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Pwllheli RNLI launched on Saturday (9 July) after reports of two paddleboarders drifting out to sea off West End Beach, Pwllheli.

Pic. RNLI/Martin Fish

UK Coastguard received a call at 2.28pm with reports that the paddleboarders were struggling to make it back ashore against an offshore wind.

The weather was dry and sunny with a moderate NNW breeze of 13mph and the sea was calm.

The D-class inshore lifeboat was launched at 2.44pm with three volunteer crew onboard. The lifeboat reached the location at 2.28pm to find the two female paddleboarders had been towed safely to shore by a passing boat.

While still in the area, RNLI Pwllheli crew observed a young female on a paddleboard struggling to make headway against the offshore breeze. The crew offered assistance and towed the paddleboard to shore.

The D-class lifeboat was refuelled and ready for service at 3.25pm.

RNLI Pwllheli D-Class inshore lifeboat Helm, Mark Dale, said: ‘The original casualties had fortunately already been helped to shore but we were then able to assist a female paddleboarder, who was struggling to make headway against the off-shore wind, back to shore. This does highlight the need to check the wind direction and tides before going paddleboarding.’

Last week the RNLI released new figures which reveal that the charity saved the lives of 42 people last year after they got into trouble while paddleboarding, kayaking and canoeing.

The figures also show that:

The RNLI saved the lives of 59 paddleboarders in the last 10 years with 75% (44) of those coming since 2020
Lifeboat launches to paddleboard incidents went up 64% in 2021 (144) from the previous year (88) while RNLI lifeguards responded to 132% more paddleboard incidents in 2021 (504) than the previous year (217)
In the 10 years from 2012-2021, the RNLI has saved the lives of 300 paddleboarders, kayakers or canoers and helped 6,361 people
Samantha Hughes of the RNLI’s Water Safety team said: ‘Paddleboarding, kayaking and canoeing are all extremely popular, especially during the summer months, and the RNLI has seen a large increase in our lifeboats and beach lifeguards going to the aid of people involved in these kinds of activities over the past few years.

‘That’s why it’s important to be aware of some simple safety advice which could save your life. If you are heading out on the water, we would always advise you to wear a suitable personal flotation device for your activity. If you are on a paddleboard, choose the right releasable leash for the location you are paddling.

‘Always check the weather forecast and tide times as this can affect your paddling and always tell someone where you’re going and when you’ll be back.

‘Keep a means of calling for help attached to you in a waterproof pouch or close to hand so that in an emergency you can call 999 and ask for the Coastguard if at the coast, or the Fire Service if inland.

‘If you get into trouble in the water, remember to Float to Live: lean back, using your arms and legs to stay afloat. Control your breathing, then call for help or swim to safety.’

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