Warning to paddle boarders after 20 people rescued in 24 hours

A resident from Exeter is urging people to remain vigilant on paddle boards after witnessing multiple rescues over the summer.

Last week, Rob Harding witnessed a rescue at Dawlish Warren, involving two teenage boys who were not wearing a buoyancy aid.

He said: ”Everybody has gone out and start using them [paddle boards] without really considering the safety implications.

”The Lifeguard in Cornwall said that they had rescued around 20 people over just one day.”

Earlier this month, a teacher believed to be on holiday in Cornwall sadly died after a paddle boarding incident in the estuary between Padstow and Rock on Monday (August 31).

Life guards rescue a boy after getting into ‘trouble’ on his paddleboard

Whilst on a trip to Cornwall, Rob who had been paddle boarding previously, was subject to a paddle boarding incident which was really ”frightening”.

Rob along with his 15-year old daughter went out on the board when they suddenly got caught in an off-shore breeze, which resulted in them being blown further and further away from the beach.

He said: ”We found ourselves being blown along really quick, like a boat with a sail.

”I said to my daughter, we are going far too quickly we need to turn around.”

In an attempt to head back inland, the father and daughter duo tried to turn the board.

The boys were not wearing life jackets

”Every time we tried we just couldn’t turn because as you turn with the wind it just comes up underneath and blows you into the water.

”We got blown off into the sea.

”As we tried to get back on again the wind just blows it over again.

”It is quite frightening actually.”

Figures imply an increase in paddle board incidents during the summer of 2020
(Image: RNLI)

Despite the two of them being reasonably strong swimmers, the experience left them feeling quite unnerved.

Following the incident, Rob spoke to a lifeguard who said: ”Never go further than 10 meters and make sure you can easily turn around and come back to shore.”

Rob adds: ”I’m not saying don’t use them because they are a lot of fun.

”People just need to be aware.

”Unless you’re really confident don’t go out to a beach with no lifeguard.”

With the summer holidays coming to an end, RNLI lifeguard presence on beaches will decrease.

RNLI safety advice around paddle boarding:

  • Visit a lifeguarded beach
  • If possible, launch and recover your paddleboard between the black and white chequered flags
  • Before you leave, make sure you have a plan – check the weather forecast, tide times and read local hazard signage
  • Wear a suitable personal flotation device – such as a buoyancy aid or a lifejacket
  • Always carry a means of calling for help and let someone know where you’re going and when you’ll be back.
  • In an emergency, call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.

Want to hear more from Devon Live? Sign up to our newsletters here.

Devon Live – Devon News