides can come in and out shockingly swiftly, often with strong currents and eddies that can sweep people off their feet in seconds.
Tip: Check the tide times before you set off, tell someone where you’re going and take a fully charged mobile phone so you can call 999 and ask us for help.
- Mumbles: Late on Wednesday afternoon (17 March) two teens found themselves in trouble. They’d gone for a walk at their local beach on the stunning rocky coastline at Mumbles, South Wales. The water was calm and it was a lovely spring evening. But they’d not noticed the tide coming in until it was too late and they were trapped on rocks. Fortunately they had a mobile phone and knew to call 999 and as for the Coastguard. We sent our Mumbles Coastguard Rescue Team (CRT) and the RNLI lifeboats from nearby Mumbles and Horton. The pair were picked up quickly by the Mumbles lifeboat and returned unharmed to Caswell Bay where they were met by the CRT and their very thankful and relieved parents.
- Wirral: Unforeseen events such as slips, trips or falls can also delay a planned return trip to beat the tide. It happened on 15 March at Middle Eye, a popular walking spot and island off the Wirral. A lady had fallen and needed medical help, but by now the tide was coming in so a fast rescue was needed. The search and rescue helicopter from Caernarfon was sent and the team winched the casualty to the mainland and transferred her into the care of the North West Ambulance Service. Another person and a dog from the same party were also picked up by the West Kirby RNLI lifeboat They were met at the shore by the Wirral Coastguard Rescue Team.
In a ‘mud’dle? : Mud rescues. Around our coasts, mud, soft ground and quicksand can be found and it’s the cause of many incidents. It’s easy to get stuck very quickly. It’s why we have technical teams with special training in mud rescues.
Tip: If you get stuck, try to stay calm, avoid moving and spread your weight as much as possible. And call us on 999.
Image courtesy of Drew Parkinson
- Plymouth: Only yesterday and just five days after becoming operational as another of our mud rescue teams across the UK, Tamar Coastguard Rescue Team (CRT) had their first incident needing their specialist skills. They were sent, along with Prawle Point CRT (also mud rescue trained) and Plymouth CRT to help someone who was stuck in mud at Plymouth. Fortunately this time, the caller made it to safety on their own so the teams were stood down... ready for the next time.
Every day is different
Every day is different – we can be out on the coasts helping people who’ve become cut off by tides, stuck on cliffs or in mud or quicksand, and those generally in trouble on the water or the coastline. Our teams also attend remote locations where our search and rescue helicopters with trained paramedics on board are often the swiftest option to help get people to safety. We also provide extra ‘people power’ for authorities at major incidents.
Please follow COVID-19 local area and safety guidance.
If you see anyone in difficulties or anything unusual around the coast, please don’t hesitate to let us know. Simply call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.