‘Missing’ kayakers spark two Islay lifeboat launches

Islay RNLI lifeboat, Severn class lifeboat Helmut Schroder of Dunlossit II

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A safety message has been issued after two lifeboat launches in a week for overdue kayakers.

Islay lifeboat was called out on July 12 and again seven days later, both for kayakers reported missing.

The volunteer lifeboat crew launched Severn class lifeboat Helmut Schroder of Dunlossit II on the afternoon of July 12 to search for an overdue kayaker without a phone or lifejacket off the south east coast of Islay.

The Coastguard UK rescue helicopter was also deployed.

Expected to be near Aros Bay, the kayaker was overdue without means of communication or a lifejacket, so a concerned family member dialled 999, asking for the coastguard.

They had been expected back around two hours earlier, having planned to go for a half-hour paddle.

The kayaker was found safe and well on land, having taken a different route to the one planned.

Islay lifeboat was again on the water on the morning of July 19, searching for overdue kayakers off Gigha.

The local coastguard team reported spotting two kayakers heading for Cara Island south of Gigha.

Helped by a local boat a RNLI crew member reached the kayakers to confirm they were safe and well.

They had informed someone of their trip the previous evening, but a concerned member of the public alerted the coastguard after they didn’t return to their vehicle by next morning.

Islay RNLI Coxswain David MacLellan said: ’The crew and those involved are, as ever, very pleased that all was well, and they were found safe and well.

‘We would urge anyone planning to enjoy being out on the water this summer to tell someone how long you will be out and where you are going.

‘Wear appropriate gear for the conditions including a lifejacket or buoyancy aid and take a means of communicating, even a mobile phone, just in case you need help.’

Find out more on water safety tips at RNLI.org/safety/choose-your-activity.