Both RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institution) lifeboats stationed at Skegness were called out this afternoon (Friday) following reports of a kayaker in trouble off the Lincolnshire coast.
The volunteer crew of the two lifeboats Lincolnshire Poacher and Peterborough Beer Festival IV were called to launch at 2:37pm when one of two kayakers was unable to get back into his canoe having fallen into the sea half a mile off Anderby Creek.
The man’s teenage grandson was in the other kayak but was unable to help him back into his canoe. In an offshore wind, the pair were making very slow progress back to the shore when help arrived.
Inshore lifeboat helmsman Craig Hopkins said the man was clearly very cold, having been in the water for nearly an hour.
Craig said: ‘Despite wearing a dry suit and buoyancy aid, the guy was extremely cold and exhausted from holding onto his kayak for so long, trying to get back to the shore. He looked very relieved when we got him into the lifeboat to assess him and take him back to the beach.’
RAF helicopter Rescue 128 had also been called to help, and following discussions with the lifeboat crew decided to land on the beach to pick up the casualty before flying him to Hull Royal Infirmary.
Both lifeboats returned to Skegness, reaching the beach just after 4pm.
The RNLI’s extensive training paid off for Craig, who was in command of the inshore lifeboat for the first time since his ‘pass out’ as a helmsman by an RNLI inspector earlier in the week.
Craig added: ‘Although this was a fairly straightforward call for us, it was good to be able to put all the training to become a helmsman into practice, and to help this guy out when he urgently needed help.’
The kayaker is expected to make a full recovery.
1. RAF rescue helicopter Rescue 128
(left) on the beach at Anderby Creek shortly before flying the casualty to Hull Royal Infirmary. Skegness inshore lifeboat Peterborough Beer Festival IV
can be seen on the right. (Credit: RNLI/Joe Pieniak)
2. Skegness inshore lifeboat helmsman Craig Hopkins, who took command of the inshore lifeboat for his first call out today, having been ‘passed out’ as a helmsman by an RNLI inspector on Monday. (Credit: RNLI/Skegness)
Lincolnshire Poacher launching: