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They had been swept out to sea by the ebbing spring tide and an offshore wind. Combined with the choppy conditions, they were struggling to head back to the shore. One of the paddle boarders had also become separated from the group, who were drifting further away from dry land.
The lifeboat ‘Edmund Hawthorn Micklewood’ and her volunteer crew launched and quickly headed to the casualties’ reported location over 3 miles out to sea from Leasowe. Meanwhile the Wirral Coastguard Team were keeping the lone paddle boarder, who was closer inshore, under observation.
Hoylake RNLI lifeboat located the first two paddle boarders and brought them and their kit on board. Fortunately neither required any medical attention, but were feeling the effects of having been in the cold water. The lifeboat then headed inshore and with guidance from the Coastguard, the RNLI crew located the third paddle boarder and brought them and their kit safely on board too. This casualty also required no medical attention, so the lifeboat headed back to Hoylake beach for recovery by the RNLI shore crew.
The paddle boarders were then brought back to the lifeboat station across the beach, where they were able to warm up before transport was arranged to return them to their vehicles.
‘The paddle boarders had mobile phones with them and dialled 999 as soon as they found themselves in difficulty. With the ebbing tide and offshore wind, they wouldn’t have been able to make it back to shore themselves. I would like to praise them for their quick thinking and preparedness, which ultimately saved their lives.’
‘Paddle boarding has become increasingly popular recently and is normally quite safe. If you’re heading out, always wear a lifejacket or buoyancy aid and carry a means of calling for help. Check the weather forecast and tide times before you head out and avoid offshore winds. Always wear your leash and hold onto your board if you get into trouble. In an emergency, dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard.’
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