Clifden RNLI assisted in the rescue of four sea kayakers who got into difficulty off Inishark Island on Saturday afternoon.
Both the station’s all-weather Shannon class lifeboat under Coxswain John Mullen and the inshore Atlantic 85 class lifeboat helmed by David Barry, were launched at 3.30pm after the alarm was raised with the Irish Coast Guard following the activation of an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB). The request was to go the aid of four people on the north side of Inishark, approximately eight nautical miles offshore.
Weather conditions at the time were poor with a 3m swell and a difficult tide.
All four kayaks had been overturned by a large wave with one completely swamped leaving a casualty in the water clinging to the bow of another of the kayaks. On arrival, the volunteer lifeboat crew observed that the crew of a local rigid inflatable boat had taken two of the kayakers onboard including the casualty whose kayak was swamped, while the other two were making their way to safety themselves.
The inshore lifeboat proceeded to escort the local vessel with two of the kayakers safely back to Inishbofin while the all-weather lifeboat escorted the other two kayakers safely back to shore.
Speaking following the call out, John Brittain, Clifden RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager praised the kayakers for going to sea with the right gear and equipment: ‘The kayakers got caught by a large swell in an inaccessible area, but they had done all the right things which made a huge difference. They were all wearing drysuits and lifejackets. A personal locator beacon also served its purpose in raising the alarm and the kayakers need to be commended for also carrying that.
‘We would remind anyone planning a trip to sea this summer to always respect the water. Always have the correct safety gear and equipment, always check the weather and tide times before venturing out and always let someone on the shore know where you are going and when you are due back. Should you get into difficulty, call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coast Guard.’