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‘It helped save his life’ - Dramatic kite-surfer rescue shows importance of sea safety

PUBLISHED: 16:50 22 August 2018

The Aldeburgh RNLI launched the all-weather lifeboat Freddie Cooper during the rescue Picture: TONY PICK

The Aldeburgh RNLI launched the all-weather lifeboat Freddie Cooper during the rescue Picture: TONY PICK

©copyright Tony Pick-Coastal Images 2005

Lifesavers are urging kite-surfers and coastal adventurers to take proper precautions when visiting the seaside this bank holiday weekend.

Aldeburgh RNLI has highlighted the importance of using safety equipment following a daring rescue earlier this summer, which was only made possible through the use of a personal locator beacon (PLB).

The crew had been called to reports of a “man overboard alert” and launched both lifeboats to find a kite surfer drifting out to sea after his lines had become tangled and he was then unable to relaunch. He then lost his board and entered the water, activating his PLB, which sent an alert to the UK Coastguard, which in turn informed the volunteers at Aldeburgh.

Arriving at the scene in the dark, the strobe light on the PLB helped the crew to locate the man, who was found in a “distressed” state having been in the water for 45 minutes.

Aldeburgh’s second coxswain, Karl Barber, said: “If it wasn’t for the personal locator beacon showing up on the lifeboat’s automatic identification system, the kite surfer would have been very difficult to see in the water.

“It was dark and there was a real risk of not immediately finding him. The kite surfer shared that his mother persuaded him to buy the personal locator beacon, the best £200 he has ever spent. It helped save his life.’

With the August bank holiday weekend traditionally one of the busiest for coastal visitors, the RNLI said it wanted to remind people of the dangers of entering the sea without taking proper precautions.

Nick Ayers, RNLI community safety partner, said: “The sea is unpredictable and one of the biggest dangers with kitesurfing is going alone or in rough weather conditions. Taking some simple steps to stay safe will reduce your chances of getting into trouble.

“We advise kite surfers go out with a friend or take a means of calling or signalling for help, like a personal locator beacon. Never ride out further than you can swim back. Be prepared, check the conditions and tides, and don’t go out in conditions you can’t handle.”

Aldeburgh RNLI is also holding its annual street fair and open day on Saturday from 10am-3pm at the lifeboat station in Crag Path, raising funds for the charity.

Visit rnli.org.uk for the latest safety advice.

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