On Tuesday 2 June at 5.15pm, HM Coastguard Falmouth requested the immediate launch of Sennen Cove Inshore lifeboat to assist a kayaker who had capsized and was in difficulties approximately 100 metres from Lands End point. They had been alerted by the the man’s kayaking partner by mobile phone stating that the casualty was tired and unable to recover himself. He was clinging to the kayak and getting cold.
As communications are very difficult close in against the cliffs at Lands End and with a fast ebbing tide present it was decided to launch both Lifeboats. Lands End Coastguard Cliff Rescue Team also attended at Lands End to provide extra cover.
The Sennen Cove inshore lifeboat Amy Brown, with three volunteer crew on board, launched at 5.20pm immediately followed by the all weather lifeboat City of London III. They proceeded to Lands End point to recover the casualties
On arriving at the given location the kayakers could not be found. Due to the wind and strong tide it was decided to search further to the South, where the casualties would have drifted. The Tamar Class Lifeboat, with its higher superstructure giving a better platform to search from, spotted the kayakers approximately 2 miles South South West of Lands End point. Both lifeboats made best speed to them and both crews helped to recover both kayakers and equipment to the all weather Lifeboat at 5.45pm. The casualty in the water was very cold and tired. His fellow kayaker was unharmed.
Both lifeboats returned to the Lifeboat Station with the casualties and were recovered at 6.00pm
The Kayakers were well equipped and were able to contact the Coastguard for help when they realised they were in trouble. They were taken 2 miles from their original reported position by wind and tide in the short time between alerting the Coastguard and being recovered from the sea. With both Lifeboats launching to their aid so quickly and the crew’s local knowledge of the waters they cover, this provided a positive result to an incident which could have had a totally different outcome.